Comfort in the Midst of Conflict

Today marks two weeks since Lukas and I have arrived in Israel. It’s so weird typing that out… It feels like no time has passed at all. To think that 1/4 of this trip is already completed intimidates me. There is so much work we need to do research-wise, and there is so much more I want to experience. I swear, it feels like we arrived just a couple days ago.

It’s so strange how quickly I’ve become adjusted to this place. The other day while in Ramallah, we were trying to find a place to eat. It was overwhelming trying to find a place with hundreds of people walking around, and everything was in Arabic making it near impossible to find a place to sit down. My immediate response was, “Let’s go back to Jerusalem to eat.” Eventually we found a shawarma shop where one of the men working spoke English, and we were able to sit down and enjoy a good meal. But looking back, my reaction startles me. I haven’t been here that long, and when I’m in Jerusalem I still feel lost most of the time, yet I’ve become so comfortable here. Jerusalem has become my safety net.

This week has been the Festival of Lights in the Old City. All around the Jewish and Armenian quarters there are light projections on the walls and interesting art pieces around the streets. It’s so beautiful seeing the City lit up like this. The streets are filled with people, and there are even more carts than normal selling popcorn, cotton candy, and light-up toys. It’s been a lot of fun walking along the streets that we’ve become familiar with and seeing them in a new light (no pun intended… okay maybe that pun was slightly intentional).

Here is Damascus Gate all lit up during the Festival of Lights. Isn't it beautiful?

Here is Damascus Gate all lit up during the Festival of Lights. Isn’t it beautiful?

While things seem fairly calm in Jerusalem, conflict is swarming around us. Earlier this week, 3 Israeli boys have gone missing in the West Bank while trying to hitch-hike outisde Hebron, and Israel believes that they have been kidnapped by Hamas. As I’m sure you gathered from Lukas’ post a few days ago, Hebron is already a very tense city – I cannot begin to imagine the energy moving through there now. In between football matches, Lukas will turn on the news to see if there are any updates about the missing boys. We are seeing this conflict evolve before our very eyes, and as a conflict analyst I am thrilled to be here experiencing it first-hand. But we are also very cautious – we’ve already decided that going back to Hebron would not be a smart decision at the moment. For now, we are staying informed, and hoping for the best for all parties.

  1. No comments yet.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Sites DOT MIISThe Middlebury Institute site network.