Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Trip to the “Fresh” Ruins of Jinba

Thursday, February 4th. On a sunny morning we get on Hamed’s jeep at Susya and travel up the road leaving to Havat Yair settler outpost and from there, descend to the Jinba valley. On the way, Ehud and Dani argue over the beauty of Jibba versus that of Toscana. For me it’s a first visit. On the way back I think that but for the occupation, this could be an amazing tourist-friendly village.

As we reach the center of the village, some 9-12 year-olds come out to welcome us. Dani is happy with their English. We follow Hamed to the ruins, piles of rubble of what – until two days ago – had been someone’s home. Ali comes out to greet us and tells us of his misfortune. The Israeli occupation forces demolished three structures belonging to him and his immediate family. Even the ownership document (kushan) dating from Ottoman empire days which Ali presented them did not suffice to prove to the occupation forces that his family has owned this land since his great-great-grandfather’s time.  At the side, his two-year old grandson recognizes us and bursts out crying. He has not been able to sleep at night since the demolitions. Every noise startles him. Even the balloons that Dani hands him do not calm him down. Even his mother, a student of education at Yatta University, cannot sooth him, and only his grandmother hugs him and cries along with him… each trying to console the other in their misfortune.

On Sunday evening Hamed tells us that the Israeli authorities and the local inhabitants could not on agree on an exchange of land. Forty years ago the Israeli army declared the site a firing zone. Since then it has wanted the cave dwellers who have lived there for many generations to “get out of its sight”.

 Monday morning the demolitions begin. What efficiency!

If bureaucracy inside Israel-proper were so efficient, the whole world would love to watch and learn…I don’t read/hear/watch the news., and I still cannot escape knowing that every single day something in our state happens based on the friction and frustration resulting from the Occupation and the shabby relations we established with our Arab neighbors, relations that unravels more every day, and if we don’t wake up soon, we will go blind. With sad eyes I look at the beauty and sadness of Jinba and wonder – is there not a single wise leader who would take a deep look at the state of things and see how this little child who has now experienced such irreversible trauma and will likely experience more to follow, will one day just give up and, in desperation, commit an act that will be reported on the news and bring on further punishment… Only last Thursday I met Odeh of Umm Al Kheir in the South Hebron Hills. He wants to learn Shiatsu, so at the edge of the football field we learned the touch, how to connect and open the heart. If we begin to act for peace and growing closer, together we can generate change. David, another member of the Villages Group, once told me his dream is for every Israeli to have one Palestinian friend whom he could call every day, and ask “How did you sleep, Mohammad? How is the family? Is everyone well?” I already have several such “Mohammads” and not only do I call them, they also call me (one even invited me over during the Gaza assault because he feared I was within missile range). What about you, have you a Palestinian friend?

May we all be able to experience peace and true calm in our present lives.




Message and New Year’s Greetings from the Villages Group

To our friends and supporters,

At this time, as the year comes to an end and the New Year is almost here, normally we send you greetings written by our member Erella. This time, as Erella is convalescing from a back surgery, she has requested me to write you in her stead, but since I do not possess Erella’s special expressive gift, I write you instead a short summary of our activity.

These past months our activity has been affected by the escalation taking place throughout the West Bank. Consequently we have lately refrained from visiting Salem village near Nablus, where we have been active for the past thirteen years. Still we maintain our contact with our friends in Salem and continue to support the local music education center for children which we helped found six years ago. On the weekend of September 18-19 we hosted the founding team of this center – the director and the main instructor – in Tel Aviv and Kibbutz Shoval.

In the South Hebron Hills, the second and major region of our ongoing activity, the recent escalation has led to the blockage of roads connecting the outlying localities and the main cities of Yatta and Hebron (see photos attached). As a result of these blocks, free movement of the South Hebron Hills villagers has now been restricted and deteriorated to a state similar to what they experienced during the Second Intifada, in the first half of the previous decade.

