Waiting to enter Gaza

If there is a single act that characterizes the plight of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation, it is waiting: waiting in lines to pass through the hundreds of checkpoints scattered across the West Bank, waiting for Israel to issue an identification card, waiting for permission to travel to the next village or out of the country, waiting for loved ones languishing in Israeli prisons to be released. And for nearly two months, Kris Petersen shared the experience of waiting for Israel to give permission to travel to Gaza. 

Hope for Palestine's hills

For the past decade and a half, as I stood at the roof of my house in the morning enjoying the sunrise over the Ramallah hills, a few meters down the hill the Jewish settlers were watching the sun rise over the same hills and planning their next move to make them their own. Raja Shehadeh writes from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. 

Really living here

Aware of the dangers now facing hikers like me, I have, of late, been careful to restrict my walks to tracks which avoid any contact with the settlements. Two recent incidents I have experienced personally I believe illustrate what routine life is now like for us Palestinians in the occupied territories. Raja Shehadeh recounts for The Electronic Intifada. 

"I do not struggle alone"

Ibrahim Bornat, 25, from the village of Bil’in in the occupied West Bank, was shot three times in the right thigh with dum-dum bullets by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on 13 June 2008. Like he does every week, Ibrahim was protesting against the construction of the separation wall in his village, which will effectively result in the annexation of 58 percent of the lands by Israel. Dina Awad and Hazem Jamjoum write from occupied Ramallah. 

Far from Palestine's sea

As a lawyer for the Palestinian peace negotiating team, I met presidents, prime ministers, Nobel laureates, secretaries of state and other important figures. But none of these individuals hit me with the same emotional wallop as a young woman named Majda. Diana Buttu writes from occupied Ramallah. 

Nahr al-Bared and the right of return

I left Lebanon more than a week ago and am only now starting to find words. I have never before been in a place that has seen so much war. Occupation, yes. Injustice, yes. Death and destruction and uncertainty, perhaps. But something felt different about Lebanon. I have not wrapped my mind around it enough to feel confident that what I write will accurately represent my own thoughts, let alone the actual situation. But I do want to tell you about Nahr al-Bared. Hannah Mermelstein writes. 

Mr. Bush's trip to Ramallah

So US President George W. Bush came to Ramallah, and of course the city was turned upside down. The Palestinian Authority (PA) wanted to show that they were up to the task of handling the security. I managed to get a press pass and I was cynical but curious to see how the big show would go down. All the photographers and journalists were told to come at 6am at a certain location so that they could be taken all together to the Muqata’a, the PA’s headquarters. Anne Paq reports from Ramallah. 

A Palestinian love story

A few months ago, a European professional in Ramallah threw a farewell party after completing part of the project for which he was recruited. The European himself, a Belgian, spent many years previously in the Palestinian territories and was very well liked locally, not least because he married a Palestinian woman, but that’s another story. A friend and old colleague of mine came up to me at the party and asked me discretely about A., a good-looking and outgoing woman who works with us. 

Prisoner release clouded by thousands still in custody

Thousands gathered at the presidential compound in Ramallah on 3 December 2007 to welcome 429 Palestinian prisoners just released from Israeli jails as part of what Israel has called a “goodwill” gesture. Nonetheless, behind the cheering and flag waving, the feeling was bittersweet as the families of the released were overjoyed to have their loved ones returned, while there remained an atmosphere of cynicism towards Israel’s “gesture.” Jesse Rosenfeld writes from Ramallah. 

Uprooted and displaced

Standing on a hill at the edge of Idhna with the displaced farmers Muhammad Talab and Muhammad Ibrahim Natah, the only visible remnants of their destroyed village is a patch of white dust just on the other side of Israel’s wall. Despite being part of the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military destroyed the 267-person farming village of tents and tin houses west of Hebron on 29 October and allegedly ordered villagers to relocate to Idhna. EI contributor Jesse Rosenfeld reports from the occupied West Bank.