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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
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Dangerous Places

I have seen thousands of Palestinians - in our stores, on our trains, in our cities. I have never seen any being harassed.
Palestinian women demonstrate in the village of Budrus, west of Ramallah, January 18, 2013.

Palestinian women demonstrate in the village of Budrus, west of Ramallah, January 18, 2013.
Photo Credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90

Do you live in a dangerous place? I don’t. I honestly don’t. People think I do and sometimes warn me to be careful, but it’s really silly. If they only knew…

Years ago, while traveling from a client’s office in Netanya back home to Maale Adumim, a colleague wished me a safe trip and warned, “be careful driving home.”

I looked at him and remembered that he lived in Tel Aviv and worked there in Netanya. This was back in 2001 – 2002 when things were exploding regularly in Israel, especially in those two cities. I was astounded that he thought to warn me when I felt, if anything, I should be warning him. With a smile, I answered, “I’ll be fine as soon as I get out of Netanya.”

The next week, a bomb exploded in Netanya and I wasn’t smiling anymore as I called to make sure all my friends were safe. But the memory remains – even 10 years later. A few days ago, I noticed a sign just to the right as I pass the checkpoint. There is a turn off there – that bypasses the checkpoint into Jerusalem.

It warns people, “This road leads to Palestinian village. The entrance for Israeli citizens is dangerous.”

Two thoughts crossed my mind as I saw the sign. The first, I’ll be honest, was that once again, Israel had failed the sign making test and someone has to instruct them on the proper use of capitalization.

The second thought was to wonder if there are any signs at any of the entrances to Israeli cities that say, “This road leads to an Israeli village. The entrance for Palestinians is dangerous.”

I’ve visited most of Israel’s cities – there aren’t that many and it’s a tiny country. I haven’t visited all of Israel’s villages – there are many – but I have visited many and I can tell you in almost 20 years in Israel, I have never seen a sign warning Palestinians that their lives are in danger if they enter an Israeli town, village, or city.

I have seen thousands of Palestinians – in our stores, on our trains, in our cities. I have never seen any being harassed.

Today, the U.N. Secretary General urged Israel to return to the peace table. How funny. We’ve been there so many times and each time we arrive, the other side isn’t there. What purpose is there in calling us to the table when there is no one there with whom to speak.

Rather, Mr. Secretary General – perhaps you could ask the Palestinians WHY it is dangerous for Israeli citizens to enter an Arab village? That is the reason there is no peace here – not Israel’s lack of a willingness to meet a real Palestinian partner in peace.

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About the Author: Visit Paula Stern's blog, A Soldier's Mother.


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