This year, as in recent years, with your kind help we continued supporting different programs for the inhabitants of the South Hebron Hills: continued studies of college students, professional training for women, kindergartens, children’s summer camps and small development plans for local farmers. A precedent for us this year was our affiliation with the American organization Rebuilding Alliance as a diplomatic activity for the villages of the South Hebron Hills, and especially Susiya. In view of the severe threat of demolitions posed against Susiya, Rebuilding Alliance obliged our call and organized two delegation – with our participation – to political power vertices in Washington DC in June and September. The second delegation included two families – one from Susiya and the other from Umm al-Kheir. The joint effort of the Palestinian villagers and their supporters in Israel and worldwide, an effort to which our participation in the delegations was our modest contribution, led to the suspension of the demolitions in Susiya, which the Civil Administration had declared ready to carry out in the summer.

Even in the present state of escalation that affects life’s reality in our parts, we persist in our weekly visits to some of the tiny hamlets of the South Hebron Hills. The routine of these weekly visits focuses on maintaining ongoing personal ties with the inhabitants for over ten years now, and is the core activity of our tiny group. Our other activities, including those that reach even Washington, always begin from the cave and the tent and go back to them week by week. Over the years we have had the pleasure to have quite a few of you join us once or more in these weekly visits. Joining the visits is the most effective way of familiarizing oneself with the reality of life in the South Hebron Hills area and to the way we connect with it. We are always glad to have you join us there. Please see photos of the visit we held lately, joined by guests from the Quaker lobby, in the following link

A few words from Erella:

From the very fountain of our strength, with and despite emotional, mental, spiritual exhaustion, we persist and repeatedly bring to our connection with our Palestinian friends  – for that is the right thing to do –

our loving greetings and blessings for Christmas and the New Year. 

Ehud, on behalf of the Villages Group (Erella, Hamed, Dani, Eyal, David, Fiona, Nadav, Ophir and Limor)


Eyal Shani’s Reflections on the Current Situation

My Feeling on the Current Situation

To All my friends

to my International friends,

to my Israeli friends

and especially to

my dear Palestinians friends.

I returned home this evening after the first Shiatsu class this year. We were a group of good people; there was a good atmosphere, a sense of purpose and goodwill, caring and kind: something that is so lacking now in the Israeli-Palestinian reality.  Instead of “love your friend as yourself”, there is a developing over-reaction among individuals and groups who are trying to eliminate anyone who is not “one of us”.  Where are we going? How far can hatred and evil reach in the world? How do we stop or transform the avalanche?

I was going to go tomorrow with members of the Villages Group to visit Palestinian friends at Susiya, Umm al-Kheir and al-Twane – but, I got a call from Erella who told me that Nasser requested that we not come tomorrow.  He said, “the situation is calm at the moment, but could change at any moment. And if misfortune stumbled upon the wrong place at the wrong time – it can end badly.  We need you to live.”

“Life!”  I think the question is “what kind of life”?  Right now everyone is under tremendous pressure to entrench themselves, and for each group to take comfort in itself, separating itself from others and destroying anyone who tries to say something, protest, or show emotion.  Right now I feel the need to visit my Palestinian friends even more urgently than before.

Please note that I am against any bloodshed, violence and other means to hurt someone. On the contrary, I condemn all manifestations of violence whatsoever, but we also feel the fuse runs out and there is no pause. Anyone who challenges the status quo – even in conversation, poster, condemnation or demonstration where violence is not part of the protest – is met with a disproportionate response, which perpetuates the cycle of violence.

I feel exhausted from the realities we live in now.

Lucky I have friends from the “other Group “. We can talk to them eye to eye and say what hurts each other, to empathize with the pain, and together we can hope for better days for everyone.

May the coming days bring peace to all.

Would that we can accept ourselves and others equally?

May we open our hearts so we can bypass “labels” and “headlines” and arbitrary decisions that recycle the history of hatred that takes root and prevents us from sharing a good life together in the “Holy Land – the land of milk and honey”.

