February 26, 2004
[Bergton, Virginia] I'm back home
in Virginia, and to be honest, it's difficult to be here. There
has been a lot of Israeli military activity in Bethlehem this
week, and I feel sort of helpless being 10,000 miles away from
friends under siege. It's a terrible feeling knowing what my neighbors
are going through -- and I'm relaxing comfortably in my parent's
warm home watching music videos and sports on TV. But I'm serious,
it's really difficult to be separated.
Since I'm not helping by being some
sort of a presence in Bethlehem, I'll try to do what I can here.
I've written to a few newspapers and politicians. And I've talked
to a few people. In the upcoming weeks, I'll get to share with
a few more. I'll be speaking in some Virginia churches. If you
live in Virginia and want to get together, give me a call and
we can hang out a while -- when my dad doesn't have me busy cleaning
I read in Haaretz this morning that
a US State Department human rights report said that Israeli forces
often used excessive force when confronting Palestinian demonstrations
or pursuing suspects. (Two Palestinians were killed yesterday
in a protest against the Israeli separation wall.) The report
also said that Israeli troops impeded medical assistance to Palestinian
civilians at roadblocks, and carried out policies of demolitions,
strict curfews, and closures that directly punished innocent civilians.
In addition, Israel's human rights record in the West Bank and
Gaza Strip in 2003 "remained poor and worsened in the treatment
of foreign human rights activists."
to get Ahmad and my nephew Casey together.
They are the same age, and they both like a bit of good-natured