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Today's Realities, Tomorrow's Leaders
Delegation to Palestine/Israel
July23, 2012

We invite delegation participants to comment on and react to the experiences they have during our Israel/Palestine delegations in written Trip Reports

Individual delegates contribute pieces to these reports.  As such, reports are not comprehensive accounts of every meeting or experience, but impressions of those things that most impact individuals.  Submitted reports may be edited for clarity or brevity. Trip reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Peace-Builders, trip leaders, or delegation partner organizations.  We hope you enjoy reading and we encourage you to share these reports with others.



My Heart Breaks
By Andrea M.

My roommate on this delegation, Becky Judeh, read my first draft for a trip report and bluntly made known that it wasn’t personal enough. She encouraged me to write about my faith because she knows how important it is to me. And because of her...you will now be reading the following.

Coming to Israel-Palestine as a Christian who is also Palestinian has been difficult. My faith not only plays a huge role in my life, but has given me life. For the first few days of the trip, I felt that I was in the minority. There are no other Christian Palestinians on this delegation, which in so many ways is a blessing. I have truly learned and want to continue to learn other perspectives. But in another sense, it has been challenging.

I decided to participate in this trip because I am passionate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I want to end injustice, end the occupation, and stand for basic natural human rights. But more importantly, I decided to come on this trip to glorify Christ. I know that may sound foreign to many people who are reading this, even friends that I’ve met on this delegation. When I say “glorify Christ”, I mean not only talk openly about my faith, but truly love and have compassion as Christ does for all those who are on this delegation, and those who I come across.

I recently met a small Palestinian boy in the H2 region of Hebron who kept saying “give me” in Arabic. This boy has no money, no sustenance, and has resorted to asking people in the area for money. This action is a result of poverty, of lacking basic human needs. My heart breaks for him. My heart breaks for little boys and girls like him.

Also, I recently met teenagers working with the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) at the Qalandia Checkpoint, which is the gateway from Ramallah to Jerusalem, who seem uninterested in their job. They are fulfilling their duties because of an Israeli law. As citizens of Israel, they must serve in the IDF for 2-3 years. If they refuse to serve their country, they will face consequences due to the Israeli law. My heart breaks for them, too.

I decided to participate in this delegation because God has given me a heart for the broken-hearted, for the poor, and for the desperate. I surprised myself yesterday when I was overwhelmed with compassion for a man who described the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while neglecting the point of view of Palestinians and making many people understandably uncomfortable in the group.

I have compassion for that man, for the little boy I met in Hebron, and for the IDF soldier I met at the Qalandia Checkpoint. This compassion does not come from me because I am an utterly broken human. Rather, this compassion comes from the God who brought me here.


Children of Palestine
By Matthew J.

Think of the children
Selling bracelets on the street
Think of the children
Dirty sneakers on their feet
Think of the children
Wielding stones against tanks
Think of the children
Playing their games and pranks
Think of the children
Undeterred by fear
Think of the children
Whenever danger is near
Think of the children
When you talk about war
Think of the children
Both the rich and the poor
Think of the children
They are our only hope
Think of the children
Their smiles help me to cope


Long Journey Toward Reconciliation
By Robbie Wellington

Yesterday and today have been very intense and full of experiences.  Yesterday we spent the morning in the Old City of Jerusalem (click here for photos).  We visited the Wailing Wall, the Dome of the Rock, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  Unfortunately we went through the latter so fast I didn’t really have time to appreciate and absorb the significance of that place.  I hope to go back there before we go and really spend some time reflecting.  I’d like the walk the Via Dolorosa.  I also would like to get some souvenirs in the Old City.

In the afternoon we spent some time with a representative from the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).  I found the experience frustrating because, while I feel for the Palestinians who have had their homes destroyed and been displaced, I do not see Israel as this evil power or force in the world either – and that is the message I got from ICAHD.  By the end of Tuesday, I began to feel that the purpose of this delegation is to make us anti-Israel rather than to engage in interfaith peace work.  I think the real interfaith peace work is happening in the group itself with people from a range of ethnic and religious backgrounds.  Unfortunately, however, we have no Jewish members, and this is disconcerting because we are missing a central voice in this conflict.  I was up late last night writing my first trip report and sharing my many pictures.

Today did not end with me feeling so discouraged despite the difficult things we did and saw.  We left at 9am this morning and drove to Ramallah, about 45 minutes north of Jerusalem.  We met with several Palestinian students and a teacher from the Al-Quds University-Bard College Partnership.  These students were especially inspiring to me as they shared their hopes and dreams for the future despite being oppressed under an occupation.  A fellow delegate asked the students if they would be willing to engage Israelis in dialogue.  One student said yes if an Israeli would be willing to meet with him.  Another student said no because she did not feel ready to do so yet – both very courageous and honest answers.  Overall, it was an uplifting and inspiring meeting.

After that, we had two hours of free time in Ramallah.  I went to a place called “Stars and Bucks” for lunch with some other delegates.  I got some souvenir mugs, a caramel Frappuccino, and some delicious Palestinian food.

After lunch, we met with a second group called Addameer which offers free legal aide to Palestinian political prisoners.  We heard about the unfair treatment and sentences Palestinians receive and the torture they undergo.  Sometimes it all just seems so horrific, too unbelievable.  I can’t help thinking that the Israelis don’t just enact all of these oppressive and punitive policies for nothing.  Of course the Israelis are being manipulative and strategic in their attempt to secure vital resources, regions, and areas in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.  Israel does feel like a militarized, police state.  However, the Palestinians have to take some responsibility too.  Israel is often criticized for abusing its victim status to defy international law and always get what it wants, but so far, on this trip, I feel like the Palestinians are being painted with the victim brush as well.

On our way back to Jerusalem from Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, we intentionally went through an Israeli military checkpoint to feel and see what Palestinians have to go through on a daily basis.  We spent almost an hour and a half in a metallic, oven-like, 90 plus degree room waiting to go through.  One delegate said it felt and looked like a concentration camp.  Someone else said she felt as if we were going to the gas chambers.  Jewish-Israelis are just as much victims in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the Palestinians are, and the pain and oppression the Jews have suffered for thousands of years manifests itself today here in Israel-Palestine.  What happened in the Holocaust did not end with the liberation of the concentration camps at the close of World War II.  That pain and suffering continues today.  Word War II came about, in part, from the unfair, punitive, and oppressive Treaty of Versailles after World War I, and the chain of humans oppressing humans goes on and on, back to the beginning of time.  

When someone asked one of the Palestinian students earlier in the day how they cope with the oppression and occupation, one of the students said laughter, they have to laugh at the situation sometimes because it is so sad and depressing.  If there isn’t laughter, the sadness is overwhelming and steals all the hope away.

Since being here, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been frequently compared to Apartheid rule in South Africa.  While I have seen many similarities between the two such as home demolitions, displacement, violence on all levels (physical, structural, cultural), unequal and asymmetric relationships between two parties, and a clash between two different races, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to be closer to the situation in Northern Ireland during The Troubles.  The policy of Apartheid in South Africa did not come from a history of being oppressed, displaced, and discriminated against.  It came from a place of fear, ignorance, discrimination, prejudice, and hate.  The South African Apartheid government, which originated from Dutch colonists, does not share much with Jewish-Israelis.  While policies enacted in Israel-Palestine to systematically oppress the Palestinians do come from a similar place as the policy of Apartheid in South Africa, Jewish-Israelis have a very different history than the Dutch Colonists.  Unlike South Africa where you had a historically empowered and oppressive power dominating an oppressed people, in Israel-Palestine both parties, not just one, have a history of being dominated and oppressed.  Israeli-Jews are more like a wounded animal than an oppressive, colonial power.  While the Northern Ireland conflict is closer to Apartheid South Africa with a historic power (England) dominating a historic underdog (the Northern Ireland Catholics), Palestinians are closer historically to the IRA than black South Africans who did not use suicide bombings, terrorist attacks, or assassination to get what they wanted.  I want to be very clear here that I am absolutely not suggesting that all Palestinians are terrorists.  In fact, I think there is only a very small radical minority among Palestinians who engage in violent means to achieve freedom.  However, I think saying Israeli-Palestinians are in the same boat as black (or all people of color for that matter) South Africans under Apartheid doesn’t quite capture the complexity of the situation or the hardships Jews have faced throughout time.  Perhaps I am wrong.  I am keeping an open mind and look forward to learning more in the days to come.

