A Dash of Etymology & A Poem Not Prose: Al-Jalama checkpoint revisited

The other day I posted a piece about my experience of leaving Palestine through a checkpoint in the north of the country. It was an experience that did not compare with any other in my life that I could think of. I found it utterly dehumanising. Yet it's an experience that many thousands of Palestinians … Continue reading A Dash of Etymology & A Poem Not Prose: Al-Jalama checkpoint revisited

A Difficult Exit: leaving Palestine

Palestine and Israel have been prominent in the news again lately and I've been reflecting on how stories are reported, the language used, and of my last visit. At the end of May I left northern Palestine through a checkpoint that I hadn't been through before. I was with my Scottish friend Jane. We were … Continue reading A Difficult Exit: leaving Palestine

Watching The Bees: on meditation retreat in Dartmoor

Recently I spent a week at the High Heathercombe Centre in Dartmoor. I camped overlooking a tor, alongside huge trees; ate deliciously healthy food, and practised old and new meditation techniques. It was a mainly silent seven days, to allow for stillness and insight to more readily arise. Reading and writing were discouraged. Apart from … Continue reading Watching The Bees: on meditation retreat in Dartmoor

A Long Day: waking up in Israel, going to bed in Palestine 

One Friday morning recently I woke up in my friend Tomer's apartment in a town outside Tel Aviv. I had arrived from London the evening before and Tomer, who I had met picking olives the previous autumn in Palestine, had kindly picked me up from the airport. One of the first things he told me … Continue reading A Long Day: waking up in Israel, going to bed in Palestine 

Cycling Towards The Sea: freedom of movement

My plan is to post this piece on Thursday 11th May. I'm lucky enough to be going for a bike ride on that day with a friend who's recently returned to London after a few months overseas. Cycling is one of the things we like doing together. We plan a route, briefly disagree about what … Continue reading Cycling Towards The Sea: freedom of movement

Art Imitating Life: tourism starts acting up in Palestine

I've had a few conversations with friends about how great it would be if more tourists found their way to Palestine: an old land full of ancient places with familiar names; rotund olive trees grown wonderfully gnarled with time; and fabulously warm hospitality. Sadly, though, Palestine isn't normally associated with these things, and the culture is seen … Continue reading Art Imitating Life: tourism starts acting up in Palestine

House fire v. house demolitions: the difference a birthplace makes

Last week it was exactly a year since my flat caught fire. I expected to write about it here, to feel the pull to reflect on and pick over the event. But I found I didn't have much to say. I did walk around the house last week on that day feeling a bit slow, … Continue reading House fire v. house demolitions: the difference a birthplace makes

Poem for Palestine: As Far As The Eye Can See

In my previous post I wrote about just one of the many stories I heard and distressing sights I saw while in Palestine last autumn. This is a poem I wrote the day before going to help with the olive harvest in a village called Deir Istyia in the West Bank: As far as the … Continue reading Poem for Palestine: As Far As The Eye Can See

Palestine; Israel

Palestine and Israel in the headlines Palestine and Israel seem to have been in the news a lot recently. On 23rd December a resolution was adopted by the UN security council for all Israeli settlement in the occupied territories to be halted. This resolution was passed by virtue of the US abstention from voting - as … Continue reading Palestine; Israel