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AMA

I worked in Gaza and The West Bank as a Jewish Woman AMA

134 replies

Wflwer · 07/03/2024 19:23

I worked with an education charity making the journey to Gaza once in 2019 and to The West Bank in 2018 and 2022.
I speak Hebrew and Arabic and we were groups of educators working in schools (group were about 5/6 teachers ranging from primary to secondary educators from Europe)

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Blibbleflibble · 10/03/2024 10:53

What was the quality of life like for the Palestinian children before the most recent war, did they feel very precarious even then? I can't imagine how you must feel seeing the news and the massive loss of life, have you kept in touch with anybody still there? Xx

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Wflwer · 10/03/2024 22:23

I always saw how important education was particularly to parents it was an absolute priority that their children attend university but part of that was so their children could leave Gaza and experience other parts of the world as it is incredibly difficult near impossible to do so for a holiday etc. Gaza was much worse than the West Bank you would describe it as just beyond surviving but not living a free and enjoyable life.

We have reopened a group chat with some teachers to help provide resources where we can for them to help children. One teacher we have remained in touch with has lost 3/5 of her children all under 10 and we have lost a number of people we were in touch with prior to the assault on Gaza a number of whom are under the rubble presumed dead so are not within the death figures.

I have often talked about the fact they would make it very clear almost constantly that they had no problems with Jewish people in fact one man I distinctly remember told me “we all pray to the same god in different directions” they made it very clear that their issues were with Zionist’s and this included all manor of religions not just the Jewish people and I was often asked why I wasn’t a Zionist (I explained my upbringing was very anti Zionism which came from my grandparents).

The group I worked with had hoped to visit Gaza again this year and had plans for after summer however these have been halted for the moment.

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Blibbleflibble · 10/03/2024 22:57

This reply has been deleted

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Wflwer · 11/03/2024 00:56

I think the worst one is that I had my daughter roughly 4 days after one of our guides wives had hers and how he talked about the birth made me feel guilty about my own (and there’s nothing enjoyable about labour and birth). She gave birth during airstrikes and talked about gunfire nearby and five hours after giving birth had to evacuate I believe they walked roughly 2 miles with their newborn with nearby gunfire. I just sobbed thinking about it.

Wildly abusing the term Antisemitism and 100% weaponising it. There are real antisemitic incidents routinely across the world and these should be called out correctly.
I have experienced antisemitism in the UK it is not an enjoyable experience and true antisemitism is losing the ability to be called out.

i also think that Zionist lobby groups push this narrative specifically to make Jewish communities feel unsafe and to paint Israel as a place you will never feel like that (which is also not true I was called many things I would say are antisemitic from Israelis at checkpoints). My Palestinian colleague asked me if I thought it felt similar to when there are Islamic terrorist attacks and you feel the urge to apologise because it is done in your religions name and you carry the guilt of that because you know it has nothing to do with your religion and immediately I thought yes.

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racoonsinbins · 11/03/2024 23:08

This is a really interesting thread. Were you working with a peace group? And did you see any evidence that educational materials in Gaza were biased or designed to incite hatred towards Jewish people as seems to be often reported?

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ChaosAndCrumbs · 11/03/2024 23:22

racoonsinbins · 11/03/2024 23:08

This is a really interesting thread. Were you working with a peace group? And did you see any evidence that educational materials in Gaza were biased or designed to incite hatred towards Jewish people as seems to be often reported?

That would be my question too in regards to biased educational materials.

Thanks for this thread.

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Wflwer · 12/03/2024 08:08

We were part of a group there solely to provide educational support for teachers in both the strip and the West Bank - I worked with extending education for disabled students as there are a high percentage of SEN students not enrolled in education.

i think one colleague was surprised that they had maps of only Palestine without Israel included however we were quickly reminded that not all the families were from Gaza or the West Bank and it was important to learn about the areas where they descended from.

