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Return from the West Bank


Hello dear friends! I'm now back in America after a memorable trip to Israel. Somehow I misunderstood the point of the sponsored tour there. I thought we would spend most of our time in Israeli-controlled areas, when in fact most of it was spent in Area "A" of the West Bank, which is under the control of the Palestinian Authority. I can only say that it was an amazing and eye opening experience. Perceptions of a place and reality often don't coincide, and it was the case for me in the West Bank. In the future, perhaps I'll write some posts and impressions about the journey. We visited many areas, including Jericho, Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus and Sebastia. We were stationed in Bethlehem, and it was there I experienced the burning sensation of tear gas for the first time when a disturbance occurred at a checkpoint located close to the hotel. Overall, this is an incredibly interesting region of the world, with complex layers of human emotion tangled in webs of cultural and religious identity.

Upon departure in Tel Aviv, I was picked for special screening. Not sure why? During the first interrogation point, my passport was examined and the worker was very inquisitive about the Belarusian visa. At first, she didn't understand to which country the visa pertained. Upon explanation, she put a bright shiny yellow sticker on the back of my passport. This resulted in every single item from my purse and carry on luggage being removed and waved with a magic wand. I assume to check for explosives? The whole process took about 1 1/2 hours. I think my Belarusian visa is cursed, as it has caused only problems from the beginning! :)) I didn't see Tel Aviv at all, it was merely the arrival and destination point. However, many holy sites were visited, and at the worst possible time with the overlap of Passover and Easter in the same week. Hordes of people at all of these places, and parts of Jerusalem weren't navigable due to massive crowds.

How is life in Russia? Has Putin conquered Ukraine yet? I've had almost no time to catch up on world news since my departure ten days ago. I hope life is going well for each of you, and that spring warmth has arrived to brighten your days! In Israel, it was blazing hot and completely uncomfortable for a winter lover like me.

Next week, I'll share some stories from America.


( 77 comments — Leave a comment )
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(Deleted comment)
Apr. 24th, 2014 12:23 pm (UTC)
Yes, I always say a person must be very strong to live in Russia! :)
Apr. 23rd, 2014 11:59 pm (UTC)
Good afternoon!
We are waiting a post about the dangerous neighborhoods of Israel.
Apr. 24th, 2014 12:24 pm (UTC)
Hi! I didn't feel in danger at any point during the trip, although tensions certainly were present.
Apr. 24th, 2014 12:02 am (UTC)
Welcome home! Glad you are here :)
Apr. 24th, 2014 12:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Olga! Hope you had a nice Easter. :)
Apr. 24th, 2014 12:27 am (UTC)
"...Has Putin conquered Ukraine yet?.."

Due to Easter holidays victory over Ukraine moved to May. 8 ... May 9 :)
Apr. 24th, 2014 12:25 pm (UTC)
:)) Will you do anything exciting during the May holidays?
(no subject) - asharky - Apr. 24th, 2014 12:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 24th, 2014 12:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asharky - Apr. 24th, 2014 01:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 24th, 2014 01:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asharky - Apr. 24th, 2014 01:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 24th, 2014 03:10 am (UTC)
Hi! I'm waiting interesting stories :)
Apr. 24th, 2014 12:26 pm (UTC)
I have to go through hundreds of photos first to see if I have enough decent pics to write reports. Unfortunately, I was in a van or bus a lot of the time and it was very difficult to shoot. Hopefully I can find enough photos to accurately portray some of the regions I visited. Have you ever been to Israel?
(no subject) - yarowind - Apr. 24th, 2014 06:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 24th, 2014 03:25 am (UTC)
Hi, Shannon!

Glad to hear you're back from Israel. I was always scared to go there. Bin Gurion security is infamous for interrogating innocent people. :)

I imagine Putin is sitting now on a heap of popcorn with tanks of Coca-Cola nearby watching the Ukrainian spectacle. In order to keep things moving he occasionally orders his "talking head" Mr. Lavrov to say something arrogant.

We are here in peace and looking forward to May holidays.
Apr. 24th, 2014 12:29 pm (UTC)
Hi Slava! There is nothing scary about Israel, or even Palestine. You simply must be alert and respectful of the culture, the same as any other country in the world. For instance, in Ramallah one of the women I was traveling with decided to wear a flashy outfit, showing cleavage and her entire shoulders. The pantsuit had no sleeves so her entire neck and shoulders were uncovered. Of course, it drew a lot of attention and a soldier eventually came up to her and told her to cover up. It's disrespectful in my opinion to behave in such a manner, or wear such an outfit. It's not necessary to wear hijab, I was simply dressed in ordinary clothes and all was fine. Will you guys go anywhere during the holiday?
Apr. 24th, 2014 04:11 am (UTC)
О! So sorry that you had not time to drink coffee in TA (
Apr. 24th, 2014 12:30 pm (UTC)
It's a pity, but I didn't see Tel Aviv at all. Only the inside of the airport. I will certainly return to this area in the future. :)
Apr. 24th, 2014 04:16 am (UTC)
Проигранная война
It is obvious that the Belarusian spy must not have a Belarusian visa, in order not to arouse suspicion. Belarusian KGB, knowing that the absence of the Belarusian visa is a sign of the Belarusian spy, glues visas to all its spy passports.
But Israeli witch hunters are even more cunning than evil Belarusian Socialist anti-Semites. They accurately determine spies by presence of Belarusian visas! Lukashenko is hopelessly lost in this invisible war.
Apr. 24th, 2014 12:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Проигранная война
Somehow you always find a way to incorporate Lukashenko into your comments. :) I think you secretly admire him. Btw, have you been to Israel? Are you Jewish? Sometimes it seems everyone on LJ is a Jew.
Re: Проигранная война - andrey_kaminsky - Apr. 25th, 2014 03:42 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 25th, 2014 12:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrey_kaminsky - Apr. 25th, 2014 01:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 24th, 2014 04:24 am (UTC)
Glad to read you again! I thought that Palestina is not suitable place for journey. Wait for your posts! :)
Apr. 24th, 2014 12:33 pm (UTC)
Hi! I'm happy to be back. I wish I had the time to process photos and write stories during my journeys, but it's not the case. Palestine is suitable for a journey. Don't let the media and propaganda scare you from visiting this region.
Apr. 24th, 2014 04:26 am (UTC)
Ukraine will be independent forever.
Apr. 24th, 2014 06:50 am (UTC)
But now it's dependent. From USA. ;)
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 24th, 2014 12:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sovi4ka - Apr. 24th, 2014 08:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 25th, 2014 12:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 24th, 2014 06:50 am (UTC)
As expected, Russia is turning into the fascist state with the speed of light, and many of russians soviets are really happy about it. They are full of love to Putin and ready to hunt down all "spies" and "agents" from evil Europe and USA. History teaches people nothing. You've seen a fake Russia in Sochi, now this is probably the real one and that is scary and sad.
Apr. 24th, 2014 10:17 am (UTC)
Пока не дожили
The word "fascism" sounds nice and it is very pleasant to use this word, name people who is unsympathetic by this word. I'm a sinner in this case too. But modern Russia it is not about fascism. This is imperialism.
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 24th, 2014 12:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asharky - Apr. 24th, 2014 01:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Apr. 25th, 2014 08:00 am (UTC) - Expand
- peacetraveler22 - Apr. 25th, 2014 12:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 24th, 2014 06:57 am (UTC)
Hi there!

To be honest, i don't think you should've asked about Russia and Ukraine. Do you imagine, what will happen now in comments?

Btw, have you been to Ukraine? Come now and find out yourself, what's happening)
Apr. 24th, 2014 12:38 pm (UTC)
Yes, I've been to Ukraine but only Kyiv and Uman. Never to Eastern Ukraine. I wish I had the freedom and financial resources to go anywhere in the world at any time I wanted, but like most people this is not the case.
Apr. 24th, 2014 07:12 am (UTC)
By the way, many leaders of Israel were born on the territory of modern Belarus. Such as Chaim Weizmann, Zalman Shazar, Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Shimon Peres. So, it looks strange, why are they so suspicious about Belarusian visa.

Edited at 2014-04-24 07:13 am (UTC)
Apr. 24th, 2014 10:04 am (UTC)
Это только предлог
I think the reason for these actions was the post about the missing vibrator. Undoubtedly, someone of highest Israeli authorities wanted to get this trophy:)
(no subject) - g_kar - Apr. 24th, 2014 10:11 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skvorets1989 - Apr. 24th, 2014 11:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 24th, 2014 12:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 24th, 2014 12:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 24th, 2014 10:10 am (UTC)
Hiii! Glad to hear you had an eventful journey. Waiting to see more pictures and reports.

Life in Russia is the same, no major changed during last week - just casual slow glide to madness :)
Apr. 24th, 2014 12:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this morning I caught up on the news. Same old, same old. :) U.S. threatening more sanctions, Putin telling us to butt out. Normal political cycle and strife. Lavrov the talking head, even on U.S. news. But his English is very good!
(no subject) - g_kar - Apr. 24th, 2014 10:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skvorets1989 - Apr. 25th, 2014 12:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 25th, 2014 12:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skvorets1989 - Apr. 25th, 2014 12:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 25th, 2014 12:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 24th, 2014 11:25 am (UTC)
Путин перепрограммировал робота!
For some reason, all of these people think that the robot is going to kick them in the balls.
Apr. 24th, 2014 12:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Путин перепрограммировал робота!
I find robots creepy, and Obama never stops smiling.
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