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encounter:

Running Into The Murderer

A personal note from activist Neta Golan

Neta Golan

10 Jan. 2002

I had spent the day with the villagers of Deir Istiya in which we planted trees on land coveted by the settlement of Yakir. I was on my way home. Two soldiers recognized me and asked in Hebrew:" Neta how are you?"

To them I was a novelty.

"You know who I'm talking to?" One of them told a friend that phoned his cell phone,"Neta from Peace Now" (I am not from Peace Now but thats as far left as they could fathom).

We talked.

At one point one of the soldiers told me: "When I see a terrorist lying on the ground in his own blood it gives me an appetite".

He hesitated before continuing. He wanted to reveal to me something he was proud of.

"There was a time when someone in Hares village picked up a huge bolder to throw at me. Do you know what I did?" He asked.

I knew.

- "You killed him."

- "That's right." he smiled self-satisfied.

I know the two children and the young father who were murdered in Hares in the last fifteen months by Israeli soldiers, so I asked him when it happened, On what day? By his answer I realized the soldier in front of me was the murderer of my friend Muhammad Daud.

- "Let me tell you who you killed" I said.

- I don't care.

- "I know you don't but I want you to know who you killed. His name was Muhammad Daud, he was fifteen years old he was retarded and I loved him very much..."

I told him every thing I could think of about Mohammed and about his family. He didn't want to hear it.

"I know where he was standing" I said "I saw his blood on the ground. There is no way he could have thrown a stone at you from so far away, let alone a boulder."

-"You weren't there." He was screaming now.

- "OK. You were there. So you tell me. How far do you think he could have thrown that ‘boulder?’ Three meters? Ten meters? Lets just imagine that it was humanly possible to throw it a hundred meters you were over three hundred meters away.

- " You weren't there."

- "That's right I wasn't there. You were there. So you tell me how far away where you when you murdered him?

He kept trying to stop me but I wouldn't stop. It was all I could do. And the fact he didn't want to hear it was the only indication that maybe somewhere deep inside there is a piece of humanity still intact in this boy.

After they walked away I was lucky to have friends with me who held me as I wept. Meeting his killer reopened the wound of losing my friend, a wound that never healed. I realized that if any man was evil the soldier I just spoke to was, and yet he was a boy, an ignorant and stupid boy that never should have been given any power. That never should have step foot in any village. That never should have had a gun. Young Soldiers, many of them like Muhammad's Killer control every Aspect of the lives of millions of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Ignorant youth like these have the power of life and death over Palestinian elders and children alike.

This cannot continue.

To stop this injustice we need help.

Help us.

In solidarity,

Neta Golan