There has been much talk here about a one-state vs. two-state solution.  Before I came on this delegation, I thought a two-state solution was the only viable answer.  However, the West Bank and Gaza have been so decimated and cut off that if a Palestinian state ever were to be created, it would be nothing but a ghetto.  On the other hand, I cannot imagine Israelis and Palestinians having equal rights and equally sharing the government of one state.  They would both have to give up their desires for a theocracy and share the power equally.  This would require a tremendous amount of faith and trust.  Can you imagine, some day, a Palestinian president over a democratic Israel-Palestine?  No more walls or zones or permits or inferior products.  It is hard to imagine something so wonderful, but if it ever were to happen, what a miracle it would be!

October 21 - November 3, 2012

Join Interfaith Peace-Builders for a unique opportunity to learn about the current situation in Israel/Palestine and the effects of the Israeli occupation. Applications from individuals of African descent will be accepted on a rolling basis until August 1, 2012.  Preference granted to community leaders, activists, artists and others who display a strong commitment to activism in their own communities.

Click here for more information and to apply today!


Bitter Ironies and Ongoing Resistance
By Will T.

Yesterday, our delegation visited Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust Museum which is built near the ruins of a demolished Palestinian village where over 150 Palestinian men, women, and children were massacred in 1948 by Israeli terrorists (militia’s organized by the Irgun and Stern Gang).  Having the Museum there - what bitter irony.

Earlier, in Hebron, we visited the famous Tomb of the Biblical Patriarchs, Abraham and Isaac and their Wives, Sarah and Rebecca.  This was the site, in 1994, where an extremist Israeli settler, Dr. Baruch Goldstein, took his automatic rifle into the Mosque and gunned down 29 Muslims while wounding over a 100.

Below the Mosque are two of the many Israeli military checkpoints that hinder traffic and degrade Palestinians who must pass through to reach the Patriarch's Tomb and other destinations.  For many years, Hebron's major commercial thoroughfare, Shuhada Street, has been closed to all Palestinians.  This has resulted in great hardship for many families.  There is an eerie stillness on Shuhada Street except when Israeli Offensive Forces (IOF) use it or when Israeli settlers do so.

Less than 24 hours ago, while walking in West Jerusalem, some of us passed a very old Muslim cemetery on Mamilla Street.  We had been told that the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center had applied for and been given an Israeli permit to remove the bones of the Muslims buried there so that a Museum of Tolerance can be built. It will be just across the street from a new luxury hotel that is to be constructed - a Waldorf Astoria, presumably the hotel owners don't want to "ruin" the view of the patrons.  Again, what a bitter irony.

While walking through the streets of old Jerusalem, I thought of Palestinians such as Issa Amro, a leader of Youth Against Settlements and Iyad Burnat of the Bil'in Popular Resistance Committee and so many others who employ and teach tactics used by Gandhi and Martin Luther King - and also Gene Sharp of then Einstein Institute in Boston – non-violence and civil resistance.

I recall seeing a sign in NYC at a Wall Street Occupation Rally that may well speak to what is
happening in the Occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip:  "Respect Existence or Expect Resistance."

That resonated with me, but I hope that such resistance will be non-violent in nature.

Reflections on the First Week in Palestine
By Hoda M.

‎"Israel," or rather, occupied Palestine: this is a place where you find the ugliest of human beings, like the "security" which exhausted myself and 4 of my fellow travelers at the airport for 3-5 hours because our crime was being born with Arab blood. Ugly human beings like the 19-year olds with guns who smirked and laughed as we waited in the sweltering heat at Qalandia Checkpoint. Ugly human beings, like the racist Israeli women in West Jerusalem on Friday who called me a piece of trash Arab, told me to "go back to Syria and all the Arab countries where [I] should go" and tried to spit on me. They mistook me for being a Palestinian, which to me is an honor, and to them a constant reminder that they are colonizers and invaders who are stealing every last inch of this land.

But.... this is also a place where you find the most beautiful of human beings.

Beautiful human beings, like the student activists from Al Quds University who, despite studying under the most exhausting of circumstances, want you in America to know that they have not, and never will, give up the struggle. Beautiful human beings like the lawyers who work tirelessly to free the prisoners that the world always seems to forget. Beautiful human beings like Issa from Hebron who, when asked if he ever gets frustrated, he said, "No. The more the soldiers and settlers harass me, the more motivation I have to keep going."

