If you ask any fellow about how many hours it took him to travel from his city to reach Washington DC in US, what is the expected answer comes to your mind? Four hours? Ten hours? Twenty? Thirty? What is your reaction if someone told you it took 10 days? It means 240 hours! This is the distance between Gaza and Washington DC.
When I received my final offer to be an Atlas Corps fellow and serve at Microsoft, I got super excited about this great opportunity which will change my life. But this feeling did not last more than few seconds as I immediately remembered our long misery, how can I get out of Gaza to reach US?
Gaza is a completely closed city since more than 12 years because of the Israeli siege. People here suffer from severe shortage of food, medicine and electricity. You need to be so lucky to have an opportunity to get out this open-air prison.
I was one of those luckiest people in Gaza to get an Israeli permit and get out. This permit allowed me to pass to Jordan to make my visa interview at US embassy in Amman and continue my way to US. There is neither US embassy nor consulate in Gaza. And in the last years, we became forbidden to make visa interviews in US consulate in Jerusalem even though it’s much closer than Amman.
I am here finally, after a very long journey full of arbitrary procedures from the Israeli side. Washington state on the west coast of US – where I live and serve – is a very nice place. It’s much more beautiful than I expected and full of glamorous natural views. People here also are very kind and friendly. I hope that one day people of Gaza can get out and visit this place.