It is now more than a month since I returned from Palestine. And I’ve been meaning to write a final post, but it has proved difficult.
How do you sum up such an experience?
In the first post I wrote when I arrived, I talked about the vivid contrasts that exist everywhere. For a visitor, making contrasts is an obvious and easy thing to do. It helps to give a clear sense of the uniqueness of this place.
Contrasts are easy to find too now I’m back. Today, I went for a run. I could move freely. There were no soldiers, no checkpoints and no hostile settlers.
For me, this freedom is a basic human right. Something we should all be able to count on.
Whatever your political, religious or ideological viewpoint, I challenge anyone to visit Palestine, experience this lack of freedom, and fail to feel immense solidarity with the Palestinian people.
There is no doubt that life for ordinary Palestinians is better than it was a few years ago during the Second Intifada. Better, but still not good enough.
What sort of a life is this?
When eight year olds have to walk past checkpoints and soldiers on the way to school? When farmers have their crops destroyed and their sheep poisoned? When a mother is locked in an Israeli jail for three days because she is distraught at her son’s wrongful arrest? When your house is a concrete prison? When you’ve been forced to live in a refugee camp for over half a century? When your town is surrounded by 30-foot walls? When you don’t have a passport and aren’t allowed to visit your family, 30 kilometres away?