EREZ CHECKPOINT AND SDEROT
Our eyes saw the checkpoint for people crossing from Gaza to Israel. Of course, it is more than a simple checkpoint (can such a thing be simple?), it is a massive stretch of buildings containing Israeli intelligence offices, interrogation rooms, detention cells, and who knows what else.
There were few people there outside, but I saw a ‘memorial’ of sorts - a large cylindrical water-type tank lying on its side, at each end, painted on concrete walls, what appeared to be the twin Towers, at one end they stood untouched, at the other they seemed broken and falling. Around the base of this ‘memorial’ was barbed wire, and it all spoke to me of the fear, the violence, and the hatred that provokes the seemingly unending barrier between these peoples. It felt like we were being watched, but at the same time it was as though we stood at the end of the world. There was a deathly silence.
Next, we went to the home of Nomika Zion, an Israeli woman and longtime resister living in an urban kibbutz in the “ordinary” Israeli town of Sderot. We heard her painful stories of how the separation from her neighbors in Gaza began and proceeded. She told of how the bombing, the missile attacks, the state of ongoing anxiety has driven people, families very nearly crazy. Her town had become, since 2011, the unfortunate target of Hamas mostly because the Hamas missiles usually couldn’t reach further into Israel.
We had seen the numerous missile shelters beside bus stops and other public buildings, but she spoke of safe rooms in her and her neighbors’ homes. If and when the sirens went off, during the night or the day, they had maybe 15 seconds to get to the safe room.
This continued till 2014, when Israel attacked Gaza so severely that now those men, women and children are too desperate for water and food, barely surviving, that there are seldom missiles.
Despite isolating herself from many of her Israeli friends, she was one of the founders and has been active in Other Voice protesting the horrendous occupation by the Zionist State of Israel, especially the inhumane treatment of Gaza, making it a virtual open-air prison.
People in Gaza are near starvation, without adequate potable water and severely limited power.