Yesterday, I was part of the biggest group of unarmed Israelis to enter the Shuafat Refugee Camp in over a decade. At least that it what the Palestinian organizers of the tour told me. And it seems likely that they are right: I know very few Israeli Jews -aside from soldiers and policemen- who have ever entered the camp (located in East Jerusalem, right next to the Pisgat Ze’ev settlement). I had never gone in before as an identifiable Israeli before (I went once in a private car, with a Palestinian colleague, and spoke only in Arabic and English). But yesterday, I was one of around 85 Israelis walking in the middle of the Refugee Camp (invited by local Palestinian organizers, and gathered by the Jerusalem activist collective whose actions you can follow on the “Free Jerusalem” Facebook page).
Here is how it unfolded:
(The group was too big to stop, and the police had no real justification for their actions. We just walked through).
It felt important. Jarring. Horrifying. Uplifting. Our hosts were incredibly generous, and I think – I hope – many of us left with a renewed and deepened commitment to fight the occupation in all of its forms. Tomorrow, Sunday, March 21st, at 10:00 AM, there will be a demonstration against the planned eviction of the Sub Leban family from their home in the Old City. Spread the word.