Ramallah

On Wednesday we head to Ramallah for two days of training. Barack Obama is also stopping by on the Thursday, and the whole city goes into lockdown. It’s impossible to access the centre of town, and no-one is allowed up on the roof between the hours of 9 and 4.

Most of the Palestinians we speak to are not huge Obama fans and there are signs all over the city protesting against US policy, although many of these have been blacked out.

The training is held in cooperation with the International Solidarity Movement. There are usually 2 trainers, but this time there is only one – the other trainer as been called away as three of the recently arrived ISM volunteers have been arrested. Later we learn that they have been deported.

We have classes on culture,  politics and security. Our legal training is led by Abdul Aziz, a slim, smartly dressed man of around 50 who has a twinkle in his eye. A journalist by profession, his chief qualification for leading the class is the fact that, like huge numbers of Palestinian men, he has spent many years in prison. He gives us advice on what to do if we are arrested and holds mock interrogations with us.

He wants us, as internationals, to report what we witness in Palestine.  ‘If I say it, they will not believe it,’ he says. ‘If you say it, they will.’

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