Guest author: Oliver Fink, University of Basel

Since two days, we are back in Europe.

We left when Israel as well as the Palestinian Territories are facing a dramatic situation – Corona is back worse than ever, a looming annexation only pushed to the background by more pressing health and economic issues, a prime minister facing criminal court soon and increasing demonstrations against him… Less visible, but still closely watched by the media, there is a tense standoff in Lebanon, Syria and Iran around Iranian’s nuclear program and its presence at the Israeli border. Saying goodbye to many – especially Palestinian – friends was only possible virtually.

In other ways, the situation is unfortunately still very much the same – a short time after we started with the research project over three years ago, a female border police officer, Hadas Malka, was killed by an assailant at Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate. Mirroring this initial incident at the beginning of our stay and many others during our time there, about six weeks before we left the country, an autistic Israeli-Palestinian man, Iyad Halak, was shot by border police near Jerusalem’s Lions Gate and it took the Israeli Prime Minister a full week to utter words of regret for the death of one of his citizens.

What will the future bring for so many Palestinian and Israelis? In one of our last hikes to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Battir with some of our Palestinian friends, we experienced – symbolically for our whole time in the country – the beauty and hospitality as well as the tensions and a splintered political geography… But again, so many sad goodbyes from dear Israeli friends can be mirrored in the gentle hospitality of proud ‘moshavim’ Gidon & Gila at the very beginning of our stay.

We have harvested olives with Palestinians and persimmon fruit with Israelis. Because besides the land, this is mainly about the relationships and identities that give the land its meaning. There is still so much work needed ahead, but at least we managed to understand the emotional dynamics behind incidents like the ones above a tiny bit better. And we are already thinking about an exciting next project…

This will be the last entry for our ‘Emotion Regulation’ Blog for the moment, but we will continue and possibly extend our work in ‘Career Transitions’. Working in the Middle East has been – in all hardship and sometimes tragedy – a fascinating and worthwhile vocational adventure and we wanted to share with you as well the implications from a more work-related perspective.

Find out more under … https://enkeltauglich-wirtschaften.ch/career-transition-1/

See you down the road sometime, Ma Salama & Lehitraot.