My first trip to Israel

My first trip to Israel

 

98% of the time during my first trip to Israel was spent well within the borders of Israel and within the Green Line, though at the time there were no walls to go by.  The Old City, the Jewish Quarter, the Holocaust Museum...all under Israeli rule and presented with the Israeli narrative.  Even the bus driver, though Arab, did not speak to us or give us any indication that what we were hearing, over and over, about the Jewish victims turned heroes had more to the story than just that one side.

While I did go to Bethlehem and saw the Nativity Church and Rachel's Tomb, I did not meet any "Living Stones" - any brothers and sisters of Palestinian descent.  I didn't have anyone explain to me the life of people in Bethlehem or Ramallah.  I didn't have anyone tell me who lived within the walls INSIDE of Bethlehem (Aida Refugee Camp).  I didn't have anyone explain to me that, while riding through the countryside in the Galilee or the Golan, the heaps of stones in the fields are actually bulldozed villages.  No one took me to Bar'am.  No one told me the church at Gamla (breeding site for vultures and great hiking site in the Golan) was actually in use by Syrian Christians until 1980.

Now I know - and I want you to know too.  Before you come, investigate a little.  Read something by Ilan Peppe.  Read The Righteous Victim.  Try to find a copy of Plan Dalet (recently released army document from the War of Independence).  Watch "The Lost Cities of Palestine."  

I love my country.  The normal tourist sites have plenty of information about the Israeli experience.  Investigate.  That's my advice.  

 
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