Friday Post:

June 15, 2009


The Swine Flu finally made it into the West Bank unfortunately–thanks to some people coming from America.  A four year old is the first one to be infected in Bethlehem.  Hopefully it doesn’t spread.  People have already started becoming paranoid about the few pigs that exist in the West Bank, thinking the swine flu comes from any pig you could run into.  So there have been some pig casualties.  But the only ones who really have pigs here are the settlers–and they are actually semi-wild boars. 

The settlers use these boars to “protect” their illegal settlements.  But they often just starve them and then let them loose on the Palestinian villages below the settlements.  THEY ARE INSANE!  A friend of mine was recently ambushed by around 20 wild boars near a settlement while he was in the olive fields.  So he climbed up the tree and the boars tried to knock the tree down!  Luckily his P.A. friends arrived in time to save him with their kalashnikovs.

US envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, came to meet Abbas on Wednesday and reiterated that the US wants Israel to stop settlement expansion, even natural growth–although they dont say anything about what they will do with the hundreds of illegal settlements (and rabid boars) already here.  hmm…

Also, the fact that the settlers know their time is almost up is making them expand like crazy!  They have started building outposts in the West Bank and calling them “Obama outposts”, ha.  So Abbas gave Mitchell a detailed account of all the settlement activity in the West Bank, hopefully it has an effect.

Other than that, the Israelis have also been partially shutting down checkpoints for appearances, then either re-setting them up or setting up new ones in other places.  Thats how Israel works, like when they have “prisoner releases” for ‘goodwill’,  they arrest twice as many Palestinians for no reason the next week!  ughh…

Anyways, the factional fighting between Hamas and Fateh hasn’t really cooled down yet.  I can’t believe that Palestinians (ehem, Hamas) are fighting each other over power in a powerless ‘state’ instead of focusing on whats important–their best chance at an independent state in decades.  ha. 

But Hamas is really out of their minds.  They would literally rather attack the PA and Fateh than Israeli military.  CRAZINESS.  Anyways, I think the PA has the situation under control right now, but a civil war is not out of the question.  and would be so terrible.

There was a martyr in Ni’lin last Friday–another village like Bil’in that has weekly demonstrations against the wall.  His name was Yusef Srour. He was shot with live ammunition in the heart at a peaceful demonstration–he was trying to get to a 16 year old kid who was shot in front of him, also with live ammunition, to take him to the ambulance.  As he tried to go to him, a sniper shot him.  Its horrible, he had 3 kids and his wife is pregnant. 

The way people described him he seemed exactly the same kind of person as Bassem, from Bil’in.  A leader and organizer of the protests.  A smiley, happy guy who was friends with everyone in the village and always trying to help and solve any problems.  Last friday in Ni’lin they shot like 5 or 6 people with live ammunition. 

Obviously two doesnt prove a pattern, but I wouldnt put much past the Israelis at this point.  I think they are targeting people who are the leaders, who are kind of the heart of the village.  They are trying to stop this kind of nonviolent resistance that is starting in the West Bank because they know the world will sympathize with it. 

The soldiers are always the same at the protests, they know most of the Palestinian men by name.  So Im sure they know who is important and who isnt.  Anyways, Im going to keep a close eye on who they shoot and see if I can prove anything.

Bil’in today was pretty tame today.  It was really hot and the wind was blowing (the teargas) right into us all the way at the back.  Ive been sick this week so I never even went close to the wall.  Just sat under a tree. 

There was a group from the US called code pink or something like that–about 20 or 30 of them.  They seemed cool until we got to the wall and they noticed the five or so boys with slingshots.  Then half of them left because they thought that wasnt “cool”.  Id like to see what they would do if they were born in Bil’in and Israel stole their land and livlihoods!

Anyways, the other half of them ran off so fast I could barely see them after the first 5 teargas canisters were shot.  It was really strong teargas today though.  Sometimes we didnt even see the gas but we were choking.  Then the soldiers started using rubber bullets so we moved back further. 

Then they started shooting live ammunition so we went out of range and watched the boys throwing stones to make sure nothing happened.  They are sooooo brave…ha.  I think its a combination of courage and desperation–the fact that they have no choice. 

Anyways they are amazing I think.  Luckily none of them got hurt, and then we headed back to the village.

There was a wedding in Bil’in today so we went and ate lunch there.  The women and mens areas are separate so I dont know what the men were doing.  But the women were playing music on the tabla and dancing.  There was mansaf–an amazing arabic dish of lamb and rice with a yogurt sauce. 

Then right as we were leaving the groom (from Bil’in) was getting ready to go pick up the bride from a nearby village at her fathers house.  They had a camel and two horses as part of the procession and about 5 little girls in flower girl dresses. 

Then we went to get my roommate from the mens side–he had his professional camera out and was surrounded by like 30 kids under 12.  Hahaha, it was so funny.

Anyways, thats the news for this week…


One comment

  1. Please keep up the good work of your blog. I read everything you write. I just think it is SO important to capture all your experiences and thoughts in this fashion. It helps me better understand you and your everyday life. It is truly amazing this life you lead whether it is just the little light-hearted situations (i.e., the pink wig, the flat tire) or the serious political ones. Not to mention everything in between!

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