Archive for July, 2007

American Fan

As previously mentioned the weather is warm here now. Warmer than normal according to what we have been told. The fan on my room was not working when I came here so one of the days I brought it to an electrician across the street. He repaired it for 15 NIS.

It didn’t take long before it stopped again. I tried to sleep outside, but I had to give it up. May be it was one or two degrees cooler outside but the humidity was too much. The repair shop didn’t get a new chance and yesterday I carried a brand new fan home from a shop nearby.



It was with mixed feelings I entered the street with this brand new fan. The packing appeared to be decorated with American flags and his was even the day Bush had promised a rice of American military assistance to Israel from 2.3 mills USD to 3.0 USD. However, as far as this local shop keeps selling this I assumed that I wouldn’t face any problems.

Telling that, there are a lot of American and Israeli goods here.  This indicates that the resistance has not reached the average consumer yet. We have been told that the impact of commercial and availability plays a role. The toothbrush on TV sells best and it is an exaggeration to say that flow of goods in and out of this area is totally controlled by the Palestinians.
At the international scene Palestinian organizations argue for boycott of Israel. The International court of justice gave such an approach credit when it handled the wall in 2003. This has only resulted in a few initiatives. Boycott or not, I am anyways disappointed that my former employer Veolia/Connex are building a light-rail system connecting settlements in East Jerusalem to the city. This is parts of the town and suburbs that practically isolate the Palestinian East Jerusalem from the West Bank and split the already fragmented West Bank into two main parts. This alone, according to our Christian Israeli guide, makes a two state solution impracticable. Wasn’t the two state solution that was supposed to give peace here?


Intelligent Power

There are many thoughts around regarding the occupation. That it’s hard to leave this land for any Israeli government as far as Israel is controlling it, that even an occupier wants security for its population in one or another way etc…

Anyway, much of the Israeli presence here at the West Bank appears to be something more than security. There is someone we should hassle. There is someone we don’t like? Today we were at Beit Iba Check Point situated centrally in the West Bank. Mainly heavy vehicles pass here, whilst people are crossing by foot. On both sides the taxies are mingling.

It is close to all time high temperatures at the moment. In spite of this we registered a waiting time of 1.5 hours for the vehicles. We asked if it was possible to check two cars at the same time in order to increase the car flow through the check point since there were more than enough soldiers to organize this. “Against the orders”, was the reply. However, later on the soldiers changed their mind and started to check to vehicles at the time. Soon the queue was almost gone.

Another check point video with a slightly closer look on the solders than the previous one

We have been told that one of the worst examples of a security installations used to hassle & humiliate people is the Ephraim Terminal (ostensibly a 53 mill $ spending) not far from here. We have planned to take a look, but it is run by a private company. This might make it harder to get a good overview. May be I will bring the story of Abdul Karim in B’tselem when he went through last week later on. It took 80 minutes and several different approaches to detect if he was bringing something dangerous on his way to the beach. Saying that: He is one of the lucky that have a fair chance of getting a permit to go to the beach.

Football boots

I have an agreement with an Italian guy called Alberto to play football here. The best football team in Tulkarem has actually won a West Bank championship. However, Alberto thinks that the level isn’t too high even for us. I myself will not give any statements before I know I can stand 10 minutes of football in this heat.

To prepare for this upcoming event I went to the city centre yesterday in order to buy me some football boots. On the second try I found a store with some boots in the right size branded “Lotto”. I remembered that the former national player Erik Thorstvedt once stated something like: It doesn’t work without Lotto. With such a recommendation I immediately reckoned that this were quality boots. I splashed out 120 NIS which I thought was the prize they had mentioned, because I don’t enjoy bargaining. It looked like the shop keepers were satisfied with the trade. They gave me the socks I used when I tried the boots for free (perhaps not too surprisingly) and 20 NIS back on their own accord. When I looked over my shoulder after I left the shop they were all laughing. Ok, it is not possible to succeed in business all the times, I thought. However, with 37 °C outside the stay in the air conditioned shoe store was worth half of the prize, I reminded myself facing the sun outside.

 Football boots

My brand new football boots

Later on I realized I had a stupid hairstyle all the day because I left my sunglasses up there on my head. Imagine the counter Mohican hair style in those science fiction TV-series. Maybe the buy wasn’t bad at all and that the shop keepers did the feat of the day by suppressing their feelings and keep the roar until I left?

Demonstration In Our Neighbourhood

Now we are back in Tulkarem after some training in Jerusalem. As we left the gate of our house this morning we noticed a demonstration around the corner. Below is a little taste of the atmosphere.


God’s Email Address

The accompanier program which I participate in (EAPPI) was lunched as a result of an initiative from the head of churches of Jerusalem. During the training I have met with two bishops, respectively Bishop Mumb Younan of the Lutheran Church and the bishop of the Anglican Church, Bishop Suheil Duwani.

According to what I have heard the first mentioned speaks relatively freely about the situation here, considering he is a bishop. He draws a pessimistic picture of what he is seeing right know in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to get a brief summary. 

The Anglican Bishop is from Nablus, considered as the origin of many suicide attackers. Now he is living in Ramallah and commuting to Jerusalem. The lack of freedom of movement caused by the Israeli policy became a natural topic to talk about.

After a few days here in Israel/Palestine I haven’t come across much hope to forward to others. I assume that the two church leaders include justice for the Palestinians and peace for everyone in their prayers. However, on the ground the ongoing expiations of Israeli constructions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories seem to be unstoppable and the Palestinians are facing more and more restrictions. At the moment such prayers appears to be as useful as sending an email to

The reason why this thought came to my mind is that what could be God’s email address is published in the Anglican Church in Jerusalem (see photos below). I know that there are people out there who know more than me on such topics that might help, but if the faith is strong enough the address will work?


The picture where the address is found (click to enlarge)



Closer look on the address (click to enlarge)


Welcome To My Blog

Now I have been three days in Tulkarem where I am going to stay in almost three months. Right now I am in Jerusalem for further training. I look forward to return to Tulkarem. Due to the tendencies the last couple of weeks we will prioritize monitoring of check points (within the West Bank) and agricultural gates (through the wall, fence, etc). Especially the check points have been bad. If you scroll further down you will find more about what we will do these places. However, the information is not covering all aspects so don’t hesitate to ask if you will like to know more or if something isn’t clear.

The video below is from the “Handover Party” we had in Tulkarem.


Gate Watch

This morning we went to one of the gates in the fence surrounding the West Bank. The gate we went to opens at 6 am, and today closed 7 am. For some reason the fence doesn’t follow the boarder that used to be before Israel occupied the territory in 1967. Several Palestinian farmers have land on the other side of the fence. Those of them that have succeeded through the Israeli bureaucracy has got their access to the land; in the opening hours of the gate. The video is recorded this morning.

Today 99 persons passed and the atmosphere was quite calm on the surface. One man was denied access. He was later blindfolded by the soldiers and sent to “another” gate by a military vehicle. According to the soldiers the problem is that he didn’t return through the gate the previous day.

One of our task during our stay here is to record statistics for UN (ocha) at this gate one week each month.

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