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‘Who said that I have to be a refugee forever?’–Palestinians in Gaza reflect on living in ‘world’s largest open-air prison’

Ahmad Kabariti on

Young Palestinians often describe their upbringing in the Gaza Strip as serving a sentence in “the world’s largest open-air prison,” and see themselves as trapped between Israel’s refusal to support Palestinian statehood, and an international community willing to look the other way. Ahmad Kabariti talks with young Palestinians in Gaza about what it means to grow up and be stuck living under siege.

Gaza’s economy is not ‘falling.’ It was pushed.

Marilyn Garson on

Marilyn Garson writes that a new World Bank report that describes Gaza’s economy as in “free fall”, is a bitter choice of words.  Gaza did not fall, it was pushed. “In Gaza, one always fears that new losses will become the new normal.  The report’s annex validates that fear,” Garson writes.

Israel is reluctant to invade Gaza with ground troops — and it’s not because Benjamin Netanyahu has developed a conscience

James North on

Given recent history, it is surprising Israel has not invaded Gaza again. Previous massive Israeli ground attacks, in 2008, 2012 and 2014, required fewer pretexts than we see today with the success of the Great March of Return. But Israel’s ground forces stay put. Two respected analysts of Israel’s military explain why: the Hamas resistance movement has prepared strong defenses inside Gaza that have raised the costs of an invasion above an acceptable level.

Video: Gaza health officials forced to stop cancer treatments due to Israeli siege

Yumna Patel and Nidal Wuheid on

Earlier this month, health officials in Gaza announced that they would be stopping chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients due to a shortage of medicine. As a result, the lives of thousands of cancer patients were thrown into uncertainty. Doctors, rights groups, and the patients themselves have pointed chiefly to the more than decade-long Israeli blockade of Gaza as a reason for the shortages.

If there are no refugees, there will be no one to return: Understanding Trump’s war on UNRWA and Palestinian refugees

Marilyn Garson on

According to multiple reports, in early September the Trump administration will issue a report recognizing no more than half a million Palestinian refugees, will reject any right of return, and ominously will ask Israel to ‘reconsider’ UNRWA’s mandate to operate in the West Bank. Marilyn Garson writes, “Trump and those around him have spent the year trying to obviate – rather than solve – Palestinian claims. Now they wish to deny the refugee status of 90% of Palestinians. If Trump has his way, only a few elderly refugees will remain.  The Right of Return will be moot. It would not exist now, he says, if UNRWA didn’t keep it alive. He will make the right disappear by de-funding UNRWA and de-registering its five million phantom refugees.  The realization of Palestinian rights may be a marathon, but right now, it is also a sprint.  The race is on, to be made to vanish or to be seen and heard.”

Israeli court rules govt policy of denying Gaza patients access to medical treatment as leverage over Hamas ‘ineffective and illegal’

Yumna Patel on

Israel’s High Court overturned on Sunday evening the security cabinet’s previous decision to prevent five Palestinian women, mostly cancer patients, from Gaza from receiving life-saving treatment in occupied East Jerusalem on the basis that the women had relatives that were active in the Hamas movement. The court ruled that “the decision to deny Gaza patients access to medical treatment as means of leverage over Hamas was ineffective and illegal.”

Video: Gaza mourns cultural center destroyed by Israel

Akram Al-Wa'ra on

Earlier this month, Israeli forces bombed the Said Mish’al Center for Culture and Science in Gaza to the ground, claiming it was being used by Hamas for military operations. The center was beloved among Gazans and thousands of Palestinians mourned the destruction of the center, which had survived three Israeli offensives over the past decade. As Center Director Sameer Mish’al told Mondoweiss, “The occupation has always tried to stifle the voice of the Palestinian people. This place was like a beam of light. Through our work, we protected our culture.”

In photos: Palestinians in Gaza celebrate Eid

Mondoweiss Editors on

Palestinians in Gaza are celebrating Eid al-Adha, a four day festival for Muslims observed across the world that coincides with the seasonal pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, known as the Hajj. Palestinians often seek travel outside of Gaza during the Eid holiday, however, this year Israel partially sealed the Erez Crossing on Sunday limiting travel to humanitarian cases.

It took me three decades to drive one hour from Gaza to Jerusalem

Abier Almasri on

Earlier this year Abier Almasri left Gaza and journeyed to Jerusalem for the first time. The cities are only about about 50 miles apart, yet it took Abier three decades to get there. “I just hope to have the chance to pray in al-Aqsa Mosque before I die,” she had told a friend. And she finally got that chance.

