Saturday, 12 July 2014

Gaza: Signposts on the road to liberation


From The Electronic Intifada

On my notebooks from school
On my desk and the trees
On the sand on the snow
I write your name
On every page read
On all the white sheets
Stone blood paper or ash
I write your name …
Liberty

– Paul Eluard

Edward Said wrote extensively about the necessity of writing the Palestinian narrative. But he also argued, very eloquently, that we were never allowed to do so. Now, we in Gaza have decided to write our narratives, sometimes with blood.

Because they leave a mark on our individual and collective consciousness, we call them martyrs. Those who took up arms or pens — Che Guevara, Ghassan Kanafani, Naji al-Ali, Dalal Mughrabi, Shadia Abu Ghazaleh, Steve Biko, Salavador Allende, Rosa Luxemburg, Patrice Lumumba, to mention but a few — have booked their places there.

But there are others, much younger, unknown to many, who have played a major role in the formation of our consciousness. They visit me every night; I see them in my dreams. I talk to them: I discuss serious issues with them, more serious than any living person can imagine.

At 139 square miles, Gaza is the largest refugee camp on earth, a reminder of the ongoing Nakba. The inhabitants of Gaza have become the most unwanted Palestinians, the black heart that no one wants to see, the “Negroes” of the American south, the black natives of apartheid South Africa. The surplus population that the powerful, macho, white Ashkenazi Israeli cannot coexist with.

Landmarks

The years 1987, 2009, 2012 and now 2014 are signposts on the road to our liberation. But they have also been landmarks in the formation of my own consciousness, not unlike those left by the great martyrs mentioned above. 1987: Ashraf Eid, 15 years old, my cousin’s son/sun. One bullet, shot by an Israeli sniper in Rafah, penetrated his small heart. It was the end of a long fasting day during the holy month of Ramadan. One bullet, the end of Ashraf’s life, a mark on my consciousness.

2009: Maather Abu Znaid, 24, my student. I was teaching my first course, “The Novel,” at al-Aqsa University in 2005 in Khan Younis. I taught two novels, one by Ghassan Kanafani and, ironically, another by the racist writer and Nobel Laureate V.S Naipaul. Students know me to be “strict” and “stingy” in giving marks, but Maather got 92 percent, a mark I rarely award. She graduated with high honors — an intelligent student with big, expansive dreams. She wanted to further her studies, but in Gaza, dreams fly away. During the Gaza massacre of 2009, Maather was targeted and hit by a drone missile as she left her house. Her family is still trying to find parts of her body, if they ever can. That was a dream cut short. One drone missile, end of dreams; another mark on my consciousness.

2009: Forty-four-year old Samir Muhammad was executed with a single bullet to the heart in front of his wife and children. The Israeli army refused to let an ambulance pick up his corpse for eleven days so his family had to wait for the assault to stop before they could bury him. His father, Rashid, told me in agonizing detail how he had the excruciatingly painful experience of looking at, touching, kissing and then burying the decomposed body of his son. Rashid is originally from my parents’ village, Zarnouqa; he knew them well. Samir could have been me. Single bullet: Zarnouqa is not far.

2009: Muhammad Samouni, 10, was found lying next to the bodies of his mother and siblings, five days after they were killed. He would tell you what he has been telling everyone — that his brother woke suddenly after being asleep for a long time. His brother told him that he was hungry, asked for a tomato to eat and then died. A torch in the dark depths of my consciousness.

2009: Ismat, 11, and Alaa Qirm, 12, whose house in Gaza City was shelled with artillery and phosphorous bombs — bombs which burned them to death together with their father, leaving behind their fourteen-year-old sister Amira. Alone, injured and terrified, Amira crawled 500 meters on her knees to a house close by which happened to be my cousin’s home. It was empty because the family had fled when the Israeli attack began. She stayed there for four days, surviving only on water. When my cousin returned to get clothes for his family, he found Amira, weak and close to death. The bodies of her siblings and father were decomposed. Another deep scar left in the depths of my consciousness.

