A 15-year-old Palestinians View of the Hague and the Wall
By Iltezam Morrar
On Monday, the International Court of Justice in the Hague will begin hearings on the wall Israel is building around Palestinian cities and villages. I live in one of them: Budrus, a small village west of Ramallah. It is a very simple life here. Old women and farmers tend their sheep; children go to school, and people live together peacefully. Our village has many olive trees, which are very important for food and oil.
Americans should know that, from our viewpoint, the wall is not a security wall. Security and safety do not come from stealing land (Budrus lost about 80 percent of its village area in 1948, when Israel was formed, and stands to shrink by another 20 percent if the wall goes up). Security does not come from killing or harassing people (there is hardly a family in Palestine without some member who has been killed, hurt or imprisoned) or cutting trees (which Israeli officials have started doing around my village). So this is not a security wall. It is an apartheid wall.
Palestine will be separated into little pieces. Many people will be unable to go to work. Students wont be able to travel to university. After all this, when we are without land or olive trees, unable to work or study, people will leave. That is what the Israeli occupation is for. In 1953, for example, when Ariel Sharon led a military operation resulting in 69 civilian deaths at Qibya, the next village over from us, some people in Budrus were afraid and left. Everything the Israeli government has done is to make the people leave their land.
At the first demonstration to stop the wall in Budrus, only three old women participated with the men. I asked my father if the demonstrations were just for men, and he said no, they were for women as well. Some women and girls came to the next demonstration but left when they didnt see many other women. I told my father that we needed a demonstration only for women, and we made one.
On the first day Israeli officials came to cut the trees, I was at school. I said, We should go; the land is more important than our exams. We marched to the fields, the boys and then the girls. Soldiers threw tear gas into the middle of us. We carried on; we were still holding our schoolbooks when we came to the Israeli captain. He was very angry and shouted, Stop here. If you walk one more step, we will hit you. He pushed me, so I stood beside him and shouted Free, free Palestine.
Because of the occupation, I cannot see my country. I cant travel in my country. It is like a big prison, and the wall will make it worse. If there were no occupation, I could be free. For me, the day my country is free will be my birthday. In the occupation, I have no future.
I want to study to help my country. I want to be a doctor, because here in Palestine, many people get hurt and there are few hospitals or doctors and little medicine. I want four children, but then, I want to be a doctor and will work late nights, so perhaps two is enough.
We dont hate Israelis because they are Israelis. The only thing between us is what we see as their theft of our land. If they gave back our land, nothing would be between us. We need enough land that all the Palestinian refugees who live outside could come and live here. Many Palestinians live in other countries, in tents, with no work.
Peaceful struggle is very important. It is the only way in which we can become free and stop the wall, even if we know the Israeli army does not want peace and will use violence. I think: If I use violence, all the children in Israel will feel in danger and they will use violence. So this makes the two sides always live in violence. It is important to show the world we are a peaceful people and all we want is peace.
The hearings in the Hague are very important even though we are not sure they will stop the wall. It is very important that the international community does something to say the wall should be stopped, even if it doesnt succeed.
Contact Iltezam Morrar at email@example.com
The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 20, 2004