‘…mourning and sorrow shall end,
when I return to Jerusalem…’
Mediaeval Jewish Prayer
‘We suffer from an incurable malady: Hope.’
On a land mass that is the size of landlocked
Rutland, the smallest county in England,
Gaza, the Earth’s third most populated
polity, has two small rivers and a hill.
Its city, four thousand years ago,
was the site of a Pharaonic fortress.
Though the Jordan is inaccessible,
nowhere in the Strip is more than eight miles
from sandy beaches and the ‘Great Sea’,
the dark blue ‘Sea of the Philistines’.
During the so-called Suez Crisis,
as the invading Israeli infantry
reached the outskirts of Gaza City,
refugees from the Nakba – ‘catastrophe’,
‘disgrace’ – left their faded British Army tents
and clapped, thinking the young soldiers had come
to take them all back home.