Blogs from Ramallah, West Bank, Israel, Middle East


Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Ramallah October 27th 2011

Crossing at Hussein Bridge From the Amman airport we travelled by car to the border of the West Bank. Or if you prefer, Palestine, or maybe the occupied Territories. The trip took about an hour and we travelled by the northern edge of the Dead Sea and through the “lowest place on earth” , well below sea level. We were all a bit stressed about the border but in the end it was more tedious than anything else. On arrival we shifted to a bus for the 10 minutes ride across a river that has been dry for thousands of years. Then lots of questions about who we were and why we were there. Mercifully, the place was empty but it took more than 30 minutes, including a 10 minute interview to clear. Then another 10 ... read more
Gym Class
Everybody Joins In
A More Humane Camp

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Ramallah July 20th 2009

I don't have time for a comprehensive entry right now, but let's leave it at the following: 1) I was in a parade. 2) my brother got here, and I'm realizing that the level of ridiculousness of our conversations has increased. or is, at least, well outside the norm 3) we have been massively busy 4) we went to Ramallah and went to a bar with a swimming pool in it 5) we picked up my friend from Cairo and came back for an event of gladiatorial proportions 6) I was on Palestinian National TV. and not in a flattering light. 7) I am leaving soon and am realizing that I have not, until now, needed to use the words 'sad' or 'cry' in Arabic. So. Epic. (I'm sorry for the flurry of entries that is ... read more
Mini Parade
The Weirdest

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Ramallah May 31st 2008

We are now on the hour count down before we leave. Last night we didn't sleep at all. Adri became an uncle for the 19th time. At 2:30 am we had to drive to the hospital as the new baby had arrived. Driving into the city at night is a little crazy as you not only have to go through the checkpoint (very suspiciously at this tie of night), but then there are several Palestinian 'checkpoints' within the city as they too are suspicious. The car we drive has a yellow licence plate (Israeli) because the car was rented in Jerusalem. Palestinian plates are white. Either way, we made it to the hospital to greet the new arrival to the clan. The hospital experience is surreal, especially the maternity ward. Adri calls it a 'production line". ... read more

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Ramallah May 25th 2008

This morning we started our day off on a bad note. On our way to Ramallah to pick up Amber, the IDF was stopping various cars at the checkpoint. We had Fakher with us as we were dropping him off at work. I have to explain first - this is a checkpoint that is in the middle of a Palestinian controlled area, and this is the only route for people who live many of the villages to get to work in Ramallah. This is not a checkpoint between Israel and Palestinian areas. Usually, they will ask for ID, ask some questions and we are on our way. Today, we happened on a soldier who was being very aggressive. He asked where I was from, I told him Adri and I were from "Canada" and Fakher said ... read more
Welcme to Bethlehem
Amber filming

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Ramallah May 20th 2008

Today we woke up early and drove to Ramallah, one of the largest Palestinian cities. Our breakfast was amazing. The pictures do not do it justice. You can not get this food anywhere. Later we met with Amber and went over all of the applicants and mapped out our interview strategy at her home. Adri intentionally did not bring his razor so that he could get his special shave with a straight knife. Later we met with Jawad, a French Palestinian who lives in Paris, who is a filmmaker. Where do you meet when you come to Ramallah? Stars and Bucks of course! After, Jawad invited us to his sister's home in Ramallah for dinner. Her husband is the president of the Palestinian Journalist Association. Later, back to the village to sleep! That stupid donkey woke ... read more
Arabic Coke
Stars and Bucks
Adri gets shaved with Arafat

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Ramallah May 19th 2008

We made it safe and sound. It wasn't too long getting through the Israeli security relatively speaking. We were pulled aside and questioned for 45 minutes - that could be a record for Adri and I. Amber picked us up in the car that we are renting - it was great to see her. After dropping her off at her place in Ramallah, we made the 45 minute trip to the village. One of the checkpoints, that usually open with maybe a couple of IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) soldiers, was being blocked by several soldiers, so our trip took longer than usual. Hey, this is the Israel/Palestine/West Bank/Occupied territories! We spent a wonderful day with Adri's family, with no visitors. Some some reason everyone thought we were arriving today. Tonight the thousands of family members will ... read more
Abu Falah
Adri the second

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Ramallah April 5th 2008

In my last days in Israel I decided to visit my friend in Ramallah - and against all the warnings of my israeli friends I had a quite positive impression of this city.... read more
this is beautiful...

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Ramallah August 25th 2007

Tout récapituler dans l'amitié Palestinienne Une semaine de disponibilité avant la fin de notre voyage, une rencontre providentielle avec un ancien élève de St Bonnet (où nous nous sommes rencontrés) et nous avons pu saisir une belle occasion de rencontres : nous rendre dans un camp de réfugiés Palestiniens, en plein coeur des territoires occupés, pour aider à l'animation estival d'un centre de vacance pour les enfants du camp. Nous y finirons notre premier voyage au milieu d'un peuple jeune, joyeux et souffant, passant nos journées avec ces enfants joueurs et leurs animateurs dévoués, et nos soirées avec les familles du camps, tous amis de Said qui nous héberge. Ainsi s'achève le premier volet inch'Allah, dans la gratuité d'une amitié naissante, au foyer de la première leçon de ce voyage :Apprendre à recevoir ceux qui nous ... read more
Toujours sur le toit !
Ana bahebbak Mustafa !

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Ramallah February 15th 2007

Even though this time I'm having my laptop with me this time its been so hard to regularly keep up my travel journal as I had hardly any time to put it down.. and the bit time I had I used for taking rest. I've been now for 3 days in ar ram staying with my friends who have been so so lovely and hospitable that I feel really sad when thinking that tomorrow I will leave again. I arrived in Jerusalem on Thursday evening after a long trip from Dahab through the egyptian-israeli border to Eilat and further till Jerusalem central bus station. Musab and Ibrahim, his father, were going to wait near damascus gate for me and so I was trying my best to get there by bus from the central station. First of ... read more
some cool people at birzeit uni
hamas students council
after german lessons :)

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Ramallah July 30th 2006

Hi everyone. This isn't going to be a mammoth entry- just a quiclie from Ramallah. We're in the ISM media office waiting to catch a ride to the village of Farkha (AKA Small Chicken). The most amazing thing happened: I was speaking to a chap who said his name was sometyhing like "Gally" about volunteering in our next camp. Only after phoning him about four times, with the help of a mutual friend, did I comprehend that this was my good friend Ghali of three years. He was an ISM coordinator when I was at the "Camp Against the Wall" in 2003. I love how small a world it is- especially in Palestine for some reason. Anyway, here is a picture of famous volunteer Jemima Davies (I was aslepp during the interview), as included in a ... read more

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