Friday, 24 October 2014

Bloodied and crumbling sculptures installed in destroyed Gaza neighbourhood

Broken, crumbling and splattered with “blood”, these haunting sculptures have been made by an artist in Gaza to show the pain of conflict.The 50-day war between Israel and Hamas earlier this year left more than 2,200 people dead and razed thousands of homes in the narrow strip to the ground.

Most of the casualties were civilians, including hundreds of children, according to the UN, reflected in artist Iyad Sabbah’s depiction of a family.

The sculptor, who is Palestinian and lives and works in Gaza, created them using mud and waste materials found in bombsites.

In an installation entitled Worn Out, the family of sculptures including a small child and a baby appear to move through debris and rubble and past shelled homes.

“Shuja’iyya neighborhood is one of the places that was completely destroyed, and the idea came to my head to do something about the war, to focus on displacement of the Palestinians,” he told the Cairo Post.

“The displacement scene is very influential, so the sculptures were put amid the wreckage of the destroyed houses in Shuja’iyya to show the suffering of the residents.”

They were also placed on a beach to symbolise the refugees fleeing to other countries illegally in a desperate attempt to escape the conflict.

Mr Sabbah, who lived through the most recent conflict in Gaza as well as violence in 2012 and 2008, said he wanted to represent the “psychological impact” of war and commemorate those who died. more

World Bank to approve emergency funds for Gaza

The World Bank is set to allocate millions of dollars for emergency aid to the war-torn Gaza Strip, a top official says.

Inger Andersen says the aid, expected to be approved Oct. 30, will fund repairs to damaged infrastructure and help the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority recover losses incurred in Israel’s five-week assault.

“We’re rushing through four emergency projects right now,” Andersen, the World Bank’s vice president for the Middle East and North Africa, said in an interview with Ma’an, which will air over the weekend.

“We are trying very much to respond to this crisis and respond quickly enough.”

The budget assistance will allow the Palestinian Authority to recoup the costs of medical bills from treating thousands of Palestinians hurt in the 50 days of violence.

The rest of the $63 million will go toward repairing water, power and municipal infrastructure. Existing World Bank projects are worth a combined $180 million, of which half is designated for Gaza.

Over 11,000 Palestinians suffered injuries during fighting between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza during July and August, according to United Nations estimates. More than 2,000 Palestinians and 73 Israelis died.

The UN also counts 18,000 households as destroyed or damaged, while over 100,000 Palestinians remained displaced by September. The enclave’s sole power plant has operated only a few hours per day since it came under fire. more

Israel imposes Aqsa restrictions amid police crackdown

Israeli forces imposed strict restrictions on Palestinian Muslim worshipers entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday, as police continue to deploy heavily across the city.

Men under 40 will not be allowed entry to the holy site, while women of all ages will have access.

Israeli border police have been deployed since the early morning in East Jerusalem and areas of the Old City to prevent crowds gathering to protest.

Two women, Hiba al-Tawil and Latifa Abd al-Latif, were detained late Thursday while leaving the mosque, witnesses said.

Israeli forces launched a widespread crackdown on Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem late Wednesday following a suspected car attack on pedestrians waiting for a light rail tram. more