Gaza: Waiting and not knowing

There are rumors that the road between Khan Yunis and Rafah is being closed now. This would suggest that an incursion into Rafah or Khan Yunis is imminent. An employee at the Internet Cafe where I’m writing this asked me if I brought my camera (I’m currently trapped in Rafah because the north-south checkpoints in Gaza are closed). He said he hopes that I will see everything if there is an incursion here… but that meanwhile they’ll just wait to welcome the invaders.

Last night there was a lot of gunfire outside the camp. People said today there had been a lot of shooting so I wasn’t imagining it (every loud noise around here awakens paranoia that something is about to happen or is happening. The psychological effect of waiting and not knowing is horrible). Helicopters were scouting out the area last night and this morning, too.

Today the body of a Rafah man killed last night by IDF soldiers had to be left in the open field where he was shot. No one is allowed to go get the man and bury him. No doubt he has a contagious terrorist virus that will affect anyone within 100 meters of him.

This morning hundreds of girls from the girls’ schools here demonstrated in solidarity with the people of Jenin. The streets were unpassable for a long time while they marched. It was an unexpected sight but says how politicized the people here are. I mean, these were not mostly male teen-agers and adults carrying machine guns, signs, and shouting slogans; they were schoolgirls from primary and secondary schools. The energy in the crowd far surpassed anything I’ve experienced in demonstrations in the US, but then I hear that’s changing. I hope so.

I hear the PLO office in DC was closed down because they were late paying their rent. Oh, and that Ariel Sharon is “committed to peace”.

The ability to maintain a sense of humor here is necessary for survival; or so I’m discovering.