Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Where Danger Is...

Do you live in a dangerous place?

I don't. I honestly don't. People think I do and sometimes warn me to be careful, but it's really silly. If they only knew...

Years ago, while traveling from a client's office in Netanya back home to Maale Adumim, a colleague wished me a safe trip and warned, "be careful driving home."

I looked at him and remembered that he lived in Tel Aviv and worked there in Netanya. This was back in 2001 - 2002 when things were exploding regularly in Israel, especially in those two cities. I was astounded that he thought to warn me when I felt, if anything, I should be warning him. With a smile, I answered, "I'll be fine as soon as I get out of Netanya."

The next week, a bomb exploded in Netanya and I wasn't smiling anymore as I called to make sure all my friends were safe. But the memory remains - even 10 years later.

A few days ago, I noticed a sign just to the right as I pass the checkpoint. There is a turn off there - that bypasses the checkpoint into Jerusalem.

It warns people, "This road leads to Palestinian village. The entrance for Israeli citizens is dangerous."

Two thoughts crossed my mind as I saw the sign. The first, I'll be honest, was that once again, Israel had failed the sign making test and someone has to instruct them on the proper use of capitalization.

The second thought was to wonder if there are any signs at any of the entrances to Israeli cities that say, "This road leads to an Israeli village. The entrance for Palestinians is dangerous."

I've visited most of Israel's cities - there aren't that many and it's a tiny country. I haven't visited all of Israel's villages - there are many - but I have visited many and I can tell you in almost 20 years in Israel, I have never seen a sign warning Palestinians that their lives are in danger if they enter an Israeli town, village, or city.

I have seen thousands of Palestinians - in our stores, on our trains, in our cities. I have never seen any being harassed.

Today, the UN Secretary General urged Israel to return to the peace table. How funny. We've been there so many times and each time we arrive, the other side isn't there. What purpose is there in calling us to the table when there is no one there with whom to speak.

Rather, Mr. Secretary General - perhaps you could ask the Palestinians WHY it is dangerous for Israeli citizens to enter an Arab village? That is the reason there is no peace here - not Israel's lack of a willingness to meet a real Palestinian partner in peace.

6 comments:

Cindy said...

What an eye-opener.

Vitor Santos said...

Really amazing! UN doesn't know what really is going on. They should arrange for one of these peace talking table meetings and be there secretly, just to see what really happens!

Vitor Santos said...

How amazing! UN doesn't know what really is going on. They should call for one of those peace talking meetings and be present secretly (so the Palestinias couldn't know) and see what really happens.

Vitor Santos said...

How amazing! UN doen't know what really is going on. They should call for one of these peace talking meetings and be secretly present (so the OPalestinians wouldn't know) and see what happens!

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

They should bring President Obama past a few of those signs...

Wouter said...

I'm a European citizen living in Jerusalem.

I've been to numerous Palestinian towns and villages, including Hebron, Ramallah, Jericho, Betlehem, Taybeh and many villages whose name I can't remember.

I've never seen an Israeli person being harassed, attacked, or treated unkind.

In fact, the welcome extended to me by the Palestinians, even though I don't speak Arabic, was sincere and heart warming. I've never felt unsafe at any time, even leaving a car with yellow number plates unattended in a village to go hiking.

I don't deny that there are Palestinians who are angry, criminal, or even terrorist, just as there are angry, criminal, and terrorist Israeli. Any casual reader of the news can give enough examples of wanton aggression from both sides. Just see the recent wave of attacks on Arab people in Israel for some examples that show that, sometimes, it is dangerous for a Palestinian to enter Israel proper. However, on both sides of the 'border' the vast majority of people simply want to be left alone in peace, make a living, have a family, and live a good life. Drive past that sign, sit down with a Palestinian family or shop keeper, drink a cup of tea with them, and then repeat your story.

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