From Gaza, with Love

Monday, August 28, 2006

Gaza today after 2 months of the Israeli military operation

There are continous Israeli military operations against Gaza. In the east part of the city 8 people were killed and 17 injured, including journalists for Reuters. There is heavy shooting from the gunboats. Every day hospitals receive the killed and injured people. Our hospitals' use of diesel has increased since they must use electrical generators to run the operation rooms. I was told by the staff of the diagnostic center at the Palestinian Red Crescent Society for the Gaza Strip that the CT and mamogramm were not functioning properly due to the improper current supply. Those are highly sophisticated equipments and give very important diagnostic health services for patients in the whole Gaza Strip of 1.5 milion people.

Thousands of children suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome symptoms. They are going back to school next Saturday but there is no water, no electricity, no proper sewage system, no entertainment, no cash to buy food. The borders are closed; just opened rarely to let in some medications and humanitarian aid for the UNRWA. Public health has been greatly affected. An increasing number of families rely on aid to for food so many children do not have well balanced meals. Middle East Children's Alliance distributed 500 school bags and stationeries for kids of Gaza.

Life under occupation continues ....and the whole world's goverments are not only silent but amused watching Gaza and its population's humanitarian suffering. They are hurrying with impotent solutions while forgetting the origin of the proplem: OCCUPATION AND INJUSTICE


fishing in Gaza

I live by the seaside. I love the sea. When I was
young I always thought of myself as a fish that
cannot live outside its sea. I love swimming,
and walking by the sea any time, but specialy in the
morning and at sunset.
Now looking out of my window, watching the sea, and
the fishing boats, fills my heart with pain ,and
sadness, feeings I cannot describe. It is like a
monster's hand getting hold of my heart,strong
enough to crush it. I am resisting with my full
strength, but how long shall I stay strong
and resist? I do not know, I cannot predict.
All those thoughts crossed my mind while watching
some fishing boats which sailed too close to the
seashore. The gunboat's fires warned them to go back
to the harbour. But it is not just warning, it is
herding them, like a shepherd with its sheep,
ordering it to go back to the port .
Since the Israeli army's latest assaults against Gaza,
fishing boats are not allowed to go fishing. Few
take the risk of sailing too close to the seaside. But
all the time they are threatened by the warships'
direct shooting. Yesterday one of those boats was
under fire from the warships ,and was completely
destroyed and burned. Fishermen on board were not hurt
and they jumped into the sea.
I could not sleep, shooting continued all through
the night, so continuous and close to my
building that my daughter was frightened. We both
chose to sleep on the floor of my bedroom. I hardly
The fishing industry in Gaza has been paralysed for
the last 8 weeks. Since the capture of the Israeli
soldier, 3000 fishermen are not allowed to go fishing,
and 35.000 people who rely on this
industry are jobless. There is no fish in the Gaza
markets, though Gaza is famous for fish meals. This is
all over for the time being as anyway people do not
have the cash to buy a
non-existing nice fish meal. We can have fish and
other goodies only in our dreams.
Israel can never stop us dreaming .

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Solidarity message from Belgium

Just to send you my fellow feeling for you and all of you, Palestinians, suffering so much by the Israeli terrorism.

My father, from 18 to 20 years old, was a resistant during the second world war against the german nazis (a terrorist as the nazis said). Neither him, our family or the belgian civilians in general suffered so much as you do, and since so much years. (Except, yes, the Jewish).

How is it possible to live without anger in the day to day life, when your little brother, sister, your son or your daughter, your father or your mother is (or are) killed by militaries supported by all a people.

On vous aime, palestiniens. Oeuvrez pour la création de votre pays. Que ce soit votre seul et unique objectif dans les deux prochaines années.

Be safe

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Young voice from Jabalia refugee camp

Dear all
I would like today to introduce to you Adam Khalil ,you can learn more about him and about his life, under occupation in the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza Strip from his blog directly

What concern me is to tell you how I got to know Adam. I started the Jabalia Library Project in 1992 as a response to Dr. Muneer Fascae, the ex-director of Tamer Institute in Ramallah. Dr. Fashae launched a campaign to encourage reading inside the Palestinian community and I responded by setting up the the library project next to the medical center in Jabalia where I work. The aim was to encourage youngsters to read and to provide them with the books. At that time, Adam came along with other kids pleased to be part of this activity inside the camp. This modest activity developed to be a nice kids club with different activities, where the kids can read, dance, play, paint, learn English, and other activities.

One of the goals of the project was to encourage kids to think in a democratic way and to give them a chance to read freely, different sorts of books. We didn't try to tell them what they should and shouldn't read, just provided them of a place of their own, distant from the poor crowded alleys of the camp and the violence and atrocities of the Israeli Occupation Army.

Another important goal of this center is to encourage kids to be active members in their community and to help in the development of their community by stregthening the humanitarian values of giving to others, and sharing with others.

There was an important idea in this work of how to invest human resources in the community; it is not the funds alone which were very scarce in the beginnings.

