Which passport do you have?

I’m really, really, REALLY beginning to appreciate the freedom and flexibility that comes with my American passport.


I’ve never thought about it much before, but after speaking with several different men from Arab and African countries, I’m feeling a bit of the weight they must carry with the lack of freedom to move about and travel whenever, wherever they want. Even when they have the financial resources and are multi-lingual, their passports are a stumbling block.  (Look at the passport rankings to see what I’m talking about.)

Don’t kid yourself. Our movement on this planet is not by plane, train or ship—-rather it’s by unearned privilege!  With my American passport in hand, I can book a ticket on the TransSiberian Railroad and travel more than 5,000 miles from Moscow through Siberia, across Mongolia and into Beijing, as a friend and I did in 2009. No questions asked.

The reverse is not true. Many people in the world (most in fact) cannot visit the USA or anywhere else unless they jump through many, many hoops and are fortunate not to stumble along the way.

Is that how the wealthy, “developed” Western countries maintain control, by restricting travel of the population from the “other” parts of the world?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the U.N. General Assemby in 1948, addresses the right of travel but doesn’t seem to be worth the paper it’s printed on.


Article 13.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.


Article 14.
(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Ask the 1.8 million Palestinians imprisoned in the Gaza Strip about what they think of their right to leave and return to their country.


Mural on Palestine Stadium entrance in Gaza

Ask the Palestinian beach soccer team, or Mohammed Naim Shahada (27), or Mohammed Tamraz (26), or Najah Yassin (53), or Fida Argelawi (32) or Samir Mustafa (55) —- all stuck in Gaza. As described in this Haaretz article in June 2015:

Samir Mustafa arrived [in the Gaza Strip] from the United States for a funeral in January, and has not been able to leave since. Mustafa immigrated to the United States 35 years ago and has U.S. citizenship. He lives in Maryland with his wife and their five children. In January this year he traveled to Gaza through the Rafah crossing to attend a family member’s funeral, and has not been able to leave. Mustafa worked in a spare parts warehouse, but was notified a month and a half ago that he has been fired for failure to show up for work.

“When I asked for assistance from the U.S. consulate they told me that I violated a travel warning that prohibits entry to Gaza since 2003, as if they’d forgotten that I’m from Gaza and I came to see my family,” said Mustafa. “Lately they’ve been telling me I’m on a waiting list, but I don’t know how much time I’ll have to wait. My wife and children have been living off the little savings we have, but it’s running out. I worked my whole life, in Israel as well, now I’ve spent six months walking around doing nothing in Gaza. I don’t understand why they don’t let me leave here and return to my wife and children.” According to Israeli authorities, since Mustafa did not enter Gaza through the Erez crossing, he is not allowed to leave from it, and therefore his only option is leaving through Rafah – which Egypt nearly always keeps closed.

Some small minds (Trump and Netanyahu for example) think that walls are the solution to keep the “others” out.

What would happen if, instead of focusing on keeping people out, we (the privileged Western nations) focused on ensuring that the benefits we enjoy are spread magnanimously around the planet.  There really is enough to go around. We have the resources, the technology, imagination and the brains to do it. We simply lack the heart and spirit of generosity.

This might explain in a small way why I’m so passionate about the rights of Palestinians, especially those imprisoned in the Gaza Strip. The burden of this illegal restriction on simple movement is unbearable to imagine, but it’s real and it must end.



1 Comment

Filed under Israel, Gaza

Coming together as One!

Social media connects people so easily, and divides them even more easily.

Friday night people around the world sat stunned as they watched the horrific violence unfold in Paris. I sat on my bed in Cairo and learned the details on Facebook. Others were tweeting. I imagine there were millions of us with our attention and cosmic energy focused on Paris. I finally fell asleep about 3 AM local time, but many did not sleep at all Friday.

Now we want to do something, our anger and grief over the violence demands action. Professor Nagler has some good ideas about what we can do. Read his article here. But as quickly as we came together, we seem to be dividing and I feel more grief.

Some Facebook friends changed their profile pictures to show the colors of the French flag in solidarity with . . . a nation-state? Some were clever and designed new flags to display on Facebook.

Lebanon and French flags together

Lebanon and French flags together

Many of my friends on both sides of the pond were offended. They asked “where was the display of solidarity when innocent lives were lost in Beirut to acts of terrorism just a day earlier? When a Russian plane was blown up over the Sinai and all 224 passengers were killed? When more than 2,000 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s offensive in the summer of 2014? When innocent civilians are stabbed to death in Israel? When the death toll in Syria has climbed over 160,000 in the past 3 years? When innocent Afghanis, Iraqis and many others are killed in Operation Enduring Freedom?” (Oh, I despise giving names to our privileged forms of violence.)  The list of victims of terror goes on indefinitely.

Not only do these flag displays send the message that some victims are more precious than other victims and worthy of our sympathy, but they tell us (perhaps unintended) that we are divided by our allegiance to nation-states which are, when truth be told, only a fiction of our imagination. Nation-states come and go. People are creations of God/Allah/Yahweh and deserve our love and support.

This became crystal clear for me when I read a FB post from Israel today which I copy verbatim.

Sorry people!
I know it’s sensitive but I can’t hold back anymore!
The terror attack this evening in Paris was horrible! Families have been destroyed and the devastation is horrific! I know how they feel, anyone who lives in Israel knows what it feels like to live through terror attacks.


The French government has been condemning Israel at every chance they had! While we are sending our condolences and support to France, they didn’t even bother to cover the attack on Friday when a Jewish father and son were gunned down by Muslim terrorists! France took Hamas off the terrorist list and instead started marking goods produced by Jews in Judea and Samaria!

With all due respect, I will not post a French flag on my profile and quite frankly I don’t understand why anyone would! It is the French government who has been condemning Israel for fighting the same radical Islamic organizations that attacked Paris!
Some may call me insensitive, I agree! it is exactly this insensitivity that is the reason I am NOT posting a French flag on my feed!

what do you call the reactions (or the lack of) from the French government when Israel has been under attack day in and day out?! Should I call for restraint? Should I give credit to the claims ISIS is using to justify this terror attack?

So instead of putting a French flag up, I will raise the Israeli one. Why? Because Israel warned France and the rest of the world of the effect of radical Islam! We tried to explain who and what we are fighting but they would not listen!

We told them this was not about land or occupation but they didn’t listen! They pressured us to make deals with those who shoot us, blow us up and stab us and when we refuse to do so, they condemn us!
We warned them that this is about a radical culture that has no respect for life, but they ignored us and shook their finger at us for fighting the same radical Islamic ideology that attacked Paris. Only we fight it every day!

So here is the Israeli flag!
The one that is fighting radical Islamic terror every day!
The flag that is condemned and yelled at from every international podium for fighting the same evil that murdered over 130 of French innocent civilians.

In short, what this Israeli is announcing is that “a friend of my enemy must be my enemy too.” Sadly, he cannot see the terror his nation-state (Israel) perpetuates daily on the Palestinians. But I don’t condemn him for his blindness because most Americans cannot see the terror our nation-state commits.

Our allegiance to our privileged forms of violence — whether by military occupation, drones or economic enslavement — and our willful denial of the suffering and terror we perpetuate on others will only blowback on us all. There is no immunity from violence.

I wish we could come together as one — see the beauty and flaws we each carry — and forget our nation-states. There truly is evil in the world that needs to be defeated, but we won’t succeed if we continue to wear blinders and deny our own responsibility for the great injustices and suffering in the world.

In Bethlehem, Nov. 14, 2015

In Bethlehem, Nov. 14, 2015


Filed under Peaceful, People

I’m worried about my Jewish friends and family



[“Photo of israeli illegal settler taking pictures of palestinian young woman on the ground after she was shot by the israeli occupation forces in bethlehem city today.”  palestine 8/11/2015]






I’m worried about my Jewish friends and family.

Not about my Jewish colleagues who chose to politely ignore me years ago.

Not about the angry Jewish leaders in the community who denounced me publicly.

And not about the Jews who criticize my advocacy about Palestine and Israel.

Each has found his or her own method of denial to ignore what they don’t wish to see. It’s easier for them to live within their bubble, than to face the cold hard facts.

No, I’m worried about my Jewish friends and family who have been opening their hearts and minds — little by little — to the cruelties of the Israeli occupation, maybe because they know me and love me, or maybe because there is overwhelming evidence coming out of the Middle East now that is impossible to ignore.

