After 43 days of exile in AlArish, I finally made it to Gaza! I was given permission to enter for only three days, which incidentally are up, but thankfully received an extension. I was greeted by the friend and Hamas official that worked for weeks, and were the ones who made it possible for me to enter. I must first say that, without their help I would have never been able to get in. Secondly, neither of which knew me personally but were effected by my case, and felt it would be shameful to deny me as a Palestinian from the diaspora, entry into my historic homeland.
We have sat now for several hours together, and discussed the issues that prevented me from entering. The official allowed me to ask any and ALL questions I had relating, not only to my case, but to all the questions I had as to their governance etc. It turns out, as many conflicts do, that this was mainly an issue of misinformation and miscommunication. Long story short, a complicated series of events which snowballed, created a massive amount of mistrust, skepticism and uncertainty of intentions (from both sides) calling into question my character, and for me the character of the others.
Despite the hardship, difficulty and 43 days spent waiting to get it cleared up, I must say that I’m glad it all went down in the way it did and I wouldn’t change a thing if I could. Not only did I make amazing friends for life in Sinai, suffice it to say that for me, this chapter has shed light on and revealed much about people’s character’s, as well as what’s going on – internally here. It will obviously take time for me to fully understand on a personal and intimate level what is really going on. However one thing I learned is that I can not, and should not over simplify matters for the sake of convenience and expediency, or “being right”. One must take into account the entire picture, as well as the social, historical and political context before forming opinions, stating “facts” and/or jumping to conclusions.
I have been granted permission to stay on, indefinitely for now…and had a couple of excellent meetings which have given me the potential to stay on longer term..and includes potentially facilitating a shipment of prosthetic limbs for those injured during the Gaza massacre, i.e. Cast Lead – and also working with the families of the martyr’s. I will update this blog, as soon as I know more. I have a short window to make this all happen as my return ticket/date is at the end of this month.
Thanks again and eternal love, to all those who supported and assisted to make it possible for me to be here! You know who you are. 🙂