31DEC13. Haifa, Israel.
Sail Tower, a.k.a. District Government Center B, named after Yitzhak Rabin. Started construction 1999, completed in 2002. Is now the second tallest skyscraper in Haifa. With its antennas, it is the tallest.
Thai Corn Soup and Japanese Curry at Frangelico on Ben Gurion:
Egg Sandwich at Shtroudl on Ben Gurion:
Mini Chocolate Croissants and Vegan Apple Pastry at Aroma on Ben Gurion:
31DEC13. Haifa, Israel.
Nazareth is called the ‘Arab capital of Israel’ because it’s made up mostly of Arab citizens. It’s also thought to be the place where Jesus grew up, so it’s a very popular pilgrimage site. I visited the Church of the Annunciation (largest Catholic church in the Middle East,) St. Joseph’s Church (and it’s believed his carpentry workshop was below – you’ll see a set of stone stairs in the pictorial – they supposedly lead to where he would have worked,) Christ Church (est. 1871 – I snuck in, as there is a bit of restoration going on,) the convent (they allowed me into just the courtyard to take a picture,) and then as always, lots of beautiful buildings boasting incredible architecture:
30DEC13. Nazareth, Israel.
Akko is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the world. Its first settlement was believed to have been established around 3000 BCE. The city has history with Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, Saludin, Richard the Lionheart…there was a constant battle for this place because of its port and religious implications – it fell under the Kingdom of Jerusalem and everyone wanted it outright – Muslims, Christians, Jews, so it was back and forth back and forth for centuries. The dilemma was much like what Israel/Palestine go through to this day. Acre was captured by Israel on May 17, 1948. At this point, it is a mixed population of Arabs and Jews, with Jews in the majority. Lots of Arabs were displaced once Israel captured it.
It was a dark afternoon filled with lightning, thunder, and heavy rain. It set the mood perfectly. You’ll see the sea wall, the market, artisans at work, mosques, churches, and beautiful architecture:
29DEC13. OLD AKKO, ISRAEL.
This was a tough one today. I was told before I left Jerusalem that I would get through no problem on the way to Ramallah, but coming back, there would be a long line at the Ramallah checkpoint to return to Jerusalem. I was on foot as I entered the checkpoint. I went into a building and had to stand in a single file lane that was barred and there was barbed wire above me. Two people can’t walk side by side in these little railed tunnels. It was much like cattle being herded. Then we’d get to the turnstile, but it locked when a certain number of people had passed. When we got through the first turnstile, we still stood in line for awhile. I saw Palestinians around me pulling out these green passport cards. I asked a man if he spoke English and he said yes, so I asked him a million questions and he was more than willing to share. Do you do this every day? No. Maybe once a month. I’m a merchant and I have business that takes me to Jerusalem. My sisters have been granted a week-long pass to enter Jerusalem to buy something and then we will return to Ramallah. 99% of us living in Ramallah cannot get permission to go to Jerusalem. Has it been this way all of your life? Yes. Except it was a little easier around 1987-88. Now, it’s really difficult. I’m never allowed to drive my car there and it would only take 10 minutes. Instead, I have to go through this, then take a bus. How is that any good for me? Where are you from? America. Welcome. (EVERYONE says that. They LOVE Americans, they do not like our government.) I didn’t take any pictures because I was stunned upon entering that railed single line…I couldn’t believe it and I just thought of all of us who know freedom (of thought, of religion, of movement) and I was seriously struck numb at this process. I think he could see on my face, my disbelief and quiet outrage. And that’s why he was willing to explain it all to me. If you walk through these checkpoints, you really can ‘feel’ a second-class level of being human that Palestinians feel every day of their lives. At the Qalandia Wall, there is a lot of graffiti expressing the injustice. And there’s a BANKSY (!)
BANKSY’S GIRL FLOATING WITH BALLOONS OVER THE WALL:
27DEC13. Ramallah, Palestinian Territory.
The morning started by walking to two bus stations before I found the third one (the one I needed) to get to Ramallah. I had a nice, strong Arabic coffee while I waited. The man said, “You’re taking pictures? Come here.” He opened the door for me to get a better view and then said “You really need to take this in video, but that’s ok.” haha.
27DEC13. Jerusalem to Ramallah, Palestine.
Hebron’s Ghost Town: Shuhada Street15 September 2012
Shuhada Street used to be an integral part of the vibrant centre of Hebron. The shops and markets, for which the city is renowned, lined the pavements. The street itself was a busy main road through the city and was considered the most important street in Hebron.
Since the Goldstein Massacre, the Israeli occupation forces chose to make restrictions on the Palestinians rather than on the Israeli settlers living inside Hebron and the Palestinian movement have been restricted intermittently. Vehicles were banned from using the Shuhada Street, but it remained a hub of activity in the old city.
During the Second Intifada, in September 2000, Israel placed even further restrictions by closing the street completely off to the Palestinians. The justification given was “security”, often cited as an excuse to violate the rights of the Palestinian people. Today, only a few Palestinians are allowed to enter the area. READ MORE: http://palestinesolidarityproject.org/2012/09/15/hebrons-ghost-town-shuhada-street/
26DEC13. Hebron, Palestinian Territory.