Israel vs Palestine made simple. | Day 7
We are starting to get a much clearer picture of the modern conflict of Israel and the Palestinians. We have spent the last 2 days in Palestinian territory and have found out from the locals that the news we get in America is not an accurate portrayal of what is really going on.
Here are the lessons we have learned so far:
- Technically, it is all Israel’s land due to the war. However, after several treaties, they have agreed to allow Palestinians to live and control portions of the country. There are 3 types of areas.
- Type A – totally controlled by Palestinians “PLO”. Gaza (southwest), Golan Heights (far north east), and West Bank (eastern/middle including Jericho and Bethlehem). Of these, Gaza is the most blocked off and no one goes in or out. Hamas is taken control from PLO. Thankfully, there are not very many sites to see there anyway.
- Type B – land still negotiated by both Israel and Palestinians. Tensions have risen from this area.
- Type C – Israel is in total control and Palestine has nothing to say about it.
- Palestinian does not mean Muslim. In fact, Bethlehem is Palestinian and 75% Christian! These are the descendants of the first believers. These Palestinians are the some of the nicest/gentle people we have met. (They know Jesus!)
- Israeli does not mean Jewish. There are a lot of Christians in Nazareth and other parts of the country. There are Muslims in several pockets of Isreal (type C) land. Actually, the Temple Mount is in type C land, but controlled by Muslims. That is the big gold dome you see in all pics of Jerusalem.
- Based on the 2 and 3 above, it puts Christian believers all over the map. I have always associated Jewish as on the side of the Christian and Palestinian on the side of the Muslim. This is not always the case. In fact, Jews are often just as hostile toward Christian believers.
- ‘Israeli’ is the nationality and ‘Jewish’ is the religion. In other words, you can have and Israeli Christian. This would be called and Israeli Arab Christian. As mentioned above, you can also have a Palestinian Arab Christian.
- Palestinians are grateful for tourists. Generally, it is safe to travel in these areas because tourism is their biggest economy. The danger only comes when tension arises from Israeli/Palestinian issues.
Here are the sites we saw today.
- Jesus Baptism Location – a muddy part of the Jordan close to Jericho. Not much to see.
- Mount of Olives/view of Temple Mount – Incredible experience as we crested the hill and saw Jerusalem for the first time. Everyone in the bus was weeping. Seriously. Powerful.
- Garden of Gethsemane – We saw trees that were there with Jesus. Over 2000 years old.
- Herodium (King Herod’s palace and burial place) – A horrible man.
- Bethlehem (Palestinian Territory) – Wonderful time in this area. Sang beautiful Christmas songs in Shepherd’s field and at Christ’s birthplace.
- Where Ruth worked for Boaz (fields) – We saw the terraced farmland where Ruth worked.
- Shepherds field (Christmas Night)
- Jesus’ Birthplace
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