Monday, August 25, 2008


"Welcome to my house," Adnan told us in Arabic through Hanin. He was standing in a specific spot in the middle of a forest. We had driven 20 minutes from Um Il Fahim to a gorgeous and desolate spot in the woods. Until 1948, this forest was Adnan's village. The spot he welcomed us to was the exact place where his family's house had stood—he remembered every detail, every room.

Adnan and his family were expelled from the village of Lajun when he was just a child. They took their house keys and little else with them, because everyone thought that they would be allowed to return shortly. They are still waiting to return.

Two telltale signs alert you to the fact that certain areas used to be Palestinian villages: the first is the stones scattered everywhere on the forest floor, remains of buildings; the second is trees that are not indigenous to the region. Israel plants the trees to cover up the fact that there were once villages in these spots. I will quote Susanne's account of the same day: “The Jewish members of my tour group later reflected to us their horror of realizing that they had paid for these trees growing up. In their U.S. synagogues there was always a box with a sign asking for people's pocket change to 'Plant a Tree in Israel.' They thought they were helping the environment. It turns out they were also helping to cover up former Palestinian villages.”

Adnan bid us farewell and hoped that next time, he would be able to host us as guests in his house.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Jenin Refugee Camp


This wall surrounds Munira and Hani Amer's home on one side, the other three sides being surrounded by settlements. A group of internationals came in to do these murals. The soldiers asked them, "You're not going to paint on the wall, are you?!" and they responded, "You know kids... they'll paint on anything!"



"Peace be With You," the sign reads. Sure, Israel, sure. Cue photos of the checkpoints: if you have a permit to work in 48, you have to get up at two or three in the morning to be on-time for work. The Palestinians are packed into these metal cages like animals and stand in line for hours waiting to cross the border. It's very dehumanizing, especially since you can't see the soldiers who ask you to hold up your passport, you just hear a voice. They can hold you however long they want, it depends on their mood.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Israel: Equality and Justice for All*

*Some restrictions may apply. Offer not available in all areas

Hebron is home to some of the nastiest settlers in the territories. They are proclaimed as some of the most religious people in the world, when in reality these people are monsters. (Stop me if I'm wrong, but isn't it very un-Jewish to try to kill your neighbors?) In the market, the Palestinians have put up metal grids above them so that the settlers living in the buildings the story above won't throw trash, bricks, and crowbars on them (they aim to kill).

The Israeli authorities have a perverse sense of “justice”. When they want to close a Palestinian shop for whatever reason, they weld the door shut. Palestinian fruit vendors carry their fruit in wood and wire baskets... one day a vendor was walking down the street and there was a wire sticking out from his box... he accidentally scratched a settler woman's arm as he passed her. She went screaming to the nearest IDF soldiers that this Palestinian had tried to stab her, and they closed the market down for two months.

The photos of the crumbling structure that used to be a house mark the border between the Israeli-controlled and the PA-controlled side of town. Hisham, our guide, joked that since different parts of the former house were in different territories, if the IDF wanted to arrest someone from the PA-controlled side they'd “wait til he was in the bathroom,”--i.e., on the Israeli side of the house.

We visited a man in Tel Rumeida, a partially seized village, who had settlers living above him next-door. His yard was full of trash they threw at him and his children, including a WASHING MACHINE. They call his children whores every time they try to go to school, and scream at the Arabs to die—there are videotapes of settler riots, of these people tearing down gates, going in to trash Palestinian homes—and the soldiers are just standing there! HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN THE HOLOCAUST SO SOON?! “For me, this is Krystallnacht,” said Dunya. The similarities are so uncanny, that Israel's excuse for taking over a country is because the Jewish people were terrorized in the Holocaust does not hold up any weight at all. For anyone who calls me an anti-Semite for saying this, do you remember the pilgrims who landed here in 1620 escaping religious persecution? I don't think that gave them a right to drive the Indigenous population off of their land and contribute to a genocide. For me, Israel is America is ethnic cleansing, 1492 is 1948. It didn't have to be this way.

Dheisheh Refugee Camp, Bethlehem

The view from the rooftop.

Some kids in the street, very curious as to why this weird group of Americans were taking a tour of their home, followed us around and eventually commandeered my camera. They kept wanting to take pictures of me, and I was like, "No! Let's get some pictures of you guys!"

I'm pretty sure his name was Mohammad, but I could be wrong.

Third picture up from the left: these were my favorite little imps! The guy in the middle is Tariq.

Second picture up from the left and third picture up from the right: view from the rooftop. There bars are everywhere in Palestine; if you want to add on to your house, you usually build on top of an existing structure.

First and second pictures from the bottom right: We watched Shiraa''s local youth circus... they were quite good! The first picture is a routine where everyone is on a bus and the kid in front is driving it, in the second one this kid is actually juggling with fire! He tried to teach me to juggle balls after the performance, but I was pretty hopeless.

Bottom picture: the top floor of Ibdaa'. Painted on the wall are three martyrs from the camp, on the ceiling is children's graffiti.