Heart of Palestine

2010/05/25, Day 01
2010/05/26, Day 02
2010/05/27, Day 03
2010/05/28, Day 04
2010/05/29, Day 05
2010/05/30, Day 06
2010/05/31, Day 07
2010/06/01, Day 08
2010/06/02, Day 09
2010/06/03, Day 10
2010/06/04, Day 11

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31 May 2010, Monday

Fellow delegates sending in reports from the library

7:15 A.M.

Breakfast at a table with D.F., F.R., S.W., and D.T. Conversation was abuzz with the IDF raid of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. The prevailing mood was shock and disbelief: this can’t be happening; no way would Israel raid a flotilla filled with peaceful unarmed activists — among them a survivor of the Holocaust — then use lethal force against them. Reporting in the aftermath of the raid was confusion; different accounts of the number of dead and injured were coming from various media outlets. Al Jazeera reported ten dead on the flotilla, Haaretz reported 60 injured. It was reported that the IDF commandos shouted “SHUT UP!” before firing on the activists on board.

Palestinians’ homes that were taken over by settlers, replete with ostentatious displays of Israeli flags;
one would have gathered that from the chain-linked fences and guard posts

9:00 A.M.

We put our larger luggage in the Holy Land Hotel for safekeeping. We were keeping only a night bag for a homestay in the West Bank village of Bil’in.

9:10 A.M.

Nablus road leads to Ramallah.

9:15 A.M.

The Israeli settlement of Heit Haneena was visible to the left.

9:20 A.M.

The town of Aram is divided by a wall.

9:30 A.M.

The wall divides East Jerusalem in two.

9:35 A.M.

Because there are no building restrictions to the right of the wall, and the apartments more affordable, construction is booming. It is widely speculated that once the wall has been completed, the Palestinians who live to the right of the wall will have their Jerusalemite status revoked ’cos all land to the right of the wall would be considered the West Bank, all that to the left of the wall would be considered East Jerusalem.

9:40 A.M.

West Bank town Al-Dira. Ramallah city has a population of approximately 80–100 thousand.

9:45 A.M.

Al Mugata is the Palestinian authority government building.

9:50 A.M.

West Bank town Suura. A lot of wealthier Arabs live here. Residents here receive water distribution 2, 3 times a month.

Bill notifying cancellation of Noam Chomsky“s talk due to Israel’s refusal to issue visa.

9:58 A.M.

Beir Zeit University. Noam Chomsky was invited to give a talk here, but was denied permission to enter at Ben Gurion.

In addition to over 600 permanent checkpoints in the West Bank, temporary checkpoints appear frequently with no advance notice.

There used to be quite a few students from Gaza attending the university, but after the 2nd intifada, there are no more students from Gaza ’cos of the blockade on Gaza.

Palestinian flag at half mast to mourn the Gaza Freedom Flotilla dead

Beir Zeit University history: established 1924 as a girl’s school. in 1976 it was rededicated as a university. Students’ gender break down as 56% females, 44% males. Reason: females tend to score better on the entrance exam, a small percentage of males travel abroad to study. 60% of the West Bank population is under the age of 25 years old. Because Israel does not conduct safety tests for food sold to Palestinians in the West Bank, the University provide the testing for food safety. The University had been shut down by the IDF no less than 15 times. During each of the shutdowns, Palestinian students have secretly gone to private homes to study, asserting their right to education.

80 students have been arrested according to British colonial law. The reasons given for arrest include belonging to student groups, recruiting members for student groups. Arrests are never supported by material evidence.

Palestinians carry 2 forms of travel permit. The green colored permit are carried by Palestinians who live in the territory delineated by the green line of 1967. The blue colored permit is an overseas travel permit. Country of residence is indicated as Jordan.

To answer the brunt of criticism towards Israel’s practice of trying both Palestinian adults and children in front of military tribunals, Israel established a juvenile military tribunal.

Israel is stripping Palestinians of their right to receive an education.

New terminologies: 48 is to the left of the green line, 67 is the West Bank territory to the right of the green line and the Gaza Strip.

Demonstration in downtown Ramallah city against IDF raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

Even a meal can be a peaceful symbol of resistance

3:40 P.M.

Heading for the village of Bil’in, pass Ain Arik village. Ain is the Arabic word for eye, or spring [water].

Bassem Abu Rahmah was struck by an IDF tear gas cannister in the chest, and bled to death

3:57 P.M.

We reach the village of Bil’in, the Wall of Resistance. Iyad Burnat. Wall in Bil’in was erected in 2004. Starting in 2005, the villagers of Bil’in protest every friday. We get a close look of spent teargas cannisters (shaped like lightbulbs) and noise bombs (shaped like fat sidewalk chalk). In 19 April 2009, Bassem was struck in the chest by a teargas cannister, despite pleas for medical treatment, IDF took no action, and he bled to death. Popular committee strugle.

Above: Fences that divide Bil’in and Nil’in village.
Below: Spent IDF tear gas cannister and sound bomb

Israeli settlement not far from the chain-linked fence surrounding Bil’in

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