“Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravities of terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future.” The Time Machine
Sorry for the delay in posting, I have succumbed to a stomach illness. Yes, I had thought to myself, “Oh, I’ve been here for six weeks now, I am invincible.” And as soon as my ego soared… I fell ill. There’s something going around our school program, so I don’t think it’s any of the delicious food I’ve been eating (thank God!), but it’s sidetracked me for a couple days. So having been stuck in bed for a solid 24 hours straight and the fact that because of winter time, sunset is a little before 6pm, I’m a little philosophical these past few days.
Ramallah after Ramadan is a completely new city. I walk to the service in the morning, the same time I have walked since I started classes a month ago, and there are SO many more people out. There are coffee stands and food stands all along the street, and people walking with cups of coffee and cigarettes. [If I thought people smoked a lot before… it is nothing compared to the amount of smoking that goes on now that people can smoke in the middle of the day!]
There have also been so many more Palestinian security forces out. Now, I know there are a multitude of security forces, but you usually only see the civil police and the gendarme forces out on a regular basis. But, with the negotiations in Jerusalem yesterday and Secretary Clinton and President Abbas meeting in Ramallah today, they even had “Customs Police” out in full force! Now, I didn’t even know there was such a force here, so of course after seeing their truck and the Customs policemen standing outside the truck just in front of the university entrance today, I had to come home and look them up. And indeed: there are also small forces belonging to Coastal Police, Civil Defense, Air Force, Customs and Excise Police Force and the University Security Service.
I find it very interesting that much of the peace talks surrounds Israeli security, and a part of that is how the Palestinian security services have contributed greatly to enhancing Israeli security in the past couple of years. So you can’t help but think that to in an attempt to show Secretary Clinton and whatever other millions of reporters are brave enough to travel to the heart of the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority ordered whatever security force manpower available to be present on the streets – even in front of Birzeit University. Including the Customs Police.
Because, really, Israeli security depends on the Palestinian Authority Customs and Excise police.
[Please note the sarcasm, as Israel actually controls all borders of the Palestinian Territories, and this is one of the many sticking points in the negotiations. Netanyahu has said that, even with a Palestinian state created, Israel wants to maintain its authority over the Palestinian border with Jordan and of course the border with Israel itself, essentially de-legitimizing any authority a “Palestinian customs and excise” police force might have.]