Next week I was planning to set off on a trek through the West Bank in Palestine. My aim was to experience the culture and natural delights of the countryside in this often misunderstood area of the world. Walking with little in the way of a plan and no guide.
Then Donald Trump goes and makes the announcement that the USA officially recognises Jerusalem as the capital City of Israel. Following Trump’s announcement, there were clashes between the Israeli military and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
This morning I received this message from a friend of mine who runs the travel security support business How Safe Is My Trip? In blue is my response.
This puts me in a very different situation to any I’ve been in before. There is an increased risk of being the target of attacks due to the comments some bloke with fake tan and a rubbish haircut made in a country that isn’t where I’m from.
I’m unsure what to do.
On one hand, I think that in the rural areas I will almost certainly be ok. I can avoid Jerusalem and if there is any trouble I will do my best to keep my head down and get away from the area. On the other hand is the possibility of being caught up in possible riots and attacks worth it?
So far I have only paid £30 for a return flight to Israel so it is not a big financial loss if I do not end up going. There are plenty of options. I could trek in Israel only and miss out the West Bank. Or I could go to a completely different country. The real point I must take from this is that I am in a lucky position where I can make these choices. It’s a privileged place to be. Many others from countries such as Syria, Libya and Yemen will not have the freedoms that my passport grants me.
I still want to do something outdoors and in a new environment just before I head to England for Christmas. The thing is with the Middle East in general, this could all blow over in a week and almost be forgotten. Equally, it could be the spark that triggers increased violence and attacks in Palestine and Israel.
I visited Israel two weeks ago and had a great time being a tourist. Wandering through the Old City and soaking up the atmosphere. Visiting the Holly sites that are important to Christians, Jews and Muslims all within a kilometre square. Jerusalem is a fantastic example of a city where people from all faiths and backgrounds peacefully live side by side. For peace to continue, all the people involved need to be satisfied. The Palestinians will never accept that the whole of Jerusalem is the Capital City of Israel. They believe they also have ownership of the City.
Israel, Palestine or somewhere else?
I’m not sure if I will head back there this month. Especially with it being so soon after my last visit. Maybe its time to visit somewhere completely different. There are plenty of places offering cheap flights in December from Cyprus. Lebanon and Georgia are two destinations that have caught my eye. I have a week to make my final decision.
I have pretty much lived by the mantra that:If you leave a decision to the last minute, it only takes a minute.Click To Tweet