Israeli West Bank Barrier by Motecruz Foto licensed by CC 2.0, edited by Courtney Hawkins
Today, I travel to Palestine. This is a sentence I’d never thought I’d write; it was always a pipe dream, but I’m realizing what seems far is as close as you make it when you take advantage of the resources you have. While this trip is exciting and new, it will also be a taxing time. I am not here to be a tourist, and recent events have made taking action even more important.
The Great Return March
https://twitter.com/greatreturnma?lang=en --a twitter account documenting the events
https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2018/05/palestinians-great-march-return-human-cost-180516110538165.html --an article with infographics about the dead and injured
In Gaza, which is essentially an open-air prison, The Great Return March did not turn out to be quite so great. Instead, it seemed somewhat fruitless. At the end, many Palestinians were killed, and the Israeli government did not care. The United States did not care. Many people were ambivalent; however, could the approach have changed this outcome?
The protests seemed remarkably uncoordinated and not strictly nonviolent. The connection to Gaza further hurt their effort. I read an article from the New York Times where the people in Gaza charged the fence, and the IDF soldiers began to shoot because they perceived an obvious threat. What if the Palestinians had instead approached the fence slowly, arm in arm, in a long chain? If the IDF soldiers had shot then, what would the news have said? How could anyone have spun it in any way but as a massacre? What happened was a massacre; however, changing the public opinion is so important now, and it seems like a different approach is necessary.
When I am visiting the organizations I plan to see, I will be looking at this nonviolent, coordinated approach.
U.S. Embassy Move
http://peacenow.org.il/en/new-u-s-embassy-jerusalem-setback-peace --article from Peace Now
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/14/world/middleeast/gaza-protests-palestinians-us-embassy.html --article from New York times
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahGAus81000 --the actual event recorded
Watching the live stream of this event was like reading a dystopian novel. Many of the speakers spoke great praise, and upbeat musical performances and prayers were interspersed throughout the event. Yet, in Gaza, Palestinians were being murdered. A dystopian scene at its finest.
I will be visiting Jerusalem and plan to keep my eye and shutter open for any activity resembling protests of this move while I visit organizations and sights there.
Overall, I know I will be welcomed in Palestine. The generosity and hospitality will be in excess, and I know I will feel safe and secure. My bright red hair will certainly be pointed out, and I will be known as a foreigner, just like in Morocco, but I won’t be afraid. I am excited to meet new people from whom I have much to learn about nonviolent practices and about the conflict. I cannot wait to embark.