Category Archives:
Gaza

Banksy goes to Gaza

Annie Robbins on
(Photo: Banksy)

On Wednesday, Banksy published a video and photos from a recent trip to Gaza and set the internet ablaze.

Israel: Schabas resignation cannot ‘whitewash’ bias in UN war crimes inquiry

Allison Deger on
Professor William Schabas. (Photo: Journal de Montreal)

Since last August when professor of international law William Schabas was appointed as the head of a United Nations war crimes inquiry into violations committed in Gaza over the summer, Israel has repeatedly sought to remove him. Last week, Israel won. Schabas recused himself amid allegations of bias in a favor of the Palestinian government, but the resignation is not enough for Israel. It wants the entire investigation scrapped.

We Are Not Numbers: New project helps Gaza writers tell their story

Pam Bailey on
Ahmed Alnaouq

An estimated 2,300 Palestinians in Gaza were killed during the summer assault by Israel. Each one was a mother, father, brother, sister, friend or spouse to someone left behind, and their deep feeling of grieving and loss is still palpable – yet the stories behind these numbers have not been told. A new project called “We Are Not Numbers” is designed to attract attention for those stories – both their beauty and their tragedy.

Independent investigation details Israel’s deliberate targeting of civilians in Gaza

Ben Norton on
A Palestinian woman sits on the remains of her destroyed house after returning to Beit Hanoun town. (Photo: Reuters)

A new independent medical fact-finding mission in Gaza has detailed Israel’s deliberate killing of Palestinian civilians in its summer 2014 attack, codenamed Operation “Protective Edge.” Acts documented in the investigation include the use of human shields, close-range murder of civilians, targeting of medics, and more.

Report accuses Israel of targeting Gaza’s water facilities

Dan Cohen on
Palestinian children in the Gaza town of Khuza'a fill bottles from a tank in front of the destroyed village reservoir. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

A little-publicized report released during the final weeks of Israel’s summer offensive on the Gaza Strip last year accuses Israel of targeting water and wastewater infrastructure during the 51-day assault, despite having been provided the coordinates of all water and wastewater facilities. Entitled Water Sector Damage Assessment Report, the paper by the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) meticulously documents $34 million in damages that have caused a humanitarian and environmental crisis throughout the Gaza Strip. Yet the damage detailed in the report is likely incomplete as the team is unable to assess damage to pipe systems because most of the damage is underground and covered by massive amounts of rubble.

Gaza family to daughter studying abroad, ‘We do miss you Baba, but don’t come’

Tamam Abusalama on
Tamam Abu Salama and her family. Gaza Strip 2012

Taman Abusalama grew up in Gaza and is currently studying in Turkey. She writes, “Whenever I talk to Mama via skype, she asks me “When are you coming to Gaza? I’m missing you”. My Dad replies “We do miss you Baba, but don’t come. We don’t want you to live the same tensive experience you had in Rafah border last time”. I can’t hold my tears in such moments.”

‘You’re Shooting Like Retards': Rafah recordings reveal IDF’s Hannibal directive in action

Eamon Murphy on
Moshe Ya'alon, left, meets with Col. Ofer Winter in December 2013. (Photo: Ariel Hermoni/Israeli Ministry of Defense)

A controversial military investigation is illuminating the deadliest incident of Operation Protective Edge, as well as one of the Israeli army’s most shadowy directives: an order intended to thwart the abduction of IDF soldiers, even at the risk of killing them. Code named Hannibal, the protocol was carried out in the southern Gaza town of Rafah on August 1, 2014, a date now known as Black Friday; the resulting artillery barrage and torrent of airstrikes killed 190 Palestinians in two days, according to Gaza human rights groups, after the suspected capture by Hamas fighters of 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin. Recordings of the IDF assault, publicized last week, suggest a chaotic and undisciplined outburst of violence: “I repeat, stop the shooting!” the brigade commander yells over the field radio. “You’re shooting like retards. You’ll kill one another. Enough!”

