As published on Electronic Intifada on Wednesday
Mo’men Shtayeh probably owns a John Cena shirt, the WWE wrestler who the Palestinian kids hero worship, their shrill voices echoing in neighborhood streets of Cena’s catchphrase, “You can’t see me!” accompanied with waving a hand in front of their faces.
Mo’men Shtayeh has seen and knows too much. There is a chance — nay, a probability — that due to witnessing the Israeli army’s brutality and severe oppression in his village of Kufr Qaddoum, Mo’men might have grown up to be a warmongering Islamist (or perversely, a Tea Partier).
Mo’men Shtayeh represents a threat to the security of the Israeli racist occupying state. Apparently, it is well known that due to his savvy nature, Mo’men has been involved in drawing up specialized blueprints to attack enemy bases.
So it all makes perfect sense that the most moral army in the world, the Israeli Defense Forces, the fourth strongest army, the upholders of the beacon of democracy and godly light, tried to arrest Mo’men on Monday, 2 April.
The thing is, Mo’men is two-and-a-half years old.
Murad Shtayeh, the coordinator of the popular resistance committeee in Kufr Qaddoum and the father of little Mo’men, told The Electronic Intifada that heavily armed Israeli soldiers raided his house on Monday at 5:30pm. Two soldiers remained outside, two others went in the house, shouting they were going to arrest Mo’men.
“Mo’men was going inside the house,” Murad said, “when the soldiers suddenly took off from where they had been standing. They came running to the house like they were in a marathon, very fast and urgent, like a bunch of crazies.”
The soldiers claimed that Mo’men had not a nuclear warhead, or a submachine gun, but the most dangerous item in the world — a slingshot.
“Of course Mo’men didn’t have a slingshot in his hands!” scoffed Murad. “And even if he did, so what? He’s a kid.” For crying out loud.
The soldiers were adamant that Mo’men hand over his slingshot (which he doesn’t own) because he was using it to aim at the soldiers. What’s more, they wanted Mo’men to hand himself over to them too.
Bashar Shtayeh, Murad’s cousin, was also present at the scene. “The soldiers in the house drew their weapons and pointed them at the family,” he said, “threatening them that they would not leave unless Mo’men was handed over to them.”
A loud, angry arugment persisted for half an hour between Murad, other villagers who had come to see what the commotion was all about, and the soldiers. The soldiers then left, having cemented yet another moral meltdown in the occupation’s history. Not that they had morals in the first place.
But what of the toddler? Needless to say, Mo’men was terrified by what was going on around him.
“What can I say, of course he’s affected by this,” Murad said. “He was very scared. He’s doing slightly better now.”
Kufr Qaddoum began its weekly popular resistance protests in June 2011, against the encroaching illegal settlement of Qedumim that is built on the village’s land and to open the main village road that leads directly to Nablus.
The Israeli oppression against Kufr Qaddoum doesn’t just happen on Fridays. It occurs on a daily basis.
“Obviously, they thought this stunt — whether carried through or not — would serve as a punishment for us, but the truth is that it will not deter us from our protests,” Murad declared.
“Every day and night we have five to seven soldiers in the village harrassing us. Sometimes they come in with their dogs and fetch cars and houses. Yesterday [Tuesday] at 9:30pm the soldiers set up a checkpoint on one of the inner streets of the village.”
Mo’men Shtayeh, your little two-and-a-half-year-old self highlighted the absurdity, the idiocy, the shameful nature of the Israeli occupying army. May the force of John Cena be with you.
Editor’s Note: The family’s name is Shteiwi, not Shtayeh.