GAZA 8-2016

Dear Friends and Supporters

After four very busy days in the West Bank it was time to head to the most special and
unique place in this world? no place like Gaza. This time I got the permit through WHO
in Gaza.

Arrived to Erez crossing at least an hour before its scheduled closure at 3:00 pm on
Friday. There were a lot of people coming in too but there was no line up in front of the
foreign passports booth ? soon I found out why; they don?t process foreign passports
after 1:00 on Friday!! Of course I didn?t see the logic of it when there were personnel
processing the Palestinian passports so I insisted on talking to the senior officer. I
explained that am a doctor and coming to work at Al-Ranteesi Children?s hospital. He
spent more than 20min on the phone with WHO to verify my story, to come back and say that

he couldn?t help me .. all personnel from ministry of interior went home.. Palestinian
passports were processed by the army! I begged? I yelled? but all in vain.

By that time, every one was gone. I took my bag and went back to the gate thinking how am going to find a taxi now to take me back to Ramallah. I found a driver who over heard my yelling and decided to wait -? As we were leaving, a car suddenly pulled over in front of
us. A man in civil clothes but clearly armed walked towards us. He said that he was head
of security and knew someone in the ministry of interior who could sort this out; ?don?t
go? he said. He took a picture of my passport on his phone with my permit number and
sent it to someone via WhatsApp then he talked on the phone for few minutes (I really
have to learn Hebrew) to say that they were going to send someone who lived close by to
let me in and I should go back to the terminal and wait there. Here I am again alone in
this creepy place.. watched by cameras in every corner.. I felt that they could count my
breaths! A women came.. obviously she was not very happy so she started questioning me
about me parents and where do they live and when did they leave Palestine?..etc? etc.
When I thanked the security man he said ? I am not doing this for you.. its for them..
there are some good people in there?!! I was about to say so why do you bomb them then
and kill their children but I decided to swallow my words for a change so I could enter
Gaza.

The Surprise

I started the long (about 2km) lonely walk to Gaza through the fenced path looking at
Gaza through the iron bars. Half way through, I was not alone any more.. stones where
coming in my direction and hitting the fence! Crowd of boys on the other side of the
fence were throwing stones at the soldiers in the watchtower behind me. They were part of
a wedding party! The groom was carried on the shoulders of his friends and they were
singing traditional Palestinian wedding songs!! The boys told me that he was a regular
stone thrower who decided to celebrate his wedding with his friends here to irritate the
soldiers! I got to the end of the fenced path? now am in Gaza.. there is another long
walk on a rough road to get to Hamas check point! The only car there was the groom?s
decorated car. The next thing I know, a young man put my bag in the trunk saying that
they would take me to Hamas checkpoint? I was just too exhausted to argue. I arrived to
Hamas checkpoint fashionably late! Where else could this happen other than Gaza!

Tomorrow I have a long day with the medical students at The Islamic University.

Till my next email, warmest regards from Falasteen

Rand

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