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Gaza war diary: Bitter reality, bitter dreams

This article is from the author’s War Diary, written during Israel’s 51 day attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014:

I just woke up from a strange and bizarre dream. Today is the 18th day of the war on Gaza. It’s 4am, Thursday July 24th, 2014. I found myself sitting at the edge of my bed, trapped in a state between dreams and reality. As I fight to get back to reality, I feel the pull and allure of the dream get stronger and stronger. I caught myself uttering: Candy, Candy, Candy, I want more candy! Just then, a large shadowy hand descended and clasped onto my throat and squeezed.

Just as the pressure started to intensify and I thought I couldn’t hold on much longer, a sudden release and gasp of air knocked me back to reality. Did that just happen? And if it did, why was it hazy and foggy and so far removed from reality? Another dream, yes that’s it, must be another dream. Images started flooding into my head in sporadic and random fashion as I struggled to piece it all together in my head. I was in a frantic and erratic state, pacing around the house when I saw the bowl of sweets on the table. I ate all the sweets, inhaled it as if it were air and I was just drowning. But I still wasn’t satisfied. I ran to the fridge and opened the door. To my horror there were no sweets in sight. A wave of frustration and anger overcame me and I yelled out “Mother! Where are all the sweets!” At first there was no response. So I yelled again, this time even louder. My mother hurried to the frenzied cries and came upon a shocking scene.

I started rummaging through the fridge. Flinging and throwing things left and right. Nothing was safe, Lettuce smashed against the walls, tomatoes rolled on the kitchen floor. I was crazily digging like somebody excavating a new grave. Finally, I reached what I was looking for. It was as if I had found the holy grail. A flawless and untouched box of sweets. I don’t know how long it’s been there, and frankly didn’t care to give it much thought. I ripped the top open and started gobbling up the candy at a frightening pace. It was as if I had become possessed, I didn’t know my mouth could open up so wide. In all the excitement and chaos, I hadn’t felt my mother wrap her arms around me to restrain me. She yelled. “Nesma! Nesma! What has gotten into you, why are you eating all this candy?”

My eyes were dull and sunken like an addict going through remission. I couldn’t care less about my mother’s retorts at that moment. I just wanted more sweets. I broke free of my mother’s grasp and dashed to the kitchen cupboards and drawers. I ripped them open one by one. There were no sweets to be found.

The ominous hand once again appeared and lunged for my throat, I felt my body cringe and yearn for sweets. The dark hand started to become more visible. And the more my body wanted sweets the more it was unveiled. The hand was grotesque. It was wrinkled and the dirty, nails were black. It finally grabbed my throat with immense force.

It was yesterday afternoon I received the dreadful news. My best friend’s brother, Hasan, was now a martyr. He is survived by three little girls. The youngest, not even 2 years old yet. He wasn’t given adequate time to be a father to her. To look in her eyes and give unconditional love, to hug her, to spoil her, to raise her. At least let him live just one more year to give his children a proper farewell. Three little angels robbed of their fathers love in an instant, is there a greater crime?

My throat started to tighten up and become abrasive. As if I had just swallowed a cactus. How should I approach my friend? How can I possibly comfort her? Should I smile and tell her he is in God’s hands now and one day we will see him again? Or should I break down and cry with her, embrace her and tell her to be patient for this world is cruel and not to waste her tears on it. For Hasan would not want her to be lost in sorrow. I am at a loss for what I should do.

I have finally realized that what I have experienced was truly a dream and why it had occurred that night. My soul was aching, and my lust for sweets was an attempt to sooth the bitterness in my heart. But all the sweets in the world would still not be enough to erase the cruelty, strife, and bitterness in our hearts.

In the dream I searched for anything sweet, anything beautiful to comfort myself and my friend. But there was no earthly thing that can ease our pain. The bitter taste remains in our mouths, it was Hasan who found the sweet taste of liberty and joy in heaven.

- See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/07/bitter-reality-dreams/#sthash.lnRZ5YY3.dpufSchermata 2016 07 31 alle 08.56.33

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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