Over the years many kids benefited from this ongoing project. The project started as a dream, and the dream came true because every body was helping. We all helped and with the non stops efforts of the Union of Health Work Committees staff and members, as well as different outside groups and supporters for this work, and the people of Jabalia people, we all succeeded.

I felt proud and satisfied to come across Adam's Blog, to listen to this young voice from Jabalia telling the world what is going on in Palestine.

Yours in solidarity
Mona ElFarra

Ps I have been trying to post this for 3 days. The lack of power was a big proplem.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

hello ... iam still there ..from Gaza with love

Dear all
responding to the request of Mr and Mrs. Angus Wright in France, i send this peice with love

I am a mother. I have 3 children, 2 girls and one boy. My son is Mohammed who is studying environmental sciences in the UK. My eldest daughter, Basma, is studying in Gaza, Alazhar University. She is married and living 700 meters away. My youngest daughter, Sondos, is 13. I am a physician by training and a community activist. I used to work with the Union of Health Work Committees, and now I’m the health development consultant for Al-Awda hospital (Jabalia refugee camp). I was one of the founders of this hospital in 1997, as well as community based programs that aim to improve health quality and link health services with cultural and recreation services, particularly in the most needy areas in Gaza.
I love Gaza, and would not replace it for any part of the world. It is my home and I have a cause to fight for here. We all struggle on different levels to achieve our national goals: freedom and an independent Palestinian state.

I was born and brought up in Khan Yunis town, southern Gaza Strip. I love the countryside, which has been largely destroyed over the years by the Israeli occupation. My late father’s citrus fruit grove was completely uprooted and destroyed, as well as our nice home, where my mother used to stay 6 months of the year. It was destroyed with many Palestinian farmers fertile agricultural land during the course of the Intifada. This land was a lifeline for many families, who had no alternative income.

Gaza became a big prison for its’ citizens, especially during the last 5 years. We have faced different episodes of violence, but this time is the worst, these atrocities have left one third of the population suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSS), as an outcome of going through traumatic experiences of home demolition, killing of family members, being at a site of shelling, assassination, and having the feeling of living in a big prison. The borders are closed most of the times which means we are not allowed in or out of our country, it has been closed completely for more than a month . And there is economic hardship, with high unemployment that reaches to 70%. Most people live under poverty levels in crowded towns, villages and refugee camps where the housing conditions are very limited and lack basic infrastructure.

When Israel launched its latest preplaned incursion into Gaza,under the pretense of the captured soldier release,on 28th of june ,the jet fighters destroyed Gaza’s main power plant. Since that date we don’t have regular electricity.we get 6- 8 hours of electricity each day, ; water is not available most of the time. We are subjected to artillery fire, gunboats and jet fighters shelling day and night. It is worse at night, and especially the sonic booming - when the airplanes break the sound barrier at high speeds and make great explosions. It makes me flinch in the daytime and jump out of my bed during the night. My heart rate goes fast and I hold on tight to my daughter. We need to pacify each other.

When it is dark children are afraid to stay on their own. Many children in Gaza suffer from nightmares and have become bedwetters.

Hospital services are severely affected. There are 22 hospitals in Gaza without electricity; they use alternative electrical generators. But these need fuel and we get fuel from Israel, and the borders are closed since the attack, so medical facilities are working under threat of lack of power and lack of medications. Many surgical operations had to be postponed; essentials drugs have been spoiled, due to lack of proper refrigeration.different sorts of medications are lacking in Gaza ,

Patients with chronic illnesses lack their regular medications. The bad health situation became worse due to the economic sanctions by the west since the election of our new government. Pre-mature babies on life support machines are under threat of death due to lack of reliable continuous power; so are many patients who needs regular renal dialysis.

Poverty and nutrition
Malnutrition amongst Palestinian children due to poverty and lack of proper balanced meals, affects 30% of the population. This will increase with the current lack of clean drinking water, and expected prevalence of diarrhea and other communicable diseases..

I live by the seaside, and since the start of the recent military operation against Gaza, I can see a deserted seaside. Families are afraid to take their children to the sea and children are afraid to go there as well after what happened with the Gallia family, when gunboats attacked a whole family, and killed most of its members by the seaside in the north of Gaza
. All the su or canceled, due to the emergency and dangerous circumstances. Families cannot afford the least expenses of transportation to the beach.
Children lacks recreation as well as safety.
160,000 employees have not received their salaries for 6 months when the economic sanctions were imposed on the Palestinians after the election election.

We live all the time in a state of fear of military assaults. I go to my work and kiss my daughter in the morning, not sure I shall see her in the afternoon. I am unable to plan any social event as simple as visiting friends or relatives.
While driving my car to work, and listening to the helicopters or drones in the sky, I cannot avoid thinking of danger, and telling myself, they might hit the car in front of me or the car behind me; I become restless, and panic until I reach my work. NO PLACE IS SAFE IN GAZA

During the incursion of north of Gaza
At Al-Awda Hospital in Jabalia camp I met with the medical staff who were exhausted after continuous emergency work during the incursion. Many injured arrived to the hospital and the staff worked round the clock. There were massive causalities. The 3 operating rooms were also working round the clock. The injured had serious injuries in the abdomen and chest. There were a good number of children in that attack who I visited while they were recovering in the hospital.

