I informed my son that I would like to take him this afternoon to a solidarity trip to a place just outside Jerusalem called Sheikh Saed, which borders on the Arab village of Jabel Mukaber where the residents are Israeli citizens. I told him he will be with Jewish and Palestinian children learning to play the darbuka. He was apalled. "Palestinians? I'm not going to meet with Palestinians! Arabs ok, but Palestinians no." He couldn't verbalize what he meant, but I figured it out. He's figured out Arabs are a race/culture/people but when you say "Palestinian", it's more political, it seems more dangerous, it means the enemy, the ones you are afraid of. At least to him and a few others who haven't ventured to meet the other. So, I explained I wouldn't take him anywhere where it was even slightly dangerous, so what that he's missing a basketball game with his neighborhood friends. He said to me - I'll go if you give me $5." Sorry kid, your extortion fees are way too high. He thought about it silently. I could read his mind. It probably went like this - "OK, another rare afternoon out with mom, but then we're going to be with Palestinians, and that frightens me plus I'm going to miss that game with friends, but then again I'm never out with mom while she's working." In the end going out with mom won and my silent prayers were answered. The bus was full of Jewish kids mostly from ages 8 - 12 and my son began to feel less stressed. A couple of women sitting in front of me asked if they were on the right bus, probably thinking this was a camp bus, but no we're all going there. The purpose of this outing was to be in solidarity with the neighborhood (not a person) of Sheikh Saed as the wall will separate them from Jabel Mukaber, which is where their relatives are. They were always considered part of the main town, and 97% of the people work in Jerusalem, the children go to school in Jabel Mukaber and if the wall separates them, they have no way of getting their children to school, other than a two hour walk to Bethlehem each way. The roads that were built are totally useless and unsafe. They want to move the wall to just outside their village where they will be attached to Jerusalem. They don't care what ID they'll have, what passport they'll have, etc. They just don't want to be separated from sisters, brothers, and parents. We got to the village and went to the girls school where we heard a plea from one of the community's leaders. The younger kids went to learn darbuka, but my son went off to join a soccer game with about 10 Palestinian boys his age. When I went with the adults to visit with the residents in their homes, I asked if he wanted to come along. I thought he'd be nervous if he didn't see me, being he was in unfamiliar surroundings. No, he wanted to stay and play soccer with the group. I was thrilled. Muhammad, our host, took us up to his rooftop where he showed us the roads they are allowed to travel and the roads forbidden to them. Even as of now, they're not permitted entry into Jerusalem. He showed us documents and his id where it is clearly marked Jabel Mukaber - so Israeli authorities did consider this village officially to be a part of the bigger one. His wife is pregnant and has to walk a long, difficult unpaved road to get to the transit buses to take her to the doctor in another village. It's a mess and I hope that they do move the fence so that these people can be inside Jerusalem's borders. When we got back to fetch the kids, it took me a minute or so to find my son in the soccer crowd because the boys blended together so well.