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May 29, 2024 19 mins

Shereen continues her talk with nurse and street medic Eva about the reality on the ground in Palestine, as well as the process of traveling from the West Bank into Gaza.

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Who Zone Media.

Speaker 2 (00:05):
We're back for part two. In our conversation with Ava,
when we left off, Ava was describing her experience in
the West Bank. I wanted to know what it was
like traveling into leslay Rafah, in particular from the West Bank.
So now we are going to jump back into that conversation.
What was that process of even entering what like from

(00:25):
the West Bank?

Speaker 3 (00:27):
So there is no direct way for the West Bank.
I mean, it's it's hilarious because, like, you know, like
the conventional wisdom is like, oh, the entire land of
Palestine is like smaller in New Jersey, but you don't
really notice it until like I am in Yaffa, I'm
in Tel Aviv, I am like thirty kilometers or something

(00:49):
from Gaza. I am in the West Bank. I am
so close, but you have to go a long way
over a long there are a lot of like logistical
hurdles to get there, just kind of like any kind
of travel in the West Bank or any kind of
occupied space. But basically my journey looked like leaving Masafriata,
the area of villages in the south hibern Hills or

(01:10):
southern West Bank, going north to Ramala, crossing into Kouds
and then hanging out and then taking and I got
to be in the Goods for e which was amazing
to see that, But then hopping on a bus and
riding all the way down to a Lats like a

(01:30):
kind of a horrible tourist town at the southern end
of forty eight. Then cut a bus into Tapa on
the Egyptian side in Sinai. Crossing took forever, so I
spent basically twelve hours overnight circuling the Sinai, which wasn't
my original plan, it is what happened. And then I
went to Cairo, and I spent some time in Cairo.

(01:51):
I got there a little bit early. Our entry was delayed,
so I ended up having some basic chirot to do compass,
which was fine and good, and then went in with
a UN convoy, which is really the only way that
you can go in crossing the northern Sinai. There's a
lot of checks with Egyptian officials out then you get
to the border, go through a bunch of checks with

(02:13):
Egyptian officials, then you cross over have a comparatively fewer
but still plenty checks with gasand officials. I also almost
cried like looking at a Palaestinian seal crossing in because
I was like getting a stamp in my passport the
Palestinian authority in Gaza, because I was like, I've never

(02:34):
like it's always every court of entry into Palestine is
otherwise controlled by the Israelis. This is like the only
one that is under Palestinian control. Even if it's like
Palestinian control in a giant open air prison, it's like
still something under And then we're inside and I've been

(02:54):
working and you know, driving in cars and movement is
pretty limited for security reasons. The murdering of the World
Central Kitchen workers that happened not long before I came,
when like basically a targeted drones strike took out three
vehicles and six or seven people. Still very unclear reasons,

(03:17):
but it was not an accident, maybe not directed from
the top, but very scary. So there's a lot of
controlled movements. So basically you have to kind of a
preapproved plan for where you're going to go and what
you're going to do when you're going to move. But yeah,
there's a lot of there's for a number of international
aid workers here right now, and I'm really privileged to

(03:37):
work with mostly Palestinian ones, but a few good internationals too.

Speaker 2 (03:42):
I wanted to get Avia's perspective about social media and
the actions of college protesters, how much coverage of the
protests actually gets to Palestinians.

Speaker 3 (03:52):
I was watching coverage with one of the doctors here
of campus protests and other like international protests just this afternoon.
People are talking about it. People are talking about global
resistance and support. I don't know how representative that is
outside of that space. Like I interact with a lot

(04:14):
of members of the public who are not healthcare workers,
but most of my conversations are with healthcare workers. I
do speak a little bit of Arabic, but not at
like a deep conversational level, like enough to do some
basic assessments and pleasantries and you know, meet my needs.
A lot of people are aware and are feeling hopeful

(04:34):
in this moment with the negotiations, in part because of
the international pressure. It's interesting a lot. I feel like
there's a lot more hopefulness in Gaza than I've experienced
just talking with people that I experienced in the West Bank.
And I think that partly that might be the moment,
but also I think it's partly sometimes in In fact,

(04:56):
they noticed in the West Bank too, where it's like
it is horrible and horrifying and terrifying to be in
the eye of the storm or to be in the storm,
but it's like you're in it and you don't have
to imagine it elsewhere, if that makes sense. When that
all started, like I tried to plug in as best

(05:16):
as I could with you know, protest movements around the States,
and as I'm sure a lot of people, maybe you
and a lot of people might be listening, could like
resonate with. It felt very like exciting to have that
much motivation or that many people caring about Palestine, but
also really inadequate and really hopeless. Just feel like you're
throwing yourself against a wall and nothing's going to change,

(05:40):
and feels are really hopeless. And in the West Bank
I had Palestinian activists say, I think this has proven
that no protest movements do anything, but like in this
moment and in this location, I don't hear that, and
I don't believe that that's the case. Like I think
that protest movements have a limited capacity to change those people,
like the the policies and just those people in power

(06:03):
that said, it's so little, so late as far as
like any kind of political change in the West and
in the US and in Europe. Like today, I visited
a cemetery that was built by like a guy and
his volunteers he worked with since October seventh, and like
visited the site of the remains of his family. What

(06:25):
remains were covered and of like another person's remains of
her family, and just like a field of some quality
and a lot of just like pavers, stones just thrown
down with names written on them in the sand, surrounded
by tent encampments, with children fighting to water the plants

(06:46):
in order to get a couple of shekels their nation.
Like it also really really sucks, and the fact that
it's gotten to this point is unimaginably horrific.

