Planning is essential plans are useless (continued tangential writing)

I have not written about privilege since the beginning, partly because there is so much going on, and partly because i cant find any path of explanation with clarity.

I am in east Jerusalem now on my own for the first time since i have been in Palestine. I am at a small hostel called the New Palm, it is known for being the “activist” hostel right outside of the Damascus gate. It’s nice to be around so many anarchic ascetic folks, this much i can say, beyond this my emotions seem to fluctuate greatly. I feel as though i have not written enough, always so self-critical that i end up with no words. I wish i could get across with words the different types of organizing i have seen; from youth organizing groups that do drama and arts with Palestinian kids, to demonstrations that happen weekly in Palestine focused on bringing media attention to the non-violent resistance and to the absurdity and cruelty of the Israeli army. You see in this microcosm of Palestine there is very clear demarcation of “sides”. Now i am no fan of sides, perhaps this is a function of my privilege, but i have grown to see that there are in fact sides. Yet these sides are not static, they move, and we move. So what one day is a side for peace may the next day be one for war, and what one day is the side of the oppressed may the next be the side of the oppressor. When our minds become stagnate we lose sight of this, we grow comfort thinking we found the side of peace the side of harmony, good fortune and righteousness. But here in Palestine in this moment in history the sides are clear. (the US has these sides too, but straight white and wealthy america often misses this)

There is the Israeli army narrative/agenda on one, and the Palestinian peoples narrative/resistance on another. Of course there is not such a “clear” binary as this but it functions well to explain my thoughts. See in the US one can pass through life never making a stand on where their politics lie, where their empathy and heart beats. They can “pass” as an advocate for human rights and vote democratic or republican. But here it does not function as such, since the majority of people in israel support the Army’s decree of violence and transfer of the Palestinian people, one must take a true STAND to resist being swallowed by the aggressors mindset. A stand can mean many things, much of which i am in no place to say, but from my humble experiencing it looks something like refusing the military, organizing demonstrations against the israeli army/growth of settlements, supporting Palestinian youth organizing, supporting Palestinian people’s calls for solidarity and resistance. It means being willing to openly criticize your government as racist and stand up to the racist voices that surround you daily, and facing the economic, political and social consequences of doing such. It means starting summer camps for israeli youth to learn about the racism and apartheid of their country and how to create alternatives. These are all lessons i wish to hold dear to my heart and travel home with.

In the US today the line has become more and more defined. As more racist immigration laws come into act around the country, and as the media becomes more openly bigoted, it becomes ever more urgent that people are willing to take a stand. It means making plans, organizing and understanding solidarity. Recognizing the liberal individuality that traps our minds, hearts and bodies. An individuality that teaches us its all about our individual growth and liberation-void of all understanding of a communal liberation or communal-passion (compassion).

It has been hard for me the past days to write because i feel scattered. I feel ungrounded. I feel focused on myself and my own confusions. I have always been a fairy being, finding solace and grace in the un-earthly the spirits, ghosts and creatures of the night, but recently i feel void. I have no god to look for, no goddess to cuddle up to and the ghost here are all crying, leaving me with an unnecessary fear. Walking always looking over my shoulder is no way to walk. I dont wish to share it with any depth because i dont wish sadness upon people. I used to… i used to wish it upon all the smiling faces of the suburbs, hoping they could feel as bitter and sad as i did inside. But whats the use. I’d rather shock them with my smiles and convince them to join me; at a demonstration against immigration laws, at a teach-in’s about domestic violence, at an organizing meeting about creating after school programs for youth, etc.. I’d rather work to help people make a stand, a stand of togetherness. To help people be romantic again, to hug and kiss again, to cry again and again.

To be willing to face the consequences of giving up your privilege. It becomes a big deal, when all reality says it shouldn’t. Giving-up your privilege means organizing against classism, sexism, racism, ableism and fascism. It also means creating a new organism in its place, filling the void with alternatives without borders. It means having courage to make space between you and those in your life that hold you in a your space of privilege that silences your powerful voice change. Its difficult sad and overwhelming, but it is in my silly opinion one path of renewal the leads to some where other than the depths of ignorance shrouded in barbed wires. Where it leads i could hardly say… this is when one begins to ask your goddess moon, i promise she has more to say on this matter.

Thanks for continuing with me ❤

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Where is the focus?

A week ago i was in a meeting with Omar Barghouti who is an organizer for the Boycott Divest and Sanctions National Committee (BNC). For a short while we discussed general awareness’ around the world, to which he mentioned with utmost seriousness that “as for the US, well they are in the Dark Ages when it comes to media and public awareness.” There is very little anyone can do to argue this point, all it takes is 5 minutes of looking through the news that is published in the US (as well as the educational curriculum), to see what Omar is talking about. Whether you watch NBC/MSNBC (owned by GE(one of the largest arms dealers)), CNN, FOX (owned by Newscorp) you are getting a variation of the same dumbed down stories. The sad part about all of this is its nothing new, people have written about this since the dawn of private media. Once it went private the main goal was not to inform the public but to make the public consume more and more “media” to raise profits for the CEO’s and owners of these companies- in addition to support the politics these owners had. (this does not mean that all journalist in the US are some sort of evil bread of people, no in fact many of them have high hopes and wish to tell good stories, but sadly time and time again they are bribed, or threatened (via firing if not) into telling only the stories that sell. And so we have a large growing population of indy-mediea folks who instead of working for large corporate media outlets have chosen to work for smaller grounded projects)

Lets look at a specific case going on right now in Israel, which prompted me to write this.
“On July 26, Israeli police demolished 45 buildings in the unrecognized Bedouin village of al-Arakib” leaving over 200 people homeless.
Yet, what is the story everywhere on US news? (foxnews.com, msnbc.com, nytimes.com, cnn.com …) Rockets Fired at Israel. Immediately invoking fear. If one reads further they will realize these rockets were extremely weak and unsophisticated. Two landed in the water, one exploded in air, and two hit the ground; one in Israel which hurt no one, and one in Jordan injuring 4 or 5 people. This story is in all the US news carriers, already playing into the warmonger delight and invoking fear in many US people of the angry arab with rockets trying to kill you at any moment. Yet within the same few days Israeli military is able to go in and demolish an entire village and not one word is said in the US* (this was covered in BBC, Al Jazeera, Huffington Post, Haaretz, etc) ? Israel has painted such a picture that just to talk of their war crimes is to be called an anti-semite. With a culture like this, a culture of US folks that are so ill-informed and so intensely taught to stay away from any critique of israel for fear of being called an anti-semite, there is no other way to describe it than the dark ages. Such fear, such repression, it only bodes for a more dangerous future, unless we can admit our faults and begin to work for a more holistic knowledge. If this news was to reach the US ears than people would have to be confronted with one of the largest lies told to US jews- the untold story of the JNF (Jewish National Fund) which is cast as a environmental organization that is part of making “Israel Bloom”. The plans for this village that was demolished is to turn it into a JNF forest that will be planted with trees American Jews give money to.

No news source alone can provide a complete picture, but this does not mean one must mistrust everything one reads, rather one must be critical, which includes thinking about where the funding of these news outlets come from, and what this article is trying to say etc… So often folks from home who are curious of my politics, specifically surrounding zionism and israel, will barrage me with questions asking me to defend and explain everything to them, if they catch me in the right mood perhaps i will engage. More and more though i wish to just tell them if you want to know it is up to you to honestly engage in a journey to know. You do not learn by simply asking people around you questions and expect them to give it to you as you continue consuming (often i find myself hoping this will work, but beyond being rude, and disingenuous, it is fruitless and not productive). Rather you must be active you must say “i desire to understand this more concretely, more holistically, and more critically” and then rather than asking people for specific facts you can begin asking what are good resources where are good places to look. For better or worse US folks must realize if they wish to have any semblance of a holistic understanding of international, national and local affairs they must engage whole heartily beyond just the headlines of their most entertaining news program or paper.

