Stories from Palestine

Kristel

Listen to lively stories and inspiring interviews about the history and cultural heritage of Palestine and the ongoing Palestinian struggle for justice and equality. Every Monday a new episode. Subscribe to the mailing list for a weekly update so you never miss an episode. All social media links (facebook, instagram and youtube) and to subscribe to the mail chimp are in one place, easy, on the website www.storiesfrompalestine.info The music for this podcast was made by Zaid Hilal, Palestinian musician, you can find him on Soundcloud, Spotify, Facebook and Instagram. read less

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An introduction to Stories from Palestine
Aug 30 2020
An introduction to Stories from Palestine
This is Stories from Palestine podcast, a podcast recorded IN Palestine and ABOUT Palestine. My name is Kristel and I am your host. I have been coming to Palestine since 2006 and in 2013 I moved from the Netherlands to get married and start a family with my Palestinian husband. We live in Beit Safafa between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. We run Singer Cafe and al Jisser bar in Beit Sahour and I teach zumba classes in Bethlehem. We live on one side of the Israeli segregation wall and we work and have our social life on the other side. We cross checkpoints every day. We are able to travel around most of historical Palestine except for Gaza, because we have the Jerusalem ID. This means we do not have Israeli citizenship nor the Palestinian passport. We are residents only and we could loose that residency if we did not live in Jerusalem anymore.In the Netherlands I studied history and tour guiding and I used to work as a teacher and as a tour guide. Since several years I teach a course called 'ethics of tour guiding' at the Bethlehem Bible College, about all the important practical aspects of the tour guiding profession. And last summer I graduated myself from the tour guiding program.Due to the Covid pandemic tourism in Palestine came to a complete halt and that's why I started Stories from Palestine podcast in August 2020. Every week you can listen to a new story related to the history, cultural heritage, flora and fauna, art, music, traditions and the current day reality in Palestine. Some episodes are recorded by myself but most of them are interviews and often recorded on location or during an excursion. So listening to these episodes is like a virtual audio tour that takes you all the way to Palestine from wherever you are. Connect to Stories from Palestine on social media, follow the YouTube channel and sign up for the weekly e-mail. You can find all the links in the linktree: you enjoy listening to the podcast, please support me to continue. Buy me a coffee (or a falafel sandwich) for only 3 dollar on the Kofi-platform. It is highly appreciated!!
Armenians in diaspora in Jerusalem / Palestine
Oct 30 2022
Armenians in diaspora in Jerusalem / Palestine
Apo Sahagian is a singer and works in different artistic related projects in Jerusalem. He is also the host of the podcast 'Apo and the city'. He grew up in the old city of Jerusalem in the Armenian quarter. His family came to Jerusalem in the 1920s when many Armenians fled from the genocide committed by the Ottoman empire. In this episode Apo gives us more insight into the Armenian community in Palestine. The Armenians came in three waves. As the first Christian nation in the world, King Tiridates III adopted Christianity as state religion in 301 AD, they have a long history of connection to Jerusalem. The first Crusaders married Armenian princesses and there are several Crusader Queens of Jerusalem that were of Armenian descent, such as the famous queen Melisande. So the first wave dates back from that time, the 12th century AD. These Armenians have integrated into the Palestinians society and even though they cherish their heritage they are much more assimilated than the second wave.The second wave is the result of displacement during the Ottoman time and these Armenians are still much more connected to the homeland and as diaspora Armenians they are trying to preserve their culture and heritage and they have stronger connections to Armenia.The third wave consists of Armenians who came to Israel in the time that many Russians were accepted as Jews to the live in Israel. Some of these Armenians are not even really Jewish but they took the opportunity to try have a better economic life. They have been given Israeli citizenship and they are trying to stay out of politics and just live their life.Apo talks about the Armenian quarter with its convent and the Armenian churches and about what Armenians brought to Palestine in general and Jerusalem in particular.If you want to listen to Apo's podcast 'Apo and the City' find him here:  you want to listen to his music you can search for Apo & the ApostlesConnect to Stories from Palestine on social media (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter) visit the website, find out about the Visit Palestine program and sign up for the bi-weekly e-mail, all with this one link:
Visit Palestine this October with Saleem & Kristel
Jul 20 2022
Visit Palestine this October with Saleem & Kristel