Beautiful human beings, like all the people that I met in Hebron on Friday who are amazing, steadfast, and hospitable people, no different than all of the Palestinians I keep on meeting. So many people, from the old shopkeepers to the young boys selling trinkets on the street in the old city of Hebron, are pleasantly surprised to find an Egyptian American visiting their country. "Your presence lights up Hebron," they kept telling me. They could not stop expressing their love for Egypt and Egyptians, sharing with me their fond memories of Port Said and Cairo, and most of all, the immense inspiration they derive from the Egyptian revolution. Of course, I had to remind them that they are the ones who inspire us all, from Tunis to Cairo to Zuccotti Park to Oakland, and that without the Palestinian cause we are nothing. 

Ramadan is finally here, and many of us on the delegation are braving through our fast despite the extreme heat and constant travel. We are moving onward to Nablus, Bil'in, and Bethlehem in the coming days. Until then, I hope that we can learn to follow the path of liberation that the inspiring people we meet have traveled many times before, and will keep on doing so: samidoon hata al-nasr ("We remain steadfast until victory.").


Multiple Levels of Conflict
By Robbie W.

We spent today in Hebron, the most populated city in the West Bank (click here for photos).  In many ways, Hebron truly captures the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  While it belongs to the Palestinians as part of the West Bank, the Israelis have built six settlements there.  These settlements are so significant that the city has actually been divided and is made up of H1 (populated only by Palestinians) and H2 (where the Israeli settlements are located but where Palestinians live as well).  H1 makes up about 2/3 of Hebron.  We spent most of our time in H2.  I was struck by seeing the walls, observation towers, checkpoints, Israeli soldiers and police patrolling the area, police vehicles, etc. – truly a military state.

Hebron is a sacred site for Jews, Christians, and Muslims because it is where the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs is located.  Buried there are Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah.  Not only is Hebron divided into two areas, but this sacred site is also divided in two.  Half is a mosque and the other half is a synagogue.  Jews are not allowed to enter the mosque, and Muslims are not allowed to enter the synagogue.  Christians are allowed in both.

The first person we met with was David Wilder, an Israeli settler in Hebron.  The terminology is all so sensitive it’s difficult to even describe things.  While Palestinians and their supporters consider the Jews settlers and occupiers in the West Bank, David said that he and the Israelis came home to Hebron after the 1967 War.  After we met with David, we met with Issa Amro, a Palestinian tour guide for Hebron and organizer for Youth Against Settlements (YAS).  Listening to David’s story and then listening to Issa’s story was so frustrating for me in the midst of this divided country, divided city, and divided holy site.  It felt like two little kids pointing their fingers at each other and shouting whose fault it is.  Despite all of the differences between the Israelis and Palestinians, I actually heard the same thing from both parties – I do not feel heard, my pain has not been acknowledged, my people have not been recognized.  Despite the asymmetric relationship between the Israelis and Palestinians and the huge power imbalance on the Israelis side, neither side feels heard or acknowledged.  Both continually said, “This is my land.”  At the same time, there are Israelis and Palestinians who want to talk and get along together.

This conflict is frustrating on multiple levels.  It bothers me to see these people hurt each other so much.  There is such irony that, in this holiest of regions with such a rich history and culture, there is so much fear, hatred, misunderstanding, and pain.  Today another member of the delegation asked me how I reconcile the holiness of this country with the human suffering.  I said the suffering does not change the fact that this is a holy place.  God is at work, and the story does not end with the suffering.  There is more to come, and it will be wonderful.  

During our tour of Hebron with Issa, I saw the word “forgiveness” spray-painted on a wall.  I hope to see more forgiveness in this Holy Land in the days to come.  Every evening the group gets together to debrief.  I really cherish this time.  We as a group have very different perspectives and experiences with this conflict.  Some of us have personal and direct connections to the conflict, while others of us have none.  We continue to talk and grow together, and this is a good thing.


Security and Compassion
By Kristie G.-T.