I recently posted this photo on Facebook and shared my concern. “I fear for the future when young people take photos like this. Have they lost their empathy?”

What do you see in this picture? I see a young Jew wearing a kippah taking a photo of a Muslim woman covered head to toe, either dead or wounded, on the ground.

Someone else saw something entirely different.  He told me “I think you need to put the picture into context of what just happen. There can be many reasons why he’s taking the picture. For starters maybe he’s trying to show the world, that this is why Israel needs to put road blocks and check palestinian women walking around Israel because they can be about to stab an innocent person.”

I see a victim. He sees a terrorist. I see the Jew showing a callous disregard for human life. He sees the Jew gathering evidence to prove to the world that the security measures and the military occupation of Palestine are justified.

Israeli Professor Eva Illouz, a sociologist and the author of nine books, has written a very important piece in Haaretz entitled Israel is in National Denial Regarding Its Oppression of Palestinians. I encourage everyone to read it because I think it explains a lot. It also explains the reason for my worry.

Denial as a mechanism for self-protection is understandable, but denial as a moral choice and deliberate strategy to avoid the truth and to perpetuate harming and abusing others signals that the moral fabric of the nation (Israel in this case) and the individual is fraying. What happens to the collective (the state of Israel) or to the individual when the bubble bursts?

I’m not a psychologist and can’t begin to answer the question I’ve posed, but I’ll admit that the question keeps me up at night.

Professor Illouz writes about three forms of denial and says one form is “seeing but failing to register or actively ignoring the truth in front of our eyes.”

Some nations practice denial as a systematic policy, but we usually do not think of them as open societies. Yet I do not believe there is another way to characterize Israeli policy vis-à-vis the occupied territories. The mind-boggling, jaw-dropping claim that the State of Israel can quietly annex these territories, control the lives of 2.6 million Palestinians and still remain Jewish and democratic is denial on an uncanny scale – denial turned into grand political strategy (Palestinians and Israeli Arabs together would make up 4.3 million of the total population of Israel, a fact that would compel Jewish Israel to exercise an inhumane and unsustainable control over other human beings). In other words, what is unique about the Israeli case is that it not only denies the violence of the initial colonization of the land, but views the natives – those who inhabited the land – as the aggressors. This inversion of victim and perpetrator is a clear, classic example of denial, which at once erases one’s wrongdoing and projects it onto the other side.

I’m worried about my Jewish friends and family. They might be able to live their lives in a carefully constructed bubble, especially if they don’t live in Israel/Palestine. But I can’t – won’t live in their bubble with them.  I won’t be able to ignore their bubble and pretend their world and the real world can coexist.

Someday the truth might invade, and what will happen to their carefully constructed world of lies?

My Jewish friends and family are good and decent people. They have dreams for the future. They don’t wish anyone harm. I know they would give the shirts off their backs to anyone in need, including a Palestinian. But the walls of denial, just like Israel’s “security fence” cannot keep the truth out forever . . . and THAT worries me.

Denial is not simply a flaw of our consciousness, as psychoanalysis sometimes naively suggests. Denial is a pact of ignorance we make with ourselves, a choice to know and not to know, and is thus a particularly disturbing moral deficiency. 


Filed under Israel, Occupation, People, Uncategorized

Please forgive me

Veterans Day has its genesis in President Woodrow Wilson’s proclamation nearly a century ago (1919). It was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”[2]

Family members and good friends have served in the military. My Uncle refused to pick up arms but he wanted to serve in WWII and so he was assigned an ambulance to drive in the Sinai — the very same Sinai I’m trying to cross today. (I wish Uncle Jack was with me in Cairo.)

Every military in the world fights for peace and justice, as President Wilson proclaimed. They want their peace and their justice at the expense of the other’s death and destruction, no matter what the injustices they might inflict on the other.

It’s about time we recognize that we are one on this planet. God/Allah/Yahweh teaches us that we are one.


I want to apologize to each and every veteran anywhere in the world — present, past and future — for the colossal failure of our government and every government on this planet to solve our differences peacefully.

War = diplomatic failure. War = traumas that no human should endure. War = a bonanza for the military industrial complex. Conventional war breeds unconventional terrorists. War = refugees.

I’m so sorry. Please forgive me and my generation for all of our failures.

