report from Palestine August 21, 2003

Steve gets a bit of beach-y R&R, but only a bit.

"I continue to believe that this
is exactly what the Israeli Right
wants--the more warfare there is,
the more support they get."

Tel Aviv, Thursday, August 21, 2003

Again, no photos attached--my apologies. I forgot to
bring my CD-ROM to the Internet cafe.

Yesterday was a stressful and depressing day in
Jayyous. In the evening, some farmers and
internationals went down to the gate to try and cut
the wire that was holding it shut (for some reason,
the chain and lock had not been put back on after the
gate was opened for some construction workers working
on the Wall). We were especially concerned about
"Farhat's" 12,000 cabbage seedlings, which needed to
be planted before they died.

We had a complex operation, with some folks at the
municipality on the top of the hill watching out for
security cars approaching, some of us halfway down the
hill, out of sight, with big clippers, and some folks
at the gate. Work on the wire ceased when security
showed up, followed by Border Guard and army--8
vehicles in all. Ora from JAtO and Abu Ali negotiated
and pleaded with the uniformed men to open the gate
for the farmers waiting. Eventually, they allowed the
3 farmers through--without internationals. We were
concerned about their safety out there with all those
soldiers, but they were OK. The affront to Jayyous
farmers' dignity, pleading for permission to enter
their own land, makes me want to cry.

This morning, we went down to plant the cabbage
seedlings. The farmers came down to the gate in a
taxi, and the security refused to let it
through--totally arbitrarily, and completely beyond
their mandate. We proceeded on foot, and managed to
get all the cabbage into the ground.

Afterward, Gabriel from SUSTAIN, Ora from JAtO,
Christy from Olympia and I left Jayyous for Tel Aviv.
It was really hard to say goodbye to the Jayyous Peace
Activists--I can't wait to see them again next year.

Gabriel had a long talk with the Israeli Society for
Citizens' Rights about the situation with the gates in
the Apartheid Wall. They may be able to mount a
successful case in the High Court of Israel to change
the situation.

We had planned to go to Nablus tomorrow for a Saturday
demonstration, but with the invasions of Nablus,
Tulkarm and Jenin by the Israeli army, the demo may be
called off. The Israeli army assassination of a Hamas
leader in Gaza today signals a whole new round of
strike and counterstrike. I continue to believe that
this is exactly what the Israeli Right wants--the more
warfare there is, the more support they get.

It's good to be able to relax on the beach in Tel
Aviv. In the morning, we'll go to Tel Aviv District
Court to attend a hearing of Andreas and Andrew, Swede
and Scot from ISM Nablus who were arrested for
chaining themselves to a home slated for demolition in
Balata Refugee Camp (the cruelty of bulldozing
refugees' homes boggles the mind). [see the photo and
link on my post yesterday, and now the "after" photo

After that, perhaps to Nazlat Isa. It's a village
right over the Green Line from the Baqa el-Gharbiya,
the town I lived in 1985-1986. Nazlat Isa is one of
the communities isolated between the Wall to the east
and the Green Line to the west. Most of Nazlat Isa's
commercial district was demolished to make way for the
Wall last winter, and the Israeli army began
demolishing what's left today.


The Salim famliy in their destroyed home in Balata on Sunday.
[photo from International Middle East Media Center]