Casual Conversations and Habitual Hospitality

Behind the stories I have tried to tell over the past few weeks are an amazing people. Amazing, because I think most of us in our comfortable lives would scream with frustration or weep with fury if we had to endure some of the trials, challenges and tragedies which Palestinians face on a daily basis.

Before I leave, I want to give you just a taste of some of the delightful chance conversations I have had – just because of friendliness, curiosity and the desire to help:

Walking up the steps towards our house in Al Ram I met two smartly-dressed schoolgirls, about 14 or 15 years old. They smiled and greeted me in English. I asked how their exams were going (it was mid morning and I realised they were on study leave.) “Well.” answered the older one. “We have been studying hard.” I complimented her on her English. “Thank you!” she exclaimed. “And I speak Spanish too! Welcome to our country!”

A few moments later, on my way out again, a young mother trying to manouvre her two small children down the same uneven steps called out to ask if she could help me. “Do you know where you are going?” she asked. I thanked her and said that I did. “You are welcome,” she smiled as she boarded a “service” taxi with the children.

Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) at work

Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) at work

And on another occasion, wearing my EAPPI jacket, a gentleman sat down on the bus beside me and beamed at me. “EAPPI!” he exclaimed. “You are welcome – most welcome!” (He knew us from his days working at the Capitol Hotel in Jerusalem, where EAs stay during their induction period). We talked all the way to Jerusalem, and he told me of his attempts to find another country for himself and his family – four children aged between 11 and 20. “It is so difficult here,” he said. “I fear for them all the time. Every time they go out I wonder where they are and whether they will come back safely.” It is sad to hear of Palestinians seeking to leave the country they love – but totally understandable.

And Abdullah: Abdullah and his family have a fruit stall situated at the first roundabout on the West Bank side of Qalandiya checkpoint. It is the dustiest, most polluted site you could imagine, with constant queues of traffic, often stationary, in both directions at most times of day. And to my shame we EAs have walked past it tens of times in the past few weeks on our way to and from the checkpoint without buying anything.



But the other day Abdullah called to us as we passed on our way home from Jerusalem. “Can I ask you a question?” he asked in perfect English. “I see you passing every day. Who are you? Are you working here?” We explain a little about EAPPI and what we do and give him a leaflet, apologising that we only have an English version on us. He seems unperturbed. “What do you think of us Palestinians?” he asks. I think of the welcomes I have received, the cups of tea and coffee I have drunk, on one occasion offered by people who had only hours before had their business premises demolished without warning; of the elderly Palestinian gentleman in Ramallah who took my visiting husband by the shoulders and planted a gentle kiss on both cheeks. “Welcome, welcome!”, he had said.   I tell Abdullah that I have found Palestinians to be polite, helpful, and very, very hospitable. “You don’t think we are all terrorists then?” he said. I smile and shake my head.. “You are most welcome here in Palestine” he tells us, and we part carrying a gift of ripe plums from his baby daughter, Miriam, his first-born. I resolve to buy fruit from him in future.

I have met many inspiring and welcoming Israelis in the past three months too, including Roni, whom I wrote about in my last piece. We also experienced generous hospitality from the Israelis in Haifa who welcomed us into their homes. The quieter voice of welcome is there too. Standing at the Women in Black vigil on a noisy roundabout in West Jerusalem holding my “Stop the Occupation” placard, a young Israeli woman squeezed past me with her shopping trolley. “Do you guys have enough water and stuff?” she asked me. I smiled and thanked her. Not all the passers-by were so friendly.

But I want to end, as I started, with Palestinian hospitality. There is a humorous passage by American journalist Tony Horwitz, in which he refers to Palestinians “saying ‘welcome, most welcome’ and drowning each other in tea until the end of time.” It is a true picture of Palestinian hospitality which I shall carry home with me.

Tea with Mohammed Ka'abne

Tea with Mohammed Ka’abne

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Voices for Justice, Truth and Reconciliation

Every Friday, between 1.00 and 2.00pm, there is a demonstration at a busy junction in West Jerusalem. There are no stone-throwing teenagers here, no teargas, and not a Palestinian flag to be seen. Here are just a dozen or fifteen women (and one or two men), standing quietly, holding black placards with the simple words “Stop the Occupation”. They are all Israelis.