All textbooks meet UNESCO standards and there was a report done on this a few years ago that we discussed before our last trip to the West Bank as it was being disputed by an Israeli group IMPACT-se.

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racoonsinbins · 12/03/2024 09:46

Thanks very much - that's really interesting. Can I as another question - it's really interesting what you say about the focus on education, which agrees with the views of my friends in Gaza who are completely obsessed with education both for themselves and their children as the only way to gain opportunities. Is an equal focus put on education for boys and girls?
By the way, just wanted to say so sorry for the loss of your former colleagues and the hardships they are facing.

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Blibbleflibble · 12/03/2024 10:07

Wflwer · 11/03/2024 00:56

I think the worst one is that I had my daughter roughly 4 days after one of our guides wives had hers and how he talked about the birth made me feel guilty about my own (and there’s nothing enjoyable about labour and birth). She gave birth during airstrikes and talked about gunfire nearby and five hours after giving birth had to evacuate I believe they walked roughly 2 miles with their newborn with nearby gunfire. I just sobbed thinking about it.

Wildly abusing the term Antisemitism and 100% weaponising it. There are real antisemitic incidents routinely across the world and these should be called out correctly.
I have experienced antisemitism in the UK it is not an enjoyable experience and true antisemitism is losing the ability to be called out.

i also think that Zionist lobby groups push this narrative specifically to make Jewish communities feel unsafe and to paint Israel as a place you will never feel like that (which is also not true I was called many things I would say are antisemitic from Israelis at checkpoints). My Palestinian colleague asked me if I thought it felt similar to when there are Islamic terrorist attacks and you feel the urge to apologise because it is done in your religions name and you carry the guilt of that because you know it has nothing to do with your religion and immediately I thought yes.

Thankyou so much for your response @Wflwer apologies if I said anything out of line in my question which seems to have been deleted, I tried to be as sensitive in my phrasing as I could but I guess the subject is incredibly contentious and triggering.

I am so incredibly sorry you have faced antisemitism in this country and agree it is very much a problem and getting worse which makes talking about Palestine and Israel very difficult. And again so sorry about your friends and what their families are going through. Sending strength and solidarity to you and your friends. Xx

Hoping for a ceasefire soon and ashamed of Western governments, especially ours, not sanctioning Israel until one happens to give the people of Palestine a chance of survival. X

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Wflwer · 12/03/2024 13:49

racoonsinbins · 12/03/2024 09:46

Thanks very much - that's really interesting. Can I as another question - it's really interesting what you say about the focus on education, which agrees with the views of my friends in Gaza who are completely obsessed with education both for themselves and their children as the only way to gain opportunities. Is an equal focus put on education for boys and girls?
By the way, just wanted to say so sorry for the loss of your former colleagues and the hardships they are facing.

Something I think that shocks people - particularly in the west - is that boys are more likely to not finish school than girls! It’s just under 10% for girls a little over 20% for boys in terms of drop out rates. Roughly 2% of Palestinians hold a PhD which is a similar rate to the uk and lots of teachers we worked with were far higher educated than ourselves.

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racoonsinbins · 12/03/2024 14:31

Thank you! When you stay "dropping out" is this before aged 18 or younger? And do you know the main reasons? Sorry to ask so many questions!

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Wflwer · 12/03/2024 14:55

Yes it’s usually older teenagers who tend to be from poor rural communities often they will drop out to work on a family farm.

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racoonsinbins · 12/03/2024 15:20

Thanks! What is the quality of education like? There is always criticism of Hamas having syphoned off money for social services and there is clearly evidence of poverty within Gaza, but in general the health care seemed quite reasonable (prior to the war obviously) at least at primary and secondary level. Is this the same with education?

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Wflwer · 12/03/2024 19:06

It’s a good quality education that pupils get - education is primarily run through UNRWA with textbooks from the Palestinian Authority .

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ButterfliesnWaterfalls · 12/03/2024 19:12

Wow thank you for this thread OP.

What do you think of the current situation in Gaza?