Here are some articles to being understanding the current goings on with the Bedouin village that was demolished the other day and not reported in the US.

Summer Camp of Destruction Truly a MUST read 🙂

Al Jazeera english on the demolition

Bedouin village razed in Negev as Israelis cheer on

*correction- Just found an article on CNN about it, but notice the difference in language

And i know there is another population of people who ask why? Why is it important for me to read all this anyways? My answer is not absolute, but my answer is; we live in a world were we unconsciously/consciously consume mis-information/ double speak, and if we wish to re-wire our brains and hearts towards a life without wars then we must actively seek.. its not so grim.

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despair

“we do not have the privilege to have despair”

know hope

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images pass quickly, as feelings grow slowly

(typed quickly with out time for proof reading YAY 😉

With the short amount of time i have had to use the internet, and the poor condition of this computer i have not been able to upload many pictures. For now ill give a brief personal update on what I have done the past week or so, now that the delegation i am on is coming to close.

After spending some time in Palestine ’48 learning about internally displaced Palestinians (Palestinians who still live within Palestine ’48 but no longer in their original villages) we returned to Occupied Palestinian Territory (aka West Bank). We spent the night in Ramallah meeting with Omar Barghouti (one of the prominent voices of the BDS movement within Palestine), as well as Uri Davis (a Jewish Palestinian who was one of the first people to write about Israel as an Apartheid state). It was really incredible meeting Omar, who i had read and heard so much about in the past two years of BDS work. He had such a wonderful presence and spoke so clearly. We spoke with him as well about what Ilana writes about below (the Palestinian Authority (PA) new campaign of boycotting Israeli Settlements (colonies)). He also humored us with his sarcastic speak about how he has been “disappointed with how stupid zionists have become” and how he wonders where all the smart zionsts have gone…? As he mentions one of the events in the US where he gave a talk and had a box for questions and 10 of the questions were all exactly the same, asking a common zionist question (i forget what exactly the story was)- to which he responded “when AIPAC (zionist lobby group that often supports zionist education) told you to ask these questions the did not mean for you all to ask the same one.. come on people be a bit more creative” I found it funny.. as well as hopeful that right now many zionists (i have not defined this term on this blog… umm quickly i will just say those that believe in a jewish state in Israel) are struggling to find any legitimate arguments or critiques that hold weight against the BDS movement (calling it anti-semtic and such being their meaningless catch phrase).

Wednesday, July 21
The next day we traveled to a small village called Mas’ha to visit Hani Amer’s home. I have pictures later, but this house is completely surrounded by the wall and settlement fences. Absurdity beyond understanding, where we are in this world i can hardly speak of, yet her and her family live there on going. Munira told us she has been “sick, sick because of living in constant fear.”

With out enough time to feel what i had seen with Munira we traveled about 20 minutes to Hares another small village to meet with Issa Souf, a nonviolent activist who is paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by a soldier in 2001. Here is an artical he wrote called I pity you for becoming murders.

As these two stories whirled around my mind and sent tingles through my veins i sat in the taxi van traveling up to Nablus to meet with students from An-Najah National University. From the difficult stories of violence and suffering where resistance was played out solely by living, and surviving, that we heard earlier in the day, the story we heard in Nablus was one of active resistance, through BDS campaign on their campus. We also got a tour around Nablus with Saed Abu-Hijleh, a Palestinian human geographer, power, and radio show host, how is currently working as a lecturer of political and environmental geography at An-Najah National University. We visited the streets that 8 years ago were filled with Israeli tanks and bulldozers that invaded Nablus. We saw the graves of families killed when 2 story tall bulldozers collapsed the their homes on them. Again another emotional event on a day that seemed to leave no rest for the feelings to settle.

