Sunday, May 29, 2011

GPS in Israel

Sometimes, I am amazed at how normal our every day life is here. There are such misconceptions. I once had someone complain about how we forced Palestinians to live without electricity and still, in this day and age, to use outhouses. WHAT???? I asked the person. Are you completely stupid?

I posted back pictures of some of the mansions in Arab areas - and told him that the Arabs that worked near my home often carried not one...but TWO cellular phones! I explained how their cars are often more expensive than ours...because we pay import taxes of 100%! I was in shock! I couldn't believe the propaganda these people believed. There is running water, electricity - television, telephones, fax machines. They have beautiful mansions and use the same building materials we do. Outhouses? Not even close!

Even with a statement from the United Nations - certainly no one can accuse the UN of being pro-Israel! - even the UN admits that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza - and still, still people complain about the lack of "humanitarian aid" in Gaza! There are malls...fully stocked and selling luxury items...in Gaza. What...what are you talking about? I have often written back to people who write to me about the "poor" Palestinians and their so-called poverty.

I often marvel at world perceptions compared to every day realities...and now, well, I downloaded a GPS program for my new Blackberry phone. You can configure it to select various routes. The first few questions I expected; the last, I did not.

Dirt roads, it asks? And the default is "don't allow"  - smart device. My Honda Civic is pretty low to the ground, so no, thanks - no dirt roads.

Minimize turns is set to "OFF" - honestly, I've been driving for a long time, I can handle turns and when you live in a small country like Israel - you either turn, or end up in the water or enemy territory really quickly.

Avoid highways is set to "OFF" - why would I want to avoid highways?

Avoid toll-roads is set to "OFF" - really, there are only two in the whole country and not that big a deal.

Avoid areas under Palestinian Authority supervision is set to "ON." Isn't that funny? I'm willing to bet that the Arab GPS programs don't have a corresponding setting to avoid Israeli roads. I'm relatively sure a Palestinian driver stumbling into Israel has much less to fear than an Israeli accidentally stumbling into Ramallah or any other Palestinian city.

I guess that is reality here. I know what sometimes happens when an Israeli car accidentally drives into these areas. On a good day, you are quickly escorted out by Palestinian security and met by Israeli security that has come to save you. On a bad day...on a bad day, your car is surrounded, stoned and your very life in danger.

So, yes, I'll leave that "ON" as the default setting and know that peace will come to the Middle East when the default for that setting can be set to "OFF." For all that Obama talks of peace in the Middle East, he has less understanding than my phone about what life is really like here.

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