June 17, 2007 To Ramallah and back in less than a day

Dear friends and family,

Some of you have written that the news from here is not good and expressed concern for my safety. I agree that the breakdown of the Palestinian Unity Government is really bad news. And now that Hamas is in control of Gaza and Fatah the West Bank, Israel has eased restrictions in the West Bank and started allowing some money to flow in while making life in Gaza even more miserable that it already was. The strategy is to make life look better in the West Bank and blame Hamas for the misery in Gaza. That way the world will know that Hamas is evil and anyone who cooperates with the U.S./Israel is good and gets rewarded. My friend Deeb explained this to me and I think that he is right. After all, since when is Mahmoud Abbas a friend of Olmert?

All of this is to say that I expect that my time here, at least for a day or two, will be a bit easier and safer than usual. This was manifested this morning by the incredibly easy time Mary and I had traveling from Jerusalem to Ramallah and then back again to pick up the embroidery and then mail it home. We were able to do all that, visit with Deeb, visit with my former student Amjad and even do some shopping, all by 4:00 pm!

So stop worrying! I do not feel in any danger. From Palestinians anyway. The Israeli soldiers are another matter....


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