Sunday, February 17, 2008
A cemetary on the edge of Balata refugee camp
The Israeli army's iron-fisted approach to the Balata refugee camp only serves to make martyrs out of Palestinians who dream of freedom
By Set Freedman
"....Instead, as our guide stressed, the checkpoint system is designed first and foremost to crush the Palestinian economy under the guise of security measures, and to remind the Palestinians exactly who is boss.
The authorities have certainly succeeded in getting half the job done, since they've managed to destroy Nablus's economy and leave its residents in a permanent state of penury. However, given the defiant image of the town - with its concrete homages to fallen fighters on every corner, and air of steely determination in the eyes of those peering down from the martyr posters - it's not at all clear that the locals are ready to roll over and play dead for their Israeli masters, no matter how hard the army hits them.
For those who still cleave to the notion that the only way to fight fire is with more and more fire from the other side, Nablus should prove a case in point that this is not the answer. No matter how many fighters die at the hands of the army, another generation springs up to replace them and throw themselves into the inferno, which, given the desperate situation they find themselves in within the camp, is hardly surprising. And having seen the ease with which they can slip across undetected into Israel, should the mood take them, it appears to be a deadly game that the authorities are playing by unrelentingly besieging the city and laying waste to the locals' dreams of freedom. "