Understanding Palestine | Day 4

The Wall Separating Bethlehem from Israel

The Wall Separating Bethlehem from Israel

Before this trip to Israel, I honestly did not understand the extent and affect the "Palestinian - Israeli" tension had on people's everyday lives. Last night I heard an Israeli and a Palestinian discuss the history of the conflict and its current status. This brought some understanding.

Then today I was taken from Jerusalem to Bethlehem by a Palestinian driver and saw first hand what this situation means to people. I can't begin to unpack the history, but I'll share with you the one example I saw today that made it clear for me.

As I climbed into the car of this Bethlehem-dwelling Palestinian, I asked if I could use his iPhone (which EVERYONE has here in Israel, including orthodox priests) to call someone. The driver's reply,

"We can't use it here. We'll have to wait until we get close to Bethlehem."

"Why not?" I asked.

"We (Palestinians) are only allowed to use our network, and the Israeli network wil not allow my phone to connect."

Keep in mind that we were only 20 minutes from Bethlehem at the start of our drive. For my Florida friends, this would be the equivalent of Orlando citizens not recognizing Tampa as part of Florida. So "Tampians" would have their own cell network that only works in Tampa and no where else. Meanwhile, Orlandians could use their network throughout all of Florida. Or most of it anyway. 

That's probably a pretty poor anecdote, but you get the general idea. The disagreements are many and far reaching. Everything from land ownership, separate states, foreign policy considerations and more. 

Then I learned its the same international cost when a Palestinian calls either Jerusalem or the United States.

Relationship Status: It's complicated