Escape from oblivion
Yesterday morning I was waking up late, on the sofa of the Israeli kids I’d been staying with, surrounded by empty beer bottles, a spillage of Arak (it’s like Ouzo but cheaper), cheeky deposits of ash and ends and the parasol, open and upside down, that had blocked out the sun at the trance party we’d been at.
This morning I woke up early, 7am, to the frantic ringing and answering of phones. Angela yells down one and simultaneously bosses her team of interns to answer the others. Today the Jerusalem planning committe will try to push through a proposal for the demolition of 22 Palestinian homes (the beginning of a development that would see over 90 homes razed) in East Jerusalem. Angela is coordinating the press strategy, compiling an alternative development proposal and attenpting to engage some international support. This is the world that I’ve lept into – my bed is in the side-office of Angela Godfrey-Goldstein’s home/office for the Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolition and this week I will be shadowing her, writing letters, press releases and attempting to coordinate the international interest in her most recent campaign.
People in Tel Aviv said that they were in a bubble – a bubble of prescription drugs and parties. It was a nice place to join for a while but in the midst of all this activity, the business of the ICAHD, it seems completely crazy that I spent so long there – I guess I enjoying the escape. I’m glad I got to enjoy it without fully realising how out of the reality of Israeli life it is. And I’m glad that it’s there, in my mind, as I move through the rest of this country and especially the poverty (in terms of money, water, aid, shelter) of the West Bank. I’ll write more about the people I stayed with in Tel Aviv – 25 year olds who’d just finished military service – once I’ve got a gauge of how people are just an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv. For now some photos of my time spent in wilful oblivion: