Month: May 2009

May 16-23, 2009

abed

*Abed, sniped in 2008, slow road to partial recovery

1st published    By Eva Bartlett

Rafah crossing largely remained sealed under an Israeli-led, Egyptian and internationally-backed siege. It is supposed to open today.

I awake in Rafah to the explosions of Israeli warplanes again bombing the tunnels along the border.

For the next two days, I follow the progress of a number of friends trying to leave Gaza. One will receive professional training in the UK, and another would see his estranged West Bank family, from whom he has been exiled for 7 years. I learn later, that he is again unable to leave Gaza. (more…)

Israeli forces attempts to legitimize pre-meditated murder and land annexation

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“Life is hard for Palestinian farmers in the border region near Israel. The IOF shoot at us every day, any time. They shoot at the international volunteers (ISM) also.”

This was Jaber Abu Rjila testifying some of what he has experienced in the last decade on his land less than 300m from the border with Israel.

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Yesterday, the day before Abu Rjila was interviewed, Israeli occupation forces dropped leaflets along the border area, from north to south, announcing Israel’s unilateral decision that the border area is off-limits and that, by dropping leaflets, Israeli soldiers have the right to shoot to kill anyone found within 300m of the fence. [see translation of the message at the bottom of the page]

Dropping leaflets to try to legitimize Israeli crimes is nothing new: during the 23 day massacre of Gaza, Israeli soldiers dropped leaflets announcing areas which were subject to mass-bombing, saying the residents must leave. Such action does not suddenly render international law insignificant, nor –even if legality were not a question –does it realistically afford the Palestinian civilians in question any option of alternate existence. post continues

“israel” destroying Gaza’s farmlands: arson in Johr ad Dik

A farmer holds crops destroyed by Israeli troops.

A farmer holds crops destroyed by Israeli troops.

-by Eva Bartlett

On the morning of 4 May 2009, “israeli” troops set fire to Palestinian crops along Gaza’s eastern border with “israel”. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reported that 200,000 square meters of crops were destroyed, including wheat and barley ready for harvest, as well as vegetables, olive and pomegranate trees.

Local farmers report that the blaze carried over a four-kilometer stretch on the Palestinian side of the eastern border land. Ibrahim Hassan Safadi, 49, from one of the farming families whose crops were destroyed by the blaze, said that the fires were smoldering until early evening, despite efforts by the fire brigades to extinguish them. post continues

parental worries in poverty

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“How do I explain to my children why we can’t buy them the clothes they need for school?”

Aside from the pressing needs of food, heating in colder months, and daily necessities, the families I meet share the same worries that any parent anywhere has regarding their children: their safety, their education and future, but also their childhood and the things that go with it.

The Mattah family in Beit Lahia, Gaza’s north, are in the same situation as the families which make up the over 40% unemployment, over 80% extreme poverty, rates.

If he could, Amir, the father, would invest in a small coffee stand, to earn their daily needs.  But without a means of taking a loan to buy the stand, his dream remains obscure, and his unemployment steady.

Glimpses of Post-War Gaza (still fully under siege!)

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*essential rehabilitation equipment, broken for nearly 2 years, needing servicing outside of Gaza

A Diary: May 2-9, 2009 1st published      By Eva Bartlett

Saturday

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In the Rafah region where homeless Palestinians have tired of the siege, and of waiting for cement to ever enter Gaza, I meet Jihad, the man who is introducing mud-house-building into Gaza. He says:

We have waited over two years for cement, but because of the siege there is none available. What could we do, wait forever? post continues

bombing the lifelines

I wake to the thud of bombings which I’d incorporated into my dreams, dividing the thuds into small and bigger explosions.  In consciousness I hear more bombing and realize it’s probably the tunnels region, where people still live very close by, being bombed again.

A friend will try to leave Gaza today via Rafah crossing, and among the myriad of legitimate worries a Palestinian must have when trying to leave Gaza, having the area where you hope to cross over bombed is a fairly large one.

Her father, our host, and brother walk through the room where we’d been sleeping, asking whether we’d heard the bombing. “It’s either from the sea or on the tunnels along the border,” he says.  But I say it must be the tunnels, because when they bomb from the sea there’s an echo, so you hear the explosion twice. post continues

who is the siege really on?

I don’t need to answer the rhetorical question. I know the cliches that the US, Canada and other siege-supporting western nations will say about Hamas and terrorism and not providing material aid [the irony of Israel, committing attacks of terrorism on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, occupied Jerusalem, and the militarily-occupied Gaza Strip every day –with Israel’s invasions, city lock-downs (‘curfews’), military checkpoints, arbitary arrests and indefinite detentions (including minors), military invasions, shelling from the sea, shooting at and abduction of fishermen and farmers from their own territorial areas, and so on –being supported by the very nations that besiege Gaza… is sickening].

Palestinians words before, during, and after Israel’s latest war on Gaza aside, and those of independent bloggers and activists like myself far aside, do the words and photos of the many delegates from Europeans nations, as well as the US and Canada mean nothing?  Are Amnesty International and like NGOs only valid with not referring to Palestine and Israel? Does the death toll of medical patients needing –and denied –treatment outside [over 310 now] mean nothing? post continues