Palestinian child's drawing in Gaza

Palestinian child’s drawing in Gaza

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

My Travails Crossing the Rafah Border

Lora's passport stamp from Palestinian Authority.

Lora’s passport stamp from Palestinian Authority.

Travel to Gaza has never been easy.

In 2004, my friend and I made it through the Erez Checkpoint between Israel and Gaza only after answering a ton of questions at Ben Gurion airport. Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj, a world-renowned Palestinian psychologist in Gaza, was not so fortunate. Israel wouldn’t allow him to travel abroad to accept an international award from his peers, so we journeyed to Gaza to bring the award to him.

My next attempt to visit Gaza came in July 2011. I had an invitation to meet with colleagues at the university and planned to stay only a few days. I wanted to see how Israel’s Operation Cast Lead (08-09) had impacted the Gaza Strip. I thought I was prepared. I’d done my homework and read the entire Goldstone Report. My reading list was growing.

I suspected it might be dangerous. Hamas was now in control of the Gaza Strip. Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian journalist and ISM volunteer, had been abducted and killed a few months earlier. But I wasn’t deterred.

I took the bus from Cairo to El-Arish in the northern Sinai. The 4-5 hour trip passed quickly without interruption. Hopping into a taxi for the final 50 km. to the Rafah border, I found myself sitting next to a journalist, a friend of Vittorio Arrigoni. I offered my condolences. When he heard about my plans to cross the Rafah border, he laughed at my naivety. No security clearance? No official paperwork giving me permission to cross the border? Good luck!

I recall thinking:

“I have permission from the Gaza side to enter, why would Egypt have any control on who LEAVES Egypt?”

Sign at the border between Egypt and Gaza.  I took the picture in July 2011.  Now I can read and understand the Arabic!

Sign at the border between Egypt and Gaza. I took the picture in July 2011. Now I can read and understand the Arabic

I was turned away.  لا لا لا  No – No – No! The Egyptian border agents spoke very little English but it was clear they didn’t see my name on their list and so I was not going to enter. I could stamp my feet and shake my head all I wanted, it made no difference. So I returned to Cairo and started knocking on government doors. It took about a month, but I finally received the approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a day before my flight was scheduled back to the United States. I was teaching and expected to be in my classroom the following week. So with my “approval” in hand, I returned home, deflated but not defeated.

I signed up for an Arabic Language class at my university and continued with my “homework” to learn as much as I could about the Israel-Palestine conflict. And I made plans to return to Gaza.

In the Spring of 2012, I contacted the Egyptian Embassy in Houston. I sent them my invitation from Gaza to teach a climate change seminar, along with my passport and the fees for a Visa. Several phone calls to follow-up, and I finally received my passport with the Visa and an official-looking paper giving me permission to cross the Rafah border. I flew to Cairo in September 2012 and made an uneventful crossing at Rafah.

Rafah border gate between Egypt and Gaza in the summer of 2011.

Rafah border gate between Egypt and Gaza

The next three months in Gaza were an amazing education for me. I can’t begin to summarize it here but take a look at my blog. I wrote alot about my experience. I was the student, my students were my teachers. In November 2012, Israel launched another military assault on Gaza which I’ve dubbed the Polite War. See here, and here, and here. The active shelling lasted 8 days and nights but the human trauma and scars will last another generation.

Silly me. I decided I needed a break and would spend the New Year holiday in Cairo before returning to Gaza. I left Gaza the day after attending a beautiful Christmas Eve mass in the Holy Family Church in the Old Town in Gaza City. Two weeks later, in early January 2013, I shared a taxi with a Palestinian friend who was returning to Gaza from his studies in Malaysia. On the ride across the northern Sinai, my friend showed me his manuscript that he wanted to get published. When we got to Rafah, I watched him skate through the checkpoint with no problem, while I was told لا لا لا again. No – No – No!

“Wait!  You let me cross 4 months ago and I have all the same paperwork. You’re mistaken. I must return to Gaza.”

Nothing I said made a difference. I returned to Cairo and spent the next 4+ weeks knocking on official doors, meeting and having my picture taken with the Egyptian Minister of Interior, the Egyptan Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt. Finally, I received a phone call about 10 PM one night in mid-February 2013 from the assistant to the Palestinian Ambassador. She told me that my name was on “the list” and I had permission to cross the Rafah border on Sunday.


