Archive for August, 2007

News in August

Below you will find the August news letter for the EAPPI program. In two sentences you can read how we are doing here in Tulkarem. There is also brief reports from the other placements.

Two out of four photos are taken by my camera. The first one was taken by Marte when she was here (and not this “Magnus”). The last photo is taken by me myself. Hayley here in Tulkarem is number four from left and Johanna, she is also here, is number two to the right of the bishop (the one with a purple shirt, gold cross and does he hide a cigarette in one of his hands???)

EAPPI news letter August 2007

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New semester

Now the universities have opened. This affects the check points. Today, on the worst, people had to crawl themselves through the “chicken rings”. Only one narrow opening was used in a barrier of five to six meters width. I big crowd tried to find it’s way through. On the other side the soldiers weren’t bothered with too many people finding the way trough. I hope this situation was caused by a failure in the mechanics and that it won’t be like this every day in the following. However, I didn’t notice big efforts from the soldiers to make better ways to organize this, so maybe it is like this all the time.

I did record a little video from this, but the video shows clearly some of the faces of those getting humiliated. I can’t see any reason to humiliate them even more by making a poor documentary out of it. However, the photo below shows the scene another day when it is almost empty:

Beit Iba 

There are two rows of barriers as those in the foreground. In between there are metal detectors that I think are off. It was the last barrier that stopped crowd  today.

Land confiscation

Yesterday morning I went to a different agriculture gate than we normally go to. There I met Jalal. He explains very clearly how the security barrier affects his land:

Nablus

Today we went to Nablus and had a meeting with the UN. Nablus is the biggest city of the West Bank and is situated nicely between a couple of mountains and hills. One if the differences compared to similar Norwegian cities are the settlements and the military installations on these hills and mountains. Because of a funeral march of a man killed by the Israeli army, and because such marches have a component of frustration that might have an unpredictable outcome our Jerusalem office told us to go straight to the meeting and return immediately afterwards. No sightseeing today in other words.

Nablus

Nablus seen from the street of the UN office 

Did you know that Nablus is a twin city of my hometown Stavanger? One of the outcomes is that some of the CO2 emissions from Stavanger are supposed to be compensated by planting trees in Nablus. It is a little bit rare to think of such ideas when the overwhelming problem is: This occupation ruins the life of every single inhabitant of this city. However, as all other places people want to have normal life with normal problems, so why not.

It is not only Stavanger that tries to renew its image. On the road between Nablus and Tulkarem there has been reconstruction activity on one of the two permanent check points the last week. From appearing as a temporary construction it will soon be shifted towards an institution like terminal as those surrounding Jerusalem according to our friends in the UN. This happen at the same time as the statements from the diplomat and state leader level are about closing down check points.

Beit Iba Check Point

Reconstruction at Beit Iba Check Point

Nablus, a breeding ground of terrorism? Yes, for sure. However, the Israeli army can do as many raids as they want after “wanted men” in the cities of the West Bank and Gaza. The situation is designed to drift people towards resignation & depression. And since Palestine population isn’t extraordinary pacifistic or patient it is unstoppable that some people are turning to fatalists. Given the militaristic attitude the answer will be terrorism in some cases. At the same time things that is interpreted as fake negations on the top the majority are asking themselves: What to do?

Cookie Ladies

Now Marte has returned safely to Norway and I am freer to write about the visit:

  • We were trapped in a (one way) cross fire; of eggs.
  • We were in a traffic accident. After a small negotiation facilitated by the police the bus we sat in was back on the road.
  • The most serious situation happened during our picnic: Marte was about to be totally charmed by Abbed. (see photo)

Charming man

However, I still think she likes me too. Photo: Mas’oud.

We also had guests from Israel and the settlements these days. A group of women are traveling around visiting the check points in order to encourage the soldiers. They provide the soldiers with cookies and they provide us with ideologies quit far from our understanding of the world.

Cookies 

Cookies guys?

Only while they are breathing we are able to add in a little about our self and the situation in general from our own point of view. Verbally the soldiers gave the impression that they appreciated it, but after a while the women were told to leave, not us.

Shooting in Jerusalem

Last week a shooting incident that took place in the old city in Jerusalem. I was less than one kilometer from the venue. Now some video clips that show the actions are realized (links below). After watching them I have some of the feelings I already had:

  • It is frightening. I and many others are walking around in the area this happened.
  • What was the motivation of the guy stealing the weapon? He must have been aware of the death risk of such an action. 

A have also got a few new thoughts:

  • The guard running towards the man that stole his weapon is really brave and risks a lot in order to prevent his weapon to be lost.
  • We are not allowed to see what is happening in the following. We know that the guy eventually died and it looks like the second guard is convinced that the man is rendered harmless. But the video shows a man that is still sitting.

Long video with comments from an Israeli perspective.

Short video without comments.

Picnic in Kafa

Marte reporting from Tulkarem: Yesterday we went on a fantastic picnic near Tulkarem with some local people. The athmosphere was good, with friendly people communicating mostly by body language, excellent food (chicken prepared in a hole in the ground), olive tree climbing, paparazzies, self-picked figues for dessert and a beautiful sunset.


Norsk utgave     Look at the posts with videos

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