I know you probably won’t be there to read this. Maybe I would be dead before you see the light. Or rather, witness how very inhumane and so unjust this world has become. I’ll just write anyway, maybe at least your elder brother or sister witnesses all that and read this.
Ever since I came to Gaza, I’ve been dreaming of a better life. Peaceful and quiet. No explosions or blood. No injuries or martyrs. Nothing but a regular peaceful life each and every one of us would wish for.
In Gaza, everything is different. In Gaza, Israeli F16s substitute birds. In Gaza, we sleep on the continuous buzzing coming from the ever-existent drones. We wake up to find that there’s no electricity. In Gaza, explosions are the sunshine and the smell of ash is the cent of the city.
Electricity barely comes in Gaza, where it’s very dangerous to live in. Every moment you live is considered a new life because it’s very dangerous and Israelis bring their toys over to Gaza and play with us the hard way.
My beloved unborn children, being a Gazan means that you’re strong willed, courageous, and like no other. As you grow up, you’ll learn all about the different kinds of weapons and arms both allowed and internationally forbidden. What’s different in Gaza is that Israel doesn’t distinguish its targets. Meaning, they kill anything that moves with a smile. Frankly, they would kill us more than once if possible.
Growing up in Gaza isn’t easy. Growing up in Gaza is a challenge. A quest. And the reward is a strong courageous personality. So brave to the point that you’d stand in front of a tank with a bare chest and a rock. Daring it to move forward yelling ‘over my dead body’. More like mashed if you want to know.
Another thing you’ll gain as a Gazan is that you’ll be able to distinguish the sounds of whatever that kills. Be a M-16, AK-47, .50 Cal, Shells from the Israeli warships in the sea, warplanes in the sky, tank shells, and the list goes on forever. Living in Gaza is a challenge of patience. Only the strong and the brave can survive. By survive, I mean living yet another day of struggle and a million hardships a day.
Last but not least, don’t leave Palestine. It’s where you belong. It’s where everything counts and where whatever little will make a huge change. Don’t leave Palestine because it’s my motherland. Your motherland. Don’t leave Palestine because at the end of the day, it’s all you’ve got left. Don’t leave Palestine even if you’ll be living on olive oil and thyme all your life.
PS: tell your mother that I love her so much. Kiss her cheeks and forehead for me.
With all my love,
Nader is a blogger in Gaza, read more on his blog Sleepless in Gaza,. Nader got accepted to a university in the UK but needs donations to cover tuition, you can donate to his college fund here.
Land Theft / Ethnic Cleansing / Apartheid / Refugees
On the way to join Friday prayers at a protest tent in Tel Rumeida, three of us stopped to stand with a Palestinian man who was being detained by a soldier on Shuhada Street near Beit Hadassah, an Israeli settlement. The soldier immediately said to us, “Go, you cannot stay here!”. We told him it was our job to stay until he released the man. At that, he threatened to arrest us. We said “OK, call the police if you like. We are not leaving.” He picked up his phone, then immediately gave the Palestinian his ID back so he could go on his way. We left.
Israeli right wing’s vision for West Bank annexation (to ‘pull the rug out from under apartheid accusation’), Philip Weiss
Today Avigdor Lieberman says
that there will be no corridor between Gaza and the West Bank. That is part of the rightwing’s new vision for breaking up Palestinian life into cantons. Under this plan, Israel would annex 60 percent of the West Bank containing the settlements and allow Palestinian freedom of movement within the remaining areas, but cut the West Bank Palestinians off from Gaza.
