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I have returned from Palestine. (big one and pic heavy)
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Old 16 Mar 2009, 12:55   #1 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default I have returned from Palestine. (big one and pic heavy)

Alrighty then. Got home this morning and finally had a wee bit of sleep.

I have now spent 10 days in Palestine. I have visited many holy sites of the three great Abrahamic religions and met with many interesting and important people.

The trip down went almost all gravy. Travelled with my Social work class. 17 people total. 4 of us guys. :3
Two planes with together over 6 hours in the air. And being a tall and wide guy, there isn't really much room for my legs and shoulders :P
Still, arrived in Tel Aviv early in the morning and wow...the "security" is insane.
And the more annoying thing was that they stamped my passport even if I requested them to stamp on a separate paper. So now I have to get a new passport to get to Jordan, Syria, Iran etc >
...no rubber glove though...

The hotel was quite nice and in the Arab part of Jerusalem. Very friendly staff and great food. Spent the morning regaining some sleep and later, we just travelled the Old-City.

We actually met a close friend of this guy (before the demonstration):
http://jta.org/news/article/2009/03/...arrier-protest

A very sketchy coverage of the case though. The protesters numbered barely 200, and the demonstration was peaceful, and the group was dissipating when the IDF started firing tear gas. He took a can to the head. His skull was cracked...part of his brain poured out and suffered heavy bleeding from nose and ears. He will most probably die...

In the evening, we had a meeting with Jan from the UNRWA. He had some very interesting stories about his work. And about how the Israeli government stops aid from entering Gaza. There are so very, very much more than the Klkn we are fed from the TV.

Next day, we had a visit to the Holocaust-museum. I was a bit late as I was stuck at the barber. A very nice experience, the barber. Spent 1,5 hours in the chair. Very nice and clean shave with a knife rather than razor...I gave him free hands, so he really cut my big beard and huge hair short. Very nice Arab-style He even made me a cup of Turkish coffee during the "break". He was even surprised that I wanted to pay him. "It's just a service, my friend" he said. I could make a tip if I wished. (still left him 60 shekles, he did a great job ) See my avatar for reference.
The museum was as expected. The horrors that happened in Europe, by the Wehrmacht. Been to several other museums, in Terezin, Sobibor etc. and there wasn't much new. Only lots of armed, obnoxius settlers and American tourists with very interesting versions of World History. Apparently the "Muslim World" invaded Israel in the early thirties and massacred lots of Jews and forced them to flee to Germany...

In the evening, we met with a very interesting person.
Mordechai Vanunu
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanunu)



He spent 2 hours telling us his story and about politics and policies of the Israeli Government. I welcome him to political asylum in Norway, if he ever gets released.

Next morning we travelled to Ramallah. Our guide gave us a great trip, and shoved us several sites of atrocities against the Palestinian people. So very much land stolen by the Jewish settlers...is so very much worse than even I could ever imagine...
The wall is so very wrong...designed just to Y'xauk up the lives of the Palestinians. That the wall is built for "security reasons" is so much Klkn it's incredible. Splitting villages and families in half. Keeping farmers from their livestock and workers from their jobs. Making sure that wells and fertile land ends up on the Israeli side.
It looks so much like the Berlin Wall...and will be torn down in the same way, when the time comes.


Palestinian side.

On the same trip we visited the Refugee Camp of Kalendia. And we spoke with a representative of the Womens Organisation Group there. About the life in a camp and how they survive there...


(Pictures like these all over the place )

From there we visited a volienteer aid worker for the Red Crescent Society. And how their everyday work is. The constant harassment of the IDF and settlers. The sign of the Red Cresent on the ambulances seem to be nice target-practice for them...and their Arab drivers, even more...

We also visited the city. A factory of self-tought glass-workers were making souveneir articles for stores all over Palestine.
We got to try making our own glass (o, the failure...)

In the evening, we met with two of the heroes from Gaza. Two Norwegian doctors who worked there during the massacre of "Operation Cast Lead".
Mads Gilbert and Erik Fosse
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mads_Gilbert)


They told their stories of their work there. And spoke of the use of White Phosphorus and DIME munitions used on the civilian population there.
("Dense Inert Metal Explosives". Tungsten alloy that disrupts body biochemistry, damages the immune system, rapidly causes cancer, and attacks DNA (genotoxic).

