In 2013, while visiting Nabi Salih, in the occupied West Bank, we met with a Palestinian family trying to protect their access to the stream that meandered through their village. To family and friends, I wrote the following:
In this village, settlers on the nearby hill decided to take over a stream essential to the Palestinian village. Though the settlers have water 24/7, no shortages, and the Palestinians only have water for 4 hours per day, the settlers decided to claim this area as their own. You can read more in the NY Times article.
We met with a family in Nabi Salih today to talk about their experiences in peaceful protest. One family member has traveled the U.S. to talk about their nonviolent resistance at the invitation of a member of Congress. She herself has been arrested multiple times. Her children have been arrested, and one of her sons spent time in intensive care after being shot with a rubber bullet. Her husband has been arrested four times for videotaping the nonviolent protests and the following police/army response (http://nabisalehsolidarity.wordpress.com/videos/). They have now been protesting on Fridays for a couple of years. The only rocks thrown or projectiles launched come from the Israeli side. They have an immense tear gas canister collection and were just skunk watered last night.
I remember the smell still lingered in the air as we all gathered in their living room.
What was absolutely shocking to me—I admit that I was clearly both ignorant and naive despite having done a lot of listening and reading before traveling—was the collection of tear gas canisters and other projectiles, now used as fences to protect gardens. Every house in this little town displayed the canisters in this way, and there were hundreds of them, if not thousands of canisters.
As I looked at these canisters, I noticed that they were clearly marked:
MADE IN THE U.S.A.
Every single one of them. I felt sick. Then, I looked at the bullets and other projectiles and saw more of the same:
MADE IN THE U.S.A.
Or, they were made with funds from U.S. military aid to Israel, billions of dollars worth.
Today, the violence and ethnic cleansing sponsored by the U.S. continues. In May 2021, according to CNN, “The Biden administration notified Congress of a proposed US weapons sale to Israel worth $735 million earlier this month, according to two sources familiar with the notification.”
Over the past nine days, bombs made by General Dynamics, dropped by bombers made by Boeing, flown by Israeli air force members are killing men, women, and children living in a blockaded Gaza. Men, women, and children trapped in the world’s largest open-air prison, surrounded by tanks and war ships.
Images of tear gas and rubber bullets being used on those struggling for Palestinian liberation in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Israel abound. Images of Palestinian death and destruction in Gaza abound. And, all I keep thinking about is: These weapons are marked with MADE IN THE U.S.A. or earmarked with U.S. military aid to Israel. We cannot allow this to continue.