In this episode you can hear all about the Visit Palestine October program that Saleem and myself are organizing! This 10-days program includes a full day of olive picking and two nights with local families in the village of Abud. We will visit many of the people and places that you have heard about in the last two years of podcast episodes!We will start the program on Monday 3 October with an introduction to get all participants on the same page when it comes to history and terminology that we will need to understand throughout the visit. The first nights we will stay in Beit Sahour in a family hotel and we will discover Bethlehem area, Battir and Jerusalem. Then we will go towards Jericho and on our way we will visit several of the desert monasteries and of course Hisham's palace! Of course we won't miss out on the experience of floating in the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth.The next two days we will be in Abud, a small village north west of Ramallah. The people of Abud will welcome us in their homes and we will get a chance to connect with the local families. On Sunday there is a full day of olive picking including a nice brunch on the field. In Taybeh we have the opportunity to visit the famous Taybeh beer brewery as well as a local distillery. In Nablus there is so much to explore, the Turkish bath, the olive soap factory, the spices shop, the Ottoman clock tower, the Green Mosque and of course we will eat Knefeh Nabulsiya. On our way back to Bethlehem we pass by Mount Gerizim and we will visit the Samaritan community and learn more about their relation to the land and their claim that the true Temple was not in Jerusalem but on Mount Gerizim. There is a free day in Bethlehem that you can use to rest and relax, to go shopping, to discover more in Bethlehem or in Jerusalem and we can strongly advice to take the Sacred Cuisine food tour in the old city of Jerusalem. The last day we head to the West towards the Mediterranean Sea and we will visit the city of Jaffa. For more information about this program visit the website and request the PDF file
'Khazaeen' Palestinian archive
Jun 12 2022
'Khazaeen' Palestinian archive
In the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where Israeli settlers are in the process of taking over many Palestinian houses, there is an archive where Palestinians can store their photos, diaries, posters and other tangible documents. It is the first Palestinian run archive that is trying to collect memories, history AND documents that are produced TODAY, to store them for future generations.The initiative is called 'Khazaeen', the Arabic word for 'cabinets'. Each Palestinian that brings documents to Khazaeen, gets its own box, its own cabinet, to store the documents.  Through interviews, stories are collected and published on the blog of Khazaeen's website and on social media. The items are digitized and the owner can decide to take them home or to leave them in the cabinet. In the process of collecting and bringing documents to Khazaeen, many Palestinians have learned about the life and circumstances of their own ancestors. Often this has helped them to understand their own family history and the generational trauma that has been passed on, especially through the experiences of the Nakba in 1948 and the Naksa in 1967."It is very important to write our own history and to collect our own archive, rather than having our history stored in the colonial archives of the State of Israel", says Eman Alyan. "It is also important to collect brochures, pamphlets, posters, photos and art work of today, so we can save it for the future. "If you want to visit the website of Khazaeen you can use this link:
Community Action Center to empower the Palestinian community in East Jerusalem
Jun 5 2022
Community Action Center to empower the Palestinian community in East Jerusalem
In 1999 Al-Quds University created the “Community Action Center” (“CAC”), a semi autonomous association, which aims to empower the Palestinian community in East Jerusalem.The CAC aims to empower the disadvantaged Palestinians of East Jerusalem to access their rights and entitlements and negotiate the complex bureaucratic procedures that control the flow of these rights. Most Palestinian inhabitants of East Jerusalem are residents and not citizens of Israel. They have to prove that the center of their life is actually in Jerusalem, otherwise they will lose their residency. As Palestinians can’t leave East Jerusalem as they will lose their residency, they need to build new homes for their children in East Jerusalem. But they barely get the permits needed to build new houses, even on their own land property. When they decide to build without a permit, there is a chance to receive a demolition order. They have to demolish their own house. If they don't do it, the authorities will come, do it for them and present them with a huge bill of around a hundred thousand dollars. The Israeli policies in Jerusalem are made to increase the number of Jewish inhabitants and reduce the number of Palestinians. Many Palestinians do not know what their rights are, how to deal with the authorities and where to find support. The CAC gives legal assistance, advice and works on advocacy to get the international community involved. In this episode you can hear General Director Mounir Nuseibeh and Advocacy Officer Munir Marjieh.To learn more about the CAC you can visit their website Listen to 'Pre-occupation pod' a not so short history of Palestine, available on most podcast players or use this link: Listen to the podcast
