The Trump administration informed the United Nations yesterday it would cut aid for Palestinian refugees by more than half, withholding $65 million in funds. For Mariam Oraif, 74, and many other Palestinians who depend on UNRWA health services the cuts could be a matter of life or death. When asked what she will do if UNRWA is no longer able to provide her with insulin and her weekly treatment, Oraif said of Trump, “He wants to kill us.”
Category Archives: Gaza
Ahmad Kabariti reports from the ruins of the defunct Gaza International Airport, a wasteland of ruins and rotting animal corpses: This arid zone was once the first airport for Palestinians in Gaza, a step towards a dream of independent state. In 2000, during the events of the Intifada, Israel bombed the control tower, then the runway, and finally the elegant Moroccan-inspired terminals. In 2001, Israeli army bulldozers flattened what remained. The airport was the beginning of a dream of a state of Palestine, “but it has been turned it into a helipad for ghosts,” Mohammed Salah tells Kabariti.
In light of Donald Trump’s announcement earlier this month where the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Palestinian Christians held subdued Christmas celebrations across the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
English language teacher Mosab Abu Toha founded the “Edward Said Public Library” in Gaza, a small, modest library he hopes will provide the residents of the Strip with a window to the world through literature, mostly in English. But now the project is in danger as a shipment of books is being held up due to the Israeli siege on Gaza.
The Israeli military said Sunday it has opened an investigation into the fatal shooting of Ibrahim Abu Thraya, a paraplegic Palestinian man who was shot in the head during a demonstration along Gaza’s border with Israel. Abu Thraya is being hailed as a hero and his death has emerged as a rallying cry among Palestinians against Trump’s dramatic declaration, which they largely saw as siding with Israel. “We were telling him not to go (to the border), but he would not listen to us. He said ‘this is Jerusalem; if I don’t go to defend it, who will?’” said Raed al-Komi, Abu Thraya’s half-brother
Mahmoud Abu Salama of We Are Not Numbers documents protests in Gaza’s Jabalya refugee camp over Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Since the start of this year, 20 Palestinian patients from the Gaza Strip died due to an Israeli ban on their travel, Israeli newspaper Haaretz has revealed.
“The drones aren’t guests anymore. They are family members. They should have dinner with us.”–Ahmed Alnaouq
Basman Derawi’s poem from Gaza: “A bird sings/of love and longing,/and flutters his wings./His olive tree is silent.”
Hamza Abu Al-Tarabeesh reports from Gaza: “With most of the fine print incomplete, at the moment reconciliation is in a transitional stage where most of the fallout is occurring inside of Gaza. Merging government ministries between the two geographically separated and occupied Palestinian territories has started, but is far from over.”
Israeli authorities announced on Sunday evening that Israeli forces recovered the bodies of five missing Palestinians who had been trapped, without access to rescue crews, in a tunnel bombed by Israeli forces on Oct. 30. Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and the Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights had filed a petition with the Israeli Supreme Court demanding official Palestinian emergency responders be allowed to carry out a rescue mission but never received a response. Adalah Attorney Muna Haddad said preventing rescue crews from entering the bombed area when people were known to be trapped in rubble, could constitute a war crime.
Mohammad Arafat writes, “‘Once we heard about the declaration, we knew the future of Palestine and the Palestinians was in danger,’ Um Abed so softy I could barely hear her. She couldn’t say more without crying.”
At least seven Palestinians were killed, and 12 others were wounded after Israeli forces blew up an underground tunnel between the southern Gaza Strip and Israel on Monday. “We will exercise our right to respond – this is our duty,” Daoud Shehab, a leader in the Islamic Jihad movement, told Al Jazeera, adding that it is a legitimate right of resistance groups to respond.
Haidar Eid writes: The way I look at it is that by allowing Israel to impose this unprecedented blockade on 2 million civilians and launching three massive wars on them in 2008, 2012, and 2014, the post-WWII International Community has failed to uphold principles of justice and peace. It is therefore incumbent on civil society to take the lead. Hence the hope created amongst Palestinians by the huge successes achieved the BDS movement. It is, as I keep repeating, the only window of hope we victims of occupation, apartheid and settler colonialism have in the era of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu.
