On my way to the West Bank I could only think about how I hadn't flossed my teeth in weeks. I tongued the outer enamel of my incisors.
I thought, Should I return safely with all my teeth I will begin to floss regularly.
I suppose I focused on the potential food between my teeth because there were two, much larger and indigestible thoughts in mind:
There was fear.
When I told my Israeli acquaintances that I was to visit the South Hebron Hills, Palestinian territory in the West Bank, 28 kilometers south of Jerusalem, I was asked if I was suicidal. Even though the latest conflict was on the other side of Israel, in Gaza, I feared some reprisal upon my visit to the West Bank. I was 13 years old on Sept. 11, 2001, and, hard as I try to shake the less-than-fair western portrait of Arab people, the anxiety remains.
Then there was guilt.
Guilt for introducing myself to people as a journalist but not making an opportunity to see the other side until the second-to-last-day of my stay in Israel...