More thought about my visit to Jericho

by ray goodlass

15 January: first of all, a quick update. Today I’m all packed and ready to go. Firstly, a shuttle to Ben Gurion Airport, which is between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, but distances here are very short. Then I fly to Bangkok, then Bangkok to Sydney, and finally Sydney to Waggga. What jetlag?

Hopefully departing Israel be okay. Even if the Israeli authorities have been keeping tabs on me, such as reading my Facebook and Blog posts, I don’t think they’ll stop me leaving, maybe just the third degree. More likely would be their not letting me back in, but hopefully not, as I do want to come back and do more peace work, because unfortunately I think it will still be needed for a while to come yet, especially given the likelihood of a strong right wing victory in next week’s national election.

Now to my overnight thoughts on my trip to Jericho that I neglected to mention yesterday.  First of all, on the way, in the Judean desert, we passed two or three Bedouin encampments, but don’t expect exotic desert tents and camels, for these formerly nomadic people have been so constrained and boxed in my the Israelis they are now in semi-permanent camps of tin and tarpaulins, living as best they can, but its a far cry from their former lives. Nomadism and Separaration Walls, Guntowers, Checkpoints, Settlements and Israelis only highways don’t mix, unfortunately.

The other point about Jericho that I didn’t mention only came to mind last night when I was reading Raja Shehadeh’s ‘Palestinian Walks’, where he makes the point that Israeli settlements are encroaching on that city too. I guess I just didn’t notice them, and chastise myself for that. It’s also a salutory note to leave on, though I’m sure I’ll have enough reminders of Israel’s intransigence on the way to the airport, and of course, then there’s their security to get through once I get there. Fortunately I’ve time for a coffee at my home from home, the Educational Bookshop, where I’ll be able to ‘gird my loins’.