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Station 1

Entering In

We are at the Eretz Crossing from Israel at the Northern end of Gaza. The crossing is heavily militarized. You can hear bombs exploding and smell the chemicals of war as you cross into Gaza. You feel the gaze of the soldiers as you pass.

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Closed since October. The international community has been pressuring Israel to open this and other crossings for humanitarian aid trucks, allowing aid to go directly to Northern Gaza, but this has not happened to date–that’s one of the reasons some countries are trying other methods of delivering supplies. Erez has been progressively tightened over the last decade as Israel has restricted more Gazans from using this crossing. 

We think of all of the other ways that people and goods could possibly enter and exit Gaza. The Rafah crossing is 26 miles away along the border with Egypt. There are several other crossings with Israel, but they have been closed for a long time and only used in limited circumstances. Gaza’s seaport has been under an Israel blockade for years, and Gaza’s airport was bombed in a previous war and is inoperable. You are starting to see why some have described Gaza as an open air prison.

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Jabalya

As we move into Gaza, we soon come to Jabalya Refugee Camp. The largest refugee camp in the Palestinian Territories, Jabalya has over 100,000 registered residents. The United Nations established the camp in 1948 for the Palestinian refugees coming from areas that are now inside Israel.

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This camp has been bombed on at least 32 different days in October, November, December, January, and February. Difficult content: Listen to residents report what they saw after one of these bombings.

Prayers

God is with those who suffer. As we pause to pray here at Jabalya Camp, our spiritual posture should be one of humble and reverent entry, like Moses who took off his sandals because he was in the presence of God. We are not only entering someone else’s homeland, we are stepping onto holy ground.

So Much Gone

The home is already gone,

The world already razed,

The people already asleep,

So many already buried.

 

The trees are already felled,

The limbs already amputated,

The generations already severed,

So many already orphaned.

 

Will You let the earth swallow Jabalya?

Will You let Shati slide into the Sea? 

Where is Your salvation, Oh Lord?

For Gaza: Psalm 13

From Jewish Prayers for Gaza, prayersforgaza.com

 

How much longer
will we look away?
How much longer
will we hide our faces?
How much longer
will we shut off our souls
to this sorrow and injustice?

 

Answer us with the courage
to see what must be seen,
to speak the words
that too many dare not
say out loud.

 

Awaken us from our slumber,
this terrifying sleep of the dead,
let your light shine upon truths
that must no longer be denied.

 

Save us from trauma and despair,
let us trust forever in your compassion,
let our hearts sing without shame
for the justice that is not yet lost
from your world.

Du’a for Comfort in the Face of Injustice

From Duas for Palestine

O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the oppression of the tyrant, from the injustice of the worshipper, from the trials of the world, and the torment of the grave.”

Heba Zagout

Gazan Artist Haba Zagout was known for her paintings of holy places and of women. She was deeply connected to the Dar al Kalima University of Arts and Culture satellite campus in Gaza. Heba was killed with two of her children in an IDF bombing in October.

As we prepare to continue walking, reflect on a few of her paintings below.

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