Kawther Salam's Diary 

Hell Made in Israel (1-31/10/02)

The Daily Life of Kawther Salam

Today, October 3, 2001 , I came back from Israel to my apartment in Hebron.

I found his soldiers blocking my way. They prevented me from entering this apartment, calling me "Dana International; witch, bitch, ugly woman! Get out of here!" After a long argument, I entered my apartment, but the officer threatened me and said "Today you enter your apartment, but I'm not going to listen to your complaints if my soldiers harass you on the roof." After I opened the door, I found the floor in front of my kitchen covered in glass, and five Coca-Cola bottles full of urine. A box of chocolates were also scattered across the floor. I found stones and more than 30 live bullets, two military knives, the floor covered with sand and military garbage. All of these damages happened while I was on vacation for 3 days in Israel. Until know, I remain without water, without electricity, without phone, living in the middle of the garbage. This is the military commander of Hebron's instructions, and cold war against me. I am wondering whether this is part of Israel's security, or not.

today, the 4th. October 2001 I decided to escape from the I.D.F soldiers noises. I spent the night with my neighbors. This is also where I have a shower, since the soldiers cut my water supply. At 7:00 AM in the morning I returned to my apartment. The soldiers took off the peace stickers I hanged the day before. When they heard my keys in the doors, they started shouting: "Machshefa"! (Whitch), "Mechoeret"! (Ugly) "Are you here?" I did not answer them.

The soldiers then communicated by radio with another post, and shouted: "four, five, the witch is back!". The other post answered with barking voices, like dogs and donkeys. They continued to stare and shout at me from the roof, and throw sand at me.

7Th. October 2001

It's Difficult for me to express my feelings after I became a refugee from my apartment in Hebron as a result of the destructive behavior and abuse made by the IDF soldiers stationed on the roof of my apartment. And it is more difficult for me now that I see the difference between the behaviors of the Israeli Soldiers and the behaviors of my Israeli friends, who give me security and confidence in their homes. since a couple of days I live with my Israeli friends, with one family. we eat, drink, make fun, discuss serious matters, go to the sea, clean the House, meet friends - I am part of their daily life.

I sleep in Romi's bed, amongst her toys. She asked me to stay in their house. (Perhaps because she can enjoy sleeping with her parents while I sleep in her bed). I feel the Israeli soldiers cause trouble in Tel Aviv as well, because my friends worry about me.

I know the military law under occupation is very bad. without moral values and human consideration - but the military commander "Dror Weinberg" is the worst one I know since I became a journalist because he allows his soldier to behave like animals in the middle of innocent civilians and Palestinians under his authority (Is he not to to be blamed if one of his soldiers in Hebron wore glove, collected horse shit from the street and smeared it on the faces of Palestinians men who were commanded before to go out of their cars and sit on the pavement).

8Th. October 2001

Today I received many calls from Hebronaite people wondering were I am? My editor from the Journal called me and said that I should return back very soon.

Since couple of days the Palestinians don't hear my T.V news program. The Hebronite citizens informed me about the daily suffer and trouble made by the Israeli soldiers in the era H2 of the city Hebron under the Israeli control. They asked me to fulfil my promises to lead women peace demonstration against the I.D.F soldiers practices - the verbal sexuall harasment and the violence against them under curfew - they said they are waiting for my return back. I understand there is 35,000 Hebronite citizens live under harsh condition, deeply effected by psychological and physical pressures caused by the collective punishment since 297 days.

570 extremely poor families live in the old market in Hebron face by the starvation made by the military commander Dror Wainberg for political reasons: The military commander Wainberg ordered that charitable organization of Islamic "Wakff" to stop supplying these poor families with the daily free meals they were depended on for their life.

The Palestinians, when I informed them about my preparation to join a program in a university outside the country - were shocked. From their point of view I should continue my journalistic work in Hebron under the Intifada. I understand what is the meaning of leaving my country and my people now days but I understand too that it's impossible for me to continue living under "enlighted" occupation.

As a journalist I don't only suffer, like all the other citizens the daily "small" hoross but also suffer from being aware to the sufferings of many many people of my kind.

9th. & 10th. October 2001

I am writing this on behalf of Kawther Salam, because since the IDF re-occupied Abu-Sneine They might have cut off more telephone lines. Maybe it is the "Shabac", Kawther does not know. I promised her to write this paragraph for her diary, as she dictated to me over the phone: "When I arrived yesterday to Hebron. I was asked to open my bags and spread my belongings on the pavement. I refused, and the soldiers said they will blow my bags up, so I took everything out and spread it on the pavement. There were toys I brought to my neighbors, so the soldiers started playing with them and also using my perfume.

After the usual cursing, they let me go.

The evening brought a pleasant surprise. Two gentle soldiers who acted politely and even said they were ashamed of their friends. but at night the regular soldiers came back with the usual banging, cursing and harassment.

In the morning, the IDF has lifted the curfew that was on Hebron for many days, but they divided Hebron into small "Ghetto"'s, so we could not pass from one "Ghetto" to another, so you could see elderly men and women climbing fences, and small walls, and walking through backyards in order to move from one place to another. This is how Hebron looked this morning. Many people climbing fences and walking through yards with baskets and boxes.

I only want to leave Hebron. Leave this place as soon as possible.

Friday, October 12, 2001

How could I teach the military commanders serving in Hebron, Colonel DrorWineburg, Colonel Amon Cohen, and Lieutenant Hartzel to overcome racism, discrimination, and intolerance?

Few people in the world today openly deny that human beings are born with human rights. These officers are still victimized because they belong to a particular group which believes they have more rights because of their religion or ethnic decent. Yoav, an Israeli friend of mine said "Wineberg is a very religious Jewish soldier.

I still remember him when we were serving together in the army 15 years ago. He always put a kippa on his head, and expressed himself with a radical point of view."

I am extremely concerned about the rapid deterioration of the condition for the Palestinian people in Hebron (curfew, closed schools, starvation and suffering of poor people in the old city, suffering of patients who couldn't reach the hospital, the transfer of people from their homes for use of military posts, etc.). All of this because of the presence of 400 Jewish settlers in Hebron, 200 of which study in the Yeshiva here, but do not live in the settlements. I consider the Israeli settlers and soldiers' behaviour in the city of Hebron to be an ongoing act of aggression and sexual harassment against the women and the Palestinian people.

Let us remember that no one is born to be racist, or to be inhumane. Soldiers learn racism and poor behaviours from the Commanders, from the government, and from the "occupation". The government corrupts the soldiers today, and corrupts the Israeli civil society for the future, just for political reasons. It is a pity.

I still remember the Lieutenant Hartzel teaching his soldiers how to curse and make violence against me as a journalist, even in my private apartment. I am sure that the military commanders, Colonel Wineburg and Colonel Cohen, enjoy my suffering as a result of the soldiers stationed on my roof top. Humiliation made by the soldiers gets support from both of these Commanders.

I feel disgust about this policy, and the poor behaviour of my neighbours from the IDF and the settlers. Lieutenant Hartzel is a good neighbour for my family in Haifa, but he is a bad neighbour as my enemy in Hebron. Yesterday, Oct.11, my friend Desmond came from Madrid to visit me in my apartment.

He felt disgust about the bad foul of the IDF soldiers' urine spread in my apartment.

He said "It is a horrible situation, Kawther". He wondered how I live in the middle of the

garbage without water, electricity, telephone. He said, "You should spend tonight in the hotel".

I left my apartment with my friend Desmond at 3:00pm. It was a nice night outside my apartment.

Today, Oct.12, I returned back to my apartment. It was 10:30am.

I tried to open the door.

