EASTER TRIP TO
I recently spent
a week in
I found the trip
traumatic, but also inspirational—we met so many people there, Israelis and
Palestinians, working so hard for change in such desperate circumstances. Seeing the situation really internalised it
for me, and I now find myself almost unable to stop thinking about it. We were based in the
We were able to
meet Mordecai in the Jerusalem Hotel, which is just outside Damascus Gate in
Groups and people that we met
Olive arranged a
number of meetings for us, where we gathered useful information, and we
travelled all over the
I understand that about 650 Israelis have now refused to serve in the Army—these are mainly people who have served their initial period and are refusing call-back periods, but we did meet one young man who refused after one year. He was imprisoned, but then discharged as unfit to serve.
We went to the Dheisheh Refugee Camp—in operation since 1948. The refugees there are living in very overcrowded conditions and with very little health care and educational provision. The camp still operates under the auspices of UNWRA.
We also met an Israeli doctor from the group--Physicians for Human Rights—this group tries to help people in the occupied territories access health care and provides legal advice, ambulances, mobile clinics etc. Health provision in the occupied territories is poor, but even when people are referred to an Israeli hospital for treatment, the difficulty in getting a permit to travel, the restrictions on movement etc mean that they frequently miss their appointments—this often, literally, becomes a matter of life and death.
We visited the
The Israeli Committee against House Demolitions provided us with a huge amount of information about the Israeli government policy on house demolitions, and we went to see a house that had been demolished 5 times. There is a plaque outside this house in memory of Rachel Corrie and Noha Sweedan, two people demolished by Israeli bulldozers! ICAHD arranges summer camps every year and volunteers help to rebuild demolished properties. 12,000 houses have been demolished since 1967 and 15,000 have been damaged. 180,000 olive trees have been uprooted.
We also visited Neve Shalom-Wahat-al- Salam, the experimental village where Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs live together, and an organization called ‘Windows for Peace’, which facilitates meetings between children of both sides.
described the situation in
international community bears a large part of the responsibility for the
current situation in
N.B. Profiting from the
Occupation - A People’s Tribunal to expose the Corporations behind the Israeli
Occupation of Palestine, on Sunday 9th July 10.30-18.00
at Amnesty Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA