I used to hitchhike from this spot, when I was living at an oasis near the Dead Sea, oh, twenty some years ago. I used to go anywhere, hike and travel alone or in a small group in what is now a complexly dissected Palestinian territory, and was then just called “occupied territories.” I was an Israeli nature guide, walking the land of her ancestors, and introducing its nature and history to others, mostly Israelis and Diaspora Jews. I saw the Palestinians I encountered, both as persons and as a people, but I didn’t completely see them, at least not as equals with whom I share a home. Through immigration, education, and especially encounters with Palestinians, my mental map has changed, and continues to evolve.

This place was desolate then, a T-junction, north towards Jericho, west to Jerusalem, and east, and soon enough south, towards the Dead Sea. I loved taking groups to Jericho- the lush and sleepy town – with its Biblical, Herodian and Hashemite archeological sites, unique Coptic and Greek monasteries, little market, and natural springs of fresh water nested between Papaya and citrus trees.

I can no longer go to Jericho. In 2000 the Israeli government issued a law preventing Israelis from entering the “A” areas, which are under the Palestinian Authority’s control. Palestinians can no longer go to Israel without special and rare permits, and as a result we can no longer meet each other.

The junction now has a little row of stands selling ceramic pots and glass bowls. I gaze north to the green spot Jericho is. I sigh. I turn around and aim my camera south, and take this photo.