Quawayiin! Standing with the Women of the Hebron Islamic Charities Girls School
Last night I attending what can only be described as a nonviolent resistance slumber party. Facing the closure of their schools and orphanages, the students and teachers of Hebron's Islamic Charities invited us to stay with them as they waited for the Israeli army to invade their school and home.
Declaring that the schools are fair game in its only going war on Hamas, the Israeli army has decided to shut them down and confiscate their property. On 25 February 2008, the Israeli army raided all of the buildings and institutions funded by Islamic Charities and gave orphanages and boarding schools until 1 April to evacuate students. On 6 March 2008, the Israeli army again stormed storage buildings of Islamic Charities, confiscating food, children's clothing, and kitchen appliances used to prepare meals for the orphans. These centers house, feed and educate 6000 children in Hebron. Juts two nights ago, soldiers entered the girls school again in a late-night action designed to terrify and harass them.
Last night, the girls, their mothers, and their teachers were not about to be cowed. We stood with them outside in the cold and rain until midnight. The girls shouted slogans demanding that their school be left alone. They were a beautiful and formidable sight. While I stood freezing and exhausted, they were on fire, ready to resist if Israeli soldiers came.
Around midnight, they heard a rumor that their school, along with other properties affiliated with Islamic Charities, would be given 3 more days before soldiers would come to take it. In the morning, the rumors were verified by the high court - the school now has one more week before a final decision is handed down.
The night taught me three things. One, I'm still not much for slumber parties. Two, Israel and the United States' efforts to fight Hamas truly knows no boundaries. Anything and anyone, from children in Gaza to schools in Hebron, are acceptable collateral damage. Thirdly, I've seen that like the people of Tuwani, the girls of the Islamic Charities School are determined to resist.