You’ve read a lot about Israel and Palestine on my blog and I didn’t broach the politics too often (though I definitely did if you were paying attention), but it was certainly hard for me to avoid while I was there. Not only because I was briefly working for a political nonprofit, but also because I made it a point to keep it on my mind. It really helped to offset the extremely hedonistic time I was enjoying in Tel Aviv, and keep my morality in check.
Like I’ve suggested continually over the past few months, I really feel that tourists to Israel should make a point of knowing and understanding the conflicted (and confusing) history of the land. It’s important for those visiting to be aware of where they are and what has or is happening there. Like every situation there’s more than one side to a story and it certainly helps to see as many of those for yourself.
Visiting the West Bank is on surprisingly few people’s itineraries and yet it’s rather easy (and cheap!) to do. It’s safe though many people don’t believe it. Bethlehem usually pops up on many tourist’s plans, but many choose to go on an organized tour, whether for the ease of being on an air-conditioned bus or because of a fear of being in a conflicted area.
Regardless, it’s actually quite easy to get from Jerusalem to many of the Palestinian cities. When I was briefly in Israel last month I got to meet up with Alex from Hejorama and we went to Ramallah for the day. Alex took the time to put together a video of our day in Ramallah, with me mostly talking about the political situation. Check it out and please share your comments below.
Very good point. It’s really important to spend time in both the West Bank and Israel. I volunteered in Nablus for a month and made a point to visit Israel a few times while living there. It’s important to understand multiple views of the situation. Have you been to Hebron or Nablus yet?
Awesome that you were volunteering in Nablus. Never made it there actually.
I agree that you not only should enjoy your time but learn and understand both what is happening and has happened in the past. I must say my wife is much better at that than I am. Nice post.
Hey Kirk, sometimes it’s hard to be bothered too much. Just helps to be semi-aware, I think…
Politics helped keep your morality in check? Interesting…
hahaha! didn’t think about that. funny how it worked out.
[…] when I visited Mount Nebo so we were able to catch a glimpse of Jerusalem and Jericho over in the West Bank. Jerusalem isn’t far from this point and it felt nice to be so close […]