A video chat, intended to build bridges between Israeli and Palestinian strangers, led some in Gaza to label the conversation itself an act of treason.
By David M. Halbfinger / Iyad Abuheweila | The New York Times | Apr 10, 2020
‘Let’s create a new kind of Netanyahu, a new kind of Abu Mazen,’
— Rami Aman, Gaza Youth Committee leader
For five years, a small but feisty group of Palestinian peace activists in the blockaded Gaza Strip has been organizing small-scale video chats with Israelis under a bridge-building initiative it calls “Skype With Your Enemy.”
On Monday, the group, the Gaza Youth Committee, drew one of its biggest crowds yet — more than 200 participants — this time on Zoom, the newly popular teleconferencing platform.
But other Palestinians in Gaza, who took umbrage at the idea of befriending Israelis, were also listening in. And the resulting public uproar prompted Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, to arrest the youth committee’s leader and several other participants.
The charge: “holding a normalization activity” with Israelis, which a Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman, Iyad Al-Bozom, called a crime, saying it amounted to the “betrayal of our people and their sacrifices.”