Alice Rothchild, MD, takes witness from Gaza to the United States

Alice Rothchild, MD, indomitable author of the recent work of witness On the Brink: Israel and Palestine on the Eve of the 2014 Gaza Invasion, has recently been back in Palestine-- this time, including a visit to Gaza. And once again she has been sharing her eye-witness reports of what she has seen with audiences around the United States. On Friday (May 22), she'll be speaking along with a colleague at an event at the Friends Meeting House in Cambridge, MA. The title of the talk? "Eyewitness Gaza: Life After the 2014 Invasion."

During her recent visit to the Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel, Alice continued her practice of writing fresh, very observant and direct blog posts almost daily. These record the many informative-- and sometimes deeply emotional-- conversations she has with Palestinian (and some Israeli) colleagues, co-workers, and friends there, and offer a vivid picture of life in these hard-to-access areas.

In one blog post, written soon after her arrival in Gaza, she briefly described a meeting she had had in Gaza City's lovely, historic Marna House Hotel with Just World Books's star Gaza-based writer and editor, Refaat Alareer. Refaat was the editor of our 2014 short-story anthology Gaza Writes Back: Short Stories from Young Writers in Gaza, Palestine-- and he is co-editor along with Laila El-Haddad of our upcoming (July 14!) anthology, Gaza Unsilenced. (He is also a contributor to both those books.)

In the photo that Alice sent us later, our two authors are proudly holding copies of their Just World books titles.

In another of the blog posts she wrote from Gaza, Alice gave this searing description of a meeting she had with Dr. Mona El-Farra, deputy chair of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society of the Gaza Strip and the director of Gaza projects for the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA):

The second week, Israel started a ground attack in Shuja’ieh (or Shejaia depending on the map) in the northeast. “75,000 people left their homes under intense attack, like a flooding of people. It reminded people of 1948, early in the morning, people killed in streets, rubble, they went to schools for safety, came to the hospitals for medical help.” 

[Dr. Mona] coordinated with the UNRWA schools, started doing clinical medicine, there were 700 cases per day. “I worked as GP, gynecologist, dermatologist, asked other centers for volunteers, but we were well organized.’

The trauma and bitterness poured from her troubled memories. “A child age seven on the second day of [the attack on] Shejaia came with blisters on his foot, walked a long way, hungry and thirsty. He came to the clinic with his parents, a nurse accompanied his mother to the MRI machine, his mother was watering plants and was hit.”

“A child age five came to the clinic, with a head injury, we asked his name, ‘unknown.’ He was comatose, whole family died. Anything about him? We don’t now, the whole house destroyed, even which house he came from, he did not survive.”

“There are1800 orphans just from the last war.”

Dr. Mona’s face deepens with sadness. Her cousin in Khan Yunis, Abed Melek, a 65 year old farmer, ran into the street with his grandchildren when his house was hit. “He was killed, four children killed in their pajamas, five adults were killed, another ten were injured in his family…. I have story of myself which reflects the situation of Gaza, no place was safe... "

Alice Rothchild's witness from Palestine is important and unique-- especially for Westerners who face a near-complete blackout on the real news from those areas of historic Palestine over which Israel has exercised a foreign military occupation for nearly 68 years now-- a length of time unprecedented in modern history. 

That's why we're delighted that she is so eager to share her witness in person with audiences around the United States. And it is why, too, we are proud to have published her informative and deeply humane book On the Brink, which was a collection of her blog posts from last year... which still, tragically, presents a picture of the situation that is all too true-to-life.

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