Speaker 2 (06:57):
Ava had been on the ground, its say, and helping
in what little remains because its hospitals. This is what
she had to say about that experience.

Speaker 3 (07:06):
There is no space. Most of the sickest and most
seriously injured patients are treated on the floor because there's
no space, and they were brought in screaming, bleeding, dying
or dead. The first few days I saw several people
die on the floor. You know, saw several bodies on
the floor. It's incredibly hard space. Most of the difficulty

(07:30):
that I have seen, like I said before, has not
been direct violence from the genocide, such as a missile falling,
such as shopnels, such as conclassifores, such as gunshots. I've
seen all of those, but that has not been the
majority of what I have seen. The majority of what
I have seen is children who do not have access

(07:52):
to their anti seasure medications. So the child comes in
and what's called satasphoaloptigus, which is a teacher that lasts
longer than thirty minutes, and it's gotten to a point
where it's self reinforcing and it can't be stopped easily,
and it's often and it can be easily fail even
with critical care resources. They have seen children whose parents

(08:14):
had to a different form of a medication and with
a different dosing and things, and that got confusing because
they were either like find someone who's bringing in medication,
or like find it from another place and it's not
written in Arabic and it's not clear, and so they
end up getting a wrong dose. It's like that on
the shot is now the only provider of dialysis in there,

(08:38):
there's another hospital that provides, but everywhere is so overly,
there's way too many people drawing on those resources that
they're having to run people shorter periods of time, more
spread out schedule, so people get critically sick. It's like
a lack of clean water because oft of infrastructure, because

(09:02):
of mass displacement, because of a extended period where in
the Israelis were and the Egyptians were preventing flow of
clean water resources into Gaza. So children, adults are getting hepatitis,
a turning yellow with jaundice, having persistin diarrhea, dehydration, incredibly

(09:25):
high rates of septic shock, and like severe systemic infection
due to all kinds of untreated conditions. Because it's so
much work and so dangerous for people to access care,
let alone just live that people put things off till
they're literally dying. It's not a stable situation, but it's

(09:46):
like a tenuously like I said, hanging on my thread situation.
And again I just I am. I am terrified of
what will happen if then everybody has to relocate again,
because it's going to be like people not going back
to square one it'll be going, you know, backward in
the whole new depths of pain and suffering, because like

(10:08):
if they're pushed out of Raupa to han Uness, it'll
be to an already devastated city with now tent cities
and people trying to rebuild a hospital where there is
no water infrastructure.

Speaker 2 (10:20):
Despite the terrible suffering, Ava was able to find time
to connect with her faith and her heritage while she
was in Les.

Speaker 3 (10:28):
I am also Jewish. That is not the reason I
am here, but it is not not a reason that
I am here. And during like the first few months
since the seventh of October, Jews took up a lot
of space in protest movements, and I think for good reason,
because frankly, white supremacy and time with sami Arab Antipolsinian

(10:52):
bias and people not knowing what to think or do
about Palestine, and so having Voicesjewish Americans saying like, no, actually,
this is bad, Like you can all see that and
just go ahead and acknowledge it's bad and we can
move forward. I think is important that said. I think
that the voices of Jewish people the voices of white people.

(11:13):
Not all Jews are white, of course, but many Jews
experienced whiteness and do not generally experience Islamophobia or anti Arabias,
although planet some.

Speaker 2 (11:22):
New Here's a voice note Eva shared with us after
a long day at the hospital in the data.

Speaker 3 (11:28):
Back at our house, I made some soup with noodles
and some beans are food. It's shaba scandals. For the
first time in a long time, I find myself interestingly
less estranged from my practice then I have been. It
feels very in line with my faith, practice and my
ethics to be here, and that feels good. And it's

(11:53):
been the first time in a long time that I've
felt like lighting. There's been several times that people have
asked me my faith and I've answered I'm Jewish, and
some of them were interested or excited, some of them
were surprised or confused, most who were like, yeah, no problem.
And obviously, and nobody has said anything negative about me

(12:15):
for that, or for being American for that matter. My
experience of Palestinians continues to be of the most understanding,
welcoming and people in hospitable people and people most capable
of holding complexity. People here obviously are not fans of
the US, not fans in the State of Israel, not

(12:37):
fans of most of their experience of Jews, but have
no problem with people from the US or people who
are Jewish. And that much is my experience in the
last Bank. So there's that I've been offered people's foods
so many times, and I consistently decline, except for when
I've just fed them and I eat something and then
I'm like, that's enough, thank you. I don't know, it's

(12:57):
a really magical place. It's a really hard place to be,
and I'm grateful I get to be here.

