Encounter 215 – 22.4.2022

Beneath the eucalyptus tree, which overlooks the plant to the south, sits a couple on “our” chairs. Two pairs of bicycles on the trash can. Nahshi immediately invites for coffee. Enter, arrange a circle and in the process arrive two more cyclists, a father and his 15-year-old son. So it turns out that even before coffee, there is already a “circle”.
Eldor was an army officer and served in the area and this is one perspective he has on Gaza, through the military binoculars and rifle barrel. His second point of view, more compassionate – The situation there is one of helplessness. They gathered there because no one wanted to receive them. There is disregard for Gaza because it is not anyone’s problem.
Louisa comes from Colombia. She speaks English and Spanish and luckily we have Moshe, a native of Argentina who will translate for us and her. Louisa is studying psychology. Colombia has a constant state of internal war because of which other conflicts and external issues are pushed aside. The school has a loose reference to our conflict, but in her opinion it is on a religious rather than a political background.
Segev (15) says that as long as there is no escalation and warming in front of the “Strip”, he does not think about Gaza. If there is warming should respond but not too hard. He knows life there is hard but does not think about it
Honen, Segev’s father, says he has had a long “affair” with Gaza since he was a teenager and visited Khan Yunis. A traumatic visit at the sight of deep poverty. In the army he did a lot with Gaza. In 2014 he was in the area but did not “enter”. Two years ago during the balloon era he was also in “employment.” He has a dream that one day he will return to Gaza and see a different picture from the poor one. His family maintains contact with workers who worked with his father. Dreaming of another reality where he is sitting on the beach in Gaza. Remember them as “wonderful people.”
Shmulik knows Gaza from before. Traveled a lot to the sea and was in contact with workers, a family of Bedouin who were thrown into Gaza in 1953. The border then was a furrow and then a one-wire fence. They worked with him in the barn for many years. Were part of the fabric of life in his place. Knew them from a young age until they became grandparents. These days, a TV show about Israelis evacuation from Sinai at 1982 has been broadcast. Shmulik understands their pain but is also angry at the disregard for the fact that in order to make room for them in an area called the “Yamit region”, hundreds of local farmers who grew vegetables in growing pits were expelled and their growth pits were covered. The cover and deportation that Smulik saw with his own eyes. He says that a state of hopelessness does not lead to a good place, so it is good that workers have recently been allowed to go out to work and earn a living.
Cyclists rush back to Be’eri because the bikes are rented and need to be returned on time.
Rami and Rotem (his son) arrive. Since at the moment the circle contains only “constants” and I know that Rami has arrived for a short time, I ask him to share with us more of his knowledge of our space. Rami chooses to tell about plans he took part in the wake of the Oslo Accords. Plans to develop ties with the Palestinians as part of the agreement. Plans that were “born” following the Oslo Accords and also perished with them.
I will summarize:
In the Oslo Accords, we built a plan for regional cooperation between Israel and the Gaza Strip. They did not talk about “returning territories” but developed models such as the “safe passage” between Gaza and the West Bank, for example. There was a plan for an open canal that included a two-lane road and a train, with passages above it. A second less popular program, was a safe passage as a bridge – an overpass.
There were talks of renewing the railway line through the Erez crossing to Egypt.
A diplomatic crossing into the Gaza Strip was planned in the “Black Arrow” area, near Mefalsim.
The Karni crossing was supposed to be a huge terminal for goods that had even been built, and then dismantled and blown up in 2010.
A huge water reservoir for agriculture in Gaza was planned on the channel of the Besor River, after the Gazans claimed that the Israeli reservoirs along the river deprive them of water for agriculture.
Near Kissufim, on both sides of the border, a large hospital was designed, mainly for maternity.
Near Sufa, a reservoir of aggregates was designed to be transported in long conveyors to the other side, with a magnetic scan that detects metals, so that no weapons would be transferred to them. The planning was not carried out.
Today there is a goods crossing at the Kerem Shalom crossing. It was designed for passenger passage only, also because of the proximity to the airport in Dahania. An airport that has since been bombed and plowed. (Due Diligence: I fantasized about flights from there to Sinai and Europe. Oded.)
These were the plans in the mid-90s of the last century.
Rami and Rotem travel. Tzafrir and Ayala arrive and we continue “circle” after my explanatory remarks.
Moshe shares the feeling of some of us. We are neighbors and my good is related to the good of my neighbors and vice versa. Moshe does not like the term “Gaza Envelope”. This area has value and history. He is afraid like everyone else of the rounds of violence, but at the same time thinks of the Gazans as well.
Ofek came because here he first heard talk in human terms about Gaza. Keeps coming for the same reason.
Omer came for the same reasons that Ofek came. Before getting to know the Lighthouse, he had mostly heard talk of violence in the context of Gaza.
Tzafrir says that Gaza is a very, very difficult sight to face Israel. Familiar with Gaza from other periods. We and the Strip is a vicious circle of a lot of pain. Later, after hearing more people in the circle, Tzafrir said that he suddenly understands the meaning of the question “what is Gaza for you” – suddenly Gaza arouses new thinking in him.
Ayala said that in the kibbutz where she was born and raised, there was a worker from Gaza named Hassona who “managed” all the maintenance on the kibbutz. Her father had a very good relationship with him. Ayala says that during the “rounds” in front of Gaza, she felt real physical pain. Feels “bad” in the sense of state acts being done (also) in her name. It saddens her that something in her was blocked for this pain after more and more rounds.
Jaber recounts the meaning of life in an unrecognized village and also the recognition that there are even those who suffer more. Gaza for him is a common neighbor, space and language. In Gaza, he used to be at sea and sit in restaurants. Jaber is taking a mentoring course. Adds from the knowledge he has acquired about the area in which we are. The factory was established on the plot of Nimer al-Wahidi, he says. A British officer saw sulfur after the First World War, but it was not until the 1930s that land was acquired for the establishment through the mediation of a-Shawa, the mayor of Gaza and its wealth. The plant ceased to operate shortly after the Second World War.
Hanan came because of the kites. Almost 3 years ago there was a kite event and Hanan, who loves and builds kites came because he was upset that the kite was used for inappropriate purposes. On that visit he met us and the rest is history. Later, Hanan created the kite that is placed in the background, inspired by a photograph in which a girl in Gaza is seen painting on a star-shaped wooden board. Hanan loves the conversations on the various topics that they respect, interest and preserve the hope for something good. Gaza is a painful place in our being, he says. We sometimes feel and sometimes ignore. Hanan says that Roni’s operation, during which a piano was transferred for a young man studying music, is a symbol for him. On the one hand a noble act and on the other an inconceivable reality of poverty symbolized by only 2 pianos within a population of over 2 million people. He comes to the “lighthouse” also because in the structure of the circular discourse there is no arguing. Everyone says their opinion without interruption and people come out with a conversational experience.
Mary came following Hanan’s blog. She is here because of the friendliness and listening that is very rare in our places. Gaza is a complexity that attracts it.
Nahshi was born and raised here while it was still possible to meet and meet Gazans. Came to maintain a spark of possibility that would be different. Remember that these are people on both sides who are harmed and disturbed by this situation. He always comes out of here with new insights and a kind of therapy.
We were this time: Eldor, Louisa, Honen, Segev, Hanan, Moshe, Ofek, Omer, Oded, Jaber, Mary, Nahshi, Shmulik, Rami, Rotem, Tzafrir, Ayala.
Wrote: Oded