Report from Palestine IV

[message from Steve in Palestine as relayed through Donald here in New York]

Sunday 8/18. I spoke with Steve at 9 AM New York Time (4PM Palestine Time)

Still not much action to report, but lots of travelling. Steve says
his affinity group are all staying in the Balata refugee camp at
Nablus, where many homes are slated for demolition by
Israeli "security". Steve was on the road there when I spoke with
him.

Yesterday Steve went with his friend Said to the West Bank. They
visited the family of Said's cousin, who was murdered by Israeli
soldiers. They spent the night there, and had lots of opportunity to
watch Israeli tanks drive around the streets of the village.

Today Steve got into Ramallah through a special route through a
cement factory, by-passing roadblocks. He met with one of the
leading organizers of ISM, and they talked about publicizing and
recruiting for an ISM action during the West Bank olive harvest:
Internationals are needed to help minimize shooting of farmers by
settlers during the harvest. The occupation and the settlers have
devastated the Palestinian economy, and
reserving/defending/supporting the olive harvest is crucial to
Palestinians.

Steve was surprised at how bustling and animated Ramallah in contrast
with the curfew times.

Travel News: (this part is conversational notes)
When I spoke with Steve he was in transit from Ramallah to Nablus.
He had passed through the first check point. The check points are
typically humiliating, requiring Palestinians to line up and wait
huge amounts of time just to get from one part of their country to
another.

After passing through the first check point, he got a cab. The
driver knew how to gain access to some settler roads, which meant
they could circumvent road blocks. It also meant some really
circuitous paths taken to get on and off the settler road. When I
spoke to him he was on his way to the check point for getting into
Nablus.

Steve comments that the countryside is very beautiful. But it's also
very strange to look out and see little Palestinian communities in
some places and fortified settler communities in others. The
settlements are in violation of a section of the 4th Geneva
convention, which forbids transfer of invading population to invaded
territory. Ironically, this section of the convention was instituted
in response to the [historical German geopolitical concept, Lebensraum especially as modified and implemented by the Nazi regime.]

That's all for now.

dsg