2014: Najla al-Haj, a student at al-Aqsa University, killed with her family, in an Israeli air strike on the home of her family in Khan Younis in southern Gaza. She was talking to her university friends online just a few hours before. Hanadi, another student, as well as my 18-year-old niece Shimo, only learned of her friend’s death hours later when they awoke for suhour, the Ramadan pre-fast meal. Hanadi went immediately to Najla’s Facebook page. The last thing Najla wrote was: “God be with us. Oh, hello martyrdom.” Najla al-Haj died with seven others from her family. One airstrike, martyrdom of an entire family; a signpost on the road back to Haifa. more

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza kill 21 Palestinians, total deaths now 151


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- At least 21 Palestinians were killed in new Israeli strikes on Gaza late on Saturday, medics in the coastal enclave said.

In Gaza City, 18 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike on the Tuffah neighborhood that hit a house and mosque, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said, making it the single most deadly attack since Israel's assault began.

Another 35 were wounded in the same strike, and three more people were killed in southern Gaza's Rafah that also injured five people, Qidra added.

Among the wounded was police chief Tayseer al-Batsh, officials said.

The strikes came after Hamas launched a barrage of long-range rockets at Israeli cities including Tel Aviv, after issuing a warning that it would strike.

The new deaths brought the toll in the fifth day of the conflict to over 151, with more than 1,000 people wounded. more

Ramadan in Gaza: life under missile-fire


In Gaza's largely deserted streets, the first thing you notice is the absence of children.

The beach, usually crowded on Friday afternoons, is empty save for a handful of fishermen casting hand nets into the surf next to the harbour wall.

Al-Azhar park – next to the university of the same name – and Barcelona park with its climbing frames, lawns and basketball courts, are empty.

The few children who are outside play in the sheltered spaces between tall apartment blocks and the narrow lanes of the poorer neighbourhoods, a few feet from their doors under the watchful eyes of their parents: places deemed safer from bomb blasts.

It is the fourth day of Israel's intensive bombing campaign of the Gaza Strip, and more than 100 Palestinians have been killed, many of them children. More than 670 are injured. Families here have settled into a tense wartime regime, a daily routine hard-learned from Israel's previous military campaigns of 2008-09 and 2012.

Unlike Israel, there are no bomb shelters in Gaza. There are no sirens to warn of incoming missiles and no Iron Dome to shoot them down. The only warning, and one provided only intermittently, is that from those dropping the bombs – supplied by phone, text or a warning shot to the roof.

Under the ever-present hum of circling drones, squeal of jets, bomb-blasts and the thud of naval gunfire from the sea, most women and children are stuck indoors, often in buildings without electricity.

These families have been caught in a tragic catch-22. Afraid to leave their homes when the Israeli warplanes do drop their bombs on Gaza's neighbourhoods, it is the women and children sheltering in the buildings where they instinctively feel safest who are dying.

Israel has said it is training its missiles on Gaza's homes – a practice the United Nations Human Rights Office says may violate international law – because Hamas and other militants are hiding inside.

"We have received disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes," Ravina Shamdasani, a UN spokeswoman said on Thursday. "Such reports raise doubts about whether the Israeli air strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law."

The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has rejected the criticism of international and local human rights groups and vowed to continue with the campaign. "No international pressure will prevent Israel from continuing its operation in Gaza … The leaders of Hamas are hiding behind the citizens of Gaza, and they are responsible for all casualties," he said.

For the 1.8 million people living in Gaza, this means that long Ramadan days – from before dawn until the late bedtime traditional during the fasting month – will continue to be defined by limited exposure to the open air. more

List of the 116 Palestinians, including whole families, killed since Tuesday


The following is a list of the 116 Palestinians killed by Israeli air bombardment since Tuesday, July 8th. These are the names that have been confirmed by medical sources in Gaza. 670 Palestinians have also been wounded, with some losing limbs and others disabled for life. All of the casualties listed below are victims of Israeli bombs dropped on Gaza since Tuesday.


Killed Saturday:

1. Anas Yousef Qandil, 17, Jabalia.
2. Yousef Mohammad Qandil, 47, Jabalia.
3. Mohammad Edrees Abu Sneina, 20, Jabalia.
4. Abdul-Rahman Saleh al-Khatib, 38, Jabalia.
5. Husam Thieb ar-Razayna, 38, Jabalia.

