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After 68 years of Nakba, is coexistence still possible?

Mohammed Alhammami on
Palestinian boy climbs through an opening in Israel's separation barrier in Shuafat near Jerusalem. February, 2009. (Photo: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

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?

Video: Gaza family mourns children who burned to death

Dan Cohen on

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.

Mainstream media frames Israeli attacks on Gaza civilians as ‘retaliatory’

Dan Cohen on
Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 4.23.16 PM

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.

UN agency says Israeli ban on cement preventing reconstruction in Gaza

Kate on
Palestinians walk an hour and a half from Gaza City to their homes in Shuja’iyeh during the ceasefire in order to collect personal items, July 25, 2014.. (Photo: Allison Deger)

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.'”

Refugee in Gaza thought life was terrific until Facebook incited him

Eamon Murphy on
Samih al-Masri and a fish at the port in Gaza City, before logging onto Facebook.  (Photo: AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS)

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.”

Similar to the West Bank, Gaza’s workers protest to demand fair pay

Isra Saleh El-Namy on

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 drinking contaminated water

Abeer Abu Shawish on
Rayqa al-Malalha lives—along with her poor family—in the marginalized al-Araiba neighborhood of Rafah City in the Gaza Strip. The water supplied to al-Araiba’s 8,000 residents by the municipality is unsuitable for consumption. (Photo: Iyad al-Baba/Oxfam)

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).

From Gaza to the Corries, with love

Mohammed Alhammami on
Craig and Cindy Corrie, the parents of Rachel Corrie, arrive at Haifa district court before the verdict in a civil case August 28, 2012. (Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

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.”

Suicides on the rise in Gaza

We Are Not Numbers on
Screenshot: Abu Setta contemplating suicide. Watania Media Agency - Gaza

What happens when a person is forced to struggle for years without enough money to support his family, and there is no way out?

Uproar in Gaza as Abbas rejects new electricity lines to address power crisis

Isra Saleh El-Namy on
Palestinians warm themselves around a fire in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, January 14, 2014. The World Bank reported that 10% of Gaza's residents remain without electricity since the attack and the rest of the population has limited access to power. In December, Israel rejected a proposal to have a Turkish floating power-generating ship stationed off the coast to help solve the electricity crisis. (Photo:  Abed Rahim Khatib/ APA Images)

Israel’s Channel 10 television station said this week that the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has rejected a proposal to build Gaza new electricity lines to support the power sector in the impoverished coastal enclave. The project reportedly received Israeli consent, but failed to get the green light from the PA. Hamas criticized Abbas for rejecting the long-awaited project. “Abbas is not willing to miss any occasion in which he can stave off his political foes, even if it is done at the expense of his people. This does not make difference with him at all,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zohri told Mondoweiss.

Hamas prevents attacks on Israel while Netanyahu’s cabinet threatens another war on Gaza

Dan Cohen on
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (center) and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (right) in September 2015. (Photo: Ariel Harmoni/Defense Ministry)

“We’ve been enjoying unprecedented quiet, Hamas hasn’t fired one bullet,” Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya’alon said during a joint US-Israeli military exercise this week. Israel’s military chief of intelligence recently reinforced this idea when he told a closed Knesset meeting, “Hamas is doing everything it can to stop an escalation against Israel in Gaza.” Yet, the Israeli government is threatening another devastating assault on Gaza’s beleaguered population.

Documentary feature ‘Killing Gaza’ needs your help

Dan Cohen on
Dan Cohen filming "Killing Gaza"

Help support “Killing Gaza,” a new documentary feature by Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal that aims to create an unflinching and uncompromising portrayal of the daily Israeli violence wrought upon Gaza and the complicity of Western governments.

Tunnels remain Hamas’ most strategic asset in the Gaza Strip

Isra Saleh El-Namy on
Al Qassam fighters in tunnels in Gaza. (Photo: Hamas press office)

The death of seven Hamas fighters in late January when a tunnel collapsed on them brought attention once again on military tunnels in Gaza. Yehia Mousa, a Hamas official said its tunnels have tripled in number since the end of the 2014 conflict. “It is a must that we should take the time to develop our military tunnels. They are a strategic asset that we can never give up,” Mousa told Mondoweiss.

Couple in besieged Gaza hopes to crowdfund their wedding

Dan Cohen on
Hakim Zughbor and Falastin Tanani (Photo: Ezz Zanoon)

Hakim Zughbor and Falastin Tanani have been unable to find work in a Gaza economy devastated by siege but are not letting that prevent them from beginning their lives together. Hakim and Falastin have started a crowdfunding campaign to raise enough money for their wedding, an unusual step in the Gaza Strip, where tradition and conservatism rule. But in a place where electricity comes on two hours per day and salt water comes out of the sink, Gaza’s residents have turned to unorthodox ways of accomplishing their goals.

There is no ‘post’ traumatic stress in Gaza because the trauma is continuous

John Soos, PhD on
Members of a Palestinian family living in a container as a temporary replacement for their house that was destroyed by Israeli shelling during the 50 day war in 2014, warm themselves next to a fire during a rainy day in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, Jan. 24, 2016. (Photo: Mohammed Asad/ APA Images)

John Soos traveled to Gaza with a delegation from Physicians for Social Responsibility to address the secondary trauma that mental health professionals there are struggling with. He writes, “Post traumatic stress disorder, as a clinical term, barely touches the enormity of the disabling psychological distress that permeates the reality of daily life here. There is nothing ‘post’ about a continual, unrelenting, multifaceted catastrophe.”

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?”