I’m an American Jew. Palestinians Tried to Kidnap Me. Then We Became Friends.
As a young white man living in the West Bank, I found great sympathy with the Palestinian cause—even when a wrong turn during a riot nearly became a nightmare.
Photos by Steven Davidson
In June of 2014, Hamas operatives kidnapped three Israeli teenage settlers just outside the West Bank city of Hebron. Over the next two weeks, Israeli soldiers stormed through thousands of homes and businesses across the West Bank, and local Palestinians were barred from leaving Hebron.
A white American, I was living in the West Bank at the time, teaching English. On June 30, the boys’ bodies were found in a field near my host family’s home in Halhul, a village just outside the city, and a week later, the war in Gaza started in earnest. Each night, crowds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli Defense Forces at a checkpoint on the road from Halhul to Hebron. It was the only way I knew to get home from the city, so if I was in town when night fell, I stayed there, waiting in a café or a friend’s house until early in the morning when the fighting stopped.
On the night of July 14, I left a café in Hebron to walk home. I had a feeling that after so many nights of unre…