A Palestinian fisherman living in the Gaza strip was hoping to find a bounty of fish when he checked his net last week. Instead, he found a message in a bottle that had made an incredible journey.
Jihad al-Soltan, 54, didn’t think much of the bottle he found in his fishing net until he looked inside and found a note that had come from British couple Zac Marriner, 25, and Bethany Wright, 22.
The letter read: “Hello! Thank you for picking up this bottle! We are currently on holiday in Rhodes and would love to know how far this bottle got – even if it’s just the next beach!”
The couple had written the note and threw the bottle into the Mediterranean Sea roughly six weeks earlier while on vacation on the Greek island of Rhodes. They never could have guessed the bottle will make its way to the Gaza strip more than 500 miles away.
With both Israel and Egypt imposing a blockade on Palestinian-controlled Gaza for the past decade, it’s amazing that the bottle was able to drift past the Israeli Navy and find its way into Soltan’s fishing net.
Soltan was excited to have found the message from the young British couple, and so he instructed his son-in-law to send an email to the address at the bottom of the letter.
“I want them to know that Gazans are nice people and wish to have a nice life like theirs,” said Soltan.
Soltan sees the journey of the bottle as a metaphor for the situation in Gaza.
“As a fisherman I felt this letter travelled through borders and international waters without restrictions,” he explains. “While we as fishermen are unable to go beyond six miles. I hope one day we become as free as this bottle was.”
The couple that sent the bottle were surprised and elated that it made it to Gaza and couldn’t agree more with Soltan’s perspective on such a serendipitous event.
“It was certainly incredible that our bottle was found at all, let alone on a beach in Gaza,” said Wright. “It’s so tragic the situation there means people are so cut off, but the bottle reaching there illustrates greatly how we are just all one world.”