Friday, March 23, 2007

Israel and the West Bank

Tonight I went to a talk given by a woman I know. I met Jill through doing peace community organizing. She has a soft spot for Buddhism, but hasn't settled in it. Our chapter supported and encouraged her to give this talk.

Jill went to the region for 2 months end of summer, early fall of 2005, and again for a month and a half in the fall of 2006.

Here's what I commented on our BPF blog:

Jill had a lot to share from her two visits to Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan.

We saw photos of the wall. In one case a family was given the option: they could stay with their olive groves, or stay with their house. They chose their house. The wall separates them from their livelihood. In another case the Israeli highway, available only for those cars with the correct license plates, shows the second-class road with checkpoint. From the Israeli highway, the road for Palestinians looks nice, paved, usable. But not far away, it is an unpaved bumpy primitive road. It made me think of our highways where we see trees, but the narrow band of nature hides the clearcuts that extend beyond our line of sight.

The wall looks like a prison wall. She told us from the Israeli side it looks nice: dirt built up, landscaped, murals. Some Israelis think the wall is working, because there have been less terrorist attacks, but Jill did not find that optimistic. While less Israelis were killed in 2006, a record number of Palestinians were killed. Story here.

In her view, you can't talk about the wall without talking about it being a land grab and water grab. This is a desert, and the Israeli settlers take the good water, and contaminate the water they don't control with their sewage.

Jill went there with the International Women's Peace Service.

Some resources:
Women's Organization for Political Prisoners
Arab Association for Human Rights
Movement for the Civil-ization of Israeli Society

Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights
Brit Tzedek v'Shalom: Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace

American Task Force on Palestine
The Compassionate Listening Project

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