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The trauma of a beating while griping barbed wire

"May we all live our daily lives with ease." This Buddhist phrase, sometimes used in meditation, suggests that our daily lives not be just a struggle to survive. The daily struggle to earn a living is often seen on the faces of Palestinians who have lost farmland and jobs due to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Monday, May 4, 2009, an MPTer visited the hospital in Nablus in order to meet Saed D., a 28 year- old man from ‘Awarta village. Saed comes from a large family with many brothers and sisters, so finding work was an imperative. Palestinians work illegally in Israel. “Illegally” according to Israeli laws, but actually on land that was Palestine before 1948. It is a precarious work because the workers must find a trust worthy employer who will pay them, live in makeshift housing and hide from the view of antagonistic people, particularly the Israeli military. Yet, it is well known in Israel that there are Palestinian people working low-paying, unsafe, and insecure jobs in Israel.

Saed with seventeen other men was able to cross into Israel through the illegal apartheid fence inside the green line, the Palestine/Israel border, near Nil’in early Saturday night, May 2. However, they had only walked a short distance when the group was apprehended by two well-armed Israeli soldiers with a jeep. All the Palestinians were ordered to sit on the rocky dusty ground. Saed refused to sit because the rocky, dusty ground made sitting very difficult. For his refusal to sit, he was singled out for punishment. He was forced to grip the barbwire fence while the soldiers beat him in the chest, back and legs.

The soldiers then placed the men in front of the jeep and forced them to run or to be rammed into by the jeep. The soldiers took the group to the Nil’in checkpoint inside Palestine, where they did an offensive body check on Saed and cursed him, using insulting language against his mother and family. They ma de him run again in front of the jeep, pretending to hit him and then the Israeli soldiers beat him again. Something about humiliation is worse than physical punishment. Another man of about 60 years old was also beaten and cursed, using the same crude language against his family.

The group was kept all night near the Nil’in checkpoint. Saed was forced to sit with his back to the soldiers who then threw stones at him. He was not allowed any phone calls. Saed's eye was so painful, that he feared he had a very serious injury, but when he complained to the soldiers about pain and possible damage to his eye, they threatened to damage his other eye. At 5:00 a.m., they gave him his ID and told him and the others to go.

Saed's eye is red and painful, but the trauma may be greater than any physical injuries.

Two days later, MPTer and their Palestinian contact met Saed in the hospital in Nablus, where he had gone for treatment because of the pain in his eye and to report his injuries. His doctor wrote on the report that soldiers had beaten him.

Doctor's report states that Saed was hit by soldiers.

Prescription for eye problem.

Saed appeared to be traumatized by the incident and although the incident was reported, there will be no repercussions for the Israeli soldiers who will probably continue to act inhumanely to other Palestinians. What trauma was experienced by the Palestinian men who are forced to witness the torment/torture inflicted on Saed? To live in an occupied country is to be subjected to suffering with little or no recourse, but it also produces an occupying nation that becomes more and more insensitive in their actions to a people they have dehumanized. When there is true peace here, how will these inhumane actions be dealt with on both sides?

This plaque on the wall of the hospital entrance informs all of the US AID contribution to the construction of parts of this Nablus hospital. Where is the plaque enlightening all to the United States’ huge financial contributions to the Israeli military that perpetuate the kind of treatment that Sahd received?

USAID Plaque. Do USAID contributions to Palestine offset the military aid to Israel?

Saed has to find work. Will he and the others try to go back into Israel? Will they make it in safely and find work? Or will he and the others be apprehended and mistreated again?

What is the future for Saed?

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