Palestinian family offers view on Israeli military incursion

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

BURKIN, West Bank -- Over the past 2 1/2 weeks, it has happened to tens of thousands of Palestinian families: the experience of waking to find Israeli troops and tanks on their very doorstep.

Israeli troops moved in early Saturday to the northern West Bank village of Burkin, just outside the Jenin refugee camp, where the fiercest fighting of the Israeli offensive -- meant to smash Palestinian militias -- took place.

Daoud, 4, awoke to the sound of gunfire. "Don't go outside, Papa," he told his father as tanks rumbled up the road.

Daoud's parents -- 39-year-old Abdullah and 25-year-old Rania -- peeped out through their curtains.

"Why do they need so many tanks?" Rania said. "They could take this village with two jeeps."

Burkin is an olive-growing village. People travel through it on tractors on the way to their fields. It also has been home to a few suicide bombers in recent years.

Abdullah Jarar has lived here all his life, as did his father before him. He makes a comfortable living as a restaurant owner in Jenin city. Burkin had been quiet until Saturday, he said, largely untouched by the conflict swirling around it.

As Saturday morning dragged on, a restless Daoud kept going to the window, trying to look at the tanks. He knows who's driving them.

Later, Daoud, bored with watching the tanks, began playing with his toy guns.

"He will grow up with hate and anger at these soldiers," Rania said. "I hope he will be a peaceful man when he is older. But with what is happening here, I don't think that will happen."

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