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Jenba, the Frontline.

March 15, 2013

After we visited At-Tuwani, where kids get a military escort to school (because if they don’t, masked settlers come out of the hills and throw rocks at them or hit them with metal rods) and the strong resistance continues, we head south to Jenba a village where since 1999, 12 children have been killed by the Israeli Army for straying off the farm land and over the red line into a military buffer zone. There is no fence or physical boundary and no mercy for kids. 

On the walk down the mountain passage to Jenba, we were accosted by some kids. They came running after us, demanding to know where we were going and laughing and giggling. Finally we relented and under constant harassment from the villagers, we consented to sit for a while and drink hot, sweet tea. It was terrible.

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After breaking away from the cave, we went down the scenic valley to Jenba and I had some of the best experiences of my life. These are some of the toughest, strongest, funniest and most beautiful people I had ever met. To put up six foreigners who were eating all of their food and drinking all of their tea, a family of a dozen people moved out of a cave (a really nice place to love actually, don’t be put off) just for us to sleep there.

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The hospitality of the Jenbans was nothing short of amazing. When we got to our final spot for the night, the family came in and hung out with us, Two young women who knew a bit of english were very keen to talk and serve tea. Their prompts at hospitality did come out sounding like commands. “Sit Down!” “Drink Tea!” “Speak, Speak!” but the friendliness and warmth was overwhelming. 

So, these people are going through hell. The Israeli Defence Force (ha ha) comes through at least once a week and threatens to demolish their houses or to evict them. I saw children’s bullet wounds where settlers or soldiers had decided in the interests of “security” that they needed to shoot the kids. They have been pushed around, shot and brutalised. They have been offered vast sums of money to just leave and go somewhere else. 

And they stay. The land they live on is worth more than anything anyone can offer them or threaten them with. They live off of the land, they push their kids to get the best schooling and they don’t complain that they have no electricity or running water. 

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The man above with his daughter and nephews walks up whilst we’re talking to a village Elder and starts shaking hands with the kids. He then grabs the hand of the last nephew and starts wrestling him. The daughter screamed in fun, happy hysterics, interrupting the Elder’s speech. The Elder’s response? To laugh, no one chides the girl or gets upset, children are too valuable to be treated this way. 

I have lots more to say about the tea and the great journey out, but I will speak in more detail in Australia. All I can say is there people have been on this land for many generations, it’s their Mother and Sustainer. Under the false pretense of security, the Israeli State wants to kick them off (despite the fact that we are in the West Bank, in internationally agreed Palestine). The only reason they want them out is so Jewish Settlers can take over and industrialise the land. A whole livelihood and way of life stands to be lost and I care.

 

Peace

 

P.S. here is how we got out….

 

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3 Comments
  1. incredible resilience Greg in the face of such terrible ongoing violence. Each day is an act of nonviolent resistance. I look forward to listening to you speak when you come home.

  2. Gill permalink

    it would be great if you could
    come to Sydney, I’d love to hear you tell your stories too

  3. Jason permalink

    land is life hey. reminds me of friends in west Papua.

    salam

    j

I would be honored if you espoused your narrative here.....

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