West Bank

Tony Blair and the full measure of justice

An elderly Palestinian woman grabbed my hand and held it over her chest. “Feel my heartbeat,” she said. “We are really afraid of the settlers.” Only half an hour before she took my hand, a group of 20 settlers from Maon settlement entered the village of Juwwiya and shot at her and her family as they grazed their sheep. Joy Ellison writes from the occupied West Bank. 

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. 

Einab junction: inside Israel's new terminals

When I first visited the West Bank in 2003, checkpoints were controlled by young Israeli soldiers, nervously clutching their weapons and yelling at Palestinians to stay in line. When I returned in 2005, I found many checkpoints replaced by metal turnstiles into which Palestinians were herded to wait for soldiers to push a button, letting them through one by one or sometimes not at all. Anna Baltzer writes of her experience at one of those terminals. 

The real meaning of hope

Stepping out of the taxi cab and onto the gravel road, I walked towards the notorious Huwwara checkpoint near Nablus in the northern West Bank. To my left, I passed throngs of people waiting in lines barely inching along in the blistering summer heat, awaiting the apathetic wave of an Israeli soldier’s hand to be let through. Dina Elmuti writes from Nablus, occupied West Bank. 

Mending the broken wing

Thousands of hectares of land have been confiscated, hundreds of olive trees were uprooted and tens of thousands of trees were burned at the hands of Israeli occupying forces. In Palestinian villages, where social and economic development is sustained from the land, the villagers are left asking: What’s left for next generations?! Abdallah Mesleh reflects on the significance of the harvest to his besieged village of Nilin. 

No reprieve from settler violence in sight

I was part of a group of journalists and peace activists recently attacked by stone-throwing Israeli youths in an olive grove near the West Bank city of Hebron. Fortunately, I was not hit. Hazem Bader, a Palestinian photographer working for Agence France-Presse, was not so lucky and ended up needing eight stitches on his scalp and a night in hospital. Paul Adrian Raymond writes from the 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. 

Is Spain inside or outside the Nablus checkpoint?

The group of internationals I had traveled with to the northern West Bank city of Nablus had decided to park our car just behind the Huwwara checkpoint, where Israeli soldiers control Palestinian movement to and from the city. From the outset, I began taking pictures of an Israeli military outpost littered with heavy tanks and armored vehicles. Eddie Vassallo writes from the Balata refugee camp. 

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. 

Protecting Yanoun

The children playing in the dusty yard of the house below my olive tree know that they are surrounded by foes. The tops of the surrounding hills, which used to belong to the village but have been confiscated for use by an Israeli settlement, are scattered with watchtowers, mobile trailers and chicken sheds. Groups of settlers, often teenagers, regularly come through the village accompanied by dogs and carrying M-16 machine guns. Paul Adrian Raymond writes from Yanoun.