Trip Start Jun 11, 2013
7Trip End Jun 21, 2013
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We spent the morning floating in the Dead Sea. Lowest elevation. No fish. Loved it! Everything really is dead.
Visited Masada. Second most popular archaeological tourist site in Israel. The story behind Masada is very depressing. What is the story? I am waiting for you to tell me!
Now we are in the Palestinian Authority city of Ramallah in the West Bank. Our guide is an Arab-Israeli (Palestinian not living in an occupied territory). Our driver is a Palestinian living in the PA (west bank/eastern Jerusalem). It is so complicated and confusing. Today we drove by the West Bank concrete wall which some believe will be the border of Israel once they do a two state solution. However, there are Jewish settlements in the West Bank that the Jewish government sponsors (provides infrastructure i e schools, water, roads). Btw, they do not do this for most of the Bedouin as you saw their living conditions yesterday's pictures
The West Bank is divided into 3 zones. One zone is completely under Palestinian Authority (tomorrow we will see their government buildings and such). The other two zones are PA and Israel. Israel has military authority over the whole West Bank which means its residents do not have Israel IDs. They actually hold Jordanian passports. Remember Jordan held control of the West Bank until the 6 day war of 1967 where Israel increased its size significantly (including the Sinai which was later returned to Egypt for a peace agreement, and Golan Heights which has not been returned to Syria).
Tonight we went to a local hangout and watched Arab Idol. There is a contestant from The Gaza Strip. We met a producer for the MBC TV station, (Middle East Broadcasting Center) and he wants to interview us Monday.
We have been on a foot tour of Ramallah all morning. I bought some ottoman coin jewelry and a political statement coffee cup at the Darwish museum. We have been touring museums with the help of our hotel owner. I think I am falling in love with Ramallah. It is modern and quaint and friendly and simple yet complex all at once. It is hard to describe, but I am absorbing.