The staff’s main concerns were the electricity, fuel to run the generators, and vital medications for the operating room.
e small girls held my hand and said: look there, we were in the sun for a long period, next to the donkey place. It was hot, I was thirsty, my baby brother was crying, and I was terrified, I wet my pants.

I always think of the safety of the Israeli kids and civilians and I am totally against hurting civilians, but I do believe that the comparison of suffering is unfair, and not objective. I have an offer for Israel to send 1.5 million Israelis to live in Gaza, under these circumstances!!!!!!!
we both suffer, it is an outcome of injustice and occupation.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Rafah 12.30 am 5th of August

The Israeli army continues its' military operation in Rafah in the south of Gaza. Army tanks are heading into the refugee camp under cover of helicopters that fire shells on the civilian population. Four citizens at least were killed, including one woman and two children, tens more are severely injured and reported to be received at Rafah's only hospital. The number will increase.

Many of the in-patients were discharged to make space for the injured. My colleagues tell me that the shelling is too severe and ambulances can't reach many of the injured. The army tanks are very close to the hospital and one of the houses in the area was specifically targeted.

It seems that the military operation into Rafah will evidenced by the increasing number of army tanks in the area.

Friday, August 04, 2006

french version of my blog

Dear All
just to let you know that a freind from Canada, offered to translate some of my posts to french, i think it is excellent idea ,great effort too, the english posts will continue...iam afraid i donot know french ,i only know jeutame , monamoure,iam sorry i donot know french
in love and solidarity

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Morality of The Israeli Army

Gaza Strip 1st of August 2006

Today the Israeli Occupying Forces redeployed into the area south east of Rafah, targetting Alshoukas village. They launched a big military operation against the village in a desperate attempt to demolish alleged tunnels. At least 50 army tanks along with helicopters and drones took part in this operation. What concerned me is that 8 people were killed, amongst them 2 Palestinian fighters, and the rest were civilians including one boy age 11. 26 people were injured, ten are in serious conditions.

The health emergency teams were not allowed entry to rescue the injured for 12 hours, leaving the injured to face their destinies. I am sure, as are my colleagues at the Rafah hospital, that this inhuman act increased the number of the dead and seriously injured. During the operation, ambulances were also attacked by shelling at the hospital's gate. Tens of families in the village were forced to leave their homes; children, women and men left their homes because the shelling was too severe/

What of morality? Of the Fourth Geneva convention and its charters regarding civilians and the safety of health teams working during war times? This accord means nothing and is not respected by the Israeli army. For us here in Palestine, we know very well that Israel, with its colonial-Zionist ideology, aims to kill more and more Palestinian civilians. During its so called military operations to "defend its security", hundreds of civilians including entire families were unnecessarily killed.

Israel aims to break the Palestinian people's will and determination to achieve their inalienable nationals goals. I said before they will not succeed and I am saying it again and again. It is impossible to control an entire nation using collective punishment and continuous occupation. It is impossible to confiscate am entire nation's right of freedom and self-determination. Israel and the United States should read history lessons.

Here in Gaza City the artillery shelling continued in the east and north. We don’t have air raids shelters, we don't have electricity, we don’t have clean water. The war boats patrol the sea and the helicopters continue their shelling at all times of the day. Lately, Israel has also been distributiing of flyers against resistance movement.

I was in the Omar Elmukhtar high street and watched the sarcastic expression on the faces of a bunch of teenagers as they picked up these flyers and read them. I remembered myself as a teenager during 1967 war time. I read the same sort of flyers and laughed. Israel aims to make Palestinian people hungry, thirsty, to make us face humanitarian disaster after humanitarian disaster, and dependent on the world's sympathy.

We are a nation with a noble cause; we resist injustice and occupation. We are not alone and we know that very well. What we face is the most ugly version of the United States' imbalanced policies in the Middle East. The immorality and injustice of these policies will reflect itself on the future of USA, let us wait and see.

P.S. I was asked by some of you why I keep referring to the Israeli army as occupying army. This is the truth AND I AM SAYING THE TRUTH. The disengagement plan from Gaza last Septemper did not end the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. All it has meant for me is that I can visit my mother in the south (20 km drive) without passing through the Israeli checkpoints. But I am still under the threat of the jetfighters, sonic booms, and continuous shelling from the north and east. Israel still has control of the commercial borders and has closed them at will causing shortages of baby formula, bread, food, and medicine. Israel and the rest of the world have imposed economic sanctions on us as a collective punishment for our choice during the January election. How would you define the above but occupation?

In love and solidarity