You are hereBlogs / Shaqooq fil Jidar's blog / Living Next to the Border of Gaza

Living Next to the Border of Gaza

By Shaqooq fil Jidar - Posted on 06 September 2015

During my non-touristy tour around Israel, we traveled to Sderot which is an Israeli town a few kilometers from the Gaza border.  It is often hit by rockets during upheaval.  It was interesting to see the trauma that the Jewish people in that town live in because I rarely get that side of the story.  There were bomb shelters everywhere including the playground, which had a bomb shelter painted and shaped like a big caterpillar. I guess to cheer up the children.  The state of Israel requires each home in to have a bomb shelter. Instead of trying to make peace, when the project was initiated the Israeli government used tax money that could have been used for social services,  to install many of these private bomb shelters. 

The woman that showed us around this village said she doesn’t feel safe or secure when Israel bombs Gaza and that the only way she would feel secure is if they made peace with them .  Each time Israel attacks the tiny strip of land, Hamas sends rockets to Israel and they hit Sderot. This woman lives in constant fear for her life and her children’s lives.  She said when you hear the siren (which in the past has gone off up to 60 times a day), you have 10-15 seconds to get to a shelter before the rocket hits.  She said a rocket hit her neighbor’s house one evening .  She was sitting in her home and as her house shook around her, in utter terror, she was thinking it could have been her home.

She told us she remembered what is was like before the first intifada.  Arabs and Jewish people living and working together.  Going back and forth from Gaza to Sderot.  It was free.  She has friends from Gaza that she still talks to.  But after the first uprising, Israel placed restrictions on movement.  It was still open, just not to everyone. She said it started to get harder for people and the division of society and separation began. After the second intifada, she said, it was shut completely and she hasn’t seen her friends in years.  One of her friends has a fourteen year old daughter and during the attack in 2014, they skyped and the fourteen year old was crying, asking this woman, “why have they forgotten us, we are human too”.  Our tour guide said the situation breaks her heart.  She feels hopeless.

 Her perspective is not the norm in Israel.  In fact, she is considered a self-hating Jew and a disgrace to her society.  She said that during the attack on Gaza in 2014, people in her town went to the top of a hill overlooking Gaza with lounge chairs, snacks, and coolers of beer.  Each time a rocket hit, the people would cheer, like they were watching fireworks on fourth of July.  She said she stood there in disgust and disbelief that they were so happy to see the attack on Gaza.  These people were cheering for the death of thousands of Palestinians including children as well as the destruction of countless buildings and infrastructure.  The hatred in their hearts runs deep. There is so much work to do to heal the traumas of the Jewish people.

After she told us her story and experience with living so close to Gaza, she took us to the border.  We climbed a watch tower overlooking the no man’s land.  The no man’s land is a huge field that separates Gaza from Israel.  People are not allowed to go there and they say it is for security purposes, basically a border zone.  This area of land is beautiful and looks quite fertile, at one point it must have been wonderful farming land.  Now it is heavily barb wired and patrolled by Israeli soldiers.  As my gaze went past the no man’s land, I was able to see buildings of Gaza in the distance.  I stood there in awe and sadness, praying for the people suffering there.  I felt an urge to walk across the no man’s land.  I wanted to go over there and meet these people, tell their stories to the world, make a difference, make their lives more bearable…somehow, something has to change, someone has to do something, actually many people need to do many things.  As I looked over Gaza, feeling hopeless and resentful, it made me wish the world was different.  I was awoken from my daydream and prayers by the roars of the Israeli military jeeps.  We were only there for about 7 minutes before they sped up and demanded us to vacate the area, sending their signal that they are in control and they have the power and we have to obey or there will be consequences.


Speaking Events



August 2-6: Peace and Democracy Conference at Democracy Convention in Minneapolis, Minn.


September 22-24: No War 2017 at American University in Washington, D.C.


October 28: Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference

Find more events here.


Support This Site


Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.



Speaking Truth to Empire


Families United


Ray McGovern


Julie Varughese


Financial supporters of this site can choose to be listed here.



Ca-Dress Long Prom Dresses Canada
Ca Dress Long Prom Dresses on

Buy Books

Get Gear

The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.