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Keeping Hope Alive

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Messages: 1 - 50 of 138
  • Message 1. 

    Posted by Eileen (U2438659) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    I’ve recently returned from a week of picking olives alongside beleaguered Palestinian farmers and other people from all over the world. There were several groups but I was in a group of 45 people.

    The farmers needed our help for a variety of reasons, eg:
    - some had been separated from their land, either by the Wall, or by their land becoming under total Israeli control. They had permits to harvest their crops for only a limited time, or for only the offical landowners to enter the land – one farmer was only allowed a permit for himself, his brother and his mother and he had over 100 trees to pick!! As you can imagine, olive harvest is usually an extended family/community event.
    - Some have fields which are now next to the recently built settlements and the farmers and their fields are prone to attack by the settlers. The mere presence of internationals reduces that risk and, in case it happens, there are many people there to witness and photograph/ video any harassment.

    Not only do the organisers hold these olive picking programmes each October they also organise olive tree planting in February. These are to replace trees uprooted to make way for settlement building, or just out of sheer vandalism. It’s true that some of the planted trees are uprooted again, but the programme replants nevertheless.

    It was an excellent programme which also included trips so we could get an inkling of what life is like under occupation, eg amongst other things: we visited a refugee camp, walked through a checkpoint (so dehumanising – it was difficult to contain one’s anger), visited a settlement (lush and green with many water features, whilst the Palestinians regularly have their water cut off and the pressure reduced) and a bedouin community who face the most extreme intimidation and deprivation.

    Fellow pickers ranged in age from early 20s to people in their 70s. It’s a great programme and I’d recommend it for anyone else who feels helpless, but would like to do something positive.

    Alternatively people can sponsor a tree and be kept up to date with its fate (I think you get transferred to a different tree if yours is uprooted!)

    Here’s the offical blog of our week
    www.jai-pal.org/cont...

    Report message1

  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by carrick-bend (U2288869) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    What an interesting post, Eileen.

    Report message2

  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 2.

    Posted by Binky (U4657795) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    I always wondered if there was anything more positive to be done, other than boycotting Israeli goods. This programme sounds really excellent. Hats off to you, m'dear!

    Report message3

  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 3.

    Posted by whitbyrose (U15069960) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Thanks for that fascinating post Eileen.

    Report message4

  • Message 5

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Roberttrebor (U2337319) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    An interesting post although I don’t think anything will get better for the Palestinians, while both candidates in the American election must back Israel right or wrong. Any action taken by the Israel will be backed by the USA, and any condemnation by the UN will be ignored by Israel and the USA.

    Report message5

  • Message 6

    , in reply to message 5.

    Posted by Eileen (U2438659) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    I'm really pleased to hear that others are interested in this project and hope it will encourage further involvement and support.

    I fear you are right Roberttrebor which, for me, makes this sort of project even more important. Some Palestinians also feel the situation to be hopeless but to go out and help them in this way is of practical help and also helps to make them feel less forgotten and isolated.

    Report message6

  • Message 7

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by Roberttrebor (U2337319) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    It’s good that some people who can do chose to go, but even when some of those who chose to go are young American women, the results can be dire, there is a cover up and even I have forgotten her name, (I know I could look it up on the web, but the point is I’ve forgotten it.), so to anyone choosing to go be careful people have been killed....

    Report message7

  • Message 8

    , in reply to message 7.

    Posted by Eileen (U2438659) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    It would be handy if you could find the information, Roberttrebor because, as far as I am aware, no internationals have been killed, or even injured, on this sort of programme.

    Perhaps you are thinking of the demonstrations, mainly in Gaza where live ammunition is frequently used against unarmed populations?

    Here's a list:
    en.wikipedia.org/wik...

    As you can see all have been well publicised. I just don't see how any cover up could be sustained.

    Some people in our group were nervous about going but it was a very peaceful affair and everyone went home feeling a lot more confident about going again. Indeed, some people had been on many occasions and were also involved in other peace work in Palestine.

    Report message8

  • Message 9

    , in reply to message 8.

    Posted by Eileen (U2438659) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    as far as I am aware, no internationals have been killed, or even injured, on this sort of programme. 

    actually, I should qualify this:
    -one of our group slipped and twisted her wrist which had to be strapped for the rest of the week
    - someone toppled over a little slope and hurt their knee, which swelled up and they couldn't pick for one day

    smiley - winkeye

    Report message9

  • Message 10

    , in reply to message 8.

