Sunday, 5 August 2012

Medics: Israeli airstrike kills man in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- One man was killed and another wounded by an Israeli airstrike targeting a motorbike in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, medics said.

Abed Okel Hijazi, 22, was killed in the strike west of Rafah, director of ambulance and emergency services Yahya Said Khader told Ma'an.

Hospital officials said they identified the dead man as a former member of the Popular Resistance Committees militant group who had shifted allegiance to "Magles Shoura al-Mujahddin", among Salafi factions that are a fringe presence in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

A group by the same name took responsibility for a guerrilla raid from the Egyptian Sinai into Israel in June which killed an Israeli who was helping erect a border fence. more

Oxfam highlights water crisis: Drinking the Sea in Gaza

As the blockade entered its sixth year, the 1.6 million population of the Gaza Strip is spending as much as a third of household income on drinking water, creating hardships and health risks for the poorest who cannot afford to buy water from vendors. For the latter, the only option is private and agricultural wells that are mostly polluted.

The situation is particularly precarious for Gaza‟s children, who make up around half of the enclave‟s population and for whom particular public health threats from unsafe water have been identified. Gaza's sole water source, the aquifer, is contaminated with dangerous levels of chlorides, nitrates and other pollutants, some far in excess of WHO guideline values, the result of long-standing water-security, sanitation and environmental crises. Also, with sea water seeping into the aquifer as more underground water is extracted, most of the water reaching households is salinated.

The public water network is similarly chemically and microbiologically contaminated from source and during distribution and storage, making tap water unsafe to drink. Microbiological water contamination, mainly from sewage seeping into the aquifer, is pervasive and responsible for high incidents of diarrhoea and other water-associated diseases in Gaza‟s children under five in particular. more

Gazans face familiar problems during Ramadan fast

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- During Ramadan in the Gaza Strip, the political and economic problems facing its residents are never far away.

For the duration of the Holy Month, in almost every Palestinian village, a volunteers walks the streets an hour or two before dawn, beating his drum to wake people up for the Suhoor, or pre-fast meal, before the dawn prayers.

This man is called a Misahhiraty in Arabic, deriving from the word Suhoor.

Ramadan drummers in villages and cities usually shout religious phrases urging people to wake up and eat their pre-fast meal. They remind people of the Prophet Muhammad's teachings concerning the Ramadan fast.

However, political issues have found their way into the Holy Month in Gaza.

Instead of religious phrases and quotes, some drummers have been praying out loud that a reconciliation agreement will be reached between Hamas and Fatah. more

How Israel's siege on Gaza killed my sister

by Yousef M. Aljamal
“You will become an uncle soon,” my sister Zeinab told me cheerfully. She didn’t know then what fate had in store for her, for us.
In April 2007, as I was getting ready to sit my high school final exams known as tawjihi, one of the most important exams in Palestine, I learned that my pregnant sister had fallen sick. She was taken to hospital where she received medical attention for two days.

Doctors decided that she should have an abortion. Otherwise, her life would be at risk. Tearfully, she agreed. I stopped thinking of the idea of me becoming an uncle.

A “simple” operation
A month later, she was taken to the hospital. She had a problem with her gallbladder. She had to undergo surgery. The operation was described as “simple” by doctors, yet some of the equipment needed for it was not available in Gaza hospitals. She applied to get a permit to travel to Jerusalem to have it there, but she was denied entry under the pretext of her being a security threat to Israel. My 26-year-old sister was a security threat to Israel. A security threat. more

International flotilla sets sail to break Gaza blockade

Estelle, a ship voyaging to break the Gaza blockade has begun its journey from Sweden.

This latest attempt to break the siege is organised by the Swedish based Ship to Gaza initiative which is being aided by a coalition called Freedom Flotilla III. Organisations aiding the Ship to Gaza-Sweden umbrella organisation include organisations in France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Canada, the United States, and Australia.

Mikael Löfgren, the media coordinator for the initiative has said that there are organisations “from all over the world but the main coalition is with organisations along the way.”

Estelle is now in Norway after arriving there on Friday. The ship is expected to reach Gaza “sometime within October” said Löfgren.

Throughout its journey the ship will raise awareness of the Gaza blockade. Estelle will make several stops on its way to Gaza in which there will be “speakers, concerts and public festivals providing information about the situation in Gaza.” more