Womens' Voices in the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Mar 26, 2020
Women's Power Israel


The interviews that brought up in this post are from the intuitive project of Political is Personal Israel+Palestine (http://www.politicalispersonal.org/).

Political is Personal envision a world where women’s voices are essential in conflict zone. The project collect and report about numerous personal stories and perspectives from Palestinian and Israeli Jewish women.

Through this post I want to promote human authentication, compassion and encouragement towards women who live in conflict zone.

THERE IS NO POLITICAL AGENDA BEHIND THIS POST. It’s purely to demonstrate to the rest of the world women’s day to day struggles, hopes and dreams.


Her Story – Basma (#46)

I am 22 years old. I have a Bachelor's degree in English literature from the Islamic University of Gaza. I also work in an organization that helps people and deals with women’s issues.

I am also a writer at the We Are Not Numbers project, which includes stories about people [living in Gaza], and in addition to this, I am an English teacher.

"While I am graduating"

Basma.jpeg

I enjoy life here a little bit, although we don’t have much electricity. It lasts only four hours [daily], which makes it difficult to work regularly. The lack of electricity is a big problem here. We suffer from this issue, but we can deal with it.

Here in Gaza you can say that our dreams are not that big. All the youths want to travel and get jobs, but here in Gaza the job situation is very difficult. For me, personally, I hope to get a very good job and to have a better life.

Although it’s not always possible for people living in Gaza, we can do what others can’t do. What I mean is that although there is a conflict and wars, we can deal with different issues. We find jobs, and we have families. We live our lives. People here have temporary jobs, have families, and deal with the most terrible and harsh experiences.

The Palestinian community in Gaza is full of very close families—we’re like one unit. Personally, I think the emotional connection makes us more united, and because we can’t go anywhere or travel.

"This a picture of my destroyed neighborhood."

Gaza.png

I think that people who live outside [of Gaza], not all of them though, but most of them think that Palestine or people who live in Palestine are just numbers. I think they don’t care about our cases or about people who die in every act of aggression that Israelis commit. They just rely on words that they hear and see on TV or in the media. They don’t do anything other than that.

It is important for the world to hear our voices. At We Are Not Numbers we write real human stories about what happens in Gaza, and that’s important. We are human beings, so our stories need to be told.


Her Story – Lilach (#16)

For me, Nirim is a combination of heaven and hell. I have a lot of friends here, and it’s the best place to raise children. It’s not noisy like Tel Aviv, there is a good community, and I am very involved here. It’s my home. The entire kibbutz is my home. I know every person, and I have so many memories here. On the other hand, it’s a minute from Gaza. For me, it couldn't get worse than that.

I have a memory from when I was a child of my father taking me by the hand and walking out to the kibbutz’s perimeter fence. All you could see were the dark fields and the lights from the Gaza Strip twinkling on the horizon. I thought that I would do the same with my children, but when it gets dark, I only manage to get as far as my neighbor's house and back.

 “From when the war began: We are all in our ma’mad [abbreviation in Hebrew for “apartment protected space”] together. With the continuation of the war, we flew to Thailand for our honeymoon.”

Lilach.jpeg

We have the Tzeva Adom [“Red Alert”] app, and two weeks ago at one o’clock in the morning it began ringing. My baby was sleeping next to me, so I instantly took her and pulled her towards me. I didn’t know the alert was for Ashkelon.

You think about it all day. Every house in Nirim and in the entire area, has a safe room, and usually the children sleep in the safe room. That’s how it works. Now all three of us sleep in the safe room, so if something happens, we are safe.

However, qassamim [qassam rockets] and tunnels are two different things. You get used to the rockets, but tunnels are something new, and scarier. As soon as a qassam rocket explodes, the danger is over. If there is a tunnel, terrorists could come out of the tunnels and into our kibbutz, which scares me. There won’t be any alarms; you will hear shooting. They will kill everybody they come across—until we kill them.

“This picture is from my wedding. It was supposed to be in Nirim, and we changed in the last minute because of the security situation.”

Lilach 2.jpeg

I was raised on a song that someone from Nirim wrote. Every year at kibbutz celebrations, we sing this song (just like we did in the sukkah [temporary hut constructed on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot]). The song addresses how one day the people of Gaza and the people who live in Nirim will be able to interact, to be friends, to sit together, to work together, and to go to the sea together.

Then came the qassam rockets and tunnels, and we were hurt physically and mentally. I began to feel a lot more right-wing than left-wing. Sometimes when we say that all of them should be taken to the ocean, it’s not because we are bad people, but because we are so hurt from what they’ve done. We just want them to let us live quietly.

But I think a lot about the innocent people in Gaza—how poor they are, and how sad it is. I think of how we can help them. However, most days, I think about the evil people, and not the impoverished.

We have things in common with Gaza, but unlike our government that builds safe rooms to protect us, the Gazans don’t have anyone to build safe rooms for them to keep them protected.

 

*The interviews that brought up here are only parts of the original interviews. I encourage everyone to read the whole interviews and others interviews in order to understand better the complicated situation in this beautiful land. For Basma’s whole interview-http://www.politicalispersonal.org/her-story-46-basma. For Lilach’s whole interview- http://www.politicalispersonal.org/her-story-16-lilach

Written by: Dana

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