Well it was quite a trip here! it took 26 hours to fly from Rochester to Detroit to New York to Nice (that’s pronounced “Niece” so I liked it a lot, because Kathy’s nieces were the first ones that introduced us) to Tel Aviv. Kathy spilled pumpkin spice latte on herself in Rochester and almost forgot her coat and computer cord. In New York at JFK airport, the server dropped her organic wheat crust and hormone free cheese pizza on the floor, but then said Kathy could have a free Fiji water. The bottle said it had a uniquely soft mouthfeel because it was filtered through volcanos, but Kathy was thinking that drinking water flown from Fiji to New York probably left a pretty big carbon imprint, but then her new teammate Corey Lockhart told her that in an airport it’s probably silly to worry about a bottle of water’s carbon footprint.
In Nice, Kathy was just going to take a little nap, because the seats let you lie down, but she ended up sleeping four hours.
You could see the Mediterranean Sea from the waiting room!
Our first night in Hebron, Tarek cooked a yummy meal of fish, potato, onions and salad. To my left is Joanne from Chicago, Corey from Kentucky, Mona from Ramallah, Palestine (She’s the team coordinator), Tarek–originally from Bethlehem, Palestine and now from Washington, DC (He’s the Palestine Project Support Coordinator), Gabriel from Santa Catarina, Brazil, Martin from the Netherlands and Alwyn from England.
Tarek also brought some yummy Turkish delight! People will understand Narnia better, Kathy thinks, if they eat this.
That’s all for now! Adults might want to check out my new twitter account @Markie4peace.
And lo, the Lord did put in my path two quarrelsome angels, who argued loudly with each other as they left the airplane from France and with the woman at passport control in the Tel Aviv airport, and though she did send them away, verily, they returned each time the young woman did ask me a question to dispute with her most vexedly in Hebrew. Three times they did return, during the time of my questioning, until the young woman gave me the paper that did allow me to enter and catch the taxi to Jerusalem.
Jonathan reading Flannery O’Connor while waiting at the border
So after weeks of anxiety, and seeing my colleagues turned away at the airport and the Jordanian border, my entry into Israel was remarkably anticlimactic. For an idea of what my teammate Jonathan went through when the Israeli authorities denied him entry at the Jordanian border, check out his blog. His ordeal was also written up in the Electronic Intifada.
I was happy to catch up with my friends Ya’alah and Netanel last night in Jerusalem, reconnect with my teammates and meet new teammates this morning (actually haven’t met them all just yet.) Just now, I thought I was feeling pretty awake, but then I started to unpack, saw the bed, and crashed for a couple hours.
So I was lucky. But that doesn’t solve the basic problem: Palestinians invite organizations like Christian Peacemaker Teams to monitor human rights abuses in the West Bank and Israel, which controls all the borders entrances into the West Bank, will not let these volunteers enter. Palestinians should have the right to invite whomever they want to come to their country. Unarmed pacifist volunteers are not a threat to anyone’s security. There’s no question that the Powers that Be simply do not want us reporting what we see.