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WATCH: Israelis and Palestinians meet face to face at Gaza fence

Left-wing Israelis and Palestinian protestors on opposite sides of the Israel-Gaza fence get a rare chance to speak to one another face to face.

For a few short minutes last week, a group of Israeli activists managed to have a face-to-face conversation with Palestinian activists in Gaza, albeit through a militarized fence.

On Wednesday of last week, for the first time since the Great Return March began in March, a small group of Israeli activists approached the fence to speak with Palestinian demonstrators, standing just meters from them on the other side.

The Palestinians who approached the fence had been taking part in a cultural event near the village of Khuza’a in one of the nearby tent encampments, which was established as part of the Great Return March.

The rare meeting lasted only a few minutes, until Israeli soldiers arrived and ordered the Israelis to leave the area.

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The meeting was “very touching,” according to one of the Israeli activists there, who asked that his name not be used. “The soldiers asked us if we weren’t afraid for our lives. We told them that we were worried that our friends on the other side would be shot.”

“One of the young Palestinians asked us where we were from,” added the activist. “The younger ones have been locked in Gaza all their lives, they do not know Israelis who are not soldiers. They found it hard to believe that there are Israelis who show solidarity with them.”

The meeting comes after multiple attempts by Israeli activists to approach the Israel-Gaza fence in show of solidarity with Palestinians protesting on the other side. Along with waving Palestinian flags on the Israeli side of the border, the activists previously hung photos of Gazans killed by the Israeli army and organized parallel tea parties on both sides of the fence.

Palestinians have been marching weekly to the fence in order to highlight the impacts of the siege on Gaza, as well as to re-center the issue of Palestinian refugees. Since protests began on March 30, Israeli soldiers have killed at least 205 Palestinians, and wounded tens of thousands of others. Last Friday, Israeli soldiers shot dead seven Palestinians — including two teenage boys — during the protests, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it

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Khan al-Ahmar demolition could be imminent, activists fear

Palestinian and Israeli activists who have been camping out in the village, which Israel says it will demolish, say they will resist nonviolently.

The residents of Khan al-Ahmar are preparing for the imminent demolition of their village, which activists and residents fear could take place as early as Monday morning.

Saturday night saw a record number of people staying the night at Khan al-Ahmar’s protest tent, with around 300 Palestinians and 30 Israeli and international activists sleeping in the schoolyard tent encampment.

The activists woke at 6:30 a.m. Sunday to find over 15 police vehicles parked at the entrance to the village. Like a similar  last week, activists and residents speculated that the police officers were there to gauge their response.

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Israeli and Palestinian activists — who have been consistently sleeping in the village since the High Court of Justice ruled greenlighted the demolition of the village — say they will resist nonviolently and try to delay Khan al-Ahmar’s demolition for as long as possible.

Dana Mandler, an activist with the diaspora Jewish anti-occupation group All That’s Left, who slept in the village on Saturday night, said, “as an Israeli and American, it is clear to me that the best way for me to be in solidarity with Khan al-Ahmar is to be physically present in the village along with other activists.”

“When we saw the police cars, everyone was ready to show them that we are here to nonviolently resist,” Mendler added. “It sends a powerful message when Israelis and Palestinians are together every night, speaking about a joint future, while preparing the school for the students in the morning.”

On Sunday morning, around 150 students arrived at Khan al-Ahmar’s school to begin their lessons. While they went to class, most of the activists left the village, under the assumption that the demolition would not take place during school hours.

Many of the activists were expected to return later Sunday for another night of preparations. Eid Jahalin, a resident and spokesperson for the village, said he hadn’t slept for many days. “It’s hard to know when they will come, they are playing with us in order to wear down the residents here.”

Last Wednesday, police commanders toured the area, bolstering residents’ and activists’ fears that the evacuation would take place early this week. Over the weekend, nearly 100 members of the Parents Circle-Families Forum, a grassroots...

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