Posted to my facebook page on
Oct 12, 2012

If I hadn't been denied entry, detained, and deported by Israeli border goons, today is the day I would have returned home. I'm so sad that I didn't get to paint murals in Jenin and Hebron, ride my bicycle with my friend Elizabeth through the Jordan valley and most importantly, see my friends in the West Bank.

But here are some pictures of my comrades who did get through and were able to do these things.

Sent to friends on Sept 5, 2012

Dear Friends,
It is with great sorrow that I write to tell you that upon my arrival at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv I was denied entry, detained and deported. So I will not be painting murals with communities in Hebron, Nablus and Jenin. I will not be biking from Jenin through the Jordan Valley to the south Hebron hills. And most painful of all, I will not be reunited with my dear friends in Deir Ibzi'a or see my friend Neta’s new baby in Tel Aviv.

I am just one of thousands of non-violent activists that have been denied entry. Israel perceives us as dangerous. In fact, we are. The most serious threat to Israel's security is having the truth of its cruel, brutal occupation and apartheid system exposed to the world.

Although my disappointment and sadness is vast, I know that it pales in comparison to what Palestinians endure. An example of graffiti on the walls of my cell in the detention center:

I came to the holy land to spend the holy month of Ramadan with my family. Instead I was separated from my three younger sisters and deported. My crime? I am Palestinian!
– Haneen June 2012

The real work for a free Palestine lies in changing U.S. policy. I will not cease my efforts in this pursuit. And the Friends of Deir Ibzi’a will continue to support the steadfast resistance in Palestine by supporting people to merely live their lives: We will continue to sponsor scholarships for students and buy embroidery from the womyn in Deir Ibzi’a.

Sent to friends August 2012

Dear Friends,
I’m excited to let you know that after 3 years, I’ll be returning to Palestine!
(September 1st – October 8th , 2012)

This trip will be somewhat different than my previous trips.  I am thrilled to be part of the Palestine Arts delegation organized by the Fellowship of Reconciliation. We will use the arts as a means of solidarity work and community building with the Palestinian people. The pictures you see here are murals that the 2011 delegation created with communities in the Balata Refugee Camp. For more information about FOR and this delegation follow this link:

After this delegation I will be participating in a purely pleasure bicycle tour through Palestine with my good friend Elizabeth. There may still be space if you want to join us! Check it out:

And of course I'll be meeting with our partners in Deir Ibzi'a and the scholarship recipients.

For peace in the Middle East!

August 6, 2009 - Nonviolent activists need your help

Dear friends,
I’ve been back from Palestine almost a month now while I’m enjoying my comfortable life, the village of Bil’in, which has been mounting inspiring, creative and nonviolent protests weekly since January 2005, has become the target of numerous nighttime raids by the Israeli military. These raids terrorize the residents and arrest nonviolent activists, including children. At this point almost 2 dozen men and boys are in jail and their families are extremely concerned for their well being. (Palestinians detainees are routinely tortured.)

Here is a link to the Friends of Freedom and Justice - Bilin website with more information:
Attempts to criminalize the leadership of non-violent protests have been curbed in the past with the help of an outpouring of support from people committed to justice from all over the world. If you feel inclined, please send letters and money to support these amazing, inspiring and admirable people.



The Popular committee of Bil’in is in desperate need for legal funds in order to pay legal fees and Bail. Please donate to the Bil’in legal fund by paypal click
If you would like to make a tax deductible donation in the US or Canada contact:

Write or call:
Senator Dianne Feinstein
U.S. Senate
Washington DC 20510
To email you need to go to the website:

Senator Barbara Boxer
U.S. Senate
Washington DC 20510
To email you need to go to the website:

Congresswoman Barbara Lee
U.S. Congress
Washington DC 20515
To email you need to go to the website:

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
State Department Phone: 1-202-647-5150

Akiva Tor
Consulate General of Israel in San Francisco
456 Montgomery Street Suite #2100
San Francisco, CA 94104
Telephone: (415) 844-7501

Sample letter:
I am extremely troubled about the recent arrests and imprisonments of nonviolent activists from the West Bank village of Bil’in including Mr. Mohammad Khatib, Mr. Adib Abu Rahme and, to my absolute dismay, many children.

For almost 5 years the village of Bil’in has organized, with the participation and support of Israelis and internationals, peaceful and nonviolent demonstrations against the so-called security fence which separates them from 60% of their agricultural lands. These demonstrations are harshly suppressed by Israeli army, resulting in many casualties, sometimes critical ones such as the cases of Tristan Anderson (suffering critical brain injuries) and Basem Abu Rahma (killed).

The only wish of Bil’in inhabitants is to gain back the right to live and work on their lands in peace. In fact, the Israeli Supreme court ruled on 4 September 2007 that the current route of the wall in Bil'in was illegal and needs to be dismantled; the ruling however has not been implemented.
Israeli law protects the right to demonstrate peacefully. Mr. Khatib, and Mr. Rahme in particular are well known for their commitment to the struggle for peace through non-violent means and for their willingness to work in partnership with Israelis.

I ask you to do all in your power to ensure that Mr. Khatib, and Mr. Rahme and all those arrested be allowed to return to their families without further delay and that their names be cleared of all accusations.

