Today was one of the best tour days we went on during the whole trip. We started the day off by riding in the bus with some of the Israeli students to a kibbutz near Gaza. The first picture is of a memorial on the kibbutz for a man named Jimmy who lived on the kibbutz. Jimmy was hit by a rocket sent from Gaza and died in front of his wife. Jimmy’s wife and some of their children still live on the kibbutz while one of their daughters is now an activist for the conflict movement.
The second picture is of the woman who showed us around the kibbutz, the overlook into Gaza, and an activist in the Other Voice Organization. She is holding a children’s book which she was able to publish and gives to children in the area who are affected by the frequent rocket attacks. The book is meant to help children deal with the fear and pressure of the conflict. She is hoping to get books published that are geared towards Palestinian children. Her work and attitude was truly inspiring and gives me hope in the sea of chaos that is this armed conflict. As she said, “people are people everywhere.” Her main points were that children on both sides are suffering and it is unacceptable. She also pointed out how psychologically damaging the war has been personally on her children but other children as well. She gave the example of an Israeli soldier who would shoot Palestinian water tanks for fun even though those water tanks were the only way some families would have access to water. For the soldier, it was a game and fun. But for the people, shooting their tanks was devastating. It was truly a pleasure to hear from this woman and see the work she is doing on the ground with the threat of rockets blowing up at anytime around her.
The third picture comes from our other police guide named Lior. He showed us a stock pile of partial rockets and the remains of what was left from numerous rockets shot around his town. Because of the frequency of rockets in the area, the town has made bus stops into bomb shelters with most houses being equipped with shelters as well. Lior also spoke of the effect of the rockets on the children in the community and himself. Many suffer from PTSD or other psychological problems because of the fear and threat of rockets. Since Lior and his town are so close to Gaza, when the alarms go off they only have 15 seconds to get to a shelter. The picture shows a drawing from one of the kids in his town about his thoughts on the conflict. The drawing has a letter with it which is written to a Palestinian child about how they are not alone and understand the suffering they are going through. The child also talked about wanting to play with Palestinian children someday. Lior showed us this drawing at a local playground which has several bomb shelters in it for the kids when the rockets fall.
I think today’s trip was important and key to taking in all the information we have been learning. The trip today reminded us of who suffers the most through this conflict and that is the children on both sides. The tour today brought the important human element back to the topic. Today reminded me of who I want to serve and what I want to do after law school: children.