What I’ve learned from living through three wars in the Gaza Strip

Alaa Radwan on
IMG_7271

Alaa Radwan is 22 years old and has already lived through three wars in the Gaza Strip. She says there are lessons to be learned from everything, even war: “My grandmother one day told me that everything has a good side and a bad side, even a war. Everybody knows the dreadful face of wars. Those who have experienced wars, like Gazans, know best! “What good side, for God’s sake, could be in a war or a siege?” I stood still and asked myself. After three bloody Israeli wars, I found out the answer!”

‘I will not let my brother suffer from the cold winter': Gaza youth work to aid families left homeless by Israeli assault

Alaa Radwan on
Young volunteers from Palestinian Independent Commission for Youth Rights (PICYR) burn the candle at both ends setting up temporary housing for people in Gaza so they may endure the cold winter months ahead.

Under the supervision of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Youth Rights (PICYR), 30 families whose houses had been totally destroyed during the last Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, have been offered flats to live in as a temporary solution. The campaign, held by PICYR, carries the tagline, “I will not let my brother suffer from the cold winter.”

‘Suicide Drones’ and the Spoils of War: Israeli arms manufacturers look to cash in on the war in Gaza

Dan Cohen on
An advertisement at the “Israel Unmanned Systems 2014” conference. (Image: Dan Cohen)

Three weeks after Israel’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip concluded, Israeli military and political leaders attended a conference next to Ben Gurion Airport to sell the successes of what Israel dubbed Operation Protective Edge, which killed more than 2,200 Palestinians including 521 children. The “Israel Unmanned Systems 2014” conference showcased the latest drone technology and previewed the industry’s prospects to a few hundred international buyers, vendors, and military figures. Inside a private conference room, political and industry leaders gave presentations — speaking in military euphemisms that avoided any uncomfortable references to the humanitarian catastrophe resulting from the 51-day bombing campaign. Among the offerings were suicide drones, “loitering munitions” that need to explode; a 16-year-old showing off high-tech robots designed by fellow high schoolers and future drone makers; and “premature” weapons, armaments that have not been fully tested before they are used on a live Palestinian population. Such is Israel the military power.

Living in the aftermath: Palestinians in Gaza struggle under the siege to rebuild

Dan Cohen on
Mohammed Shukri Mohammed Khrewat, 21, works to straighten rebar from the rubble of the Zafer 4 Tower. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Dan Cohen reports from Gaza where eight years of siege and three wars in six years have left the besieged Strip in a state of perpetual disaster with no end in sight. After this summer’s assault, tens of thousands of Palestinians are sentenced to living in rubble wastelands that are scarcely recognizable from the thriving neighborhoods they once were. “The survivors are the real victims of war,” Hamza Saftawi, 23, said. “They have to live in the aftermath.”

More than 30,000 people are still living in UNRWA schools in Gaza. What does that look like?

Gisha on
unrwa-1

It’s been two-and-a-half months since Operation Protective Edge ended. During the operation, thousands of Gaza residents took shelter in United Nations (UNRWA) schools. Many have since returned to their homes, and others, whose homes were destroyed, were put up by family and friends. However, 18 UNRWA schools still house more than 30,000 people who have no home or temporary solution. They are waiting for Gaza’s promised reconstruction while living in classrooms that were modified into small one-room apartments.

Israel bans renowned doctor and human rights activist Mads Gilbert from entering Gaza for life

Ben Norton on
Mads Gilbert treats a Palestinian girl in the emergency room of the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. (Photo: AP/Khalil Hamra)

Israel has banned Norwegian doctor and human rights activist Mads Gilbert from entering Gaza for life. Gilbert, a professor at the University Hospital of North Norway, where he has worked since 1976, earned international renown for his philanthropic work in late 2008, during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, an attack that, according to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, killed roughly 1,400 Gazans, including almost 800 civilians, 350 of whom were children.

