Sunday, December 1, 2013

My first trip to Palestine

L > R: Lorna Vander Zanden, Ken Mayers, Tarak Kauff, Mike Hastie, Elik Elhanan, Itamar Shapira, Eran Torbiner, Ellen Barfield 
Photo by Ellen Davidson
 This happen on our last day. We didn't expect the result we got, but after around 40 minutes, a young fellow with a yarmuke on, came over to us with a big smile and said, "I don't know if you realize it, but the embassy is shut down because of you. I think they're afraid of you or something. See that big crowd over there? They're all waiting to get in." He thought it was great.  We felt at that point, our mission was more than complete and so told him to go tell them that we were leaving and they could open now, which he was delighted to go and convey. He asked what our "message" was and that he would give any message we asked and take it inside. Ellen Davidson said, "We want the occupation to end and equal rights for everybody," and that good enough for us. We also had a great time. Our friends Elik, who will receive his PhD from Columbia soon, Itamar, Yonatan Shapira's younger brother and a terrific activist in his own right and Eran, who makes documentary films are all former IDF and original members of Combatants for Peace, just the greatest people. 
 This was my first trip to Palestine and far exceeded my expectations. We'll be returning. 
 Tarak

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