I’ve gone to many places and I often try to share what I’ve learned via this blog. When I got to Israel-Palestine I knew this wouldn’t work. I avoid controversy and seek consensus. This is impossible with the Israel-Palestine conflict, however. It’s too political.
It’s a bit of a no-win situation, as no matter what I share, no matter my observations, people could accuse me of being biased. And they’d be right. I don’t know all the history and I can only explain what I observed and learned.
In a way, this is the experience of traveling in a nutshell. You don’t visit a place and “know it.” You can get to know it better, and the experiences you have leave an indelible impression on you. But there is always some mystery behind some closed door somewhere that you don’t get to reveal as a traveler. Sometimes you may stumble upon it, but as a tourist it’s impossible.
- Best of the West Bank (Bethlehem, Jericho, Taybeh Brewery, Ramallah)
- Nablus, Refugee Camp, Sebastia, and Samaritans
- Dual-Narrative Hebron Tour (half day through Palestinian Hebron with a Palestinian guide and half day through Israeli Hebron with an Israeli guide)
- Caesarea, Nazareth, Baptism Site, and Tiberias Tour
The first three were all in the West Bank and the last one was mostly in Israel. Although I normally don’t take tours, Israel is so full of rich history and complex context, it’s one of the few places I’d really recommend taking tours if you are tight on time as I was. I connected well with each tour guide and learned quite a bit from each.
I think the only way to really understand what is going on in this part of the world is to visit. Even then you just scratch the surface. It would take years of studying and reading to really get a handle on the realities here. But even as a casual observer, there are things here that don’t make any sense and don’t fit with the packaged narrative you always hear abroad. That reality will slap you across the face. But the rest will leave you more confused than when you arrived.