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Julie Webb-Pullman: Living and Leaving

'Living and Leaving'

By Julie Webb-Pullman

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Tonight I got a call from a Gazan colleague – he was without electricity – as was I. He had queued for six hours at the gas station to get gas for his generator, the appliance on which most Gazans rely now that electricity is only supplied 4-6 hours a day. He was allowed only two litres.

His voice was tight, I thought he might even be crying, as he told me that his house has been shaking for three days solid, from the bombings in his area.

“There used to be a training ground 250 yards from our house,” he told me, “but it has not been used for months. Why do the Israeli’s keep bombing it? They know there is no-one there anymore – they are just terrorising all the people in our neighbourhood. Two of my neighbours have been killed – who will be next? My little sister is crying, she’s been crying for hours, for days, she is hiding in the most inside room of the house, just crying from the fear, the dark, the explosions, when will it end?”

“And when are you leaving?” he asked me. “How are you – is everything okay?”

As okay as anything can be right now in Gaza, I guess. Since Friday night, when I was with friends in a café taking advantage of the wireless internet, when it was rocked by en explosion – which turned out to be a rocket that killed three men a few hundred yards down the road – the dislocation of reality has only increased. In one place people are being decimated, while only feet away they are buying bread. At least there is still bread – today, anyway.

The streets are emptier than usual – but people must still make a living, and almond-sellers with their donkeys are back on the streets, as are the bridal cars. As one group is being fired on at a funeral in Jabalia, another is arriving for a wedding in Remal – life goes on.

But for how long? That is the question now facing us all – is the international community going to leave us here, at the mercy of the Israeli war machine, which shows no inclination to stop – which announced tonight that it will continue ‘as long as necessary’ – necessary to what? Kill absolutely everyone in Gaza?

As I think about what I have to do tomorrow, I do find myself wishing I didn’t have to go within a stone’s throw of Israel for one of my appointments – but knowing I will. Because it is the most potent and peaceful form of resistance there is – to go about the business of living, in Gaza.

Am I leaving? Not yet – I have unfinished business

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Julie Webb-Pullman (click to view previous
is a New Zealand based freelance writer who
has reported for Scoop since 2003. She has been reporting
from Gaza for most of the past year and is one of a handful
of Western journalists located in the besieged Palestinian


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