Archive | November 2013

Bedouin music in Wadi Rum, Jordan (October 2013)

Here are little musical clips from my trip to Jordan in October.

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A Middle East Without Weapons of Mass Destruction: A Palestine-Israel Journal conference in Jerusalem

New article on the PIJ website on the PIJ conference about A Middle East Without Weapons of Mass Destruction: http://www.pij.org/details.php?blog=1&id=244

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FOUR SPOTS IN ISRAEL

Back in September, I took a long day trip up the north cost of Israel and visited fours different spots :

– The ancient roman ruins of Caesarea

– The view of the Bahá’í Gardens in Haifa

– The city of Akko (Acre)

– Rosh Hanikra, at the border with Lebanon

Here are a few pictures and explanations.

1) The ancient roman ruins of Caesarea

Caesarea Maritima  is a national park on the Israeli coastline, north of Tel Aviv. The ancient Caesarea Maritima city and harbor was built by Herod the Great about 25–13 BCE. The city has been populated through the late Roman and Byzantine era. Its ruins lie on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, about halfway between the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa, on the site of Pyrgos Stratonos.

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Caesarea Maritima was named in honor of Augustus Caesar. The city was described in detail by the 1st-century Roman Jewish historian Josephus. The city became the seat of the Roman prefect soon after its foundation. Caesarea was the “administrative capital” beginning in 6 CE. This city is the location of the 1961 discovery of the Pilate Stone, the only archaeological item that mentions the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate, by whose order Jesus was crucified.

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The emperor Vespasian raised its status to that of a colonia. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, Caesarea was the provincial capital of the Judaea Province, before the change of name to Syria Palaestina in 134 CE, shortly before the Bar Kokhba revolt. In Byzantine times, Caesarea remained the capital, with brief interruption of Persian and Jewish conquest between 614 and 625. In the 630s, Arab Muslim armies had taken control of the region, keeping Caesarea as its administrative center. In the early 8th century, the Umayyad caliph Suleiman transferred the seat of government of the Jund Filastin from Caesarea to Ramla.

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2) The view of the Bahá’í Gardens in Haifa

The Bahá’í Gardens in Haifa comprise a staircase of nineteen terraces extending all the way up the northern slope of Mount Carmel. The geometry of the complex is built around the axis connecting it with the City of ‘Akko, which also has great historical and sacred significance for Bahá’ís. At its heart stands the golden-domed Shrine of the Báb, which is the resting place of the Prophet-Herald of the Bahá’í Faith.

While different parts of the gardens offer a variety of experiences, they speak in a common language of graveled paths, hedges and flower beds groomed and nurtured by dedicated gardeners.  The gardens frame panoramic views of the city, the Galilee Hills and the Mediterranean Sea.

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3) The city of Akko (Acre)

Acre is a city in the northern coastal plain region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. The city occupies an important location, as it sits on the coast of the Mediterranean, linking the waterways and commercial activity with the Levant. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the world.

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4) Rosh Hanikra grottoes, at the border with Lebanon

Rosh HaNikra is ageologic formation in Israel, located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, in theWestern Galilee. It is a white chalk cliff face which opens up into spectacular grottos.

The Rosh HaNikra grottos are cavernous tunnels formed by sea action on the soft chalk rock. The total length is some 200 metres. They branch off in various directions with some interconnecting segments. In the past, the only access to them was from the sea and experienced divers were the only ones capable of visiting. Today a cable car takes visitors down to see the grottos.

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My favorite spot in Jerusalem

One of my favorite places in Jerusalem is one where I can just go and sit quietly with a book, listen to music, or just dream a bit while I watch people walk by, or lie down in the grass and close my eyes in the sun or in the shade, depending on my mood… It’s a little green spot just outside Jaffa gate and at the foot of the city walls, where you get a great view of the King David Hotel. 

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“Sustaining the Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations effort: Why the talks must not fail”

New article published on the Palestine-Israel Journal website about Israeli and European views on the peace process.

http://www.pij.org/details.php?blog=1&id=237

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FOUR MONTHS ! And it still goes on…

FOUR MONTHS ! And it still goes on…

Well I’ve lived in Jerusalem for four months now. You’ll notice I wrote “I’ve lived”, and not “I’ve been”: this just suggest that I’ve actually been living here, that all of it now feels like home.

The regular walk to work. The familiar smell in the souk. The annoying and dumb groups of tourists going down the Via Dolorosa. The call to prayer at 5am. Impatient car drivers. Not eating any pigs. Going to the bank and being greated by a a very unfriendly “what do you want?” Waiting at the checkpoint and showing my passport every time. Kids laughing as they tell me “Hello, welcome!” Eating falafel every other day. Eating pita bread with everything. Drinking coffee the way people drink it here. And so many other things, if I wanted to list them all, I would need a camera following me around 24 hours a day.

The point is, I havn’t been writing much because I’ve been busy trying to live here. However, I never miss an opportunity to take a few pictures or the film unexpected events, just like this one: coming back from Ramallah last Thursday, I randomly got tangled in a concert a Jaffa gate, so I just stayed, watched, and enjoyed.

BONUS !!! Here’s a couple of other videos of the show.