Of three or four in a room there is always one who stands at the window. He must see the injustice among the thorns and the fires on the hill. So wrote Yehuda Amichai in 1958, and I have been feeling rather like the morbid observer who has wandered away from the warm company. The glass through which I gaze is far from the place that I lovingly and disquietedly see; I have to squint past the coercions of the media, and correct also for the distortions of solidarity. But in Israel now I see fires on the hill.
‘I’ve never been to Ramallah before,” one of the White House correspondents says, gazing out at the cold gray mountains outside Jerusalem. The walls and ceilings of the buses provided for the press are lined with strips of old shag carpet, and it takes two skinny Third-World-person-sized seats to fit a single network cameraman accompanying President Bush on the first leg of his pilgrimage to the Middle East. The printed sign in Hebrew at the front of the bus reads hebron.