The door would not open. Somebody had entered this apartment, and blocked the door from the inside, denying me the ability to enter my apartment again. There were five soldiers in front of my apartment, watching me, smiling and happy. I ignored them. I asked an old Palestinian man to come and help me to open the door. He came with metal equipment. It took him 15 minutes until he could open the door.

The soldiers continued to watch the man open the door.

I entered my apartment. There was a lot of new garbage thrown by the soldiers. I guess it was a noisy night. Black spray-paint covered the floor. A lot of bread and other garbage was also strewn about. I stayed for a few hours. I received a call from a journalist from the United States. He asked me for further information about my case, and the situation in Hebron.

He said he is seriously considering reading my daily diary on the internet. He said it will be spread in the newspaper in the United States.

Saturday, October 13, 2001

It is my fate to be a Palestinian, a journalist, and a woman, living in a house occupied by the Israeli army.

It is enough to be a Palestinian, to be guilty. Being a journalist and a woman, triples my guilt in their eyes.

I live near the Rabbi Moshe Levinger. Yesterday at 8:30pm, the settlers came to my roof,

helping the soldiers to exercise their "security duties" of throwing garbage and making disturbance for me.

They threw a lot of sand and garbage, made a lot of noise, but I did not respond with even one word.

My night goes too long and not like other nights. I count the moments until the dark will be over.

Sometimes I count the stars in the sky.

But now I am in trouble with the settlers and the soldiers, that the government brings them to the roof of my apartment.

I know Colonel Amnon Cohen. He is the president of the civil administration in Hebron.

He hates me because of something I wrote about one of his officers.

But Cohen should divide between his anger over what I wrote,

and about my terrible situation in my apartment. His spokesperson, Peter Lerner, involves his officer Chevie,

to come and visit my apartment, and to fix my water tanks which was damaged by the army since September 1, 2001. Chevie came.

He saw all the damages, but he didn't do anything because Cohen said that he didn't want to hear anymore about "this woman".

For what reason should I suffer by the noise made by the soldiers and the settlers.

If someone deserves to live in the middle of the garbage, the urine, without water, it should be the leaders of the occupation,

and not me. I am a peace activist, fighting for human rights, and they give me daily material of the violations of human rights in my apartment.

I tried to leave my apartment today at 4:30pm, but the soldiers threw things at me.

I called the Christian Peacemaker Team to come to my apartment to help me.

They came very soon, and also heard the noises of the soldiers. I tried to get out with my luggage with them, but a CPT member said that there were settlers and soldiers outside my apartment.

I closed the door and looked through a crack. I identified the settler women. Always they are throwing stones at me.

So I prefered to call the police, to come to the front of my apartment until we pass.

They came within minutes. We got out. I'm leaving this apartment for several days. when I return , Nazeeha Abu Daoud, whose husband was killed as a result of the army stationed on the roof, will come back and live in her apartment with me.

Tuesday, 16th of October 2001

My lawyer handed me a copy of the response of Eliakem Robenstain- the government legal advisor - concernig my situation with I.D.F soldiers.

In his short letter he noted that he transmitted my complain to the general military attorny.

I guess that the general military atorny will transmit my complain to the military commander of Hebron who will transmit it the commander of the soldiers (Herzel)

who used to harassed me who will say that I am a provocator wearing mini skirts and night clothes in front of his soldiers(in my house).

Wednesday, 17th of October 2001

I got the news of murdering the Israeli minister Rehavam Zeevi. It was a bad news like all other bad news I received about murdering Palestinians.

Both of us, Palestinians and israelis, are living a big "drama" of daily killing in a close, bloody reveange circle.

Looking at this circle it might be difficult to trace the the first acts that cause revange that caused revange...

but I understand that occupation itself is morally and politically wrong and the most devastating violence and terror is the occupation. The resistane of "non violent" Intifada is Legitimate.

But killing of innocent Israeli should not be acceptable in this struggle.

