The Only Beach Where Israelis and Palestinians Tan Together

Sep 02, 2014 at 10:21 AM ET

On the northern tip of the Dead Sea—the lowest place in the world—the only territory battles between Israelis and Palestinians fight are over where to throw their beach towels. The two groups are usually divided by Israel’s wall, and a mutual animosity, but Kalia Beach is one of the only places in the region where the two groups meet, bathe, and sun together in peace.

Granted, interaction between the two groups may be sparing. Nonetheless, the mood along the waterfront is relaxed and peaceful. “This is proof that the people themselves can get along fine,” says Ezra, an Israeli from Jerusalem and a Kalia regular. “There are no problems, no friction. Everyone just has a nice time. It’s the politicians who make all the problems.”

Peaceful as it may be, politics is still in the air. “This is Palestinian land”, says Yasser, a Palestinian from Ramallah visiting the beach with two friends. Indeed, the beach lies on territory occupied by Israel in 1967 and is still under military control. “It’s important for us to show our presence here, in this settlement, even if we don’t feel so much like talking to the Israelis”.