With the Occupation in Never Never Land

The jeep bounced along the road until our backsides hurt, Tzur texted his girlfriend, complaining that he and the other Israeli troops had fired only stun grenades

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Students on the first day of term at the school in the West Bank village of Jubbet Adh-Dhib, August 23, 2017.
Students on the first day of term at the school in the West Bank village of Jubbet Adh-Dhib, August 23, 2017.

There was a great deal of commotion last Tuesday in the offices of the supervisory subcommittee in the Administration for the Treatment of Locals (Matam). “The crime must and can be prevented already today,” declared the chief administrator, Tanya Michaels. “Time is pressing. Tomorrow is their first day of school. Last night we received intelligence information about assembling prefab buildings for a school in the village of Jubbet Adh-Dhib. The students must not study in those caravillas [trailers] for even a minute.”

All the workers in the administration were enraged by the villagers’ chutzpah. After all, only a week earlier the diligent supervisors had confiscated a truck, a car and generators belonging to a contractor whose employees were about to do electrical work in the village. And in June, despite all the protests of the accursed goyim, we removed the existential danger confronting us there, a solar energy system. And still they continue, the upstarts, with the assistance and funding of the anti-Semitic Europeans, demanding to be linked up to electricity, water and the 21st century.

Jacqueline Ben Simon, the deputy, called the head supervisor, Eran Rosenberg, and instructed him to get ready. She also praised him for the quick intelligence he had provided about the crime. Rosenberg blushed slightly, smiled and admitted: “The drones are doing excellent work. We have one, but it often breaks down. You know, public funds. But the Council for the Our Mother Rachel settlements and the Paths of the Homeland NGO have great drones. A generous donation from the Zionist Organization of Charlottesville.”

Rosenberg immediately checked the inventory of supervisors, contract workers, trucks and the required crane. He sent two white Matam jeeps to check tires and replace them with new ones, if necessary. He explained to Ben Simon: “The road to Jubbet Adh-Dhib is difficult. Bumps, rocks, sharp stones. The last thing we need is to puncture a tire at 6:30 in the evening in the middle of the narrow path, and the entire convoy behind us will get stuck. Only at moments like these am I sorry that we don’t allow the locals to repair and tar the access roads to their hovels.”

‘It’s working’

However, Ben Simon, who is senior to him, replied: “Don’t forget, these prohibitions achieve their purpose. Slowly but surely the locals are leaving. In the end all their hovels will empty out, and then we’ll be able to build magnificent settlements there and plant tens of thousands of dunams of vineyards and cherry orchards.”

Students on the first day of term at the school in the West Bank village of Jubbet Adh-Dhib, August 23, 2017.

At the same time Michaels contacted Sasha Berkowitz, the brigade commander of the Our Mother Rachel district. They chatted a little in their mother tongue [Russian] – which linked them from the beginning, when they met at the wedding of the daughter of Hussein Abu Jamil, head of the subcommittee for fabric of life. Berkowitz immediately promised to allocate five reinforced jeeps, 23 male soldiers and four female soldiers. He interrupted the conversation for a moment and she heard him ordering the bureau chief: “For this evening we’ll need 160 tear gas grenades and 120 stun grenades, 400 rubber-coated bullets and another 200 live bullets.”

How do you do the calculations, wondered Michaels, and he explained: “According to the village profile prepared by the Shin Bet, there are 160 residents in the village. Usually the young people, and maybe a few older women who come to save them from detention, are involved in disturbances. I estimate that there will be about 33 young people and another seven women who are liable to attack our forces. The area is hilly, which requires additional ammunition for every rioter.”

Energy bars and blessings

At 5:45 P.M. the supervisors and contract workers met at the military base near the God Has Chosen Us settlement. One female soldier was missing, because she got her period. About 20 minutes were allocated for drinking Turkish coffee. The rabbi of the local yeshiva, Naor Ben Yehoshua, came and distributed energy bars. He delivered a short speech about the importance of the assignment and their heroism, and about the thanks that the Jewish people owe them.

Supervisor No. 2, Alberto Miguel, thanked him for the words of encouragement and gave the following statistics: “This week we also prevented crimes in the Al-Baba Bedouin encampment that constitutes a danger to our existence. We dismantled an empty structure that was supposed to be used as a kindergarten, confiscated 30 chairs, 10 desks, two closets and a blackboard. The cost of the damage to the enemy: tens of thousands of shekels.

“We also confiscated solar panels that provided dangerous electricity to the school and the kindergartens in the illegal Bedouin encampment of Abu Nuwar.” Applause. His colleague Rosenberg raised his plastic cup and said: “We must admit that our achievements this year are poor. In 2016 we were able to destroy 875 illegal structures belonging to the enemy. This year, to date, only 186.”

The rabbi, clearly embarrassed by the hint of dereliction of duty, muttered into his beard: “May God be with you,” and they set out. Soldier Tzur sent a selfie to his girlfriend Tzurit and wrote: “If we don’t return safely, I want you to know that I’m crazy about you.” When our forces returned safely before midnight, the soldier texted his girlfriend about how the vehicles jumped and jostled from side to side among the bumps and the sharp stones until their backsides hurt. He also complained that the forces had fired only stun grenades at the locals, while the contract workers had dismantled the trailers and loaded them onto the trucks. “We didn’t get into a situation that required shooting,” he wrote, “and I feel that my level of skill is going down.” In a sleepy text message, Tzurit wrote to him: “Never mind, there will be other opportunities. Yalla, bye. I’m going back to sleep. I’ll be waiting for you on Friday.”