Should I have changed my travel plans? “It was a stifling and dusty Thursday afternoon,” writes Gilbert. “My face was dripping with grimy sweat and I was standing on a dun-colored hill overlooking Gaza. On my right soared a sleek, grey surveillance tower. On my left, Israeli Defense Forces artillery pounded away, the constant, earsplitting thunder shaking the earth beneath my feet, sending deadly rounds across the infamous security barrier. Beyond the “fence,” Gaza City stretched out in a monochromatic sprawl, broken up by random antennas, assorted minarets and a sad looking collection of scraggly trees. Somewhere, hidden among Gaza City’s buildings, automatic weapons answered each other in bursts of fire and chatter. Smoke and dust plumed upward here and there as the Israeli shells homed in on their targets. It was August 3, 2006 – my third full day in Israel. My lifelong dream of visiting the Holy Land had finally come true, albeit not quite in the way I had imagined. I had arrived in the middle of a war…"
Through the eyes of a sojourner …»