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Two Lives, One Conflict

Every time Ruchie Avital gets in her car she's taking a stand. The drive, from Ofra the West Bank settlement where she lives, to Jerusalem isn't an ordinary commute.

"People have been killed on this road," she told CBS News Correspondent David Hawkins.

For seven months now, the Israeli highways that cut through Palestinian territory have been a shooting gallery. Two weeks ago, Palestinian gunmen shot and killed one of her neighbors.

"Now that it's over a week since the shooting there is a fairly high presence on the road," she said. "There are soldiers, even if I can't see them."

Still, says Avital, "It's very important to continue with our lives, to get up in the morning and go to work."

Rashid Hijazi lives in the nearby Palestinian village of Deir Dibwan. His commute used to take less than 10 minutes. That was before the Israeli military blocked the road.

"They had to build the new roads, bypass roads, for the settlers so they can move freely," he said. "We can't use these roads. It's closed for us — not allowed to drive on it."

Now, Hijazi takes the long way around the Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks. The drive along the bumpy back roads can take hours.

"You have to struggle to go to business, take your kids to school, to live your normal life," Hijazi said.

Hijazi and Avital's paths would cross each morning, if the Palestinian road weren't blocked.

Although they never meet, they are united: two people, on opposite sides of this conflict, whose daily lives are disrupted and often in danger.

"You're lucky to go to work for three, four hours and come back home safe," Hijazi said. "I think you'll be lucky to do that."

All Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip endure the hardships of Israel's "closure." But fewer than 3 percent of Israelis live in Jewish settlements there.

Most Israelis go about their lives more or less as usual, although security searches at shopping malls, movie theatres and grocery stores are routine. Avital says the extra burden settlers face makes it all the more important to bear.

"Our strongest weapon is continuing life and showing that we won't, we refuse to be beaten. We refuse to cower in fear," said Avital.

For Hijazi, enduring the daily commute is a matter of necessity.

"I will never give up because I have no choice. Where shall I go?" said Hijazi.

For now, the two will continue travelling their separate, troubled roads until Palestinians and Israelis stop fighting and find some common path to peace.

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