6.19.2003

I just heard from Matt D., now on tour of the Holy Lands:

Just a short update on what's been going on:

We (my dad, brother, and I) tried to get in to Gaza today. The Israelis wouldn't let us through, rather they would have let us through but wouldn't have let us out. Sweet of them to tell us this in advance. There should have been no problem since my dad and brother are both relief personnel monitoring operations in Gaza, but I've learned pretty quickly that the Israeli army does whatever it wants for whatever reasons it feels like coming up with at the moment. At the Gaza checkpoint, the "liason officer" Capt. Levy said that he would need to receive a phone call from the US consulate giving our names and noting that we were okay to move through, which was entirely nonsense. He told us this because he figured that we wouldn't be able to get through to the consulate, but within 15 minutes Brian was handing Capt. Levy his cell phone with the consul on the other end. Capt. Levy refused to take the call and flatly denied saying what I, my brother, and my father had heard him say fifteen minutes earlier. Kafkaesque doesn't begin to describe it. Unnacountable bureacracy is the essence of tyranny. Business as usual, says Brian.

Yesterday we all went on a tour of Israeli settlements in and around Jerusalem, which are taking over Arab neighborhoods bit by bit and intruding into the West Bank mile by mile. We also saw the "apartheid wall," which Israel is building supposedly to keep terrorists out, but which also happens to extend many kilometers into the West Bank, encircling valuable water sources and arable land in an attempt to steal it for settler use. This short e-mail will not begin to do justice to what I'm seeing here. the attmpted expulsion of a people from their homeland and the destruction of a culture. Every detail of Israel society is designed to remind non-Jews that they are second class citizens. Irony is one thing, but this is somthing like irony on steroids, SOOPER ULTRA MEGA A**- F***ING IRONY. I've taken to reciting entire Monty Python sketches to myself under my breath just to keep it together.

Ah yes, Angela, the fine Israeli lady who took us on the settler tour, told me of an essay she had recently read by an eleven year old child who had had his home demolished by the Israelis. He can't wait to grow up and become a suicide bomber.

What, behind the rabbit?

Shalom and As Salaam Alaikum,
Matt

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