Archive for April, 2009

The Light Of The Candles Is Not Enough

Posted in Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, Israel, Israeli occupation, Israeli politics, Pictures, Siege, War crimes with tags , , , , , on 25/04/2009 by 3071km

Some Palestinian chidlren lighting thier candles in the Gaza city showing the electricity cut troubles their daily life.

Some Palestinian children lighting their candles in Gaza city showing electricity cuts trouble their daily lives (picture taken by Al Mokhtar).

The Light Of The Candles Is Not Enough

This time, candles will not be fun. Kids won’t be racing to put their light off as it is known in Christmas concerts or birthday parties.

Candles will remain present throughout the night in Gaza’s houses “or” missing out their electricity by the Israeli total closure of the sector and the continuous electricity cuts.

The crisis continues

A mother said: “The first semester in the school began a few days ago and she wanted to prepare her lessons and review and found candles are not enough to overcome the electricity cuts in Gaza especially at night”.

The mother spread her sorrow and suffering, saying: “when the second semester started we brought large quantities of candles… believing that the shortage of electricity in Gaza seems will not end.”

This scene was and still is repeated in many homes in Gaza, which light up candles in order to enable their children to study.

Looking for candles in one of the shops became the number one activity, and candles became the most important thing to buy. One of the Palestinian mothers says “Everybody is looking for it to be number one” (···) “we buy them with pens and notebooks, as we are in need of stationery for our kids, we are in need for candles to enable them to study at night”.

Morad, a sixth grade primary school student, recognizes that candles are troubling him every night. He said “we want electricity power… we want to keep our eyes… the Israeli occupation must do the duty of providing Gaza with power”.

Omar is 13 years old, he is a student, we met him and he smiled with bitterness. He said “I am very tired of seeing the candles every night… I can’t concentrate in my book, I can’t study well”.

Gaza City has witnessed frequent power outages; the outage of power by the Israeli occupation, which is the main
power feeder to the whole sector in the Gaza Strip.

In Gaza people didn’t hesitate as usual to face the Israeli occupation in order to stop the outage of the power in the Gaza Strip. Several citizens were organizing demonstrations every night in order to create an atmosphere of candles to show the world that their kids want to complete their educational journey without troubles and without electricity cuts.

Salwa is a student, she was angry and said “studying in the existence of candles is very tiring and upsets me always… we need to focus… we don’t need romance… what is going on is a real tragedy and the Israeli must stop this game.”

Marwa is in a public school which does not have electricity. She was in a break  she shed tears and said: “How to study? The absence of electricity has interrupted my everyday life.”

Another said “this world thinks that the embargo, the siege and the electricity cuts are ended… but it’s really more painful and harsh… I do not know how to pass the coming days… how to pass the darkness and anxiety.”

Mohamed, a father of 5 children, said:” My children are different ages, including those in the secondary school… all of them do suffer and cry at night cause of the darkness”.

A University student, Alia, says: “it’s not impossible for me to use the candles… dozens of them beside me, ,and smiling sarcastically added: “Instead of the darkness we use candles for a little light.”

Her household duties are being performed on the light of candles and she said “is it worth for the poor to live the full details of the tragedy?”.

Kholoud, a superior student in eighth grade school, said “power cuts affect us negatively… I lose the ability to focus and, more importantly, we will be in a bad psychological condition in the absence of electricity and good light.”

Sammer (14 years) described the situation as “a catastrophe”, adding: “What is the light of the candles?!?!… it’s not Christmas, it’s not a birthday party, we are in the Gaza Strip, we are living the tragedy… electricity cuts departed the maximum power of our dreams.”

Dana is girl in the first grade of primary who says innocently: “…what shall I do with candles, shall I keep  them for Christmas concerts or whattttt… I do not study at all… I can’t focus… I can’t do my homework at night.”

