Raed Abu al-Zomar, now a 32-year-old father of four, was uprooted from his home when Israel demolished it in 2003. Located in Rafah, a city in the southern Gaza Strip, the two-story home was where Abu al-Zomar, his parents and his eight siblings lived.
At that time, the Israeli military had already knocked down and bulldozed the houses of approximately 1,500 other families along the Gaza-Egypt border during the second intifada.
For many years, the Abu al-Zomar family rented several homes in different parts of the southern Gaza Strip. More recently, Abu al-Zomar, his parents and his unmarried siblings have been allocated two small apartments, close to a Saudi-funded housing project, run by the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA). They have been promised a house from that project, once it is ready.
“So far, my children, who are now in school, have not lived in their own home. The Saudi project means stability to me, it means I will now have neighbors,” Abu al-Zomar told The Electronic Intifada, standing on his apartment balcony overlooking the housing project in the Tal al-Sultan area of Rafah.
“For some time, I have been moving from one place to another, which means you cannot develop normal relationships with neighbors. I can say that my dream is about to come true.” more
'The children of prisoners held in Israeli jails gathered outside the International Red Cross to draw pictures and write messages to their fathers. After speeches by the Minister of Detainee Affairs Dr Attallah Abu Sebah, the young daughters of two prisoners, and the mother of another, the drawings and messages were attached to balloons and released into the evening sky, along with the hopes of the children that they would float to Israel, and be received by their fathers.' -- Julie Webb-Pullman
Israel has forced low-cost airline Jet2.com to cancel the tickets of three women from Manchester intending to travel to Bethlehem via Tel Aviv this weekend for a gathering of pro-Palestinian activists.
Jet2.com informed the women by email that the airline would refuse to carry them and no refund would be paid. The move follows pressure on airlines from Israel to ban known activists.
One of the women, retired nurse Norma Turner, said Jet2.com had caved in to pressure. "It never crossed my mind that Israel could stop people with British passports leaving British airports," she told the Guardian.
Israel has promised to deny entry to hundreds of activists due to arrive at Tel Aviv airport on Sunday en route to the West Bank for a week of educational and cultural activities.
Up to 2,000 mainly European sympathisers plan to board planes in what has been dubbed a "flytilla" in reference to previous attempts to breach the blockade of Gaza by flotillas of boats.
Jet2.com's decision followed a similar move by the German carrier Lufthansa, which cancelled the tickets of dozens of activists on Thursday, saying it was complying with Israel's demand not to fly certain passengers to Tel Aviv. Other airlines are expected to follow suit. more