Social Justice:

  • I received this chilling message from a Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron, Palestine:

      October 31, 2002

      HEBRON: “My name is Richard the Second.”

      By Mary Yoder

      The Israeli Army beat three Palestinian teen boys and a CPT translator on Friday, October 25, near the Ibrahimi Mosque. CPTers Mary Yoder and Christine Caton were waiting for a tour group to arrive around noon, when they saw a Palestinian woman crying and pleading with soldiers. Next, they saw the translator who was very pale, shaking, and speaking in low whispers. Yoder and Caton called more CPTers for back up as a crowd started forming.

      At 6:30 AM that day, a soldier had detained a boy who was on his way to harvest olives. After two hours passed, the boy’s mother found the commander-in-charge, who came to the boy’s rescue and released him. A youngster watched from a rooftop as the commander reprimanded the soldier for unnecessarily detaining the boy.

      After the commander left, the soldier found the “roof top” boy. The soldier forced the boy to stand at a makeshift checkpoint for an hour. “This gun is my best friend,” the soldier bragged, “When I handcuff you, I will move up in rank.”

      “Please put your gun down!” the boy yelled and immediately more soldiers arrived. Soldiers took the boy into a room in the alley and beat him unconscious. The boy’s brother arrived on the scene and was also beaten. Their friend arrived on the scene, called for help and then soldiers chased him into the house of the CPT translator. The translator cradled the boy’s head in her arms while the soldiers attempted to beat the boy’s head with their guns. They turned on the translator and beat her bent shoulders

      as well as her head and back. The boys were then taken to the police station near the Ibrahimi Mosque.

      The translator attempted to file a grievence report at the local police station. A police officer told her she must go to the Kiryat Arba police station to file. In extreme pain, she walked the mile, going uphill along with CPTers Kristin Anderson and Mary Lawrence. On arrival, they were told no one could see them for one hour. After the hour was up, they inquired again. “We are very busy. No one can help you,” a police officer told them.

      “What is your name, please,” Kristin Anderson inquired of the policeman in the front office. “I am Richard the Second!” the scowling policeman said, refusing to give his real name. Two and a half hours later the translator left without any police officer taking her complaint.

      The translator collapsed and an ambulance took her to Alia hospital. The next day, the translator told the team that soldiers took the boys to an area outside the police station and hog-tied them with their hands above their heads in the sun. Soldiers kicked them in the genitals when they asked to use the restroom and slapped them in the face numerous times when they asked for a drink. After five hours of this treatment they were released.

      Christian Peacemaker Teams is an initiative among Mennonite and Church of the Brethren congregations and Friends Meetings that supports violence reduction efforts around the world. Contact CPT, POB 6508, Chicago, IL 60680; Telephone: 773-277-0253, Fax: 773-277-0291.

    Remember folks, this is what America’s foreign policy perpeptuates. I know Israel feels it is in a tight spot security wise, but there is NEVER any justification for beating children, or the woman (a translator for CPT) who dared to try to protect these boys.

    Also, I know some of my readers will say, “How do you know this is true?” Well the reason I believe it is true is because I had the blessing of getting to spend some time with some of the CPT folks at Cornerstone last year. They are good folks who are willing to stand up for what is right even when it is not easy. In particular, I got to hear an Amish strawberry farmer speak of his time spent in Columbia trying to be a voice of peace in the midst of the civil war taking place there. I believe him what he would say, and I believe what the CPT folks say. I wish more folks would listen.