Today I leave Hebron. I was planning on waking up early anyway to catch a service to Ramallah, but not this early.
At 5:15am the Israeli soldier posted in the checkpoint below our window began to sing.
He sang loudly and theatrically, as if everyone in the neighborhood was his greatest fan and he, an opera star. He walked from one corner of the street to the next, making sure every house on the street could hear.
When a child walked by, the soldier made sure to look him directly in the eyes as he sang, turning his head as the child moved by so he could not escape his voice or his gaze.
He sang Israeli songs in Hebrew in my overwhelmingly Palestinian neighborhood.
There are a few Israelis here up the road. They are the Israeli settlers who are illegally occupying the neighborhood. The illegal settlers and their “security” needs are what Israel says “justify” or “necessitate” this soldier’s presence in the first place.
Maybe the Israeli settlers don’t mind too much because Friday is just another week day for them.
For Palestinians, today is the day of rest. Today is their holy day. The day they sleep in, go to Mosque and relax with their families.
Today on their holy day, my neighbors were forced to listen to songs from the occupier, in the language of the occupier, from the mouth of a soldier occupying their neighborhood.
Don’t think he’s just entertaining himself. This is on purpose. We already asked him to stop an hour ago. He laughed in our faces and sang louder.
Side-note: the singing soldier is the one always getting high. The one we saw with a joint after he assaulted a woman at Checkpoint 56 and played a key role in detaining and arresting three men.
His “performance” of oppression lasted an hour and a half.
In my last post I mentioned ethnic cleansing. I talked about how the Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestine no longer relies exclusively on murder, genocide and other forms of forced displacement. The Israeli army has developed other methods. Perhaps they are less easily condemned by the international community – singing on a holy day is not considered a crime against humanity like genocide – but they are no less insidious.