‘He was armed with bandages’: Israeli forces kill second Palestinian paramedic during Great March of Return

Ahmad Kabariti on

Abdullah al-Qatati, 22, was shot in the chest during a Great March of Return protest near Rafah in southern Gaza as he treated Ali al-Alloul, 55, who was also killed at the same time. The Gaza Health Ministry reported that more than 200 protesters were injured during the 20th weekly protest of the Great March of Return. Al-Qatati’s death takes place 10 weeks after Israeli forces killed 20-year-old paramedic Razan al-Najjar during a similar protest.

‘It is a war against every part of Palestinian identity’: Israel destroys popular Gaza cultural center

Ahmad Kabariti on
People inspect the remains of the the Said al-Mishal Foundation for Culture and Science in Gaza.

On Thursday evening, 12 successive explosions were heard as Israeli warplanes flew over Gaza City, destroying the popular Said al-Mishal Foundation for Culture and Science cultural center, one of the very few cultural outlets left for Gaza’s youth in the besieged enclave. “Israel is trying to deliver its message that massive war is not just against humanity or our existence; it is a war against every part of Palestinian identity including music, culture or even Dabkeh dance,” said Nidal Eissa, Deputy Director of the Foundation, which was inaugurated in 2004.

Israeli air forces pummel Gaza, killing pregnant Palestinian woman and her 18-month-old daughter

Yumna Patel on

Three Palestinians were killed during pre dawn Israeli airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip Thursday. Among the dead were a woman, who was nine months pregnant, and her 18-month-old daughter. Thursday’s events are the latest in a series of severe flare ups over the past few months in Gaza, leading many local and international officials to speculate that another large-scale Israeli offensive on the Palestinian territory could be imminent.

A visit with Dalia Khalifa, ‘the one who does not cry easily,’ four years after she was wounded

Ahmad Kabariti on

Four years ago Dalia Khalifa became the face of the Israeli attack on Gaza when Mohamed Asad took a photograph of the 9-year-old’s heavily-wounded face and the image was shared around the world. Today, she has nightmares about injuries to her face but dreams of opening a beauty salon, while her mother tries to save money to pay for laser surgery to remove the remaining scars.

‘They have no wish that their criminal acts will be seen’ — report on Israeli seizure of Gaza-bound boat

Jonathan Ofir on

A Freedom Flotilla to Gaza boat was stopped by Israeli navy and diverted to Israeli harbor, with all its crew and passengers arrested. “This operation is an act of piracy and the occupation forces do not wish for it to be made public, so one of the first things they do as they come on board is to take away all cameras, phones and all other electronic devices,” passenger Zohar Chamberlain-Regev reports.

Two Palestinian teenagers killed in most intense Israeli daytime assault on Gaza since 2014

Yumna Patel on

After two Palestinian teenagers has been killed, and hundreds more wounded by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, an Egyptian-led ceasefire was called on Saturday night between Israel and the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements, who had fired several rockets into Israeli territory, injuring at least three people. Saturday’s Israeli onslaught on the besieged Gaza strip marked the most intense daytime assault on the coastal enclave since Israel’s 2014 offensive which left nearly 2,000 Palestinians dead.

100 days since protests began, Gazans reflect on what the Great March of Return has accomplished so far

Ahmad Kabariti on

More than 100 days have passed since the Great March of Return began in Gaza. Despite the bloody events in those 15 weeks, where 138 unarmed Palestinians have been killed and more than 16,000 wounded by Israeli fire, the protests continue. Ahmad Kabariti talks to Palestinians in Gaza to find out what they believe the Great March of Return protests have accomplished so far.

Netanyahu’s war on transcendence 

Marilyn Garson on

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has closed the only crossing point for commercial goods to enter and leave the Gaza Strip.  He is unhappy that Palestinian protestors have deployed incendiary kites. Rather than address the illegal blockade which gave rise to the protests, Netanyahu has decreed that Gazan Palestinians will be permitted no trade, no shops and no goods to buy, as if he bestows those things as favours. Two million Gazan Palestinians are living in his War of the Worlds fever dream.

UNRWA does not perpetuate the conflict, the conflict perpetuates UNRWA

Marilyn Garson on

Gaza’s Great March of Return has reinvigorated a specious argument against UNRWA:  by upholding Palestinians’ rights as they are written into international human rights law and UN resolutions, UNRWA’s very existence is said to perpetuate the conflict. The real aim of this argument is to eliminate the refugee issue entirely.

What it means to survive in Gaza

Hanan Abubasheer on

Hanan Abubasheer describes the trauma of life in Gaza: “For instance, you are returning happily from close friends’ wedding and you suddenly hear loud noise. if you are Gazan you don’t think of the possibility that there may be children playing or fireworks going off somewhere, you think: oh, the war is back.”