Le Blanc, along with other members of the Fellowship of Reconciliation delegation, will be meeting with a number of different groups from both Israeli and Palestinian societies. The following is based on a their first exchange with university students.

In a meeting with Israeli students, they expressed both hopes for peace and despair at the prospects, especially in the last two weeks. When asked about the reported massacre in Jenin [West Bank refugee camp] by the IDF, Meron, one of the students, said, “I have a relative who is currently serving in Ramallah, he has to face every day the moral dilemma of how much to push Palestinians and obey the orders.”

Tova, another student, said she has a friend serving in Nablus who ignores her references to emotions and psychology of the situation. “Yes, my place is to criticize the occupation but not the people who are doing it.”

Both Meron and Tova expressed a hopelessness about the leaders in the Israeli government. Tova said, “We are not really represented and don’t have the right to be optimistic,” and Meron said, “Peace looks so far away though it is there.”

The two Israeli students expressed a hope that is also alive among Palestinians. Rafiq, whose family has lived for 80 years in the same apartment in the Old City just a few steps from where Jesus was said to be crucified, said, “I am hopeful there will be peace. No Muslims, no Jews, no Christians. We are all one people.”

Le Blanc will be in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel until April 28 and the World will run continuous eyewitness reporting on www.pww.org.