A state of Palestine in the making
The amazing changes occurring in the West Bank under Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad show what a state of Palestine could look like. His leadership, and vision, should be embraced by all.
The short drive from Jerusalem to Ramallah begins as you'd expect. The pristine setting of the old-new holy city slowly morphs into a more disordered vista on the outskirts of town — small Arab villages, humbly built of stone, displaying signs of economic decay. The streets are nearly empty.
Startlingly soon, the Israeli military checkpoint appears at a break in the expanse of the cement separation barrier. Immediately upon crossing, the most frequently photographed stretch of the barrier comes into sight, a lengthy and colorful mural that includes massive painted images of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as a young man and of Marwan Barghouti, who's in an Israeli prison for his role in the second intifada.
Nothing I've seen along the 14-kilometer trip, however, prepares me for what I will find in Ramallah, a place much of the world still imagines as a refugee camp: Streets teeming with auto and pedestrian traffic. Men and women moving quickly and purposefully. Privately owned businesses filled with customers. Beautiful new buildings of stone and glass. Numerous new construction starts. Government offices patrolled by polite, well-trained security personnel. A general atmosphere of busyness and safety.
I think: "It looks an awful lot like Palestine to me."
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Ramallah exhibits everything we all have hoped to see after the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel — only it's all happening beforehand.
Will Arabs ever accept a peaceful state alongside Israel? If you take them at their word - it is only a stage - an unwelcome stage as they see it - where they are making a compromise in accepting only part of the land of Israel. All in a goal of taking over all of the land and killing all the Jews. Don't believe me? Listen to Hamas and Fatah leaders when they speak in Arabic. Look at their media and educational materials.