Trip Start Nov 11, 2008
3Trip End Feb 11, 2009
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"No" answered the young Jewish-Israeli girl at the ticket desk bluntly. "This beach is reserved for families."
"For families?" we answered. "Is it always like this?"
"Okay" we said. "We'll go to the next beach."
As we walked away, we (3 internationals and 3 Palestinians) looked beyond the gate at what we were missing.
Nice place, but wait... there were no families there. Just middle-aged Israelis and tourists.
She lied! Reserved for families my ass! They just didn't want to let Palestinians into the beach.
I was infuriated, especially after confirming with the worker at the beach next door that it was a lie. And particularly since Palestinians are so rarely allowed to visit the Dead Sea, even though it's in the West Bank (there's no checkpoint on Sundays these days).
Anyways, we decided not to think much about it and just enjoy our day off at the beach... which was fantastic.
But I couldn't stop thinking about it. There is so much racism here it blows my mind.
"Your going to (Palestinian) East Jerusalem?!" asked the Jewish lady from Jerusalem noticeably concerned about my safety. "Well, be careful!"
"They just don't care about human life like we do" she continued.
"Why were you in Jayyous?" asked the young Israeli soldier while I was detained behind the Wall last week. "Don't you know they're all terrorists?"
It blows my mind!
What the Palestinian people have to put up with - the ethnic cleansing, occupation, the apartheid system, the land confiscations, the house demolitions, the siege, the killings, the torture, the discrimination, the rocks thrown at their children as they try to get to school - and THEY are the terrorists, the "hostile" party?!?!
It's enough to drive any population mad.
Yet for the most part, resistance remains for the most part non-violent.
As Palestinian poet Suheir Hammad said in her interview with Lia on the Real News, everyday that goes by in which Palestinians are non-violent is a "miracle." It really is.
I don't know if I could be so resilient.