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    Posted August 19, 2014 by
    Gaza City, Israel
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    New violence in Israel and West Bank

    More from katiehuerter

    Two months ago in May, I was doing Dabke in Gaza with Palestinian youth- Today's current horror is a tragic contrast to this joy

    Two-months ago, I was in Gaza visiting our American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Gaza colleagues, students, activists and more, as part of our AFSC staff delegation. My experience in Gaza was life-changing and moving beyond words. My colleagues in Gaza and all of the wonderful young people we met with touched my heart and spirit in ways I will never forget.

    We all left Gaza in tears, tears for knowing how precious our time there was and tears for knowing that our dear Gazan friends and colleagues could not leave Gaza because of Israel's on-going siege. Everyone we met in Gaza amazed me and inspired me with their warm spirit, laughter, and unwavering hope that justice will prevail despite Israel's horrific on-going siege.

    Over the last month, most of these amazing people in the video have had to evacuate their homes, have had family and friends killed, and one of the students, Abdullah, who was participating in our "Palestine Youth: Together for Change" program, was killed yesterday by Israeli soldiers in Israel's assault on the Shujaiya neighborhood in Gaza. Abdullah was aspiring to be an international human rights lawyer and had a contagious smile that none us will ever forget.

    My heart breaks for Abdullah's family and friends and for all those in Gaza during this horrendous time. I pray that humanity's global conscience awakens and Israel's bombing of Gaza, murder of Palestinians, siege and occupation end soon, and that the people of Gaza can live their lives as human beings… laugh again, dance again, and follow their dreams in freedom, safety and peace.

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