For many times the electricity distribution company in the Gaza Strip warned that the continuing absence of the main power (electricity) in the Gaza Strip is a very serious humanitarian disaster, and it is due to suspension of the main electric line feeder and the Israeli side that refuses to return the electricity back.

The company warned that the situation in Gaza is becoming increasingly serious and difficult, and appealed to organizations, agencies and international and humanitarian institutions to intervene rapidly to put pressure on the occupation and stop the continual electricity cuts in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza continues to suffer from a shortage of fuel from Israel, even if fuel is needed to operate the power station sector.

The EGPC
(Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation) also pointed out that Israel continued to refuse to increase the quantity that must be entered into the sector, noting that Gaza has limited quantities of fuel, something which is inadequate.

Palestinians still appeal the Egyptian side to open a permanent and continuous line to supply fuel to Gaza in order to overcome the unjust Israeli decision and asked in a statement: “if Egypt provides Israel with gas, why should not we provide Palestine with it”.

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The Tunnels

Posted in Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, Hamas, Israeli occupation, Operation Cast Lead, Pictures, Siege with tags , , , , , , , on 25/04/2009 by 3071km

A Palestinian citizen getting a sheep through a tunnel (NPR, AFP/Getty Images)

A Palestinian citizen getting a sheep through a tunnel (NPR, AFP/Getty Images)

The Tunnels Between Gaza And Egypt

Many tunnels that are leading to the besieged Gaza Strip have been constructed under the ground of the Palestinian Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza. The existence of these tunnels has raised alarm among the Israelis, who in the last war on Gaza failed to destroy them despite delivering hundreds of bombs in the Rafah area.

Palestinians are forced to use these tunnels as the last resort to break the strict Israeli siege on Gaza. Tunnels are still able to provide Gaza with relief materials, livestock and the basic requirements of the inhabitants of Gaza, such as gas, rice, sugar and even goats and cows.

It is believed that there are about 1000 tunnels under the ground and only a few have been destroyed because of the Israeli heavy shelling between Gaza and Egypt. The deepest point of drilling under the ground is around 27m and the length of such tunnels is sometimes around 900-1000 under the earth’s surface.

We have to mention that Gaza is suffering from a rising unemployment since Israel tightened its blockade on the territory in 2007 trying to weaken the Palestinian rulers of the Hamas government. Goods are scarce in Gaza markets because of Israeli restrictions on Gaza and the strict control of what Palestinians can import and what they can’t. However, through the underground tunnels Palestinians can transfer all types of goods including fuel and spare parts for cars, computers and clothing.

Some of the owners of these tunnels told us that its number has increased to about 1000 tunnels and they are staffed by between 20 and 25 workers in the Palestinian gray economy struggling to continue. Some owners of these tunnels added that Hamas imposed taxes on the trade through tunnels.

The construction of tunnels is not cheap: the cost of digging a tunnel of around 500 meters long is between USD 60.000 – USD 90.000, while the cost of a tunnel of 1.000 meters of length with additional safety measures can be up to USD 150.000. The possibility of danger in these tunnels is evident. Palestinian officials say that only this year 45 workers died under the tunnels because of accidents.

Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007, ending the control of the Fatah faction of President Mahmud Abbas, and adopted the sector of tunnels as a means of challenging the Israeli siege. It is known that Hamas blamed the Egyptian security forces, under Israeli and USA pressure, of the collapse of the tunnels.

Tunnels are by now the only way to break the siege on Gaza. They provide for the simplest human needs helping to overcome the crisis and allowing life to continue in the Strip.

_____

To know more about the tunnels, check this podcast from NPR broadcasted before Operation Cast Lead started:

Smugglers’ Tunnels In Gaza Strip Booming (NPR, 08-12-2008)

Gaza Borders (the Siege)

Posted in Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, International community, International conferences, Israeli occupation, Israeli politics, Pictures, Siege, USA foreign policy, War crimes with tags , , , , on 25/04/2009 by 3071km
The only crossing between Gaza and Egypt is being closed since two years in front the movement of the Palestinian.

