One of our favorite parts about the trip was meeting people and making friends. The people in Palestine and Israel were so hospitable and inviting. We’ve been able to keep in touch with some people, which has been so fun. 

We don’t talk about politics or the conflict. We just talk about life. We loved meeting people on our trip and sharing our passions, hobbies, and what our dreams are for the future. Dialogue like this needs to happen in order to break down stereotypes. Simply listening allows us to know the other at a personal level and as a human being. Then, with time, we can begin to discuss how to reconcile and bring peace to the land. But for the time being, the important part is building friendships. 

When we were in Hebron (an intense area in the West Bank) we met a Palestinian student, Firas, who we’ve kept in touch with over Facebook. His father is a well known photojournalist, so he’s following in his footsteps. Many of his pictures depict the Palestinian people and culture. We asked him if we could share some of his photos with you. So here are just two of them with his description: 

"A Palestinian refugee boy rides a cart in a road close to A’ida Refugee camp near the occupied Palestinian town of Bethlehem." Photo by Firas Hashlamoun/ ALWATAN Center.
"A Palestinian pottery worker is putting final touches on a earthenware vase at his pottery traditional factory in the Palestinian city of al-Khalil (Hebron), Pottery is a very ancient and traditional industry in Hebron. It has been known since more than 2000 years ago. However, nowadays this industry is almost wiping out as a result of the increased violence in the region over the last tow years, the pottery factory output has been reduced by almost tow thirds." Photo by Firas Hashlamoun/ ALWATAN Center.

We encourage you to reach and get to know those who may be out of your comfort zone. People of other cultures have so much to offer; we just have to be willing to learn. And you’d be surprised how much we have in common.