Roni Jaeger has been faithfully attending Women in Black vigils for the past 15 years.  She is a Canadian Jew who first came to Israel in 1959. After returning to Canada to raise her family she came back to Israel with her partner 15 ½ years ago and has been working tirelessly for justice and human rights ever since. She has seen the situation deteriorate. Work that she and others did 15 years ago – for instance preventing demolitions of Palestinian homes by staying in the homes with the Palestinian family – they can no longer do. Today they would be arrested, she tells me. She says that 15 years ago more than 70% of Israelis disagreed with the building of settlements in occupied Palestine – now the figure is more  like 20%. Israel has a right-wing government and the Israeli media reflects that. She believes the Israeli public have been brainwashed.

Roni Jaeger

Roni Jaeger

But still she stands every week, with her placard, in the face of abuse from passing pedestrians and motorists, bearing witness to justice and the hope for change.

There are many other Jewish and Israeli voices calling for justice and human rights in Israel and occupied Palestine. Rabbis for Human Rights, B’Tselem, Machsom Watch and Jewish Voice for Peace  are just some of them.

Quaker Meeting House, Ramallah

Quaker Meeting House, Ramallah

On the other side of the Separation Barrier, in the Palestinian town of Ramallah, another witness for justice, peace and nonviolence takes place every Sunday. Quakers came to Ramallah in the late 1800s and the Quaker Meeting House  was built within its peaceful garden in a busy city centre street in 1910. The Clerk of the Meeting is Jean Zaru, who was born in Ramallah eight years before the Nakba [1] in 1948.  She has lived there all her life and was brought up as a Quaker.  Jean’s family has shared the same pains, losses, restrictions and violations of their human rights as other Palestinian families.[2]  Now living just yards from where she was born, she travels the world speaking about the situation in her country, working for interfaith dialogue and arguing for a nonviolent response to the violence of occupation. And in Quaker Meeting on a Sunday morning all are welcome to worship with her in the silence. Jean tells of one particular Meeting, near the time of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. She knew that, apart from the usual Friends, there were two Jewish women present in the Meeting. She felt led to speak of how light is celebrated in all three religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity, and that it unites us. The women were amazed not only that they were welcomed but that Jean’s ministry included and spoke to them.

Jean closes her book ‘”Occupied with Nonviolence” with the words “To be human is to recognize the precious value of every human being….. Living in this consciousness will enable us to discover what it is to be real neighbours in a world of real differences.”

The witness, the determination and the steadfastness of people like Jean and Roni represent the flickering light of hope for the future of this region. They need our recognition, our prayers, our support.

Jean Zaru entertains Friends to lunch

Jean Zaru entertains Friends to lunch






[1]  The Nakba, or “catastrophe” is the name given to the time of the founding of the State of Israel when many hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced to leave their homes and villages in what is now Israel, or fled in terror after rumours of massacres.  Millions of their descendents now live either in refugee camps in the West Bank, Syria and Jordan, or have made new lives abroad.

[2] Jean writes powerfully about her life, her experience of the occupation and her work for dialogue and peace in her book “Occupied with Nonviolence”, published by Fortress Press, Minneapolis.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Witnessing to Truth

On 12 June, three young Israeli settlers disappeared between Hebron and Bethlehem. According to the Israeli authorities they have been kidnapped by Hamas, but as far as I know no evidence has been made publicly available in support of either of these assertions, and no-one has yet claimed responsibility for their disappearance. Meanwhile, an Israeli military spokesman has said: “We have two efforts ongoing in parallel. First is to bring back the boys, and the second is to take a toll on Hamas for its actions.”

