East Jerusalem

The hour before dawn

“A successful military career in Israel is a stepping-stone to success in the political arena and it is not unreasonable to suppose that ex-soldiers carry army-inspired prejudices with them when they enter the Knesset. Therein, perhaps, lies a partial explanation for the construction of the apartheid wall. Maybe the idea wouldn’t have taken root had those involved not been conditioned during their formative years in uniform, and maybe it also explains why the wider Israeli public fails to oppose the project in larger numbers.” Nick Pretzlik muses on the psychological roots of Israeli violations of Palestinian rights. 

View from a Palestine Red Crescent ambulance

We start out from the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) HQ in Al Bireh (next to Ramallah) for a pick up and transfer of patients south of the Qalandya Israeli army check point. Our ambulance, donated by the Norwegian Red Cross, is well equipped for most emergencies. The ambulances are clearly recognizable as such. I am riding with two Emergency Medical Technicians, Emad and Mohamed. They dress in bright red uniforms with large Red Crescent patches and reflective tape. Scott Weinstein writes from Occupied Jerusalem. 

If this is justice, I'm a banana!

“The family last saw Asma Abd-elrazzaq Salih, a 25-year-old mother of two, at the beginning of February this year. It was 1:00 a.m. when the Israeli soldiers arrived at the house, and dawn was breaking as they took her away. She has not been charged with any crime, but is being held as a hostage by the Israeli Army and Government, which has now stooped so low as to kidnap young women.” Nick Pretzlik reports on a particularly disturbing Israeli violation of International Humanitarian Law from East Jerusalem. 

4th of July reflections from Palestine

3 July 2003 — I arrived in Palestine two days ago with no problems or harrassment. It was a pleasant change from last year when I was interrogated by El Al security at New York’s Kennedy International for 1 hour and again for another hour by Israeli passport security at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International. This time, apart from a very bumpy trans-Atlantic flight, it all went very smoothly. Given the choice, I’ll take that kind of turbulence any day. Daniel Jacob Quinn writes from occupied Jerusalem. 

Camino Re'al and the Real Road in Palestine

While talk of “The Roadmap” continues, what also continues are relentless attacks on Palestinian civilians who try to travel the real roads within Gaza and the West Bank. Strange how the natterings of diplomats are rarely informed by the cries of the people. It is reminiscent of Tennessee Williams’ brilliant play, Camino Real,in which we witness the depths of human despair through a nightmare vision of what our world may be coming to, and in some cases has already become. Daniel Jacob Quinn writes from occupied Jerusalem. 

Settler violence and harassment in Sheikh Jarrah

“They do it in the middle of the night. On dark nights. Quietly, stealthily. In large groups. Well organized militias - armed and all. A crowd of about 50 religious settlers. Came in the night to two houses in Israeli-annexed, Arab East Jerusalem, Sheikh Jarrah, over the Green Line. They threw a child out of the broken window they’d entered by. A two-year-old flying baby, falling from the 2nd storey window, five meters high, ending up in hospital traumatised. They hit a man so badly he was driven away unconscious in an ambulance; I saw him go.” Annabel Frey reports on settler harassment in Jerusalem. 

Israel threatens Palestinan land and homes in Qalqiliya

Between walking among the lands in Qalqiliya, which Israel is confiscating for the so-called ‘security barrier’, and visiting the hospital where Jihad, a fourteen year-old martyr who was shot by Israeli ‘special forces’, was prepared for his funeral, one can easily understand why the residents of this caged city state there is an internal closure on their spirits. Robyn Long writes from Occupied Jerusalem. 

Another busy day for IDF bulldozers

“They had to do 16 houses by sundown, and they couldn’t start until the men who live in them had gone off to work in the morning. But those machines are tireless, and by the end of the day, you could find 16 families sitting on heaps of rubble, weeping and cursing. Children, too.” Gila Svirsky of the Coalition of Women for Peace reports on another average day in Occupied Palestine. 

Final thoughts from Palestine

“As we left East Jerusalem for Amman last week, on our way back home, we were struck by the cynicism of what appeared to be a concerted effort by the Israeli press and others in the media to justify, retrospectively, Israel’s siege and destruction of Jenin a year ago because it is now clear that U.S. and British forces are doing the same thing in Iraq.” Kathleen and Bill Christison reflect on their trip from Occupied East Jerusalem. 

Israel violently disrupts Rachel Corrie memorial service in Gaza

On the 18th of March, three of Rachel Corrie’s friends from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) were delivering her body to Tel Aviv as three friends and I entered the Gaza Strip. Her brutal murder by the Israeli solider, fortified in a bulldozer, was the first topic of discussion with community members from the Palestinian police officers who checked our passports to the children in south Rafah who live beside the place where Rachel was killed.