Palestinian Arak Distillery Muaddi
May 22 2022
Palestinian Arak Distillery Muaddi
With a group of fifteen Palestinians and foreigners we visited the Arak distillery of Nader Muaddi in Beit Jalla. This podcast episode was recorded during his presentation.Nader Muaddi is very passionate about the craft of distilling Arak and the Palestinian heritage of this product. Arak is the oldest spirit in the world. Every single spirit comes from the roots of Arak. It started in the 8th / 9th century when the Arabs had their renaissance period. The first person documented in the world to distill alcohol was the Arab scientist Jaber Bin Hayan, after whom 'algebra' was named, who lived in Baghdad.  He said that it is of little practical use but of scientific significance nonetheless.  He originally created the still to refine the process of making 'al-kuhl', the medieval eyeliner that was used to make lines under the eyes to absorb the sunlight. It didn't work for that purpose so he tried using it for other purposes and he discovered how to distill it to make alcohol, that could also be used for medicinal purposes. And people didn't know how to name it so they used the name 'al-kuhl', the name of the eyeliner. When it arrived to the European ports the name changed in pronunciation to alcohol.In this podcast episode Nader explains the history of distilling Arak in a very engaging and informative way and he really brings pride to this old craft. If you want to follow him on Social media go to his Instagram @muaddi_craft_distilleryOr on facebook: www.facebook.com/ArakMuaddi If you want to connect to Stories from Palestine podcast on social media, if you want to follow us on YouTube, get the weekly e-mail update or support us with a donation you can use this linktree:
7amleh and digital rights in Palestine
May 14 2022
7amleh and digital rights in Palestine
In this episode you can hear Nadim Nashif and Mona Shtaya who both work for 7amleh, The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media and Digital Rights in the Palestinian context.  We talk about several aspects of their work. For example how social media is censoring Palestinians and others with a pro-Palestinian message. Many Palestinians have their social media profiles shut down without a valid reason and it is often hard to counter that.  Another issue that 7amleh works on is digital security and the use of Israeli spyware on Palestinians and beyond. Recently there was a scandal when it was discovered that Pegasus malware, produced by the Israeli NSO group, was found on devices of human rights defenders, journalists and state representatives.   Other topics we discuss are PayPal, that doesn't have integration for Palestinians to use with their local bank accounts, and Google Maps that does not show Palestinian cities and towns in the Westbank on their maps, while it does show clear details of illegal Israeli settlements.   Furthermore, we discussed a recent campaign to counter Hate Speech online. The campaign targets Palestinians to raise awareness about abusive language on social media and how to recognize it.This is their website: the English language button on top left)If you want to connect to Stories from Palestine podcast on social media or sign up for the newsletter, if you want to follow the YouTube channel or do a very appreciated donation to keep the podcast going, then use this linktree:
Ancient Banias or Caesarea Philippi
May 8 2022
Ancient Banias or Caesarea Philippi
This site is technically not in Palestine but in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. It is only a few kilometers west of Tel el Qadi (Tel Dan) and it is really a beautiful ancient site with an interesting history. It was the most northern part of the region that Jesus ever visited and according to the Bible it was here that he first confirmed to his disciples that he was the Messiah. Banias is called after the Greek god of fertility, nature and wildlife: Pan. It was believed that his birth cave was here in the big cliff and the same cave was considered to be the entrance to Hades, the underworld, where the fertility gods would spent time during winter. People used to come and sacrifice goats to Pan by throwing them in the spring. If the goat did not sink down then the sacrifice was not accepted and they would toss in new born babies. During excavations a lot of statues of deities were found and remains of Temples that were built in Greek and Roman time. The son of Herod the Great, Philip, made it the capital of his territory and named it Caesarea Philippi, after the emperor Caesar Augustus and after himself. It was a thriving Roman city. Jesus never entered the city but he came up to the cave of Hades to proclaim that he would be victorious over death.After his visit to Banias he went down south towards Jerusalem and on one of the mountains, thought to be Mount Tabor, the transfiguration happened and he radiated in glory and he was seen by his apostles with Moses and Elijah.Connect to Stories from Palestine podcast on social media, follow on YouTube and support on Ko-fi, all links through this linktree:
