My name is Jocelyn Martin and I am one of the many young adults on this trip who has their minds spinning from all the culture, politics and narratives we have experienced in the last days.
We have all settled in with our amazing host families and continue to learn from them every day. Yesterday (May 16), we headed to Ramallah and started our day with a lecture from Military Court Watch. This organization is made up of lawyers who focus on child imprisonment. We learned about the tactics used by the Israeli Defence Forces that are based off of intimidation and control. These tactics have psychological effects that hurt not only the child arrested but also the families and the communities around them. Our second speaker, an American Palestinian shared his struggles with developing the West Bank from a business and economic perspective, while an occupier is holding the resources. Our afternoon was spent on a bus tour hosted by Stop The Wall. This organization is working to stop the divide between the people in the land. We stopped by various sites that portrayed what division can do to an area. We were told stories of economic deprivation, travel restrictions between areas and people being separated from their own land. We stood near an olive grove which grew long before the arrival of the fence, which could only be harvested if the farmer held a permit from the Israeli government saying he could be within 200m of the fence, labelled as a security zone. Our last group experience of the day was our long, slow travels out of the city of Ramallah. Our supposed hour and a half drive took much longer as traffic slowly moved through the check point. However, our ride was hardly without entertainment as we watched the crowded streets of people, cars, motorcycles and just about anything else, maneuvering throughout each other.