Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Just "Normal Days at the Office"

The last few days have been interesting, not necessarily because of what we’ve done, more with the people we have come in contact with.

With friends visiting from the UK, we took the opportunity to take them to Acre and visit the old city. I am sure many of you will know that over 40% of the city are Arab citizens and within the old city, the percentage is probably nearer to 80%.

So as we wandered around the narrow alleyways, passing families sitting in their courtyards, all we basically heard spoken was Arabic. Exiting into a piazza, one house of note was the home of Ramonda Tawill, the mother in law of Yassir Arafat. It was Tawill who, with financing of the Ford Foundation and certain European countries, founded the Palestinian Press Service in 1984 and used the service to propogate the revision of history.

The weather was rather warm on that day, so we stopped for some liquid refreshment at a café owned by one of the Arab residents next to the entrance to the large mosque which dominates the skyline of the city.

A day later on a typical train journey to Tel Aviv, I found myself sitting with a family of Arab citizens, who were traveling to enjoy a day out in that city. Their conversation varied between Arabic and Hebrew. I didn’t get the opportunity to engage them in conversation but everything just seemed so natural.

And finally, I received a request from a contact in the States to check out a family in the Christian Arab quarter of Haifa. It seems their son was going out with a girl in the States and the American family wanted to know if the family was known as a good family. Putting on my Sherlock Holmes hat and visiting the local pharmacy, run by a Christian Arab, it transpires that the family is indded known as an honorable family.

Yes this is normal Israel, a picture so often misrepresented by the media.

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