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As the calendar turns to 2016, there is not much hope for the future in Gaza

Isra Saleh El-Namy on
Ahmed Jaber's brother studies in the dark during Gaza's long hours of power outage. (Photo: Isra Saleh El-Namy)

For Ahmed Jaber, the new year has brought nothing special to his cramped house which he shares with his parents and other seven siblings. 2016 has started in Gaza in abysmal darkness as the power crisis has worsened, putting nearly all facets of life into serious danger. “What does it mean to celebrate the New Year,” Ahmed asks. “The word celebration does not even exist in our terminology; it is a very luxurious expression which has no place in Gaza”.

Two protesters killed by Israeli forces during Gaza protests

Isra Saleh El-Namy on
Relatives of young Palestinian man Mohammed Abu Zayed, who died after being shot in the neck by Israeli security forces at a protest, mourn at a hospital morgue in the central Gaza Strip January 15, 2016. (Photo by Hassan Jedi/APA Images)

Israeli forces opened fire at different fronts on the Gaza boundary fence today, killing two young Palestinians during today’s clashes. Ashraf al-Qidra, the spokesman of Gaza’s Ministry of Health said that Mohammed Qeita, a 26-year old protester, was shot in his abdomen by Israeli live bullets. Less than two hours later, medics confirmed that Mohammed Abu-Zayed, 19, was also killed, shot in his head and neck. According to witness testimonies, Israeli snipers picked off the two protesters without prior warning.

UN: 47% of Gaza households were food insecure in 2014

Kate on
Palestinians wait to receive food supplies from a United Nations food distribution center in Gaza City December 19, 2013. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/ APA Images)

An emergency report published by he UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) revealed that 47% of Palestinian households in the Gaza Strip were food insecure in 2014.

Families in Gaza face harrowing winter in makeshift homes as reconstruction stalls

Matthew Vickery on
Suad Najar stands in the home she has made out of pieces of metal crudely put together. With the winter cold, she worries for the coming weeks. Her youngest children are already becoming ill. (Photo: Matthew Vickery)

Up and down the Gaza Strip thousands of families are experiencing winter in freezing conditions, some living in makeshift homes and others in what remains of their homes after Israel’s deadly assault on the besieged Strip. Reconstruction efforts from last year’s war remain stalled despite promises made by Arab nations such as Qatar, United Arab Emirates and others to provide funds. Suad Najar, mother to eight children, says, “I have no idea how long I have to live like this. I can’t see an end right now.”

As unrest grows, Hamas proposes controversial solution to unpaid public sector salaries

Isra Saleh El-Namy on
Palestinians take part in a protest organized by employees of former Palestinian government demanding their salaries to be paid, in front of the headquarters of the Council of Ministers in Gaza city on January 20, 2015. Some 40,000 civil servants employed by the Hamas government stopped receiving salaries soon after the formation of the Palestinian unity government in June. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/ APA Images)

Since Israel began withholding funds to the Gaza Strip following the Hamas victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative election, the payment of Gaza public sector employees has been a bone of contention between the rival Palestinian parties and a driver of internal unrest in the Gaza Strip. Despite promises from the national consensus government, more than 50,000 government workers in Gaza have not received their regular salaries since early 2013. Now, as anger is rising, Hamas is proposing a solution that is already proving controversial.

A book lover’s simple dream

Khaled Al-Ostath on
Cordoba library

Khaled Al-Ostath is an avid reader, but because he lives in Gaza he is not able to find books to read. He writes, “I yearn to have a decent library in Gaza and for a good environment in which to read. Is this too much to hope?”

Egypt’s destruction of Gaza tunnels leading to economic and environmental disaster

Isra Saleh El-Namy on
A Palestinian man works in a tunnel, used for smuggling supplies between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, after being flooded with seawater by Egyptian army, in Rafah in southern Gaza, October 1, 2015. Last month, the Egyptian army started to pump large amounts of sea water into large pipes that have recently been extended across the border connecting Gaza and Egypt, in an attempt to destroy tunnels used to smuggle goods into the besieged coastal enclave. (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/ APA Images)

The Egyptian government has destroyed 80% of the tunnels bringing goods into Gaza which has led to an environmental and economic disaster. “They are waging a tireless war on our livelihoods. I wonder what harms them when the Palestinian citizen in Gaza is able to feed his family by what he earns in meager wages from the tunnels work?” asks 24-year-old Adham Okbi.

Gaza shares ‘ideas worth spreading’ at TEDx Shujaiya

Isra Saleh El-Namy on
TEDx Shujaiya

Isra Saleh El-Namy reports from TEDx Shujaiya, a recent event in Gaza organized independently as part of the popular TED conference series. Organizer Heba Madi says, “It is really a golden opportunity, and a great honor to have this prestigious and international program in a Palestinian flavor. We wanted to prove to the whole world that people in Gaza deserve to live in dignity.”

Video: Even the water flows with tear gas in Gaza

Dan Cohen on

On Friday, October 16th, Israeli soldiers again opened fire across the Gaza border on Palestinian youth demonstrators. Amid the chaos, some protesters came across a leaking freshwater pipe and were able to quench their thirst. Even though they quickly realized a tear gas canister fired by Israeli soldiers was floating in the water, some were undeterred by the presence of noxious chemicals and drank the water anyway. Dan Cohen says that while this video is not the most shocking piece of footage he captured that day, it might be the most instructive.