Friday, 19th of October 2001

8.30 am I walked up and started to prepare a dinner after I invited some friends to join us this evening. 2.30 pm I receive a call from Hebronite friend who informed me that the I.D.F soldiers broke to my apartment. I guess the soldies were authorized by the military commander Dror Wainberg to enter my apartment to clean the garbage, collect the urine bottels, the send and to choose the colour of paintig of my apartment walls ?! Maybe the military commander decided to fix the water pipes and wire T.V which were damaged by his soldiers. I hope Wainberg understood finally the differnce between the presence of his sldeirs on my roof top for security reason and the violation of human rights.

20th of October 2001

6.00 p.m - I share with my Israeli friends from Taayosh - a group of arab and jewish people working together - a memorial evening of the masacre that happened on the 29th 0f October in Kfar kasem.

It was a horrible masacare. I watched a film that brought testmonies of the survivers from the event. Over 49 people were killed, including kids, young girl, women and youth.

What attracted my attention was that the president of the local counsil in kfar kasem, mentioned in his speach that this film was not presented in order to arose revange feelings but to enable, bote jews and arabs to learn together from the past.

What he said made me happy and sing in the car on my way to "Arsof". 8.30 p.m we reached Arsof. Nobody is allowed to enter this era were few Israeli rich people are living. The security checked the visitors before they enter the erea.

My friend has there a beautifull house on the beach and she has a charming child named "elay". I love my Israeli friends and really enjoyed the time together. We have the same dreams "just, peace and love" But...

after few days in Israel with my good friends, the sea and the fun, i feel that I miss "MY SOLDIERS" who remainde me always my duity to proclaim how bad is the occupation.

23rd of October 2001

This is the 10th day since I run away from the I.D.F noise made on the roof top of my apartment in Hebron.

I can not forget that day, October 4th 2001 when I was stopped in my balcony gave silent thanks for my terrible life when compare to the lives of other people with more serious problems in Hebron.

"Sharmota, Beach" the voice of the I.D.F soldiers on my roof interrupted my thoughts. I have to be patient, facing this amazing, unbelievable scene and considering the obviously childish feelings buried inside the consciences of this soldiers who they get support from the military commander.

Always I see the face of the colonel Dror Wainberg in the faces of these soldiers on my roof.

The same Israeli commander that instruced these soldiers to stand on my roof top in the name of "security" being used as a pawn in a much bigger game

instructs them to harrsed me as a revange of my duties as a millitary and political journalis.

These soldiers and this commander are not responsible to be in the security duties.

They are children who do not know better and so are forced to humilate these over whom they feel they have control.

And action like calling me with sexuall name clearly displays the sick nature of the occupation and deep psycholgical tensions therein.

Under the hell made in Israel in my daily life and while I feel disgust of the I.D.F soldiers behaviours I also feel victorious and powerfull with my Israeli friends. Many friends.

I love Romi, the youg child i share living in her home. She looks like a real child of mine. Human feelings alawys clean the borders between human beings.

i feel Romi will be my teacher of Hebrew language in the future and I will be her Arabic language as well. While I was writing this Dairy, the owner of my apartemnt in Hebron,

informed me that she came back from Jordan. I advised her to be quiet ant to take care about the soldiers on the roof top of her house.

Maybe I should go and visit her one day before I flay abroad.

October 28, 2001

At 1:00 p.m. I met the director of the Israeli Government Press Office, "Daniel Simon".

I gave him a copy of my diary. He got onto the Internet and heard the voices of the IDF cursing me.

He apologized and said that he was a commander of the IDF in South Lebanon and he never humiliated anybody or punished a man in front of his child. Even in Ramadan he would respect Muslims and never eat in the street in front of them.

He was very influenced by my diary.

I cried in front of him. He said that he wants to follow my case not because I am a journalist, but because he refuses any kind of sexual harassment or humiliation against me as a woman.

He wondered if I could give him a copy of the video cassette which clearly shows the IDF making noise for me.

