Crossing the Divide
During the war between Israel and Gaza in 2014, Sally Becker visited the region to highlight the need for a humanitarian corridor for sick and injured children in need of specialist treatment.
There are many children in the West Bank and Gaza who require regular treatment for chronic illnesses such as CF, kidney disease and cancer and although there are satellite clinics and outreach programmes in some of these areas, facilities and staff are limited. Children requiring more complex treatments like chemotherapy, radiotherapy and kidney dialysis must travel to Israel for treatment which involves complex applications for permits and funding for transport and in war time it becomes more difficult.
Having secured permission from the IDF and Hamas to visit hospitals in Gaza, Sally was taken through the Erez Crossing, a passageway which runs for about one kilometre between the two sides.
Gaza is one of the most densely populated regions in the world with over 1.8m residents in an area of 146 square miles. Donkeys pulling loaded carts weave in and out of the traffic and clouds of dust and diesel pollute the air.
On her return to the checkpoint Sally passed through an area that sustained much of the damage during the conflict. In contrast to the smart apartment blocks that lead down to the port, the bleak landscape of burned out buildings bear testament to the war. Some families have returned to what is left of their apartments and live amongst the ruins of the place they still call home. There are no real signs of peace as yet and the deep-seated barriers of distrust that exist between Palestinian and Israeli societies only serve to perpetuate the conflict.