What is Gaza?
Things seem quiet on the Eastern front. So says my father, who reports that a two week long truce negotiated at Mecca seems to be holding, and that the members of the new Unity Government will be announced in days.
Meanwhile, the Ghetto-ization of Gaza continues, with the Erez border crossing (already inaccessible to Palestinians-and Israelis-alike) being designated an "official border" by Israel.
The few Israelis or foreigners who do cross over must have their passports stamped and are listd as having departed the country (to where?).
As Yousuf asked me last week, out of the blue, on our way back from the supermarket:
"Mama, what is Gaza?"
I stumble. How do I answer that? What has Gaza become? What is and was Gaza?
"Is Gaza the ma3bar?" he prods inquisitively.
"um...i guess, that is part of the experience of Gaza, yes, habibi. But Gaza is a place. It is home. It is where Seedo and Tete are now."
That is what the Gaza experience has become in my now 3 year old's mind: it is reduced to his experinces on borders. It is that strange faraway place that takes days and sometimes weeks to get to. THe place no one wants to talk about anywhere, or hear about. And most of all, the place that no one one can provide you answers about, least of all to a curious and confused little 3 year old.
Amira Hass sums it up nicely in her article "What a Strange Abroad".