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Palestine • Israel
STORY & IMAGE → GARRY RIGBY © 2023
[Security Checkpoint • Hebron H1|H2 • West Bank • Palestine|Israel]
“Muslim or Christian?” demands army girl #1.
“Shinto” I reply. Wrong time to be cheeky, but I just can’t help myself.
“Ma?” Yells army girl #1.
Here we go.
“Where do you live?” army girl #2 wants to know.
“Who do you support?” enquires army girl #1 almost gently… thinks she’s got me bamboozled.
“Yoffi” cry army girl #1 + #2 in unison and delight.
Big smiles now and I’m in.
Ah, they’re so sweet. Eighteen or nineteen, tight green fatigues, big boots, M16 and not forgetting the pièce de résistance… the smouldering cigarette.
Blimey they look cool, kids though nonetheless and poor kids at that. National service, standing check point in a powder keg, in between fucking nutty, illegal Jewish settlers and outraged, occupied Palestinians.
For your information, I don’t like football, I did however, live in Tottenham and knew the Spurs have two Israeli players… Ronny Rosenthal and Manor Solomon.
Ha-ha, now I can get my drink and to get a drink, you gotta go through Israeli security.
[Unit 8200* • Tel Aviv • Israel]. [Classified signals interception/01-BHS-9210108-666-AMAN]
“What? Give me a break will you.” ***
“It’s confirmed and the intelligence is good. Shall we inform the General Staff?”
“What! Christ no. Our um, brothers made that very clear. We strike first… ‘Israel will not receive so much as a nail’.“
“Ma’am, incursion is estimated at 07:00, coordinates…”
“Then we wait. Now get out… And Colonel.”
“If I wanted suggestions I would join a kibbutz. Capeesh?”
“Yoffi, at ease soldier… why the fuck can I still see you?”
“Your shoes ma’am, they’re here.”
“Manolo, Manolo Blahnik ma’am.”
* Israeli Intelligence Corps • Signal intelligence (SIGINT).*
** Colonel Yuri Katz (conscientious aide-de-camp | sidekick).*
*** Brigadier-General Sharon Levin (formerly Brigadier-General Aaron Levin [Medal of Valor]). Levin is the highest ranking transgender soldier in the IDF. Nota Bene: No-one ever, not even Yuri, refers to Sharon’s right, glass eye, a cold, relentless stare, which even penetrates his dreams.*
At 11:00 EST this morning, the US administration promised ‘rock-solid and unwavering’ support to its closest ally in the Middle East.* $2bn worth of US munitions have been pre-supplied in six different locations to be used in case of emergencies. Israel have also requested both interceptors and precision-guided munitions. The USS Gerald R Ford Carrier Strike Group is moving to the Eastern Mediterranean alongside its accompanying warships. [CNN • BBC • Jerusalem Post]*
* Major U.S.-listed defense companies rose in early trading: Lockheed Martin was up more than 7%, while Northrop Grumman climbed more than 10%, on track for its largest percentage increase since March 2020.
RTX was up more than 4%. [Wall Street Journal • Bloomberg]
[Jerusalem Central • Jerusalem].[24 hours earlier]
“Shalom, Hebron H1 please.”
“No, don’t go, they’ll kill you.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, which stand is it bevakasha?”
“No, its really dangerous, you…”
“Come on man, I ain’t Jewish anyway, so OK for me! Do I look Jewish?”
“What does a Jew look like?”
“Touché.” .I wanted to say, ‘well just like you’, but they do come in all shapes, sizes and colours.
Quite touched really, that he should be so concerned with a gentile’s safety.
At the stand with no concern for safety, is a really pissed, German Jew (Every Jew has the unrestricted right to immigrate to Israel), shouting abuse at anyone vaguely Palestinian and becoming more and more frustrated as nobody takes a blind bit of notice. Pissed and shouting abuse ain’t a good idea, what with all the guns and high temperatures etc. He thinks he his heading for Elat, so is in for a big surprise, when he sobers up. Not so many bars and discos in Hebron… well, none actually and definitely no beach.
THIS BUS IS BULLET PROOF says the sign in front of my seat (Hebrew + English). I look to my left and see where a bullet has hit the screen but not penetrated… Oh yeah, it is bullet proof. The intoxicated dude has started up again and he hasn’t even sat down yet. And apparently I’m on the wrong bus. This is the settler bus for H2, under Israeli military administration and I’m staying in H1, predominantly Muslim and controlled by the Palestinian National Authority. Why did nobody tell me? And the bus is fricking freezing as usual and why doesn’t somebody shoot that guy, its not as if we’re short of bullets is it.
“Where can I free myself of the homeland in my body?” Mahmoud Darwish.*
“Well, my definition of a tragedy is a clash between right and right.” Amos Oz.**
* Mahmoud Darwish (Arabic: مَحمُود دَرْوِيْش, romanized: Maḥmūd Darwīsh, 13 March 1941 – 9 August 2008) was a Palestinian poet and author, regarded as Palestine’s national poet. Darwish was elected to the PLO Executive Committee in 1987. In 1993, after the Oslo accords, Darwish resigned.
** Amos Oz (Hebrew: עמוס עוז; born Amos Klausner (Hebrew: עמוס קלוזנר); 4 May 1939 – 28 December 2018) was regarded as one of Israel’s most prolific writers and respected intellectuals. From 1967 onwards, Oz was a prominent advocate of a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
»» Until next time inshallah. Shalom • As-Salaam-Alaikum