Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Looking and Looking Away: Anas Shallal Visits the West Bank

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Looking and Looking Away: Anas Shallal Visits the West Bank

Article excerpt

"The day after I arrived in Jerusalem, there was a suicide bombing," Anas Shallal told a Peace Cafe gathering in Washington, DC Feb. 22. The Peace Cafe founder visited the West Bank and Jerusalem at the conclusion of a recent Seeds of Peace conference between Arabs and Israeli Jews.

But what shocked Shallal most, he said, was not the act itself, but the lack of reaction to the bombing.

"Israelis and Palestinians are numb," he observed. "They're not processing. Suicide bombings have become a business."

Services have sprung up, he explained, that scrub the ground of all traces of blood and trim the scorched branches off trees. "When I drove by two hours later," he recalled, there was no evidence that anything had happened."

Shallal noticed that neither Palestinians nor Israelis made eye contact at checkpoints. Passenger IDs lay ready on the dashboard. The driver hands them over to his IDF interrogator without turning his head. Sometimes, Shallal said, drivers simply shove the car into reverse, turn around, and leave the checkpoint line. …

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