Yasser Shamallakh, 58, stopped growing fruit during the first Intifada, but two years ago he started again and has found success growing the crop, as have many other farmers in Gaza according to official figures. Although having been under a severe Israeli siege between 2007 and 2014, a combination of good weather and a lifting of Israeli restrictions has helped Palestinian agriculture bloom in recent years.
Category Archives: Gaza
“There are now more than two million residents in the Gaza Strip after baby Waleed Shaath was born last night in Rafah in southern Gaza,” interior ministry spokesman Iyad Bezm told AFP on Wednesday. Gaza, a tiny enclave squeezed between Egypt, Israel and the Mediterranean Sea and just 12 kilometres across at its widest point, has one of the highest population densities in the world, according to the United Nations. The territory could be “unliveable” by 2020, the UN said last year, due in large part to “high population density and overcrowding.”
Dr. Mads Gilbert recently spoke at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he provided an astute fact-based analysis of the situation in Gaza that was structured around powerful stories of Palestinian civilians whom he has met while working in makeshift operating rooms at Gaza’s Al-Shifa’ hospital. “There is a systemic Israeli attack on Gaza’s healthcare,” Dr. Gilbert explained.
In the middle of the morning on October 5, sounds of bombs reverberated throughout Gaza. The news would trickle out later that an extremist Salafi fringe group had shot a crude rocket into an Israeli settlement, reportedly as a way of pressuring the Hamas government to release some of its members from prison. Some in Gaza said they believe the Salafis are actually being manipulated by the Palestinian Authority. Israeli forces responded with more than 30 airstrikes and tank hits in two hours, these are the Palestinian accounts of that incurrsion.
Israel has begun to deport an all-female crew of sailors with the first two women returning to London hours ago after Israeli commandoes seized the Women’s Boat to Gaza, an activist ship skimming towards the Strip’s maritime borders yesterday.
Israel has seemingly altered its reaction policy to rockets from Gaza; it now responds with immediate, massive seismic missiles aimed at Hamas-affiliated targets though it is known that Hamas was not involved in the most recent attacks. It did so again today, striking targets in Gaza in retaliation for a rocket fired at an Israeli community.
A Palestinian from Gaza writes a letter to African-Americans pointing out the many similarities share as oppressed peoples: “I do not have to be black to understand the words of Marin Luther King Jr. when he said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ I am a Palestinian who is extending his arms in brotherhood to another people who know and live my legacy of oppression.”
A Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor analysis of UN data show that a recent surge in reports of deportations of individuals attempting to transit through Israel to work with Palestinians is apparently the result of an official strategy implemented by the Israeli government beginning in January of this year.
An all-female crew has set sail on two vessels headed towards Gaza on Wednesday in attempts of breaking the nine-year Israeli blockade on the coastal Mediterranean strip. The “Women’s Boat to Gaza” is the fourth of its kind, captained by women-only with 30 female activists and high-ranking officials aboard the Arabic-named Zaytouna (“Olive”) and the Amal (“hope”).
Smacked with a travel ban after Israel denied permits to leave Gaza through the northern Erez crossing, the musical group Dawaween performed a protest concert on the strip’s border with a windswept demilitarized buffer zone and chain-linked fence in the background.
Newly released female Palestinian prisoner Sanaa el-Hafi served a one-year term in Israeli prisons. Upon her release, el-Hafi revealed the horrifying realities female Palestinian prisoners face under Israeli detention including arbitrary strip searches, night raids, and compulsory transfers between prisons.
Tamam Abusalama writes, “We, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, have been suffering from a slow death sentence for a long time. We are being punished collectively for no reason, without any crime. The Egyptian and Jordanian authorities in cooperation with the Israeli colonial regime have been successful at turning the life of Gazans into hell. This injustice has to come to an end. A resolution for this siege has to come.”
Israel’s military has cleared soldiers of criminal wrongdoing in alleged human rights violations committed during the 2014 summer war in Gaza. According to a report published yesterday, Israel closed investigations into the killing of three Palestinian families and other civilians, and the shelling of a medical clinic, Gaza’s main power plant, and a United Nations shelter, among other offenses. “We did not expect anything less than Israel’s justification of war crimes,” chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said after the publication of the military report, and urged the International Criminal Court to investigate the offenses.
