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January 1, 2018

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On Monday it started off cloudy and overcast and eventually became chilly and rainy.  We traveled to Ramallah where we saw the wall that was built around the city provide security according to the Israeli understanding.  There we left the bus to walk through the area which Palestinians have to go through each day if they need to leave Ramallah for work or other activities.  They can only leave if they have a permit and even then they may not be able to leave depending on the security.  They are herded like cattle through a series of gates to a waiting room which is just a large room with a dirt floor.  The land right past the checkpoint is held by Israel but because it is illegal for Israelis to enter into it is not cared for.

In Ramallah we met with Sam Bahour founder of Palestinian telecom and enthusiastic builder of economic development.  He spoke of the challenges that Palestinians face each day and shared his journey of becoming more active in Palestian justice issues.  He is a Palestinian American.
We saw Arafat’s tomb and were reminded that the hope is that one day he will be buried in Israel.  There appears to be a lot of development going on in Ramallah.  This is a city that is under the control of Palestinians,
We had a lovely lunch and discussion with Jean from the Quaker Friends School in Ramallah.  They are doing important work.
Afterward we traveled to the Church of All Nations before having the rest of the day to ourselves.