The only crossing between Gaza and Egypt is being closed since two years in front the movement of the Palestinian.

The series of Israel agressions

It is no more secret to anyone how difficult it is living in a geographical area in which residents are prevented from leaving or even return. This happens after the closure of the Palestinian economic life and in the light of Israel’s national, regional and global interests. However, the suffering of Palestinians and the worsening of their life standards due to the ongoing Israeli blockade are against the need to give them legal protection in accordance with the rules of the  international humanitarian law.

Many field reports and legal studies on the suffering of civilians in Gaza found similar results and highlight that the closure of crossings by Israel continues and this aggravates the humanitarian situation Gaza is facing. Israeli actions are considered by the international law a collective punishment imposed to cause unnecessary pain. We should highlight here that the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli military occupation authorities signed an agreement in November the 15th 2005 under the auspices of the USA. This agreement was described by some as disappointing. The idea of this Convention started after the declaration of Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, which is only a redeployment of its troops, leaving Israel as an occupying power.

The continuation of the Israeli military occupation forces Israel to implement a policy of collective punishment against the Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. Since the outbreak of the Intifada there is a clear violation of the rules of international law and of Human Rights, which guarantee everyone the right of movement and access. The Israeli military occupation has violated the international law and especially the Article (13) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that

“Everyone has the right and freedom of movement, and everyone is entitled to leave any country including his own and also has the right to return”

There is also a very clear violation of the provisions of Article (12) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, which provides that

“Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State has the right to freedom of movement and freedom to choose their place of residence, and every individual has the freedom to leave any country, including his own”

Israel’s policy of illegal aggression is against the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, which under Articles (1-2) states that

“In no case may the people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.”

and under Article (5) of the same Covenant:

“prohibit any State, group or person engaging in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights or freedoms recognized in the Covenant or the imposition of restrictions”.

Such organized and programmed violation of the international law by Israel in the recent years, despite the absence of an active military presence of the occupying Israeli military forces in the Strip, does not mean the end of all military occupation of Gaza. Instead, the reality on the ground confirms the continuation of effective control by the Israeli occupation authorities on the freedom of movement and the movement from and into the Gaza strip, and Israel’s continuous control of the crossings as a pressure on the Palestinian people to achieve their political objectives and security.

What we want to emphasize here is the need to call upon the international community and the international institutions and organizations to exert pressure on Israel. They must order Israel, which is worth remembering it is the occupier, to open all the crossings and guarantee the free movement of persons and goods, something compulsory in order to avoid a potential humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip. The international community should also appeal to the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention for the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949, work to ensure Israel’s respect for the Convention in the Palestinian territories and provide immediate protection for Palestinian civilians, working hard to compel the Israeli authorities to immediately stop political collective punishment against civilians of the Gaza Strip and lifting of restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement.

Israeli soldiers and Palestinian kids

Posted in Everyday life in the West Bank, IDF, Israeli occupation, Palestine, Pictures, Siege, West Bank with tags , , , on 22/04/2009 by 3071km
 Israeli soldier forcing a kid to stop for searches(West Bank)

Israeli soldier forcing a kid to stop for searches (West Bank)

Palestinian children

Posted in Israeli occupation, Poetry with tags , on 21/04/2009 by 3071km

aahhh-yaomat-alislam

The Enemy Of The Sun

I may – if you wish- lose my livelihood

I may sell my shirt and bed.

I may work as a stone cutter.

A street sweeper, a porter.

I may clean your stores

Or rummage your garbage for food.

I may lie down hungry,

O Enemy of the sun,

But

I shall not compromise

And to the last pulse in my veins

I shall resist.

You may take the last strip of my land,

Feed my youth to prison cells.

You may plunder my heritage.

You may burn my books, my poems

Or feed my flesh to the dogs.