I have trouble some times feeling, after so much time where emotions were used to manipulate. Whether it was as a child of divorced parents that would play to my emotions to use me as a weapon in their battle, or as a young jewish kid who was told the story of the holocaust and suicide bombing to convince me that the Jews deserved at ALL costs the land of israel (in an attempt to get me to move to israel to partake in the demographic war). So walking through the streets of Nablus and hearing these stories all my hold memories of hearing stories of emotional turmoil come up, and it all mixes and it took me time to find ground again. Reminding myself there is a reality and a world beneath the covers, a place i can call home. It can be difficult to find but it has to do with unmasking the power, and recognizing that it’s not about saying whos pain is worse but about who is the aggressor…

It became clear after spending the night in Balata refugee camp in Nablus. We stated at a placed called the Yaffa Cultural Center that has set up an arts studio and classrooms for kids in the camp. The camp was founded in 1952 by the UN for the refugees of Palestine ’48 and for 8 years was just tents (because under international law refugees must be allowed to return when they are displaced because of conflict), but slowly they started building small homes and now today there are loads of 3 story buildings inches apart all in a 2 square kilo area making it so the bottom floors get almost no sunlight do the crowdedness. There is small ally-ways throughout the camp but no road wider then a few feet.

Friday, July 23
This day the uncomfort did not end. We were planning on going to East Jerusalem for a political tour with Abu Hassan to learn about the issues faced by Palestinians being kicked out of homes, and having their homes demolished etc. But because we were going into Jerusalem two people on our delegation could not come because they had Palestinian ID’s. It felt gross going without them (us white folks from thousands of miles away who can travel where ever the fuck we want, while folks who have lived their whole lives only miles from a place can not go…(yea guilt, it’s real)). The tour itself was gross too.. we went to Sheikh Jarrah a neighborhood where Palestinian’s have been kicked out of their homes by the Israeli Army and then moments later their homes were taken over by Jewish Settlers. We were able to walk right up to these houses and see the Israelis now living in them with their giant israeli flags. Across the street are coaches from the family who used to live there that now sits outside the house daily in protest (often having rocks and food thrown at them by the settlers living in what used to be their home).

Then we went to the red cross and met with three people who ran in 2006 on the Change and Reform ballet and are Hammas members. After the election when the Change and Reform one the majority of the seats in the Palestinian Election (West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza) and Israel declared the elections void because they call Hammas a terrorist group and the PA had a coup in the west bank these three citizens of Jerusalem were arrested by Israel for being affiliated with Hammas. After they were released from prison they were given 30 days to leave Jerusalem. They refused, and were currently taking refuge at the Red Cross (they had been there for 2 weeks when we got there). We talked with them for about an hour and were able to ask them a bunch of questions about their situation.

From there we traveled back into the West Bank to Bethlehem, to Aida Refugee camp. We met with people from an organization called Beautiful Resistance that does theater and media work with youth in the camp. Aida camp is literally right against the apartheid wall and has the piece of wall were Banksy (a famous graffiti artist) did his more famous pieces. On the other side of the wall is a huge field of olive trees that used to be a part of the community that now lives in the occupied territory. This is a clear example of the strategy that Israel deploys in their colonizing of the Palestinian land- Maximum land with minimum people (putting the wall as close to where people live as possible thereby taking as much of their land as possible but not the people who work it) Now many Palestinians living there must wake up at 3 AM ever morning to wait for hours at the Bethlehem checkpoint to go work their fields. (a classic saying in Bethlehem now is that if Jesus were alive he would get stopped at the checkpoint, as well as the three kings that go see him at birth would be unable too…)

