This past week was the week of screams: screaming jets, a screaming pregnant Palestinian woman, and the screams of Israelis who happened to be in the right place at the wrong time in Natanya. The screaming jets seemed to be part of a psychological warfare which raged across the very small air space of this postage stamp country, breaking the sound barrier with their sonic booms hour after hour. For some Israelis it was a display of their superiority, while others thought bombs had exploded somewhere, thus giving them feelings of insecurity, fear and anxiety about where the noise came from and if any of their family were in the area. For the Palestinians it was the "bully speaking", showing off his control and hopefully making people afraid of him. But for them it was also a silent scream of worry about their loved ones. What was the purpose of this "military exercise", except to instil anxiety into both Israelis and Palestinians -- to deepen their fears. Nawal Issa Ahmad was screaming, too, as she stood at the Israeli checkpoint southeast of Bethlehem near Um Al-Salumeh village, tearfully begging the Israeli border control to let her leave her village in order to go to the hospital and deliver her baby. Ignoring her pain and cries, the soldiers refused to let her pass their checkpoint. Despite recurrent efforts to convince the soldiers of the importance of the medical attention that she needed, Nawal gave birth to her son there at the checkpoint. Nawal and her baby boy are one of many cases from the West Bank and Gaza that are not allowed to reach hospitals. Many villages have been isolated as young Israelis control the roads and will not allow passage. And finally there was screaming from the Israelis who were too near Mahmoud Ahmed Marmash who had just enjoyed morning coffee with his mother as her brought her sweets. She had no idea of the plans of her young carpenter son, Mahmoud, as he kissed her goodbye and went to Netanya to blow himself up, killing six Israelis and injuring others. Screaming jets brought no security and this time it wasn't a sonic boom over Netanya. Retaliation was swift as American-made F16 fighter jets took to the air over the Palestinian towns of Nablus, Ramallah, Tulkarm and Gaza bringing revenge in the form of bombing civilians, killing 16, wounding 200 more and further inflaming an already highly charged atmosphere. This has been one of the most tragic weeks since the Palestinian uprising began nearly eight months ago.
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