    Posted by My Mum is turning in her grave (U13137565) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Well done Eileen. It sounds as though you had an interesting time. I shall certinly look into sponsoring a tree as I'm not able to 'do' much at the moment.

    Report message10

  • Message 11

    , in reply to message 8.

    Posted by Roberttrebor (U2337319) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Yes that is what I was thinking of however, I would not be suprised to hear on the news that an Israelie soldier had shoot a Palestinian field worker cllaiming he thought he was about to fire a missile....

    Report message11

  • Message 12

    , in reply to message 11.

    Posted by Eileen (U2438659) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    I hope things aren't too difficult for you at the moment, My Mum. It's great that you'll sponsor a tree. I'll send you some info about it - I'm a bit up in the air with doing all sorts of things at the moment, so it might not be immediate, but it will happen! It's $20, I think and you get a stiffgit and everything smiley - smiley

    I would not be suprised to hear on the news that an Israelie soldier had shoot a Palestinian field worker cllaiming he thought he was about to fire a missile.... 

    Well, yes, all sorts of things happen to Palestinians but the thing is, it doesn't seem to happen so much when there are people from other countries around to witness it!

    We had a minor skirmish with the police:
    - the farmer's land had been brought into Area C - completely under Israeli control and a gate covered in razor wire was erected between his land and his village on the West Bank. His land is now considered to be part of Jerusalem municipality so under full Israeli control.
    - the farmer has a key to the gate and he, his mother and his brother are allowed in to tend their trees and crops (see above).
    - Internationals are allowed in all areas: A, B and C but Palestinians are not allowed in area C without authorisation. So last year pickers tried to accompany him through the gate to help him harvest his crop. They weren't allowed.
    - This year the pickers accessed his land from a track from the other side (Area C), walked about 15 minutes to his field, and helped with the harvest. However, when we walked about 10 mins along the track and tried to leave by the gate to Area A (Palestinian controlled in the West Bank) a police vehicle (they're armed and look more like what we would expect soldiers to look like) drove up and stopped everyone.
    - The police did start pushing the farmer around but immediately about 30 cameras were trained on them and I think this had the effect of restraining them.

    It was all a bit odd really because they say that the separation walls and barriers and fences are about security, but we were leaving from the Israeli controlled Jerusalem municipality *towards* the West Bank, so no security risk to Israelis at all!

    After about an hour they let us through.

    Report message12

  • Message 13

    , in reply to message 12.

    Posted by Boneman (U14746456) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Eileen

    Fascinating that this is a YMCA initiative in a Jewish-Muslim stand-off,

    I think what strikes me is how deeply dehumanising the set-up is for both sides. Clearly the Palestinians are oppressed but the young Israeli police haver lost their compassion and humanity too by the sounds of things.

    The wall, the divisions, the "rules", the settlements, the bombing, the terrorism, none of it is of any help. Major changes have to happen in people's outlook before any progress is made. May be the growth of your type of initiative will be part of that change. Politicans on both sides are useless right now.

    Report message13

  • Message 14

    , in reply to message 13.

    Posted by Eileen (U2438659) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Thanks for your post Dunce Boneman.

    Politicans on both sides are useless right now. 

    Aint that just the truth smiley - sadface

    Fascinating that this is a YMCA initiative in a Jewish-Muslim stand-off, 

    Quite a few Palestinians are Christians (and Jews)*, in fact Christians were the majority in the town we stayed in. It's not a stand-off on religious grounds as far as the Palestinians are concerned, it's about confiscation of land and property.

    *who lived peaceably alongside each other until the Zionist movement started implementing their plan to move to their Promised Land.

    Report message14

  • Message 15

    , in reply to message 14.

    Posted by My Mum is turning in her grave (U13137565) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    getting there, Eileen, but still a long wy to go. Do you still have my email?

    Report message15

  • Message 16

    , in reply to message 15.

    Posted by Eileen (U2438659) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    I'm really sorry to hear that, My Mum. Yes, I do have your email - if I have probs I'll find a way through!!

    Report message16

  • Message 17

    , in reply to message 15.

    Posted by duzzents (U10507443) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Thanks for this ;post Eileen, I've been wondering what I could do.

    Report message17

  • Message 18

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Mrs PPG (U14114383) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    I really respect you Eileen. Your post and the blog are very inspiring.

    Report message18

  • Message 19

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by goalpostsoflife (U10655386) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Thanks for posting, Eileen, how inspiring.

    Report message19

  • Message 20

    , in reply to message 19.

