Category Archives:
Gaza

Besieged in Gaza from birth to death

Dan Cohen on
The walkway from Gaza to Israel at the Erez crossing. (Photo: Oxfam)

Leila Najjar is 25 years old and six months pregnant. She and her husband Mohammed Sulaiman want to be together for their child’s birth, but she may not see him for years. That’s because Najjar lives in Gaza and Israeli authorities won’t let her pass through the Erez crossing to join Sulaiman who is studying in Australia. Najjar and her husband are not alone. Countless other Palestinian families are separated by Israeli restrictions as well.

Siege on Gaza prevents children from receiving needed medical formula

Dan Cohen on
Ahmad Najjar smiles in the container his family now live in across the street from the rubble of his home. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Two and half year old Ahmad Najjar is one of 700 children in the Gaza Strip who suffer from Phenylketonuria (PKU), a hereditary disease that causes phenylalanine to build up in the body that can inhibit mental and physical development. The disease is easily treatable in wealthy countries — PKU requires a medical formula that is often in the form of milk as well as a carefully planned diet — but in the Gaza Strip, where 80% of the regular diet is detrimental to PKU patients, this formula is impossible to find due to the Israeli/Egyptian siege.

Putting Israel’s cynical humanitarian work in Nepal in the proper context

Jonathan Cook on
Pro-Israel propaganda produced by the US-based organization The Israel Project.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was quick to congratulate Israeli soldiers on their relief efforts in Nepal, where an earthquake late last month claimed many thousands of lives. However, Israel’s humanitarian concern for the victims of disasters looks more cynical when set alongside its record once the TV cameras depart.

Families in Khuza’a forced to live in shipping containers as politics prevent Gaza reconstruction

Dan Cohen on
Ahmad Najjar and his parents sit in the donated shipping container they have lived in since last fall. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

The Najjar family’s stately home in Khuza’a was one of 100,000 homes damaged or destroyed during Israel’s war on Gaza in 2014. Eight months after the final ceasefire reconstruction in Gaza has not begun, and the Najjar family is is forced to live in a donated shipping container just across the street from the four-meter-high mound of rubble that used to be their home. Youssef Najjar, 46, breaks into tears as he talks about the situation, “In this caravan, our life is all about suffering.”

‘The Israelis never stopped shooting': Gaza endures under Israel’s one-way ceasefire

Dan Cohen on
Moaeen Al-Kheysi sits in his home holding a poster commemorating the life of his grandson Wadie. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

For Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the period since last summer’s war has been a one-way ceasefire. While Palestinian armed factions have observed the ceasefire, with a handful of exceptions, Israel has violated the ceasefire on a near-daily basis. Soldiers fire at farmers in the buffer zone, gunboats shoot at fishermen, and warplanes and drones are a regular sight over Gaza’s skies. Dan Cohen talks to several people in Gaza about life under this mostly unreported barrage. Moaeen al-Kheysi in Shujaiya says, “We wake up every night to the sound of shooting. The Israelis never stopped shooting at us but Palestinians aren’t shooting them. We want the ceasefire to be from both sides, not just one side.”

Finkelstein goes to Syracuse and the opposition stays home

Pat Carmeli on
Norman Finkelstein

Who could stay home when this self-hating, Jewish-people-hating, delusional ex-professor would address malleable ears? Sadly, with a couple of exceptions, those standing by Israel’s policies chose to stay away when Norman Finkelstein spoke at Syracuse last week.

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!”

A Gazan’s wishes for 2015

Alaa Radwan on
Linguisticator English map

Alaa Radwan reflects on new year’s 2015: “It saddens me to see that other people’s wishes for the New Year are so different from what so many Palestinians would even consider possible. Why? Why can’t we dream of things other than having a year without another bloody war with Israel, having 24/7-electricity, and having the freedom to travel abroad? Why can’t Gazans just have a normal life? Why can’t we enjoy a festive beginning to the New Year as all other people around the world do? My heart aches, what I and other Gazans call wishes are what the rest of the world calls rights!”

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.