Jericho, West Bank — The only thing I really knew about Jericho before I went there a few weeks ago for the first time was that when the second intifada began in 2000, a friend of mine stationed there as an Israeli soldier came under heavy Palestinian gunfire.
Returning fire, he hit a transformer near the casino, inadvertently but indefinitely knocking out electricity to the entire town.
A decade passed during which I ignored the place. It was easy, with Jericho being so out of the way in the Jordan Valley.
Jericho, West Bank — Dressed in freshly pressed uniforms, officers stroll through the new school toting briefcases stuffed with course packs for classes in information technology and Hebrew.
Wake-up is at 5 a.m., and the daily schedule includes lineups, weight training and lectures. It is a place of order, discipline and timetables — concepts not usually associated with the Palestinian security forces.
Jericho, West Bank — It’s always been a gamble for Israeli Jews to travel into the West Bank. Now there may be a payoff. While many Israelis are making pilgrimages to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron this holiday season, many others are traveling the winding roads of the West Bank to visit the region’s newest casino.