Note: Zababdeh is a village of only 3000. So far, I've only been able to leave it once, to join Fr. Toma for morning prayers in Tubas. The section of our film highlighting their community was broadcast recently on SAT-7. We joked that they are now all film stars! On Monday, a Palestinian collaborator called the Israeli Army. Islamic faction activists were holed up in a four-story building in Zababdeh. Within minutes, the Army arrived and shut down a huge section of the town. The streets were filled with soldiers and jeeps. Shooters were positioned on every roof in the area. The students living in the building came out, hands on their heads. "No one is left," they swore to the Army. They didn't believe them, nor the owner of the building. The snipers starting shooting into the windows of the apartment in question. Hours passed. Not one bullet was fired in return.
Fearing a booby trap, the Army brought a Caterpillar D9 Bulldozer. They began to destroy the building, threatening to level it to rubble. The sides of the building looked like Beirut in the 1980s. The bulldozer ripped off much of the building's facade, including two balconies. Explosives blew off the iron doors. With the intervention of church leaders in town, finally, the Army backed off. They sent in the K-9s. In the end, no one was in the building.
The building belongs to Fr. Toma, the Greek Orthodox priest. His son, an engineer, had saved for eight years working abroad. This was to be his home, his nest egg, the sum of his savings. The damage to the building, from the external to the infrastructure (electricity, sewage system, etc.), is so extensive he will need to save up another four years.
This place, this whole land, is damaged. From the factions that hide in other people's property to the Army which destroys it with flimsy evidence, the damage runs deep. It will take years to fix.