Palestinian Man Struggles to Replace All Four Limbs
The last time Palestinian Mohammad Ismael walked on his feet was when he went to the hospital to amputate his legs because he was suffering from a debilitating arterial disease. Since then he has been bedridden, especially after the amputation of his arms as well. But Ismael has not lost his nerve and seems to be confronting his current situation with a determination that defies his tragic fate. He is referred to as the “man that transcends his wounds” in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli forces opened fire on a funeral procession east of Gaza City on Tuesday, injuring three Palestinians, hours after a truce was agreed to halt cross-border violence. Mourners carried the bodies of Bassam al-Ajla and Muhammad Thaher, who were killed in an airstrike in the city’s Shujaiyeh neighborhood on Monday evening, to the eastern cementry. Medical spokesman Adham Abu Salmiyah said troops opened fire at the mourners, wounding three people, who were taken to al-Shifa hospital.
Father, Daughter, Killed In Israeli Air Strike
Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported Monday that a father and his daughter were killed when the Israeli Air Force bombarded Tal Az-Za’tar area in Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli raid kills Palestinian school child
Israeli warplanes launched a series of air raids on the Gaza Strip on Monday the latest of which targeted a school in northern Gaza killing a student and wounding six others.
IOF aggression on Gaza displaced dozens of families
The Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip over the past four days had completely destroyed ten housing units and partially damaged 350 others, the Palestinian government in Gaza said.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Egypt offered to provide fuel to Gaza if militants agree to a ceasefire with Israel, Hamas-affiliated MP Younis al-Astal said Monday. The Gaza Strip has faced up to 18-hour blackouts per day since Egypt cut fuel supplies through an underground tunnel network, and officials are negotiating an emergency route to stave the power crisis. Gaza’s sole power station shut down on Saturday evening for the third time in the past month.
Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament votes in support of expelling Israel’s ambassador
CAIRO — Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament unanimously voted on Monday in support of expelling Israel’s ambassador in Cairo and halting gas exports to the Jewish state. The motion is largely symbolic, because only the ruling military council can make such decisions, and it is not likely to impact Egypt’s relations with Israel. But it signals the seismic change in Egypt after the ouster of longtime leader and Israel ally Hosni Mubarak a year ago in a popular uprising that ended his 29 years in power.
Clinton condemns Palestinians for Israeli bombings
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cited only rocket fire from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip into southern Israel in her condemnation of the violence in Gaza over the weekend. Clinton declined to condemn Israel for the strikes that have left at least 20 Palestinians dead, including a 12-year-old boy. ”Let me also condemn in the strongest terms the rocket fire from Gaza into Southern Israel, which continued over the weekend,” Clinton said during an appearance on Monday before the UN Security Council.
An Israeli spokesman has refused to apologize after tweeting a video of a bomb attack in Israel from three years ago while discussing the current violence. Israeli forces have killed at least 20 people, including a 12 year-old boy, in the past three days in an ongoing series of aerial raids. Israel claims its attacks are in response to Palestinian “terrorists” who are firing rockets into the country.
Today I went to my corner shop to get bread for my breakfast. It was closed – two members of the family had been killed in Israeli airstrikes overnight. Like every Gazan, they never know when they leave the house in the morning if they, their child, their brother,sister, mother, father, friend will return home alive. And if they do make it home, will there be electricity to read or study, will there be gas to cook with, will there be medicine for the sick? Will the international community take responsibility today for enabling with its silence, Israel’s killing of their loved ones, by both quick deaths and slow? Is this child a terrorist or collateral damage? Take the seven-year-old brain-dead child pictured, admitted to Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City while I was there this-morning – does he look like a terrorist? Or like a civilian victim of collateral damage? Take the 12 killed overnight, and at last count, the three more killed today – ‘terrorists about to attack Israel’ says the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) to justify their attacks on innocent civilians going about their daily business, walking in the street, going to school.
Gaza flare-up stokes debate about Israel killings policy
Israel’s assassination of a top Gaza militant, which brought hundreds of rockets raining down on the Jewish state and the danger of further escalation, has left some wondering if its policy of targeted killings is still effective.
