It has become a tradition. Again this year, Humans without Borders, with the support of the British charity Children of Peace went to the beach. On Wednesday morning, 17 August, 52 Palestinian children, those we assist on a daily basis, their sisters, their brothers and their parents assembled at the Bethlehem, Qalandiya and Zetim checkpoints, and we went to Tel Baruch beach in north Tel Aviv. The excitement was evident already in the buses. Chats between friends, music and snacks. “When will we get there? How far is it? Who will come?” Not just the kids were excited, but also adults.
The children and their family members were accompanied by volunteers from Humans without Borders, youth from the “Hand-in-Hand” bilingual school in Jerusalem and young volunteers from Ein Rafa who are part of the “Salametkom” organization. The volunteers, especially the young people immediately connected with children and amused themselves playing together, while ensuring there were no difficulties or discomforts. Volunteers also handled all the logistics, unloading supplies, inflating tubes, spread mats on the sand, made sure everyone had drinking water, served the food and taking care that everything was clean and in order.
Like last year, a delicious lunch cooked for us by Alia, a lovely woman from Jaffa, was served. Alia and her friend stayed with us a while, talking with mothers and took a real interest in their lives and the activities we do.
What beleaguered this wonderful day was the rejection by the Civil Administration of the request for one-day permits for eight siblings who are over the age of 14. And it was particularly difficult for a young sister who was not allowed to enter Israel for no logical reason, even though she was not yet 14. The sad child returned home with her father while the mother and other family members went to the sea.