May it be quiet here.

I wish there will be peace now!

I Wish you all a quite Night.

Love with a tear,


14 October 2015

South Mount Hebron Delegation to the US

Below are several reports from the visit of several villagers, villages group representatives and Rebuilding Alliance team the DC and NYC. All reports courtesy of Fiona Wright.

Six residents of the South Hebron Hills will travel together with two members of the Villages Group landed today in the U.S for a tour in Washington D.C. and New York City. Their ten-day trip is organised by our friends in the US ‘Rebuilding Alliance’. Fatma Nawajeh and her son Hamoudi and nephew Aysar from Susiya, and Ni’meh and Eid Hatheleen and their daughter Sadeen from Umm al-Kheir, will spend a week meeting with Congress men and women and Senators in Capitol Hill to tell their stories and represent the residents of South Hebron Hills and their struggle against demolition orders and the actions of the occupation authorities. Aysar and Sadeen will present the ‘Pinwheels for Peace’ project in these meetings, in which children from Susiya and Umm al-Kheir took part in June 2015.
The visit corresponds with International Peace Day, September 21st, and so we will take the chance to get the attention of policymakers and media in the United States about the struggles in the South Hebron Hills region. Apart from meeting with politicians there will be chances to talk with supporters and community members in Washington and in New York City, as well as a little time for sightseeing and having fun together in the two cities. The group will be accompanied by David Massey and Fiona Wright from the Villages Group who will help to present the work of the group in the region and to report on the tour.

On Monday we woke up early to get ready for the briefing in Capitol Hill at 12.00. The briefing was an open meeting in one of the house offices to which staff members of representatives of congress were invited, as well as members of the public. We had an hour to present and about 50 people attended – a mix of congress staffers, campaigners and friends in DC. Each member of the delegation, including the kids Aysar and Sadeen, talked during the briefing, each explaining a different part of the story of South Hebron Hills and the demolitions and expulsions. Naima told the crowd about what happened when her mother’s house was demolished in Umm al-Kheir and how her daughter Leen suffered for months after that day and what she witnessed there. Her talk was incredibly moving and later she explained that she feels a responsibility to represent the women and families of her village and region and to explain to the people she is meeting in the US about what these experiences do to people in her community. Fatma spoke about Susiya and how her childhood was marked by her family being expelled from the archeological site area in Susiya in 1986. She explained how her family and community have been affected by the demolitions happening over and over again. Eid spoke about the wider situation in South Hebron Hills and how so many Palestinian residents in the area live with the constant fear of demolition and the feeling of insecurity and anxiety that brings. He said how the reason they came to America was because they understood that the intervention of the State Department was crucial in postponing the demolitions in Susiya this year. He wanted to ask that Americans continue to ask their representatives to put pressure on Israel to stop the demolitions. David then spoke as a member of the Villages Group and explained how he was inspired by his friends in the South Hebron Hills and that where he finds hope is with them, and that he had come to ask that people from countries like the US and Israel use their privilege to demand that their representatives put pressure on Israel to stop the demolitions and not destroy the lives of communities in the South Hebron Hills. Aysar and Sadeen stole the show with their talks when they explained how they just want to live without the fear of settlers, demolitions, and seeing their families suffering. Sadeen said at the end of her talk that what she wants is ‘hurriya’, freedom. Kelly from Rebuilding Alliance explained for the briefing the current situation in Susiya and the negotiations with the Civil Administration, how the events of the last few months have played out, and what they are now asking happen in congress in terms of pressure on Israel.

