Living in Jerusalem is a different world than living in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm or Gaza; in fact I can say living in Jerusalem is different than living in any other West Bank town or village. The latest unemployment report that I read was that 60% of the Palestinians are out of work and most of them are living under 2 US American dollars a day. The last damage report estimate that I read was 360 million dollars worth of needed infrastructure repairs from damage that occurred during March and April during the previous incursion. While people sit in their homes without walls eating their meal, I have the privilege of sitting in my secure, quiet and secluded environment where not once has a IDF soldier put his/her foot.
There is a reported 6,500 prisoners, but that was last weeks report: the numbers have changed due to the new and latest incursions into the same West Bank towns which is being ignored by the main stream media. This time no one really knows the amount of prisoners that are detained on this round. (round number 3,4…?) While the prisoners starve because they are denied food and water, or practically delirious because they are not allowed to sleep; I drink my cup of tea and look calmly at the moon pondering what I am going to make for my next meal.
The Israelis are planning a “fence plan” and their goal is to complete it within one year. This fence plan will cripple the Palestinian economy more than it is crippled already, by isolating eight major towns from one another and the outside world. This fence will prevent movement between Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm, Qalqilya, Ramallah, Jericho, Bethlehem and Hebron. This lack of movement has basically happened to thousands of Palestinians due to the checkpoints and denial of renewal of “permission slips.” (Are we in school?) While hundreds of Palestinians wait at a checkpoint here or a checkpoint there for hours, I hop into my car and drive down the street to work and get there in 5 minutes.
Jerusalem, oh Jerusalem with sound of the ringing bells and the call to prayer penetrating through the crisp dry air. Jerusalem the city of peace. (Which reminds me of the famous George Bush quote, “Sharon, is a man of peace.” where did he get that idea?) The mosque has been in Hebron for a few hundred years that now has the privilege of “sharing” the other half with the local settlers who turned it into a synagogue. In the last few weeks, that mosque is forbidden to call prayers to “Allah” for it is too disturbing for the other new co-inhabits of soldiers and settlers. For the first time in history the mosque is silent.
These stories are not new for the locals or the Internationals who reside in the West Bank areas. The web is very complex regarding the situation in the West Bank and continues to weave itself into a myriad of complications. Our words seem to fall flat on the ground and ignored by the Western civilizations of this world. We write, we photograph and plea with others to intervene and protest the occupation of the settlers and Israel into the West Bank areas. We risk deportation by the Israeli government by trying to help others in need in hopes that our voices will be heard and our presence will soften the IDF blows on the Palestinians.
Meanwhile, the siege continues and is getting worse. The sound of bullets ring through the air at any random moment. The locals are spit upon, kicked, harassed, hungry, homeless and caged in while the world sits and watches or waits for fear of being “anti-Semitic” or something I do not understand. If these things were happening to you and in your home and in your neighborhood, you would do the same thing that these beautiful Palestinians do and that is to protect your own place and right to exist.