Palestine log diary

20180714

- JAWWAL israeli or palestinian?

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04 Wednesday

04:00 Morning plane, last day we were with Pat and her friend

06:25 Depart

07:30 Rome. We play set, pretty intense.

13:00 Depart, I'm watching documentaries with Aleida

16:00 Tel-Aviv Airport

Propaganda, Jews, aduana. It feels like being in another dimension/world/reality, the kippahs, the alphabet, the militarization. We see shekels for the first time, these fuckers disappear fast.

Bus, Christian girls. We talk with one about a lot of issues: the United States, Trump, Jerusalem, Orthodox Jews, Catalan struggle. People in town looked like Amish, there's orthodox everywhere We leave the bus, paying is strange, the guy thinks we won't pay.

Hotel

  • 4/2 rooms

  • Arabic part, radically different Jerusalem

  • American guy on Palm Hostel, paying and getting rooms. He has a redneck-y voice, very American. Shows us around the hostel.

Jerusalem

  • Falafel, street food everywhere. Smells crazy good.

  • Walking around Jerusalem, crazy differences between arab/Jewish part, although there are Jewish flags/symbology everywhere

  • Anti-arab checkpoint inside the old city to pass to the weeping Wall, compulsory kippah, fanatics singing and moving erratically around the wall. There are two fountains with silver bowls with 2 handles to clean your hands.

  • Eating in the Jew district, x4 price, tourists, white people, clean, doesn't feel real.

  • Street music in the Arabic old city, we buy ceramic pots from kids.

  • Light show, jew/arab parts

23:00 Palm Hostel sleep – ff and talk


05 Thursday

Jerusalem - Ramallah

09:00 wake up, fp, bus to Ramallah, shitty cheap street falafel/bread

  • Cross the border Jerusalem/Ramallah - Qalandiya refugee camp checkpoint, large queue of cars entering Ramallah

  • 11:00 arrive at bus station, nearby plaza. Rosa, Lluis and I go buy a Jawwal card. The city has a lot of publicity with white people/white families, and you can find martyr posters everywhere.

  • Talk to Abbas, a cool guy, meet him at the Norwegian Embassy, ask around, go walking

  • Talk with some kids for directions, trying to be helpful to no avail, and end up at an information point with some maps

  • Streets are more chaotic than in Jerusalem, cars run astray, people cross streets anywhere, and smells of good food.

  • Find a clown with some kids, a guy asks if we are Spanish and ends up following and talking to us until de Arafat mausoleum.

  • 12:00 Get lost a few times, talk to Abbas, get to the Malta embassy, meet Abbas

  • Abbas gets us to PFU, we meet the director and chat a bit about our mission and what we'll do.

  • Food & drinks are compulsory and abundant, there's always someone doing the role of a waiter.

  • Abbas gets us into a small committee and talks abundantly about the Palestine situation, A/B/C areas, most important demographic centers, some aspects of Israeli occupation, the Oslo Accords, and the current situation.

14:00 They invite us to chicken, rice, broth, and vegetables, we discuss the planing, doesn't seem to be thought out.

15:00 We get taken to RCH to leave our bags, 3/3 rooms. We sleep for a bit, and get out to Ramallah while Rosa takes care of her ankle – bit broken

19:00 Head out towards the city, hearing prayers from neon-lighted towers.

The city is crowded at night, we go to the market, and men & boys are making powerplay towards Aleida & Alba. We talked with a guy from Ohio who was visiting some family. Walking around the city, we buy some incredible shawarma for 10 shekels. We find 2 boys selling a kind of circular fluffy bread on the street, of the size of a medium pizza for one shekel, they seemed interested in us – they are around 12 yo, and one is strangely red-haired. Go back to the hotel.

Sleep in Ramallah Red Crescent Hotel.


06 Friday

Ramallah - Kafr-Ein

09:00 Lluis/Juan leave for the Arafat Mausoleum

11:30 Abbas gets us to a bus, the taxi driver has some family over South America and tries to Facetime them.

12:30 Arrive on Abu's home

He's a sweet old man who is an English teacher. We talk extensively with him and his family on the living room, we drink tea, water, juice together, eat nuts and talk about farmers, occupation, olive oil production. His son worked 4 years in Nigeria, and studied civil engineer. Her political daughter studies too, and is also a mom and works. They look really progressive, the old man isn't even muslim – maybe the communist background helps – and the family, except for the wife, is not very practicant as well.