After the briefing finished, although we were all very tired and happy with how the briefing had gone, we went to visit the offices of the 11 representatives who signed a letter in support of Susiya that was sent by Representative Anna Eshoo to Secretary of Foreign Affairs John Kerry in July of this year, and that played a role in the State Department’s urging of Israeli authorities not to go ahead with the demolitions. We spoke to staff members in each of the offices and explained that we had now come to Washington to ask that US representatives continue to intervene and to support Susiya and other threatened villages in the South Hebron Hills. The visits to the offices were important to keep up relationships with these representatives that have spoken in support of Susiya and were also very interesting for us to see a little bit of how congress works.

We finished all these meetings at around four o’clock by which time we were all very tired and for the rest of the day we just relaxed and had some dinner – a very tasty falafel restaurant run by an Iraqi in Washington!

Another highlight of the day was when Aysar met an American cowboy on the way back to the guest house. See attached photo

After our time in Washington D.C. we arrived in Manhattan late on Thursday for some more relaxed days, although still of course very exciting and busy for the group. We had a couple of meetings with journalists who will hopefully write about the time of the delegation in the US and the situation of the South Hebron Hills villages (watch this space). On Saturday evening we were invited to a potluck dinner house meeting with members of Jewish Voice for Peace. This was a nice opportunity to connect with friends of the group and to meet some new faces and talk about what groups like JVP can be doing to support the villages. Apart from these meetings we saw some of the amazing sights of the city (thanks also to Chaim, Erella’s cousin, who lent us his tour-guiding skills) – walking across the Manhattan Bridge and looking back at the city at night, a trip across the water to the Statue of Liberty on Saturday afternoon, a visit to the site of Ground Zero and the memorials there, and of course some pilgrimages to the city’s temples of consumerism. The best moment came when, on Sunday evening as we happened to be walking on Fifth Avenue, suddenly there were a lot of police and all the cars were blocked from the street to make way for the entourage of President Obama, who was in town for the UN General Assembly – the group were delighted to have seen him drive by. We had hoped to have a face-to-face meeting to tell him about Susiya and Umm al-Kheir but this encounter came a close second.

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Take Action on Behalf of Palestinian Susiya

Dear friends and supports,

See in the attached the letter sent by Member of the European Parliament Jude Kriton-Darling to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy- Federica Mogherin. MEP Kriton-Darling wrote this message after the urgent situation of Palestinian Susiya was brought to her attention by friends of the Villages Group and the people of south Hebron Hills from Hexham. MEP Kriton-Darling letter contains the important details concerning the current state of affairs in Susiya’s case. This initiative stand out as a fine example on what can and should be done, in terms of political pressure, for the sake Susiya’s survival. We urge you to take similar steps and apply to your political representative and ask them to take action on behalf of Palestinian Susiya and its residents.
Information about the current risk facing Susiya can obtain in the links below.
Ehud Krinis on behalf of the Villages Group

Yasmin (Ikhlas) Jebara from Salem Village at the Tenth Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony.

Yasmin (Ikhlas) Jebara from Salem village participated yesterday (Tuesday 21st)  in Tel-Aviv in the tenth Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony. The ceremony was organized by the Combatants for Peace movement. You can watch Yamsin’s speech (Arabic with English and Hebrew sub-titles) and harp’s  playing (accompanying a colleague harp player and singer Renana Neeman) in the following link:
Yamsin’s speech which begin in 21:48 of the broadcast is followed by Renana Neeman’s ensemble playing starting in 29:30.
The initiative of inviting Yasmin to this ceremony came from the musician Idan Toledano upon reading a newspaper interview with Yasmin made during the harp festival in Jaffa last December (check:
Special thanks should be given to Buma Inbar who initiated the tenth Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony in 2006.
He also help in facilitating Yasmin’s visit in Tel-Aviv along with her mother Muna an her sister Asala.
The entry of Yamisn’s other sister as well as her brothers was denied by the Israeli occupation authorities.
Ehud, on behalf of the Villages Group  

