Posted on August 20, 2013, by & filed under Personal Experiences.

Read about the recently completed 2013 ICAHD Summer Camp for the sixth rebuilding of this iconic house with its “interesting” history of oscillating fortunes, a biography bound up for a decade and a half now with the non-violent Palestinian struggle.


Day 7 ICAHD Rebuilding Camp: Jordan Valley

On Sunday we went to visit Fathe Kdirat of the Jordan Valley Solidarity Campaign. Driving through the Jordan Valley, itas hard not to notice the lushness of the Israeli date farms on one side of the road and the dry barrenness of the Bedouin encampments on the other. Water pipes snake down the hillside past the Bedouinsa tin and canvas shacks to pipe junctions that are stowed behind electric fencing and clearly marked with blue and white to denote exclusively Israeli drinking water.

A ditch acts as obstacle for indigenous farmers in Jordan ValleyOur group quickly noticed that the wall takes many forms, one of them being enormous ditches and dirt piles that impede Palestinian movement. We saw several foreboding red signs throughout our trip warning us in three languages that entering certain areas was dangerous to our lives. Others explained that certain areas also happened to be military firing zones for the IDF.

A few feet from another firing zone sign we met with a Bedouin family and shared tea and stories over the sounds of chickens and goats. We learned that in addition to the familyas children having been arrested in the past, many of their livestock have been locked up for walking across the road. Israelas livestock prison requires animal owners to cover daily room and board costs, fines that can easily run into several thousands of shekels.**

Down the hill from the family home a formerly plentiful spring has been tapped and secured for Israeli use while the Bedouins live on the parched earth a few feet away, paying five times as much for their limited water supply. Once the water is successfully obtained, decisions must be made: will the water be used for drinking, livestock, or watering plants?

At the Jordan Valley Solidarity Campaign Friends House we sat under a roof made of palm fronds surrounded by walls made with traditional mud bricks. We had a delicious Palestinian lunch of Mahshi and the ever prevalent cucumber and tomato salad that is served with every meal here, cooked by the caretakers of the house. The father is disabled and the family of seven has struggled to survive since their home was demolished. The mother spoke to us about her desire to simply be able to work and live, stressing that they had very simple needs and that they “are not trying to travel to the moon; we just want clothes and food.” On our way back to the campsite, we drove to Jericho and stopped to look at the lush valley. Passing neat fields we learned that these farms were managed by Palestinians, a clear demonstration that Palestinians can farm on par with Israelas subsidized and state-supported farms with the right resources and fair access to water.

Mary, New York

Note: Blog posts reflect the views of individual campers.

**[Editor: Laughter can sometimes be the only and the most undermining response to oppression, especially oppression which has left behind any pretence of the rational and justified for the territory of the absurd. Please send any adaptation on the “Why did the chicken cross the road?” joke, relating to the reality of the livestock prison described above, to]

Day 5: Sun, sand and surf.

All parts of an ideal tourist landscape, yet behind it all lies a darker story seldom heard. It is Friday and the ICAHD summer camp participants are in Tel Aviv however whose Tel Aviv are we in? Adjoining the modern skyscrapers and swank beach hotels is the older city of Jaffa, a city with a complicated and troubled history that belies the party atmosphere so close.

Poster in Nahum Gutman Museum - Akko: Not for Sale!

Poster in Nahum Gutman Museum

Akko: Not for Sale!

But first we make another stop. The Nahum Gutman Museum is an art gallery founded by Israeli artist Nahum Gutman. Gutman lived from before the turn of the century till 1980. Riders in fezzes, elephants, and Curious Georgesque scenes of orientalist exploration form characters in Gutmanas paintings, images drawn from his memories, from an imaginative past in a youthful Tel Aviv rising from a suburb of Jaffa.

The exhibit weare here for though is one titled _Effervescence: Housing, Language, History.a The exhibit is a collection of art from the few mixed cities of Israel in which _Arabsa and Israelis are allowed to live side by side