Umm Al Khair – Dangerous neighbors

There is a thud in the middle of the night.
Then another.
Another one.
Some children start to cry. Suddenly we wake up. One by one, adults run outside the house, looking each other still sleepy.
In the meanwhile, shots become stronger, rocks thrown become bigger and reach the first houses and sheepfolds. The village is asleep, scared and tired from nights without sleeping caused by the continuous attacks. At 2 o’clock it starts raining rocks coming from the near settlement. Since weeks.
People are running to the international volunteers’ tent, near the fence which divides the village from the settlement. They run around looking for an answer with tired faces. Someone screams to call the police. A rock nearly strikes an old man. We start to look for the settler, but we enter another time the tent when another rock has been thrown near us. The thuds stop for a while.

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Sarura - Sumud Freedom Camp

Hammoudi comes out from the cave and looks at the panorama around him: the sunset paints the hills in purplish color, the wind blows gently spreading the scent of narghile. It seems a magical moment if it were not for the Israeli outpost that arrogantly breaks the harmony of the landscape. The outpost is right in front of Sarura, as if it wanted to make impossible for the Palestinian communities of the area to forget to live under occupation.
Hammoudi’s gaze moves to the cave next door and to what is left of the bathroom built just a bit further, after the Israeli bulldozers demolished it. That’s the third time they’ve put it back together. In the next days they will rebuild it, and probably in a few days, weeks or months, the bulldozers will come back. From the cave next door he hears his uncle’s voice telling the stories about the old village of Sarura, when it was still inhabited by families of shepherds, the same stories that in turn his father told him. The cave was uninhabited for years, the work to settle it up has been long.

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Bethlehem/Ramallah - Forbidden roads

Khaled has an exam at the university today. Although Ramallah is not so far from his home, just outside Bethlehem, the alarm clock rings on time at four in the morning. The sun has not risen yet, when he puts on his shoes on and takes his backpack, with few things needed for that day inside.
During the first stretch of road, Khaled repeats to himself the topics of his exam: he chose the law school, a choice that his parents did not immediately understand, and would have preferred something else, but which he is now bringing to a conclusion. Another year, and he will finally have a degree in hand, Khaled repeats, between one definition of law and another. Just another year, and I will finally have a law degree, Khaled repeats himself, between one definition and another of law.
When he arrives on the main road, the first two services (bus) pass, but they are full. Workers, students, anyone who moves at that hour, to find a service is never easy. He should have booked in advance, when the small orange van finally pulls over and picks him up.

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At-Tuwani/Tuba – School Patrol

Like every morning, students walk to the school. Among the cackles Said tries to look longer to make sure that there is Israeli army, which has the duty to escort them along the road between two Israeli settlements. Said doesn’t see the flashing lights of the army jeep. That means it is late. Thirty minutes pass but no sign of the soldiers. The schoolchildren keep waiting at the meeting point. They are dangerously close to the Israeli outpost, and if the settlers wanted to attack them, they would take no time at all. At this point there are three possibilities: going back home, but they want to go to school; taking a path that winds through the hills trying to keep as far away as possible from the outpost, but they would arrive at school even later; walking the road unescorted, which seems the best choice. Said asks the volunteers of Operation Dove, with whom he has been in contact since they left home and who are waiting for them at the end of the road, to reach them so they can walk together.
Just as the mutatawain - volunteers - arrive with their cameras at hand, a car stops in front of them. A settler gets out and aggressively orders the children to turn back, threatening to call the Israeli police.

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Settlers’ vandalism of Palestinian properties

Jaber is near his tractor on the top of the hill.
The sun has just risen but, unlike the other mornings, Jaber is not appreciating the dawn.
In front of him, there is his olive grove, which belonged to his family from generation. A land that until yesterday was alive, full of life and resistance, and now is just a devastated field: most of the trees are broken, the centenary trunks cut, the branches broken.
The grief he feels is nearly physical, so strong enough to feel his heart broken.

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