Killed Friday 7/11:

1. Wisam Abdul-Razeq Ghannam, 23, Rafah.
2. Mohammad Abdul-Razeq Ghannam, 26, Rafah.
3. Kifah Shihada Ghannam, 20, Rafah.
4. Ghalia Thieb Ghannam, 7, Rafah.
5. Mohammad Munir ‘Ashour, 25, Rafah.
6. Nour an-Ajdi, 10, Rafah.
7. Anas Rezeq abu al-Kas, 30, Gaza City (doctor).
8. Abdullah abu Mahrouq, Deir al-Balah.
9. Mohammad Waloud, Beit Lahia
10. Hazem Ba’lousha, Beit Lahia.
11. Ala' Abdul Nabi, Beit Lahia
12. Ahmed Zaher Hamdan, 22, Beit Hanoun.
13. Mohammad al-Kahlout, 38, Jabalia.
14. Sami Adnan Shaldan, 25, Gaza City
15. Salem al-Ashhab,40, Gaza City.
16. Raed Abu Hani, 50, Rafah.
17.Rabea Abu- Hmeedan, 65, Jabalia.
18.Mazen Aslan, Shahrman, Al-Bureij.
19. Abu el-Kas, Al Bureij.
20. Shahd Helmi al-Qrynawi, 5, Al-Bureij.
21. Mohammad Samiri, 24, Deir al-Balah. 
22. Rami Abu Mosa’ed, 24, Deir al-Balah. 
23. Saber Sokkar, 80, Gaza City. 
24. Hussein Mohammad al-Mamlouk, 47, Gaza City. 
25. Nasser Rabah Sammama, 46, Gaza City. 
26. Abdul-Halim Abdul-Mo’ty Ashra, 52, Deir al-Balah. 

Killed Thursday 7/10:

1. Mahmoud Lutfi al-Hajj, 57, Khan Younis. (father of six killed)
2. Bassema ‘Abdul Qader Mohammed al-Hajj, 48, Khan Younis. (mother of six killed)
3. Asma’ Mahmoud al-Hajj, 22, Khan Younis.
5. Sa’ad Mahmoud al-Hajj, 17, Khan Younis.
6. Najla’ Mahmoud al-Hajj, 29, Khan Younis.
7. Tareq Sa’ad al-Hajj, 18, Khan Younis.
8. Omar al-Hajj, 20, Khan Younis.
9. Baha’ Abu al-Leil, 35, Gaza City.
10. Suleiman Saleem Mousa al-Astal, 17, Khan Younis.
11. Ahmed Saleem Mousa al-Astal, 18, Khan Younis (Suleiman’s brother)
12. Mousa Mohammed Taher al-Astal, 15, Khan Younis.
13. Ibrahim Khalil Qanan, 24, Khan Younis.
14. Mohammad Khalil Qanan, 26, Khan Younis (Ibrahim’s brother).
15. Ibrahim Sawali, 28, Khan Younis.
16. Saleem Sawali, 23, Khan Younis.
17. Hamdi Sawali, 18, Khan Younis.
18. Mohammad al-‘Aqqad, 24, Khan Younis.
19. Ismael Abu Jame’, 19, Khan Younis.
20. Hussein Abu Jame’, 57, Khan Younis (Ismael’s father).
21. Ramadan Abu Ghazal, 5, Beit Lahia.
22. Ehsan Ferwana, 19, Khan Younis.
23. Salem Qandil, 27, Gaza City. 
24. Amer al-Fayyoumi, 30, Gaza City.

Killed Wednesday 7/9:

1. Hamed Shihab, Journalist – Gaza.
2. Salmiyya al-‘Arja, 53, Rafah.
3. Miriam ‘Atiya al-‘Arja, 9, Rafah.
4. Rafiq al-Kafarna, 30.
5. Abdul-Nasser Abu Kweik, 60.
6. Khaled Abu Kweik, 31.
7. Eyad Salem ‘Oraif, 12, Gaza City.
8. Mohammad 'Oraif, 10, Gaza City (Eyad's brother).
9. Mohammad Mustafa Malika, 18 months. 
10. Hana’ Mohammed Fu’ad Malaka, 28 (Mohammad’s Mother), 27.
11. Hatem Abu Salem.
12. Mohammad Khaled an-Nimra, 22.
13. Sahar Hamdan (al-Masry), 40, Beit Hanoun.
14. Ibrahim al-Masry, 14, Beit Hanoun.
15. Amjad Hamdan, 23, Beit Hanoun.
16. Hani Saleh Hamad, 57, Beit Hanoun.
17. Ibrahim Hani Saleh Hamad, 20, Beit Hanoun.
18. Mohammad Khalaf Nawasra, 2, al-Maghazi.
19. Nidal Khalaf Nawasra, 4, al-Maghazi. 
20. Salah Awad Nawasra, 24, al-Maghazi.
21. ‘Aesha Shubib al-Nawasra, 23, who was pregnant in the fourth month, al-Maghazi.
22. Naifa Mohammed Zaher Farajallah, 82, al-Mughraqa.
23. Aisha Najm.
24. Amal Yousef Abdul-Ghafour.
25. Ranim Jouda Abdul-Ghafour.
26. Ibrahim Daoud al-Bal’aawy. 
27. Abdul-Rahman Jamal az-Zamely.
28. Ibrahim Ahmad ‘Abdin. 
29. Mustafa Abu Murr. 
30. Khaled Abu Murr. 
31. Mazin Al-Jarba. 
32. Marwan Eslayyem.
33. Hatem Abu Salem, Gaza City.
34. Nariman Abdul-Ghafour, Khan Younis.
35. Ra’ed Mohammed Abu Shalat, 35, al-Nussairat.
36. Yasmin al-Mautawaq, 3, Gaza City.
37. Ahmad Swali, 28, al-Nussairat.


