Wednesday, August 8, 2007

"Israeli army prevents children from flying kites"

Since I've been here, I've seen a lot of sad things when I look up high; settlements on hills closing in on Palestinian towns, watchtowers and survelliance devices, the wall.

I also look up and see kites quite often, and fireworks from weddings and graduations. Yesterday the college placements tests scores were announced-in a press conference and on the radio-how's that for pressure?-and there were fireworks and flares from 11:30 in the morning until midnight!
Kites are good for children, especially children living under an occupation. That's why I've read and re-read a news story from Aug. 7: "Israeli occupational army prevents children from Bil'in from flying kites".

The rest of the news story:
"The children from the village of Bil'in were taking part in activities as part of the summer camp for children, supervised by the local sports club.

The Director of the club, Hossam Al Khatib said, "the children have been waiting for this day for a long time. It was part of the programme go to the wall to visit the land behind it, play football, music, enjoy the natural surroundings and to fly kites"

"The Israeli occupying soldiers killed this dream in the hearts of the children, and denied them their most basic rights," he added.

Al-Khatib described the actions of the Israeli army as an insult to the rights of children to live safely and freely."


Monday, August 6, 2007

Camels, water, settlers attacking Palestinians in Hebron

My time here is really coming to a close-it is hard to believe. The work is still going strong-I'm trying to get the evaluation instruments all set so that the mental health program can start to evaluate their work this fall (and send me data to analyze from very far!). I really look forward to seeing how the evaluation goes, as PMRS also requested that I put in measures of the impacts of occupation, so this should be really fascinating to look at.

Other things that have happened in the past week or so-

I finally got a good picture of a camel! I just couldn't play it cool anymore, and hung out the cab to get a picture.

This weekend, my partner's professor invited us to his village, where we got to see some wonderful springs
and meet his kind family. Our walk was beautiful, and we got to meet the mayor. Besides enjoying all the beauty-and great food and visiting-we talked alot about settlements, which surround every village here. The one that hovers on the hills over Salfit, Ariel, is actually larger than Tel Aviv. Salfit also suffers, like the rest of Palestine, from checkpoints and road blocks. The main road for the town has been closed since 2000. [For a recent story about Salfit:]

When we got back home, there was more to think about with regards to settlements. In a previous posting, I talked about the illegal Israeli settlements literally on top of buildings and in the Old City of Il Khalil (Hebron). This weekend, a mob of settlers burned two Palestinian homes in that area (and prevented fire fighters from reaching them) and hit a man with their car. []

Also, earlier in the week, a 17 year old Palestinian boy was shot and killed at the checkpoint outside our village. Maan News reported: "An Israeli army spokesman did not clarify why the soldiers did not aim for the legs, but chose to shoot him dead." []

All in all, as usual here, life is rather intense. People are kind, the food is wonderul, the sun makes everything glow gold at 6:30, and there is plenty of work to do. [Amazing terraces in Salfit, with the old town on top of the hills]