Foes in Gaza, roommates in Cairo hospital

“You see, both Ahmad and I are staying in the same room at this hospital, where we are being treated for wounds we have sustained during infighting. I am a Hamas supporter, while he is with Fatah,” said Ibrahim, who was shot with several bullets in his body. Ahmad, the Fatah supporter and preventive security personnel of the al-Tuffah neighborhood in central Gaza City, said it all with his sad eyes. “What fault has my son committed to be in such a situation? May God take revenge on those who have beaten him,” said a bearded man, Ahmad’s father. EI contributor Rami Almeghari reports from Cairo. 

A personal plea to Alan Johnston's kidnappers

What I really want, obviously, is for Alan to be released. One month is an unbearable amount of time in such circumstances and I honestly cannot imagine how much the boredom and solitude might be affecting him, despite his strength of character, his calm nature and sharp mind. To those people who are waiting, hoping, and expecting for Alan’s release every day, however, I want to convey a brief detail of what I went through when kidnapped in Gaza. I can in no way imply that Alan is going through the same: he has been held for much longer and is alone. 

Interrogated at the Israel-Egypt border

We were held for over 11 hours at the border and interrogated about every single item in our possession and repeatedly asked if we belonged to any “peace or leftist or even UN organization.” It was an incredibly harrowing experience — long periods of mind numbing boredom, staring out into the beautiful red sea, watching hordes of Israelis return from a roasting vacation in the Sinai and endless British Bible tour groups and American backpackers pass through security unharassed. An unpleasant boredom punctuated by short bursts of nerve-racking questioning about the most personal details of our lives (as culled from “offensive” sources in our bags like journals, letters, photographs, stationery, and even slogans on T-shirts), our plans for tourism in Israel, how we know each other, why we study Arabic, and do we know any Arabs. 

The last time I saw Mus'ab

“I follow the lines carefully with my finger on the screen. Mus’ab Jaber was shot dead. Do you ever become accustomed to this, as if it is normal? Why should you? It is not normal. It is excessive, but it never makes it normal. I don’t have the forbearance of many of my Arab friends. When I cried out, my Internet folk brought me a glass of water. That wouldn’t change the news, but I appreciated the care.” Regular EI contributor Annie Higgins remembers one Palestinian boy from Jenin.