Encounter 176 -30.7.2021

As usual and as expected in this hot season, people rarely hike, certainly in the hot south. The meeting at our “Lighthouse” continues in its usual format and hopes for voices that will refresh the discourse. Today Racheli “refreshed”. She came with Malki. For the first time with us, and her curiosity about the sulfur plant, earned her and us a historical review by Ramy, about the history of the project and the space in which it resides. Of course, the lighthouse keepers have heard these things many times, but Ramy always adds details and creates renewed interest. Most of the conversation took place between Rami and me when Rami greets on the one hand my “eagerness” to expand knowledge in the history of the communities that live and struggle on the area and on the other hand Rami claims, I “choose truth” on the one hand and bring myself to “extremism” on the other. In the concept of “self-hatred” God forbidden… I argue that the “objective” approach, which holds that “both sides are guilty” or “subjective truth”, frees the claimant from significant criticism of the actions of the community to which he belongs and the attempt to present an impartial judgment in all of us is impossible. Values ​​are cast by which we judge human behavior.
Shmulik makes coffee and occasionally contributes his mind from a few meters away and decades of engaging in the regional / community conflict, and Hayut says we are all products of “indoctrination” that we absorb from the moment we are born…
Hanan arrives and follows. Malki and Racheli. For the last hour, Maharan is also joining. Hanan is practical and initiates a “circle” when he is the first speaker. He tells Racheli mainly about the essence of the “lighthouse” that was used and implemented by Rami about three and a half years ago as a response to his internal distress (of Rami…) and was joined by other residents from the Gaza area (this is the opportunity to wish Roni, who joined Rami from the beginning, complete healing and fast return to “service”). Hanan added in the context of Gaza, which this week caught sight of an article about two detention camps from Gaza set up in the early 1970s, in Sinai, to which individuals and families who were not well received by the sovereign were exiled.
Shmulik, as usual, describes himself as a “communist.” He is well aware of the fact that such a definition creates different contexts in each and every one. He is a resident of the area who hopes that life will change…
For Hayuta, Gaza is something she experiences as she walks the fields of her kibutz. Sees the houses beyond the fence and hears the muezzin calling. Says that the education she received at her parents’ home was humanistic and human-loving.
Racheli says that Gaza is a “terrible ghetto.” She feels helpless in her ability to help and when she thinks of the people there she “drowns in shame”. Can’t clear her conscience. Connected to the “bordergone” website. From her place of residence she does not see Gaza but Gaza for its sufferings, very present in her life.
Malki came so as not to disengage. Her persistence in being present at the Lighthouse is also intended to maintain emotion towards Gaza. Today Gaza is despair. The most optimistic thought is about what Gaza could be when she’ll allowed to live free…
Now Ramy. It begins with the effect of expanding the circle of consciousness, on expanding the circle of participants (and vice versa…) and seeks to listen to the area. In the context of Gaza, he speaks of two concepts, “curiosity” and “passion.” Born in front of Gaza and has been drawn out since childhood. Remembering himself wandering in nature. In his adulthood he was also a nature teacher and tour guide. He constantly added knowledge about history and the people who lived here. It took him a while to realize that parts of his story were missing. The rounds of violence are traumatic for him and that is what led him to sit here in the sulfur factory and invite friends to listen and talk. As a tour guide, he told about the factory in the historical context of the State of Israel. When he expanded the boundaries of his consciousness, he had already told about the enterprise in a spatial, historical, human context. Gaza is a place with the most impressive human story in human history. Gaza is a big story. Gaza is a meeting point that also has an opportunity. Tells about his grandfather who was an Ottoman, English and Israeli citizen in one lifetime! We, says Ramy, are in “fault time”… we can fix… It will happen when we are ready and mean it. He tells about the history of the structure of the sulfur plant, its establishment, operation and end. The population in Gaza changed very intensively, the Ottomans emptied it completely before the confrontation with the British and scattered its 45,000 inhabitants throughout the Ottoman Empire and the British returned residents to it after its conquest. Gaza was a meeting city, a transit city. Both in ancient history and to this day. A point in the space between the inhabited area and the nomadic area. The sulfur plant operated for perhaps five years. It was “born” following the First World War. The British camped here for a year and developed the area. There was a road to Cairo, there was a water line coming from the Nile! This is where the Ottoman rule ended. The British came with artisans. The geologist Williams smells the sulphur and discovered it close to the ground and pushed for the establishment of the plant. Sulfur is a sought-after commodity mainly for the rubber industry that was very popular before the invention of plastic… The British set up various factories in Palestine. here also. The space is exposed to trees and shade and in the center is a huge factory. Construction managers came from Gaza (Rashd A. Shawa). The British in thirty years created a huge revolution in the development of the region. The factory stopped working because of the German threat. Fearing a German invasion from Egypt, the British fortified the area with 15 huge army camps. Rami skips back to World War I: Only after the conquest of Beersheba and the collapse of the Ottoman defensive line, which also included Gaza, did the British feel secure in their control of the area and Balfour publishes his declaration of a national home for Jews in Palestine. The British return a population to Gaza. This is also the first “Negev” area that Zionism is beginning to settle. In 1946 the space is inhabited by agricultural farms and the factory strikes a whole mourning. Be’eri were integrated as another farm. The war of 1948 finds the area quite developed with roads and army and agricultural camps. The residents of the area called themselves Gazans (did not call themselves “Palestinians”). At the end of the war, the Egyptian army is gathered in Gaza and a buffer is stretched. Some wanted to move to the Egyptian side, some were deported there by the Israelis and some remained. The “Gaza Strip” was created. The Egyptians hold the Strip. The deportees were “stuck” in Gaza.

They thought they would return to their homes. In the meantime they are inhabited by the military camps evacuated by the British. There is no connection between Israel and the Gaza Strip between ’48 and ’67. The Strip has no way out and the population is increasing. According to Rami, the reality requires looking at Gaza not by finding “other” culprits, but by understanding that we are all to blame and to solve the problem we must understand that the Strip is small and unable to hold on. The dismantling of the borders will create initiatives for the industrial development of the region.
Maharan, who arrived during Rami’s “lecture,” says that in 1953 Nasser brought an Egyptian population to Gaza. Maharan says that the accent does not change and he knows how to identify Egypt among the Gazans…
Rami concludes by saying that along with the difficult conditions in which the Gazans live, there is, unfortunately, a loss of hope.

We were this time: Hayuta, Malki, Racheli, Shmulik, Rami, Maharan, Hanan, Oded.

Wrote: Oded.