Speaker 2 (13:14):
It's obvious how much help there is great, but to
give the people a pleasant With their hospitals bombed and
their doctors killed, they desperately need medical help. But she
says they have given her help as well.

Speaker 3 (13:27):
And I think it's really important, like you say, to
be focused on, like the people who are experiencing the
genocide and are resisting the genocide, because truly, in no
small part, I came to Palestine hoping to be, you know,
to do something to help, and also to be reinspired,
because Palestinians are experts in resisting colonialism, experts in resisting genocide,

(13:51):
experts in maintaining whatever can be considered hopefulness towards the
future beyond occupation and colonial It is not fair that
Palestinians have to bear that burden of maintaining that kind
of optimism and resilience and all that kind of stuff
in the face of all the horrors that they've experienced,

(14:12):
like nobody should have to experience that.

Speaker 2 (14:14):
We then asked Ava what the impact of solidarity actions
around the world have on the people of Palestine.

Speaker 3 (14:21):
I think it is important to talk. I think it's
really unsatisfying kind of activism, as many kinds of activism are,
because it's hard to convince people who are already decided
they're against you, and it's also painful and exhausting and
usually not helpful. And also it doesn't feel particularly helpful
just to like rev up people that do agree with you.

(14:45):
But I think that people continuing to show up and
not letting it rest, not letting that energy die, not
letting this administration feel like anyone's forgotten about the ways
that they failed. Also, BDS, please learn about BOYCOPDA investment
and instinction. The Israeli government also really is scared of that.

(15:09):
They view it as terrorism to do more of it.
Not saying that people should do terrorism, but do BDS,
which is not terrorism. Decidedly no.

Speaker 2 (15:16):
I'm glad you brought that up, because that's what the
students are protesting. They want their universities to divest.

Speaker 3 (15:22):
I do think that people should learn more about BDS
because a lot of the public knowledge and information promoted
about BDS stuff is different from it, and that's fine.
I think that Starbucks and McDonald's and all these other
companies that are actually not BDS targets being scared to
be associated with Israeli occupation state is also good. Don't

(15:42):
get so much on a high horse about colonialism. Also
learn about like the colonial history and reality of North
America and try to work towards like supporting nentip clinial
struggle there, because to me feels like the utmost of
hypocrisy to be like I know and the last ongoing
occupation in the world and ignore the occupation that you

(16:05):
might be living on and benefit from. Personally, I think
that I think it insulates. I think it does important
work towards BILLY and building international solidarity and building anti
colonial resistance around the world. To talk about the interconnection
between different kinds of colonialism and anti colonial struggle, and
it also insulates our movements against claims of anti Semitism

(16:26):
and other things to be like, no, it's nothing special
about the Israeli state. Israeli state is a really bad
example of settler colonialism, as is the United States, as
is Canada, and be able to talk about all of
those things as different sides of the same kinds of
like genocidal systems.

Speaker 2 (16:46):
In addition to sharing her impressions of Palestine with us,
Ava also shared some moments of her day to day
life there. These small moments of joy are something that war,
genocide and violence try to take from Palestinian people, and
so the experience of joy is a form of resistance
in itself.

Speaker 3 (17:05):
I am here in a tiny courtyard. There are birds
chirping you can see, or some sounds of the street.
I can see some flowers and beautiful plants, next to
an incredibly fancy house that a family fled from and
is now renting to the organization I'm working with, and
in turn housing also another family of one of the

(17:29):
doctors here. And so it feels so strangely peaceful, very
confusing to the senses. Anyway, that's enough for now. I'm
signing off by.

Speaker 2 (17:40):
If there's anything that you want people to know that
we haven't seen or like that hasn't been being showed,
Like I know, the actual atrocity is far, far greater
than the stiffers we're seeing, But I guess, having been
on the ground, what is something that maybe you want
people to know that we aren't getting across on our phones.

Speaker 3 (18:02):
I guess the best way I can answer that is, like,
it's not particularly original, but remembering that cousins are just people,
and they're living their lives and trying to exist. They're
just people, and everyone and everything that they've known has

(18:25):
been irrevocably altered, whether they've been murdered, seriously injured, had
their entire family taken from them and never recovered. All
the landmarks they grew up around, all the trees that
they hung out under, all the places that they prayed
and ate and got into trouble, everything has gone. And

(18:51):
thirty some thousand murdered, sixty some thousand injured does not
represent any part of anywhere near the majority of the
horror that people are experiencing. But I think it's worthwhile
remembering that and also that like numbers are not at

(19:11):
all representative, and also just thought like some people are
political here, some people are critical, most of them They'll
give you damn. I just want to live.

Speaker 1 (19:25):
It Could Happen Here as a production of cool Zone Media.
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You can find sources for It Could Happen Here, Updated
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