Good Shepherd Collective, February 19, 2020
This morning, the Israeli military entered the village of Susiya with a bulldozer in order to confiscate a small, one-room building that served as the children’s school. As you watch the video, consider the perspective of the Palestinian GSC leader who took this video.
After waking up early in the morning to prepare for the possibility of demolitions today, Wednesday, one of the two busiest days of the week for the military and Civil Administration, you are called from your own humble home in the hills of South Hebron to head to Susiya, where the building that serves as an educational space for over twenty children is under immediate threat. When you arrive, you find an entire portion of the village–a village you know well, where you often relax and drink tea with your friends who are residents in the small, quiet space, and play with the little children–swarming with soldiers armed with semi-automatic weapons and gear that looks like they are prepared for a riot. Instead, they are met with distressed, angry, and frightened women, children, and men.
As you prepare to document the disproportionately dramatic removal of this simple space, you are conscious of the fact that only feet away are heavily armed soldiers, watching as you document and waiting for you to make the wrong move. They don’t like that you’re there. Although they have arrived, uninvited, armed with weaponry and the bureaucracy to take away an entire educational facility today, they are searching for violence in the faces and bodies of those from whom they are confiscating. With this in mind, you move slowly and speak in their language, keeping things as calm as possible.
This is the work our leaders on the ground are engaged in every week, sometimes throughout the entire day, starting before dawn. As they document and gather information about demolitions and confiscations, they must push aside their own worries that tomorrow, it could be their family’s school or community center that is taken away or destroyed. The structural oppression within the Israeli zoning and planning regime, and the total rejection of international law in practice, makes all Palestinians in Area C distinctly aware that we are all under near-constant threat of demolition, confiscation, destruction, and violence.