I am sure that the Israeli military are searching for the missing teenagers. Israel is also taking a toll – not on Hamas – but on the entire Palestinian population. Just a few examples:

  • 300,000 people in Hebron have been under siege, 800 homes have been raided and one home demolished.
  • In the week following the Israeli teenagers’ disappearance, at least 290 people were arrested across the West Bank, including members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, university professors and elderly Palestinians. None of them have been charged [1]
  • Bir Zeit and Al Quds universities have both suffered night raids, as have numerous towns and villages right across the West Bank.
  • Checkpoints across the West Bank were closed on Friday, preventing workers from getting to work. At Qalandiya doctors and nurses were allowed to enter Jerusalem. A man needing to collect his daughter from hospital following surgery was not.
  • At least five Palestinians were killed in the week following the teenagers’ disappearance, and many more injured by live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets.
  • An elderly man died of a heart attack after his house was stormed by Israeli troops, who allegedly refused to allow him to be taken to hospital, and family members inhaled tear gas when soldiers fired a tear-gas canister into their home in the village of Haris in the northern West Bank. No-one from the village was detained.

This is collective punishment, which is considered by the 4th Geneva Convention  to be a war crime.

What can we say in the face of this?

Visiting American Friends at Quaker Meeting in Ramallah on Sunday morning had listened through the night to the sounds of gunfire and clashes in Al Manara Square. They had asked themselves “Why are we here?”
The seven-year-old son of one of the Friends, looking at his father’s photos on Facebook had asked “Daddy, why are you there?”
We heard the story of Elijah, who after seeking God in the earthquake, wind and fire, had heard in the still small voice God asking him “Why are you here?”

And we heard the Palestinian voice telling us “You are the witnesses to the truth of what is happening in this country. You are our ambassadors”.

That is why we are here.




[1] Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association: Update on Hunger Strikes, Force Feeding & Arrest Campaign – June 2014 The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 9, states that all those arrested should be informed of their charges upon arrest



Disclaimer I am participating in a programme with [Quaker Peace and Social Witness QPSW] as an Ecumenical Accompanier serving on the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The views contained herein are personal to me and do not necessarily reflect those of my sending organisation [QPSW] or the WCC. If you would like to publish the information contained here (including posting on a website), or distribute it further, please first contact [] or the EAPPI Communications Officer ( for permission. Thank you.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Justice in the Israeli Military Courts

I have no photo of Hamsa, You cannot take a photo of someone who has been in gaol for a year and who is about to appear in an Israeli military court within a military base into which visitors are not allowed to take a phone, a wallet or a passport, let alone a camera.

There will therefore be no photos in this article. But there will be stories from the family members we met outside the court on the Israeli Military Base at Ofer when we visited on an ordinary Monday morning. Hamsa’s story comes from his sister:

Hamsa is Palestinian. He was 19 when he was detained on 4 June last year. He had not been in trouble before. He was taken to Al Jalameh interrogation centre at Kishon in Northern Israel [1]. There he was held for 45 days in solitary confinement, and in one particular week had no spoken contact with anyone at all. He was frequently made to sit on a child’s chair from 7.00am to 7.00pm with his hands shackled behind his back. The air conditioning was kept on full for 24 hours at a time, making his cell very cold, as was a bright yellow light which he was only able to dim by wrapping his underwear around it. A typical meal would consist of two spoonfuls of rice, a few olives and a spoonful of jam – all mixed together. He lost 10 kilos during the time he was there. In the middle of the 45 days he was moved to what he believed to be another “prison”, where he thought he was in the company of other “prisoners”. In fact these were intelligence officers seeking more information and hoping, presumably, for him to implicate others. After five days he was returned to Al Jalameh, where he was told “You have been lying – you didn’t tell us everything” – and subjected to further interrogation. After 45 days Hamsa was moved to Ofer prison (on the military base where the courts are situated) and his conditions have improved. He has had a visit from his father, and he has put back on the weight he lost. But on the day we met them, Hamsa’s father and sister were not expecting to see him tried, acquitted or convicted. This was just a hearing to continue his case. They had come, and were waiting all day if necessary, just in order to see him – to let him know they were there and that he was not forgotten.

Although Israel has ratified the Convention Against Torture, the Israeli High Court of Justice in 1999 ruled that “moderate physical pressure” may be used where the detainee is deemed to be a ‘ticking bomb’ [2]. Was Hamsa a ‘ticking bomb’? According to his sister, his charge was one of throwing stones.

Hamsa at least knew what he was charged with. The brother of another man we spoke to has been detained for most of the past ten years. He is detained for six months and then released for a month, and then re-arrested and detained again. He has not been charged on any of these occasions..

