Eliza Bates

Eliza Bates (Democracy and Workers' Rights Center - DWRC): Eliza graduated with honors and a BA in globalization and social movements from UC Berkeley. Eliza is committed to the right to free association and she worked on student-labor solidarity and anti-sweatshop campaigns while at university. Following graduation, Eliza worked in the labor movement in the United States for over five years as a researcher, organizer and lead union contract negotiator. Her interest in social justice and globalization inspired her to conduct an independent field research project in Mexico on the impacts of NAFTA on rural workers. She participated in several labor delegations to Latin America. At the time of her fellowship, Eliza was studying for a Master’s degree in international affairs with a concentration in human rights concentration at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

Another voice from ramallah

02 Aug

The following is an excerpt from a letter my friend wrote about her experience in the West Bank. I’m reposting it here so that you can hear the perspective of another American living in Ramallah.

The amazing thing about post-Oslo Palestine is how conditions vary so
widely from city to city. Things have been normal, which in Ramallah
(wholly under Palestinian control) means quiet, but not other places.
In my old neighborhood, the Israeli army entered only a few times a
month. But in Jenin and Nablus, there are constant incursions and it
really isn’t so safe. The craziest case is probably Hebron
(Al-Khalil), where the central old city is under Israeli occupation
and the rest is Palestinian. I visited there last month with my friend
Danielle and her family, which was unintentionally hilarious. The city
is really packed and bustling until you get into the old city, where
the market is canopied by garbage that the super-thoughtful settlers
throw from their buildings onto the Palestinians below. We went
visiting religious sites, which is when the fun started.

By Israeli law, Jews aren’t allowed to enter the mosque, so Rachel’s
super cute grandparents struck up a conversation in Hebrew with a
soldier outside. He told them to visit the settler area, which they
did, but afterwards he wouldn’t let them out. Super cute grandparents
had mentioned that they were “from” Rehovot, and as Israeli citizens
(which they aren’t) they wouldn’t be allowed to enter the West Bank,
even the few feet where the rest of us were. I ran up to the soldiers
and started exclaiming that as American passport holders we were
entitled to go wherever we wanted. Rachel’s grandma interjected
“This is Terry, from Ramallah” as if that would endear the teenager
with the automatic weapon to me.

After a few more minutes of shouting we (grandparents intact) crossed
the 5 feet back into the West Bank side, at which point another
soldier tried to redirect the Jewish part of our group to the settler
road. Then Rachel’s mom started yelling “That’s my daughter, I’m not
leaving without her” and her stepfather joined in “That’s my daughter,
I’m staying.” The soldier asked them “you’re Jewish too?” to which
they answered “noooo.” Soldier #2 paused to look at our increasingly
angry group of Palestinian Muslim tour guide, Jewish grandparents,
Unitarian and atheist parents, Christian negro, and Jewish college kid
– and decided it was soooo not worth it and let us all go. Fun with
borders, always!

Posted By Eliza Bates

Posted Aug 2nd, 2007

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