This is Rania Kharma. She is thirty four, attractive and intelligent. She has ambitions, bills to pay, and worries that preoccupy her. She is not so different than many other people I know: Canadians in Toronto, Spanish in Madrid, or Israelis in Tel Aviv.
But, she's stuck in Gaza.
Rania came back voluntarily to Gaza from Ramallah last September. I made some fainthearted attempts to dissuade her but her attachment to Gaza was stronger than reason. She made her way back because, understandably enough, she wanted to be where she felt she belonged.
Now, she cannot leave. Hamas and Islamic Jihad thrust rockets at southern Israel, the Israeli army and air force strike back – the Middle East game of torture goes on. The gates in and out of Gaza are shut. Another day in the life of Rania since mid-September.
She has recently written a letter to Ehud Barak stating that she is no security risk to Israel.
Rania wishes to leave Gaza via Egypt or Israel – the only two roads – to make her way somewhere else to start a new life and have ambitions, bills to pay, and normal everyday worries like so many other people I know.
On November 7, 2008, Rania managed to get out of Gaza through the Egyptian border.
All text in this post copyright John Zada and John Bell 2008