Friday, January 21, 2005

Day 3 - Getting Reacquainted

The dawn patrol finds me sat in the back seat of an armoured Humvee commanded by and NCO from the company that we are replacing. The roads are familiar – a close friend lives in the area, but this time I’m seeing them through bullet-proof glass covered with a steel grate, having the Arab villages pointed out and truly appreciating just how close they are and how quickly a potential suicide bomber could be in Jerusalem.

The barrier is still being built in this area; here it is in the form of the ugly wall which the international media are so fond of portraying. We drive along the prepared route with the massive concrete slabs lying at the side, waiting to be erected. They follow a fairly logical route, from the Israeli point of view, and will make it difficult for those trying to cross illegally into Israel. Although I see it as a necessity given the alternative, and it having proven its worth elsewhere, it still leaves an unpleasant feeling in the pit of my stomach when I see it close up.

The vast majority of Palestinians that we encounter coming to and fro seem only to be interested in earning a crust for their families. There is clearly hostility in the air, as we stop to check an ID card but it is more that of resignation than of burning anger; random checks and waiting at road blocks on the way to work is as much a routine for them as my morning shower and cup of tea are for me. Quite clearly this should not be the case but it is the actions of a few that places the burden on the majority. The greater animosity from the Arab street that is the result does not work in our favor but in that of those who ferment terror. The consequences of not placing restrictions however are currently too horrific to contemplate. It’s a catch-22 situation – no one wins – the challenge ahead is to break the cycle.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gil, you've already become one of those I read religiously. So glad I found your page! :-)