I was in Israel and had decided I wanted to visit Palestine (or the West Bank, or whatever you want to call it). However, I had heard mixed reports and was feeling a little uncertain. I tried to drop it casually into conversation whenever I met a random Israeli, to see their reaction would be.
It usually went like this;
“Oh, so I was thinking of going to Ramallah next week…”
“What? No, you can’t go there. Its very dangerous! They’ll probably throw rocks at you!”
So I approached the Jerusalem check point feeling somewhat apprehensive. The 8 metre high concrete security wall, snipers and barbed wire fencing was rather intimidating, and didn’t do much to set me at ease. I passed through the checkpoint quickly (they don’t bother much with people crossing in this direction) and emerged blinking on the other side.
It looked a little more run down, but so far so good. I walked down the street for about 5 minutes, and spotted some Palestinian authority soldiers and their machine guns. My first thought was: ‘Cool, I shouldn’t take a photo of them!’. My second thought was: ‘Actually, maybe that is a really dumb idea’.
Nonetheless, like the dork that I am I waved from the other side of the street to get their attention then held up my camera and gave a questioning thumbs up. To my pleasure one of them gave me a thumbs up in return and I was rewarded with a picture of the soldiers.
I then tried to cross the street a little further down and was having difficulty as their was lots of traffic. The soldier walked out onto the road and put out his arm, stopping all the traffic so that I could cross the road safely. Super sweet! The rest of the day there was awesome and I wish I had of allowed time to stay longer. After ten minutes in this much talked about little place I felt completely comfortable and I urge anyone with the opportunity to visit!