Thursday, February 02, 2006


Surviving the occupation, Ronnie Brnat's story

I have talked a few times about Wagi Brnat. He is someone who I have come to admire very much, he has 6 children living under the occupation. Some of them have gone to jail for long periods of time. The Israeli court system is different for Palestinians then for the rest of us, the separate court systems mean that whilst Internationals and Israelis have to be brought before a judge within 24 hours Palestinians can sometimes wait for months.

Whilst some of his sons have been in jail for long periods of time, one of the difficult things for Wagi and the rest of the Brnat family has been the shooting of his son Ronnie in Ramallah 5 years ago.
Ronnie was in Ramallah when the second interfada started, peacefully protesting when snipers Israeli snipers shot him and many others. At the age of 20 Ronnie was confined to a wheel chair for the rest of his life. He cannot move his legs and his arms have lost much of their fine motor skills.

Ronnie has continued to keep his faith in non-violent demonstrations and goes to the Bil'in protest every Friday. Even in his wheel chair Ronnie has still been attacked by the military on two separate occasions. The first time a sound bomb landed on his food and the second time he was shot with an experimental Israeli bullet.

Asked why he continues to go to the demonstrations Ronnie says it is important to defend his land. Ronnie has shown amazing courage but the way he has been abused by his occupiers for attending peaceful demonstrations, to me shows why people like Ronnie choose to take up arms or even suicide bombings. To ask the Palestinians to turn the other cheek while their sons are crippled is a hard thing to do. Still the Brnat family are staying strong and I know I will see Ronnie at the demonstration tomorrow.

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