by Aura Kanegis, AFSC
Note: Several AFSC US staff visited Gaza recently. Aura Kanegis, AFSC’s Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, was among them. This was her first trip to Gaza. These are her reflections and photographs from the trip witnessing the recent devastation of Operation Protective Edge, just the latest round of violence against a people under siege. You can read many more reflections on Gaza and Israel & Palestine here. – Lucy
The taxi bounces slowly over rutted roads as we emerge from the no-man’s-land enforced by Israeli machine gun towers, passing Bedouins tending sheep and an emaciated donkey pulling a worn cart. A large apartment building before us has been destroyed, skeletal remains of concrete pilings still leaning precariously in place. Young children are picking through the debris inside, and as parents of small kids the three of us take in a collective breath, terrified by the risk to their lives. But this crumbling structure is only one in a lifetime of unacceptable risks they face for being born Palestinian in Gaza.
We are quiet for much of the drive to our office. Gaza City looks like many I’ve seen throughout the world – pockets of grinding poverty interspersed with garish commerce, tall buildings and bright signs, traffic and fumes mixed with livestock. We arrive at a building with the AFSC star among its lobby signs and ride a small elevator to the fifth floor. Our colleagues gather to greet us, and we ask impossible questions: How are you? How is your family?…