I wrote the following in 2004 while staying in the small Palestinian village of Budrus in the West Bank. It was composed in the middle of a scorching day on a rooftop and less than a week into my time there. I admit that its writing is poor but I post it as a journal entry to testify to my thinking at that moment. At the time I was confronting all sorts of new issues for the first time.
This is the first in an occasionally series of entries from that time.
26 June 04
From the roof of this house where I write, regardless if I look left or right, I see Israeli settlements. They stand out among the dry hillsides. I view them as settlements but that is controversial so I’m told. Israelis insist that they are built to the west of the Green Line while Palestinians say they are built on the line. Apparently there is a stretch of land along the line that is a “no man’s land” and it is here that the settlements are built. I can see that there are three tall buildings at the area to the right. To the right of one of these skyscrapers is a crane indicating that there is more construction planned. More land is taken.
The constant talk of borders, lines, and disputes of that kind have clouded the issues as I see them here in Palestine. This is about human dignity and rights. And the intimidation by the encroachment of the settlements complicates the problem. But the problem is one of self-determination. All too often that is denied by intimidation and physical pressure. That, besides a land grab, is what the settlements are. Their mere presence in Palestinian regions denies self rule. It almost puts the oppressed in a place of collective insanity which is somehow seen as justifiable. The settlement issue is incomprehensible to me. Maybe I will understand more as a my time here grows. But I must remember that I am a foreigner and this is a foreign place and if I truly believe in social construction as means of understanding, I may never understand during my short stay.
Note: This was originally published in my older blog exclusively dedicated to Palestine issues and concerns.