I returned to Gaza and solidified friendships, continued to learn more about the reality of Israel’s occupation and siege, and decided I wanted to make a difference … but how? In May 2013, I left Gaza determined to return. I wasn’t sure when or what I might be doing when I got back, but I left my heart in Gaza.

Ahmad and me at the Rafah border crossing on Gaza side.

Ahmad and me at the Rafah border crossing on Gaza side.

Fast forward to November 2015. I’m back in Cairo trying to return to Gaza.

I’ve packed up my house, put my things into storage and hired a property manager to take care of my home in the U.S. I’ve been a nomad or pilgrim for the past year, living with friends, waiting for the Egyptian Embassy in the U.S. to process my application to return to Gaza. For many, many months, the Egyptian Embassy wouldn’t even accept my application. “No one is allowed to cross the Sinai,” they told me. “It’s too dangerous.” I waited patiently.

In August, I called again. This time they said they would accept my application but didn’t make any promises about whether it would be approved. I submitted all of the paperwork to the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, DC and held my breath.

Al-hamdulillah! The Egyptian Embassy in DC notified me that my Visa application had been approved with the security clearance to cross the Rafah border. I picked it up on September 11 and left the U.S. on October 14 fully expecting that I would walk across the Rafah border without a hitch. My biggest concern was the weight of my luggage. I’m carrying a ton of books to the library and to friends in Gaza. I had to ditch most of my clothes and personal things to stay within the airline’s weight limit. [Side note: Israel must consider books a threat because these are one of the many prohibited items that Israeli officials will not allow into Gaza.]

When I arrived in Cairo, I learned that the security clearance marked in my Visa was probably not sufficient to get me across the Rafah border. Given the increased tension and violence in the northern Sinai, I don’t want to make an aborted trip and be turned away. I’ve had too much experience with that scenario.

Today I had a long phone conversation with an official in the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He received my fax (Visa with security clearance) and confirmed that it doesn’t give me permission to cross the Rafah border. It only gives me permission to enter Egypt.

I complained and told him the Egyptian Embassy in DC said I had permission to cross the Rafah border. I told him I don’t need security clearance to enter Egypt. I can just fly to Cairo and purchase a Visa at the airport.

He said there are new rules since the war in Gaza in the summer of 2014, the one Israel dubbed Operation Protective Shield. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo must fax a letter with my documentation to the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

I told him I would not have left the U.S. and traveled to Cairo unless I was told I had permission to cross the Rafah border.

He repeated that I need to talk with the U.S. Embassy in Cairo about faxing my papers to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  He said he would expedite my request as soon as he receives the fax from the U.S. Embassy.

Last Thursday I sent an email to the U.S. Embassy requesting a meeting. Today I’m going to send a message to my U.S. Senator asking for his help to arrange the meeting.

I’m also going to try to contact the Palestinian Ambassador in Cairo.

The reality of Rafah: this border was open 264 days in 2013 when I last crossed.  It was open 124 days in 2014. It’s only been open 19 days in 2015. Lora Lucero has options. I can sit and wait in Cairo. I can return to the U.S. I can hike the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain. But the Palestinians in Gaza have no options. They can’t travel abroad for work, for higher education, for medical treatment or for pleasure, which is the basic right of any human being.

Americans – Ask yourselves if this seige on Gaza (going on 8 years now) is something you want your government and your tax dollars supporting.

Outside of the Rafah border crossing gate on the Egyptian side.

Outside of the Rafah border crossing gate on the Egyptian side.


Filed under Egypt, Gaza, Israel

Women at the Table

Many things in the world seem to be broken.

Our relationship to the natural world is critically misaligned. Our unquestioning reverence for capitalism is pure folly. And our inability to eschew weapons and all forms of violence is at the heart of the madness we see today in the Middle East and in our own backyards.

Would the world change for the better if women had a seat at the table?

Alaa Murabit, a young Canadian who returned to her parents’ country of Libya to study medicine, gave a TedTalk earlier this year – already viewed more than a million times – where she asked “Why if we are equal in the eyes of God are we not equal in the eyes of men?”  She argues that many of the world’s problems can only be changed by bringing women to the table.  The list of her accomplishments is already very impressive. Imagine what she’ll accomplish in another 10 years.

She has maintained that peace is achievable through communities, “The only real solution, the only way to get that grenade or gun put down safely is the very spirit of this Forum. It is by filling his hands and head with something else. A pencil, a pay check, a diploma, a dream – by building up people, by creating institutions we break down wars. By strengthening local peace builders we give them the tools to change their communities from within.”


Filed under People, Peaceful, Video

Why Gaza? Answering the question.

10682305_10205074594490415_7766625559446625498_o (1)“Why Gaza?” a friend asked in disbelief. Truthfully, everyone is asking me the same question. With the special security clearance finally stamped on my Egyptian Visa and my plane tickets in hand, the reality is now settling in. I’ll be leaving home in mid-October, headed for the Middle East and my new home for the indefinite future in the Gaza Strip, Palestine.

This isn’t my first time to Gaza. In 2004, a friend and I passed through the Erez Checkpoint from Israel in the north. We were on a mission. Israeli authorities had refused to allow a local Palestinian psychologist to travel abroad to receive an international award and recognition from his peers, so we were carrying the award to him. That was my first taste of life under Israeli occupation – freedom of movement was greatly restricted, even for the most respected professionals in Gaza.

On that visit, we drove to Rafah in the south to see where Rachel Corrie, an American volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), had been killed a year earlier by the Israeli Defense Forces. She was crushed under a military bulldozer while trying to protect a Palestinian doctor’s home from demolition. I stood on the barren site and saw no evidence of the house or the family but many children came up and asked me to take their photographs and I happily complied.

Then an old Palestinian man, maybe in his 60s and wearing the traditional long white galabiyya, came up to me and began to emphatically tell me something in Arabic. I had no clue what he was saying but I didn’t turn my eyes away from his withering verbal assault. Finally, he threw his arms up in the air, disgusted, and walked off. Our driver shared his translation of the old man’s words for me on our drive back to Gaza City.

“People from around the world come to Gaza all the time. They look, they take pictures, they cry big crocodile tears, and then they leave and nothing changes here. The same is going to happen with you. You will leave and nothing will change.”

That encounter was the turning point for me — from a mildly curious observer of the Middle East to a serious student of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine. I’d been steeped in the Israeli narrative all of my adult life without appreciating that there was another side to this coin. I never had a reason to question the mainstream media’s reports about the Middle East, but now my eyes were telling me a different story.

10603961_10204698724733906_7149256136853381628_oThe past decade has been my personal graduate education on the Middle East, including books, films, lectures and personal contacts to learn about the colonial history, the Nakba (the “catastrophe” of 1948 continuing to the present) and the failed “peace process.” I studied Arabic for a year at the University of New Mexico but must admit my failure to learn the language. Then I returned to Gaza for nine months (2012-2013) where my real education took place. (More about that visit in the future.)

Some family and friends have chided me for my “obsession” with only one side of this “very difficult conflict.” Their caution is well-intentioned but they fail to acknowledge that Americans haven’t received fair and balanced news coverage since the creation of the State of Israel sixty-seven years ago. My framing of the issues and events in Israel and Palestine only provides a more complete and (I would argue) more accurate picture. My obsession is for the truth.

“Why am I going to Gaza?” I want to witness and report what is happening on the ground. The United Nations predicts that the Gaza Strip will be uninhabitable by 2020. Israel’s stifling blockade, combined with its lethal military operations (3 in the past 6 years), have created an enclave of de-development (not only hindering but actually reversing development) with the highest unemployment rate (43%) in the world, according to the World Bank. The current population of 1.8 million Palestinians is expected to reach 2.1 million by 2020. The coastal aquifer which supplies most of their clean water is now 95% polluted. They are in the dark more often than not, with electricity available only a few hours each day. This tragedy has endless statistics but one simple fact remains: this tragedy is man-made as well as a foreseeable outcome of Israel’s very deliberate policies, funded and supported by American taxpayers.

So I’m going to Gaza to be a bridge between the Palestinians and people in the West (especially Americans) who cannot visit the Gaza Strip and don’t get the whole picture from the Western mainstream media. We have a responsibility not only to search for the truth and educate ourselves, but then to take action. “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Desmond Tutu




Filed under People, Israel, Egypt, Gaza