Ahmed Alnaouq, 23, graduated from Al-Azhar University in Gaza City, with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. A resident of the Gaza community of Deir Albalah, he says his dream is to advance the cause of Palestinian human rights and to expose the “human face” of the Israeli occupation. He works for a Palestinian NGO. He has also agreed to be an occasional correspondent for CTIP. Watch this little video to meet Ahmed…
I met Ahmed when I was in Gaza two years ago. He struck me as a serious, intelligent young fellow trying to figure out what to do in a very difficult (and stressful) situation.
One of his activities was as a writer for We are not numbers (WANN), a Palestinian NGO whose objective is to help Palestinian youth reach out over Israel’s blockade to talk to, and with, the outside world. He later took on responsibilities as WANN’s Gaza Project Manager.
After my visit to Gaza, I have remained in occasional contact with Ahmed, as he has sent me several of his articles to comment on. Late last year, he agreed to become CTIP’s part-time correspondent. He has contributed three articles so far:
- the first inviting Canadians (and in particular young Canadians) to come to visit Gaza,
- an interesting article about those Israeli drones that fly continually over Gaza.
- a third article explaining why Palestinians in Gaza keep on demonstrating against Trump’s decision over Jerusalem at significant risk to life and limb.
Meet Ahmed by video
I recently came upon a lovely 3 minute video made by two young Gaza based videographers who call themselves the “Khaldi Twins”. In the video Ahmed introduces himself, and explains his love for Gaza despite all their difficulties, and his struggle to remain positive and optimistic in a very dark situation. Every week, the Khaldi twins produce very professional videos about life in Gaza which are posted on their Facebook page.
U got questions for Ahmed, or story ideas?
If you have questions about life as a young person in Gaza, please put them in the comments section of this blog and we will see if we can get Ahmed to address some of your issues.
Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue. We invite brief comments (under 100 words) from readers. No links to other websites/articles/YouTube, please. Both Zionist and non-Zionist opinion is welcome as long as it is expressed in a respectful way. Comments that include personal attacks on other commentators, foul language or are racist/antisemitic/Islamophobic will be deleted.
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I am, the writer, Israeli. You are 23. I am more than double your age. You never faced wars and killing. I did. Too much. It is indescribable what death means. I write to you as I think that your motto, your starting point is very bad. You say that your “dream is to advance the cause of Palestinian human rights and to expose the “human face” of the Israeli occupation”. You put it “Human face” but I would put it straightforwardly: Human face. The Israeli occupation, with all the sorrow due to your suffering, is human. It is much more human than your own regime, by your people, the Arabs, in the Arab states and territories. Let’s take your place, Gaza. The occupation supplies you with everything you need. Your problem is that your (elected?) regime take all of it from you, the people, and use it for military/destruction purposes or use it for their private uses-sell it in the markets and take the money. If Israel was not supporting you with food, water, energy, and power, you would have never survived. Please do your job properly. Before you start writing do learn the matter. No. You don’t know the facts. what you read/hear in Gaza is not the truth. It is the Arab propaganda. Just look at the support/help that Israel gives to Jordan, Egypt and even your people that get medical treatment, free of charge, in Israeli hospitals. Israel is a real human state. You are not. So, instead of pulling us, Israel, down to your low level, you should write, bravely, the truth and pull your people up. you must help them to rebuild the ruins that your leadership caused you. If you do it then it justifies your nomination. If you do the opposite, blaming Israel for everything, you ruin your chance to get out of the place that you currently are.
You must do everything to bring peace and a better life to your people. If you manage to do it this is the best payment that you can get. Everybody will thank you and appreciate your work/efforts. Your people/your family will get benefited. This will be your real success. I hope you understand it and you will push/support mutual work, with Israel, for you, the Gazans. Please do write peace not hatred
Please think of and let’s be in touch to improve your poor people’s condition.
Hey Amir (Seelistnunderstand),
Thank you for your commentary. Please note that this website is for Canadians who want to understand and discuss Canadian policy toward the Israel/Palestine situation. If you, as an Israeli, want to debate politics with Palestinians, I am sure there are other sites for that purpose. Or, you can write privately to Ahmed on his FB page.
I have invited Mr. Alnaouq to share his experiences and perceptions with CTIP’s subscribers as we very rarely hear views directly from Gaza. (We do often hear Israeli views, however.)
I must admit that, as a Canadian, I was astonished by your claim to Mr. Alnaouq that “you have never faced war and killing”. Given his life in Gaza, and the death of his brother due to Israeli military action, this seems nonsensical and perverse.
Your comments underline what many Canadians find very strange about many Israelis: their seeming inability to show any concern for anybody but themselves.
Thank you, Peter, for your comment and remarks. I repeat what I wrote. He, the Gazan reporter never felt being in war means that he, at the age of 23, never used a weapon to defend his life. And if he did it, he should be aware of the results of war/shooting/fights. War is not a movie that after you finish your scene you wash, dress and drive your Cadi to your family and on the way you take some scotch. War is different and this must be addressed to everybody that dead people will never return to their families. He, the young reporter must take it as his motto that must be transferred to his readers as the info that they get from their media encourage war and killing and hatred. So, my motto, as you can understand is making peace through talking. Talking not with guns.
I hope that I made my point clear.
Amir (see listenunderstand)
Thank you again,
I find your reference to “driving your Cadi to your family and on the way to take some scotch” quite intriguing. It makes me wonder if you are in the USA?
Before any further discussion, would you please identify who you are, what army you have served in, where you live, and where your get your information about the situation in Gaza (which is quite at variance from what I have read aand seen). Thank you.
Thank you, Peter
I will answer your questions that are relevant. No, I don’t live in USA anymore. I lived there when I served my state, Israel, where I live now, as a president of an Israeli-American company that helped, Muslim, yes, don’t be astonished, Muslim states, including Arab states. More details are not available. We sold them Israeli technologies, turnkey projects, that are not used for wars. Not for killing. We are peaceful people. So, I know the Americans as well as many High ranked people in the Arab world. Please don’t ask for their names as they will deny it. They told me that they will do it as they don’t want to be exposed to their people. All meetings were official, not spy. They knew me and my Israeli nationality, as well as I, knew them. Some of them were visiting Israel, before we signed the agreements, as they wanted to see if there is a state called Israel and how it looks. If it, Israel, was that developed. Not just them, I met the 1st man on the moon, Neal Armstrong, twice. we had a chat concerning mutual matters. I invite you to come to see, with your own eyes and learn more about Israel as nobody can explain who Israel is. I invite you hoping that you will accept my invitation/offer. But, let me warn you that it already happened that people that visited Israel fell in love with. this can influence your high loyalty to the Arabs. The things that you will see here are exceptional of all that you know/think you know, about Israel. I hope to see you, soon, in Israel. I will guide you to very interesting places/project. You will visit blooming deserts, how salty seawater becomes in 1 minute sweet/edible water and how people can live peacefully, that war must be the last thing to think of. Peace is the name of the game. More of your questions will be answered if/when we meet, but, in the meantime, please, try to lower the flames that you and the people that write with you in the Arab’s antisemitic blogs.
Awaiting your reply
Hey Amir, I have been to Israel/Palestine many times. I plan to visit there again sometime this year. If you are serious in your invitation to meet me, please write me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to meet both Israelis and Palestinians.
I admit to being surprised, and disappointed by your last sentence. My motto is “raise the issue but lower the temperature”. I earnestly attempt to follow that direction. You will not see any anti-semitism in my writing, nor do I allow it on my blog site.
It’s also perverse to suggest that the occupation gives them everything they need in light of the fact that it is not given to begin with let alone the paternalistic attitude that it is up to Israel to decide what some other people might need. There you have the full supremacist mindset of Israel which is one of the many core issues at the base of the dispute. Such total arrogance.
Who are kidding when you say the people in Gaza are supplied with everything they need?
I lived there for almost 6 months after Operation Cast Lead. We had medical equipment that was useless because we could not get replacemnt batteries ( eg defibrillator), because of the embargo on an ever changing and ever growing list of items. depending on the whims of some official as to what would be allowed into Gaza, ranging from childrens toys to paper. As for energy, there were ( are) deliberate cuts to hydro, frequently for up to 14 hours a day. How do you run a business like this, or even go about daily life? Fresh water is scarce and limited.
Amir, it is time for you to educate yourself on what is REALLY happening with the Palestinian people.
Thank you for taking the time to comment. I am sorry I am replying late; my mother was diagnosed with cancer this week, and I have not been in the best of spirits. (Your “humane” government limits the treatments available to her.)
It’s true I am “half your age.” However, you are wrong when you say I have not faced “wars and killing”!! I take it that you have had to hold a gun and “defend yourself” while serving in the Israeli military—probably when invading Palestinian lands and homes, as it so often does. (If you are really unaware of, or unwilling to admit, the terror inflicted by the Israeli military during its “operations,” simply read the testimony of your state’s own soldiers.)
AS for me, do you not realize that Gaza has suffered through three wars since 2008 alone? Where do you think I was during those assaults, each of which killed and wounded many more Palestinians than Israelis? It isn’t necessary to be a fighter to be threatened by Israeli guns. In the last and largest of the wars on Gaza, which occurred in 2014, 70 Israelis were killed, compared to 2,149 Gazans—most of whom were civilians. Among the Palestinians killed by Israeli forces were my brother, cousin and five of my best friends. You say, “it is indescribable what death means.” You don’t need to try to describe it. I know personally what it means.
