Northern Israel, near the Lebanese border. October 1995. A pit stop. We were warned not to take photographs of the soldiers in the area, there had been incursions across the border and people were jumpy, but this one - so young - seemed open and friendly so I took the risk. I gestured with the camera. Would he mind? He smiled and I pressed the button.
It was what passed for a time of hope, the narrow window of one year between the signing of the Oslo accord between Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin and the death of that hope by assassination a few weeks later in the November. Even then, in the best of times relatively speaking, there seemed to be little optimism. Just a sense, at least among the Israelis that we met, that it couldn't work out, that the enmity on the other side was too deep. That it would always be like this. We had sat next to a Palestinian doctor on the plane from London to Tel Aviv and he spoke with quiet bitterness about a life in exile. He was equally pessimistic.
This isn't a political post about Israel and Gaza, though heaven knows I have my own opinion.
I had a CofE education. These days forgotten snatches of Old Testament verses float back into the memory.
The Lord hardened Pharoah's heart.
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
A hard heart.
Not a refuge, not a defence. Not at all. A place of danger.