A Letter from David Shulman Concerning Susya

Dear Friends

Most of you will remember the long and tortuous story of Susya, the tiny encampment– all tents and shacks– where few hundred people are still hanging on to what is left of their ancestral lands in the face of continuous harassment by the State and settlers, and in the wake of many earlier expulsions. You may also remember that many of their simple homes have had demolition orders issued against them by the Civil Administration, which clearly aims at destroying the entire village and expelling its inhabitants for good. The Civil Administration claims that the Susya shacks were built without permits and without an accepted, official plan for the village; in fact the villagers have submitted such a plan, and, as everyone knows, it is impossible for Palestinians living in Area C to get a permit to build anywhere on their own land

The Villages Group and Taayush has been involved together with the Rabbis for Human Rights and other organizations, for the last several years in the legal struggle over the fate of Susya; the courts have sometimes accepted our arguments for a stay of execution, but they have also at times ruled in favor of the Civil Administration bureaucrats and the soldiers.

About a year ago I reported on a truly astonishing document prepared by the Civil Administration in which they argue, in classic colonial style, that the impoverished Palestinians of Susya do not know what is good for them and that their opportunities will increase if only they are moved to the city of Yata– in other words, if they are forced to relinquish forever their homes, grazing grounds, and fields (

Last week the government gave notice that it will ask the courts to remove the last impediments to carrying out the demolition orders. links to the website of the Rabbis for Human Rights and to the Haaretz article describing the legal situation in detail:[1] [2]

We don’t yet know if the court will accept the arguments of the government lawyers, but we can say for sure that what we are witnessing today is an unmistakable move on the part of the government and the Occupation authority to dispossess the entire population of Palestinian Susya and to drive them off the land once and for all. Perhaps the results of the recent election have emboldened the settlers and their supporters; perhaps we are seeing the beginning of a much wider, shameless campaign of mass expulsion, which is, one should remember, the true, indeed the only, raison d’etre of the Occupation.

We have known the Susya Palestinians for some 15 years; they are our friends. We cannot stand by and watch the destruction of their village and their way of life. Those of you who can exert influence of any kind– on your representatives in government, in public office, on the public media, or through any other channel–  might be able to help at this possibly fateful moment.

Yours, David Shulman

A Thank You Letter by Muhammad Suleiman Awad of Khirbet a-Duqaiqah


 Our Dear Friends,

These are hard times that we have been and are still going through.

The war, in and of itself, is so hard to bear. Hard to bear is also our helplessness about it, for all we can do is call our Gazan friends and check, daily, if they are still alive.

Hard to bear is the sense of loneliness of those who see the Tsunami trampling on, dripping with hatred, racism, calls for revenge and war mongering, the likes of which had not been seen in our streets, blind as they can sometimes be.

And in addition to all that, to awaken again to the scorching realization that reading the map correctly and alerting of the approaching danger – won’t make the slightest difference.


There are moments in which it is tempting to stand on the roof of the world’s wagon and shout: “Stop the train, we want to get off.”

Nevertheless, the sun shines every morning, illuminating the world.  And because the sun illuminates the world, we can also see its beauty and what needs to be done, if only since this is the natural role of the heart.

And in the words of the Canadian author and facilitator, Oria Mountain Dreamer, inspired by Indian wisdom:  “It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.”


So, we get up in the morning and do but a little of what needs to be done…

We did such little of what needs to be done when we connected between you and Muhammad, of the Bedouin village  Khirbet a-Duqaiqah, in the South Hebron Hills. This connection opened up a new horizon of opportunities for Muhammad, whose entire body is paralyzed. At the same time it opened, for us and for you, an opportunity to show goodwill and generosity against the alienation and ruthlessness that feed the ongoing horror that have struck again in great force during the last month.


Erella, Hamed, Danny, Nadav and Ehud, in the name of the Villages Group


Here is a translation of Muhammad’s thank you letter.


In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful,

Prayer and peace be upon our master Muhammad,

God’s prayer and his favors be upon the chosen prophet.


