The Writing on the Wall: Terry Boullata

The Writing on the Wall is a series of interviews with Palestinians who live close to the Wall. Van Teeffelen asked three questions: How is your daily life influenced by the Wall and the checkpoints? What does freedom mean to you? What are your sources of energy? Toine van Teeffelen speaks with Terry Boullata, head of a private school in Abu Dis and an advocacy worker. “My neighborhood was turned overnight from a residential base into a military zone. Men, women, children - everybody was jumping over the wall at the low point near our house. You could always find children jumping amidst teargas and sound bombs. On a daily basis.” 

Photostory: Hebrew University to displace Palestinian families

On Sunday, November 21 at 7:15AM, bulldozers and armed security guards arrived at the home of Al-Helou family in Jerusalem to announce that their land will be confiscated for the expansion of the university dormitories. The Al-Helou family is among seven families whose houses are trapped among the university dormitory buildings. They have lived in this area, called Ard Al-Samar, since 1948 when they were forced out of the Jerusalem village of Lifta. The dormitory buildings have been closing in on the families, who are now confined in small pockets of land surrounded by the fences. Shirabe Yamada witnessed the destruction. 

The First Day of Ramadan

Today (October 15) I planned to go photograph a new discovery of the visual art of Al Quds (Jerusalem). The Coptic Church in the old city is filled with two rows of murals on all of its walls, executed in 1961 by a Palestinian artist who had experienced the Nakbe. A friend stopped me, saying go run now or else I’d would be stuck in the crush of people going to pray the noon prayer at Al Aqsa. Not only is it Friday, but it’s also the first day of Ramadan. And oh, she added, the place will also be full of Israeli soldiers and police — they will seem to number as many as the worshipers, she said. 


“The news from Palestine is so bad and the process of strangulation applied by Israel is so constant and murderous that one expects the worst. But I always find silent resistance, the natural tenacity of life, and the stubbornness of the Palestinians erasing my mental pictures of doom. Still yet, the disastrous applications of the Israelis take my breath away.” Samia Halaby, who was forced to leave Palestine in 1948. Her family emigrated to the United States where she became an artist and taught at American Universities, including the Yale School of Art. These days she is back in Palestine and writing about her experiences. 

"These are my guests, and this is my house", Priest stands up to the Wall

“No! These are my guests, and this is my house!” The admonition is delivered to Israeli soldiers attempting to stop a group of Palestinian women crossing the grounds of a monastery. The messenger is Father Claudio Ghilardi, a Passionist priest from Italy. His message is clear: at least as far as the monastery grounds are concerned, he will not permit the harassment of Palestinians by soldiers. The soldiers desist as long as Father Claudio is present. The Palestinians continue on their way, attempting to cross the monastery and reach Jerusalem on the other side. At least they were able to get this far, thanks to Father Claudio’s intervention. 

Genocide By Public Policy

Many words are taboo if used to describe Israel�s actions against Palestinians. One word in particular — genocide — sparks emotions that echo across Israel, Europe, and North America. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines genocide as “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.” What is happening in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip today is dangerously close to genocide, close enough that photographs of terrified Palestinians in Rafah loading their meager belongings onto carts and fleeing their homes are all too reminiscent of another time, another place another people. These images should be setting off alarm bells in the hearts and minds of Israelis. 

The Hillel Cafe Bombing

It is now 11:59 PM, half an hour after the suicide bombing at Hillel Cafe. Just the night before, my wife and I and two of our friends were sitting at the Cafe until around 11:40 PM. The place was packed. I can now hear the sirens of the ambulances racing through the streets of Jerusalem. I cannot get the images out of my head; images of severed arms, decapitated heads, people with nails and pieces or iron stuck in their bodies, broken tables, the cake and sandwich bar shattered into thousands of pieces. Yitzhak Frankenthal writes from Jerusalem 

War in a very small place

We sit in a Jerusalem hotel on Friday night — the third night of the war — watching what looks like the beginning of Operation Shock and Awe, or some variation of it, in Baghdad, wondering how our former colleagues on the Iraq Peace Team are faring under this massive bombardment, wondering how frightened they must be, wondering how we would be responding ourselves if we were there. We are not there, but we have another war to report on, another civilian population under attack and siege. We went to Jenin in Palestine on Thursday. Bill and Kathy Christison report on what they are finding on their tour around Palestine. 

Snow-covered Rubble

The snow will soon melt and the destroyed homes, bullet riddled walls, tank-rippled roads will re-appear, only to jog the collective memories of those Palestinians that remain the victims of this thirty-six year man- made tragedy called Israeli occupation.