Saturday, July 24
We left Bethlehem after visiting the Church of Nativity (which was almost destroyed by Israel a few years back, the bullet holes still present). We traveled south to Hebron were we met with Hisham Sharabati, a journalist and activist (a friend of ours on the delegation’s uncle). Hebron is an extremely heated space right now as it has colonies of settlers right within the city, and not just economic settlers (those that move into colonies because of economic advantages offered by Israel) but National Religious settlers who are extremely violent in their daily actions towards Palestinians. There is often clashes between Palestinians and settlers in Hebron, and it becomes a clear example of state sponsored terrorism as the Israeli soldiers stand next to settlers who throw rocks at Palestinian’s and do nothing, yet will beat and arrest Palestinians who just as much as say angry words to settlers. In Hebron we ended up going to a weekly demonstration about opening up Shuhada Street which used to be the main street for Palestinian people in Hebron, but is now controlled by the Israeli Army and being settled by Jewish National fundamentalists. The demonstration quickly became chaotic as the Israeli soldiers continued to beat resistant protests and arrest protesters who wanted nothing but to walk down a street… It happened in a few waves, the first of which demonstrators were able to successful un-arrest a few people (by grabbing on and falling to the ground), but after which the soldiers dashed in and quickly grabbed a few Internationals at random. At the end when the Palestinian people who were leading the demonstration said enough… the Israeli’s would not quit and through a sound grenade at us as we were walked away.

We regrouped with Hisham after and were going to walk to another part of Hebron. To get to this part of Hebron we needed to go through an Israeli check point and as we got close the Israeli soldiers walked right up to us and said you all are under arrest. We immediately were confused and said began to refuse as the grabbed me and another person by the arm and said four of you come with us. I continued to push the soldier off of me as Ilana and Hannah got in-between us (at this point they were demanding that just the men be arrested). The soldier (or should i say kid) continued to grab at us but we slipped out and walked away. During this Lubna, a Palestinian on the delegation with us was asking the soldier why he was trying to arrest us, and he said to her “you people don’t deserve to know”.. the racism overflows..
After grabbing some orange juice and decompressing we found out 6 people were arrested 3 internationals, 2 israelis, and one Palestinian. It was a lot to swallow and my first encounter with the eyes of israeli soldiers who are just waiting to use their guns..

I did not come to Palestine to go to demonstrations, but it has become a popular activity for internationals to do when in Palestine. In the moment i began to see the use of internationals, in their ability to be the front line between the Israeli Soldiers and the Palestinians. It is so complex, all we can do is make our actions in the moment honest, and towards justice.
Perhaps i will go to more demonstrations, but my real work here is about BDS, and about getting the knowledge back to my community.

That evening i slept at a family’s house that live right next to a colony. The settlers there are also the more fanatical racist type. The family had loads and loads of videos which that had taken of their interactions with the settlers. No words..
Violence, hate.. it is not the news it is reality. The family was so strong, and so courageous, they go on living their live- rarely enough water, enough money, enough safety but they go on. I gave the gifts that were made back home at the going away gathering to the family

ahh the images pass quickly, but the feelings grow slowly..
there is much more to share, its been 4 days since then. 2 of the days were the Right 2 Education conference at Birzeit University.

hope hides in the images and lives in touch.

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ilana’s thoughts for food, part 1

hello kids, young and old, ilana here. friend and traveling companion of tumbell/alex/tineysweets, aboard the students boycott apartheid delegation for these transformative 2 weeks. this summer im living in yafa (officially/technically a municipality of tel aviv, once the largest port in palestine) for the months of july and august doing work with the coalition of women for peace on their project whoprofits.org, which comprehensively documents corporate profiteering from involvement in any/all aspects of the occupation. check it.

this trip to palestine has been powerful, to say the least. jam-packing amazing, eye-opening, informative meetings one after another has left little time and energy to sit and reflect, let alone document. much thanks to alex for starting to do so.