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Wflwer · 12/03/2024 19:33

ButterfliesnWaterfalls · 12/03/2024 19:12

Wow thank you for this thread OP.

What do you think of the current situation in Gaza?

I cannot believe it’s been allowed to happen if I’m honest. I’m appalled by the entire situation and cannot count the amount of times I have cried. I also hope people don’t forget about the West Bank either at times like this which is being met with aggression also.
I have attended a number of protests in London (some with baby in tow) and fully believe in a ceasefire along with a lasting solution for Palestinians including the right to return and a demilitarised Israel.

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racoonsinbins · 14/03/2024 19:20

Thanks so much for answering my questions. It’s such a refreshing perspective.

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Intestinequeen · 17/03/2024 10:52

Wflwer · 12/03/2024 19:33

I cannot believe it’s been allowed to happen if I’m honest. I’m appalled by the entire situation and cannot count the amount of times I have cried. I also hope people don’t forget about the West Bank either at times like this which is being met with aggression also.
I have attended a number of protests in London (some with baby in tow) and fully believe in a ceasefire along with a lasting solution for Palestinians including the right to return and a demilitarised Israel.

How can you not agree that Israel needs to defend itself? Surely that’s why the iron dome is in operation - because they’re bombarded with rockets.
You don’t mention the hostages either? What’s your view of Hamas?

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Wflwer · 17/03/2024 12:36

Intestinequeen · 17/03/2024 10:52

How can you not agree that Israel needs to defend itself? Surely that’s why the iron dome is in operation - because they’re bombarded with rockets.
You don’t mention the hostages either? What’s your view of Hamas?

Because as the legally recognised occupier they don’t have the right to defend themselves.
the iron dome is a great invention however even prior to it being put in place in 2011 (figures between 2004 and 2014) there were under 30 killed by PIJ rockets. The idea that Israeli violence should never be met with Palestinian resistance but Palestinian resistance should always be met with Israeli violence is baffling.

my views on Hamas are they were a democratically elected government and when they ran for Government they ran as the moderate organisation who were not corrupt like the Fatah government prior to them, however if you remain in power for over 15 years I do not believe you are democratically elected anymore and I fully believe that a new election should be held within Gaza to elect a new government prior to last year - the problem is Israel would not want that as Hamas is a benefit for them as while they are in power there will never be appropriate discussions regarding a peace solution.

”you didn’t mention the hostages” over 30 hostages have been killed by Israel itself. A ceasefire would obviously protect those hostages and would also of course mean as has been discussed in all ceasefire agreements the return of hostages including Palestinians held without charge in long term administrative detention which includes children. Also we can remember that Palestinians held in Israeli prisons have been well documented as being abused including sexually.

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Comedycook · 17/03/2024 12:42

Very interesting thread op.

But I will say I'm absolutely aghast at this

and a demilitarised Israel

I really can't see Israel lasting long if it was demilitarised

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Wflwer · 17/03/2024 12:46

Comedycook · 17/03/2024 12:42

Very interesting thread op.

But I will say I'm absolutely aghast at this

and a demilitarised Israel

I really can't see Israel lasting long if it was demilitarised

Israel are always quick to say if a Palestinian State is made they should not have a military when Israel is currently bombing 4 different countries and has an unknown amount on nuclear weapons and no one gets to know because they have never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and completely opposes having no WMDs in the Middle East.

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Circumferences · 17/03/2024 12:51

Your timing of this thread is unbearably insensitive, OP.

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Comedycook · 17/03/2024 12:53

Circumferences · 17/03/2024 12:51

Your timing of this thread is unbearably insensitive, OP.

Why? There's an entire board on mn about the Israel/Gaza conflict. Why wouldn't you discuss this?

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babysoupdragon2 · 17/03/2024 13:00

You've explained yourself so well. I can not quite believe what we are witnessing.
What proportion of your friends/associates within Israel share your views?

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pantsalot · 17/03/2024 13:02

Interesting thread, thank you

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