Encounter 172 – 2.7.2021

Today, for one session, we changed the concept of the circle. The “circle” sanctifies the right of each and every one of his / her participants to express his / her opinions in an orderly and uninterrupted manner. Every opinion is heard and listened to and everyone is equal in front of the “circle”. The reference is to each person’s personal, private, human consciousness regarding Gaza and what it represents for him / her. A discourse of human beings talking about the plight of other human beings. Many times when people go into “political” diagnoses and such and such suggestions for resolving the conflict, we try to get them back to focusing on the personal, human aspect.
Today, two members of the Palestinian Authority came to the circle. Therefore and in accordance with the one-time opportunity to know more about what is happening inside, the circle briefly changed the concept, listened to their words and asked questions.
Rami, who led the circle, tried as much as possible to steer the meeting to focus on Gaza and what its residents are going through, but they expanded their words to conflict at all levels: history, Jews vs. Palestinians, Palestinians vs. Palestinians, West Bank and Gaza, PLO and Hamas, Israeli politics ets.
They talked about the process that the Palestinians went through in the various negotiations with Israel. About the long journey that the Palestinians have made in concessions with Israel. They said that the leaderships in Israel have no continuity in negotiations and every leader wants to start negotiations again … Olmert wanted to move forward This “game” strengthened Hamas in Gaza.
In their opinion, if workers went to work in Israel, it would weaken Hamas. In order to separate the Hamas leadership from the citizens of the Gaza Strip, they must be allowed to work in Israel.
Hamas is willing to make deals with Israel to maintain its rule and if in any way, there is a way to weaken Hamas Israel intervenes and interferes.
Hamas should be part of a Palestinian unity government, they say, it will weaken it. In 2017, Hamas accepted the principle of a Palestinian state within the borders of 1967. Sinwar said after the last war that they were ready to accept UN resolutions and join a non-violent popular struggle. If they were part of the government they would have an interest in keeping the agreements.
Israel, according to them, is not behaving properly towards the residents of Gaza.
One of the two is a native of Gaza and occasionally enters the Strip to visit his family. Hamas, in his opinion, is weakened in the face of Gazan public opinion and also religiously it is unable to force its opinion.
The world needs to “help” Hamas behave differently. And the authority needs to get it into the leadership. The Hamas leadership is drawn to different directions. Some are in favor of Turkey and Qatar, some are in favor of Iran and some are in favor of Egypt. But Israel is the main influencer on what is happening in Gaza. Many Palestinians in the West Bank do not know what is happening in Gaza … There are people in Gaza who burn themselves out of desperation. 54% Unemployment. They define UN aid as “nonsense.” Students who stop studying after a course or two, who can’t get married and many get divorced. There is no money. They need a livelihood and not donations. If there is a livelihood, it will also weaken Hamas.
The sons and daughters of Hamas leaders live in wealth.