Mama's Palestinian kitchen facebook group, Palestinian diaspora and right of return
May 1 2022
Mama's Palestinian kitchen facebook group, Palestinian diaspora and right of return
In this episode you can hear Palestinian American activist Abbas Hamideh, the founder of Al Awda for the right of return of Palestinians and the founder of the immensely popular Facebook group Mama's Palestinian Kitchen! Abbas was  born in Puerto Rico and grew up in the United States. When he was 12 years old his father took him to his homeland, Palestine. They went to Deir Yassin, in West Jerusalem, where his father is originally from. At the same age as Abbas was during that first visit, 12 years old, his father witnessed the Deir Yassin massacre. He survived it and he ended up in a refugee camp in Jericho. In 1967 they were expelled again and they left to Puerto Rico. This visit changed everything for Abbas. He understood the sadness, the bitterness and the anger of Palestinians in diaspora. He decided to become an activist, to struggle for the right of return of the Palestinian refugees that got scattered around the world. He established Al Awda and they organized many awareness raising events and protests. During the Covid pandemic they could not do anymore protests and gatherings. Some of the platforms on social media that Palestinians were on, were not necessarily a safe space where they could publicly share their love for Palestine. There was a particular group where Arabic food was the common ground, but the admins kept blocking Palestinians who were critical and asked to boycott Israeli products. So Abbas decided to start with Mama's Palestinian Kitchen and he could have never imagined how successful that would be. He had to ask friends to help him moderate the group and they had to come up with some strict rules in order to keep the page manageable and alive. If you want to become a member of the group you can find the Facebook page here, click:Mama's Palestinian Kitchen Facebook groupCheck out the website of Al Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition to Stories from Palestine podcast on social media, check out the YouTube channel, sign up for the newsletter and do a very much appreciated donation to keep the podcast going! All the links can be found on:
A critical tour in Silwan at the City of David archaeological site
Apr 24 2022
A critical tour in Silwan at the City of David archaeological site
On Sunday 17 April I took the bus from Beit Safafa to the old city to join a tour in Silwan with Emek Shaveh, an Israeli NGO that, in their own words, works  to defend cultural heritage rights and to protect ancient sites as public assets that belong to members of all communities, faiths and peoples. That day was Easter Sunday for the Catholic Church, Pesach for the Jews and Ramadan for the Muslims. As we walked up to Mount Zion we saw a lot of police blockades, police everywhere and Jewish people walking towards the plaza in front of the Buraq wall. We heard helicopters flying over and we realized it was a tense day to go on a tour in Silwan. During the tour we heard shooting several times.Silwan is a Palestinian village close to the old city. Silwan is the place where the city of Jerusalem started in the Canaanite period, in the Bronze Age time. This is where the first small settlement was established near the Gihon spring. Today there is a big archaeological site and a lot of excavations are happening in Silwan. With archaeologist and founder of Emek Shaveh, Yonathan Mizrachi, we walked around the visitor center and the excavations and other parts of Silwan, to talk about how archaeology is used to make claims of ownership and to create a justification for taking over the Palestinian area of Silwan. There are two settler organizations active in Silwan: Elad and Ateret Cohanim. They use different methods to take over houses from Palestinians and create Jewish presence in the neighborhood.In this episode you can hear from archaeologist Yonathan Mizrachi that there is no evidence that the palace of King David was built in this area. They have not found anything from the 10th century, the time of King David, although the site is called 'City of David' archaeological park. If you want to know more, visit their website : you want to connect to Stories from Palestine podcast on social media, check out the YouTube channel, sign up for the mailinglist or make a donation to support the podcast, then you can use this linktree :
Ramadan reflections about my life in Palestine
Apr 17 2022
Ramadan reflections about my life in Palestine