There are Israeli military regulations associated with “administrative detention” with regard to how soon the detainee must be brought before a judge, how often the administrative detention order must be reviewed, and for how long the order may be renewed for. But the practice of administrative detention in itself violates International Humanitarian Law in at least one fundamental way: the evidence against the detainee is secret and is not divulged either to the detainee or to his or her lawyer.

Since 1967, according to Addameer, the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, 20% of the total Palestinian population, and 40% of the male population, have been detained in prison at some time. Addameer perceives mass detention and imprisonment to be a deliberate Israeli policy to suppress resistance to the occupation and to prevent the functioning of a normal Palestinian society.

But “the right to liberty is one of the pillars of human rights, and prolonged arbitrary detention constitutes a breach of international customary law.”

“We need freedom”, Hamsa’s sister said to us sadly. I do not think she was talking only about Hamsa’s freedom.


[1 According to Article 76 of the 4th Geneva Convention, it is illegal to remove prisoners to the land of the occupying power (where of course, in this instance, family will be unable to visit): “Protected persons accused of offences shall be detained in the occupied country, and if convicted they shall serve their sentences therein”

[2] see “Administrative Detention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: A Legal Analysis Report” Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, November 2008, revised July 2010

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Living in the Seam Zone – part 2

Al Khalayleh – a village surrounded

There are two main differences between Al Khalayleh and An Nabi Samwil: no-one of any Jewish historical importance appears to be buried in Al Khalayleh; and most of its 700 or so inhabitants have Jerusalem IDs, making it easier for them to pass in and out of the seam zone, and to enter Jerusalem.

Nevertheless, like An Nabi Samwil, all provisions and materials must be brought into Al Khalayleh via Al Jib checkpoint, and like An Nabi Samwil there is absolutely no possibility of getting a building permit, so that all the young people must leave when they marry and have a family.  Indeed our contact in the village, Abu Jafar, told us that there is a demolition order of some sort on most houses in the village – either for an extension, a shed, or an extra floor which has been added to create space for a growing family.  He himself now runs a shop from an upstairs room in his own house, after his original shop premises were demolished in 2011.

The illegal settlement of Giv'at Ze'ev creeps towards Al Khalayleh

The illegal settlement of Giv’at Ze’ev creeps towards Al Khalayleh

When we visited Abu Jafar he pointed out to us, from his peaceful garden, the Israeli settlements which encroach on the village on all sides. They are growing. In five years, Abu Jafar believes, the settlements will be at the doors of the village. As we chatted and enjoyed our glasses of sweet tea, Abu Jafar took a call from someone who wanted to visit him from outside the seam zone, in the West Bank. He told us that such a visit has to be co-ordinated through the DCO – the Israeli military authority which governs checkpoint permits – and which he can phone only at certain times. The visitor will then be allowed only a prescribed period of hours within which to visit. “It is like a prison”, Abu Jafar tells us.

Abu Jafar did not indicate that the settlers themselves caused any particular problems. But a couple of weeks after our visit we were made very aware of the possible implications of any contact at all between settlers and Palestinians. We received a call to tell us that there were ongoing demolitions taking place in Al Khalayleh. When we arrived – and when the police eventually allowed us to enter the village, which they had closed for several hours – we saw what had happened.

The ruins of the shop

The ruins of the shop

A large shop had been demolished and the business’s computer, which carried all the accounts and records of debts owing, smashed. A joinery/kitchen-fitting business which employed ten people had also gone – for the second time, we were told – and some of the machinery damaged. And of the basic structure which had been the premises of a car-washing business belonging to the breadwinner to a family of ten, there was little to see but the tracks of the bulldozer which had apparently just driven straight through it.

What was left of the car-washing business

What was left of the car-washing business

It seems that settlers from the neighbouring settlements may have been in the habit of patronising Al Khalayleh businesses. It is likely that prices are cheaper, since Palestinian businesses do not have to pay the same taxes that Israeli businesses do. Whatever the reason, it is clear that the authorities do not like Israelis patronising Palestinian businesses. Demolishing the businesses is just one way of stopping them.

Meanwhile, another dozen or more Al Khalayleh people are out of work, and the village receives yet one more clear message that its presence in the seam zone, amongst the growing Israeli settlements which are regarded as illegal under International Law , is not wanted.

