What an incredible day we have had today. We visited a refugee camp in Jericho, home to 8,000 refugees who rent their land from UN. Sadly, the UN have stopped funding for their water supply, so they have to buy the water (that is extracted from their own land) from the Israelis, but even the amount of water they are ‘entitled’ to is limited. Temperatures in the summer reach 50 degrees and their allowance is restricted further because the Isrealis ‘need’ more of the water (presumably to fill up their swimming pools).
We passed the Dead Sea which has multiple check points en route, and is heavily populated by Israelis, so it is not worth the danger for The Palestinians to visit. We visited numerous sites including the ancient ruins of King Herod’s castle (which the Palestinians spent years restoring… the Isrealis watched, before waiting until they had finished restoring it… to bulldoze it), Temptation Mount (where Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights), The Tomb of Moses, and an incredible Greek Orthodox church in the middle of the sand dunes which felt like a sanctuary. So tranquil and peaceful.
As we sat overlooking the valley of Jordan, gazing at the pure beauty of this extraordinary land, I felt incredibly blessed to be there. We were overwhelmed by its biblical history and captivated by its enchantment, and found it hard to remember the reality of its people.
We finished the day with a meal prepared by a Palestinian family who had invited us to their house. We were welcomed with delicious food and open arms as we sat appreciating their hospitality, and how honoured we were to be there. We discreetly knew that we were sharing the same feelings of sorrow, knowing that these kind, friendly, caring people, were all in danger under the occupation. These feelings were amplified as we watched the children playing outside, with the distant and familiar sound of gun fire in the background.
Today is one of those days that I will always look back on with warm feelings of being content, and being at one with the world. That said, I have never misunderstood the world so much, and I am happy that I will not be alive in 100 years to see what state it will be in. The Western ignorance of the horrific conditions these people suffer, to me, seems to be the perfect excuse for the rise in extremism. Of course, I do not condone any form of violence or terrorist activity, but if these people suffer so much, and we are all ignoring it… Then without a voice, how else will they make us see what is happening?
These people just want freedom from the occupation, and from the colonialism of Isreal. Why can’t they be granted that? Why can’t the be free to live a life without fear?
So now I will go to bed, in my somber, thoughtful mood, and hope that we will wake up with water to brush our teeth with. It seems that our water supply for the day has run out, but hopefully the Israeli’s will be able to brush their teeth. After they have had a swim.
Please join me over the next two weeks when I shall be documenting life in Palestine, under the Israeli Occupation, with daily blog posts and video diaries on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ptparent/).
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