"Momma, when I'm big will I go to jail like Daddy?"
That was little Adam's question for his mother when I came to visit their house, just before leaving Tuwani for the United States. Adam is 3 years old. His mother tells me that he wants his father to come home from jail and bring him ice cream. "Adam is upset," she says. Looking at her eyes, I can tell that she is too. So am I.
Adam's father was arrested on March 28th, just a few days ago. A group of 8 to 10 Israeli settlers came inside the village where they found Adam's father and his grandfather. The settlers sprayed them with an aerosol substance, which I can only imagine was pepper spray. They hit Adam's father in the eyes. Soon, the settlement guard arrived, a man everyone in Tuwani knows all too well. He was followed by the Israeli army and total chaos began to unfold. The security guard accused Adam's father of breaking his sun glasses. While the settlers who attacked Adam's father and grandfather stood by, Israeli police arrested Adam's father. They didn't listen to the Palestinians who witnessed the settler attack. They didn't question the settlers. The police forced Adam's father, still seriously injured, into a police van and took him away. There was nothing anyone could do.
Sitting in Adam's house, I try to find a way to convey my feelings of anguish in my limited Arabic. Adam's mother is unfailingly gracious. Making terribly situations seem funny is an art practiced by many Palestinians and perfected by Adam's family. Somehow, we laugh while we drink our tea. Then Adam's mother tells me how the settlement guard threatened Adam's father, "If he sees him again, he will kill him," she says. "Then, he said, there will no more problems." My mouth dropped open upon hearing this threat on Adam's father's life. My Arabic fails me utterly. "Really? That's bad." Adam's mother laughs.
"Momma, when I'm big will I go to jail like Daddy?" Adam asks.
"No, when you are big, God willing, this will be Palestine." she answers, smiling.
I wrap myself in the words of this beautiful and strong woman and praise God that she still has hope.