gaza strip

Gaza Looks For Work, Not Aid

Selling yoghurt in Gaza in an attempt to make some sort of living.

GAZA CITY, Sep 30 2012 (IPS)-By Eva Bartlett

“The overwhelming majority of people we work with tell us, ‘We don’t want the aid, we want to have an opportunity to work and earn money’. Especially people who had a decent job but lost it in the last many years: before asking for any aid, they ask for a job.”

In his work as Gaza-based communications officer with Oxfam GB, Karl Schembri interacts on a regular basis with some of Gaza’s most impoverished Palestinians, poverty he says is avoidable.

“Gaza cannot be called a humanitarian situation, it’s all man-made. It’s a situation of de-development, where the infrastructure and know-how was there and development was occurring,” he says, referring to the years before 2006 when, after Hamas was democratically elected, Israel imposed its suffocating closure of the Gaza Strip. CONTINUE READING

Gaza Farmers and Fishers Find Canadian Support

Mohammed Al-Bakri from Gaza’s Union of Agricultural Work Committees points out the “no-go” zones for Palestinian fishers and farmers.

Gaza City, IPS– By Eva Bartlett (blog version longer than original published)

“From the coast to eight miles out, the sea is like a desert: it’s sandy and there are no fish.” Mohammed Al-Bakri traces a thick line on the wall map before him, following the lines of Gaza’s eastern and northern borders, continuing south from three miles off the coast.

General manager of Gaza’s Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Bakri is well-versed in the woes of the Strip’s fishers and farmers. He explains the insufficient fishing waters Palestinians are limited to, and the consequences of being on the sea at all.

“The Israeli navy attacks the fishermen, arrests them and takes their boats, CONTINUE READING

On the killing of Vik Vittorio Arrigoni

*(photo from 2011) monument to “Vik” Vittorio Arrigoni, Italian justice and peace activist. Jaber and Leila, farmers Vik worked with in the border region east of Khan Younis, were also close friends. They erected the monument as a humble tribute to him

Although he was killed a year and a half ago, in April 2011, only recently has the verdict been issued in the trial for the killers of “Vik” (Vittorio) Arrigoni, an Italian long-time justice and peace activist. CONTINUE READING

tweets from Gaza Under Attack

*over-crowded living, Gaza City, Gaza Strip, Palestine

The above photo isn’t even in one of Gaza’s numerous refugee camps, invariably aptly described as “squalid, over-crowded, under-serviced (or not at all) hell-holes”–not reflecting their inhabitants but rather the impossible standard of living in the camps.

It is a district of Gaza City, families piled upon on another in cement buildings.  The house I live in isn’t much different: blistering in summer and numbing in winter, no-frills all around, lucky to have water (albeit water stored in the massive water tanks ubiquitous throughout occupied Palestine), surrounded by other like-constructed concrete ovens.

When drones hover over homes, TVs go fuzzy and even cell communication is affected, not to mention the more obvious disruption of one’s psyche.  They’re flying overhead quite a bit these days, along with the standard IOF warplane fly-overs.

The Zionists have been bombing Gaza the last few days, Israeli warplanes not only buzzing and terrorizing us but unleashing their death kisses as well. This early morning’s bombings *only* resulted in various injuries, including at least two children.  Only, no deaths last night, just lots of nasty, flesh-tearing shrapnel.  A few days earlier, after killing 6 Palestinian members of resistance, Israeli soldiers fired on a funeral for some of the martyred, Ma’an reports.

M, one of Emad’s sisters, sees me looking at Twitter and asks about it. I explain, when Israel bombs, many Palestinians with internet and electricity report it right away.  Gives me a sense of whether the fleet of warplanes I was watching from the roof just before coming downstairs to newly-returned electricity have attacked somewhere new or not.  Even from the roof, when the Israeli planes attack Rafah or Beit Hanoun in the north, we don’t hear always hear: depends whether the chugging of generators drowns out sound or not. When it’s central Gaza we do hear, and often feel, it. CONTINUE READING

Gaza Economy Tailored to Fail

What was once Rizk Al-Madhoun’s clothing factory.

JABALIYA, Gaza, Sep 8 2012 (IPS) -By Eva Bartlett **(blog version longer than original published)

“Gaza’s economy is expected to grow modestly and people will likely still be worse off in 2015 compared to the mid-1990s,” reads a press release announcing the United Nations’ August 2012 report, ‘Gaza in 2020 – A Liveable Place?’

In the no-frills office of his stalled Jabaliya clothing factory, Rizik Al-Madhoun, 41, explains how his clothing factory began shutting down six years ago. CONTINUE READING

Glimpse of Freedom at Rafah Crossing

rafah palestine

The Rafah crossing. Credit: Eva Bartlett/IPS.

RAFAH, Gaza, Aug 30 2012, 1st Published at Inter Press Service (IPS) -By Eva Bartlett

“I waited from 10 am till 5 pm for my wife to cross from Egypt. She was among many hundreds who were coming into Gaza. Some waited since 6 am, some since the day before.”

Jaber (who requested anonymity out of fear of future restrictions on his exiting Gaza) was relieved when, a few days before Eid holiday began on Aug. 19, his wife was able to cross from Egypt into the Gaza Strip. During the three days of Eid, the Rafah border crossing was closed in both directions.

“Of course I was happy that my wife got through, but I was also disgusted at how Palestinians are forced to wait for, or are denied, the right to exit and enter our country.”

On Aug. 25, the border opened anew, temporarily easing the worries of Palestinians in Gaza who feared the opposite outcome: indefinite closure. continue reading

Impressions from Gaza on a few hot August days


*north from Gaza City, overlooking sweltering concrete slums of Beach Camp and on to border with Zionist state. The stepped-building in the right hand photo is a never-finished project begun in the 90s after Oslo

As I spoke with his father last night there was a loud blast somewhere in the distance. He is hard of hearing, asked what’s that? I told him it’s  a bomb somewhere. He shrugged and walked off to the mosque to pray his evening  prayers.

At night I lay rooftop, again star-gazing, listening to F-16s and other IOF warplanes roar overhead every so often, and heard a series of bombings again far off.

The noise of the wedding party in eastern Deir al Balah almost obfuscated the bombings, and as the planes didn’t do their evil work in our area I, like everyone else, shrugged and went to sleep.

The thing is, here, you never know where is being bombed, whether it is farmland or a home or a car a market the beach. And with electricity cuts, there’s virtually no way of getting news, save ringing up people who might have internet access or tv. But, it is so normal to have these warplanes growling overhead, menacing with their presence and the potential of at any moment dropping a bomb anywhere on the 1.7 million caged in the 360 square kilometers that is Gaza, that you’d rack up a massive phone bill trying to find out what every bombing was.  Bombing in ‘defense’, of course. continue reading