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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom
Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
In one highly-packed week from January 12-19, a Brit Tzedek/Meretz-USA delegation will meet with members of Knesset, top Palestinian leaders, and a variety of peace activists among other activities. Steve Masters, president of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom and staffer Anna Freedman will write regular journal entries. We will also provide links to the trip blog of Rabbi Brant Rosen, a member of Brit Tzedek's Rabbinic Cabinet from Evanston, IL.
On the Ground
My first glimpse of Israel outside of the airport was through the window of a taxi, driven by a delightful (and generous) man called Tedi. As we sped down the blessedly empty (due to the fact it was already Shabbat by the time I finally left the airport) Route 1 toward Jerusalem, I asked him for his honest opinion on the recent visit to the country paid by President Bush and his entourage. Tedi expressed passionate frustration with the event, telling me that Bush’s visit had shut down the airport twice, for several hours each time, and made the roads into and around Jerusalem’s downtown completely impassible for professional and private drivers alike. Once in the city, he drove me by the King David Hotel where Bush had stayed during his visit, and pointed out the ring of white security tents circling the entire perimeter of the hotel’s grounds.
The purpose of Bush’s visit was to jumpstart Israeli and Palestinian adherence to their promise to start negotiations that was brokered at Annapolis after some initial procrastination on the part of Israel. According to Tedi, many Israelis were skeptical about Bush’s visit, wondering if it would have any real effect on the process other than being a grandiose photo opportunity and display of U.S. good intentions.