As we got off the bus in Hebron we were swarmed by little street kids with their green, red and black Palestinian bracelets smiling and pushing their merchandise with polite yet assertive insistence.  They smiled and spoke through their dust covered faces and unkempt hair and looked curiously content given the circumstances they lived in.  We eventually reached our destination where we were greeted with a gray haired bearded man with a Glock strapped to his side, David Wilder.  He gave a subtle and somewhat cold greeting, a complete contrast to the neighborhood children, as he guided us into the building and then proceeded to describe the history of Hebron, the massacre of Jews in 1929, and the Jews’ return. 

I mourned as he relayed the story of how these 67 Jews were murdered by their Arab neighbors in 1929 and it was obvious that he felt his traditions were desecrated and forgotten.  He spoke of the betrayal of a people and a tradition of distrust and hate between the Arabs and the Jews.  I recognized that his suffering and pain were legitimate and I cried as I reflected on the potentially destructive nature of religion and politics.  I felt that there was a shared history, shared suffering and that maybe there could be some sort of bridge that would remedy this horrible conflict. This common thread of human suffering could be a starting point for trust.  That maybe by recognizing and validating each other’s pain, progress towards peace could be made. Then he stated, “I’m for human rights, but if I had a choice between human rights and security, I choose security”

This is where the problem lies.  When we violate the rights of others and no longer see their humanity we begin to draw lines, create boundaries and follow narratives that feature each other as a threat rather than a co-habitors of the earth.   We begin to feel threatened, defensive, broken, afraid and worse, we become enemies. By putting security over compassion, understanding, cooperation we create a world where the “other” will feel shame, powerlessness and fear. We create a world where we need fences and walls to secure our borders, guards stand outside homes and Glocks are strapped to our side.  We, in our efforts to protect ourselves, create a world we need protecting from. 

We left David Wilder and eventually joined a local Arab community leader as he walked us through Hebron and many of the locations were the Israeli guards or settlers had violated their human rights. The children that greeted as at the beginning of our visit would occasionally pop up and again offer us goods or just try to talk to us.  We arrived at a site where Israeli settlers and the army had closed prospering local markets which now were a massive trash heap.  At this spot is where I saw a young boy about 5 or 6 with dirty round wired rimmed glasses.  He impressed me so much I had to take his picture and after he came up to me and asked my name.  I responded, “Kristie” and he repeated it back in his tiny munchkin voice, “Kristie”.  We had a momentary connection that I know I will never forget. 

I pray someday a child will approach David Wilder and ask his name.  Hopefully he will remember humanity.   Not policy, history, facts or his own fears, but that he is looking at another human being. 

October 21 - November 3, 2012

Join Interfaith Peace-Builders for a unique opportunity to learn about the current situation in Israel/Palestine and the effects of the Israeli occupation. Applications from individuals of African descent will be accepted on a rolling basis until August 1, 2012.  Preference granted to community leaders, activists, artists and others who display a strong commitment to activism in their own communities.

Click here for more information and to apply today!


I’ve Seen the Face of Evil: Hebron
Sharif Z.
Excerpted from original piece

We traveled about an hour and a half toward Hebron.  Hebron is one of the oldest cities in the world sacred to Muslims, Christians and Jews (click here for photos).  It also contains the Ibrahimi Mosque which houses the tomb of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob.  The city of Hebron was built by the Canaanites more than 5,500 year ago and has been ruled by the Roman Empire, Byzantines, the Crusaders, Muslim Empire, Ottoman Empire, and the British Empire. Hebron is known for its grapes and black honey and is the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank.  Following 1948, Hebron was under Jordanian administration until it was invaded by the Israeli army in 1967 along with the rest of the West Bank. We were warned to dress conservatively since it was a more religious area.  Our first meeting was with the settler spokesman David Wilder. . . [editor’s note: this report has been edited for brevity, but click here to read Sharif’s full account of the meeting with David Wilder]

We went on to meet with our next tour guide Issa, a member of the Palestinian Youth Against Settlements. Issa is a local from Hebron where he first showed us where he was born and the elementary school he went to.  There was graffiti written all over the doors of the school which read “Nikma” in Hebrew which meant “revenge”.  The school was for Palestinian students.  He began to explain the problems teaching Palestinian students because of the harassment that teachers face everyday from soldiers.  When children see their authority figures publicly humiliated, it becomes difficult to gain the respect of the students.  Every morning teachers are required to be searched or forced to face detainment for about 15 days and pay up to 2,000 Shekels (approx. $500). Children are searched one by one before entering their schools (even elementary school children). At that point we witnessed an Israeli tank drive through the streets.  

