Chapter 15. Locked In The Mental Prison Of Our Beliefs

Chapter 15 in the novel, “Ten Days That Changed The World,” a sequel to an earlier novel called “Stillpoint, a novel of war, peace, politics and Palestine.” “Ten Days,” is in the process of being written. When a chapter is completed it is posted. I hope you find it of interest. Please feel free to share it with friends.

The following information is helpful for those who haven’t read “Stillpoint.” In it we come to know David Tremaine a former philosophy professor now president of the US. We learn also of Travis, a versatile general, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and respected friend. Samara is a young Palestinian woman, friend of the sage Nasir. She helped in a daring rescue and is brought to the US for her safety. She now works as a translator for Tremaine.

Chapter 15. Locked In The Mental Prison Of Our Beliefs

Adam was small for his age but what he lacked in stature he made up for in courage. He’d watched his friends throwing bags of shit and burning tires on the cockroaches below. Wanting to be part of it he’d been bitterly disappointed when he was rejected because of his size.

It was two in the morning when he and Ezra got the tire onto the roof. Ezra held a light while Adam poured a mixture of gasoline and oil into the tire, his hand shaking. Once it was burning he maneuvered the tire into position. “Ready?”

Ezra nodded, his large eyes reflected the flickering flames.

Adam pushed the tire into space and watched it fall to the roof below, scattering flames in the darkness as it bounced. ‘Now they’ll accept me as a man,’ he thought. ‘I’m as strong as anyone else and brave enough to help drive the vermin from the promised land.’ He turned and as he did his foot slipped on a drop of spilled oil. He tried to catch his balance and grabbed for the roof, but the force of his momentum carried him over the edge. Below, he saw the outline of a burning tire, a ring of light in the darkness. He felt the air rushing over his skin as he cartwheeled through the darkness. His heart seemed to stop and he thought he was going to die.

He heard a loud crack, followed by several more. A violent force tore at his clothes, ripping his jacket off and leaving him hanging by his pants. He was caught in a tree. He felt something let go and the next moment was swinging by an ankle his head just clear of a jagged piece of rock.

…………

With the arrival of the Americans Kareem had volunteered to patrol the grounds of the village. The shifts were two hours in length and he’d taken his responsibilities seriously. Tonight was the first time the seventeen year old was doing the patrol alone.

Approaching the cliff he could see the settlement along the eastern horizon, a carpet of light draped over the uneven hills. He stared at it remembering when he had walked in those hills as a child long before the settlement came into existence.

When he got to the homes at the bottom of the rock bluff he caught a movement above him and watched a burning tire drop from the settlement to the roof below. Almost simultaneously he saw a human figure falling through space.

Kareem raced between the buildings to the cliff face just as the high intensity light came on illuminating the rocky face and casting shadows where he now stood. He swept the ground with his flashlight. Nothing. Looking up, he saw at once what had happened. Whoever had fallen from the settlement had been caught in the branches of a tree and was now hanging by an ankle a few feet above the rocks. He could see by the awkward position of the body that one of his legs was broken.

He climbed up to the rock ledge and took a closer look. The tree had broken the fall and several limbs in the process. The young Palestinian found himself looking at a pale face with large frightened eyes. The boy staring back at him he appeared to be about thirteen. He was in a lot of pain. One arm was broken; the bone had pierced the skin, and provided a stark white contrast to the arm soaked in dark blood. “Do you speak Hebrew?” Kareem asked.

The boy nodded.

“I have to get you down and then go for help.”

“Are you Jewish?” the voice croaked through the pain.

“I’m Palestinian, this is my home, where I live.”

The boy was becoming increasingly distressed. Kareem climbed to the ledge and taking the weight over his shoulder, unhooked him from the branch. It took a minute to work his way to the ground where he laid him on his back. He checked his vital signs; his breathing was strong but suddenly he began to shake, his body going into shock. Kareem knew he had to keep him warm. Placing his jacket over the boy he dashed into an empty home and found a blanket. Taking his jacket he tried to place it under the boy’s head but he pulled away from the touch. “Unclean,” he said, “unclean,” his voice harsh and fearful.

Kareem suddenly understood. The young settler had never been close to a Palestinian before.

Reaching gently for the blanket Kareem uncovered the broken arm. Once more, the boy recoiled. Kareem moved closer. He could feel the pain and smell the fear, a bad combination, he knew. In a voice filled with kindness he spoke. “I have to stop the bleeding or you’ll die before I can get help.” He pulled his shirt off and ripped the sleeves out using them to tie off the arm to slow the bleeding.

He covered the boy in the blanket and saw his eyes close. ‘What does it take,’ he wondered, ‘for people to see the obvious. We’re the same, the same flesh and blood. We want to live…free in this amazing place. Life is not a gift to be removed by us. The master carpenter understands his design, he alone knows what he had in mind.’

He felt sad for the ignorance that so frightened the young Israeli, locked in the mental prison of his beliefs.

I’ll be back,” he said and placing the light close by, raced off.

Fifteen minutes later Adam was carried into the medical tent and a small team of experts went to work.

…………

It was eight in the morning when Yaacov received a call from his frightened wife. She stayed with the kids at the settlement when he was in Jerusalem. Adam Finkelstein, his eldest son was missing. He was not in his bed when his mother went to wake him for school and no one had seen the thirteen year old since he’d gone to his room. Yaacov was in a state of shock. He doubted his son had just gone missing. More likely he was the victim of Palestinian kidnappers who’d targeted his family because of who he was. ‘Those god damned bastards,’ he thought as his heart sank.

A man on a bicycle shot out of a side road and clipped the back of Yaacov’s car. He pulled over and waited until the man went by still peddling furiously. He felt a sense of relief, the man was alright. Putting the car in gear, he nosed the BMW into traffic.

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