    Posted by Eileen (U2438659) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    I agree with you all - it really is an inspiring programme! One guy in our group said it was the best thing he'd every done in his life.

    I've just dug up (sorry for the pun) some info and statistics they gave us which I hope will be interesting:

    1.2 million trees have been destroyed since 1967. Just in the recent weeks before we arrived (30 Sep - 7 Oct) there were news reports about settler attacks on fields and 10,000 trees were lost to settler violence. This project has been responsible for planting 78,000 trees so far. Last season 8,600 were planted and 450 were destroyed by soldiers and settlers; 200 did not remain even for a week and after replanting them, 40 were uprooted and these were also replaced.

    Of course the farmers complain but no action is taken.

    Some more interesting info is that it takes 3-7 years for a tree to start producing and each tree produces about 9kg of olives, which is equivalent to about 2 litres of olive oil.

    Report message20

  • Message 21

    , in reply to message 20.

    Posted by idontbelieveit (U14276798) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Meanwhile,60 rockets are being fired at Israeli towns,aimed at civilians,invariably at school time.

    And,of course,where ever far left and Islamist extremists are concerned,false flag operations are never far away.

    "Shomron Residents Catch Arabs Cutting Down Olive Trees"

    www.israelnationalne...

    Continue to portray the Arabs as cuddly innocents and the Israelis as inherently wicked to your hearts content.
    Whatever floats your boat.

    Report message21

  • Message 22

    , in reply to message 21.

    Posted by Eileen (U2438659) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    I'm a bit confused by the video and report shown in the link you posted IDBI and don't understand Hebrew so couldn't follow the commentary.

    In fields we were picking, farmers sometimes had chain saws and lopped off branches of their olive trees - not to provoke anyone but because they needed pruning. In some cases they had been denied access to their land for quite a long time (and had only just received permission after several years) and the trees had become dense and thorny. It looked to me as though this was what was happening in the film - I couldn't see any trunks or uprooted trees in the video, just branches like the ones I'd seen in the fields we were picking.

    I'm assuming that the field shown is a Palestinian one (otherwise it would have been surrounded by fences and razor wire)?

    Report message22

  • Message 23

    , in reply to message 22.

    Posted by jordan (U14284744) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    I saw a T.V. show the other day about the Hebron Valley where the farmers regulary had their farms wrecked and their anamels shot at. Did you see anything like this on your travels I must say what you did is fantastic. Do you know of any orginisation one could donate money to in the safe knowledge it would be used for good intentions. Derek

    Report message23

  • Message 24

    , in reply to message 23.

    Posted by Eileen (U2438659) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    We did visit Hebron, Jordan, but only the Old City which is very scary indeed. The market has to have a steel mesh above it because rubbish and dirty nappies are thrown down by the settlers who have occupied the upper floors above it. While we were walking through we saw some boys of about 6 or 7 years old peeing down onto us!

    Quite a bit of the old city is a ghost town now as all the Palestinian traders have been expelled and their shops sealed up. The streets are empty, save for a few settlers wandering down, presumably to their homes on the other side, casually sporting M16s over their shoulders (eeek!). Apparently Palestinians, although they can't walk down the street, some live on the first floors of the buildings and have to get back to where they are allowed to walk by using a rooftop route. When they arrive at the street their walkway is separated from the main road the settlers use by concrete blocks.

    There are 1500 Israeli soldiers and police in Hebron protecting the 400 illegal Israeli settlers there.

    I have heard about the violence in this area but didn't go near the area on the film you saw.

    As I mentioned earlier, sponsoring olive trees is one way of supporting farmers, at least. I'll post a link to the UK site for this.

    Report message24

  • Message 25

    , in reply to message 24.

    Posted by Eileen (U2438659) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    To sponsor olive trees there are links to sites in various parts of the world (not sure if this will work because some are foreign language sites, but I'll repost if there's a problem):

    Sweden: kfum.se/nyheter/plan...
    Denmark: www.noedhjaelp.dk/de...
    Norway: https://kfuk-kfum.p...
    Australia: www.perfectpotion.co...
    Netherlands: www.planteenolijfboo...
    Japan: www.ywca.or.jp/whatw...
    UK: ycareinternational.o...
    Switzerland: www.horyzon.ch/en/wh...
    USA: www.jai-pal.org/cont...

    directly to the JAI in Palestine: www.jai-pal.org/cont...

    Report message25

  • Message 26

    , in reply to message 25.

    Posted by fat_kid (U1705916) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    What a lot of sites you got!

