The Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem is where School of Nursing students take classes abroad and attend clinicals. On Wednesday, it became the hospital that treated the injured from the first bombing in the city in four years.
Nursing junior Margaret Haviland was in the hospital when the bomb struck a bus station across town on Wednesday afternoon. She is one of four Penn nursing undergraduates currently studying abroad at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
“Our instructors here called us to see where we were and make sure we were okay,” Haviland wrote in an email. “We ended up going to one of their houses ... [The instructor] said that for Israelis, this is a normal part of life.”
It is not yet clear who was responsible for the bomb, though speculation that Palestinians may have been behind it was fueled by the death of four Palestinian citizens in an Israeli airstrike the day before.
However, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has since denounced the bombing.
Such an incident “isn’t something that people want happening, but it doesn’t shock and shake them the same way that it can for people who haven’t been desensitized,” Haviland wrote.
The students abroad have already received safety information, Penn Abroad director Barbara Gorka wrote in an email.
“The students have been advised by Hebrew University to avoid Palestinian and Arab neighborhoods and to exercise caution in the Old City” section of Jerusalem, Gorka explained.
Increased transportation precautions for students have also been implemented.
Students plan to take their own precautions but to continue life as usual.
“Although I will continue to go to classes and travel throughout the country, I will be more vigilant,” by avoiding especially crowded buses when possible, Nursing junior Rebecca Berger wrote in an email.
Both Haviland and Berger expressed a sense of preparedness for the prospect of a terrorist attack before studying in Jerusalem.
“Two years ago the nursing program was cancelled, and before coming, I knew that our program could be cancelled as well depending on the political situation,” Berger wrote.
“In Israel, you have to be alert at all times that something could happen, but it is important to still live your life,” she continued.
The bombing points to a troubling sign of a regression in Israeli-Palestinian relations, said Roger Allen, chairman of the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations department.
Given that there seems to be no viable middle-of-the road solution that can appease both Israelis and Palestinians, everyone — including the United States — has “given up on the discussions,” paving the road for extremists from both sides to take center stage, Allen explained.
The bombing on Wednesday can mark the beginning of a “tit-for-tat process, where everyone gets reprisal for previous actions,” Allen said. “That’s what really saddens me immensely, that we’re going back into that frame.”
Campus groups expressed similar dismay in response to the bombing.
Penn for Palestine Vice President and College freshman Omar Kalouti expressed sadness at “the injury or death of innocent people, whether caused by the Jerusalem bombing or by Israeli raids on Gaza.” He added that “we condemn the use of violence against civilians on both sides.”
Penn Israel Coalition President and College senior Evan Philipson hopes for no escalation of the conflict as a result of the bombing.
Israelis get “used to this kind of thing — not in a good way, but you deal with it and carry on,” he said.
Haviland believes that both sides must change perceptions of each other before a solution can be reached.
“There is no way that peace will ever be made between groups when there is so much hate planted, nurtured, and propagated among the people of both sides,” she wrote.Comments powered by Disqus
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