By John Harvey – Olympia Washington, USA
This February I had the privilege of spending a month with the people of Gaza, Palestine. As a representative of Sister Cities International, I was working to establish the foundations for sister city relations between cities in Gaza and the United States. I met with government representatives and social support groups, made new friends, and despite the dire circumstances, spent many memorable evenings sharing the fine hospitality and warm company of the good folk in Gaza.
As a supporter of the Olympia-Rafah Sister City Project and a friend of Rachel Corrie’s family, my travels took me to Rafah, where my friends Khaled and Adnan live. Adnan was working on a special new project, so Khaled and I set out to see him. We walked the narrow streets of Rafah-camp, passing gangs of barefoot children playing marbles. Stately gatherings of the older men sat in the sun, holding forth on the events of the moment. Our conversation covered familiar ground: the ever-present Israeli occupation and the crushing yearlong siege, designed to grind down the Palestinian morale. But it was the vicious Hamas/Fatah infighting, and the wound it cut in Gaza society, that were foremost in out conversation…
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