After an early breakfast, we had sessions about what to expect and also getting to know one another. Found out 2 people did not make it through security. One was sent back and the other is in detention. After lunch, we went to Bethlehem by bus. The person doing the afternoon session could not get a permit to come to Jerusalem and she lives in Bethlehem. Her six-month permit is expired and she hopes to get another but that may take awhile. Palestinians need permits for everything it seems. They cannot travel from one place to another without it – even just to a neighbouring village within the West Bank.
We learned about cultural sensitivity and things like what to wear and not wear. Skirts are out since then we could be mistaken for settlers, and also head coverings that look like Muslim scarves or Israeli head coverings. We also talked about security and what to do in different scenarios. I am on the team going to the South Hebron Hills and will be stationed in a town called Yatta. There are four of us – 2 men and 2 women. One of the men is a Lutheran minister from the northern most part of Norway. We also did a role plays with our team members. This is the scenario our team had to work with:
You are providing protective presence to herders letting their sheep graze close to a settlement. After a while a group of settlers come and ask the farmers to leave. The farmers claim that it is their land and that they are allowed to be there. The settlers then get upset and start throwing rocks and chasing the herders. Two of the settlers are armed and one of them is holding his gun in his hand.
We headed back to Jerusalem and walked from the bus stop about 15 minutes to the hotel. Learned what we need to prepare for the following day. So more on that tomorrow.