The next day was the worst of the entire trip. It's hard to even imagine it...
Hebron.
A Palestinian city of over 170.000 citizens, with 400 settlers, and 450 IDF soldiers to "protect them". The everyday harassment, the racism, the rapes, murders and senseless violence... Strong stories from those who lived there...the Shin-Bet were on our D'yi at our entire stay there. Trying to restrict or movement there. (Had to delete my picture of them under threat of arrest and deportation )
At several occasions, there were settler children throwing stones at us, with the IDF cheering them on...
There is so much wrong going on there...far more than anyone could even imagine. I spoke with a young boy, who told me a story of what had happened to him. Settlers had caught him, and beaten him to an inch of his life. Then a settler-woman had taken a stone and rubbed it against his teeth, ruining them...

We visited the Mosque of Abraham. Seeing how it has been "stolen" from the Muslims. It is now shared in half by a wall, and the Muslims are harassed when they keep their prayers there. We also saw the results of the Goldstein Massacre...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baruch_Goldstein


The next day. Wednesday the 11th, we had a day off. And traveled to Jericho and the Dead Sea.

On the 12th, we went to Nablus. "The City of Terrorists" (lol) We got through the checkpoint by pretending to be Jewish students from Germany, visiting the settlement. :3
We met with the Mayor of the city. A leader of Fatah and representative of the PLO. I can say that there will be some interesting happenings in the coming months. BIG NEWS! The PLO will have a election and they will open for Hamas to join them


We were also supposed to meet with a representative of Hamas this day. But it was impossible, as he had gone "underground". Apparently the IDF and Shin-Bet was on one of their hunts again.

The man in the scarf later joined our group and showed us the city. A large amount of monuments to honor their fallen Martyrs.


This one is in honor of a family murdered in their sleep by the IDF. Two parents and six children. All under the age of 16.
I also spoke with a boy there. 17 years old. His home had been hit by white phosphorus when he was 14. His two sisters aged 1 and 3 years burned to death along with his parents. He survived, but lost his eyes and had the top half of his face burned off...

We later had a meeting with the NGO, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. (Jeff Halper: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Halper)
Got some general information about the group, and the opinions of the Jewish population in general...
Got a great book from them too:
http://www.amazon.com/Israeli-Palest...7209658&sr=1-1

I have never learned as much as I have done on this trip...and I hope to return one time, to a Free Palestine.

We have visited many mosques and churches. But were not allowed close to ant synagogues...

The birthplace of Christ


The Golden Dome at the Temple Mount. We did not get to enter it, as we were denied by the IDF.


The Wailing Wall. The site around it was home to over 5000 Palestinians who were chased off into refugee camps and their homes demolished.

Some remains of the Palestinian homes, right next to the Wall.



At the end of our trip, when we arrive Ben-Gurion airport, we met a lot of trouble from the airport authorities. But luckily we came in good time, and reached the flight with 2 minutes to spare.
They forced us all to open our luggage, and went through all our stuff. The most annoying part has to be the questions...
"Are you Jewish?"
"Any Jewish family?"
"Your religion?"
"Why did you buy this item?" (band to hold a shemagh on my head)
"Where did you buy it?"
"Who did you buy it from?" "Name?"
"What was your purpose with this trip?"
"Met with any suspected terrorists?"
etc. etc. etc. It was ridiculous...


My general impression of this trip is that is has been a fantastic experience. Too see far more about what is happening down there. And how there is so very much more to the things that happens there than what we are being fed from the media.

What impressed me is the hospitality, tolerance and patience of the Palestinian people. In the refugee camps, they insisted that we would share their meal with us. As little as they had...
One can say that I have met the most tolerant and also the most intolerant people in my life. I have never felt so harassed and insulted in my life, as in my encounters with settlers...
To be plain, this trip has marked me for life. In a good way
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Old 16 Mar 2009, 13:29   #2 (permalink)
Zen
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Default Re: I have returned from Palestine. (big one and pic heavy)

Nice report, King Winter Btw, it's Assalamualaikum but of course, that's how we say it here. Might be different from our Arabian breathen. It is sad to see so many atrocities in one of the holiest places on Earth. I dunno whether to give my sympathies to Israelis or not these days

And good that you took the risk to know the truth even though the risk might be imprisonment, torture and etc.
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Old 16 Mar 2009, 17:03   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: I have returned from Palestine. (big one and pic heavy)

Great pictures. It sounds like you had a good choice. It's very unfortunate what is happening to the Palestinians. I used to to fairly pro-Israel, but as I learn more...I realize more that what has been going on is inexcusable.

