I first heard of today's Jerusalem bus stop bombing on NPR as I prepared for work, but read about it on CNN. "A woman was killed and more than 50 people were wounded when a loud explosion shook a busy street in Jerusalem as the evening rush hour began on Wednesday, authorities said. Several of the wounded were critically injured in the first serious bombing in Jerusalem in four years, authorities said."
It seems hard to believe that only a month ago I was in Israel and Palestine but I felt very safe even though the entire Middle East seems largely in turmoil. Around the world we hear about the Israel/Palestine ongoing conflict, but I have never really "gotten it" until I was there. Now that I understand better, I still feel utterly confused. I found several websites on my return to the U.S. that were largely biased one way or the other, but this "In a Nutshell: Israeli/Palestine Conflict" at Mideast Web gave me the history that seemed most neutral. Whether the site itself is actually neutral seems unclear to me. As those of you know who read here regularly, I rarely discuss politics and that includes this post. I want to make it very clear that terrorism and the killing of innocent civilians can never be justified in my book.
There are fences dividing Israel and Palestine as you drive through the countries, but the wall through Bethlehem reminded me of the Berlin Wall. I was synchronistically in Berlin on the third day when that wall came down, and when we visited Bethlehem I had a very visceral reaction to what I was seeing. I am sharing a few photos here, but I have chosen ones that are not vicious in content. You can click on the photos for more detail.
If I understand correctly, the current hostilities escalated after the murder of a family of five Jewish people in the West Bank last week. Then shellings began from Gaza into Israel and vice versa, and now this bombing today. Would I go there now? I'm not sure. I was very impressed with all the Jews and Palestinians I met and the countries are beautiful.
Until last month I noted news coming out of Israel and Palestine fairly neutrally, but having been there, it's hard being objective.
As my mom would have said in the olden days, "It seems like the whole world is going to hell in a hand basket." Check World Wide Words for that definition.
Afterthought: I have gotten some comments informing me that the site I mention above, Mideast Web, says it is neutral but that it is in actuality a pro-Jewish site. If I have offended anyone, my apologies. A few people have recommended Electronic Intifada. I haven't had time to research there yet, but I assume it will show me the Palestinian viewpoint. Be sure to read the comments here as people who know more than I do are leaving them.