palestine palestine palestine. revolution is in the air, its on the tombstones of those killed in both intifadas and in between (who are remembered as martyrs, or sheheedeh) from both intifadas, its in the palestinian flags flown on dashboards and from storefronts, its on the walls all around on posters commemorating the sheheedeh, its in the bulletholes still marking buildings around nablus and other places, its in the growing student and grassroots boycott of israeli products from within palestine movement… (and its in the romanticizing of occupied society by american tourists trying to solidify their work and support through personal experience)

interesting discussions of the day: growing divide in palestinian society over the nature of the growing boycott movement and its now different shapes. the palestinian authority (which is the official government in the west bank despite the majority vote of palestinians in the gaza AND the west bank for hamas in 2006, which the world refused to accept as legitimate and the PA literally overturned), is pushing its way into the boycott movement with its quasi-grassroots boycott only of products made in settlements goods effort. the PA hasn’t had legitimacy among palestinians in a long time, and now its undertaking a legislated boycott that omar bargouthi describes as “too little too late.” we question the impact this will have on the growing grassroots BDS effort coordinated by the BNC, both within the West Bank and around the world if the PA decides to go ahead in its international outreach campaign, nervous that it will take over and delegitimize the comprehensive and politically-contextualized BNC call.

the politics of resistance have taken on so many different forms here in palestine(, palestinian society, occupied palestinian territory, however you refer to the place in which palestinians live/have lived), all shaped largely by their relationships to external (israeli + international) and internal (grassroots) power. supposedly the PA plans to announce Palestine (west bank? gaza? no se?)’s independence in may 2011, with or without israel’s consent. while the need for palestinianS’ independence is clear and dire, a Palestinian state divided, without a resolution to settlements or refugees, largely economically dependent on its (to-be former?) occupier sounds dannnngerous to me, and many others. and supposedly they’ve been working on building palestinian economic infrastructure for a year now (in preparation for independence) which has a lot of neo-liberal-sounding (“prosper palestine- independent economy for an independent state”) economic development initiatives that will probably not address really essential economic issues facing many palestinians like job security, access to agricultural land, home security definitely- many functions of the occupation. maybe they’re not terrible plans but the intentions seem questionable. (again, it is the PA)

high politics, low politics. where will people go, politics.

the political nature of all aspects of life here, the way that politics encompasses, defines, determines life, is so salient here but not unique to here. in the US politics of life are nuanced, hidden under pretenses of individual choice in oceans of options and outcomes. maybe part of identifying with palestine is being honest about our limitations, our every limitation, that we more often than not don’t have control over and yet own and internalize because we have not yet mass mobilized to disown and deconstruct. there is still time, but it is now time to identify what it is we are fighting and go after it full force. some know, others are still learning, so inside and outside of ourselves we fight.

until better, or worse and then better, times

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Internally Displaced

Here are some pictures (more to come) of villages with Palestinians currently living in, and pictures of villages where Palestinians were removed from inside the 1948 Israel land.

This is a picture of our delegation walking with Tamar from DAM leaving an abandoned hotel in Lyd that has been trashed and gated since 1948.

Boulders put in place by Israel in a Palestinian Village near Lyd. These boulders are used to stop Palestinians from expanding (building new homes, schools, medical centers, community centers etc..)

Boulders put by Israel in Palestinain village near by lyd (inside Palestine '48) to stop expansion.

A wall payed for by the Israeli government to close in a Palestinian village near by Lyd. The jewish community that demanded the wall claimed that it was for noise control because of a train, but the train is a full kilometer away from where the wall is.

A picture from inside an art gallery at Ein Hod (now a artist colony, in what used to be a Palestinian village). When I asked the persyn working there where the press came from she said it was there since 1950 (when the Palestinians were removed and the “artists” moved in (of course they brought with them these massive olive presses….) I then asked them if they knew that this used to be a Palestinian village and she shrugged and said she had only lived there for 2 years.

More pictures soon (this takes awhile…)

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quick update..

I have not had much time for the computers recently but this is good 🙂
soon i will get up pictures, but before i do that i will get in a bit of information for them!