13:00 Wedding

Perfil bajo, fuck that. We go together with the family to the wedding, and we get separated, women/men. We go to a men-only party, its pretty crazy, all the town is invited through the prayer tower so there's a lot of people that don't really know eachother. We steal the spotlight from the marrying man, they sit us and give us food & drinks straight away.

After eating, the girls appear, and they are being observed by everyone, quite a tense situation. Everyone is asking us to take photos, especially children, and we happily oblige. They take us and dance with us, its very animalistic/bestial, and they don't even drink. The girls leave, we too, and go to a more bourgeoise house. Two guys were studying in Norway, and speak good English. We spend time with them drinking, eating, talking about Catalonia, the wedding, their lives in Norway, and why they want to come back to Palestine and struggle.

19:00 We get a traditional dish/dessert called nablusee or similar, its cheese, sugar & spices.

23:00 We go back home and talk with chem plant Palestinians about love, life, occupation, prison, friends, the Palestinian struggle, and couples.

The prayers are heard throughout the day, 5 times a week.

Sleep in Kufr Ein


07 Saturday

08:45 very large breakfast, tomatoes, olives, humus,

10:00 Kufr Ein municipality, interview with Mayor – cool UN arab guy. He had so many connections abroad, and so little power. First interview, testing material, goes really well.

12:00 bumpy taxi to Nabi Salih

  • Israeli globe/Israeli checkpoint which blocks an important road.

  • Lacrimogen gas - Halamish front.

  • Beit Rima, interview with Putin guy. Not very good, he is quite political in his answers. We get invited to coffee & water, and there's a girl speaking Spanish

12:30 old part of Nabi Salih, Kid Primary Care clinic

13:00 Back Abu's home, we get 10 minutes of sleep and get to talk a bit and rest. I'm showing signs of gastroenteritis – double breakfast on Red Crescent wasn't a great idea – but Alba saves my ass with some weird powder. They give us a weird upside-down plate made of rice, vegetables and whole chickens, pretty big, serves all 9 people + 2 kids.

16:30 Kufr Ein center. Kids group, Juan playing football with kid. They all follow us to mosque/center area, and we interview a farmer. He is a bit shy, and doesn't talk a lot, I'm interviewing him, questions don't really flow.

18:00 Kids 6-14 are playing around us testing limits, we go to a leftist-oriented household where the women + 7 kids let us interview them. It goes really well, tells us about her life. The daughters are intrigued and fascinated with us. One of them gives us sweets, juice and coffee. The kids are waiting outside, same thing.

18:30 We visit another woman. This time its an activist/mistress/widow, she is pretty fluent on the issues she faces, and the interview flows really well. The 2 daughters are interesting too, and one gets interviewed as well... she is pretty intense. The interview follows her life with the Palestinian struggle, as all of them.

19:10 We go back with the groups of kids to Abu's and he gives us some tips on interviewing, we rest for a bit. We were going to interview a university student, but it doesn't follow.

20:30 Abu leaves for a wedding, Dia comes by and invites us to his house. We stay there until 01:00, talking about prison life, his past struggle as a kid/grownup, and how it changed him. We talk a bit about everything, this guy communicates really well. We decide to interview, he obliges, we just got some really good footage. We decide to give him a present – Catalan cookies – and we leave.


08 Sunday

08:15 up, crazy breakfast again – hard yogurt, spicy tomato, rosemary & olive oil, eggs, sausage. We had a conversation previous to the interview with Abu.

10:00 interview Abu, crazy interesting, prison story, eyes out. The taxi arrived late, plans changed (Tulkarem directly instead of Ramallah, we won't see Abbas).

13:00 eat with Abu, girls try dresses, we take photos, exchange gifts, give money to Abu.

15:00 we arrive in Tulkarem, didn't eat. We speak with the leader of an union/communist sindicate, they share their stories, gets us and takes us to the Wall. We see the entrance for 20.000 workers, we interview a farmer, and we see a nearby factory entrance burnt from molotov coctails.