The Israeli army continues its military attacks against the Gaza Strip. The attacks started Friday, March 10 at 5:30pm. I heard the first terrible explosion as I drove back to Gaza City from Khan Younis. There was a lot of smoke, shattered windows, and a fire in this blue car that was targeted by a missile from an Israeli drone. These offensive acts, though supposedly targeting Palestinian armed resistance men, are illegal according to international law. Every human is entitled a trial. As usual, the entire civilian population including women and children, pays the highest price and bears the brunt of this terrible situation. Already several children have been killed, one was on his way to school when he was hit by shrapnel.
Two days before the Israeli onslaught on Gaza this weekend, the strip’s fisherman told Al-Akhbar’s Doha Shams how a once-thriving local industry has been decimated by draconian Israeli restrictions and the neglect of both Fatah- and Hamas-led administrations.
Other Violence Against Palestinians
Settlers open fire at Silwan students, injured taken to hospital
Israeli settlers opened fire on a Palestinian bus carrying the Silwan University Students League home from a trip to the West Bank on 10 March. Amongst the injured were four students hurt by shattering glass windows hit with live ammunition. They were taken to Al-Maqased Hospital along with three suffering from shock and trauma. As news spread, parents in Silwan began to flock to the hospital to see if their children were amongst the injured. The Students League and Fatah political party issued a statement condemning the settlers’ criminal act and Israeli authorities’ complicity.
Hana / Political Detainees / Prisoners
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israel on Monday rejected a request by MK Ahmed Tibi to visit hunger-striking detainee Hana Shalabi in prison, the minister’s office said. The Israeli prison service and Minister of Internal Security Yitzhak Aharonovich turned down the minister’s request despite Tibi’s role in brokering a settlement to end detainee Adnan Khader’s 66-day hunger strike in February, a statement from Tibi’s office said.
IPS punishes prisoners for their solidarity with hunger striker
The Gilboa prison administration increased punishments against Palestinian prisoners for displaying solidarity with administrative detainee Hana’a Shalabi, who is on hunger strike.
The closing arguments in the trial of Palestinian activist, Bassem Tamimi, will be heard on Wednesday, March 14 at the Ofer Military Court. Tamimi, a grassroots organizer from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, has been in jail since March last year, indicted on protest-organizing charges. The hearing on Wednesday will be the final session in the trial before the verdict.
IOF troops at dawn Monday arrested eight Palestinians in different areas of the West Bank on the pretext they are wanted by the occupation.
IOF soldiers arrest three Palestinians in Halhul
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up three Palestinian citizens including two of one family from their homes in Halhul village, to the north of Al-Khalil, at dawn Sunday.
Dirar Abusisi, who just marked the second anniversary of his kidnapping by Israeli and Ukrainian intelligence agents, is literally wasting away in an Israeli prison. He was originally apprehended by Israel because its intelligence service thought he knew the whereabouts of then hostage, Gilad Shalit. When Israel realized it had been hoaxed by Hamas into arresting him and that he had no idea where Shalit was, Israel concocted a story that he was the movement’s chief rocket engineer and founder of a purported Gaza version of West Point.
Detainee goes on hunger strike protesting renewal of his administrative custody
Administrative detainee Mohammed Abu Arab went on hunger strike to protest the Israeli renewal of his administrative custody for four months, his father said.
Popular Protests / BDS / Activism & Solidarity
obstructing access to the village since the beginning of the second Intifada. The peaceful demonstration was met with a heavy tear gas from the Israeli military. Since 2000, the main road from Beit Dajan to Nablus has been blocked by the military. The village of about 4000 inhabitants is located only 9 kilometers from Nablus, but it wasn’t until a new road was built in 2005 that the villagers could access their closest city without taking a 60 kilometer detour. However, even with the new road, travelling to and from Nablus still takes twice the time it used to. It wasn’t until 2009 that anyone could go to Nablus after 5 pm without coordination with the District Coordination Office, the link between the PA and the Israeli military.
