in photos

22 September 2020

The early hours of the morning are absolutely the best time of day in this part of the world, in summer; also the best time of day for sitting out under our pergola, with a citronella candle and a couple of joss sticks at least, to keep mosquitoes at bay. At least they don't carry dengue around here.

Money and the conflict

The Guardian has a story that first broke on BBC News Arabic, regarding the investments by Russian oligarch and new Israeli citizen Roman Abramovich in Elad, a right-wing group dedicated to using archeology in the service of supporting Israeli claims over the densely populated Silwan valley area of East Jerusalem. They try to show that King David lived there and use this as an excuse to take over Palestinian property. Today there are 450 heavily guarded Israeli settlers among 10,000 Palestinians, and they are not exactly good neighbors.

It's amazing how much of the conflict here is funded by foreign trouble-makers with dirty money. One of our village members is fond of saying that if we only had one tenth of the cost of an F15 fighter for our educational peace work, we would be able to do amazing things. But it's also true that we could do marvelous work if we had a tenth of the millions that flow into settlement projects from questionable sources. Oligarchs and plutocrats don't give to peace projects, of course, and even the small amounts of money that do flow into liberal causes from overseas are heavily investigated by the tax authorities. NGOs are required to publicly state whatever money has come to them from foreign sources, such as from EU grants, whereas settler groups like Elad somehow manage to keep their sources well hidden. Meanwhile, it is likely that the settlers themselves - those who are sincerely motivated by crazy religion or ideology - are simply being used as pawns in larger money making schemes. Like all colonialist projects, the whole enterprise is based on graft and greed.

"The extradition of Julian Assange would undermine freedom of speech" - Great article by Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva, no less.

Afternoon walk