Since the outbreak of Israel's military offensive against Hamas in late December, I have received – almost daily – fresh accounts from those close to the conflict.
In November, 2006, I met Labib Madanat, executive director of the Palestinian Bible Society, on my way into Gaza for a reporting trip to follow up on our 2005 coverage by Deann Alford, which we titled: Love in the Land of Enmity.
This week, as the fighting and dying continues, Labib shared some recent experiences with me, which he agreed could be released publicly:
Last year, and after the killing of Rami Ayyad, I had the chance to visit Gaza several times. The most memorable one of those visits was late February 2008 together with Brother Andrew. On that visit I stopped to pick a stone from a location where an Israeli soldier got killed in action 18 years ago; I did so according to a request from the soldier's father, who later became a friend of mine. We also visited Rami's widow Pauline Ayyad and her new born baby ...1