Saturday, October 17, 2009


I was a good mother and wife this week. I actually went to work and then went straight home afterwards. No parties, no friends, no restaurants, no concerts. Nothing. I made dinner. I did laundry. But on Friday I became restless again. I missed my social activities.

The All Nations Cafe advertised a clean up day at Ein Haniyeh on Friday near the Arab village of Walaja overlooking the Malcha neighborhood in West Jerusalem. It's just a bit over the checkpoint. I recruited Hubby to drive me there since we still have our rented car. There was also supposed to be a Peace March organized by the Humanist movement. As we drove past the train station in Malcha, I recognized a fellow peace worker and we gave her a lift. Apparently, the peace march and speeches and performances were all cancelled due to political infighting in Walaja. OK. But the clean up is still on.

When we arrived, Dhyon of All Nations was there with two young Arab boys, one of whom hugged me like a long lost sister. A large group of Humanists came to clean up - mostly from Argentina, but some from Spain.

We took some bags and began cleaning up in the heat. Interesting to see the garbage that I collected. A child's headband, pajamas, a shirt, a lot of paper plates and plastic cups, beer bottles - lots of beer bottles - and cards advertising sex services and salad containers. It was hot and I had enough after 1/2 hour. I think everyone took a break after 1/2 hour.

I looked at the byzanine ruins by the spring. It was shamefully covered in Hebrew graffiti. A young Russian man was filling up about 25 jerry cans of spring water. This is the only water he drinks.

"It's better than Mei Eden".

"When do you finish all that water?" I asked him.

He said it takes him two weeks, and then he comes back to refill. The Ein Haniyeh pool was empty. There are rocks and garbage blocking the flow of water and it was Dyhon's aim to unblock the flow and get the pool filled up again.

We introduced ourselves to each other and sat down for a coffee break, while exchanging busines cards. Nothing like freshly brewed over-the-fire Arabic coffee with cardamom.

We then heard that the official March for Peace and speeches and entertainment was cancelled because the Walaja officials didn't want to have "normalization" with Israelis. Because Israelis were joining, they didn't want the event to go on.

"How stupid." I told whoever was listening. "This 'normalization' thing is political bullshit. Our governments are always feeding us bullshit so that we can't be together."

People nodded in agreement.

"Events like these are always more effective when both Israelis and Arabs are involved. It sends a stronger message to the world or to our country that even Israelis are upset at the way the Walaja community is being treated by the Israeli government (by planning a Jewish neighborhood on their village land, while they themselves are not allowed to legally expand). But, ok, let them cancel. Stupid idiots."

There was an Arab man from Abu Tor who was leaving back to Jerusalem sooner rather than later. I wanted to get a lift from him. No problem. I knew we had to pass the checkpoint.

"Do the soldiers give you any trouble?"


We were made to stop at the checkpoint. The soldier looks at the driver. He asks what he was doing and where he went. It didn't matter that he was driving a car with Israeli license plates. All Arabs are suspicious looking at checkpoints.

"You saw me come in 1/2 hour ago" said the driver to the soldier.

Again - what was he doing there and where does he live?

"I went to clean up the spring"

"There's no water in the pool" the soldier insisted, thinking the guy is lying.

I butted in.

"Exactly. That's why we're cleaning it up." I obviously didn't look or act like a kidnapped Israeli woman and the soldier seemed satisfied that the driver is an ok human being, even if he is an Arab.

He waved us through.

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