A photo tells the Hassan family’s story of loss

Sarah Algherbawi on
GAZA CITY, GAZA - OCTOBER 11: Palestinian father Yahya Hassan (R) holds his son Ahmed Hassan's hand as they wait to receive treatment at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Gaza on October 11, 2015 after Israeli forces carried out an airstrike on a house in Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City. (Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency)

Sarah Algherbawi reflects on a devastating photo of Yahya Hassan and his son Mohammed, who survived an Israeli missile attack on their Gaza home which killed two other members of the Hassan family.

Mourners of Gaza mother and child killed in airstrike urge resistance– ‘3rd, 4th, 5th intifada, whatever it takes’

Dan Cohen on
The blast hole where the Hassan house in Gaza was bombed by Israeli warplanes, photo by Dan Cohen

Israeli F-16 strikes destroyed a house in the Mughraga area of Gaza overnight, killing five-months-pregnant Nour Hassan, 27, her two-year-old daughter Rahaf, and injuring her husband Yahya and their toddler son. All that remains of the house is a massive blast hole several meters deep and twenty meters wide amid scattered bits of clothing and personal belongings.

Video: Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza killing seven

Dan Cohen on

Youth in Gaza have begun marching to the borders to express solidarity with Palestinians protesting in the West Bank and inside Israel, as well as out of frustration with the ongoing Israeli siege. Dan Cohen reports from Gaza where yesterday, Israeli soldiers clad in full combat gear shot protestors and occasionally fired tear gas canisters into the crowd of an estimated 1,000 young men and boys, killing seven and injuring 145 along Gaza’s border area.

Scenes from the Gaza fuel crisis

Dan Cohen on

Dan Cohen reports from Gaza where on September 13th, the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Israeli government closed the border crossing to the besieged Gaza Strip, exacerbating existing fuel shortages into a full-on crisis. Since then, cars have been lined up around city blocks to obtain small amounts of fuel – only enough for a day of work. With unemployment in Gaza at a staggering 60%, many of the taxi drivers are men who took the job as a last resort and means of survival. But the fuel crisis has taken away taxi driving and frustration is high.

Eid in the rubble

Dan Cohen on

When Nidal Alareer, a 40-year-old father of five returned to Shujaiya after Israel’s 51-day war on Gaza, he found all three of his houses destroyed. Though promises of reconstruction have proven to be hollow, his family was able to obtain materials to rebuild their home from the Qatari government. But the labor is back-breaking and until he and his young sons finish reconstruction, his family is scattered about Gaza with no money to rent apartments. Dan Cohen spoke with Alareer as he worked on his house during Eid al Adha.

Celebrating Eid al-Adha in Gaza

Isra Saleh El-Namy on
The author visiting cousins during Eid al-Adha.

Isra Saleh El-Namy describes how her family celebrates Eid al-Adha in Gaza and what the holiday means to the besieged strip a year after the war with Israel. 8 year old Yazzan tells her “I wanted to seize every moment to play to have fun with my friends. I want to compensate what I have missed during last year Eid.”

Tolstoy’s War and Peace . . . and Palestine

Mohammed Alhammami on
A scene from War and Peace (Photo: Mohammed Sarsour)

On a recent September evening, two groups of culturally curious people, separated by countries and borders, virtually gathered together for art and social justice. At Said Al-Mishal Establishment for Culture and Science, Gaza’s Theatre for Everybody performed a short version of Tolstoy’s classic “War and Peace.” Simultaneously, on the other side of the world at London’s Az Theatre, a group of British and international supporters gathered to watch a previously recorded version of the same performance. The play was centered on two themes: condemning war and denouncing dictatorship.

Gaza Ministry of Health: Hospitals on the verge of collapse

Kate on
Palestinian physician Allam Nayef checks the report of a patient in the ICU at the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, July 19, 2014, where the power goes off repeatedly under daily rolling blackouts and many items are in short supply. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Ma’an and MEMO report: The healthcare system in the Gaza Strip is on the verge of collapse, Gaza’s Ministry of Health said Monday, warning that hospitals could stop operating within hours due to the territory’s energy crisis. Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson for the ministry, said that “Shifa Hospital, Kamal Adwan hospital, the European Gaza Hospital, and Rantisi Hospital could stop offering services because they are about to run out of fuel.” The Ministry holds the national unity government accountable for any harm that may befall their patients due to “the government’s lack of responsibility.”

One year later, Gaza is still in crisis

Robert Ross on
Gaza, Summer 2015. (Photo: Robert Ross)

Robert Ross reports from a recent trip to Gaza: “Indeed, despite 12 months of relative peace, Gazans are still enduring the aftermath of three Israeli wars in the past six years, an ongoing Israeli and Egyptian imposed blockade, a crippled economy, and internal political strife. “Everyone here—100 percent of the people—are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder,” Hamza said. Just moments earlier, he and his brother instinctively ducked their heads upon hearing a nearby firework explode. This sentiment was echoed numerous times by the doctors, public health officials, journalists, artists, and aid workers I spoke with throughout my visit to Gaza.”