The first two days that i have been in Palestine i traveled into Palestine ’48 (the land that is now Israel (called Palestine ’48 because the land that was historical Palestine before the 1948 war)). We met Tamar from DAM a Palestinian hiphop group. He gave us a tour around Lyd which is a Palestinian village 10 miles from Tel Aviv. There we witnessed the realities of apartheid within Israel. For example the continual lack of social services given to Palestinian communities within Israel, as well as the continued demolition of Palestinian houses due to racist legal practices of building permits that are denied to Palestinians making it impossible for them to repair old houses or build new ones.

We then spent time in Tel Aviv meeting with Israeli leftist groups such as The Coalition of Women for Peace , Israeli Refusers (refuse to serve in the military) and a group call Boycott From Within. We talked a lot about the growing fascist policies of the Israeli government that is currently in the process of attempting to pass three new laws that will out law BDS, outlaw speaking out against israeli war crimes, and outlawing non-profits from taking money from governmental organizations (this specifically is an attack on the left in israel since most left organizations get funding from European organizations that are usually attached to governments, whereas right-wing organizations get their funding from US organizations that are not specifically attached to the US government). I will more on these laws soon!

We then met with a PHD student Sami Abushhadeh who is studing the recent history of Jaffa. We met him in Jaffa where he gave us a tour and talked about the continuing gentrification of Jaffa. Jaffa or Yaffa (Israel changed name to Yaffo) is historically one of the largest Palestinian cities. This gentrification is an extreme almost militant variety, in that, Nationalist Religious movement groups have bought up pieces of land, demolishing houses and began building new buildings that are for Jews only (but not any Jews, ONLY jews that are apart of this exclusive nationalist group). These settlers have started a few settlements in the westbank and now go on trips to Jaffa where they march around chanting and harassing the Palestinians living in these villages, telling them to get out etc…
Again there is a lot of information in each piece of this so far and i will need to go more in-depth, which i would love to in person! Or to answer specific questions, comment or email me!!

The next day we went up to Ein Hod which is now an artist village south of Haifa. This village is actually right next Yemin Orde which is a boarding school i worked at while in Israel a few years back. Ein Hod was a Palestinian village until 1948 when they were all forced to leave and not allowed to return. I have some pictures to post from Ein Hod where i will talk more about this soon…

In Haifa we met with Adalah (means justice in Arabic). We talked more about the laws as well as the extreme discrimination that happens throughout the entire legal system of Israel (the courts, the police, the army, the laws, etc..) Do look at the web site if you are intrested in more information.

We also met with Baladna, a youth organization for Palestinan’s living within Israel. We talked with them a lot about the racist practice of the school systems within Israel. There are 4 specific curriculums in Israel. 1) ultra orthodox (almost no governmental control) 2) Religious National control 3)Secular Jewish 4) Arab schools (which have no community control). All teachers for arab schools must be screened by the Israeli secret service and will be fired if they mention Palestine, or any history other than the zionist history (they describe this as a training to be “good arabs”, that willing take their place in the jewish controlled state). Not to mention the 1 sheckle to 5 sheckle ratio of money spent on arab students to jewish students in israel. Also all students must take Jewish Religion classes and learn hebrew. Again these are more examples for people who claim that israel is a democracy.. just as people claim the United States is a democracy. We find very similar realities in the US with people of color vs white populations (forced education on white history of the US, lack of funding for schools that are majority people of color, etc). One word for this is Aparthied, which means a system of legal and institutional measures that discriminate against specifica peoples.

The rest of the day was visiting demolished Palestinian villages from 1948 and the attempt of the JNF (jewish national fund) to hide these villages with trees many jewish americans pay money for…

Today we returned to Palestine ’67 and traveled to two different Palestinian homes in small villages and then up to Nablus where i am now.
I am currently in Balata Refugee camp, one of the largest in Palestine.
I am tired and it is late, but i really want to share with you what it is i am seeing, feeling, and taking in, for I can not sit with these emotions alone. There is hope, but only if we move. And the people here are moving!
pictures and perhaps video coming soon!

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