The cruelty of the Occupation continues to astonish me. I was woken a bit before 7 AM with news that the Israel Nature and Parks Authority had begun demolishing the community center and playground in Wadi Hilweh, Silwan. (Further affirming my recent HuffPo blog which I called “Trees n’ Settlements”).
This center served as the only public space and playground for the children of Wadi Hilweh, who otherwise have to play on streets filled with Jewish settlers and their notoriously violent “private” security guards (“private” in scare quotes because they are basically funded by the Israeli government, like the rest of the settlement enterprise in East Jerusalem). We rushed down to Silwan, just in time to feel completely helpless as the bulldozers smashed the center, built by the amazing Palestinian activists from the Wadi Hilweh Alternative Information Center and their supporters, to pieces. It was gut wrenching. As we were leaving, we saw a few children kicking a soccer ball around the rubble of what was, only an hour before, their club-house and playground.
Watch the video here, edited by my dear friend Andy Sontag, who is visiting me here for a week (welcome to Jerusalem, friend…):
As I was walking tonight with Jesse, I was explaining to him some words in Arabic. “The place destroyed is called a “mala’ab” (ملعب),” I said, “which translates more or less to… Play Place.”
We both laughed, to keep from crying. They came and destroyed a play place.
Which sort of segues into the next post I am going to write, which I think I will call “Hey, Racists, leave them kids alone.”