Reposted with permission. Part 4 of a 5 part series.
We often forget that the faces on the other side of the television screen have thoughts and feelings just like our own. We forget to think about the common threads of humanity between all living beings. I’m obviously no expert on the subject, having only spent several months in the Middle East and studying the situation now for four years. But the following contains different sorts of observations, analysis and conclusions I had reached, having traveled throughout the entirety of the West Bank, meeting hundreds of families along the way, and engaging in countless enlightening and telling conversations about the conflict, culture, and lifestyle.
What kept me enjoying each and every moment of Palestine was certainly the hospitality and caring nature of the people. I once was told that guests are treated this way, as a famous proverb says, because a guest is a guest sent by God and followed by angels. They certainly take this idea to heart, as just about everywhere I visited, I was greeted by smiling faces inviting me in for a cup of tea and coffee as well as the regular meal. By the end, I was so worn out from going house-to-house every single day. Of course I never wanted to feel like a burden, but they actually enjoy whipping up a dinner for foreigners there. Every visit begins with tea and ends with coffee. There’s no such thing as a “short-visit” in Palestine. Forget the idea of rushing.
Will I return again?
I feel inseparable from this land. I feel an emotional attachment to it on every level; be it my family’s Jewish heritage, my Islamic beliefs, my long-lasting and life-changing friendships or my need to help those suffering on both sides of the conflict in some way. I cannot just forget it and block everything out of my memory, though this conflict has caused a lot of family and community disputes for me. I’m not exactly an optimist, but I do want to go down on the right side of history. Insha’Allah, I will make this conflict my key issue and the rest of my life’s work. Not a day passes that I do not reminisce about Palestine.
I do, however, wish to see other areas of the world before returning to Palestine for an extended period of time.