Monday, August 08, 2005

Seeking Asylum In Gaza

Seeking Asylum in Gaza

When I think of people seeking Asylum, you have images of crowded old fishing boats jammed with desperate people or men jumping fences to try and jump on a train, but here in Israel we have the classic opposite. There are people who believe that it is their mission in life to seek Asylum in Gaza.

The IDF has declared the area around here as a closed Military Zone, without the correct papers there is no access to the Settlements inside Gaza Strip. The right wing hard core settlers who are planning to make a stand and refuse to leave are getting more supporters coming in, they are truly “Guerrillas in the Dark”

Once night descends protestors in small groups start trying to walk into the Gaza Settlements through the fields, trying to avoid being caught by the IDF.

It is not exactly scientific well planned; most of them get caught, taken into Police custody and released at some time, by all accounts very peaceful.

So last night we set out to try and find some of these Israeli Asylum Seekers, by all accounts you must smile when you think that what they are trying to do is to smuggle themselves into Gaza. Gaza is not exactly the land of milk and honey, on the other hand you have a million plus Palestinians trapped inside Gaza, if they try to walk out they are shot without questions.

There was no moon and it was pitch black, and we had driven not more than one kilometre around the Kissifim Kibbutz, before we came across an IDF Checkpoint. Much scrambling by young soldiers who thought that the best thing to do would be to detain us, in fact Mike and I did not even know that we had been detained, Gaby the Producer did not seem fazed so we were not.

After a few minutes a slightly older soldier (here read about 20 years old) turned up, Gaby and him chatted and the end result was that there were no reports of people walking thru the fields that surrounded us, they even said we were free to go further down the road, but he warned us that only a km further down we would come to the fence that separates Israel and Gaza and that the locals do not always play nice.

With that warning we turned back and Mike had one of those secret squirrel type phone conversations and then pointed to a road junction twenty minutes on the map. Along dark roads, through the checkpoints. Mikes contact gave the impression that it would be like a sea of lemmings jumping out of cars and striding out into the fields, once we got to the junction.

We found a lookout spot on top of a hill overlooking the fields, and turning on night scope lens of the camera, I panned and zoomed, scanned and tilted. The end result nothing not one Gaza Asylum Seeker.

You get used to boasts of people with agenda’s in our business, all part of the spin and sometimes just sometimes they are telling the truth.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Great stuff. Really enjoying it. Any pictures coming soon? A big "Howdy" to Mike and the crew!

Safe travels,