A few hours after the demolition, workers were clearing up, ready to start again.

A few hours after the demolition, workers were clearing up, ready to start again.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Living in the Seam Zone – part 1

An Nabi Samwil – life under siege in a shrinking village

As I have mentioned before, the Separation Barrier, built from 2002 onwards to separate Israel from the occupied Palestinian territories, does not follow the Green Line.  It is built almost entirely on Palestinian land, and in several places deviates many kilometres into the occupied territories in order to surround Israeli settlements such as Giv’at Ze’ev, Giv’on HaHadasha and Har Smuel. The area between the Green Line and the Separation Barrier is known as the “seam zone”, and all the settlements mentioned above, considered illegal by the international community, are situated in the area of seam zone which lies north west of Jerusalem.

Also situated in this bit of seam zone are two Palestinian villages, An Nabi Samwil and Al Khalayleh.

Map showing an Nabi Samwil, Al Khalayleh, Al Jib checkpoint, the Wall (red line) and the Jerusalem boundary (blue dashed line)

Map showing an Nabi Samwil, Al Khalayleh, Al Jib checkpoint, the Wall (red line) and the Jerusalem boundary (blue dashed line)

As the crow flies, An Nabi Samwil lies only 1km from the Jerusalem municipal boundary, established unilaterally by Israel in 1967, and barely 3 km from the Green Line. It is a village of about 40 families – perhaps just over 200 people. But only two of these families have Jerusalem ID  entitling them to enter Jerusalem. All the others have West Bank ID. All the services to which they are entitled – hospitals, schools, etc, are in the West Bank, on the other side of the Wall. And to re-enter the Seam Zone (now in “Israel”) and their homes in An Nabi Samwil, via the checkpoint at Al Jib, their names must be on the list kept by the soldiers at the checkpoint. We were told by the representative of the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) that checks are regularly made at night to see who is in the village. If “names” are absent from their homes, they will be removed from the list, losing their right to return to their homes.[1] And since absolutely no building is allowed in the village, young people have to leave when they marry. So the population shrinks.

Eid Barakat

Eid Barakat

An Nabi Samwil residents also need a permit to bring any foodstuffs or supplies through the checkpoint. Recently the authorities decided that no bottled gas could be brought in. The villagers rely on bottled gas for cooking. They were reduced to collecting wood to burn. Last week the community leader and spokesman, Eid Barakat, told us that 15 gas bottles had been allowed through – an improvement, but still quite inadequate for the needs of 40 families. Other things which are frequently and apparently arbitrarily denied permission are animal fodder and flour.

These siege conditions which the people of An Nabi Samwil endure are only part of the story. The area has a long history as the supposed site of the tomb of the prophet Samuel. The Crusader church built in the 11th century became a mosque after the Turkish conquest a century later. Today a mosque and a synagogue share the same building. An Nabi Samwil has become a popular Israeli tourist site and in 1995 the authorities declared it a national park, which they now have plans to develop further.

An Nabi Samwll showing the mosque, the synagogue and part of the Crusader wall.

The synagogue, the mosque, and part of the Crusader wall.

But these plans do not include the Palestinian residents of An Nabi Samwil. Already cleared from their original village in 1971 to houses some distance away from the site of the tomb, it is clear from the suffocating conditions imposed upon them that the Israeli authorities would be very pleased if the remaining population would just pack up and leave.

Interpretative Board.  Someone has scratched out the Arabic narrative.

Interpretative Board. Someone has scratched out the Arabic narrative.

Eid Barakat will not give in so easily. For some time he and other villagers mounted a weekly protest. They encouraged media interest. Foreign consuls, including the British vice-consul in Jerusalem, visit. And in April a number of high-ranking officials including one of John Kerry’s advisors visited and met with Eid, with the principal of the small school, Khalil Arquob, and with other villagers.

The international attention has not made life any easier for Eid Barakat. He has now been banned from going near the tomb, and has been told that he must give a day’s warning of his intention to attend the mosque so that he can be accompanied by “security”. He is viewed by the authorities as a trouble-maker. I comment on the extra problems that he is now experiencing. He smiles. “No problem”, he says. Eid Barakat will fight on for his community, and he understands that it is only the world’s attention that stands any chance of saving his village.[2]

Khalil Arquob shows the video of the visit from John Ketty's advisor

Khalil Arquob shows the video of the visit from John Ketty’s advisor





[1] According to article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.”

