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Tsunami Brings Israeli-Palestinian Friendship

March 2, 2005
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Yossi and Inbar Gross said they were spending their honeymoon in the Thai resort of Phuket when the area was overwhelmed by a wall of water.

“What happened was, we and this Palestinian couple jumped on the roof of this Ford van,” Yossi told Israel Army Radio. “Below us was a raging river, a sea that washed up into the city and dragged everything along with it. Everything was wrecked, everything was ruined.”

Though Israel and the Palestinians have been locked in violent conflict for over four years, the emergency pushed all that aside. Yossi said they stayed with the Palestinian couple on the van’s roof for more than four hours before they were able to climb down. He did not give their names.

After they made their way to a makeshift shelter, the Palestinians gave them money and assistance, which enabled them to get to Bangkok and board a flight for Israel, Yossi said.

“I have to tell you, if there’s someone I have to thank, quite simply they’re the people who got us out of there,” he said. “All of our money, our passports, they were left in the hotel…without them we couldn’t have gotten out.”

Inbar said their debt to the Palestinians was incalculable. “Maybe we owe them our lives,” she said. Her husband said that he and the Palestinians exchanged phone numbers and intend to keep in close touch.

“Friends?” he said. “Of course we are. Absolutely.”


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