Wednesday, September 25, 2002

At the moment, I've got nothing to say about Muqata or the Security Council. Here's what I did today ...

Visited the Sorek Stalactite Cave near Beit Shemesh.

Went to visit a friend who lives in a small community just over the Green Line (ie. in the West Bank) near Modiin. From his 3rd floor balcony there was a nice, hilly, and (of course) rocky view which includes 2 nearby Arab villages (Bilin and Kafr Niame maybe). My friend bought his apartment there because it was affordable; today he would have bought elsewhere, but if his community were evacuated he thinks that would probably be decently compensated. Travelling in the area is mostly safe, but there is one highway that passes Arab villages and is avoided at night.

A road was plowed on the first of the few hills that separates the settlement from the nearest Arab village. My friend says that this is to "claim" the hill so that Arab villagers don't begin building on it. I saw an article in the UK Independent that about an Arab who was - they said - being evicted from his home to make way for a settlement, but that's not what generally happens. The largest settlement (and the one I'm most familiar with) is called Maale Adumim - meaning "red cliffs", which is what was there beforehand.

In the evening T. and I went to see a concert by an American-Israeli group who were trying to channel Pearl Jam and had a couple of songs that were vaguely political (after the fashion of vaguely utopian political rock songs) - one about a child killed in crossfire and another one about "not giving up" (ie. hope).

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