Two astronomers. Separated by only 22 degrees, 58 minutes of latitude, 33 degrees, 29 minutes of longitude, yet seemingly worlds apart. Their common goal: figure out the very nature of the Universe and its womenfolk.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Two Worlds seperated by 13km

Today I am scared. Its not the ubiqutous post-modern angst Im talking about but a real fear for C. She has a meeting with a contact who works for the development branch of the german government in Rammallah - the defacto "capital" of the Palestinian territories. I say defacto because it is not the de jure capital. The Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas lives there in a compound known as "The Mukataa" (arabic: "something seperated"); the palestinian legislative council (parliament) is in Gaza while (one of the) the stumbling blocks of all peace negotiations to date has been the desire of the palestinains to have the capial of a future state in Jerusalem. So what can go wrong? Everything. From internal fatah-hamas fighting to IDF raids and checkpoint closures. Although only 13 km from Jerusalem, its a world away from the modern, rich, introspective state we live in. Israelis are barred by law from entering. All western governments discourage their citizens from entering the palestinian territories ("defer all travel to the west bank" is a comman blip on embassy websites). All western embassy travel advisories say the same thing which boils down to "if you go and something happens, we cant/wont do anything". Well, at least the europeans who have been kidnapped in the past few months have all been released within a few hours and without being harmed. In the mean time I feel like a communications centre with my web browser opened to every possible palestinian and israeli news site, scouring them for updates on the security situation in Ramallah while at the same time anxiously staring at my phone awaiting text message updates on her whereabouts. Im holding my breath until ulpan tonight.


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