How to turn a peaceful Palestinian village into an enemy

I used to live in this country in a bubble, and it was really terrific. I didn’t listen to the news and run away to my parents in the United States whenever something erupted here. Eighteen months ago, when the last war with Gaza erupted, for some reason I decided to stay. I experienced for the first time what it's like to live under the threat of the bombardment. And I responded to my fear and helplessness, with a need to approach and understand the other side. As a scientist with a necessary to understand things in depth, I went deep into Palestinian society through friendship.

Today I have a few good friends that I am in contact with 24/7. I experience their daily life, and I want to tell you what it looks like from this place.

I know there were a lot of events that led us to this place, but I'm talking from a perspective of a someone that entered this situation only a year and a half ago, and is simply reporting what she sees.

I want to tell you what I saw in one very pastoral, very special village, for which I have a lot of affection, and a few very dear friends. This village is full of people who want to live together and what interests them is their livelihood and family. I met a lot of people in this village and always felt welcomed.

In the summer everything was quiet and I really didn’t understand why people are afraid to come to the magical places in the West Bank and get to know each other. Then I began to hear about military jeeps entering the village in the middle of the night. They drove slowly, and sometimes stopped for a few minutes. People began to feel uncomfortable and a little afraid.

After a few months, the current intifada erupted. Between themselves, the people in the village condemned the cruel wave of stabbings.

In response to the growing threat, jeeps began to enter more often. Sometimes stopping in the center of the village and firing tear gas.

After that sometimes firing tear gas canisters into the village cafe. After that, sound bombs in the middle of the night,  that scared the children. I heard about an incident when a jeep drove through the fields adjacent to the village and arrested two kids, ages 9 and 10 for 13 hours. There were several attempts by settlers to burn houses.

In the end (for now), there were the two horrific stabbings at the beginning of the week, that shocked  the world, as well as the people of the village. Out of fear and a desire to protect the settlers, the army closed two out of three entrances to the village and set up a checkpoint at the entrance one open entrance. They also took over a house in the middle of the village and put an Israeli flag on top. They started checking everyone who wanted to leave the village and asking them to lift their shirt to make sure they are not carrying a knife. One can imagine how this feels to a person that condemns violence his entire life.

All this while no act of violence was carried out by any person from this village.

I understand that the army responds out of a desire to protect, but the effect of their reactions are creating more enemies out of the peace-loving people, and also more danger for the Israeli people. It is really hard to watch from the side.

Our nature is to act out of our basic instincts when we feel fear and under threat. But since we are not animals but human beings, we are blessed with a thinking mind and logic, that can enable us to transcend these animal instincts and decide what course of action is really beneficial to us.