Ray Goodlass

Rays peace activism

Month: May, 2015

A rewarding act of cultural solidarity

Leaving Occupied East Jerusalem today to begin my long journey home (via Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Dubai, Sydney airports) after a very stimulating, useful and enjoyable trip, learning Arabic and attending activist talks and events.

Learning colloquial Palestinian Arabic has been a very stimulating act of ‘cultural solidarity’. But a sign that it was probably time to go home was when a waiter said “No worries” after I’d said “Shukran” (thanks) for my coffee. At least he didn’t add “mate” on the end!

In my last week the most interesting and stimulating event was attending a really inspirational book launch by Ilan Pappe of Cherine Hussein’s ‘The Re-Emergence of the Single State Solution’. Its a little ironic that this concept is gaining credibility just as the Pope recognised Palestine as part of the very unjust and most likely doomed ‘two state’ solution.

Water in the Jordan Valley, Hebron, Palestinian cultural initiative, and progress in Arabic

I’ve had a good week in Palestine, including steady progress in learning Arabic at Al Quds Uni, and a trip to Hebron, though that is depressing because of the illegal Israeli settlements in the centre of the city and the number of soldiers deployed to protect them. I also got lost after leaving the Ibrahim Mosque and the Tombs of the Patriarchs and ended up in Israeli Area H2 before getting back to the safety of Palestinian Area H1. Still, it was a salutary lesson pointing out to me relatively painlessly what it must be like for the local Palestinians – as did seeing, once again, the old city retail streets covered with netting and tarps to protect them from rubbish thrown down on them from above by Israeli settlers.

I also attended a lecture at the French Cultural Institute on water in the Jordan Valley, almost all of which is illegally stolen by the Israelis, and used it as the stimulus for my next Op Ed column in the (Wagga) Daily Advertiser.

The next day  saw a very good Arabic movie, ‘Theeb’ at a newly re-opened Palestinian cinema here in Occupied East Jerusalem. It’s good to see an indigenous initiative get up and running, and I hope i) that it succeeds, and ii) the occupying Israelis don’t close it down.