A wave of suicides in the Gaza Strip over the summer including the death of Hamza Abu Al-Tarabeesh’s cherished friend Suleiman al-Ajoury at 23 has led to endless questions among his peers about disappointment, loneliness and unbearable living conditions.
Hamza Abu Al-Tarabeesh’s fear of the coronavirus is based on his late grandfather’s death during a Tuberculosis epidemic in Gaza’s refugee camps during the mid-1960s. “I have no idea what the future holds for the refugee camps in Gaza,” Abu Al-Tarabeesh writes, “but I do know when it comes to infectious diseases and viruses, the past has been alarming.”
Five years on Hamza Abu al-Tarabeesh remembers the 2014 war in Gaza when he was a young journalist. That summer one of his senior editors was killed in an Israeli airstrike, and photojournalist he worked alongside lost a brother. “At the moment of impact the electricity cut, smoke and dust covered the office, and I heard shrapnel hitting the exterior. One of my colleagues started sobbing.”
Hamza Abu Al-Tarabeesh reflects on covering the first year of the Great March of Return protests. He writes, “After covering nearly 50 Fridays over the past year, I can’t be more grateful that I’m still alive and did not suffer serious injury.”
Hamza Abu Al-Tarabeesh writes, “For many of us who are Palestinians, we fight and sacrifice for those things we have yet to touch, experience, or see. In the 27 years of my life I have never smelled or gazed upon land that was once Palestinian and now part of Israel. Therefore it is through the eyes of others that I tell this story. Recently some friends managed to obtain much coveted permits to visit Israel, which in Gaza is commonly referred to as ‘our occupied lands.'”
Many Palestinian families have their narratives of the Nakba, especially in Gaza where nearly 70% of the population are refugees. Hamza Abu Al-Tarabeesh shares the stories of three Gaza families, including his own. Each story share incredible pain and loss, but also hope for the future and the hope of return.
Hamza Abu Al-Tarabeesh shares stories from the first two weeks of the Great March of Return in Gaza. Despite the fact Yousef Abu Eida, 26, was shot in the leg last Friday, he was back today using crutches and a metal brace. “I came today despite the pain to send two messages,” he tells Abu Al-Tarabeesh. “The first is that I will not give up the right of my return to my occupied town ‘Ashdod’ and another message to the Israeli sniper that we are not afraid of him.”
Hamza Abu Al-Tarabeesh reports from Gaza: “With most of the fine print incomplete, at the moment reconciliation is in a transitional stage where most of the fallout is occurring inside of Gaza. Merging government ministries between the two geographically separated and occupied Palestinian territories has started, but is far from over.”
Basel al-Araj, the Palestinian writer killed in March by Israel, believed that words can be the fortress to the nation, and achieve victories. He is sure to become a revolutionary icon for Palestinian youth.
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.