Gone

Enas F. Ghannam on
A Palestinian woman walks past the rubble of a residential building, which police said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City, July 22, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

A haunting piece by young Gaza writer Enas Fares on the aftermath of this summer’s Israeli attack.

New Amnesty International report accuses Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza

Annie Robbins on
Families Under the Rubble (photo: amnesty International)

Amnesty International’s new report, “Families Under the Rubble- Israeli attacks on inhabited homes” accuses Israel of committing war crimes by targeting and killing scores of Palestinians civilian with no warning during Operation Protective Edge, last summer’s slaughter in Gaza. The report says, “Given the failure of Israeli and Palestinian authorities to independently and impartially investigate allegations of war crimes, it is imperative that the international community support the involvement of the International Criminal Court (ICC).”

How Israel is turning Gaza into a super-max prison

Jonathan Cook on
Palestinians sit in a tent outside their apartments, which witnesses said were destroyed in an Israeli offensive, during a 72-hour truce in Beit Lahiya town in the northern Gaza Strip August 11, 2014. (Photo: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)

It is astonishing that the reconstruction of Gaza, bombed into the Stone Age has tentatively only just begun two months after the end of the fighting. According to the United Nations, 100,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged, leaving 600,000 Palestinians – nearly one in three of Gaza’s population – homeless or in urgent need of humanitarian help. Aid agency Oxfam warns that at the current rate of progress it may take 50 years to rebuild Gaza. Where else in the world apart from the Palestinian territories would the international community stand by idly as so many people suffer – and not from a random act of God but willed by fellow humans? The reason for the hold-up is, as ever, Israel’s “security needs”. Gaza can be rebuilt but only to the precise specifications laid down by Israeli officials.

There are some things about Gaza that I still can’t wrap my head around

Katie Miranda on
gazamirandacrop

Katie Miranda reflects on some of the appalling ironies of U.S. and Israeli policy towards Gaza. The Obama administration is paying to both destroy and rebuild the war torn strip, and Israeli companies are now promoting their military equipment worldwide using a sales pitch of having been tested during “Operation Protective Edge.”

In the last days of ‘Operation Protective Edge’ Israel focused on its final goal — the destruction of Gaza’s professional class

Dan Cohen on
Palestinians planted a flag on the collapsed Basha tower as the sun rose. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

The finale of Israel’s mass destruction of the Gaza Strip during “Operation Protective Edge” was the flattening of several landmark towers that provided essential social and economic functions and which stood as symbols of the besieged coastal strip’s beleaguered professional class. While the war began with the flattening of the areas the Israeli military considers Gaza’s “hard shell” — border areas like Shujaiya and Khuza’a — it ended with a brazen assault on its soft core. The targeting of the professional class, a key pillar of Palestinian society generally considered unsympathetic to the political goals of Hamas, was a new front of economic and social warfare on Gaza.

Why must Gaza wait in the dark?

Sam Bahour on
Gaza students study by candle light.

When Sam Bahour asked his colleague in Gaza about her biggest dream, her answer made an impression on him: “I dream of what life would be like with 24-hour electricity.” This was the answer of a single, mid-career, western educated, professional woman who lives in the more affluent part of Gaza City. Her response suggests the depth of despair among Palestinians throughout Gaza.

The face of Gaza

Tamara Ben-Halim on
Ahmed Abunammous (Photo: Cycling4Gaza)

Tamara Ben-Halim writes about her experience with Cycling4Gaza, a group of 40 people who cycled from from Philadelphia to Washington DC to raise awareness and funds for Gaza. One of those 40 was a 16 year old boy from Gaza, Ahmed Abunammous. Ahmed was shot in the leg by an Israeli sniper last year, at the age of 15. His leg had to be amputated, and Ahmed was lucky enough to be treated by the tireless PCRF (Palestine Children’s Relief) who flew him out to the US soon after to be operated on and fitted with a prosthetic leg. Ben-Halim, writes, “A year later, this time last week, Ahmed was cycling with us across the east coast, working his one leg nearly twice as hard as the rest of us.”