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World March Blog
14 October 2009

The World March tours the Palestinian occupied territories

From Bethlehem, today we made a tour of the occupied territories to meet local people who are working in a non-violent way to change the situation together with the Palestinians from the Holy Land Trust association which carries out courses in nonviolence, training future political leaders and tourism policy.

the Wall in Palestine

the Wall in Palestine

To get to Bethlehem, we had to pass through a check point.  This experience gives you the absurd sense of being obviously in the right place when it comes to the World March for Peace and Nonviolence!

It’s like walking into a temporary jail.  Arriving from super modern Jerusalem full of life and order, you enter a timeless land where sacred sites have been witness to cruel and inhuman acts, where Christians and Arabs live together in a balanced way… because they have a common goal, to live free in their homeland.

In a bus with our Palestinian friends we toured all day, to visit three major cities:

  • Abu Deis where we met Salah Ayad at the Palestinian Water Society.
  • Ramallah where we visited the Palestinian Medical Relief Communities and spoke with Dr. Alan Jarrad.
  • Qalqilija

On our tour we saw the real situation in which people live, we saw the wall from every angle, we experienced the difficulty of travelling on kms of road between the mountains to get from one Palestinian place to another, spending hours when 30 minutes would suffice if there were no wall!

We found that not all the checkpoints are always open, but there are timetables, which of course are not respected … and when children must go from one side to go to school, and the checkpoint is not open … Children can wait hours to get home!

The wall has divided villages into two, entire families have moved away, and obviously it makes life incredibly difficult for everyone.  Also new walls are sprouting up even within the occupied territories because they surround land that Israel claims for them.  An Israeli company is the owner of the water distributed in Palestine, water that comes from subterranean aquifers flowing just below Palestine and of course here it often remains dry!

Well in this landscape, we experienced the hope of people who struggle to educate new young people in nonviolence.  We met people who believe that information is the key to getting support from outside.  We had a very busy day, bringing the values of the World March and understanding that it’s essential to stay connected with these people so that never feel alone in this struggle!

At the start of the tour one of them said to us, “I hope that you do not enjoy the wall … but enjoy our company!”  Here this is the spirit of the Palestinians … they are people who know how to laugh from the heart … in spite of everything!

See you soon,

Robert R.

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