Tuesday 23 September 2014

Waking up in Palestine

Before Arriving

With 3 weeks to prepare, I had little time to imagine the new life I was preparing to live. The next 3 months I would be eating, sleeping, walking Palestinian life in Abu Dis, West Bank. I did not have a political stance or even know that much about the goings on. The name Gaza was a place of conflict with people I felt sorry for, for the tragic deaths and injustice of the Palestinians. But what injustice? Did I really know why I felt sorry or why people where dying? The answer is simple, no. I didn't know the history of the country I just knew the name Palestine, a name which you will not even find on a world map.

To prepare myself I read a Humans Rights book based on the changing laws in Palestine over the last 100 years. At the time after WW1 England and France divided these eastern countries between them and in WW2 called upon the Palestinians to support them in the war efforts, which was obliged. During the years more and more Jewish refugees were placed on Palestinian land as a temporary solution for those seeking safety. Not long after the war, England pulled out of their interference's in the east and it took little time for Jewish people (the Israelis) to push, taking more land for themselves and forcing the native Palestinian people to flee. In 1967 Israeli forces took control of Egypt, Jordan and Syria territory within 6 gaining massive strategic value.

Over time the Egyptian territory, Gaza, did manage to regain their position in the land and push the Israelis back. For those in Palestine however, things only got worse until all that remained truly Palestine was the West Bank and Gaza. In 2001 Israeli forces decided to mark their territory by building a 9ft high wall around the West Bank and protect it with military forces, in and out of Abu Dis. When the wall was completed in 2002 the forces then brought in green and blue cards. The simplified differentiation  is that Blue cards are for Israelis and Jerusalem residents allowing them to travel around easily. The green cards are predominantly for Palestinians, restricting their access to anywhere outside of the West Bank. This means that many people don't get to leave and also makes a 10 minute trip to the hospital, an hour's trip, if they get past the check point at all.

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