- Posted August 25, 2014 by
Eshkol Region, Israel
This iReport is part of an assignment:
New violence in Israel and West Bank
Friends Across the Border
You don't hear about it often. It's not easy to do. But there are friendships across the border. This is an interchange between two friends, on either side of the border. They are both frightened. The Israeli is scared for her friend’s safety. The Gazan is scared to be identified in any way, of interacting with an Israeli.
I am just an intermediary. My name is Adele. I live in a kibbutz on the border with the Gaza Strip. As I was running back and forth to my reinforced concrete safe room, when a barrage of 7 rockets within the space of 15 minutes caught me mid- shower, this interchange was going on in a virtual environment.
Arabs and Jews can be friends. People connect with people. These two met in the physical world, under very special circumstances. For a period of a few weeks, they were both plucked out of their usual realities and had an opportunity to get to know each other, as human beings, as mothers, as women sharing the same concerns for their families that women share all over the world.
Two women whom, under different circumstances (had they never met) might not care if the other lived or died. In even different circumstances they could be neighbors, consoling each other over a cup of tea. Unfortunately in the current circumstances, all they can do is communicate via What'sApp.
All that I personally can do is to try and get their voices out. Their names and professions have been obscured for the protection of the Gazan woman whose life would be in even more danger from Hamas retaliation than it already is from the Israeli bombings of Hamas targets near her.
Gazan woman: Hi, thank you so much for asking. I'm not sure if I can see myself ok, I lost my home, my family lost their home, and it keeps getting worse every minute..
Israeli woman: Thank god you came back to me. Is your husband ok?
Gazan woman: He's better now. The kids deeply traumatized though
Israeli woman: And do you have somewhere to stay? We are seeing terrible pictures
Gazan woman: I give them medicine to put them to bed because they wouldn't sleep at night
Israeli woman: That there is nowhere for them to go
Gazan woman: I'm moving between my friends' and my in laws
Israeli woman: People, I mean
Gazan woman: Yes
Israeli woman: Wow. Are you further away from the bombing, then?
Gazan woman: No I'm not
Israeli woman: So the Air Force are still bombing where you live/ Did your school get hit?
Gazan woman: Yes
Israeli woman: I guessed.
Gazan woman: Yesterday schools were supposed to start
Israeli woman: What is happening with that? I guess nothing, right?
Gazan woman: Here we go - A huge bomb right now as I'm talking to you
Israeli woman: Omg Food? water? Do you have enough?
Gazan woman: No. No electricity too
Israeli woman: All the time?
Gazan woman: Like 20-22 hours a day no power
Is there a message you want to give? I can publicly say something if you want
Gazan woman: I want this to end
Israeli woman: I know my love. So do we
Gazan woman: Gaza is already an un livable place, and they're making it even worse
Israeli woman: We people don't deserve this
Gazan woman: Waiting for death is so much painful than death itself. I wish I could get out of here
Israeli woman: Can you get to the field hospital that we set up? I wish I could get you out
Gazan woman: It's very far away
Israeli woman: The images we are seeing are very very frightening
Gazan woman: And that's not even the half of it
Israeli woman: I have many friends who care as much about you as I do
Gazan woman: I know
Israeli woman: One of them lives on a kibbutz right opposite Gaza
Gazan woman: And I'm very sorry for that little kid (Israeli boy who was killed)
Israeli woman: They have mortar bombs You also have terrible, terrible casualties
Gazan woman: Yes
Israeli woman: They (Hamas) are firing everywhere they like
Gazan woman: Many injuries, people losing parts of their bodies
Israeli woman: It's insane. I know. We see it all. I also get sirens as well
Gazan woman: It scares the shit out of me to think that my kids might end up like this
Israeli woman: The world has gone mad. Our kids are also going insane. The sirens scare them. We are supposed to go back to school next week.
Gazan woman: When I open the door my kids start screaming bloody murder. The slightest noise freaks them out
Israeli woman: Do you want to send ( people in Israel) a message? I want to let them hear a voice from Gaza. I won't name you.
Gazan woman: Yes I do
Israeli woman: I can also give it to (my children’s teachers) and my contact. I promise no name, no photo. Tell me what you want to say. I will tell the world
Gazan woman: I just hate this whole thing, kids shouldn't be killed like this, from BOTH sides. Yes sure…
Israeli woman: We do not hear enough peace voices from Gaza
Gazan woman: I really do (want peace)
Israeli woman: That's the problem. Some people believe they don't exist
Gazan woman: We both exist on this land, and it would be so damn stupid of either can live on it alone.
Israeli woman: It will be good therapy too
Gazan woman: Yes
Israeli woman: I'm praying for the day when I can see you.
Gazan woman: Me too
Israeli woman: I spoke to XXXX. (A mutual friend living on the West Bank) She is terrified
Gazan woman: Oh really
Israeli woman: That things will happen on the West Bank
Gazan woman: YYYY (Another West Bank friend) contacted me
Israeli woman: Yes?
Gazan woman: She was very supportive. I haven't heard from XXXX.
Israeli woman: She is scared
Gazan woman: That's the thing, I mean why can't they our people understand that we can be really good friends? Living by each other
Israeli woman: Extremism my love. She has the children of extremists in her (facebook) XXXX is terrified of contact even with me
Gazan woman: I do too That's why I can't add you on Facebook. I hope you understand
Israeli woman: I know and I do…I wish I could send you food or clothes for the kids
Gazan woman:Oh that's very nice of you. Thanks
Israeli woman: I did it for my son. They posted him near Gaza for a while. I would do it for you. My children are your children . The problem is that the UN are a bit... unreliable sometimes
Gazan woman:I know
Israeli woman: omg i cannot even begin to imagine your frustration and pain
Gazan woman:People are suffering here because of their unreliability
Israeli woman: I know exactly what you are talking about. Do you have the Red Cross there?
Israeli woman: Are they OK? Or the same as the UN?
Gazan woman: Kind of
Israeli woman: Hmmm
Gazan woman: They are limited too
Israeli woman: I understand you
Gazan woman: I tried contacting them, the thing is unless you are dead, or severely injured, they can't help
Israeli woman: Who is responsible for giving out food? The UN?
Gazan woman: Life of people is so cheap here. Yes the UN
Israeli woman: Do you manage to get out during the cease fires? I think it is important for you to write. As I said it is good therapy. Write as much and as many times as you like.
Gazan woman: I did once, I was going with my husband to get milk and diapers during a cease-fire, they targeted a nearby house and I was hit in the eye. I never went out since then
Israeli woman: I can't get you out but I can definitely make you HEARD. What we need now is VOICES, real voices that want peace and not death to either side
Gazan woman: Yes
Israeli woman: I just spoke to my friend who lives near you. She sends you her love.
Gazan woman: Oh please thank her for me
Israeli woman: I will. So go sit now and write something. I will edit this conversation and give it to her - no names, no pictures.
Gazan woman: Thank you
Israeli woman: It's very important. Describe what you see, what you feel, your kids everything
Gazan woman: Just pray for me to live enough to write
Israeli woman: I am praying and I KNOW you will live through this. Be strong and be in touch with me whenever you like.