20:00 Back to the sindicate, we interview the sindicate gy, its boring af but we go on. Rezeq translates. We move to Rezeq's house in a village, it smells like piss, there's abig party for the graduation of her daughter with loud music and women-only dancing, so we stay in the upper house (because the first level was abandoned, and used for parties and guests).

21:00 We still haven't had lunch or dinner, and we are in a small room being outsmoked by Rezeq. He offers coke, hot coffee and Tang liquid, plus some weird ice cream sandwiches. We get out with him, and go to a friend's house, where we drink man-made tea – weird experience – and don't talk with the host – arabic only, needs translation. We talk about the evolution of religious power in Palestine, and about Rezeq's past. His brother seems a relevant figure in the Islamic movement in Lebanon, having been one of the few to finish major studies with the Muslim Brotherhood.

00:30 We definitely need to eat, they give us some bread with humus, cheese, spicy olives, tomato sauce, etc. We eat it and start organising our home for the next 2 days. There's some major bugs here, its quite spooky.


09 Monday

wake up, stuff...

We go to a house inside a wall, between settlements and a village. The wife tells her story, she's pretty much used to it – telling stories – we see prize from the Palestine government. The house is a struggle on itself much like the organic farm, she's receive offers to leave but she's fighting. The system to let them in-out of the house is out of a movie, she's also had some issues with her sons.

We leave on taxi again, and he leaves us in a deserted area. Its a farmer's C area valley, we talk below some lemon trees & go interview some guys on a farmer's house. Kid fire and tea, we play with a donkey/mule, there's a seemingly pregnant dog, and I take some photos of Rezeq.

We get home for some siesta, and we wake up to have dinner with Rezeq, its a crazy chicken/wheat plate, with some salad.

  • house next to kids meeting

  • tea with humus/falafel chef

  • weird apartheid party in the street

  • home/sleep


10 Tuesday

08:00 Wake up at Rezeq's, walk around the old city. The whole thing is an international funded project, its a pretty beautiful city with some families living in, in contrast with the main thing. The taxi is not available, we take two to Dir Balout. We arrive at a Kindergarten/Cooperative of women farmers.

11:00 Nahual receives us, she speaks Spanish with a Venezuelan accent. She is very open minded just about everything, so we talk for a long time before realising we have barely enough time for a 10 minute interview. After a while, we travel with her towards the wall in a small van, Aleida and Alba are traveling in the back. Nahoual shows us that we are in area C, and they are currently building houses there to fight occupation. The Israelis are destroying the houses, but they currently stopped. We pass through a Bedouin camp, and then the desert. She is driving through some crazy places, and the conversation is really interesting in the car. She is speaking about everything, her story, life in Palestine compared to Venezuela, etc. She shows us Tel Aviv, they are constructing near the border. She explains how the jews are building on their farming area, and how the wall divided 94% of their land and made it non-accesible. We go back to the Bedouin camp, meet some people, see a shit oven. She shows us around her place, some Israeli settlements, and afterwards we go back to the women's cooperative. Two taxis take us to Nablus.

We wait in Tubas for Moatas/Hussam, he comes by car. He seems an important figure, doesn't talk English though.

15:30 Nablus with Rafat, visit the old city, its pretty similar to Jerusalem. We eat some shawarma and meet a Catalan girl.

We visit this weird village where the major is

Moatas takes us to a small camp where a family leaves. Its a bit better than the bedouins, but not much.

We drink tea, while Rafat and Moatas discuss with the farmers about their problems. The guy has been 47 years living here in crazy bedouin-conditions. He's calling Rafat out emotionally about their sons leaving, etc.

Complicated shit on the countryside.

Stargazing.

Sleep in Jordan Valley's windy farmer house in the wild.


11 Wednesday

Wake up, procrastinate until 12:00. Moatas late

We interview the farmer. The marks on his wrist meant something… either prison years of the times Isrealis took his settlement down.

Visit to a bedouin, take some tea, see his family.

Visit Husam's house. His son is graduating, so we have some chocolate, coffee, green liquid...

Visit to the Chamber of Commerce leader's house. Its shitty-fancy, we have some tea and interview him.

Doctor comes, invites us to dinner with him.

Leave things in Chamber of Commerce's hotel.

Football.

Anton appears.


12 Thursday

Wake up in hotel, have some humus, fruit, bread, juice and yogurt with the brigade.

