When you think about the Gaza Strip, you will probably think about a dangerous war zone which is, if you even dare to come close, strictly forbidden for visitors. Although it can be a troubled area, we noticed that most of the time the situation around Gaza Strip is quite calm. Around Gaza Strip, there are some army-secured border towns, where people just go on with their daily business like everywhere else in Israel.
During our trip to Israel, we wanted to see the Gaza Strip from up close. Although, we didn’t have any intention of entering Gaza itself. We just wanted to see how close we would get and see with our own eyes if the news we all hear about was true. So we took a leap of faith and went towards Gaza. The border which we planned to go was the Erez Crossing Point in the North of the Gaza Strip. Since we tried to get as close as possible, we drove up all the way to the border crossing.
While we were approaching the Crossing, some Israeli’s were honking and signing towards us, that we had to turn back. As touristy as we were, we drove further and arrived a few minutes later at the Erez Crossing. Once there we were stopped by Israeli soldiers, who forbid us of entering the crossing or Gaza and told us to turn back.
At this point, we did not have seen any sight off the actual border. This because it was not visible from the highway and we were not allowed to take any pictures at the Erez Crossing Point.
During our trip to the border, we saw a town called Netiv HaAsara, which was very close to the Gaza strip and which was secured by soldiers. We drove up to the town and talked to the guarding soldiers, gathering some information about the Gaza Strip. They told that at the border of the town, there was a place called Path of Peace, An artistic creation which was made near the Gaza Walls and which is used as a kind of sanctuary. Although, most of the time visitors aren’t allowed, lucky as we were the soldiers gave us permission to enter the town. This was a chance for us to see the Gaza Strip from even more close than we could ever imagine.
Path of Peace
The Path of Peace is a fairly unknown mosaic creation and or sanctuary, which is created out of hope, love, and happiness among all people. The creation is placed upon the extra border wall that is built within Netiv HaAsara. The creation is seen from both sides of the wall and spreads on the gray security wall, completely changing the place’s atmosphere.
Local resident Jolanda told us: ”That this specific wall was put there as extra protection because snipers from Gaza were shooting at the school bus picking up kids in that neighborhood. The wall had been built extra high and strong so, in case the Hamas decides to shoot with heavier material than bullets, the wall would protect the residents of Netiv HaAsara.”
Visitors are invited to take an active part in the creation of the peace wall, to write a personal wish on the back of a colorful mosaic piece and glue it onto the security wall. The mosaic pieces are made by hand-work by villagers from Netiv HaAsara. Among the colorful and optimistic pieces, you can find different designs such as flower and butterflies, mosaic pieces with the word Peace in different languages and more.
The Path to Peace is created out of tolerance and kindness to others, about happiness and staying optimistic, creating mutual hope as a way of solving problems, and the power of joint creation for a good, peaceful and safe life for every human being.
How to get there
From Tel Aviv it is a 1- hour drive to Netiv HaAsara, once arriving ask the soldiers if you allowed entering. Most of the times you will be allowed unless there is a known dangerous threat. If you arrive in the village just ask for directions to the Path of Peace.
The Gaza Strip was one of the most exciting adventures we did so far. It was a both great and weird experience to stand in the middle of a supposed war-zone where you hear so much about on the news. Very special for us was the creation of the Path of Peace, which really showed us that many people all around the world have a good will and want to live in peace.
Note! Although the Path of Peace is a very special and interesting to visit, the Gaza Strip is still a very dangerous place. If you decide to visit the Path of Peace, keep in mind that the situations around the Gaza Strip can rapidly change at any moment. Plan your trip well ahead and inform yourself about the current situations before going.