    Do any take donations?

    Report message26

  • Message 27

    , in reply to message 26.

    Posted by Eileen (U2438659) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Yes, they all do F_K

    HTH smiley - smiley

    Report message27

  • Message 28

    , in reply to message 27.

    Posted by fat_kid (U1705916) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Glad you flagged that up.

    People need to be careful what they do online.

    Report message28

  • Message 29

    , in reply to message 1.

    All this user's posts have been removed. Why?

  • Message 30

    , in reply to message 26.

    Posted by Davey Watts (U15237982) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    I bet they all do. Any anti Semite organisation will gladly take your hard earned cash to "sponsor" an olive tree.

    Report message30

  • Message 31

    , in reply to message 30.

    Posted by fat_kid (U1705916) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    It does make you wonder exactly who may be handling the revenue and what they do with the money.

    Report message31

  • Message 32

    , in reply to message 30.

    Posted by Eileen (U2438659) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    As someone else pointed out upthread the organisations are part of the worldwide YMCA which are not known for holding anti-semitic views.

    As far as the programme goes some fellow pickers were Jewish as were some of the people who showed us around.

    On the penultimate evening we were to have a talk by the Israel academic Nurit Peled Elhanan, Professor of Language and Education at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has been studying how Palestinians are portrayed in Israeli schoolbooks and is the author of "Palestine in Israeli Schoolbooks: Idealogy and Propaganda in Education. Unfortunately she was unable to come as her son was on the Estelle boat which unsuccessfully challenged the Israeli blockage of Gaza and prevented from handing over to Palestinians the humanitarian aid they were bringing.

    Report message32

  • Message 33

    , in reply to message 31.

    Posted by Davey Watts (U15237982) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    it sure does. The poster turns up every now and then with alledged horror stories and ways we can contribute, it always involves money doesn't it, to fight the beastly Israelis.
    I would never ever sign up to a site thats been posted by anyone.

    Report message33

  • Message 34

    , in reply to message 32.

    Posted by Eileen (U2438659) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    *blockade* but I suppose it might as well be "blockage"

    Report message34

  • Message 35

    , in reply to message 32.

    Posted by Davey Watts (U15237982) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    I don't suppose the Idealogy and Propaganda in Education talk included how Israel is portrayed in the Arab World?

    Report message35

  • Message 36

    , in reply to message 33.

    Posted by Eileen (U2438659) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    The poster turns up every now and then with alledged horror stories and ways we can contribute, it always involves money doesn't it, to fight the beastly Israelis. 

    Umm, that's news to me! Perhaps you'd like to link to some posts in which I am seeking to raise funds, or direct posters to sites and encourage them to donate, Davey? I have done so on this thread re the sponsorship of olive trees because I was specifically asked about that.

    As for "alledged (sic) horror stories", I recount what I have observed and sometimes link to videos. I think you have rightly perceived them to be horror stories, although I have never described them as such myself (no need, they speak for themselves).

    Report message36

  • Message 37

    , in reply to message 35.

    Posted by Eileen (U2438659) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    I don't suppose the Idealogy and Propaganda in Education talk included how Israel is portrayed in the Arab World? 

    As I said, unfortunately the talk was cancelled, so I don't know if that would have been included.

    Having had the anti-semitism card thrown into the arena, my point was to cite a few examples of how Jews are equally appalled at the treatment of Palestinians and how some are active in raising awareness and fighting the injustice which currently prevails.

    Report message37

  • Message 38

    , in reply to message 36.

    Posted by Davey Watts (U15237982) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Some film + Editing suite = Video fodder for the easily tricked.
    Do you actualy live or have lived in Palestine? have you ever lived or live in Israel?
    If you have answered no to either of the above then I guess you channel your enegies into helping people closer to home.
    I can answer yes to both the above and let me tell you that there are two sides to the situation there so why don't you go and find out from both sides. Or perhaps that doesn't fit your romantic view of Palestine.

    Report message38

  • Message 39

    , in reply to message 38.

    Posted by Eileen (U2438659) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Davey, all I can suggest to you is for you start a thread and put your views across and raise awareness of the points you want to make.

    I know it is sometimes difficult for Israelis to grasp the situation in the West Bank (and Gaza) as they are forbidden to (legally) travel there - unless on Jewish-only settler roads to the illegal Jewish-only settlements.

