When the occupation dictates your life — and your funeral

November 7, 2018
Long before he died in a work accident on an Israeli construction site, Muhamad Barghouth’s life was dictated by the violent whims of military occupation.

A Palestinian boy watches a bulldozer clearing land for the Israeli separation wall surrounding the West Bank village of Walajeh, September 5, 2011. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills)

Aviv Tatarsky writes in 972 Magazine, “Last month, the grandson of a very close friend of mine was killed. Muhamad Bargouth, 22, whose grandfather I have grown close to in my many visits to the Palestinian village of Walajeh over the years, was killed in an accident at an Israeli construction site not all that far from his family home. Accidents can happen. But Muhamad’s death was more than accident: his life was marked by the violence Israel’s occupation visited upon his family and village — violence that also steered his life toward that construction site where he died.

Israeli security forces arrested Muhamad’s father and grandfather in the 1990s. The two were imprisoned for several months without ever being put on trial, during which time they were tortured. Muhamad’s father never fully recovered from the physical and psychological damage.

In 2010, when Muhamad was 14, Israel began building the separation barrier on land belonging to his village, Walajeh, located in between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The barrier cut through his family’s plot, less than 200 feet from his home. Muhamad’s teenage years were marked by explosions that blasted holes in the landscape of his childhood and Israeli bulldozers uprooting the orchards his grandfather planted. As a teenager, he had to get used to the tear gas regularly thrown and shot at nonviolent protestors demonstrating along the route of the barrier near his home. It was there that he witnessed soldiers beating and arresting his friends and relatives.” (More…)

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