Saturday, September 4, 2010

the conflict

I found this website last week called bookmooch, where anyone can sign up and you trade books all over the world. This has been a blessing, since books in English are so expensive here. For the last year I have been stocking up on books when Im visiting the states, but since Im such an avid reader it just hasnt been enough. In the past week I have sent off 9 books and recieved 10 in return. Its a great system....

One of the books I am currently reading is called "Coming Home to Jerusalem" by Wendy Orange. Its been a really interesting read so far. Since the intifada died down, almost 5 years ago now, its easier to forget about the conflict... The last week has started to bring the memories back, with the two shootings in the west bank. I obviously wasnt living here during the Oslo Peace Accords in the 1990s... and in fact the only memory I have of Israel from that time is the murder of Rabin, which shocked all of my hebrew school teachers, but left me wondering why it was so important and who this Rabin was.

I dont agree with many of Orange's opinions, but its interesting to read about the situation in Israel through an American perspective. it leaves me wondering how we got to where we are now. Its been 17+ years since the peace accords, and its hard to imagine the mindset at the time. The second intifada is much clearer to me, and the pain and fear Israelis felt. I was first here in 2004, and we were scared to death of terror attacks. When I studied here in 2005 we had an attack in my city, and were constantly aware of the situation after the disengagement. Its been a quiet lull since then, but there is not great feeling that we are actively moving towards some sort of peace, no matter what the white house says. If anything, the most people hope for is quiet.

I dont know the situation in Gaza now, and as an American I am almost ashamed to admit how closed off we are to the situation only a couple miles away... we live our lives like anywhere else, and its so easy to not question it. I do, of course, have two brother in laws serving in the middle of the action every day, but in my own life I can imagine it all happening far away. One brother in law serves in silwan, where there have been riots often, but my own trips to Ir David, at the edge of the same area, have been quiet.

Sometimes I marvel at the fact that I do actually live in Israel, in a place that is so much the center of debate and religion... yet after only a year it simply feels like a place to build a home and a life... like anywhere else.

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