Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Jericho Road and the Wall

Ruth who speaks with our delegation is a representative of ICAHD (the Israeli Coalition against Housing Demolition). She is also a member of Anarchists against the Wall.

We are driving down the windy Jericho Road. It is 4,000 years old, the oldest recognized road in human history (the Damascus Road is supposedly the oldest continuously used road).

The separation wall rises before us, 8 meters high and a meter beneath the ground, topped with barbed wire. Lucas who has been at the Berlin Wall says it is higher…

There are signs scrawled on the wall.

"Open the 4,000 year old Jericho Road."

"Civil and human rights, not White Privilege"

The Berlin wall came down.

This wall winds around, dividing houses as it passes through a neighborhood.

Where are the good Samaritans?

Two brothers live in one of the divided houses. They can meet and speak only across the roof.

The settlements are beautifully paved. There are new play-spaces for Jewish children.

The end of the road, the pavement shatters into broken stone and potholes. Palestinian houses have black tanks on the roofs to collect water. The authorities turn down the water pressure so Palestinians can’t get water otherwise.

Jewish houses do not have tanks.

What are the children learning?

I spent a lot of time fighting against Nazism and American eugenics. Against teaching the children of the “elite” that other children are of less value, their schools less deserving, their play less important, their being less to be honored.

Who are these good Jews like good Germans or the good Americans of the Vietnam War or those whom Amos sought once to awaken?

Palestinians pay 46% of the taxes in Jerusalem. They get 10% of the services.

What are the children learning?

New settlements crop up, built by the Israeli state, to displace the people who live here. We pass a United Nations office. It can see, as Ruth says, the displacement. But the United Nations because of the United States, is paralyzed.

Jewish children once learned the lessons of the ghetto, to fight for freedom and to value it as a light that shines in the darkness – how Moses led the slaves out of Egypt to the promised land.

Do Palestinian children now learn this lesson?

Who gathers fragments of the light?

Jeff Halper of ICAHD calls this the prison. 95% of a prison is spaces where the prisoners are. It is as free as the West Bank and Gaza. The guards take up 4% of the spaces, the watch towers, the corridors.

The administrators 1%. They can impose curfew in a heartbeat. The Israeli state.

Ruth points out that the laws are not apartheid laws. But the policies are apartheid.

Who here is Pharoah?

Anarchists against the Wall and ICAHD are the voices of justice.

Ruth and others are thrilled to meet leaders of the civil rights movement. The delegation is thrilled to meet them.

There are those who stand up for justice when all around them speak and work against it. They rouse the people when all others are sleeping. They are with Henry David Thoreau a “majority of one.” They cast their vote, with their whole being, for democracy and the decent survival of all.

Ruth casts her vote. So do we.

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