I need to spend a few more days more in Jerusalem. Which doesn’t qualify as time in Palestine, because as I mentioned in this previous post, Jerusalem is no longer considered Palestine by any one who lives there, despite the ‘efforts’ by the ‘international community’ in making it a shared city between two countries … of which only one exists.

As instructed, I spend a whole day resting, gathering my thoughts, and above all, getting ride of papers with names and addresses on them. Details of what I have actually been doing. Because, for the Israeli authorities, who will – or not – allow me out of the country tomorrow, what I have been doing constitutes helping terrorists.

I go to mass in the church I went to when I was first in Jerusalem (Palestine. Arrival) and talk to the Spanish priest again. I need to pick up a bag I had left in his place so I could travel a bit more lightly.

He invites me for lunch, in the parish house. The other priests are curious about what I have been doing. There is one from America, who remarks on the possibility that my bag would have contained something illegal. Like a bomb. The Spanish and I make jokes about it, but he looks at us with distrusting eyes, probably thinking “two Basque people in Palestine. It can’t be a good thing”.

They all ask me questions about what I have seen, comparing it to what they have seen in the past themselves, and the American says at the end:
“If the Arabs got in power, they would probably do the same as the Israelis are doing now.”
“And then I would have come for them instead of for the Arabs”
“You have only known them for a couple of months.”
“What I have seen is that they are being deprived of their dignity. Humiliated every time they come in mere sight of any Israeli soldier or settler. I know that doesn’t make them good people necessarily. It makes them people in need and it’s within my Christian belief that I should use my privilege the way I have been using it to help.”

By privilege I mean this:

“All of us, who have been to war and occupation zones as ‘human rights monitors’, ‘human shields’, ‘solidarity activists’ or what have you, from Palestine to Iraq, from India to Kosovo, from checkpoints to refugee camps, from border actions to deportation centers; we have to admit that we hold the answer to why our blood is deemed more valuable than that of the millions facing the war and capitalism machines indiscriminately. Our white skin, or affiliations with white Northern governments, is our passport to be worthy of living, or at least creates a fear of global dissent. A world that is as racist as the governments themselves.”