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On my flight to a Middle East conference in Denver. Alas, the last three days have not been perfect days.

I checked in with folks I know in Israel and Palestine Friday and yesterday. I hear in them a range of comments from political to personal, from understated to emotional. Forgive the grammatical errors – few writers are native English speakers.

A friend in a Jewish neighborhood near Jerusalem wrote, “Yesterday, while my daughter was napping on me, as I, myself, was napping on the sofa, the air siren sounded.  My wife had to wake me up.  She was in a bit of a panic.  Those nervous Israelis….Anyway, the siren lasted about a minute or two, and then a minute later, we heard a distant “boom”.  Since we’re right next to the wadi, where everything reverberates, it was impossible to tell whether the boom was 2 or 20 miles away.  It turns out that the rocket landed in Gush Etzion, which, as the crow flies, is probably 10 miles from Ein Kerem.  Hamas was targeting the Knesset.  If those rockets were accurate, it would have flown DIRECTLY over Ein Kerem on its way to the Knesset.  That is the unnerving part.”

Another friend in Jerusalem wrote: “that siren in jerusalem was rather a minor event (we missed the chance to use the shelter since we were not at home!) hope the things here will become more quiet soon.”

A Palestinian Christian friend in Bethlehem predicted: “our life coming bad because the new conflict, we don,t now where this war take us , our region coming worst , we live in 2012 but its sham for the humanity , we are visteres to this world , and every body want to kill every body ,about the school its ok and the student they doing well  , I finch my study and i take my  master , all the best for you ,we will keep in touch , love from Bethlehem” (At almost the same time, this report came from Ma’an news: “Israeli soldiers fired rounds of tear gas at youths protesting in Bethlehem late Saturday, a Ma’an reporter said. Youths threw rocks at an Israeli watchtower near Rachels Tomb, while soldiers fired multiple gas canisters into Bethlehem from behind a section of Israel’s separation wall. The clashes took place near Azza and Aida refugee camps.”)
A friend in Tel Aviv: “We are fine, thanks, just waiting that this situation will be over. It was just matter of time till israel will respond, and no one actually thought that tel aviv will be attacked, silly us.. It felt [fell] twice in the sea very close to our neighborhood. Now the only question is will our bad prime minister sit and talk to Hamas or make this Israeli attack a part of his campaign…It will be very sad if he will choose the second solution, we fear from that (and the fact that he will sure get alected again).”

A friend in a settlement near Tel Aviv: “Right now we are dealing with the actual situation, each one is concerned about family members which are joining reserve forces. Later on we’ll get to realize the implications of this operation on politics and so on.”

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