However, my exposure to Israeli violence began even before 2008; it dominated my childhood. I grew up during the Second Intifada, in which Israeli tanks roamed around my city, terrorizing and sometimes killing both kids and adults. By the time I was out of my teens, I knew how to distinguish between a surveillance drone, an Apache helicopter and an F16 by their sound alone. We become familiar with Israeli war weapons just as Canadian and Israeli kids learn about smartphones and video games. Trust me, no one has felt the brunt of war more than us.
You go on to assert that the Israeli occupation is “humane,” that it supplies us with “everything you need.” Forgive me for being blunt and probably sounding rude, but this statement also displays rather shocking ignorance. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Here are just a few contrary facts:
· Gaza hospitals have run out of and cannot obtain 40 percent of the 516 medications considered “essential” by the World Health Organization. (By the way, you also are wrong when you say Israel helps my people get medical treatment, free of charge, in Israeli hospitals. According to the World Health Organization, Israeli authorities approved only 54 percent requests for permits to leave Gaza for medical care in 2017. Fifty-four Gazan Palestinians, 46 of whom had cancer, died that year, following denial or delay of their permits.)
· An estimated 4,500 homes destroyed or damaged in the 2014 war on Gaza still have not been rebuilt or repaired—in large part because the import of basic materials, like cement, is so restricted. For example, the amount of cement brought into Gaza between October 2014 and the end of December 2017 was less than 2 million tons, only 30 percent of Gaza’s needs.
· The Israeli government severely limits, or prevents altogether, the entry of materials needed to repair and operate purification and sanitation equipment—leaving 96 percent of our water undrinkable.
I could go on, but you get the point. All of these points address emergency needs. It is considered a silly luxury to hope to leave Gaza to see a little of the world if you don’t have a life-threatening illness or a full academic scholarship. Why are we not allowed to simply be a tourist, like everyone else in the world? Imagine, for a minute, that you live in small space as densely crowded as the Gaza Strip (2 million people crammed into 365 square kilometers, or 141 square miles), but were never allowed to leave? You invited Peter to your country so you could show him Israel. Since you are so “humane,” why not invite me too? I would gladly accept the invitation; I have never been able to visit Jerusalem, my religion’s holiest city, and I have dreamt of doing so Jerusalem every night for six months.
You attack Gaza’s “regime,” saying it is inhumane and corrupt and thus the real source of our problems, not Israel. It’s true that, like those of many other governments around the world, Hamas officials leave much to be desired. I certainly won’t deny that. But to blame them for all or even most of our ills is absurd. What government could possibly operate effectively or efficiently when it has no control over imports, exports or travel in and out?
And don’t get me started on the subject of the “purity” of the Israeli government. A recent Israeli newspaper article opened this way: “With each passing day, the severity of government corruption in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his family and his cronies were allegedly involved ratchets up a notch.” And he’s not alone. Every prime minister in the last 20 years has at some point been under criminal investigation.
You go on to say, “You don’t know the facts. What you read/hear in Gaza is not the truth. It is the Arab propaganda.” I am living the truth, not reading about it.
I am the one who lost loved ones, I am the one who dreams of having just eight hours of electricity a day, and I am the one whose wildest dream is to travel outside of Gaza once in my life. I’d turn your statement around and say it appears that you don’t know the facts and are relying only on Israeli propaganda.
Contrary to your accusations, I have never written in hatred, and I never will. Even after my brother was killed, my only wish is for a peaceful life, with full civil and human rights. Then, we could live in harmony.
Thank you Ahmed,
My sympathy goes out to you and your mom. I hope she gets good treatment and is able to get over her cancer.
I normally ask readers to keep their comments to under 100 words. But I am making an exception for you as a contributor to CTIP’s website.
I do find it somewhat strange that Amir, who doesn’t live in Gaza, seems to think he knows more about Gaza than you do. Thanks.
Thank you, my friend Ahmed, for your reply.
I am sorry about your mother’s health problem. I had 5 cancers, 4 at the time, 11 years ago. The Israeli doctors and the Israeli medical system/knowhow saved my life. Your mother could be assisted, as well, if your regime would behave differently. Please follow reading next
I don’t know what to start answering you with. I will try to repeat my last reply: I still think, in spite of all your description of your suffering, which I fully admit, that due to your young age you think that you know everything. I tell you that you don’t. When time comes you will wake one day and say to yourself: “Hey, this Israeli man, Amir, knew what he was saying. We don’t learn from books. We learn from life experience”.