I promised to give him one and have already prepared this cassette for him.

In the next few days, I will contact him and give him this copy.

During this meeting I spoke with Simon about renewing my press card.

He said that the government made a decision to stop renewing the Palestinian's press cards who work for Palestinian newspapers.

But he is ready to renew for some Palestinians who are working as a correspondent in Israel.

He wasn't talking about my press card personally, but I understood that he is ready to renew my card if I work as a correspondent in Israel for other newspapers.

I said that it was a political decision, and he agreed with me.

October 29, 2001

Today at 10:00 a.m. I returned back to Hebron to collect my winter clothes, my cassettes, my videos, my papers, and to prepare myself for travelling abroad next week. The soldiers welcomed me back to Hebron, calling me "witch" near Beit Romano settlement. One of them spat at me.

I noticed that the soldiers detained a Palestinian man. They made him stand with his hands behind his back and his head tilted back up against the wall.

The Palestinian man said he had been there for two hours. I asked the soldier why he had to put his head back like this.

One of the soldiers said that he is a terrorist. He is walking in the street without I.D.

The man swore that he is not a terrorist and that he just forgot his I.D., and is ready to send anyone to bring it for the soldiers.

The officer came with another five soldiers. He said to me, "Hi! Welcome, witch." I said "Thank you very much. You give me a favour to put an end to my experience with soldiers in Hebron, and write a research paper about it in the university in Dublin."

Now the officer understood that I stopped there because of the Palestinian man, and he gave instructions to his soldiers to allow the man to stand normally.

I continued on my way to my apartment in the old city. The officer and several of his soldiers followed me to this place.

I filmed him, and the officer asked to see what I had filmed. I showed him.

He was very nice talking to me, and asked if he is handsome or not. I responded, "yes, you are a very handsome man, but you behave badly."

He said, "Do you know why." I said, "why?" He said "because my sister was injured in a terrorist action." I responded, "Bad things are no reason to make you treat others in a bad way.

I have faced a lot of trouble with soldiers, but I am not ready to behave bad with Jewish people because of that." He asked me many questions; am a Muslim or Christian; about my beliefs;

and about wearing a mini-skirt in Hebron.

He said, "Are you coming back to your apartment in Hebron?" I responded, "yes, for three days."

So one of his soldiers went and brought barbed-wire and closed the entrance to my apartment. The officer said to me, "see you later", and they walked away.

My apartment is completely full of garbage. More than before. But I should be patient before I leave this area.

From outside, I have the opportunity to make lectures and to show the world about what is going on behind the Intifada, and which is not related to terrorist actions or throwing stones.

Tuesday, October 30, 2001

At 8:30 p.m. I received a call from the owner of my apartment, Nazeeha Abu Daoud.

She asked me if it would be possible to spend the night with her because the soldiers start making trouble for her.

I tried to apologize because I have already decided to stay in another place. 9:30 p.m. she phoned me again. She said "you should come very soon".

She was crying and weeping. I know Nazeeha Abu Daoud.

She is affected by a nervous case since she was harassed sexually by one of the IDF soldiers who entered her bedroom and exposed himself in 1997.

If she cries, I know she is still suffering from this case, and I decided to return to the apartment to be with her.

I reached the apartment at 10:00 p.m. and I blocked my ears. I decided to sleep in the first flat with Nazeeha.

The soldiers were banging on the roof, calling us "maniac, sharmoota, get out!" the whole night, continuing yelling like this and banging and stomping on the rooftop.

Wednesday, October 31, 2001

At 6:30 a.m. I left the apartment to visit a friend of mine. I left my luggage with him. At 9:00 a.m., Nazeeha called me again.

"You should come very soon! The soldiers are harassing me with sexual names and my neighbors called the police."

I ran very quickly to Nazeeha's and my apartment. The soldiers yelled at me before I entered the apartment. I continued to go ahead, but one of the soldiers ran after me.