    However, for non-Israeli Jews there are some good initiatives available to help those who do want to see both sides of the coin, eg Rabbis for Human Rights do some good tours. Here's an example of one which runs from Ireland:
    westbanktrips.com/gr...

    and here's a report from a British trip this year
    rhruk.co.uk/?cat=50...

    and there are many which run from America too.

    Report message39

  • Message 40

    , in reply to message 39.

    Posted by My Mum is turning in her grave (U13137565) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Why is it that whenever Palestine is mentioned, theusual suspects immediately scream 'anti-semite' despite all evidence to the contary?

    Report message40

  • Message 41

    , in reply to message 33.

    Posted by BasiainBrooklyn (U505001) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Davey Watts, Eilleen has never asked any poster for money. I don't know how long you have been posting, but I've been corresponding with her on many issues over the years and she has always posted on this matter with solid information.

    She has just actually been there, volunteering, and seen for herself. I'd be interested to hear about your positive contribution.

    Report message41

  • Message 42

    , in reply to message 38.

    Posted by BasiainBrooklyn (U505001) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    If you have answered no to either of the above then I guess you channel your enegies into helping people closer to home 

    How dare you tell another poster where to channel their energies?

    Report message42

  • Message 43

    , in reply to message 41.

    Posted by Campbell in Farewell Clogs (U14226916) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Fascinating thread Eileen, thanks for putting up the info. I spent 2 winters in Israel in the early 80s working in a kibbutz, a moshav and a hotel - it would maybe be interesting to go back and see life there from 'the other side' sometime. Do you have any relevant book recommendations maybe? Preferably well-written novels.

    Report message43

  • Message 44

    , in reply to message 43.

    Posted by Eileen (U2438659) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Yes, that would be very interesting, Campbell.

    As far as novels go, there seems to be a real dearth. I was told about one but I've just looked through my notes and can't see a note about it (but it may turn up as I'm gradually working through them, in which case I'll post it). A friend who has visited Palestine on many occasions since 2001 is in the process of having a novel published, but I don't think it's out yet.

    So, of the multitude of other stuff around, I think that Anna Baltzer's "Witness in Palestine" is a really good overview - it recounts her personal experiences, and contains loads of photographs too. Hope that helps.

    Report message44

  • Message 45

    , in reply to message 44.

    Posted by peacemaker (U14739277) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Eileen how nice to see a positive and inspirational thread for a change.

    Another organisation that is involved in similar work is the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel - eappi.org/en/about/o...

    As its name suggests it is Christian based. My OH went to a talk by someone who had been doing this and found it very enlightening. Those of us who have never witnessed the reality of life on the ground over there are really in no position to speak with authority about the situation imo.

    My OH also came back with some lovely Palestinian goodies that the speaker had on sale. The olives were absolutely delicious.

    And your post has also reminded me to start buying the Palestinian olive oil again, which is on sale in our local wholefood shop. I must admit I resorted to cheaper supermarket stuff and it is not the same quality.

    Report message45

  • Message 46

    , in reply to message 40.

    Posted by Davey Watts (U15237982) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Because that's what it is and I wont back a way from it. So where is all this evidence to the contrary then. You sound like an expert so you must obviously know or do you just read links like the ones provided. I have my suspicions.

    Report message46

  • Message 47

    , in reply to message 42.

    This posting has been hidden during moderation because it broke the House Rules in some way.

  • Message 48

    , in reply to message 45.

    Posted by Eileen (U2438659) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Ah yes, many thanks for posting that link, peacemaker. They are a fine organisation, though there is stiff competition to serve with them. A (Quaker) friend of mine has just completed a 3 month stint. She has also been on the JAI olive tree planting and picking programmes.

    And, of course, the EA do now have the blessing from the General Synod!

    Report message48

  • Message 49

    , in reply to message 44.

    Posted by Campbell in Farewell Clogs (U14226916) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    Thanks Eileen - I remember reading something impressive by Joris Luyendijk (brilliant Dutch journalist) about his time in Palestine but can't remember in which of his books it was.

    Have just looked him up - great, his bestselling book has been translated into English - after reading this book you'll never look quite the sam again at how news is reported. (The Dutch title is much wittier but doesn't translate well - I do hope the translation 'works' as well as the original.)
    www.bol.com/nl/p/hel...

    Report message49

  • Message 50

    , in reply to message 33.

    Posted by goalpostsoflife (U10655386) on Thursday, 25th October 2012

    it always involves money doesn't it
     
    No, I don't believe it does.

    >>I would never ever sign up to a site thats been posted by anyone.<<

    Nobody is making you sign up for anything.

    Report message50

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