You may spread a web of terror

On the roofs of my village,

O enemy of the sun

But

I shall not compromise

And to the last pulse in my veins

I shall resist.

You may put the light in my eyes.

You may deprive me of mother’s kisses.

You may curse my father, my people.

You may distort my history.

You may deprive my children of a smile

And of life’s necessities.

You may fool my friends with a borrowed face.

You may build walls of hatred around me.

You may glue may eyes to humiliations,

O enemy of the sun,

But

I shall not compromise

And to the last pulse in my veins

I shall resist.

O enemy of the sun

The decorations are raised at the port,

The ejaculations fill the air,

A glow in the hearts,

And in the horizon

A sail is seen

Challenging the wind

And the depths.

It is Ulysses

Returning home

From the sea of loss.

It is the return of the sun,

Of my exiled ones.

And for her sake, and his swear

I shall not compromise

And to the last pulse in my veins

I shall resist.

Samih Al Qasim


Different uses (and abuses) of the word ‘racist’

Posted in Gaza, International community, International conferences, Israel, Israeli occupation, Palestine, War crimes with tags , , , , , on 21/04/2009 by 3071km

Mahmound Ahmadinejad’s polemic speech in the UN Conference on racism and the reactions to it have silenced an important step forward of the international community. Indeed, more than 100 countries have agreed a 16-pages final declaration calling on the international community to combat intolerance, a document that has been described as an “historic outcome”.

Despite dropping a controversial phrase from his draft speech casting doubt on the Holocaust, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been the main character of the day for his definition of Zionism as racism. His remarks have pushed many Western representatives to leave the conference room and accuse him of racist and his words of inadmissible.

Below you can check Ahmadinejad’s draft speech and actual speech, but here you have some excerpts related to Palestine and Israel:

After the Second World War, by exploiting the holocaust and under the pretext of protecting the Jews they made a nation homeless with military expeditions and invasion. They transferred various groups of people from America, Europe and other countries to this land. They established a completely racist government in the occupied Palestinian territories. And in fact, under the pretext of making up for damages resulting from racism in Europe, they established the most aggressive, racist country in another territory, i.e. Palestine.

The Security Council endorsed this usurper regime and for 60 years constantly defended it and let it commit any kind of crime.

Worse than this is that some Western governments and America are committed to support genocidal racists while others condemn the bombardment of innocent human beings, the occupation of their land and the disasters that took place in Gaza. Even before they kept silent, not responding to all the crimes of that regime, and supported it.

(···)

But dear friends, today the human society is facing a kind of racism which has an ugliness that has completely distorted the honour of mankind at the verge of the third millennium and it has made the global society shameful. The global Zionism is the complete symbol of racism, which with unreal reliance on religion has tried to misuse the religious beliefs of some unaware people and hide its ugly face. But what should be seriously considered are the goals of certain superpowers and those in possession of major interests in the world; those who try their best through economic power and political influence and wide media means, to lessen the crimes and ugliness of the nature of the Zionist regime. Here, the main issue is not ignorance and therefore, cultural movements on their own, are not sufficient to fight this evil phenomenon. But we should try to put an end to the misuse of international means by the Zionists and their supporters. And by respecting nations’ demands, we should motivate the united governments to eliminate this clear racism and step on the path of reforming international relations and mechanisms with courage.

Related links:

UN conference on racism draft outcome

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech –  BBC translation from a speech transcript supplied by the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network, Tehran, in Persian.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s draft speech – Different in some respects from the draft submitted previously by the Iranians to the UN.

World reactions to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech – Compiled by BBC

Time of prayers

Posted in Everyday life in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, Pictures with tags on 20/04/2009 by 3071km
Palestinian citizen doing his prayer over his house which  was demolished by the Israeli air raids and ground incursions in the last Israeli war in Gaza.

Palestinian citizen doing his prayer over his house, which was demolished by the Israeli air raids and ground incursions in the last Israeli war in Gaza.