Peace Talks? Bring them to Seida, Please!
By Aaron Lakoff
January 30, 2005 – Seida, Palestine
For the last seven days, I have been in the Palestinian town of
Seida. Seida's 3500 residents sit between the cities of Tulkarm and
Jenin in the West Bank. For four long and difficult days, I
witnessed Seida under military curfew.
Curfew is an unnatural, inhumane thing. It is unnatural because
it renders a city's streets bare. No children playing marbles, no
shopping for fresh fruit, no walks to the mosque for prayer.
Seida was empty like streets in the wild west before a shootout at
By Aaron Lakoff
January 23, 2005 - Seida, Palestine
Seida is a Palestinian village of 3000 people, just to the north east of Tulkarm. It is surrounded by rolling hills, olive tree groves, and like all Palestinian towns in the north of the West Bank, the separation wall. Israel built this massive wall for one reason (according to them), and that was to keep the Palestinians out. One would assume then that this would mean one things for the IDF – that they keep out themselves. Their security interests should be finished here, but unfortunately for everyone, they aren’t.
We are invited into the home of Haroon. Haroon is a nurse in Tulkarm. He lives in a house with many of his family members. He and his wife and children are on the first floor, and his mother and some of the sisters are on the second floor. The family is well-educated, friendly, and welcoming. They smile and entertain us, but it is a feigned act. They know the inevitable in looming; the army will come tonight looking for two brothers whose whereabouts are unknown.
January 27th - Saida, Palestine
International Solidarity Movement
Saida is entering its fourth day under curfew, with no let up and no end in sight.
It was at seven o’clock on Tuesday morning that the curfew was announced. The
military trucks and police jeeps were revving loudly up Saida’s narrow, gravelly
roads. Many vehicles were gathering around the house we were in. The ISM-ers in the
house went straight out onto the porch, and all five foreigners became very visible
to the troops gathering outside. Soon there were fewer vehicles parked near the
house, and then none.
Abbas' Impossible Task
by Aaron Lakoff
January 20, 2005 - Tulkarm, Palestine
Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas are two men who have huge tasks ahead
of them. The stakes are high on both sides, and the whole world is
watching and waiting.
Sharon, on his side, has seen clearer-sailing days. With the
introduction of his Gaza "disengagement" plan, set to being in
spring 2005, he has found his government falling apart, and threats
of mass protest and civil disobedience from far-right wing settlers.
They aren't too content about leaving their homes on lands which
Israel has occupied illegally. And while Sharon himself is seen by
Tearing Down Al Walaja
January 17th, 2005
By Aaron Lakoff
Just one half hour outside the bustling city of Jerusalem, and just across the deep green valley, lies the small Palestinian village of Al Walaja. It is a sunny and peaceful day. It is so clear that you can se the sprawling Israeli settlement of Gilo just on the adjacent hilltop, and so quiet that you could hear a pin drop amongst the lines of lemon trees.
However, this morning that peace and serenity will be broken. Our team of international activists has received word that the Israeli occupation forces have permits to demolish dozens of houses in Al Walaja, and they're going to get started bright and early.
I stumbled upon a military ceremony at the Western Wall in old Jerusalem the other day. To view the pictures I took, visit:
Ibdaa is the Intifada
By Aaron Lakoff
January 12th, 2005 – Dheisheh refugee camp, Bethlehem
If I had my head pressed hard under a gun, shivering, and praying for my life, what would I do? Where could I find hope? Could I find strength? I think I would give in. And I would think that giving in would be the only human reaction. But today in Bethlehem, I was proven wrong. Today in Bethlehem, I was inspired by people under that gun.
Our taxi driver dropped us off at the Ibdaa cultural center, which sits just on the edge of the Dheisheh refugee camp. But you wouldn’t notice it was a camp right away. Like many things under the occupation, the signs are somewhat subtle.
I visited the Dheisheh refugee camp inside Bethlehem, Palestine today. 12,000 people live here in less than 1km square. We also visited an amazing community center called the Ibdaa Cultural Center. To view my pics, visit; http://gallery.cmaq.net/album25