Nicole Gevirtz Reporting from Palestine. August 1st 2014


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It’s worse than Cast Lead.
It’s worse than Cast Lead.
It’s worse than Cast Lead.

Host mommy Haifa makes me breakfast and says there is a ceasefire.
Host mommy Haifa turns on the TV.
We see nothing but gore and blood and pain and fresh wounds.
A man lies on a hospital bed, and he no longer looks like a man.
His arms and legs are gone, and his face is burnt off.
Someone’s father, brother, son, reduced to blood and skin.
Next to him is a little boy, bleeding from his head, crying, “Mom, Mom…”
Host mommy Haifa turns off the TV and goes back to bed.
Host daddy Adeeb falls into a depression and naps on the couch.
I go to the church.

Not one Arab army or militia lifts a finger to stop Israel.
Not one Arab army or militia has the power to do so.

The Armenian service, 9 AM, is still the most beautiful thing I have ever heard in my life.

I still can’t believe this program thought it was appropriate to take the volunteers to visit a settlement. They tried to make me commit a war crime, they tried to make me pollute my soul for all eternity. They did this… casually. Like it’s nothing. “Settlers for Peace,” “Settlers for Coexistence,” “Settlers for Dialogue,”… an insult to injury. On a good day I want to see you all in prison. On a bad day I want to see you all publically executed, perhaps crucified. You do what you do in the name of Judaism, the religion I was born into. You have poisoned my life as much as you have poisoned the Arab world. You should all be hanged. Abominations before God and humanity. 

A professor from Bethlehem’s Bible College, Munther Isaac, comes to speak with us. The Greeks got a hold of the Holy Sepulchre 500 years ago. Only bishops can become Patriarchs and the bishops are kept Greek. The Greek occupation that steals the houses of God from the Arabs.

“We’ve been hurt by the West. Even the Christians that are not Zionists, they don’t acknowledge we are here. Divestments and such, that is great but… they don’t talk about us a lot.”

“I remember reading my Bible when I was 10, and seeing ‘Phillistines’ and confusing this with myself, with ‘Falasteeniyeh,’ and the Phillistines are the bad guys and the Israelites are the good guys.”

Imagine your own Holy book dehumanizing you at age 10.

Religion is not the problem. The problem is what you fucking awful, stupid, nasty, racist, idiot humans do to it. Religion is too good for you. God is too good for you. God deserves better than you.

It’s worse than Cast Lead.
It’s worse than Cast Lead.
It’s worse than Cast Lead.

Finally got the tour guide from Lydd on the phone. He says he will attend a demo for Gaza in Lydd this Sunday, will take a photo of the revolutionary Syria flag painting for me, and e-mail me the photo. I made him promise. I made him promise. I made him promise. He is showing us around the Galilee this weekend. I will make him promise again.
“There are lots of those flags there! You only saw one?”
“You crazy!”

Small demo in Manger Square, between the Omar Mosque and the Church of the Nativity. It’s only a few dozen young men. It’s over by the time I get there.

When Sami Awad asks for me he says, “Where’s the crazy one?” 

I’m told that Hamas has kidnapped a Jewish Nazi. Alhamdulilah. *high fives*

We are told there is a demo in and around Aida camp, up by the wall, past Nissan Circle. We are told it is big and dangerous. I fuckin HAULED ASS. I fuckin RAN. Hungry, tired, sick from the heat and the depression, I RAN up all the hills to get to the camp. 

*in the daytime! big and dangerous! lots of tear gas! 3rd intifada AAHHHH!!!!!*

It’s over by the time I get there. A few dozen young men are already leaving. There’s some rocks and an empty street and a cloud of tear gas. The end. It was the normal. A guy named Mohammed shakes my hand, thanks me for stopping by, asks about the tattoos, and gives me some coffee. Yatiq alahffiyeh 

It’s worse than Cast Lead.
It’s worse than Cast Lead.
It’s worse than Cast Lead.

For fuck’s sake, someone help us.


Spent the evening at an Orthodox school in Sheppard's Field. The scouts. There's a big camp for the young people. They do marches and demos and build giant forts and sing and have bonfires and have obstacle courses... It's a place of normalcy, stability, confidence, a healthy childhood... I'm so glad I got to see this. I'm so glad the kids here have something this awesome. They build tents for Jerusalem and learn about their capital city that they are prevented from visiting. They perform plays about Gaza to help them cope with their grief.

"You Arab but can't speak Arabiiyeh?!"
"I'm not Arab!"

The young people have an easier time going overseas than they do seeing their own country. All the NGO's and cultural groups work real hard to give them an alternative freedom of movement. All the kids have been to Chile, Sweden, Russia... but not cities in their own country, not the places I get to witness this weekend.

I have to say goodbye to my host family tomorrow morning. I'm gonna die. I'm gonna cry in my breakfast.

This weekend; Haifa, the Bahai Gardens, the German colony, Wadi al Nisnas, Akka, Tiberias, Mt of Beatitudes, Capernaum, Tabgha... oh my God, oh my God, oh my God... 

Then I jump off the bus and get to Nazareth. Still not sure where I'm going but tayyib, maashi, yalla, bye.

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