National Geographic : 1996 Sep
In a landscape soaked with fear-fear of Israel, of violence, even of the Palestinian police courage stands out. One of the bravest things I witnessed was the willingness of the Gaza fight ers to believe in peace. After the peace agreements hundreds renounced violence and kissed their guns good-bye (below). The jubilation didn't last long the Middle East peace process is like a roller coaster gone ber serk-but it showed that war riors can sometimes become men of peace. Israel's late prime min ister, Yitzhak Rabin, was that type of man. So is Yasser Arafat. Today in the Gaza Strip, as in the West Bank, many questions remain: Will Arafat be able to fight terrorism without stamping out human rights? Will Israel allow the Palestinians to achieve sovereignty or crush their hopes? As for the ones walking a tight rope-the people of an envi sioned Palestine and the people of Israel-wish them peace as they await their answers. 0 Learn more about the Gaza Strip at http://www.nationalgeographic.com on the World Wide Web or on CompuServe at GO NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC.