Life has been quite busy lately. Ever since I started to contact potential interviewees, I have been travelling from one to the next since almost everybody immediately agreed to have an interview with me. This also means I have accumulated hours of taped material for transcription in a rather short time - hideous work it is, but necessary.
Talking to all these people has been very interesting, both from a personal and from a professional point of view. They all have their stories and experiences, which they willingly shared with me - the hospitality has been overwhelming. The main difference between them is probably whether they have an optimistic or a pessimistic outlook on water management and the peace process. Also, the interview situation is different every time. I've been to people's homes, shared offices, and hotel computer rooms. The interviews ranged from two hours of rather personal stories to twenty minutes of a concentrated question-and-answer-game, squashed in before a World Bank meeting.
I have travelled to Ramallah again yesterday. It was very quiet, and no problem at all, even though there had been a total closure the previous day. This means for Palestinians that their permits to enter Israeli territory become invalid immediately. Travelling to Israel becomes impossible until further notice. I as a German citizen probably wouldn't have a problem even on a day like that, but you never know.
One of my interviewees, a professor at Al-Quds-University, is living in a house in Eastern Jerusalem. The wall was going to be built right next to his home, which would have made him a citizen of the Westbank, not Jerusalem; in that case he might have lost his Israeli identity card. But the course of the wall was changed following a complaint to the Pope, filed by Christian nuns living nearby. These nuns did not want their cloister and school to be on the far side of the wall, and the Pope spoke for them to the Israeli government, and succeeded to stop the initial plans of construction. It seems powerful mentors are necessary, though.