We still have time… Ramy asks for “questions” and not “lectures” … We all have opinions and a desire to be heard, but today, as mentioned, it is different. Nevertheless, every questioner “avoids” a small lecture before the question comes …
Ya’ala says that Hamas today agrees to things it did not agree with in the past. She asks about the American hospital that is ready and not working … They say that because the hospital was built under the auspices of the American army in cooperation with the Israeli army, there are suspicions … The Qataris also built a hospital in Deir al-Balah.
Mark asks that they put a finger on one, precise point, which is the one that will make a change in the direction of peace.
They confidently state that once there is a government in Israel that will make the UN decisions, it will “break the plug.” The whole agreement is written and Israel must make a decision to implement it.
Hayuta wants to know how a teenage child feels in Gaza.
Guests say a young man, at any age in Gaza, does not know what his future holds. When they finished their matriculation it seemed that the whole world was spread out before them, today there is nothing. Parents have no certainty about what they can do to help their children and the children internalize the parents’ weakness and understand that in fact the decisions are theirs alone.
Jaber asks / slaps them and asks them to see some project that the PA did for the Gazans as it did for the people of the West Bank?
They answer that although the PA has done more projects in the West Bank, but also what still exists in Gaza, was established by the PA until 2007. The PA is limited because it does not control Area C. The economic investments need to be directed there. If you do not control your territory yourself, you can do nothing. they admits that disagreements within the PA also prevent project options.
Hanan asks whether the missiles fired by Hamas during the war gave the residents of Gaza satisfaction?
They say that because of Jerusalem, the last war was different. It united the people because of the shooting at Jerusalem. Finally, the “problem” was not only that of the Gazans. Not only are they suffering and the rest are not interested. This gave Hamas an advantage over the PA.
Dina asks why no more voices of peace are heard from the Palestinians towards the world and towards Israel.
They reply that they are working in every possible media to convey the “Voice of Peace”. Founded the “Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society” in 2012 after the UN recognized a Palestinian state. The Israeli government does not want to listen to these voices and only talks about aggression. The Israelis have created a wall that blocks the possibility of knowing. As a result, Israelis are not interested.
It is also difficult for them, in the Palestinian Authority, to act because the peace process (Oslo) has collapsed and this has severely damaged the credibility of the PA leadership. The power shown by Hamas brings more achievements …
Ya’ala says she heard that there was a plan to expand Gaza towards northern Sinai and some of Israel.
Answer: This is a program by Giora Island. But, in the whole Palestinian people, from end to end, there is agreement on the dividing lines of the Green Line with an exchange of territories of only a few percent. They do not agree to accept Egyptian territory nor will Egypt agree to give its territory.
Malki asks what happened in the unopposed elections and read that the percentage of support for the PA is zero compared to Hamas.
Guests say public opinion is constantly shifting. Hamas is still strong because Fatah is divided into three lists. But these results are temporary and if the PA succeeds in improving its achievements, it will be reversed.
Maharan asks about the position of a bi-national state or the transfer of the West Bank to Jordan and the creation of Gaza as a Palestinian state.
Their answer is that there are a lot of ideas. Gaza should be the model for reconstruction. There is no situation in which Jordan, with its internal problems, will return and take control of the West Bank. “We have received a country from the world and we will not give it up,” they say. The only other solution besides “two states”, is one state with equal rights for all. This is also the original PLO plan from 1969! But the Jews want a Jewish majority …
Nomika asks who is responsible for rebuilding Gaza?
They answer that Israel is the sole ruler of Gaza and the Egyptians also ask permission from Israel to open the border between them and the Gaza Strip. Egypt has very strict criteria for accepting Palestinians to move to its territory. Everything that happens in Gaza is an Israeli decision! They emphasize.
Ramy asks if they have any questions for us …
There is one question … “Are you willing to accept workers from Gaza to your communities despite the state of hostility and suspicion created today”?
Jaber answers first and says that this is an irrelevant question to the forum convened today in the circle, because it is a forum that will in any case support any fair initiative that will bring peace.
Uzi says “yes without a doubt”! Mainly for agriculture …
Shmulik: “Unequivocally yes. We live in a common space and we all need to share a livelihood”!
Nomika says that in the past she wrote to the heads of the regional councils in the area around Gaza, and begged them to accept workers from Gaza.
Rami tells the guests that he has great appreciation for the task they have taken on because they are operating in difficult conditions both with Israel and with the Palestinians. Here, in the “circle”, do not give up discourse and action for a better future. We are all similar in the desire to share and reflect ourselves. He asks, “You too will be our emissaries. If you have ever been in a circle you are partners. Tell the Palestinians you meet abut us.” Gaza, he continues, must not fall under the cynicism and struggles of the greed for power and power. There are a lot of people without horizons and hope and it is our and yours task to make the voice heard.
Hanan says that each side does not believe that the other side wants peace. “Please tell the people in Gaza,” he asks, “that for more than three years now a group has been sitting here talking and talking about Gaza.”
The guests say that they tell their people a lot about the desire for cooperation on the part of Israelis they meet. In Gaza, they are surprising, there is a greater desire for cooperation than in the West Bank and there are ideas.

In the shade of the pine tree, in a circle of school chairs, we sat with the guests:
Hayuta, Bella, Mark, Mark, Smadar, Malki, Dina, Roni, Yaela, Rami, Jaber, Shmulik, Oded, Yossi, Brian, Eli, Naamika, Hanan, Moshe, Uzi, Maharan, Nachashi, Shoshi, Nurit.
Rote: Oded