[2] You can never have too much interest and attention. A twinning link might help. Do you belong to a village that has public transport problems? A dwindling population? You may not be under siege from an occupying power, but your interest might just help An Nabi Samwil. If you think this might be a possibility do contact me and I will do my best to put you in touch with an English-speaking contact in the village.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Early Morning at Qalandiya

One of our regular tasks as EAs in Al Ram is “checkpoint duty” at the nearby Qalandiya checkpoint. Qalandiya checkpoint stands between the two Palestinian cities of Ramallah and East Jerusalem. It is on the Separation Barrier, which is at this point not on the international border known as the Green Line, but some 8 km north-east, in Palestine. Twice a week we arrive about 4.15am, as the queue of workers from Al Ram and Ramallah begins to build up, and for three hours we monitor the queues and the length of time it takes to pass through, and count the numbers of men, women and children crossing the checkpoint. At 4.15am, the checkpoint building is alive with birdsong, and fat sparrows hop backwards and forwards under the metal bars, doing very well on the crumbs left by men eating breakfast as they wait. The freedom of the birds to come and go as they please is in marked contrast to that of the Palestinian people.

A queueing “cage”

Let me give you an idea of what is involved in crossing the checkpoint. First you wait in line in one of three metal cages that is just wide enough for one person. At the end of this cage is the first turnstile, which at busy times opens to allow perhaps 10 or 12 people through at a time and then closes again for several minutes. Once through the first turnstile you go to one of 5 booths where you wait again at another turnstile. This turnstile usually opens to allow 3 people through, and then closes again for three or four minutes. You are then at the checkpoint proper, which is a little like airport security. You take off your shoes and jacket and belt and pile your possessions on a conveyor belt. You walk through a body scanner and present your ID and permit for inspection by the soldier on duty. You may well have to have your handprint checked too. If all is in order you are free to pick up your possessions and pass through three further turnstiles before you reach the other side and the buses waiting to take you to Jerusalem.

The queue at a busier time

It sounds simple. It is anything but.  The permit system which controls the freedom of Palestinians to travel around their country is a story in itself – there are 101 sorts of permits for different sorts of need, many are temporary and the process for acquiring a permit is complex, time-consuming and stressful. For now let us just say that, having reached the checkpoint, you may find that your permit has expired, or that it has been revoked, or that your handprint does not match that held on the database, or you have simply been “blacklisted” for some reason that you know nothing about. Or, as happened recently to families embarking on a day out, you may have been told that you do not need permits for your under-5s, but when you get to the checkpoint window the soldier on duty arbitrarily decides that you do and refuses to let the children through. (The wonderful Israeli organisation Machsom Watch  sorted that out very quickly for us by phoning the Commanding Officer).

The final exit turnstile

The final exit turnstile

Even if your permit is fine, navigating the route through the checkpoint can be an obstacle course. There is a “humanitarian gate” for women, elderly or sick people. But it does not save you a single turnstile. And the turnstiles are a menace to small fingers and difficult to negotiate if you are carrying small children or bags and a walking stick.

For many Palestinians, crossing the checkpoint is a daily piece of frustration and humiliation inflicted upon them by the occupying power, Israel. For the most part they deal with it with stoicism and patience, though understandably resorting to some shouting and remonstrations when the queues stretch out to the car park and only two or three of the booths are open. One of the most moving things we witness is the lines of men who, having spent perhaps half an hour or more queueing to pass the checkpoint, stop to pray on the Jerusalem side before boarding their bus.

Dawn prayers at the exit

Dawn prayers at the exit

Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state”. But as an elderly man told me in frustration as he emerged into the sunshine on the Jerusalem side of the checkpoint last week, “I am 70 years old. I was born in Jerusalem. I need a permit to go there. Half my family is in Ramallah, half in Jerusalem. I’m not from Europe or Africa – I’m from Jerusalem. And I need a permit to go there”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 11 Comments