We continued our tour of Hebron, learning that sometimes settlers would break into homes and shops of Palestinians and squat. When Palestinians file complaints to the Israeli police, the police often take the side of settlers and then ban Palestinian owners from entering.

There are over 20 checkpoints within the city as well as a wall that separates settlers from Palestinians on certain streets. The checkpoints and wall are claimed to be used for security purposes however the wall itself is about 3 feet high and easily scalable. The Palestinians don’t see this as a security measure but more as a system of control and oppression.  

On Shuhada Street in Hebron, Palestinians are not allowed to walk or drive.  What could take a 10 minute walk through the city could take over an hour since Palestinians are required to find alternate routes to get to their destinations. During our tour a police tank (not army, yet still militarized) came to question Issa and warned him not to get near the street.  We were then required to move away and the police tank continued following us till we moved far enough for their liking.

Hebron used to be a bustling city until its invasion. Windows are broken, houses are worn down with bullet holes and the doors of Palestinian shops and homes on the ‘Israeli streets’ are welded shut.  This has made it extremely difficult for some Palestinians to enter their homes.  Many are required to climb houses and enter their homes through windows and roofs.  This makes it nearly impossible for elderly and those who are not physically capable.  Palestinians are not allowed on roofs even though it is sometimes their only options to enter their homes.

We then entered a Palestinian section of the market (again had to pass through another checkpoint), where this narrow street was bustling.  Everywhere we walked the people were desperately trying to have us enter their shops and check their wares. Again children swarmed us. Issa explained how the economy had taken a severe dive due to settler aggression in the area.  Many Palestinian children have been killed for holding toy weapons. Whenever there is a crime committed, the Israeli settlers automatically blame Palestinians (Much like how our American society often automatically blames people of color for crimes).

We ate lunch and he shared stories of Issa’s interactions with the police force and settlers.  He even told us about how our earlier speaker had pointed a gun to his head once and had started physical fights with him. He promised to send us videos of his interactions (videos will go up as soon as I get them!).

What really disturbed me was the amount of trash in the streets.  Settlers live in the higher parts of the city and they often throw trash down into the Palestinian markets.  There were cages built to catch the trash thrown from above by settlers.  Even more shocking was that there were cases where settlers would throw eggs and even acid at the Palestinians.  Cinderblocks were also intentionally thrown to kill passerby’s in the market.

We were then led to meet with the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee who’s aspiration is to 1) preserve Hebron as a historical Arab Palestinian town, 2) to safeguard its cultural and architectural heritage, and 3) to save the Old City from the greed of Israeli settlers.  The HRC has worked tirelessly to revive the economic infrastructure through an alternative tourist movement. They have revived parts of the city and have made great strides regardless of Israeli interference.  One largest obstacle is that Palestinians are not allowed to use machinery and are forced to use physical labor and donkeys, development then takes a ridiculously long time.

In the center of Hebron there are over 220,000 Palestinian residents and approximately 90 Jewish families living in Israeli settlements.  A total of 5 Israeli settlements are currently being connected by roads to which Palestinians have no access to.  According to the HRC, there are 4 or 5 Israeli soldiers per Israeli settler.  That makes almost 5 times as many soldiers as settlers (amazing).  

After the HRC meeting, we left for the only keffiyeh factory left in the West Bank. I scored some pretty dope keffiyehs which I hope to bring back to people in the states.  

Overall Hebron was intense.  I can honestly say that I’ve seen the true face of evil and it is represented in the settler violence that Palestinians have to face.  I was upset for quite some time and I felt guilty that I could escape this mess whenever I wanted, even though this was peoples reality.  Hearing from the HRC and their accomplishments made me hopeful.  

What really struck me was the dedication and humor that Palestinians express even under occupation. It has made me self reflect on the way that I express my feelings when dealing with this topic.  These are people that are living with day to day risk, and yet they still have such positive energy.  They joke about their situation to cope and it makes me thankful for the privileges that I have. Even in the face of great adversity, Palestinians are fighting back systems of violence and control. Stay tuned.

To read this post in full, and see other recent posts not included in this Trip Report, continue here: http://educatedpalestinian.com


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