He caught me at the entrance of the stairs and pointing his gun to shoot at me. He said "You should return back!

You are not allowed to enter this house!" He was very nervous and his eyes looked like he wanted to shoot.

I screamed loudly. I used my cell phone to call the Christian Peacemaker Team. The soldier noticed that some people came out onto their rooftops to watch.

Nazeeha also came out, but he yelled at all of them not to come to the street. He used his radio phone and called the soldiers on my roof.

He said "the witch came back", and he called other soldiers as well. In one moment I found myself in the middle of ten soldiers.

One of them was yelling at me and said "I reach your website on the Internet. I read everything. You are 'shermoota'.

But I don't find on your website one photo against us!" He continued yelling until the officer came.

This officer is the soldier I met yesterday in the outside of my apartment and had a long discussion together.

He is the same soldier who asked me if I was coming back to my apartment or not, and I said that I would be back just for 3 days, and so one of the soldiers brought barbed wire and blocked the entrance to my apartment.

This officer asked me "what do you film today? Do you film what my soldiers said to you? Show me the camera."

I said to him that I didn't film anything yet. Your soldiers wanted to kill me.

He said "What's happened!?" I said, "ask your soldiers! I wanted to enter my apartment, and the barbed wire had fallen down." "Are you sure you don't film?" he asked. "Yes, I don't film", I replied.

I told him, "Look, I need an ambulance now." My heart started trembling quickly and I sat on the floor. He said, "okay, go to your apartment very quickly."

I entered my apartment. I start trembling. I hear the CPT come. I was just sitting with them telling them what happened with me, and someone else knocked at the door.

I decided not to go answer the door. I was scared. The members of CPT decided to go and look from the window.

I followed them. Nazeeha also looked and saw that it was soldiers. I saw that it was the officer who had spoke with me on the street and allowed me to enter my apartment.

He was smiling, and took off his military hat. He asked if I was okay, and how I felt now, and if I still needed an ambulance or any help. He asked me to open the door.

I opened for him and we started talking together.

He said to me many things. I was blaming him for what happened with me outside my apartment because he is the soldier who put the barbed wire at the entrance.

I started to cry. He told me to sit on the floor and relax. Then he started talking with CPT.

He told them that they are not allowed to come through the entrance to the apartment.

It was a long discussion between them.

I felt more relaxed and invited him to come to my apartment to see and hear what the soldiers on the roof are doing. He came inside. We started talking calmly with each other.

He said that he also had seen my website on the Internet, and told me that the officer Hertzel has left this area one week ago as a result of my complaints against him and the poster that I hung on the walls of my apartment which clearly show soldier's sexual harassment against me.

He said "because of you, he left this area." I replied, "so because of that you are making revenge on me? I wasn't fighting Hertzel personally.

I wrote against him in order to protect myself from the violation of my rights as a journalist. All the time he was giving instructions against me, and I asked him to send Hertzel my regards."

The officer said, "I am glad that you are leaving tomorrow. I will come at 6:00 to be sure that you left.

I hope that you will not come back to this place anymore." With that, he left.

Today I have noticed that the soldiers on the street are carrying video cameras and tape recorders.

They were yelling at me with bad words and waiting for my response to record my voice.

I want to finish by saying that I have recieved an email from Larry Snider, and American Jew.

He said that he sent my diary to the MidEast Citizen Diplomacy in the U.S., and begged my forgiveness for the soldier's harassment.

I want to say how much I felt comfortable when I read this email.

I know that most Israeli citizens are good people and they are victimized of this political situation.

I never charge Israelis as a result of my problems with the IDF soldiers. I am living now with a family in Tel Aviv, and I feel like I'm part of this family.

Even the soldiers who harassed me, I am always forgiving them because I don't have any reason to hate other people.

My father taught me forgiveness when I could, and he gave me the name Salaam, "peace" and Kawther, "pure water".