Today I visited my friend in the Westbank. It felt really good to be back there, and it feels odd and less good to have returned to this first-world hostel in Jerusalem. The sad reality is, most tourists even with good intentions only ever witness the Palestinian situation as if looking at an exhibit in the zoo. Having Palestinian friends who can never travel to Jerusalem, I feel viscerally the apartheid that discriminates between who can and who can’t access the luxury of first world Jerusalem, not to mention the highly significant religious sites. I feel hypocritical staying here, despite it being a great traveller’s hostel, and full of all kinds of people – good and bad politics alike.
I think tomorrow I will need to get a keffiyeh. It’s not that I like being glared at, but rather that I profoundly dislike the idea that my presence in Jerusalem as a tourist visually legitimates the occupation. Also, no Israeli beer – only Taybeh for me!