Killed Tuesday 7/8

1. Mohammad Sha’ban, 24, Gaza.
2. Amjad Sha’ban, 30, Gaza. 
3. Khader al-Basheeleqety, 45, Gaza.
4. Rashad Yassin, 27, Nusseirat.
5. Mohammad Ayman ‘Ashour, 15, Khan Younis.
6. Riyadh Mohammad Kaware’, 50, Khan Younis. 
7. Bakr Mohammad Joudeh, 50, Khan Younis. 
8. Ammar Mohammad Joudeh, 26, Khan Younis. 
9. Hussein Yousef Kaware’, 13, Khan Younis.
10. Bassem Salem Kaware’, 10, Khan Younis. 
11. Mohammad Ibrahim Kaware’, 50, Khan Younis. 
12. Mohammad Habib, 22, Gaza. 
13. Mousa Habib, 16, Gaza.
14. Saqr ‘Aayesh al-‘Ajjoury, 22, Jabalia.
15. Ahmad Nael Mahdi, 16, Gaza. 
16. Hafeth Mohammad Hamad, 26, Beit Hanoun.
17. Ibrahim Mohammad Hamad, 26, Beit Hanoun.
18. Mahdi Mohammad Hamad, 46, Beit Hanoun.
19. Fawziyya Khalil Hamad, 62, Beit Hanoun. 
20. Donia Mahdi Hamad, 16, Beit Hanoun. 
21. Soha Hamad, 25, Beit Hanoun.
22. Suleiman Salam Abu Sawaween, 22, Khan Younis.
23. Siraj Eyad Abdul-‘Aal, 8, Khan Younis.

24. Abdul-Hadi Soufi, 24, Rafah.
more

6 killed in 2 Israeli airstrikes on Gaza: death toll 111


GAZA CITY (AFP) -- An Israeli airstrike early Saturday killed four Palestinians in Jabaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip, emergency services said, revising an earlier report of three fatalities.

They said that two people were also seriously injured in that raid, but had no further details.

Two more people were killed in a separate strike further south in Deir al-Balah, they said. more

Egypt closes Rafah crossing in maintenance of siege on Gaza with Israel

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing with Gaza on Friday, having opened it for one day to allow Palestinians injured in Israel's military assault to seek treatment.

"We received orders from the Egyptian authorities to close the Rafah crossing after we partially opened it on Thursday," spokesman for Gaza's interior ministry Iyad al-Buzm told Ma'an.

The ministry strongly condemned the decision by Egypt as it had prepared buses and ambulances to take wounded Palestinians to the crossing.

Only 11 Palestinians were able to cross Rafah on Thursday when Egypt opened the crossing, al-Buzm added. more

75% of Gaza City without electricity after lines damaged by strikes


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Electricity was disconnected in major areas in Gaza City after heavy Israeli strikes on the al-Shujaiyya neighborhood, the electric company said Friday.

Public relations officer at the electricity company Jamal al-Dredsawi said the two main electricity supply lines coming from Israel were damaged.

Al-Dresdsawi told Ma’an that two out of three lines were damaged, which means 75 percent of the city is without electricity.

He added that repairs would be delayed until Saturday because of the ongoing strikes on the area. more