what he did this summer

[updated July 18 to include contact information for Steve this summer]

Our friend Steve Quester is back in the Middle East. I posted his reports from Palestine in the spring and summer of last year, and I expect to be able to post all of his current dispatches from today.

This is Steve's first email this summer, sent just after he arrived to resume work with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). The text appears here with edits only eliminating his contact information - for his security and that of others while he's there.

Steve's suggestion for reaching him his summer:

While I prefer not to receive email while I'm away, I love to get phone calls on my cell phone here. If you're in the eastern United States, the best time to call is when you wake up in the morning; since we're 7 hours ahead, that corresponds to mid-afternoon here. To call me, dial the international access code (011 if calling from the U.S.), followed by country code 972, mobile phone code 67, and telephone number 308-192. There is voice mail on my cell phone in case I can't pick up or am in an area without coverage.
lockquote>I'm in Tel Aviv at the moment. Got into Israel without too much fuss; it helped to be traveling with an Israeli. There was a young Palestinian man on the plane with his wife and baby. He was whisked off to the police at the airport while his wife held the baby and waited.

We're staying with a couple who are members of Black Laundry*, Israel's queer anti-occupation movement. One of them described being pulled aside and interrogated when she tried to enter the U.K.; for some reason she
was profiled along with 2 Palestinians and 4 Pakistanis. She described how infuriating and humiliating the experience was, and also how important
for her, as an Israeli, to be on the receiving end of profiling for once. As an anti-occupation organizer, she had always understood how terrible the practice is, but had never felt it herself.

Tomorrow we'll attend the trial in absentia of an American member of ISM who was arrested and deported. We leave from Jerusalem on Friday morning to attend the two-day ISM training in an as yet undisclosed West Bank city.

See these sites for New York information about and Tel Aviv photos of the amazing group which call itself "Black Laundry," for the phrase's perverse combination of English and Hebrew meanings related to "black sheep" and "dirty laundry."