I am sending this letter feeling calm and joyous. I am sending it from the bottom of my heart and in full gratitude towards the people who stood by me and helped me. I reckon the world is still in a good state and there are good people with humane feelings towards their fellow human beings.


And I go on and say:

Peace be upon you and God’s mercy and His blessings be upon you, you who stood by me, promised and fulfilled your promises.

And especially, I would like to mention Mrs. Erella, and Dr. Ehud, and Mr. Danny.

And I will never, in all my life, forget the dear brother Hamed Qawasmeh, and how he assisted me in my journey. I wish you full health and longevity.

And from the bottom of my heart I thank the people whom I don’t know personally, who made the purchase of the car financially possible. I cherish each and every one of you for your generosity.


I wish I could be available for you and return your favor, all that you made possible for me, but I am completely disabled and unable to move. I pray for your sake, that God will speed you in all your deeds  for humanity and for every person  in need, in every place you will reach. Also, I pray for all people from all religions, to feel each other’s needs, and for peace to prevail in our country, and for all of us to be friends, and to love and respect one another, and help one another, since life, if we calculate them in days and hours, are very short. So, why not be good people who feel each other’s needs? And when we leave this life, those who outlive us will remember us in our good deeds.


Thank you all for extending a helping hand and being true to your word. Thank you all.

And I have a request from you, my friends Erella, Ehud, Danny, Nadav and Hamed – please keep in touch and don’t stop visiting me.

I pray for your health with joy. Thank you.

  Muhammad Suleiman Awad


Muhammad and Erella Muhammad in the car Muhammad with Hamed and Erella Muhammad with the Villages Group's visitors Muhammad's car

When the Heart is Full of Love There is no Place for Hatred


To our friends,

I have already been sitting for an hour, staring at the empty word page and not finding words that would describe the pain – the pain of those of us who see straight. The pain of the sober, of those who knew that the bottled demon grows and grows, and when it is let out, it will be unbearable. And it has been let out.

Last night I spoke with my good friend from Gaza. Over the phone he heard the din blast of the Gazan rockets that exploded near us, in an open field. At my end, I heard the Israeli bombing from the air near his home. We talked. He said: “You know what my dreamiest dream is? My dream is that still in my own lifetime I will be able to have coffee with you and your family (whom he knows personally from other times) in my kitchen. Here, in Gaza. And then we will go to the beach and sit and count waves. As we did in 1999. Remember?” “I remember” I said, and could no longer speak for the tears that were choking me, tears of simple love, of human longing for contact that is impossible to fulfill, only in the mind. I recalled another talk with Ali of the South Hebron Hills, who also called me last night to ask how I was doing, because of the rockets. In our talk about the general situation, Ali said: “What do I want, after all? To get up in the morning and smell the earth that I plow, and reap in the spring, and bring bread to my children, and that you would be with us to taste that freshly baked bread. I know you love it. And I also waited for an entry permit into Israel which we get for the Ramadan because I wanted so much to visit your home. But now it’s closure and no permits are issued. I am so angry about this”. This is what Ali said, and I said “I feel as you do”.

When my Gazan friend spoke with me, he added: “Let’s write something together?” “To whom?” I asked. “To the world”, he answered. I reminded him that 14 years ago, in the crisis of fall 2000, I wrote something together with our common friend from Gaza (see below), something “to the world”. I told him that it very precisely reflects the situation, even if merely because something from 14 years ago is still relevant today. I sent it to him, and he said he would hand it out to his students and to others.

I asked him to write something himself, and I would also distribute it.

I’ll call him again today…

More such phone calls are coming in and going out to our friends in Gaza and the West Bank.

And as a friend from Salem, near Nablus, said to me today: “For people who do not have such ties as we do, it is easier to let hatred into their hearts. But in my heart there is no room for hatred. It is filled with love.” Thank you, dear friend, for these words which in Hebrew are a bit imperfect but whose truth is so real…

I have nothing more to say. The description of the present situation in various places, the different political analyses, the interpretations can all be obtained from various media.