Now, please read this carefully. All points, of suffering, that you mentioned are, I repeat, because of you. I am not sure you know why Israel invaded Gaza. It was in the 6-day war. Till this war, Gaza was under the rule of Egypt. They didn’t want you as they, as well as you, were in severe economic troubles. Israel was attacked by 3 Arab armies: Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. Israeli troops rushed to Sinai desert where the Egyptians had their army, in order to stop their attacks on Israel. On/by the way Israel passed through Gaza. After the war, after signing the peace treaty with Egypt, they refused to take you, Gaza, back. They left you, their big troublemaker, with Israel. So, although you declare you being our enemy, and as you are still peopling that have your needs, and as Israel, although you blame us for being inhumane, we understand your necessities so we kept you under our canopy and supplied you with all your needs. You people didn’t appreciate it and you kept fighting/attacking Israelis. So, after having a lot of Israeli casualties, we evacuated Gaza and left you walking on your legs. This was your biggest mistake. Since then you suffer. You got Hamas ruling you. This is your current main problem. You didn’t learn the lesson and you still continue to attack Israel. You, still, declare everywhere, publicly, that your aim is to kill all Jews and to destroy Israel. Do you, under such condition, really expect that Israel will serve you, allow you visiting Israel, and supply you with your needs as from building materials all the way to hospitalizing your people? Do you understand what you compare? You take lives of Israelis that has nothing to do with you and you ask us to help you? Would you agree/accept if it was the other way around? Israel would kill your people and ask you to get you assistance in everything. Please think logically/sincere and answer yourself in your most honest way. It is just for you. I don’t need your response as I know what would be my answer to such a question. I would never help the killers that look/ask for charity.
Concerning building materials: You don’t use it to reconstruct your ruined homes (that were ruined/attacked because Hamas installed/positioned/put there rockets that were fired to Israeli territory/cities/people in order to kill. You will get what you ask for once you stop digging attack tunnels against Israel, and stop attacking us.
So, please learn the history of the conflict, look/judge yourself before you blame Israel. Once the time will change, which means the mood of war will disappear, you, and your people will be accepted in Israel in the most honorable way. Till then you are considered as enemies and as such we must keep you away.
You, as a journalist, can do a lot to explain your people the situation and work towards understanding. You, the Gazans, will be the benefiters.
Please keep following my posts in Google under “seelearnunderstand”. And in wordpress under “Israel”. I hope that you will get from there the mood of peace. Please share the posts with your friends. I am aware of you limitations to do so but I hope that you will find the ways to do it as you do understand the importance of spreading the good will for better understanding, and improving life, among your surroundings.
Thanks for replying.
You, among lots of Israelis, keep repeating false accusations about us saying that we want to kill all Jews. I have no idea where did you get an idea like that.
But here is some things (that I have seen): We don’t hate Jews, and we never did. Hamas doesn’t hate Jews and it never did. In WANN, the project I am the manager of, we have so many Jewish mentors, and we love them way more than some Muslims.
In Gaza, Hamas and the Gaza people keep inviting Jewish activists and host them and treat them in respect. I, myself, met with dozens of Jews in Gaza (the Strip that Hamas controls) and they were treated with respect. Our issue is not with Jews, it is with Israel, and the Israeli government to be precise.
But I have a better solution for all this. Please give my grandparents their houses in Jaffa and Beersheba back. They left their houses in 1948 after their cities were bombed and their neighbor were killed by the Israelis to establish their country. I would like to remind you that 70% of the Gazans are refugees and Israel was established on the ruins of their homes. Give them their homes back, and I am sure there will be no more hostilities between us.
The reply to this letter will be given/published on my blog as I see this discussion very intersting for everybody that claims same/similar claims.
How is your mother? As an ex-cancer “owner” I know the feeling. Anyway, I wish her and you the best of health.
Good luck Ahmed. I look forward to your reports. I actually consider your taking on of this task quite brave in light of the inhuman brutality of the siege and occupation. It is certainly one of the more dangerous regions for reporters to operate. Unfortunately freedom of reporting and speech doesn’t exist as a right but is restricted to the right form of speech. And to be clear I personally see this as a failing on both sides of the conflict.
Good luck again! I wish you well and success!
Thank you so much dear for commenting… It is kind of you to describe my talking as brave. Israel indeed has been attacking and detaining reporters and journalists in Palestine. But I think it is my moral responsibility to raise our voice and promote peace and equal rights for the Palestinians.
Nas Daily (Nuseir Yassin) is a Palestinian Israeli who invented a new style of video journalism, he is amazing and he have five million followers on Facebook who are waking up each morning to see his new daily video
The Khaldi twins are a pale copy of Nas Daily.
Go and watch the origin on Facebook : “Nas Daily”
Thanks for mentioning The Nas Daily which is an interesting site and has been wildly popular. https://www.facebook.com/nasdaily/.
The author is a young Palestinian citizen of Israel. He talks quite a bit about the anti-Palestinian (anti-Arab) racism of the most extremely religious Israelis, but not so much about housing or employment or other practical issues of discrimination inside Israel. This may be one of the reasons he is popular with Israeli liberals. In any event, his situation is quite different from that of the Khaldi twins who are stuck inside Gaza.
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