Friday, July 3, 2015


However disjointed my thoughts remain, I need to start.

  • Imagine you are a 5 year old, having to go through 5 intimidating check points each way in order to get to school.  Volunteers who work in Hebron as one of their duties, get to walk these little people to and from school each day as well as do walks around the city observing how IDF officers are treating people.  
  • Families find that the ID checking procedures are suddenly quicker and easier when a foreigner is present.  Until then, I had doubts whether volunteer efforts, non violent approaches were really making a difference.  They are.
  • At the Qalandia crossing, foreigners get to stay on the bus.  I didn't want to.  I wanted to feel what standing in corrals, like cattle, for what could be hours, with no air circulation, waiting for the light to turn green before an undetermined number of people are allowed to go through the wall high turn stalls, some getting locked in midway, being watched by camera and officers from above, hidden behind bullet proof glass.  People have died waiting to get through such checkpoints trying to get to a hospital.  Some women have had to give birth there.
  • Do you want to learn patience?  Go to Palestine.  Palestinians are incredibly patient.  They say they are born waiting.  I have a lot to learn because even typing this is making my blood want to boil.
  • The ridiculous notion of one street being separated into sections where Palestinians could walk on, but not drive on, others where select families could drive on but could not walk on.  Houses that front streets where you were not allowed to leave by your front door, but rather via roof tops to another street in another block where there was street you were allowed to walk on.  Just to go buy bread.
  • Highways that divert around the main Israeli only roads so that a trip can take hours longer than it should be.  And that is without sudden pop up check points.
  • Farmers who are cut off from their land suddenly by walls, off limit roads, and are harassed, shot at for sport, while trying to get to their fields to harvest and take care of their crops.  Again, volunteers efforts here as accompaniment are making a difference.  
  • Farmers who are not allowed to use tractors or any type of farming tool and being forced to harvest wheat by hand!
  • Being a prisoner in your own house, afraid of being shot, harassed, having your windows broken by flying stones, having severe water shortages, being constantly watched, being awoken at 2 - 3 am by soldiers banging on your door to do random checks.  The threat of being arrested and detained for years for no reason at all.
 Word is getting out.  
A team from the Netherlands staging an event to raise money
and to show Palestinians that the outside world cares.
The lady in the front middle, is the Mayor of Bethlehem.
She spoke passionately about the quest of Palestinians for the Right to Free Movement.
Here's another great event.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


  • I'm getting close to being ready to write about my time in Israel & Palestine.  It is important to Palestinians and for those of us who stand as witnesses, to do so.  
  • I've been uncharacteristically clammed up about it.  Any attempts to verbally describe what I saw to people still illicit strong anger. The concerns are so huge, I still don't know exactly where to start. 
  • Another valuable resource:  Palestine Speaks:  Narratives of Life Under Occupation by Cate Malek and Mateo Hoke.  The intro astounded me as it is Dead On in its description -- Have pictures illustrating the initial progression.  I had intended to read it before I left but didn't have enough time.  Glad it worked out that way because reading it after has impacted me far more.  

In regular news:

  • Those of you who currently own or may end up buying cars that use nitrogen gas in the tires, a word of advice:  There is a online directory of mechanic shops that supply it across Canada and the US.  Good to know if heading out on a road trip etc.  
  • Or when you suddenly notice lack of traction during a turn in the rain or a tire looking limp -- We acquired a nail in one of our tires.  And it was also great to find out that Costco tire centers offers nitrogen for free to its members.  Finally, it is safe to put regular air in nitrogen tires.
  • I have been addicted to Halawa/Halva since my return.  I lugged 2 containers home from a small shop in Nablus and it has officially become my version of cocaine...I even use a super sharp knife to shave off ultra thin slices...Warning:  Absolutely not low cal!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Occupation Separation Segregation

I found it impossible to remain indifferent here.  
And difficult to speak or write without feeling strong anger and outrage.  
So for now I will leave you with some photos, a tiny glimpse of what I saw.
Plus a couple of resources should you wish to delve into this topic and region.