Sami in Palestine: Tulkram

Dec 12: I took a trip to Tulkarm, in the northwestern corner of the West Bank to see the effects of the occupation on the villages in that area. Tulkarm is located close to the Green Line, the 1967 boundary between the Palestinian territories and the state of Israel, and has been incredibly adversely affected by the building of the wall. The path of the wall, as I have mentioned many times, does not follow the Green Line, but zig-zags over the land, sometimes veering kilometers away from the Green Line, cutting off villages, and annexing people's land.

Dec 14.: We took a tour of led by a few Tulkarm activists and the School Health Officer, an articulate and well dressed young woman, of the poorest schools in the area. We brought lice shampoo from a Tulkarm organization for distribution in the schools. The first school we visited had 320 students from 1st to 3rd grades in 9 classrooms. The school was so overcrowded that some classrooms had as many as 46 students in them. The students sat two to a desk, with desks lined up in rows and along the walls. The school had no central heating, and therefore is very cold and damp in the winter, forcing the children to wear their coats inside the classroom. Many children come from very poor families, since many of their fathers are out of work, or have been killed or injured in the intifada. Taking these conditions into account, I am always impressed by how highly Palestine as a society values education, and how many students go on to receive a higher education.

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