A bomb goes off on a bus in Israel. A random collection of people"civilians"are wounded and killed. You read about it in the paperit seems far away. When you're here, you ride the bus, you look at the people's faces. You think.
A big problemone that will perhaps take generations to change: Arabs fear the Israeli military and police; Israeli Jews fear Arabs. As foreign visitors, Evelyn and I exist outside of this environment of fear. We move easily between the Arab and Jewish areas of Jerusalem. We visit Ramallah in the West Bank and Gaza City in the Gaza Strip.
Outside of Ramallah, we visited the Palestinian university, Bir Zeit. A Palestinian from Australia, living in Ramallah and working at the university, told us he rarely visits Jerusalema short and inexpensive bus ride away. Too much hassle with the checkpoints. And his friends can't go at all.
A few days later we had lunch with a writer from Ha'aretz newspaper. She was shocked to learn that we'd been to Ramallah. She couldn't imagine going there herselfimagined she'd be immediately recognized as an Israeli Jew and quite possibly stabbed. As a college student in Jerusalem she had enjoyed going with her friends to East Jerusalemto the vibrant and colorful Arab markets and neighborhoods. But then a Jew was stabbed there and she hasn't been back since.