By Eetta Prince-Gibson for Almonitor

26 July 2014

Julia Chaitin addressed a crowd of thousands on July 26. “I find it hard to decide what to treat first,” she said, “the headache, the nausea, the stomach ache or the tears. I am aware that these are all symptoms of this war. … We, the Israelis and Palestinians, are falling into an abyss of war and vengeance. … Our bodies and souls are destroyed.”

The crowd at the demonstration, organized by an ad hoc coalition of peace organizations against Operation Protective Edge, listened sadly to Chaitin. “We, residents of the

[southern] region in Israel and Gaza, know that our lives and security depend on each other. The only real way is to cease the fire, stop arming and seek a diplomatic solution that will benefit both people.”

Chaitin is a senior lecturer at Sapir College in Sderot and a resident of the kibbutz of Urim — two of the many places in the south of the country being targeted by incessant shelling from Gaza. She is also a leading member of Other Voice, an organization established in 2008 to “bring awareness to international, Israeli and Palestinian publics and decision-makers concerning the high physical and psychological toll that the violence has on Israelis and Gazans … concerning the need for achieving a nonviolent,

political solution to the conflict.”

The organization maintains frequent and ongoing contacts with residents of Gaza by phone, text messages, emails, Facebook and Skype. In the rare case when a Gaza member comes to Israel — for instance, for medical treatment — they meet face to face.

Read the rest of the article here.