We are a Jewish American family living in Ithaca NY who has chosen to spend this holiday season traveling with our dear friend, Katya Weiss Anderson, to the West Bank. There the four of us will stay in the homes of two Palestinian families, The Burnat family in Bil’in, Palestine and the Awawda family in Bethany, Palestine. On December 27th, we will spend a day in Tel Aviv where we will meet for the first time meet our Israeli relatives.
Bil’in is a village in the West Bank where the film, Five Broken Cameras, was filmed. Iyad Burnat runs the People’s Popular Committee, a non-violent resistance movement holding weekly demonstrations against the Israeli occupation. The Burnat family has five children.
The village of Bethany is on the other side of the Separation Wall from East Jerusalem. It was once a thriving suburb of Jerusalem, and is now suffering socially, economically, and in many other ways from the building of the Separation Wall.
Staying in these two villages, we will experience what everyday life is like for Palestinian families living under Israeli occupation. We will also spend time in East Jerusalem and seeing historical and religious sites in Israel and the West Bank. We hope that reading our blog helps you to understand the situation on the ground in Israel/Palestine and why it is important to work for a just peace there.
**Update/continued November 2015 – I, Ariel, am back in Palestine. I will be leading an olive harvest delegation and then staying on for a few weeks to visit with and be in solidarity the Palestinian people as they continue to live under brutal Israeli occupation.