Erella, on behalf of the Villages Group.

– – – – – –

Here we go again.
Once more the blood counter ticks.
We’ve already been in this scenario. And because we know the scenario, we already know what will happen in the next episodes.
Now there are fears. One fear is of the monster on the other side – the victim’s fear, and of the monster on the side of the perpetrator: the monster of the weak, and the monster of the strong. The monster of those who do not yet have a state, and the monster of those who do.
Another fear is that of seeing the home-monster, and of saying it out loud.

The home monster is especially dangerous for it magnifies and activates that of the other side.
The next episode is more bloodshed, a lot of it. For these monsters are ravenous. Fear turns into hatred, pain becomes a weapon. And the blood-counter? It measures the blood.

And the episode after that is inevitable as well – hatred will bear more fear and the monsters will manage death.

The leaders, too, are afraid, especially of the home-monster, for it is the one that might topple their rule, so they stop seeing it. They see only its shadow, falling on the neighbor’s wall.

We, Palestinians and Israelis, Arabs and Jews, the secular and the religious, call upon every person who is brave enough to encounter their own fear and pain, instead of acting them out. This enables us not only to be right, but especially to be wise, and attentive to the fear and pain of the other. Upon call upon all of these people to strengthen each other from within, and upon those on the other side, and the leaders, to implement agreements that have already been reached, and continue seeking a solution to all that is still a controversy.

And to constantly remember – when the monsters emerge and get to work, the wound can no longer be located…

Summer Camps in Umm al-Kheir and Susiya

Indeed I live in the dark ages! 
A guileless word is an absurdity. A smooth forehead betokens 
A hard heart. He who laughs 
Has not yet heard 
The terrible tidings. 

Ah, what an age it is 
When to speak of trees is almost a crime 
For it is a kind of silence about injustice! 
And he who walks calmly across the street, 
Is he not out of reach of his friends 
In trouble? 

(From Bertolt Brecht’s “To Posterity”,  translated by H. R. Hays)

I don’t think it’s necessary to unfold before you the wrongdoings of the occupation government (not that we have any other government) in the West Bank and Gaza since the atrocious and painful kidnapping of the three Israeli youngsters. It is even unnecessary to note that there is nothing new under the sun and that the wrongdoings and crimes of the occupation did not begin after the kidnappings. It is but another painful chapter in the story of the system. Whoever did not understand the system so far, has an opportunity now to understand it. Moreover, whoever did not understand that peace is neither in the “to do” list of this government nor in its vision for the future, now has a chance to sober up. There are media venues that recount the wrongdoing, and if the reader adds the emotional details, such as how does a child feels when they wake him up in the middle of the night with bangs and guns and arrest his father in front of his eyes, without skipping the humiliation, degradation, and so on – he or she will have an idea on what’s going on over there.

Last Wednesday, our friends and families, those who love and cherish us, asked us to maybe give up our weekly visit in South Mt. Hebron, for fear it might be dangerous. We considered, asked our friends in the villages, and found out that the road calls us to take it. We drove. We arrived. A regular visit. How much trust and love are needed in order to feel, even in such times, that what is common to us, more than any affiliation and partnership, is that we are all equal members in the family of humankind. Naser (who in these days is documenting the happenings in Hebron for Betselem) told Dany: “I don’t know where I would have been without this relationship I have with you”.

And through all of this, live continues to be lived (how fortunate). The summer vacation has begun, and children on vacation have summer camps. On Wednesday, we visited the summer camps in Susiya and in Umm al-Kheir. These are summer camps funded through the Villages Group, and this is an opportunity to thank, from the bottom of our hearts, the friends who donated from their money and their hearts, and made these summer camps possible. The children and guides don’t know the donors personally, so they send their thanks through us. And above all – even one smile of one child is worth all the efforts and the thanks.

Summer camp in Umm al-Kheir


Summer camp in Susiya