American actress and activist Jane Fonda visited a refugee camp and a hospital in the West Bank on Saturday, capping a three-day visit to the region aimed at promoting peace.
Fonda, who was celebrating her 65th birthday, passed through a West Bank crossing point at Qalqilyah, trudging through mud and clutching a bouquet of red roses given to her by a Palestinian women's group.
She toured West Bank villages and nearby Israeli settlements and was led through a Palestinian refugee camp near Ramallah in a daylong tour by the Jerusalem Center for Women. Fonda also paid a visit to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat at his Muqata headquarters in the city.
It was the final visit of a trip organized by a global movement to stop violence against women. The movement, called V-Day, was inspired by the off-Broadway hit "The Vagina Monologues" and its playwright, Eve Ensler. Ensler accompanied Fonda and led discussions with Palestinian women.
"This is the focal point of so many conflicts," Fonda said. "Both sides aren't hearing each other's narratives, and maybe that's our role as artists."
Fonda and Ensler met with Fatima al-Kasba, 37, who lost two sons in fighting. Kasba said her sons, Yasser, 12, and Samer, 15, were killed a little over a month apart by IDF troops.
Later, Fonda and Ensler toured the Abu Raya Rehabilitation Center, where victims of violence and spinal cord injuries are treated and provided with physiotherapy.
Fonda, a two-time Oscar winner and fitness guru, said she had been to Israel and the West Bank in 1980, but what she saw today was dramatically different. She said she was most surprised by the number and proximity of settlements to the Palestinian population.
On Thursday, the American actress met with MKs Yael Dayan and Naomi Chazan in Jerusalem. She also visited Israelis wounded in suicide bombings who are recovering at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem.