The actual distance between Gaza and Jericho is about 139 KM of length. Some say that it would take two hours in car if the driver is driving at 80 km per hour and many others say that it would take an hour and half if the driver is a little bit insane. I am not interested in arguing the real time it takes, but rather, the real time that one needs to get permission to cross from Gaza to the West Bank. Not forgetting the fact that all Palestinians have the right to cross from a Palestinian city to another without getting permission from anyone.
So far, no Palestinians can cross from Gaza to The West Bank or vice versa without getting permission from the Israeli authorities following tough conditions that don’t allow anyone who has the right to go there except for sick and old people (who can’t walk from their homes to Eriz Crossing, where they are being humiliated to the fact that one could not think once again of visiting the West Bank).
Being half Gazan, half West Banker, my family and I suffered from this issue for the last ten years. We have been prevented from getting permission to meet our relatives that we have not seen for ages. Adding that, many of them passed away, while many others got old to the fact that if I meet them, I would not recognize any. Some describe me as ‘an example of unity ‘in the time of division. Being so makes me happy as well as being prevented from seeing my family for this long period of time makes my life looks like nothing, but a part of hell.
I wonder if one must get sick or die twice to get a permission to go there. If so, the city of Moon is no longer a city of moon or a city of honey as some call it. Jericho should be named as the city of lament, instead. For sure, ten years are not enough to make Jericho old enough to the fact that I would not recognize it because 10 years are nothing compared with 10,000 years of age. The two things which increase there are the dust of walls and the purity of water that are attached to the city wherever this issue is being mentioned.
What would happen if the Israelis are being prohibited of visiting their relatives this period of time?! The whole world will stand on one leg to reveal this “inhumane behavior”. This issue puts the credibility of the world at stake. In the coming future, I wish to be able to visit my grandparents’ cave that I have not been able to see while they were alive. Until this moment comes and I get my right to go there along with my family, the way to city of the moon will not be nicer than the way to the real moon. All the time, peace be upon Jericho, its people, my grandma’s cave, and the scorching sun and the warm winter of Jericho.
Yousef M. Aljamal
20 September, 2010