Divided by the war, Instagram users from Israel and Gaza tell their stories


ISRAEL / FRANJA DE GAZA (Reuters) – In another part of the world they could go to the same schools or share Wi-Fi in the same canteens.

Members of the "We Are Not Numbers" group work on laptops in an office in Gaza City on November 7, 2018. Photograph taken on November 7, 2018. REUTERS / Mohammed Salem

Although these young Instagram users live a few miles away, they probably never meet. Some are Palestinians from Gaza and the others are Israeli students living near Gaza, separated by concrete fortifications and barbed wire placed by Israel at the border.

But something they share is the desire to take control of their stories. Both groups are convinced that their lives are misinterpreted or misinterpreted by the outside world.

The missiles have stopped flying over the area for the time being, and the eyes of the world have left after a week of air strikes and missiles, the most ferocious since a war of 2014 between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that control the Gaza Strip.

But the inhabitants of the border communities of Gaza and Israel persist, waiting for the next crisis, which usually comes early.

"Gaza is closed, not many have access there.With Instagram, you can show Gaza to the world through your eyes," said Manar Alzraiy, director of the project for "We Are Not Numbers," a Gaza-based program for young writers, artists and photographers.

His group publishes comments on the destruction and conflict in the Gaza Strip, but also seeks to broaden the narrative focused on the war on the spot by sharing stories of ordinary people.

"During Israeli attacks, we want to send our message abroad, but we need to be aware of what our group is experiencing, stress, anxiety, we can not always do it," he said.

On the Israeli side, the Instagram account Otef Gaza, which in Hebrew means "Gaza Suburbs", was started by a group of teenagers from Kerem Shalom and surroundings, a kibbutz located near the border.

The group shows photos of camps razed to the ground by incendiary devices launched in Israel during Palestinian protests and border missiles launched by Gaza militants, forcing the Israelis to run to the shelters.

"People are unaware that this is our reality and they simply ignore us," said Lee Cohen, 17, who co-directs the bill. "You can not sleep because of the sirens of the missiles, the explosions, the helicopters flying in the sky and the fear that the terrorists of Gaza enter through a tunnel and try to kill people," he added.


In the Gaza Strip, 225 Palestinians were killed in Israeli attacks since border protests began on March 30, according to Palestinian health officials.

Israel says that many of the dead were militants and that the soldiers were defending the border. An Israeli soldier died during protests when he was hit by Hamas fire.

In Gaza City, Alzraiy, 27, said that the purpose of "We Are Not Numbers" is to "talk about human problems" in Gaza.

Another Gaza girl, Fatma Abu Musabbeh, 22, has another approach. Insist on showing only positive images, so your account has well-kept gardens and stone buildings.

"When there is a war or a difficult situation, I publish a picture or two to tell my followers and the world that Gaza is beautiful, beyond what is happening," Abu Musabbeh said.

On the other side of the border, one of the young women who posted on Instagram, Meshy Elmkies, 16, said she was using the application because it's easy to organize information "and I personally think teenagers have the power to have an impact ".

Modified in Spanish by Lucila Sigal



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