Despite a reported truce agreement between Islamic Jihad and Israel, Palestinians in Gaza are still afraid go out in the streets and return to normal life.
Yasin, a veteran of demonstrations at Gaza border with Israel, gives advice to newbies Mohammed and Muammar: “Listen carefully, you have to run against the wind once you see white smoke and pay careful attention to your testicles of being hit by a bullet. Otherwise you will lose everything as we lost Jerusalem.”
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.
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.
Gaza’s Hossam Azzum is competing in his fourth Paralympics Games in Rio on September 14, 2016. In the 2000 Sydney Games Azzum won a bronze medal becoming the first Palestinian medalist among disabled and non-disabled competitors. But six years ago Azzum took a break from competing after his wife died during childbirth. Then, in 2014, his house was destroyed by the Israeli military during the 51-day war on Gaza. Now, Azzum plans his comeback in Rio.
Smacked with a travel ban after Israel denied permits to leave Gaza through the northern Erez crossing, the musical group Dawaween performed a protest concert on the strip’s border with a windswept demilitarized buffer zone and chain-linked fence in the background.
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.