Roads to nowhere

Posted on 21 July 2012 | No responses

The drive from Bethlehem to Ramallah, or from pretty much anywhere to anywhere in the West Bank now, takes you along many roads recently established courtesy of USAID. At intersections there’s big signs, telling Palestinian travellers that this road is a gift from the American people. The signs omit to mention the other gifts from America, including military and financial support used to prop up and maintain the racist government of Israel and its policies that discriminate against the indigenous population. Read more

Another brick in the wall

Posted on 21 July 2012 | No responses

Water is always an issue here. Not because there isn’t enough—there is—but because the access to water, for Palestinians, is strictly controlled: firstly by Mekerot, the Israeli water company, then secondly by the Palestinian water authority. According to figures quoted by Sam Bahour, settlers have up to seven times the amount of water that Palestinians do. Read more

Making the abnormal normal

Posted on 21 July 2012 | No responses

We finally left Ramallah, later than planned. I was supposed to be back in Bethlehem at 4.30 for Zumba. (Yes, Zumba: but that’s another story!) We didn’t leave until almost 3.45, so even with an empty road, no flying checkpoints, the “container”, Wadi Nar and all other probable and improbable obstacles, we’d not be back in time. Read more

Thine eyes wide shut?

Posted on 19 July 2012 | No responses

The Australian student group’s next meeting after Sam Bahour was with Abdullah Abdullah; PLO ambassador to Lebanon, Palestinian parliament representative for Jerusalem, and Fateh party member. Read more

We are all equal…

Posted on 14 July 2012 | No responses

…apparently.

Route 60 runs from Jerusalem to Hebron . At present, it’s not only for the settler colonialists. Palestinians drive along and across it, to get to Hebron or other Palestinian villages along its route. At some point, Palestinians will be removed from this road and confined to the various bypass roads established by USAID.

Recently, along the roadside, posters have appeared, in Hebrew and Arabic, stating: “We are all equal on the road.” The group behind this is called Safety Now, a settler colonialist group concerned at the number of accidents on the road. The group has even mimicked the Peace Now logo and font.

And all this is being done, it would seem, without irony.

It doesn’t add up

Posted on 14 July 2012 | No responses

We tagged on to a group of Australians here on a tour as part of their Jewish studies programme. When we arrived in Ramallah, they were listening to Palestinian-American businessman, Sam Bahour.

Sam speaks brilliantly. He is engaging, articulate, entertaining and always gets straight to the point. As we snuck in, he was talking about permits and permission to go to Jerusalem. His account of trying to get permission to go to Jerusalem was almost comedic, except I know that every word he said was true and that the ridiculous is the norm here. Read more

The Palestine industry

Posted on 10 July 2012 | No responses

Having been really unwell for the first few days, I’ve not been writing my journal as often as usual, so there’s quite a lot to get through. Not having internet all the time has also impeded me! But despite being ill, I’ve managed to meet some impressive people, visit some troubled places, and see some hopeful signs for the future. Read more

Leila Khaled: icon of Palestinian liberation

Posted on 10 July 2012 | 1 response

My wonderful friend Sarah Irving has recently published her third book, a biography of Leila Khaled. She’s held a couple of book launches in the UK, J spoke at the one in London, and thanks to serendipity, happened to have book launches organised in Palestine while we are here! She asked J to speak again at the one in Bethlehem, which was last night. Read more

Ahdaf students: more than an inspiration

Posted on 10 July 2012 | No responses

After our visit to Zakaria, we’d organised to meet with the students supported by Ahdaf . We wanted to hear about their work over the past year and discuss with them future plans for Ahdaf. The students lie at the heart of Ahdaf and we have always given them as much autonomy and control as is practical. Read more

This is what summoud looks like

Posted on 10 July 2012 | No responses

Khirbet Zakaria is a small and sprawling Palestinian village in the West Bank. What makes it stand out from so many others is its location. It sits in the heart of the Etzion settlement bloc. As the settlements in this area south of Bethlehem were established and grew, Zakaria became encircled. Read more

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