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Palestine Diary of a Tourist (Number 1)

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Settlers taking a walk on Shuhada Street
Settlers taking a walk on Shuhada Street
(Image by ISM Palestine)
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Hebron, Palestine...October 11, 2016.

Dear Diary,

All of Palestine is a prison.

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Gaza is the prison's solitary confinement for 1.75 million people. Nobody gets in; nobody gets out. Minimum diet of bread and water, just enough to stay alive, barely. The prisoners are being held in a holding pen like animals; the density is almost that of New York City. It is because Israel did not like who they voted for.

Israel has dropped as many tons of bombs on Gaza the equal of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima by the U.S. in 1945 ( click here). How can you talk about war crimes Mr. Obama, Mr. Kerry and Mrs. Clinton, without mentioning Gaza...and all of Palestine?

Palestine, including the so-called West Bank is a prison...a maximum security prison. The ugly lie is that the Palestinians' human right of freedom of movement is being "restricted for security". The truth is that Zionists want all the land...without "Arabs" on it; land without Arabs is much more valuable than land with Arabs on it for Zionists (israeled.org/jewish-national-fund/). Sharing the land is impossible if Israel is to be a Jewish State as Mr. Netanyahu and others have said since the beginning.

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Here in Hebron a tourist can see for himself that Palestine is an Israeli prison for Palestinians. I am seeing it for myself, much to the displeasure of the Zionist. They especially despise activist solidarity organizations such as the International Solidarity Movement (palsolidarity.org), Christian Peacemaker Teams (cpt.org), etc. It is the second question that the Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) soldiers ask me when I am touring a checkpoint, schoolchildren walking to school, demonstrations by farmers refused entry to their olive orchards...for the next few weeks the olives are ready for harvesting.

The first question of the IOF is "where are you from", the second is "are you with a group"? If one admits that they are with such a group it will go downhill from there; possible interrogation and deportation. Fortunately, I am not with any of those groups. I am just a tourist.

Still the IOF does not like internationals touring Palestine, and they let you know it when you arrive and when you depart from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv...if someone says they want to tour Palestine they will likely be denied entry, and harassed when they leave if they say they went to Palestine. I know because this is my second tour of Palestine. One never knows if they will be allowed to come back. Have your story ready when you arrive.

Last year I was here for a too-brief 10 days, but it was long enough to make lifelong friends and fall in love with the Palestinian people. They are so welcoming of international tourists. International tourists are about the only allies the Palestinian people have, but regardless Palestinians are warm, generous and affectionate people. As a generalization, they are very family and friend oriented.

Palestinians have very little, but they share it generously and ask for nothing in return. Palestinians deeply appreciate internationals just being here and showing solidarity. They have an inextinguishable resistance to the occupation and their determination and bravery are inspiring. Last year I promised many friends that I would come back, and I was driven to keep that promise. Once one witnesses the crimes against the Palestinian people one cannot desert them if they have any conscience at all.

Here in Hebron there are many crimes to witness. It is a divided city. The Zionist are determined to take it all. Any excuse will do. In 1994 Baruch Kopel Goldstein massacred 29 Palestinians as they worshiped in their Mosque. The Israeli response was to seal off the thriving Old Market on Shuhada Street, depriving many Palestinians of their livelihood, and trapping a few hundred Palestinians inside, as the illegal Israeli settlers took over the area (www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=564692). The IOF said they did it for the "protection" of the Palestinians.

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I have toured the Palestinian Qurtaba School on Shuhada Street and watched the children and teachers go through checkpoints and avoid the ire of the settlers. I was told not to linger by an IOF soldier who was casually pointed his assault rifle at me in a "non-threatening" way. As I was asking him what law I had broken a settler came up to me and stuck her camera in my face to get a good picture. I gave her a nice smile as she was determined to get my face which is now probably posted someplace for other settlers to see.

It is also ironic that the settler "guards" are now trapped inside their own prison. But on most Saturdays and holidays they are escorted by many heavily armed IOF soldiers so that they can tour the Palestinian market just below their settlement. The Palestinian merchants are made to face the wall while the settlers go through the market wrecking and stealing whatever they like. The soldiers are there to keep the peace and protect the Palestinians, and they do nothing,

Tomorrow is another holiday and settlers from all over the area are coming to Hebron to celebrate. I was told by an international who has lived here very long that the military may declared an emergency if for any reason, especially a serious incident...one never knows. During a curfew all Palestinians must stay in homes...it is for their "own protection"...if they leave their home they would probably be arrested or maybe shot. Some settlers, including children, are armed with assault rifles and submachine guns.*

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David William Pear is a Senior Editor for OpEdNews.com and a Senior Contributing Editor for The Greanville Post. All of his articles and comments are his own, and are not the responsibility of, or speak for the editorial opinion of anyone but (more...)
 

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