Like every Friday, on March 9th residents of Ni’lin village, west of Ramallah, went to protest the Apartheid wall, which encloses their lands and denies them of basic human rights. A part of the protest was an attempt to break a hole in the wall. Activists were met with rubber coated steel bullets, skunk water and tear gas, sometimes fired directly at the demonstrators.
On Saturday, March 10th, 2012, more than 400 Palestinian women, supported by Israeli and international activists, gathered in the village of Beit Ommar for the second womens’ organizing conference of popular resistance to the occupation. Women of all ages arrived in the village from various parts of the West Bank, and were joined by both Palestinians and Israelis had taken the trip from Israel. After a cup of tea or coffee, registration and social mingling, close to 400 women found their seats in the main hall.
The topic for this conference was “Practicing Civil Obedience”. Banners at the conference center showed slogans like “End the occupation” and “Tear down the wall” and expressed support for Hana Shalabi, the Palestinian political prisoner on hunger strike for more than three weeks.
Gaza Activists Prepare for Israeli Apartheid Week, Rana B. Baker and Joe Catron – Gaza
After two successful Israeli Apartheid Weeks (IAWs) in 2010 and 2011, the Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI), together with the One Democratic State Group (ODSG) and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), are gearing up for Gaza’s third IAW.
Christian theologians, academics and church leaders recently converged in Bethlehem to meet with the local Palestinian church and challenge the Christian Zionist influence within the evangelical movement.
Friend and contributor Dena Shunra put us in contact with Noam Gur, currently undergoing the process of refusing to serve in the Israeli army. Noam is an 18 years old, queer feminist vegan activist currently living in Kiryat Motzkin, near Haifa, but was born and raised in Nahriyya, near Akka and the Lebanese border.
Photos: Artists Against Apartheid 11/03/2012
Photo essay via Heri Rakotomalala Photo Ensemble Acalanto performs at Artists Against Apartheid. View beautiful photographs from the eighteenth Artists Against Apartheid concert in Montreal via Heri Rakotomalala. Photo Montreal representing at Artists Against Apartheid! Concert took place as part of Israeli Apartheid Week 2012 and featured New York City-based hip-hop collective Rebel Diaz, Montreal-based Haitian artist Vox [...]
Human Interest / Analysis / Op-ed
Health care is a unique issue in international politics and discussions of modern civilization. As an institutional entity, it has both a substantial and direct implication regarding the very existence of human populations. That’s in contrast to markers such as employment, GDP, or literacy that have effects that are slightly harder to trace out. Indeed, the authors of the 2010 World Health Report
recognized that “promoting and protecting health is essential to human welfare and sustained economic and social development” and that people “rate health one of their highest priorities” . As a majorly accepted sentiment, it becomes morally difficult to justify institutional health care inequalities if we choose to believe in principles of democracy and Rawlsian equality of opportunity.
Elderly Palestinian woman focused on reading
This time, as part of Still Going Strong, we meet an elderly woman in the occupied West Bank who is determined to get an education. And she’s going about it in a rather unusual way. Paul Brennan reports from Jaba.
U.S. dollars and supplies to Israel are wasted effort
In recent days, a 19-year-old Palestinian was critically wounded when the Israeli military fired a U.S.-supplied high-velocity tear-gas canister at his head, one in a long series of attacks against civilians using these U.S.-supplied “crowd-control items.” These canisters, meant to be fired from long distances to disperse nonviolent crowds, are often fired by the Israeli military toward civilian demonstrators at very close range. This makes them more akin to salt-shaker-size bullets than nonlethal crowd control items, and the repeated misuse of these canisters has had devastating consequences on both Palestinian and American civilians.
It’s no accident that as soon as Bibi Netanyahu returned from Washington DC, where he apparently was rebuffed yet again in his attempts to wage war on Iran, Israel decided to wage war on Gaza instead. Gaza serves as a punching bag for Israeli leaders when they need some two-bit country to beat the crap out of (to use Michael Ledeen’s memorable phrase
How Israel Stacks the Legal Deck
Palestinian baker and activist Khader Adnan captured headlines recently for a 66-day hunger strike that led him to the brink of death. His ordeal began in the dead of night on Dec. 17, 2011, when Israeli soldiers broke down the door of his West Bank home. Adnan was arrested before his terrified wife and daughters, and was reportedly abused verbally and physically upon detention and later in interrogation.
