Stuck between a wall and an occupation

When Bilal Jadou’s grandmother was sick last year, neither Israeli ambulances or Palestinian ambulances were able to cross the checkpoint to his house. Jadou’s house is on the other side of the sprawling apartheid wall, separated from his community and the West Bank. Nora Barrows-Friedman interviews Jadou from Aida refugee camp, occupied West Bank. 

A Palestinian refugee's open letter to Obama

Dear President-elect Barack Obama: I don’t know if you will read these words or not, but I do hope that such words that come from my heart will reach yours, and you can find the hope and strength our people still have in them. I do hope that you will fulfill your promise of change, that your daughters will remain proud of their father and his achievements. Right is right, and justice is justice. All people are equal, and no race or color is superior above the others. EI contributor Abdelfattah Abusrour writes from occupied Ramallah. 

Deaths of four "terrorists"

Few other words shut down critical thought as completely as the word “terrorist.” Few other labels are so morally loaded, so totalizing, so antithetical to reasoned, measured debate. Almost no other term evokes such facile, muddled thinking. Thus, when a local leader of Islamic Jihad and three other Palestinian “terrorists” were killed by Israeli special forces in Bethlehem on Wednesday night, few outside of Palestine will mourn their deaths. JR Malsin writes from Bethlehem. 

Rachel's Grove vulnerable in Bethlehem

The deep blue fleecy sky tells a story of idyllic holiday destinations. We are with Abed Rabo from Deheisheh refugee camp, Bethlehem, on our way to his land. With support from the Olive Tree Campaign from the Joint Advocacy Initiative, Abed Rabo has planted olive trees to send a clear message to Israel that the land it wants to confiscate for “Greater” Jerusalem is his land. Adri Nieuwhof and Amer Madi write from occupied Bethlehem. 

Living Stones: Easter 2007

6 April 2007: Al-Masiih Qaam! Haqaan Qaam! (Christ Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed!). This Arabic greeting has been commonly heard this week as Christians from across the world traveled to Jerusalem to experience Easter. It is truly an exciting experience. Yet at the same time, we witness with sadness the realities that our Palestinian sisters and brothers continue to face. The week before Easter had already been quite a full week, here in the “holy land.” The Sunday before Easter, Palm Sunday, was marked by a huge procession from the historical town of Bethphage, where Jesus began his donkey ride 2000 years ago, up and over the Mount of Olives, and then back down again up to the Old City of Jerusalem. 

Mary's Anger

The following is the story of Mary van Teeffelen-Morcos as recorded by Toine van Teeffelen on 10 April 2007: I went to the checkpoint with Yara and Tamer, after getting my Easter permit at the parish. As always, the rings and jewelry had to be put in the basket. Yara, too, took off her bracelet. She went in and out of the X ray each time putting off something new but the machine stayed beeping. Then the woman soldier behind the bullet proof glass asked her to put off her pants. In public. Would you allow your daughter to put her pants off just like that, with everybody around? 

Review of Identity

Mary: Why don’t you buy a car and get an international driving license? We are having a month-long permit to visit Jerusalem and now we cannot find a taxi driver who is going to bring us with my mother, who does not walk easily, to Jerusalem. The taxi drivers are all busy. Only a few have permits and the right licenses. Toine: Do you know what I read in an email here? Persons driving a yellow-plate Israeli car cannot anymore take Palestinians from the West Bank as passengers. So if I am going to rent a car in Jerusalem and come over here into Bethlehem, I will refuse you on behalf of the Israeli army the privilege of sharing my car. 

The Christmas Gate

Looking back at Christmas in Bethlehem, I found there were too many absurdities to compensate for the familiar gay scenes of drum bands and parents with kids on their shoulders characteristic for the entry of the Patriarch and next day’s festivities around Nativity Square. Imagine, the Patriarch entering Bethlehem through the old Jerusalem-Hebron road, passing through a city quarter deadened by so many circling Walls that a talented photographer can make a surrealistic exhibition out of it. There is a legal term for what is happening to Bethlehem and several other Palestinian cities: urbicide, the killing of a city. 

Photostory: Retracing bus no. 23 on the historic Jerusalem-Hebron Road

I was 13 years old standing next to my father in Bethlehem one sunny and windy day when he took my hand and pointed to the settlement of Gilo and said, “See baba, see there?” My eyes followed his finger as it moved across the landscape and stopped at the settlement of Har Gilo. “And there. See? They are going to build settlements just like those all around us.” Then with his arm still outstretched, we turned in a circle and as I watched his finger pointing at the horizon line around Bethlehem and Beit Jalla, he added, “One day they will encircle us.”