Hundreds of Palestinians gathered at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt over the weekend, waiting for their turn to be let through the checkpoint. The three-day opening allowed medical patients, students, and travelers with foreign passports to cross. With huge numbers of Palestinians desperate to leave Gaza, travelers typically pay an exorbitant amount of money to local brokers who coordinate their passage with Egyptian authorities. It’s been reported previously that Egyptian authorities ask for bribes of up to $10,000. Mondoweiss spoke with some hopeful travelers about their experience trying to get across the border from Gaza to Egypt while they waited in line.
Category Archives: Gaza
Five years ago the United Nations made a shocking declaration about the future of the Gaza strip: it will no longer be “a liveable place” by the year 2020. How do the people of Gaza respond to these warnings? “The international community always states there is a crisis in Gaza and then raises alarming statements. We were afraid in the past, but today people have become more cold-hearted,” said Adnan Abu Shamala, 87, a scrap vendor in a Gaza city bazaar. “I was in Amman four years ago where people were laughing loudly in every coffee shop. I met people there and I told them that I have not even smiled since six years due to the bitter life in my homeland.”
The al-Mezan Center for Human Rights reports that Ahmad Hassan Shubeir, a 17-year-old from Gaza City, died of a congenital heart defect after refusing to serve as a collaborator for Israel in exchange for a travel permit to receive medical care.
Majed Abusalama writes, “I am not sorry for the language. I am very tired of Israel and I proudly say, again and again: Fuck the Occupation. I also know that since Hamas came to power by being democratically elected in 2006, the international community rejected democracy and refused to deal with them. Then some Fatah leaders, these so-called ‘socialists’ and ‘seculars’, used this opportunity to limit Hamas’ power which created greater tension in our country, resulting in Hamas’ military factions expelling the PA/Fateh from Gaza. And that’s the short version. I love the people of Gaza. I love them more than Hamas and Fateh love them. No human deserves to live like the people of Gaza.”
The two generators of Gaza’s sole power plant stopped operating Jan. 6 due to a severe fuel shortage. For most residents, that means most areas are receiving power for a mere three hours in between 12-hour blackouts. Who and what is to blame is a subject of many dark jokes and frustration—sometimes breaking into protests and arrests. Most residents in Gaza, however, place a large share of the blame on feuding political leaders.
Photojournalist Mohammed Asad sends photos from New Year’s eve in Gaza.
Haidar Eid writes from Gaza, “The entire world is against Israel, but how are we, Palestinians, going to build on that? The answer comes loud and clear from the Palestinian-lead BDS Campaign: a total boycott against Israel and divestment from it and from foreign companies benefitting from its multi-tiered system of oppression, namely occupation, colonization and apartheid, and the imposition of sanctions against it until it complies with international law. In a nutshell, what we, Palestinians, need right now is a diplomacy of resistance.”
Every year, Palestinians in Gaza march to protest the Israeli shooting of Mohammed al-Dura which marked the beginning of the second intifada in the Gaza Strip on September 29, 2000. At the end of September photographer Mohammed Asad documented young protesters as they entered the buffer zone with Israel near al-Bureij refugee camp to challenge the Israeli military. “We came here to prove to the Israeli occupying forces that the memory of the uprising is unforgettable,” said demonstrator Abu Falasteen.
Music education is not common in Gaza but now nearly 190 eager students are attending the Gaza Music School, which was established in 2008 as part of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music. Many hope to use their instruments to escape from the turbulent situation in the besieged Gaza Strip.
“For sale: Gazan passport, never used.” If you had to sum up life in six words, what would you write? Here’s what Palestinian refugees in Gaza and Lebanon are saying.
Surfing enthusiasts in Gaza hope to meet other surfers from around the world and participate in global competitions, but Israeli travel restrictions prevent them from leaving the besieged strip. Israel also bans the fiberglass material needed for surfboards, which makes the sport difficult.
Hiba Anis Mustafa Shurafa guides students in her Gaza classroom, instructing them on the art of how to hold a pen and keep a steady hand when writing out letters. She understands the task is challenging because, like her students, Shurafa has Down syndrome.
Israa Suliman writes from Gaza to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe: “Although we are of different color, religion, culture and place, I have learned, as I read about the protests at Standing Rock, that we have much more in common than differences. When I read your history, I can see myself and my people reflected in yours. I feel in my core that your fight is my fight, and that I am not alone in the battle against injustice.”
A new poll shows most Arabs, and especially Palestinians, think Hillary Clinton will be no better for the region than Donald Trump. “I just feel like Americans aren’t choosing between the lesser of two evils, but the quieter of two evils,” says 15-year-old Amera Abunada, a Palestinian writer now living in Turkey.
It’s round two for ‘The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary’ Journey by Laila El-Haddad and Maggie Schmitt, as Just World Books has now published a 2nd edition of the award-winning Palestinian cookbook featuring new epicurean specialties from the distinctive Gazan cuisine. Read an exclusive excerpt on Na’ema Al-Daghma and the Backyard Farm Revolution which includes a recipe for Halwit il Ari’ (Pumpkin Conserve).
Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that Israel’s next war with Gaza militants would be their last “because we will completely destroy them.”
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.
“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.