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Reporters on the Job

No Photo Please : Staff writer Ilene Prusher was out reporting in the streets of Gaza on Friday when she came across the family in today's story about unsettled Israel settlers (page 1).

The father of the family, Gavriel Yitzhak, is a farmer who lives just up the hill from a series of hothouses that have made it possible to grow vegetables, quite literally, in the sand. Mr. Yitzhak grows sweet potatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, and peppers, among other things, says Ilene.

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"We went down the greenhouse and there I met Abed Abdel-Razak a Palestinian who was working with Mr. Yitzhak to maintain the crops. About 30 Palestinians work here each day. Relations between the two men seemed pleasant, even jovial," she says.

Then, she pulled out her camera.

"Yitzhak became extremely happy, and Abdel-Razak, extremely shy. Yitzhak was gently pulling Abdel-Razak's arm, trying to persuade him to be in the picture. 'Come on,' he said, 'It's only a foreign newspaper.'

"Abdel-Razak was pulling away, laughing but saying, 'no.' I put my camera away, saying that it wasn't so important. I could see that Abdel-Razak, who is from Rafah, just the other side of the fields, was worried about being photographed with an Israeli.

"I'm sure he was wondering what kind of repercussions there might be if a photo with him and his Israeli employer was seen by other Palestinians and misinterpreted. In the past, Palestinians who worked with Israelis have been accused of being collaborators and then killed," says Ilene.

Israeli and Palestinian farmers have been in negotiations, brokered by the World Bank, to sell the Israeli greenhouses to the Palestinians. No agreement has been reached yet.

David Clark Scott
World editor


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