I am still occupied with writing about my walking tour in Israel in the occupied territories, although it is four months ago. I was astonished about reactions of friends and collegues when they heard about walking along the Abraham-path: Is it dangeroues to go there? They mix the westbank with the Gaza-strip. To remind my readers:I was walking in the westbank not in the Gaza-strip. The walking was on the socalled Abraham-path, in April 2015, togther with local guides who brought our little group from Jenin in the north to Hebron in the south. What was special for me was that it is not common in my age (70 plus) to walk such a long tour (about 170 kms) in a territory which is in general known as a topic in political discussions in Israel. We in the western world know about it and we blame the official politics in Israel about the occupancy of Palestine and the bad treating of the palestinians. When I decided last summer to spend two months in Israel it was clear to me that I would go into the westbank and learn about the area, the landscape and the people by walking a long distance through the country. Was it dangerous? We had a good feeling with all our guides who know the hot places like the market in Hebron and know the atmosphere of the hour. They never would have brought us into a difficult situation, I am sure.
I already have written about the shepard with the Lady Bird. We were often invited on our way to drink a coffee or tea by normal people. At the edge of a field, on a dusty street, from another shepard in the wilderness of a stony hill. We were impressed by this spontanous warmhearted hospitality of the people. They want to know from where we come and where to go. Mentioning „Alimanya“ several people remind german words, a lot of them have worked in Germany…Stuttgart…Mercedes. Some of them have still relatives in Germany.
These simple touching gestures are in strong contrast to the reports our guide delivers about the reality of the occupancy. We learn how the settlers build their settlements: On top of a hill – from one day of the other – they put one or two caravans. Settlers who claim this place. Then comes the military to protect them. And then more settlers are coming and more military and the place grows to a village, then to a town and grows more and more. And some miles away happens the same play. And then the two settlements have to be connected by a street, naturally, and have to be protected, naturally, by military, by a fence, by a wall. The streets are forbidden for palestinians (on their own land). And the consequences for the palestinians are that their land is ongoing split up. They have to make detours to come to their villages, they are not allowed to use the streets of the settlers.
Muhammed speaks about it without a sign of discernible anger or wrath, objective, quiet. Instead we visitors get a shadow on our minds every time we hear a new variation of the reality of occupancy.
When we sit in the place Sebastiya in front of roman ruins and listen to the interesting explanations of our guide to the old history (he has studied Archaology), in this moment comes a bus with jewish guests to the parking place, accompanied by two military cars. Settlers, says Muhammed, and his voice becomes soft and quiet. We are sitting there, be silent, watching and feel apprehensive.
Later we pass a bus stop where three israeli soldiers are standing around, one has his gun ready for shooting in his hand, that means half high targeting into the blue. This exposure of power from very young looking soldiers seems to me obscene. And we ask ourselves whether they would be able in case of a critical situation to act considered.
„Little Susie“ is writing again. Despite the very hot temperatures in the moment in Berlin where I spend my holidays. More about this walking tour in the next days.