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.
Category Archives: Gaza
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.
Mohammed Alhammami recalls stories he heard growing up of Jews, Muslims and Christians living alongside each other in historic Palestine as one people, not divided factions. But he wonders what about now? Can Jews and Palestinians (Christians and Muslims alike) really coexist in the Holy Land, after 68 years of Nakba?
On May 7, 2016, fire broke out in the Abu al-Hindi home in Gaza’s Shati (Beach) refugee camp. Started by a tipped candle, the flames grew quickly grew out of control. Three children, Yusra, 3, Rahaf, 2, and Nasser, 6 months, perished in the burning house, and Muhannad, 8, was severely burned. Ali, 6, is the only survivor without physical injuries but lives with deep psychological trauma. The fire is a direct result of severe electricity shortages due to the ongoing and tightening Israeli/Egyptian since and repeated Israeli military assaults.
According to a report released on Sunday by al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, the power crisis in Gaza has led to the death of 29 Palestinians, mostly children, since 2010. All those victims either burned alive or suffocated to death by thick smoke after they used unsafe alternative means to light their homes as a result of prolonged power outages.
After 21 months of a one-way ceasefire, Israel is once again escalating attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip. Yesterday, Israeli shelling killed Zaina Attia al-Amour, a 54-year-old grandmother and two days before, airstrikes on Gaza City injured three children and 65-year-old Hassan Hassanien. Outside of Gaza, media outlets have finally broken a de facto vow of silence on Israeli attacks on the besieged enclave, however, they have been framed as retaliatory. The Associated Press wire story was picked up by numerous mainstream media outlets. Here’s the headline: Israel Retaliates to Gaza Fire With Strikes on Hamas Targets.
Ma‘an reports, “Israel’s punitive ban on cement imports into the Gaza Strip has prevented hundreds of families from rebuilding their homes devastated by the 2014 war, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a press release Thursday. As a result of the debilitating cement scarcity and price increases, ‘organizations providing assistance have had to suspend cash assistance for house repairs to over 1,370 families.'”
Hamas’s armed wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, displayed for the first time Friday photographs of four Israelis believed to be held in Gaza, of whom two are civilians and two are soldiers killed in combat.
Samih al-Masri, a Palestinian resident of a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, has become suddenly aware of the substandard conditions in which he lives after logging on to Facebook, just as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned. Masri says, on account of the memes, he was reevaluating everything: “My family has loved Gaza ever since my my grandparents were driven here from Jaffa by Zionist forces in 1948. It’s the only home we know. But now that I realize not every place is enclosed by a fence, with only three highly restricted points of access, I’m pretty pissed off.”
Mahmoud Matter says that participating in demonstrations held by the workers’ syndicate in Gaza is his only hope to receive his wages. He has been employed by the Ministry of Health since 2010, but has not yet received a full wage. “I go early to my work every day, and do my best to efficiently do my duty and serve my people. But instead of being honored by receiving my salary, I am left to demonstrate and shout in order to get my right of a salary,” Matter said. “We are blackmailed in political splits, and left prone to extortion so that our leaders can achieve their narrow political interests,” he added.
Palestinians in Gaza are regularly consuming contaminated water, even when the liquid they drink has already been treated at a purifying plant. In Gaza 45% of the water processed in desalination plants is contaminated, according to the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA).
Mohammed Alhammami writes a letter to Cindy and Craig Corrie on the anniversary of their daughter Rachel’s death, “Thank you, Mr. and Ms. Corrie, for sharing Rachel with us. I know for a fact she has changed many people’s lives, in Palestine and elsewhere. I know she changed mine. May her memory be forever engraved in our hearts.”
Writers in the We Are Not Numbers program talk about Rachel Corrie on the thirteenth anniversary of her death.
What happens when a person is forced to struggle for years without enough money to support his family, and there is no way out?