It is strange for me to realize that in only 19 days I will be sitting on a plane, flying to Tel Aviv. This is something that I have wanted to do for over a year. I gained interest in politics and international issues during a class I took last year called “From Hiroshima to 9/11”. As a whole, the class opened my eyes to how much is going on in the world and how those things effect me and everyone around me. The whole winter term was devoted to the history and current conflict in the region of Israel/Palestine. Going into the class, I knew that I would be most interest in that topic, but once we started to learn about it, I began to grasp how important this conflict is to the rest of the world, and in particular, the United States of America.
Of course, there is only so much one can learn from a textbook. With topics as complex as the one in Palestine/Israel, there is so much more to learn than names and dates. My goal while I am there is to learn more about the people. I want to know who is actually part of this conflict, and how they feel about what is happening. I want to walk down the streets of Jerusalem, Ramallah, Givat Havina, Bethlehem, and feel the passion and pain that live there. I want to understand how such a holy land can be encompassed by such a painful conflict.
I know a few people who have visited various places throughout the region, and one of the things that I keep being told is that it will change my life. Every time someone says this to me I reply by simply saying, “I know”. But, truthfully, I don’t think I do. I am unsure what my reaction will be to my journey. I am worried that I have sensationalized this trip, and will find myself disappointed by what I find.
Over the course of my two-week trip, I will be traveling all over Palestine and Israel with a small group of Westtown students. Throughout the trip I will be updating this blog with my thoughts, feelings, and my pictures. My hope is that everyone reading will be able to follow me through my journey in Israel and Palestine.