Whose land is it anyway? Whose world is it anyway?
Whose land is it? Driving back and forwards through the tiny state of Israel / Palestine, we move from sea, to hillside, to desert, to mountain, to settlement, to new-build, to barbed wire fence, to check points, to massive concrete walls, to holy site, to tourist trap.
In a bewildering three days of intense itinerary we spend time with the man responsible for the only way in and out of the Gaza strip, a negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, an Arab entrepreneur building an eco-city for 40,000 people on a hillside funded by Qatari money within the West bank. We take the tour of Yasser Arafat’s tomb and see how his legacy has made/defined a people.
An extraordinary young man from the Christian Aramaic Association tells us his story. He spoke the language Jesus spoke, and has been reviving his community within Israel where they are now 2% of the population, an integrated into Israeli life. He remembers back to the Byzantine era, before an ‘Islamic State’ type Arab invasion, when Aramaic Christianity was the main religion in the region. But even more so to the experiences his people have had in neighbouring Lebanon where the
Christian population has gone from 80% to a 35% minority in 21C due to demographic changes, a trend he wants to warn modern day Israeli’s to be aware of…
Meanwhile in the West Bank the Palestinian Authority negotiating team representative we met is well aware of the demographics… ‘we breed more than they do.’ There are parallels with the Catholic population in Ireland and Ulster out breeding the Protestants. In Israel/Palestine it is a demographic time bomb. In one area at least, they have run out of space.
The British Ambassador explains Anglo-Israeli relations in terms of commerce, tourism and the peace process, the latter being the least successful of the three, as the two state solution advocated by the UK fades into a dream, and a problematic dream at that.
And then, at an extraordinary Kibbutz specialising in innovative organic farming which has successfully shared its eco-technology with Jordon and Palestinian Authority farmers, the quote: ‘Unfortunately farmers don’t rule the world, if they did there would be peace by now’…