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Gaza couples struggle with financial difficulties amidst social crisis

Isra Saleh El-Namy on
Palestinian grooms sit with their brides on the stage during a mass wedding ceremony in Gaza City, on April 11, 2015. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

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.

900 Gazans are still in need of care for injuries sustained in 2014 war

Kate on
A mother and son in the orthopedic department at Ash Shifa hospital, Gaza City, October 2015 (Photo: UN/OCHA)

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.”

In Photos: Palestinians celebrate Ramadan in Gaza

Mohammed Asad on
Nisreen, 7, plays under Ramadan decorations at Al-balad in downtown Gaza City, June 27, 2016. (Photo: Mohammed Asad)

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.

The view from Gaza: ‘The Turkish government has sold us out and wants us to be grateful’

Haidar Eid on
Palestinians hold their national flag during a protest against the blockade of Gaza in 2009.  (Photo: Thaer Mahmoud/ APA Images)

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!”

Emad Khalil’s story as a Gazan worker in Israel

Mohammed Saleem on
Palestinian farmers work at their fields during the Workers' Day, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip May 1, 2016. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

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.”

American basketball coach devotes his time to disabled in Gaza

Isra Saleh El-Namy on
American coach Jess Markt trains disabled Palestinians to play basketball during a training course organized by the Palestinian Red Cross in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 28, 2016. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

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.

Following Israeli restrictions, Gaza farmers access land for first time in 15 years

Isra Saleh El-Namy on
Kamal Kafarna harvests one of his groves in Beit Hanoun. (Photo: Isra Saleh El-Namy)

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.

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.”