Friday, June 23, 2006

The Fence - First Encounter

As I sit in my hotel room watching Kokhav Nolad (the Israeli version of American Idol - just awful), I thought I would post 2 pictures from today's excursion to the security fence/wall/barrier (depends on your terminological perspective). The first is at one of the "agricultural gates" which can be opened at Israel's whim to occasionally allow Palestinians to cross over to their fields.The second shows the wall just south of Har Homah, and here it is a triple barb-wired fence with electronic monitors.

After the fence visit, we went to East Jerusalem for dinner at the Ambassador Hotel and had a fantastic Arab meal at an elegant outdoor restaurant in the hotel. The moment I noticed that customers had hookahs at their table I immediately ordered one. It was the best shisha I've had in years.

Earlier in the day we had two fantastic presentations: one by Prof. Asher Susser, head of the Dayyan Center at TAU and then a joint session from Khalil Shikaki and Tamar Hermann, two academic pollsters who monitor Palestinian and Israeli political attitudes respectively. Needless to say, no one had anything optimistic to report about how the publics look at the existential chasm which makes a settlement impossible any time in the future.

I only bought an hour of Internet time, so I must close out today's entry. More later...tomorrow we're off to Haifa.

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