Arab and Jew: Being young in a troubled land

“Khaled is 19 years old but he comes across as being much older. He is very tall and slim but his face exudes experience and wisdom. Despite his quiet demeanour, he displays confidence and independence that was learned from growing up in a difficult situation. Khaled is great at dealing with people; he can be soft and kind to children but at the same time strong against those trying to take advantage of him. I have met few with a better understanding of life than Khaled. He understands and accepts the bad as much as the good in life and really understands how the world works.” ISMer Melissa recounts conversations with Palestinians and Israelis. 

Picking Up the Pieces

Where the rubble once filled the streets it has now been pushed to the side, clearing the way for cars and people trying to go on with their daily lives. Everywhere twisted remnants belie their attempts to continue on life as normal. Twisted pieces of metal, once the support of houses, puncture the piles of crumbled, sterile, grey concrete that line the streets. Children play in the bombed out remains of houses where families once lived. Everywhere skeletons of houses remain, here and there one or two walls standing in a pile of debris. Melissa writes from Rafah. 

Normal life in Rafah

Most of the time life in Rafah seems normal. A bustling city — taxis honking and speeding through the crowded streets, schoolchildren in their uniforms on their way to and from school, merchants of all types with their colourful wares lining the streets — fruits, clothes, household items — the perfume of life filling the air. Everywhere things seem normal, then all of a sudden something will happen and the facade of normalcy will disappear, and the ugliness of the reality will show through. Melissa writes from Rafah.