Maimas is a newly formed Palestinian band based in the besieged Gaza Strip. Palestinian activist, singer and intellectual Haidar Eid says “songs are an organizing tool in the arduous work of overthrowing occupation and apartheid. We hope that our songs will document Palestinian desire to be free from the ravages of colonialism.” The band is currently raising money to record their first album.
Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation deal on Thursday during talks in Cairo. Reports of the agreement lack specific details on what exactly was agreed upon, with Fatah only officially confirming it will take over control of the Gaza-Egypt border. Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian political scientist at Birzeit University, tells Mondoweiss the hard work lies ahead. “Inviting the PA to work in Gaza without a full agreement, is nothing more than a trap,” Khatib said.
Mohammed Moussa writes: “On Wednesday, August 29, Gaza woke up to news of the death of Mohanned Younis in the Tel Al-Hawa neighborhood in Gaza City. The 22-year-old short-fiction writer decided to escape this pain-filled place and leave not just his sorrows but also his dreams, ambitions and goals behind. One of the contributing factors to Mohanned’s depression was unique—namely, a total rejection from his father. Yet, like all youth in Gaza, he became despondent over the lack of future prospects while living under siege. And when he took his own life, it was as if we had all failed to survive the disappointment; his death sent ripples throughout the Strip.”
Malak Mattar’s paintings hang on the walls in the homes of her many fans around the world and express, beautifully, the utter misery of life and death in the besieged Gaza Strip. Mattar’s dream was to leave Gaza and attend art school in the U.S. But just when this dream was about to come true it was shattered, this time not by Israel, but by the Palestinian Authority.
“Eid is special”– “and we will tell you why,” say 20-year old bloggers and twin sisters from Gaza City, Asmaa and Saja Khaldi, otherwise known as the “Khaldi twins.” The pair posted a video greeting on Sunday of how they and other Palestinians celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha which occurred over the weekend.
“I chose the situation of the fishermen as the subject of my first exhibition because the Palestinian fishermen are in a constant clash with the occupation authorities, who impose maritime borders that prevent the fishermen from crossing them to do their work”–Khalid Hashem Abu al-Jedian, Palestinian photojournalist, and artist.
Caught between war, siege, and cultural restrictions, teenage girls in Gaza face a future of uncertainly and limitations. “In Gaza, everything is negative. Even if you imagine something beautiful, the buzz of the drones overhead will make you worried,” says Farah Ayyad, 18. “If I stand on the beach at night with my family, we can see the lights from the Israeli city of Ashkelon, of course, they live as they like.”
Gaza’s sea waters are becoming increasingly polluted with raw sewage amid the Strip’s electricity crisis, but swimmers are still diving into the sea. “Our families have been living in this area for 50 years, if we do not swim in the sea, we will not have a break from ruthless mosquito bites along the night.”
Rawan Yaghi meets an Israeli student at Oxford University and is amazed how little she knows about Gaza: “This girl may not deserve my direct sentiments of disgust and anger. But since her comfortable life and her plans in life are made possible by the sheer misery of myself and everyone I know from Gaza and in Gaza at the moment, I could not walk away without feeling like I’ve just met a human that disregards other human beings as less worthy creatures, less worthy of the mere knowledge of their/our existence.”
Majda Tantesh, 42, lives in the Beit Lahia city in the northern Gaza Strip. Like all of Gaza, the city only gets a few hours of electricity a day. After Monday’s Israeli Security Council ruling, approving the Palestinian Authority’s request to cut Gaza’s electricity supply by 40 percent, Majda told Mondoweiss she only expects things to get worse.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of what now is called the Palestinian territories. This shameful milestone is being marked with a plethora of pundit commentary about Trump’s potential role, the continuing division among the Palestinian leadership and—in the background—the ever-expanding Israeli settlements, but almost no mention of Gaza. We Are Not Numbers is a project working to break the media blackout of Gaza and is currently raising funds to start Gaza’s first all-youth news agency.