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Before setting off for my journey through Israel and Palestine I wanted first-hand accounts of life in this region. I have always thought it was not enough to read news articles and books and call myself ‘aware of issues’. Therefore, this episode is simply two people telling of their lives as they surround Gaza. Both of them have very different experiences as Roni is an Israeli who maintains friendships and volunteers with Gazans whereas Ahmed lives in Gaza, but they come to similar conclusions.
Below is the text from Ahmed Gamal’s story to help follow along. He wrote this last year when his frustrations were peeked by the war; there are minimal edits, despite his limited command of English, to preserve the authenticity of his voice:
In Gaza, Enough is Enough
In Gaza, there are many horrible and terrible stories which are kept in minds forever. Life in Gaza means a big casket with its nails running through the wood to stick to bodies.
The Gazan people omit the world “pain” from their dictionary of life, since they live in the center of a battlefield; people who survived from the previous war are waiting their role in the next war.
Just take this [simple story] of people’s suffering, when a patient and his wife entered Al-Nasser Hospital for eyes to check and have a surgical operation on one of his eyes; the doctors did everything for him using batteries as there is no thing called electricity in Gaza.
Another case: water which is sold to people as pure and healthy, but water stations sometime deceive people by adding chlorine for ordinary water which may cause diseases in some cases.
The cement is another horrible story which is sold in the black market by traders who look for wealth; each ton of cement costs 550 shekels, the real price, but traders sell it to people for 1500 shekels, so traders just want money, whether their people suffer or not.
All borders are blocked, only traders (imports) can go and come through these borders as there are investors, who collect a lot of money from the poor.
Troubles never end in Gaza. Briefly, Gaza is under a hard Israeli siege since 2007, and the wars which left behind thousands of victims, just because they live in this small place called “Gaza.”
I’ve witnessed it personally on my study tour in 2013, & his description is very apt – only it’s not only impossible to get out but also to get in, for people as well as badly needed goods. My group, though followed all regulations & demands by Israel, didn’t manage it in end.
It seems Gazans can’t be forgiven for voting for Hamas!