About 20 km north east of Nablus you enter the Palestinian section of the Jordan Valley. You immediately notice the change in the scenery. It is lush; flowers and greenery coat the ground.
A few kilometers west of the Jordan River, it is one of the most fertile pieces of land in all of Israel and the Palestinian Territories. And it shows.
Agriculturally, this should be a big money maker for Palestinians. However it is a Zone C area, under complete Israeli control, and settlement building added to severe restrictions on Palestinian farmers have drastically affected their ability to grow and sell their produce.
We are on our way to visit with an American pediatrician who has spent the week visiting camps and schools in the area.
The area is littered with check points and they are not friendly. Our taxi drops us off ahead of one which we have to cross on foot before he picks us up again on the other side.
We are called over one by one. I make my way through the medical detector forgetting to put my bag on the little table alongside and am startled by the loud buzzing sound. Three IDF soldiers with M4s stand to one side checking passports.
A blonde with a buzz cut and a harsh accent takes my passport. I stare down the barrel of his rifle which is pointing straight at me about 2 inches from the top of my abdomen. I wouldn't put him at older than 19.
'Ah, you are from England.' He laughs, though I’m not sure why.
Many foreigners come to this area as volunteers, building houses and sleeping in camps that are in danger of being bulldozed to make way for settlement building.
'How is it?' I have some trouble deciphering what he’s saying.
'Cold.' I reply with a smile.
Check points are generally manned by young people going through Israel's compulsory military service. They are posted around the territories and have to stand around all day with very little to occupy their time and minds other than passers through.
Bored young people with guns. Never a good combination I think.
Nevertheless, we are allowed through without delay and continue on our journey.
We stop off at what is the oldest building in the West Bank dating back to the Ottoman Empire. It is being rebuilt by volunteers in association with a local solidarity charity. It will one day be a community centre, free for all.
It is beautiful. The rebuilding is being done in the traditional way and I hope they achieve their goal.
The volunteers who come here also spend their days making bricks out of mud and clay. The idea is that these bricks are easy to make and easily replaceable. So when cities and camps are knocked down, they can be rebuilt again quickly and at little cost.
We make our way to a small city to visit one of the schools. A number of children with learning disabilities and health issues have been marked out by teachers for Dr. Barbara to examine.
The kids are friendly and boisterous. We sit them down at a table and I throw each one my sunglasses as we try to ascertain if any have any severe difficulties with motor abilities.
Dr. Barbara says that most of the children she has seen in the area are quite healthy and most of the cases she sees that day are related to children whose learning difficulties are related to untreated hearing and vision problems.
As we make our way back to Nablus I am taken by the beauty of the landscape that surrounds us. It looks so different to anywhere else I have been in the West Bank. Flowers grow untamed and the quiet roads are surrounded by farms and trees.
So many facets to this place. Not only its history and people but also the land itself. So much promise to this land.
The things it could be...