While I was crossing the border from Jordan I got a call from my friend Naser in Bethlehem. He had wonderful news for me, his oldest boy was going to have surgery to try and fix his walking disability that he has had since birth. The only bad news was that Naser was not yet able to collect the percentage of the surgery costs ($2,750) that he needed to cover. Mu'ad is one of the most expressive and happiest boys I have ever met. His difficulty in walking has not stopped him in the least from being an active and excited kid who mainly just wants to have fun and play with his father's friends.
On the road to Gaza Abu Alaa, my driver today translated the Hebrew news for me. Ismail Haniyeh the Palestinian prime minister threatened to kill Israeli captured soldier Gilad Shalit if Israel were to begin an incursion into Gaza. If this act were to be carried out Israel promised to kill Ismail Haniyeh and every other Hamas cabinet official.
After a 10 day trip to Cairo I am back in Gaza, home, sweat home. After walking through the corridors of the daunting Erez checkpoint I arrived at the last turnstile at which point I found Abu Amjad sitting on the floor waiting for the sliding gate to open which releases every traveler into the open-air prison of Gaza. Abu Amjad owns a factory in Gaza, he has been selling his goods to Israel for the past 22 years and today, without explanation, he was rejected entry there for the first time. Just another usual day for another Palestinian lacking the right of most any other human being traveling in a seemingly dignified country.
Jamal picked me up at the Gaza border and invited me to his house for lunch. We had sardines, I had never had the pleasure of eating anything but sardines from a can until I moved to Gaza. These fish are so small that you can actually just eat the whole thing, save the tail. Of course we also had mulukheya, and a nice little tomato/ onion dip and humos. Daher was sleeping when we arrived around 2pm and was rudely woken and dragged out of the room so we could sit there. Abdallah, the youngest met us at the door and spread the rumor that I was there for a visit.
Arriving at my house I found Ayman and Mohamed watching a movie there. I filled them in on my travels. Mohamed is just recovering from a fever. Tonight I ate two cookies I got at a goodbye party in Jerusalem yesterday. On the balcony I had a glass of wine that I bought at a monastery on my way to Gaza and smoked a cigarette. The fishing boats were out and their little lights filled the horizon, surrounded by the darkness, down below the presidential guard were making their rounds, chanting unintelligible chants, sirens filled the night from time to time, far away gunshots were heard at times.