Encounter 255 – 27.1.2023

On the way we try to guess what will be the effect of the difficult event in Jenin and the reaction from Gaza to the arrival of travelers when in front of the temptation of green nature dotted with red anemones.
We were surprised to see at first sight the car park near Be’eri full of vehicles.
At second glance, the majority are transport vehicles in the service of the army…
On the winding road to the sulfur plant, there are few vehicles, mainly on their way out, as well as a group of cyclists. The Nachbir parking lot is empty, both the sulfur factory area and the “storage” of the chairs… Three chairs were thrown from the ramp and fell apart, and about ten more are in a semi-circle around the remains of a campfire about a hundred meters from the building.
When we finished collecting the chairs, the coffee was already ready and two guests were sitting: friends of Ofek. They have been before. ATV travelers. They stayed a little, didn’t drink or eat and left.
Jalal, who came with six of his children, also stopped out of curiosity, but the shyness of his children made him continue. Was invited in the following days, but replied that Fridays are dedicated to children.
Malki and Bella arrived at the same time as a group of young people who are staying in a kibbutz in the area for a year of service. I open a circle and Malki continues.
Malki: You can dig into a bubble at home or try to influence. Living close to Gaza raises awareness of it, there is more need to know, even if nothing can be done. There are people there who live near me and they are suffering when I can do what I want. The situation is unbearable, Malki adds, and out of desperation, she chooses to come here. If everyone does a little maybe something good will happen.
Shmulik, a communist, has lived here since the mid-1960s. He knows all the upheavals since then. Gaza is a hybrid creature. The Egyptians, the Gazans themselves and Israel, are complicit in the situation there. The fence is massive and hermetically sealed. For some people there, it’s literally a prison. The response from Gaza to yesterday’s events is minor due to the workers going to work. Shmulik tells the young people about the 11 points (settlements established in one night, Yom Kippur 1946 under the noses and against the will of the British), about the sulfur factory and the use of sulfur. Shmulik considers the closure of Gaza an international crime, the exposure to the strength of the Israeli army is intolerable. The area was different and then personal relationships were also formed.
Roy says that Gaza is the biggest prison in the world. A lot of helpless people. Dependent on the State of Israel which restricts them and controlled by Hamas.
Omer says that for her Gaza is a complex. don’t know enough – Want to know.
Lotem sees Gaza as people who were born into a sad reality. In the bubble she lives in, Gaza is considered a burden.
Mika points out that a few days ago she entered Instagram and was interested in Rafah. She didn’t understand anything, but she saw that there was some kind of normality there too. In reality the situation is horrifying. It shouldn’t be like this.
Moshe came to the conclusion that he does not know Gaza that well even though he has lived close to it for many years. Now he is learning about the conflict at the university and realizes how much he doesn’t know… to quote in one sentence, he says, everything is close in this country and the situation is a mirror image. Each group sees the same thing but in reverse. As we were privileged to meet with Gazans in the past, we will be able to increase the circle of meetings today and in the future. For him, precisely the disagreements make the dialogue interesting. Tell your friends to come, he asks the young people.
Dandan thinks that they, in Gaza, are very poor. He doesn’t have enough knowledge. A solution is needed, he says. The people there, got into a situation against their will.
Uri can’t find another word except ghetto. A cruel and violent rule inside. suffocated from the outside. And they have no choice. Watch a podcast about life in Gaza and realize that they are very limited.
Gaia thinks a bit like Omer… doesn’t feel like she knows enough. great sadness Gaza is “different” and not good.
For Noa, the image of “ghetto” comes to mind. But it’s not like the Holocaust. And yet it’s sad because it happens really physically, and with that, far from consciousness. They don’t talk about it at school and it’s sad.
Bella went through the Holocaust and survived. Proud of building the generations it has endured. She didn’t think that the country she built would behave like this to her neighbors. She made a vow as a child that she would never close her eyes in the face of injustice.
Nahshi knew Gaza as a child as a place of infiltrators and hostages. One day his father took him to an observation tower in the kibbutz and he showed him Gaza through binoculars: people riding bicycles and normal lives. Then there was a war and suddenly, Gaza is here. In 2006 – disconnection and again disconnection and distance. When he reached the lighthouse he realized that it was close to us again and only a thin line separated. Sees fields and farmers like him and yet, these are two different worlds. The feeling that something was wrong and wrong grew stronger in him. He does know how we ended up in this situation, but the episodes sharpened for him the injustice and illogicality of the situation. That’s why he comes here. On the way you meet people and meet interesting points of view.
Na’ama: Gaza is something that is mixed with fear, guilt and survival. It is a place that has always been present to her and she grew up with the stories. She didn’t go there because of her father’s ideology and her mother’s fear.
Dan says that he hardly gets to think about Gaza. Now he is in a state of service near it. Sad for them for living in such a reality. But there is a desire on both sides to live well. If Dan is in the army and has to go in, he will go in with all his might. And, it is important to understand more.
Giora – a photographer – came later. There is a plan to come next week with a group of amateur photographers that he is a guide.
This time we were: Meitav, Uri, Jalal (with 6 children), Giora, Malki, Bela, Moshe, Nahshi, Shmulik, Michal, Shelli, Roy, Omer, Lotem, Mika, Dandan, Uri, Gaya, Noa, Na’ama, Oded.
Written by: Oded.