On March 20th, 2019, Rami Aman disappeared. Rami is a Gazan who has dedicated his life to improving the lives of Palestinians, and encouraging dialogue with Israelis, from the ground up. He often pays a personal price for acting upon his beliefs. Wednesday his office at the “Youth Committee” in Gaza City was searched, and he was taken away. At 14:37, a colleague of his posted frantically on FB “Hamas Security came and searched the office and took Rami with them!” About four hours later, she wrote: “Please don’t contact Rami on his mobile or Facebook, because his mobile and social media are under the control of Hamas security”. At 22:08, Gershon Baskin, who was in touch with the situation on the highest levels, wrote on his Facebook page: “He’s home”. Here is what Gershon told me about the ordeal, after writing this blogpost: “I spoke with (high ranking Hamas official whose name cannot be divulged), who spoke with their security and asked to have him (Rami) released – and then the official said to me: ‘You see? We are a democracy!'” Gershon’s response: “..and now you need to make peace with your neighbors.”
Yesterday, Rami’s colleague in Gaza contacted me, and asked me to host him on a Facebook Live interview in the group I monitor: “Life on the Border with Gaza – (things people may not know, but should)”, so that he could tell the world what happened, as well as about WHY it happened. In this interview, he talks frankly about the life-threatening challenges he faces, the people he works with, his initiatives at building bridges, between Muslims and Christians in Gaza, and then with Israelis. As I always tell people: “We could be really good neighbors”. Rami’s interview echoes that sentiment. And he is not alone. As this interview was going on, just a little bit north of where I live, in Israel, peoples’ houses were shaking from the deafening explosions coming from the “Night Disturbances” just on the other side. Yet, Rami says: “People don’t understand reality (here). The media is not reality. Israeli journalists contact me all the time, to hear about the rockets and the protests.” As Rami explains, there is a lot more going on in Gaza, with many people who believe as he does, that people in this region can and must work together. And they need our support. They need the world’s support.
I’ll write no more, rather let Rami speak for himself about windows of hope.