July 23rd, 2008
05:12 PM ET

Attack outside my window

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/23/art.bulldozer.jpg width=292 height=320 caption="An Israeli police officer stands next to a bullet-riddled bulldozer at the scene of an attack in Jerusalem, Tuesday"]
Editor's Note: Laura Weinberg was a former producer for CNN in New York. She is currently living in Jerusalem and shares this experience with us.

Laura Weinberg

I have started to tune out the sirens here. Yesterday was Tuesday, July 22, and for the first time I am working from Jerusalem. I just spent two days in our Ramallah office and since I do not have a direct ride to Jerusalem, I decided to work from home today.

Plus I need some time to decompress.

This morning, I wrote an email to two of my parents very close friends who are very knowledgeable about the current situation. As I was explaining to them via email why I was incredibly concerned about the state of Palestinians in the West Bank, the checkpoints they are encountering within the west bank, and the reasons why I was upset about the settlements, I did say that I understood that the separation wall has arguably caused a significant decrease in the amount of suicide bombers in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. I also recognized that I am luckily here in a relatively peaceful time, and as I said that, I knocked on wood…

I wrote this email from a Jerusalem Café. One of the branches of this café, Café Hillel, I was in just last Friday when I met up with Jordana and it was that branch in the German Colony that had been the target of a suicide attack several years ago. After spending three hours at the café, mostly doing work for g.ho.st, I walked around for a few minutes, decided to get some carrot and orange juice (boy if looks were ever deceiving, it’s disgusting!) and eventually made my way back to my apartment.

I was feeling restless, anxious, exhausted. But I also had this eery feeling that something may happen.
I sat down at my desk, logged back onto my computer. In the midst of doing work, while messaging with my mother, I heard sirens outside my apartment.

I heard more sirens.

And more.

A few minutes later my roommate came upstairs. “Do you know what happened?” she asked me.

It was then that I knew that the sirens this time were not to be ignored.

The copy cat suicide bulldozer attack was just a few blocks from my apartment. Luckily this time, no one died, just the attacker but 16 were injured. But the closeness of the attack was frightening.
Last night, before I went to bed, I was starting to feel more and more frustrated and had more and more questions for the Israeli government. Is it true that they are giving money and providing jobs for people to settle in the West Bank? If so, why are they doing this? Isn’t this antagonistic and just perpetuating violence? Why are they making it so difficult for Palestinians to travel within the west bank? Why should it take someone 5 hours to drive somewhere that should only take 40 minutes when it’s from one Palestinian town to another? Wouldn’t I be pissed if Britain came in and told me when and how I could get from New York to New Jersey? Shouldn’t Palestinians have equal rights? Should today’s generation of Palestinians suffer just because of the behavior in 1948 and 1967? And what is the actual history there? Do I blame today’s Germans for what their ancestors did in the 1940s? Is the sad truth that it really one or the other; if Palestinians are given equal rights, what will that mean for the Jews?

My bleeding heart liberal Fieldston education was going over and over again in my psyche. And as I was drifting off to sleep, starting to feel more and more sympathy for the Palestinians, the sad truth was that I knew if something were to happen that I would witness to Israelis, my thoughts would change again. It was similar to how I felt last week, when I went to Ramallah just to come back to Hezbollah celebrating the death of the IDF soldiers and the return of a child killer.

When I woke up 5 hours later to start my work day, I hardly felt rested. And after today’s attack, I feel even more unglued.

This morning, just before the attack my father sent this email to me.

“I do want you to relax and enjoy and realize you will not resolve this thousand year old problem in a few weeks.”

“Why not?” I responded clearly joking.

Then came the sirens.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Middle East • T1
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Ilhana, Bosnia

    Good point there about the fact that Palestinians were there before Israel was created, and that Israel is acting antagonistic. This problem is deep, however... it is a burning issue for the entire mankind, it needs to be resolved! Some things happen because people is revolted, other because... well, the urge to take someone's land.

    July 24, 2008 at 4:36 am |
  2. Annie Kate

    Ever since its establishment the citizens of Israel have never been able to lead a normal life without worrying about suicide bombers, attacks from neighboring countries, and the Palestinian problems. I often wonder why the Israelis can't live peacefully side by side with the Palestinians who were there when Israel was created in the late 1940s; perhaps there is not enough land but to me sharing the land that is there and being able to live peacefully without worry about suicide attacks and such from the Palestinians would be well worth the effort.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 23, 2008 at 7:56 pm |

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