A 20-year-old Palestinian Reddit user living in Gaza has started a Reddit AMA in the hopes of shedding light on what it is like to live in Gaza as an ordinary person.
As Israeli continues its military operations in Gaza, it’s easy to forget the conflict affects actual human beings on both sides. The Gazan, responding under the handle Riyadhelalami, helps to dispel a number of common stereotypes about the region and the ongoing conflict.
We have highlighted some of Riyadhelalami’s most interesting responses below.
Asked if he lived in a “camp” in Gaza, Riyadhelalami responded:
No I live in the city (I am lucky to have an above average wealthy family), It is very easy I have had internet since 2002, and ADSL since 2006.
We don’t have any checkpoints in Gaza we can only live in Gaza, and not go out nor go in even to our other part of the country which everyone recognises “the West Bank”.
When asked to clarify if he was allowed to ever go on vacation, even to the West Bank, Riyadhelalami said:
No legally I am, but the last time the boarders were open was 160 days ago.
Riyadhelalami also dispelled the notion that Hamas is representative of Gaza:
If their was elections it would achieve a 35% vote.
According to Riyadhelalami, at least half of the Palestinians in Gaza prefer Jews in Israel to either Hamas or Fatah:
Ask people in the Gazan Street, tell them Hamas or Fatah( which do you prefer)? he will tell you Yahud (Jews). That is 50% of the population.
Yes I am dead serious, especially the poor people which constitute more than 50%. My dad prefers Yahud.
When asked if people can protest in Gaza, and if Israel should be a Jewish state, Riyadhelalami answered:
Yes it is, my father once shouted in the face of the prime minister when he was running in the street.
I don’t believe any country should be recognised as a religious state, as there are people who don’t believe in such religion.
Despite the constant threat of violence from Hamas, other armed groups, and Israel, Riyadhelalami said Gazans mostly go about with their lives:
We are used to it, that is what I can say. Life goes on, even if there was bombing or anything.
Even these days were a there is a rocket fired at an average of 4.5 minuets, these days my father doesn’t go to his job, but he wil be going back on Saturday.
Riyadhelalami also responded as to the view Gazans have about America:
My whole family are American citizens, my Grand dad, my uncles are all Americans, so I like the American people them selves, but the government is being played by the Israeli lobby.
[Other Gazans] have the same view as me mostly, we don’t have a problem with the people but most people have problem with the government.
Asked about a resolution to the conflict, Riyadhelalami had a number of ideas:
The current situation can be resolved by two main issues solved, the opening of the boarders to let people and goods go in and out. And the other is stopping the Israeli intervention in the Palestinian internal concern.
Gaza is very small, there is a schools and houses exactly everywhere and so Hamas doesn’t have a place in isolation from citizens.
I could live with the two state solution but I don’t prefer it, I would want a one state solution.
Riyadhelalami also had a single request for the Hamas leadership:
Don’t f— with our lives and emotions …
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