Sophia's Peace Work

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Spent the day cleaning the women's apartment and then hanging out at checkpoints with Shelly who stayed a few extra days after the delegation departed. We had an interesting conversation with a soldier at one of the checkpoints that it both an entrance to the old city and to a tiny jewish settlement ... a nice, young man of only 18 from Tel Aviv who spoke in slow, broken English. He and his partner were holding a man and his son.

"They came out of the Qasba (the Old City) twice and just looked around," he said. "Their not supposed to come out. We didn't stop them the first time but when they came out the second time we decided to check them."

I wondered allowed what was the big deal with Palestinians using this entrance to the Old City. Right next to the checkpoint was a tall building with Palestinian children waving and smiling down on us.

The soldier pointed to a stone monument nearby with Hebrew writing on it. "A man was killed here by a Muslim," he said. It had been a visitor to the Settlement I found out later. "Only the three families left in this building can use this entrance to the Qasba." Soon after this, the man and his son were released and told never to come back this way again.

I found out later that this rule was not uniformly kept and that the building near the checkpoint used to be filled with Palestinian families but only two or three were left because the constant harrassment and curfews had driven the rest out.

Later in the evening, most of the team took a taxi to the TIPH (Temporary International Presense in Hebron) building for their Friday BBQ. I'd been once before and over a dinner of baked potatoes and BBQ'ed chicken, I'd gotten into a heated discussion with a Turkish man about dams on the Tigris river. I saw my Turkish friend again and he promised to give me a book on the subject. Just what I need more reading!


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