“The Other Voice” reaches out to Gazan Palestinians

Posted on May 28, 2018

by Adam Keller, Gush Shalom

I was asked by the activists of “The Other Voice” to thank all the many people around the world who have expressed their support for this movement’s campaign.

“The Other Voice” is a grassroots movement founded by Israelis living in the town of Sderot and other locations near to the Gaza Strip border. The aim of “The Other Voice” is to reach out to the Gaza Palestinians, to promote peaceful dialogue and call for an end to the siege of the Gaza Strip and the occupation and oppression of the Palestinians in general. Members of “The Other Voice” maintain ongoing personal contacts with Gaza Strip Palestinians, unbroken even in periods of high tensions, violence and bloodshed. It is virtually impossible to have face-to-face meetings since Gaza Palestinians are virtually never allowed to enter Israel and Israeli citizens similarly forbidden to enter Gaza; still, it is possible to maintain contact, across the high physical and mental barriers, by phone and the net.

The activities of “The Other Voice” are far from easy, in the Gaza border area there live some aggressive nationalists. Expressing peace-oriented opinions in this environment is more difficult than in the (relatively) Liberal Tel Aviv. Still, the activists persist in holding weekly vigils every Friday at the Yad Morderchai Junction, a short distance north of the Erez Checkpoint at the (blocked) entrance to the Gaza Strip. The junction is bustling with traffic, both civilians and soldiers en route to the Gaza border, and activists are highly visible when they raise placards and banners with such slogans as “End the Violence – rebuild Gaza!” and “On Both Sides of the Border, Children Want to Live!”. There are sympathetic reactions from passers-by and motorists, but also some highly hostile ones, including several instances of physical violence. Members of “The Other Voice” are not deterred by any such ugly incidents, and are determined to raise their voice, The Other Voice in very truth, as high as possible. For the Israeli Peace Movement as a whole, this voice is of special importance – since Israelis who live in the close proximity of the Gaza border have a special moral authority position in the Israeli society, as being those who will likely personally bear the dire results of any new violent flareup. Their outspoken call, to halt the violence and oppression and solve the deep humanitarian and political problems of Gaza has a greater resonance than than a call by Israelis living elsewhere.

Expressions of solidarity and goodwill, made by people worldwide, are highly appreciated and strengthening. You can help by raising the issue in your own country, reaching out to decision-makers and the general public opinion. Relations between Israelis and Palestinians have long since stopped being their own exclusive concern. People and governments from all over the world are involved – and should be involved in the right way.

PS: You are welcome to contact “The Other Voice” directly via
Eric Yellin