Tourist

Israel and Palestine is a world of contrasts. It is also a world of information. Many people are coming here to explore. The problem is that many aren’t addressing attention to the same issues as me…

It is easy to get full of prejudice when coming from the hard life on the West Bank visiting the tourist circus in Israel. I get suspicious when tourist groups with identification costumes more remarkable than our vests are guided through stories more than 1000 years old. Does the guide tell about what happened in this neighborhood the last 60 years as our guide did? Do they have any idea about the situation in the Palestinian areas? Do they know anything about the status in this system of the guy selling ice cream outside the resort?

Tourists

The yellow hats watching the Dead Sea Scrolls 

Last Friday it was my turn to be the tourist and visit places on the ticket coupon of the Israeli tourist ministry. The first Friday of Ramadan. Do these people know what Ramadan is? Do they know that no Palestinian living on the West Bank is let through the barrier today?

Anyway, from my hotel in Betlehem it was impossible for me to avoid recognizing the last mentioned. Last time I approached the wall between Jerusalem and Bethlehem in the morning I did it together with approximately 2000 persons from Bethlehem traveling to Jerusalem in order to make use of their work permits there. This morning I was alone. Numbers of police and militaries kept the people around 100 meters away from the entrance. Mainly old people that wanted to look for an opportunity to go to the al-Aqsa mosque to pray this holy day.

I experienced this, and may be the other guest at the hotel too. The tourist industry is not booming neither in Bethlehem nor other places on the West Bank. The exception is the Dead Sea where some Israel tourist resorts have been built up and were there aren’t check points in the way worth mentioning.

We visited Qumran which is the place the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. After this we visited Masada, an old Roman fort. Read more on Wikipedia or somewhere else. Quit interesting stories.

Masada 

View from Masada

I traveled with a german group and was in the car with a guy working as an water engineer in Gaza. He has traveled around the world dealing with water issues. In spite of this knowledge of water; He is also the man that dived into the Dead Sea the first time he was there. Considering the pain caused by the one and only droplet that entered my eye there I am glad he is still alive.

T-shirt
A t-shirt I didn’t buy

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