"Met with any suspected terrorists?"

"Um, yes, of course I had...since you apparently suspect every Palestinian of terrorism." :P
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Old 16 Mar 2009, 19:29   #4 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: I have returned from Palestine. (big one and pic heavy)

The situation in palestine is one of the biggest attrocities ever known to this planet. It's truly despicable what happens there on a daily basis, but the real atrocity is both how little it's reported on, and how truly ignorant some people are of the situation (No person educated on the conflict could possibly support Israel unless they were making massive profits off of it). Still, I'm glad you enjoyed your trip.

And yeah, people in poorer countries tend to be very hospitable and kind. Almost gives credence to the works of Karl Marx, considering how all of the assholes are usually found in the richer, better off countries (That are somehow supposedly 'better.&#39

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenai
I dunno whether to give my sympathies to Israelis or not these days
You should feel sympathetic for Israelis, because most of them inherited this conflict and want nothing to do with it. The people who you should put on your shit-list are the Israeli Government, and the Settlers. They're really the ones who're provoking everything.
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Old 16 Mar 2009, 21:18   #5 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: I have returned from Palestine. (big one and pic heavy)


Do not tempt the forces of irony King Winter after visiting one of the most dangerous places on Earth. Stay well away from motorbikes and other two wheeled contraptions.
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Old 16 Mar 2009, 21:28   #6 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: I have returned from Palestine. (big one and pic heavy)


You met Mordechai Vanunu! Is he still harassed by Israeli's? I'd love to hear the stories he told you as I am studying Nuclear Weapons and the NPT at the moment.

Very interesting to hear about the political situation in Palestine.

All I have to say is what a fantastic holiday. You met some very interesting people and got a good look at the culture there. I believe it is the only way to have a good holiday, getting off the tourist trail.

Fantastic report!
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Old 17 Mar 2009, 01:58   #7 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: I have returned from Palestine. (big one and pic heavy)

I always wanted to go there for a LOOONGGG time, maybe even buy a house there for a vacation type home lol, seriously, the idea of being surrounded by (mostly) loving and religous people all day seems so nice despite the tensions of palestinian and israeli conflict, also would like to go there being a fairly strong christian and cause most of my ancestors on my moms side were polish jews so it would be nice to see there culture a bit to and like 4 of my friends are palistian so it would be nice to see there culture to.
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Old 18 Mar 2009, 12:12   #8 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: I have returned from Palestine. (big one and pic heavy)

Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMan

You met Mordechai Vanunu! Is he still harassed by Israeli's? I'd love to hear the stories he told you as I am studying Nuclear Weapons and the NPT at the moment.

Very interesting to hear about the political situation in Palestine.

All I have to say is what a fantastic holiday. You met some very interesting people and got a good look at the culture there. I believe it is the only way to have a good holiday, getting off the tourist trail.

Fantastic report!
Hey. Well, we got in touch with Dr. Vanunu through one of my professors and he agreed to meet with us for a couple of hours.
And to answer your question, yes. He is still very harassed by the Israelis.
He told us his story. (writing from my notebook)

From 1976-1985 he worked as a technician in the Israeli nuclear program. His job had to do with production of Radium and Plutonium. From the amount of production, he would discern that Israel has since 1985 made about 10 nuclear weapons a year, which amounts to over 200 now. While America and the Soviet Union were building down their nuclear arms-programs, Israel has been building up. Against all UN resolutions etc. we all know the story... :P

He had made a large article about this, which he tried to get produced. As this was impossible from Israels strict control of the newsmedia, he tried with foreign newspapers, and finally got in contact with the Sunday Times. Through all this, he had never shared a thought or idea with anyone he knew. He knew he would be punished for his actions, but took the risk.

