A year ago, Israeli forces entered Gaza in Operation Cast Lead. The purpose of the operation, regarded in Israel as a success, was to bring an end to eight years of brutal terrorism suffered by communities situated next to the Gaza Strip. These difficult years were marked by the firing of more than 8,000 Qassam rockets and thousands of mortar bombs. These missiles levelled the homes of residents in Sderot and the defenceless rural settlements around the Strip and took a bloody toll on their vulnerable citizens.
About 30 years ago, my wife and I established our home in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, a few kilometres from the Gaza Strip, and raised our five children.… Seguir leyendo »
The signing of the Oslo agreements between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat in 1993 raised hopes for peace on both sides of the Israel-Gaza border. Tens of thousands of Palestinians found work in Israel. Along with their Israeli neighbours, mostly farmers who have cultivated fields adjacent to the border, a shared dream of peace and prosperity was woven.
In those days I served as mayor of the regional council that stretches along the Gaza-Israeli border. The optimism of the time provided me and my Palestinian neighbours with an opportunity to develop a multifaceted relationship: hundreds of young Gazans studied in our academic college; women's organisations joined forces in summer camps for Israeli and Palestinian children; Israeli environmental experts assisted the mayor of Dir el-Balakh in the strip in dealing with sewage flowing into the sea; and, with the help of European countries, a large plant was designed to provide purified water for agriculture on both sides of the border.… Seguir leyendo »