Go to Hussam's office in Tubas' gobernorate, we have a small chat, go to Moa-taz' office, then go to Tubas' president office and interview him. The interview is pretty bland overall, we go back to Moataz', get some vids from an IT expert, and go to the field to visit some broken pipes.

We drive there with Abbas. Talk about corruption, government, religion.

Israelis touching an opened pipe, we stop and Rafat goes a little punk. We go to Bardala, see the pipes, interview a guy, see an olive field and interview another guy. The girls make a chat with the girls from Kilimanjaro/Everest.

Dinner with PhD in nanoelectronics from Barcelona, he invited us to a fancy restaurant in Nablus (Queens), I met a strangely friendly waiter. We plan our day for tomorrow with these guys.

The guy invites us to some nablusee/kunafa? its sweet as fuck and we are all too full. We take a taxi back to the hotel.


13 Friday

Wake up in hotel, have some humus, fruit, bread, juice and yogurt with the brigade.

Get taxi to Dead Sea.

Can't enter Kalya, we are stopped by the military and miss the beaches. We try to reach Ein Gedi, but are stopped on a checkpoint by two israeli women/soldiers. They tell us this particular taxi can't pass.

We go to Kalya again, cant pass, and a car leads us to the beach. We enter with the driver, have some sun/mud by the dead sea, it stings like hell in the eyes, the water out of the sea burns almost 100 degrees. There's a lot of tourists, specially chinese, and the place feels like United States? There's some burkinis around.

We go to Jericho, and visit the Old City, drink some water, and visit the mountain. There's a closed way leading to some houses.

Back to Jericho, we charge the Jawwal card and go back to the hotel.

Aleida aint feeling good.

Closed Aleida at home, went to barber, fucked up good.


14 Saturday

Wake up in hotel, have some humus, fruit, bread, juice and yogurt with the brigade.

Went to barber's house to eat, they aren't there.

Moataz comes to us.

Interview Atuf leader.

Interview a bedouine/strange political guy.

Interview guy bomb accident without hand/leg.

Back to hotel, sleep.

Taxi/service to Khan Al Ahmar.

The whole village is weirdly filled with internationals and arab politicians, the issue is a major one for the rest of area C, Israel is trying to divide West Bank in two, create a Jewish Jerusalem.

We sleep by the school.


15 Sunday

Wake up in Khan Al Ahmar, everyone is sleeping.

Get taxi, he doesn't want to take us to Jericho, but as soon as we offer 150 nis he agrees – about 35€. The guy doesn't speak a lot of english, but we manage to compare oil & water prices in Spain, Jordan, Palestine & Israel. He comes with us and Ismail towards the center f one of his date farms in the outskirts of Jericho, and we have a nice chat and tea with Ismail about what does he do.

He's fighting for the area C surrounding Jericho by planting as many palm trees as possible, but there's a lot of work, the israeli soldiers don't leave him, and the settlements keep expanding. Their production is 3 fold of what the Palestinian have regarding majula dates. He's fascinated by them, aparently some americans went 1.000km in the egiptian desert to look for them and managed to plant them in California on their way back, and when they asked for the name of the date, the locals said majula – unknown. That shit is expensive and doesn't rot easily, so its a good export to deal with Israeli waiting times in the aduana.

He shows us around, we meet worker, see factory. He's called Khalid, and we talked about too much shit for the level of english he had, he was pretty good at communicating. Cheating, love, families, marriage, fucking, life in Palestine, jobs...

We get a taxi back to Ramallah, PFU. Abbas has a feedback session with us, there's some discordance, but overall we had some good tips. Abu comes along, we eat some shawarma, connect, and talk about our plans for the next days.

We go to Red Crescent, leave our stuff and meet Nuria. She shows us around, and takes us to a gay-scene-hip bar in Ramallah, pretty expensive,


16 Monday

Bus fast Alei

Old city

Betlehem

Banksy hotel + wall

Shawarma

contactar -> Wi'im organisation


17 Tuesday

Short morning

Nuria (mason?)

  • painful walk

  • coffee & monologue

  • hotel pizza

Walking around old city


18 Wednesday

Review hotel

Interview in the airport

Mosquee, Alei kiss & skirt, airplane