martes, 1 de diciembre de 2009

cleaning Jerusalem from Arabs

Israel revoked the residency of 4,577 Arab Jerusalemites in 2008, 21 times the average of the previous 40 years. 

sábado, 21 de noviembre de 2009

circus in Ramallah

Behind the wall, there are also young dynamic great artists, such as the Palestinian circus school.

jueves, 19 de noviembre de 2009

checkpoint life

Today on my way back from Ramallah to Jerusalem, while I was waiting and freezing at the checkpoint I saw an arab ambulance crossing. It parked next to an Israeli one. I thought a sick person may have gotten a permit to be taken to Jerusalem hospital. I look for my camera to document the moment. Then I understand that there is no sick person to transfer, just a dead one.
Dead Palestinians can apparently get a permit to Jerusalem.
no picture.

Walking from the bus station to home, I run into a group of arab children playing. They put a big stick and ropes accross the sidewalk : -"Chu Ismek?" (What's your name?). "Dominique". The little girl opens the gate with a large smile : "Domenik Domenik!!". That was definitely the friendliest checkpoint ever... wish they find soon other games to play though.

martes, 17 de noviembre de 2009

again and again

2 more Palestinian houses demolished today in Jerusalem....
and 900 new settlement homes approved.

2 maisons palestiniennes de plus détruites aujourd'hui à Jérusalem..
et 900 nouvelles habitations en marche dans les colonies.

lunes, 16 de noviembre de 2009

week end in occupied Golan and South Lebanon

Welcome !

wonderful landscapes....

the best chicken barbecue ever...

apples and apples everywhere

the Holy Sea of Galilee

winter sports activities...

But also....

typical landscape

typical house from Majdal shams, one the 5 Syrian villages remaining ( from 164 prior 1967)

with its now typical decoration...

friendly atmosphere

Why would they keep the Mosque if barely all Muslims have been forcibly displaced....
What about international law about the protection of religious buildings ? I guess some countries are above law.

typical scene of an ambulance delayed at a check point. This village is situated on the very border with Lebanon.

As usual, Israeli occupation and colonization means families separated. The white house on the background is under Syrian control. Inhabitants use to communicate through megaphones from one side to the other with their relatives, friends...

and of course discrimination in access to water (and its implications for farmers), building permits, land stealing, history denial, arbitrary detentions...

viernes, 6 de noviembre de 2009

Friday, day off. I am not joining the crowd going to the prayer Al Aqsa. just wandering in the old city, and trying to open my eyes.

This building, in the middle of a Muslim quarter is now property of Ateret Cohanim, israeli organization acting for the "judaïsation" of the old city. One of these appartements was attributed to...Ariel Sharon.

Walking in the old city you may meet one of these guys, settlers' ecurity guards.

These armed guards work for private companies funded by public taxes as "protection of holy places".
Colonisation in Jerusalem, especially in the old city is a house per house struggle.

Did you know that this esplanade in front of the wailing Wall used to be the Marroqui quarter, neighbourhood completely erased just after the 6 days war. This place is now used for worshippers and tourists but also hosts frequent military ceremonies

Souvenirs, souvenirs...?

lunes, 2 de noviembre de 2009

today in Jerusalem

When talking about Palestine and Palestinian's rights it is difficult to decide where to start. So I will just tell you about my day of today.

9:39am: I am drinking my second cup of tea, trying to do my arabic homework, (last minute as usual) when I got a text message “ DWG alert : demolition ongoing of a structure in Abu Tur in East Jerusalem. For further info call xxx”. I ring the number, try to get info about this address and figure out if it is still time to get there or if everything is already over.

I jump into a taxi, and start grumbling against Jerusalem's traffic. When we reach Abu Tur, a truck blocks the street. I get out the taxi, decided to find the place walking. But I realize I am in a very Jewish and “bourgeois” neighborhood. Obviously nobody is going to demolish anything here. Did I misunderstood the indication? Did the taxi driver make a bad joke? I get down the hill looking for buldozers. Finally the neighbourhood's look changes. Smaller houses, pourer, narrow streets. Much more arabic looking. And suddenly 4 soldiers heavily equipped. They stare at me. I don't look very local. “Where are you going?” “I'm visiting” “Visiting whom? “nobody, just looking for a nice place to take photos” “Passport?”

10:25am: After checking my passport they let me go through. I hate them but at least I know I am on the right way now. And a few hundreds meters further I reach the crime scene. The house, I mean the rubble.

A woman crying, another shouting her anger. Buldozers and police left a few minutes ago. Men from the family and neighbours are already active trying to clean the place. They received an order from the municipal representative to clear out all the rubble that used to be their home within a week, otherwise they would receive a fine.

The few belongings the family managed to save are piled on the street. A children bike, books, a cupboard, toys, kitchen items. That's it. 2 houses, 16 persons just lost their all house, home, history, dignity, hope.

The father of the family fainted twice during the demolition, and was hospitalized.

Atmosphere is oppressive. A few people taking pictures, a few journalists. I meet people from Icahd, the ngo I volunteer with. Closed faces. What can we do or say? I don't know and feel ashamed and sad.

11am: Time to go. I'm already late for my arabic class though I promised myself I would not miss any.

During an hour and half I try to focus on grammar. I don't feel comfortable to speak about much with other students. This is life in Israel. Deal with ignorance at the best, and hate at the worst in your daily life.But I am the lucky one, I can go from one side to the other.

13h50: I am at Icahd' office in West Jerusalem. I am determined to focus on the advocacy document I am supposed to work on.

14h: phone call: new house demolition in Beit Hanina. We try to get more information before jumping into a taxi again, an arab one preferably cause others usually refuse to go to this part of Jerusalem.

14h30 : still in the taxi, tens of phone calls to try to locate the house.

15h : we found it. Again to late. Buldozers left half an hour ago. 22 persons homeless. A family with 10 children, plus grand-children. This house was built seven years ago. They have already payed 42000 shekels ( more than 8000 euros) as fines to 'regularize' their situation. Yesterday, the court ruled it was illegal. This morning the family received demolition order. this afternoon the buldozers.

Some families live years under demolition order. Not them. You never know when and where they are going to demolish one of the thousands of houses declared illegal. And one day, you see the buldozers coming, you have ten minutes to pack and then it's over. A woman from the family fainted when she saw the buldozers. The army called an ambulance. The ambulance treated her. Then the army gave the family the bill for the ambulance... They will then receive the bill for the demolition cost. Arrogance, cynism have no limit here.

A few months ago, the municipality told the family that if they would destroy by themselves the small annex they have, they would not touch the main house. The owner did it. He took off the roof and walls of the adjacent small building. Now he has absolutely nothing.

Is it necessary to add that it is raining and cold winter has just started.

I am there with an israeli activist from Icahd. Communication is therefore in hebrew. I can just take a few pictures. The only one smiling here is the little girl, maybe 4 years old. She asks me “Leish?” showing the destroyed house. This, I understand : “Why?”. I cannot answer anything, in whatever language.

After a few months of pause, the municipality of Jerusalem has clearly reinstated its illegal and racist policy of house demolitions in East Jerusalem. 11 within the last 3 weeks. These houses are ruled illegal by a municipality which does not grant any construction permits to Arabs but who promotes illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.

My day is not over but it's enough for now, Masalama.