The brutal, inhuman event she was referring to was the killing in the Iraqi city of Fallujah of four American civilian contractors, whose SUV was ambushed
by rocket-propelled grenades the day before. The four men, all employees of the infamous mercenary outfit Blackwater
, were shot, their bodies burned, mutilated, and dragged through the streets in celebration. The charred corpses of two of those killed that day were strung up on a bridge over the Euphrates River. The news, and accompanying photographs, sent shockwaves of horror and disgust through the United States and prompted endless editorials from coast to coast
Palestinian Folkloric Fairy Tales: Palestinian Painter, Bissan Rafe, Federico Cao
‘Someone once described my work as emotive and powerful without the need for jargon yet criticized that my politics use art as its tool; to which I simply replied: ‘Politics are the opinions or sympathies of a person, the total complex of relations between people living in society’ (Merriam Webster). Be it governmental, emotional or spiritual, it comes down to every single form of art being a political dogma.’ – Bissan Rafe
Bahrain has been declared an enemy of the Internet by a prominent campaign group in a report on Monday to mark World Day Against Cyber Censorship. Reporters Without Borders condemned the Gulf state’s continued arbitrary arrests of online activists, while criticizing Saudi Arabia and Syria for continued online censorship. Bahrain was one of only two countries to be called an “enemy” for the first time this year, the other being Belarus. “Two countries, Bahrain and Belarus, have been moved from the “under surveillance” category to the “Enemies of the Internet” list,” the report said.
A disturbing slaughter could point to more attacks after gunmen killed nine people during a robbery in Baghdad. Overall, at least 18 Iraqis were killed and 17 more were wounded across the country. Also, Iraqi forces may shut down air and vehicular traffic in Baghdad to protect visiting dignitaries during the Arab League summit later this month.
Iraqi forces may shut down Baghdad and its airspace to safeguard an upcoming Arab League summit in the capital because Al-Qaeda is seeking to derail the meeting, a senior general told AFP on Monday. Lieutenant General Hassan al-Baydhani said security forces hoped to keep the Iraqi capital “functioning” for the summit, but noted that plans were already set to limit air travel on March 29 only to dignitaries attending the meeting, with officials considering barring vehicle traffic that day as well.
A leading Hezbollah official said on Sunday that the US Embassy in Lebanon was being used by anti-Assad forces. Nabil Qaouq, deputy head of the party’s executive committee, described the US Embassy in Awkar, north of the capital Beirut, as an anti-Assad spy-nest and a launching pad of anti-regime military operations, the National News Agency reported.
Former Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) head Daniel Bellemare has come under fierce criticism after comments suggesting that Hezbollah was responsible for the killing of ex-Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Four members of Hezbollah have been indicted by the tribunal, but there has been no official claim that the party sanctioned the killing. Bellemare stepped down from his position as chief prosecutor for the STL in February after citing health concerns.
A Saudi human rights group called on Monday for a symbolic two-day fast later this week in solidarity with an activist on hunger strike since February 22 to protest against his “arbitrary detention.” The Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association said its member, Mohamed al-Bajadi, had been held since March last year. The rights group called on all Saudis, and specifically human rights activists, to “join a symbolic hunger strike next Thursday and Friday in solidarity with Bajadi and other political prisoners.”
Saudi Arabia’s female students stage cleaning protest
Thousands of students at an all-female university in Saudi Arabia boycotted classes at the weekend to protest against poor services, witnesses said, in a rare display of dissent from women in the Islamic kingdom. Students said security forces had broken up an earlier protest at King Khalid university on Wednesday, leaving dozens injured. The protests erupted when the university cancelled cleaning services, saying students needed to take better care of their campus. One student said the protests were triggered by “the accumulation of rubbish and the mistreatment of the students”.
In a joint Washington Post op-ed, U.S. President Obama and U.K. Prime Minister Cameron reiterate condemnation of violence in Syria.
‘Massacre’ in Homs as Syria attacks intensify
Government and activists blame each other for brutal killing of civilians in Homs, as attack on Idlib continues.
Syria: Army Planting Banned Landmines
Syrian forces have placed landmines near the borders with Lebanon and Turkey in recent weeks and months, based on reports and confirmations from witnesses and Syrian deminers. Civilian casualties have already resulted, the witnesses said.
Dozens of civilians were killed in cold blood in the Syrian city of Homs, opposition activists and Syrian state media said on Monday, although they disputed responsibility for what both sides called a massacre. The carnage in Homs, as well as a military assault on the northwestern city of Idlib, coincided with a weekend peace mission by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, who left Damascus on Sunday without agreement on a truce or humanitarian access. Footage posted by opposition activists on YouTube showed men, women and children lying dead in a blood-drenched room.
The Syrian National Council’s (SNC) call on Monday for military intervention by Arab and Western governments has widened divisions in an already fragmented Syrian opposition. George Sabra, a spokesman for the SNC, told a news conference in Istanbul that the Turkish-based opposition group had decided to arm rebels inside Syria and added that some foreign governments were helping to send weapons, without specifying which countries. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have openly declared their intent to arm rebels in Syria, although other key Arab states such as Egypt and Morocco have warned against the move.
Syrians still divided over country’s future
Many Syrians feel caught between government and opposition
Other Mideast & World News
Jordanian military prosecutors have charged six activists with insulting King Abdullah II during a demonstration in the southern city of Tafileh last week, a judicial official said on Tuesday. ”Twenty-one have been arrested following the demonstration. State security court prosecutors have charged all of them with rioting and six of insulting the king,” the official told AFP. ”Police are still searching for 30 more people,” he said without elaborating.
A US drone strike in Pakistan on Tuesday killed eight people not hostile to Pakistani authorities, local officials said. Pakistani warlord Maulvi Nazir’s loyalists, two of them commanders, were attacked in the remote Drey Nishtar area used to slip across the border from South Waziristan into Afghanistan to attack US-led NATO troops, the officials said. Waziristan is the most notorious stronghold for fighters in Pakistan’s semi-autonomous northwestern tribal belt.
An Afghan youth recounted on Monday the terrifying scene in his home as a lone US soldier moved stealthily through it during a killing spree, then crouched down and shot his father in the thigh as he stepped out of the bedroom. The soldier, now in US custody, is accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians in their homes in the middle of the night between Saturday and Sunday and then burning some of their corpses. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said nine of those killed were children and three were women.
The imam of a mosque in Brussels has been killed in an arson attack on the house of worship, according to Belgian police.
Justice Department Investigating Whether MEK Speakers Accepted Illegal Fees from Terror Group, Richard Silverstein
Did Alan Dershowitz accept blood money (aka speaker’s fee) from the MEK, a designated terror group? If so, he may’ve violated federal law. For the past several years, prominent public figures including leaders of both the Republican and Democratic parties have accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from the Mujahadeen al Khalq (MEK), a designated U.S. terror group. One of the most recent such individuals is Alan Dershowitz, who spoke last month at a DC MEK conference alongside Rudy Giuliani and others. Now, finally the Justice Department is investigating how the MEK paid these people. If the funds are found to have come from the group that would be a violation of federal law since Americans are not allowed to receive funds or cooperate with terror groups. Of course, the MEK is pretty shrewd about these things and doubtless paid them through a subsidiary that supposedly would not be directly connected to MEK. But if Justice can tie the entity that paid them to MEK, then these people are looking at potential criminal charges.