July 10, 2009 - Returning home

Dear Friends,
Before leaving Palestine I visited my friend and FODI partner, Deeb one last time. I always feel a bit sheepish when I leave him to go to Jerusalem as I know it is forbidden to him. But he told me that he doesn't care anymore. That he has chosen to create a good life with what he has available to him. And I saw that he had. He has cultivated a beautiful garden where he spends much time and from which he derives immense pleasure. He spends his time visiting friends in the village and with his precious children, Sonja, Feraz and Tariq. And he has become a devout Muslim, going to the mosque to pray 4 or 5 times a day. He told me that he is happy.

During this conversation I brought up the idea that traveling is difficult anyway, having to go through the Qalandia Checkpoint. His serenity vanished and he shouted, "How can they speak of peace when they have such places!" I totally understood what he meant. So I've posted some more pictures of Qalandia and a video. I hope I captured the outrageous, intolerable travesty of it.

I am home now and will not be posting again until I return once again to Palestine. When I do return I can only hope that it will be under better circumstances. Inshallah. Thank you for letting me share my journey with you.


July 3, 2009 - Demo at Azzun Atma

Dear Friends,
At the demonstration today in Azzun Atma today one of the Palestinian organizers gave an impassioned speech that was translated into English by another Palestinian as he was speaking. He asked the soldiers why were they here? Why do they kill Palestinians? Why were they on his land? Preventing him from living a normal life? After all, they are both humans. They both want peace. He promised that they would continue their nonviolent and peaceful protests until there was peace.

The speech was very powerful and I can't help but think the soldier was moved. I know that I was. When he finished, before I even knew what I was doing, I found myself giving a spontaneous and I hope coherent speech. I asked the soldiers to answer the man's questions. He deserved answers. I told that I was a Jewish American and that I was ashamed of Israel. And that I needed the answers to the man’s questions. I told them that if they couldn't answer them now, while they were on duty, because they are under orders not to, that they should answer them at least to themselves, in front of a mirror, before they go to bed tonight.

June 29, 2009 - Boy Arrested in Azzun

Dear Friends,
At 1:30 am last Sunday morning the village of Azzun was invaded by 120 soldiers, looking for a “wanted” Palestinian. After entering and searching 3 homes (terrorizing the families inside) they entered a 4th where they found whom they were looking for. A 16 year old boy. He was taken in his underwear with no shoes. The parents pleaded that he be allowed to get dressed. The soldiers assured the parents that there was no need as they would only take him for a minute or two and then return him. His parents have not seen him since. Nor do they expect to for awhile.

The family expects that the boy will be taken to a jail near Nablus and interrogated. During this phase he will not be allowed to see anyone: no family, no lawyer, not even the Red Cross. They expect him to be frightened, intimidated, threatened, psychologically tortured and probably also physically beaten. He will be asked to sign confessions in Hebrew that he can’t read. The interrogators will attempt to coerce him into becoming a collaborator. After 12 days the Red Cross will be allowed to visit.

We asked the family if they knew why he was arrested. They shrugged and said they didn’t. Maybe for throwing stones, maybe for being involved in political parties. I had to wonder why being involved in a political party is a crime in the “only democracy in the Middle East?”

The family has been through this before. When their oldest son was 12, he was also taken by soldiers. At that time, the soldiers also promised that they would only take him for a minute or two. He was released 3 years later. Now he is 27 with a family. Upon meeting him one would never guess that his adolescent years were formed in an Israeli jail. Despite Israel being a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the conditions in which Palestinian minors are incarcerated are far below these standards. Plus a 16 year old Palestinian is considered to be an adult by Israeli law and a 14 year old can be tried as an adult before a military court. (An Israeli is not considered an adult until the age of 18.)

Of course, one would never have guessed that all eight of the men in the room where my IWPS teammate and I were taking the report had been incarcerated. They are just ordinary men with families and if they are lucky, jobs. Palestinian boys and men are very family oriented in a manner far unlike Westerners. It is not uncommon to see boys and men joyfully playing with and caring for their younger siblings and children. Often men will bring their children to the various meetings I attend here. During the meetings the children will alternate between playing and sitting on their father’s laps, cuddling and resting contentedly. The father will absentmindedly kiss the child, stroke their arms, hug them. They obviously enjoy the physical contact as much as the children do.

Both parents of the arrested boy were playing and cuddling with their grandchildren during the meeting. They have six children, four of which are boys. The oldest boy is the one who spent his adolescent years in an Israeli prison. The third oldest boy was killed by soldiers six years ago when he was a senior in high school. The youngest boy was the one taken on Sunday morning. Despite this tragic circumstance, they were the typical gracious and generous hosts, offering endless rounds of tea, coffee and juice and then even serving us a scrumptious meal when the meeting was over.

We went to the meeting with a friend of IWPS, Abdullah. Before we left his house for the meeting we met his family and had tea in his living room. During this time his 8 year old daughter was playing with him and cuddling. She was obviously handicapped although I don’t think it shows in the pictures here. She can’t talk except to make low growling sounds. She didn’t walk until she was 4 years old. Her muscles are very weak. I’m not sure if she is mentally handicapped too. Abdullah explained to us why his daughter is handicapped. During his wife’s pregnancy in 2001, she had been exposed to tear gas twice. Once in the 4th month and again in the 7th. In the incident of the 7th month, she was running away from soldiers and fell on her stomach.

Did I ever mention that one of the major reasons the village of Jayous decided to stop their regular demonstrations was the health concerns regarding the amount of tear gas exposure to the entire village?