Ariel, West Bank — On a sprawling hill top in this West Bank town Tuesday, a commitment made by Israel’s leader in distant Annapolis this week seemed likely to take one of two possible paths, with the outlines of each already apparent.
“Look up there. My son lives in that container,” gestured Arik Yeffet. “There are leaks in the winter, and the heating is insufficient. He deserves to have a spot of his own. Did we commit a crime?”
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.
Tekoa, West Bank — For the people who live here, the Jewish settlement of Tekoa is something akin to paradise. Built atop a mountain in the starkly beautiful Judean Desert, its comfortable homes afford a breathtaking view of the camel-colored cliffs that extend in all directions. Here and there Arab villages, as well as the nearby settlement of El David, dot the parched mountainsides, adding a bit of color to the desert landscape.
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.
Ramallah, West Bank — Walking through the sunny, well-kept streets of Deir Debwan, a half-hour outside Jerusalem, it is easy to see why this tony Arab enclave has been dubbed the Beverly Hills of the West Bank.
Thanks to the success of its far-flung sons and daughters, multi-level homes abound. Some have indoor swimming pools. And at one time or another, nearly half the town’s 8,000 residents have lived in the United States.
Jerusalem — While British Prime Minister Tony Blair practically did cartwheels to avoid courting controversy during his visit to Israel this week, New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, also on a whirlwind tour, took no such precautions.
The AP reported today that the Obama administration is unhappy about Israel's designation of the Cave of the Patriarchs and the tomb of Rachel as “national heritage sites,” which comes amid a “flurry” of U.S. diplomatic activity in the region.
Ramle — The industrial zone of this working-class Jewish-Arab city between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv is home to numerous car-repair shops, gas stations and factories. The streets are lined with broken glass and litter, the sidewalks with fancy cars awaiting a muffler or tune-up.
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