OPINION

Magic letters?

A 10-year-old Palestinian boy sat down and wrote a letter to Harry Potter. He told the child magician how impressed he was with his astonishing magic tricks and his genius in crushing his foes. Toward the end of his letter, little Abdallah begged for the magic sword which obliterates enemies in the flash of an eye. He then sealed the letter and gave it to his teacher, asking for it to be sent to the fictional magician. By a strange twist of fate, the letter found itself in the hands of an Israeli student in jail for refusing to serve in the occupied Palestinian territories. The following is the soldier’s response, which was printed in the foreign press: «Dear friends, I spend my days peeling onions and cleaning filthy pots while I wonder how it can be that I, a married man with a child, prefer to be in jail rather than serving my term in the occupied territories. Next to me there’s a 36-year-old man. He has neither a pillow nor a bedsheet, he is not allowed to eat at the table, so to speak. «I don’t know how young Abdallah lives but I do know that most Palestinians live in the most humiliating conditions. And if we Israeli dissenters choose not to serve our army, it is because we can’t bear to face Palestinians made to stand for hours at checkpoints. I wouldn’t dare to look in the eyes the Palestinian whose home I was about to tear down. His eyes would reflect the image of a pathetic soldier before a desperate people begging for mercy. And that is a far greater humiliation than that of imprisonment…»