This is the fourth year that I use the month of Ramadan to deepen my own spirituality and break with some habits that I don't want to continue with and introduce new habits. They say if you do something for three weeks, it becomes a habit. During the four weeks of Ramadan I do not drink alcohol, I refrain from eating sugar and processed food and I focus on eating fresh vegetables, fruits and balanced meals. I drink more water also. And I start and end the day with yoga exercises and meditation. During my walks I listen to spiritual podcasts. At the moment I am listening to the podcast "The Way Out is In" produced in Plum Village in France, about the Buddhist Zen tradition of Thich Nhath Hahn. It gives a lot of practical tools for being mindful, being in the present moment and allowing for feelings and emotions and suffering to be acknowledged and accepted as part of life.During my mediation and calm and quiet moments this month, I have also been reflecting on my life in Palestine and the big decision I took to get married to a Palestinian and move here. Last summer I gave up the house I was still renting in Holland and now I have all my life in Palestine and I raise my children in this place. In this podcast episode I share my reflections on the life in Palestine, focusing mainly on the cultural differences I experience and comparing how my life would have been different if we had decided to raise our children in Holland.In this episode I used some soundbites I recorded in the last year of typical street sounds that we hear around us in the Bethlehem area. Follow Stories from Palestine on social media and YouTube to enjoy photos and videos. Sign up for the weekly e-mail with a link to the latest podcast episode. And check out the webshop where you can order logo merchandise! All links on the linktree:
Life in the South Hebron hills
Apr 10 2022
Life in the South Hebron hills
For the full transcript of this podcast click the transcript tab next to the show notes tab or go to the website:   Huraini is a young Palestinian activist from the village of At-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills. His village, just as many other Palestinian villages in that region, is in area C, which is under full Israeli military control. Settlers and Israeli military are making life very hard for the villagers, in order to persuade them to move away into towns and cities under Palestinian Authority. But Sami is very clear: we are not leaving. This is our village, this is our land. We will defend and protect ourselves in a non violent way.Many of the villages in the South Hebron Hills are not connected to water or electricity. The people suffer from continuous attacks by settlers who set fire to their properties, steal their tools and even their life stock, violently attack shepherds, villagers and even children.The Israeli military is often present but does nothing to prevent the settlers from attacking Palestinians.In At-Tuwani the youth organized themselves in an initiative called Youth of Sumud. Sami is one of the community leaders and he was arrested in the beginning of this year. Originally without any charges, later soldiers made up some claims against him. He was given an award for human rights defenders who are at high risk. This has helped in getting more media attention and more diplomats to visit At-Tuwani. Recently they opened a guesthouse where visitors can stay. They are welcome to join for a tour around the South Hebron Hills, to spend some time in solidarity with the villagers, to be protective presence and accompany farmers, shepherds and children.If you want to know more you can check out their facebook group Youth of SumudYou can e-mail them : youthofsumud@gmail.comIf you want to connect to Stories from Palestine on social media, follow the YouTube channel, get a weekly e-mail or make a donation on Ko-fi, use the linktree:
Date palm trees in Palestine, Palestinian medjoul dates
Apr 3 2022
Date palm trees in Palestine, Palestinian medjoul dates
The month of Ramadan 2022 started in Palestine on the second of April. Between sunrise and sunset Muslims refrain from eating. When they break their fasting, they usually start by eating a date. They do this because according to the tradition prophet Mohamad used to break his fasting by eating a date. Dates have many health benefits and they are a healthy replacement for refined sugar.In Palestine date palm trees mainly grow in the Jordan valley, where the oxygen level is high due to the fact that the Jordan rift valley is about 300 meters below sea level. The climate is warm and dry. A perfect environment for the date trees.Jamileh Dajani is the only female Palestinian date farm owner in the Jordan valley. Her husband works abroad and she runs this business by herself, with the help of some workers who take care of pollination and harvesting. Jamileh produces for the local market and prepares special Jamileh delights, dates dipped in chocolate and covered with crunchy nuts and coconut. Especially around Christmas and Ramadan she is very busy. But still she found time to talk to me about the origins of the date palm trees, their specifics, the different kinds of dates, the health benefits, the challenges that Palestinian date farmers have and the difference between the dates from the Israeli settlements and the Palestinian producers. You can find Jamileh dates on Instagram @jamilehdatesIf you want to connect to Stories from Palestine on social media, follow the YouTube channel, sign up for the mailinglist or make a very much appreciated donation on the Ko-fi platform then use this linktree: