Thank you to Stand With Usâ€™ Once in a Lifetime project for making this trip possible!
Today we visited the dreaded â€œApartheid Wallâ€� of Israel that supposedly makes life hell for Palestinians by boxing them into an inescapable cage of misery, lost opportunity and occupation. This is my second time visiting the security fence in the West Bank, and Â I am still amazed when I look at its small size in comparison to how huge it appears in photos. About 97 percent of the â€œwallâ€� is electronic fence (not electric fence, as our tour guide pointed out) to prevent infiltration by alerting the authorities. Prior to the security fenceâ€™s construction, any terrorist in the West Bank could just take a stroll and kill Israelis.
Since the wallâ€™s construction, the number of terrorist attacks (specifically suicide bombings) has dropped by over 90 percent. And thatâ€™s not only good for Israelisâ€”itâ€™s good for Palestinians who donâ€™t have to live in a war zone as the Israeli military has to fight the terrorists in their neighborhoods. It is no coincidence that the economy of the West Bank has actually improved since the wall was made. The truth is that a secure Israel is something that every Palestinian should strive for, if only to improve their own lives.
We also went on a jeep tour of Jerusalem, met with an IDF spokeswoman for international media, and visited Abu Ghosh. It is easy to come away dismayed and pessimistic from visiting the security wall, but our earlier visit to Abu Ghosh left us with an unshakable optimism and inspiration. We met with a Roman Catholic monk in this Muslim village that is a hot spot for Israeli Jews looking for some great hummus. Think about that sentence. It was a very powerful visual to eat lunch with my Israeli Jewish friends in a Muslim-owned and operated restaurant with absolutely no sense of tension and only friendliness between the two.
Tomorrow weâ€™re lounging around Jerusalem with our free time as I prepare to pack and figure out how Iâ€™m going to cope with leaving my new friends in Israel. Undoubtedly, leaving will be the most painful experience of the entire trip.
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