Israel has banned an American activist who has worked for years helping Palestinians in Gaza, after denying her entry into the country, detaining her for hours and deporting her against her will. The woman’s ban comes after Israel banned five U.S. citizens at the border in July, all of them the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, and another American woman last week crossing from Jordan.
Middle East Monitor reports: New data released by a United Nations agency and an Israeli NGO has confirmed that Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip actually tightened during July.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heightened his row with international charities operating in Gaza in a video Thursday where he announced, “Israel cares more about Palestinians than their own leaders do.”
Yaser el-Shanti, the head of the Gaza Water Authority, has said that 95 percent of the water in Gaza is not safe for the human use. Isra Saleh El-Namy interviews Gaza residents who explain how they are coping. Samer el-Shaer in Rafah says, “This water is not safe, we are sure of this. Its taste, or even color are very worrying, this is why we do not trust it.”
Nesma Seyam shares a diary entry written during Israel’s 51 day attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014: “I have finally realized that what I have experienced was truly a dream and why it had occurred that night. My soul was aching, and my lust for sweets was an attempt to sooth the bitterness in my heart. But all the sweets in the world would still not be enough to erase the cruelty, strife, and bitterness in our hearts.”
After nine years of Israel’s blockade and consistent assaults on Gaza, Gazans are faced with a financial crisis that impedes on daily and personal decisions leading to disastrous social consequences: young couples lack basic resources to marry and sustain families.
UN: “In early July 2014, the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that Gaza’s struggling health sector was near to collapse due to the severe shortages of medicines, medical disposables and fuel, and the lack of capacity to expand services to meet population needs. In the days and weeks following that warning, the health sector was confronted with over 11,200 injuries, among them more than 3,800 children, which is the highest number of injuries for such period of time it had ever faced. The challenge to the health system posed by the 2014 hostilities has extended into the present; approximately 900 of those injured sustained some form of permanent disability and require continued attention, while a significant part of the health infrastructure was damaged.”
Muslims across the world have spent June observing the religious month of Ramadan. In Gaza, where reconstruction after three wars in six years has stalled, the celebrations, fasts followed by feasts, and prayer has brought a welcomed sense of normalcy. Palestinian photographer Mohammed Asad brings a glimpse of how Gazans enjoy the month of Ramadan.
Israel and Turkey have reached an agreement to normalize ties six years after an Israeli naval attack that killed 10 Turkish activists and 9 years after the imposition of a deadly siege that has left Gaza unlivable. Gaza-based academic and activist Haidar Eid writes, “A quick reading of the deal proves that it is a stab in the back of Gaza. Improving the conditions of oppression, or rather slowing down the genocide, is a form of complicity because Gaza for the Turkish government is just a humanitarian case. In a nutshell, the Turkish government has sold us out and wants us to be grateful!”
Gaza-based writer Mohammed Saleem writes, “Skin tanned and hands calloused from working forty-two years under the sun, Emad Khalil, a sixty-one year old retired laborer, sits in front of me. For thirty of those years, he worked in Israel. His story documents a tremendous change in attitude and policy towards Palestinian freedom of movement, employment opportunities, healthcare, and relations between Palestinians and Israelis.”
In the aftermath of successive Israeli onslaught waged on the Gaza Strip, the number of Palestinians with physical disabilities drastically increased. Gaza journalist Isra El-Namy covers American coach Jess Markt’s visit to Khan Younis as he trains disabled Palestinians to play basketball and train for future tournaments.
Kamal Kafarna could not be happier. He is harvesting his wheat with his own hands from his land that he was prevented from accessing for fifteen years because it is located just a hundred meters away from the boundary line between Israel and the Gaza Strip. “I am very delighted that I have been given one day to harvest my yields. This piece of land is mine, but I was not able to tend it for long years because it is feared that I might be shot by the Israeli soldiers who monitor the boundary areas with Gaza,” he tells Isra Saleh El-Namy.