Sunday Times produced the article, but as the "Naive Idiots" they were, they contacted the Israeli Embessy/Government "to get confirmation on what this Vanunu guy told us". During this, he started relations with a woman, which turned out to be a female American "dove" (spy). He traveled to Rome with her, and was kidnapped by the Mossad and smuggled back to Israel.

Here he faced trial. The media waged a propaganda-war against him. He was found guilty of espionage and treason (in a farce of a trial).
He got 18 years in prison. Before all this, he had converted to Christianity.

The story hit the papers. But no nations dared to do anything. Neither Europe, nor America. And Israel still denies that they have nuclear weapons.
"When Israel can produce nuclear weapons in secret, then anyone can do it." "One can't seriously fight the Iranian nuclear program, when Israel already have nukes. If Israel has it, other will want to have it as well."

He told us about his time in prison. It was very much, but to tell it short:
He was in an isolation-cell. 3x2 meters. Psychologial warfare/torture. Bright light/music all night. Unhealthy food. Giving him fake news. Trying to reconvert him to Judaism. etc. etc. etc.
To stay sane, he told us he had his own "therapy". He listened to/sang loud opera-music, regained the sleep he lost in the night, by resting in the day. "Answer back" at the guards and much more. (He must have had a psyche made of steel...)

Usually, Israelis only spend 2/3 of jailtime in prison. After 12 years, he still refused to reconvert, and had to spend a further 6 years. At his release, he was put under house-arrest for life. (Also against human rights, yadda, yadda, yadda. Israel has never cared...)
He is shadowed by Mossad everywhere. And is forbidden to talk to foreigners. He still does. (And apparently took a risk by talking to us). He is in these days facing a new trial for "talking to foreigners", by his talks with foreign representatives. He used the church he prays is for contact and getting information out of Israel...

In the end, he talked about the Israeli politics. "The Israeli system works by committing newer and newer crimes against the Palestinian civilian population. After all the bombings of Gaza and the terror by settlers, who remembers the wall now!?"
"Israel is not a democracy. Even if the Americans try to tell the World otherwise. Israel has no:
-Freedom of Speech
-Freedom of Movement
-Equal Rights
-Basic Human Rights
etc. Israel is an Apartheid State.
The Israelites think they are Gods chosen people. They are wrong. We are all Gods chosen people. Not just the Jews."

Vanunu now lives a spartan life. Not that much money, and lives in a small apartment in the east side of Jerusalem. If he even goes near the West side, people will try to kill him. He is followed and harassed by Mossad and Shin Bet every day, and they restrict him from doing what he wants to. But he ignores them as much he can. "I live an open life".

At the end, he told us this:

"You are now young. You are the future of your country and will have the power to stop your nations collaborations."


He is promised political sanctuary in Norway, and has a good job as a professor waiting for him at the university of Tromsų.
I truly wish he can escape Israel...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ParadoxRifts

Do not tempt the forces of irony King Winter after visiting one of the most dangerous places on Earth. Stay well away from motorbikes and other two wheeled contraptions.
Oh, not that dangerous...we stayed mostly in the West Bank and East-Jerusalem. We even got a Fatah guide/guardian from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Nablus
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Old 18 Mar 2009, 18:54   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: I have returned from Palestine. (big one and pic heavy)

Sounds like you had a great trip there Winter, apart from the Airport authorities :P Would you go again? Oh and thanks for sharing the pics like you promised.
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Old 20 Mar 2009, 14:47   #10 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: I have returned from Palestine. (big one and pic heavy)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kakashi Sensei
Sounds like you had a great trip there Winter, apart from the Airport authorities :P Would you go again? Oh and thanks for sharing the pics like you promised.
I would call it the most educational trip of my life. And I'd guess there is a big chance of me returning. Perhaps as a solidarity-worker or something relevant to my field of education.

This trip is something I would recommend anyone. It blew my mind in so very many ways. The situation is far worse than I could ever imagine. I even had the opinion that the "leftist media" were blowing some of it out of proportions.
Now, I realize that what is happening there is so unbelievable that even I would not believe it if I read about it...some in my group even had breakdowns after the second day...
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