Team SA returns from Palestine

2013-04-15 00:00

TEAM SA, which consisted of 37 volunteers and activists from around the country, landed at O. R. Tambo yesterday after having spent a week in Gaza, Palestine.

The team consisted of doctors, business people, teachers, students and social workers and they spent a week in the Israeli-occupied country interacting with its citizens.

Durban doctors Fatima Docrat, and her husband Farouk Moosa, and their two daughters Aaliya (25) and Tahiya (22), said the entire experience was an eye opener.

“It was an amazing experience and very humbling,” Docrat told The Witness yesterday.

She said when they arrived in the country, via the Egyptian border as part of a United Nations convoy, they were surprised by what they saw.

Expecting to find a lot of devastation and destroyed buildings, she said they found that the Palestinian people were busy rebuilding their country, torn by Israeli mortars and bombs.

“You bomb a library, and they build another one. They are a very resilient people,” she said.

“Stadiums, schools, libraries and infrastructure get bombed, and they build again. We saw some of them melting down metal from a destroyed building and they were planning on using it to rebuild.”

But, she said they found that the country, which relies on aid from other nations from around the world, had a shortage of skills due to heavy restrictions placed on their travel.

“They have medical equipment, but they don’t have skilled people to use them. They need people to go there and show them. They can’t leave the country. If they leave via dubious means, they can’t return. What they need is skills exchange,” she said, adding that she was also surprised to find that the Palestinians were a very hospitable and resilient people. “They said to us ‘we don’t hate Jews, we just hate the oppression’.”

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