From Gaza, with Love

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Gaza sinks into darkness

Gaza today
iam extremely worried about the power cut off . more than 50%of Gaza elecrtricity is AlAwda hospital , we have enough of fuel to run our alternative electrical generators for one week . all hospital are threatened to stop of its surgical operations and diffrent medical services .if the situation will continue .
many essential medications are lacking on the hospital shelves,
i expect the poverty level to increase to unprecented level.
Ordinary Palestinian people pay the price of the occupation , thier democratic choice and bwilderement of thier leaders.
i promise u that i shall work hard with my team to help people . with your support and solidarity we can do alot

Mona elfarra

Outrage over Gaza power cut
GAZA CITY: A Palestinian company cut off power to parts of the central Gaza Strip yesterday after Israel closed a crossing through which fuel is brought into the Palestinian area.

Several neighbourhoods of Gaza City were blanketed in darkness a few hours after the Gaza Generating Company, which supplies the strip with about 25 per cent of its electricity, said it would turn off three of its four generators.

The remainder of Gaza's electricity needs is supplied by Israel, Egypt and private electricity generators.

"For two days we have not received fuel," said chairman of the Gaza Generating Company Rafik Malikha.

"The Israeli side is preventing vehicles from approaching the crossing."

He warned that if fuel was not delivered into the impoverished territory before tomorrow morning, "electricity production will stop entirely."

An Israeli army spokesman confirmed that deliveries of fuel had been stopped "for security reasons."

"More than 1.4 million litres of fuel crossed from Israel into the Gaza Strip through Nahal Oz" between Sunday and Wednesday, the spokesman said.

Malikha urged "the European Union and the Palestinian Authority to intervene as this will have negative consequences for Gaza, especially for hospitals."

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Friday, August 17, 2007

lectures in children centers

just would like to let you know , that i visited all our children projectsin Gaza
Alasria center -jabalia
raechel Chorie -Rafah
Afaq Jadida-Nussierat camp
Never stop dreaming -Khanyunis

i met tens of children , , different ages ,6-15 years old , i saw them reading , writing ,painting , dancing playing...etc....
i gathered them all in the diffrent centers i visited, and the staff too, and i simply talked about my visit to the USA , my reflections, my future hopes , i talked to them about the wonderfull people i met in the state , and how much thier solidarity means to us here in the occupied isolated Gaza .
i transfred a messege of peace love and solidarity from you all
the children were so excited and showered me with questions , the meetings went all well
i think it was so important educational meeting too to our Palestinian children , who feel lonely isolated and forgotten
i said no you are not alone, and one day people will make the change in thier goverment policies
when we all work together justice will prevail, peace based on justice is our Goal.

Gaza economical crisis-UN report

UN says Gaza Strip facing economic collapse

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Archive Oct. 2001 - 2007 editions 2007 Editions Aug. 18, 2007
Author: Dan Margolis

People's Weekly World Newspaper, 08/16/07 13:34

UNITED NATIONS — The Gaza Strip is in danger of a general economic collapse, said a high level UN official, unless Karni crossing, the main point of entry for commercial goods into the territory, is reopened soon.

The warning was issued by Filippo Grandi, deputy commissioner general of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Aug. 9. Grandi had just completed a tour of the territory.

“Gaza risks becoming a virtually 100 percent aid-dependent, closed-down and isolated community within a matter of months or even weeks,” Grandi said. “The window of opportunity in which we can address this most urgent situation is small and fast closing.”

Israel closed the crossing to all commercial goods June 12, after Hamas took over the Gaza Strip. The Jerusalem Post reported as far back as July 16 that, as a result, 80 percent of all businesses in Gaza were temporarily shuttered. Of the establishments that remained open, they were operating at only 60 percent capacity.

The Israeli clampdown is choking Gaza. Grandi noted that in the territory the UNRWA had been forced to halt all construction projects, which amount to $93 million, because the agency was unable to import the necessary materials.

“We urgently need to get these into Gaza if we are to avoid a significant worsening of the living conditions of those who have waited months, and even years to have their own homes,” he said.

All classes of the population, from farmers to businessmen, are at risk, said Grandi. An average of half a million dollars per day, $23 million since June, has been lost in Gaza industry, according to a report given him by the Palestinian Association of Businessmen.

“If this continues,” Grandi said, “the PAB predicts that at least 120,000 workers in Gaza will lose their jobs. In the construction sector alone, about $160 million worth of projects have been halted.”

Grandi added that farmers are in a crisis. They have no way of knowing whether or not they should spend money preparing fields and paying workers, because they cannot know whether their goods will be able to be exported. They also have no way of knowing whether they will even be able to obtain such simple necessities as fertilizer.

“If the agricultural sector is allowed to fail,” said Grandi, “Gaza will pay a huge price. More than 13 percent of the workforce is engaged in agriculture.”

The United Nations has been demanding that Karni crossing be opened. On July 13, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded that the Karni crossing be reopened for commercial goods. Already at that time, his spokesperson said, “3,190 businesses have closed down, forcing over 65,000 people into unemployment.”

Grandi reiterated the call to open the crossing.

“Only this,” he said, “will allow the little that remains of Gaza’s economy to survive.”


Monday, August 06, 2007

palestinian doctor paints picture of Gazaunder seige

Palestinian doctor paints picture of Gaza under siege

By Mark Almberg

CHICAGO — Sometimes it’s the little things that reveal the horror of
oppression most vividly.

Dr. Mona El-Farra, speaking here recently as part of a 17-city U.S.
tour, related how recently a Palestinian woman in the Occupied
Territories had gone into labor and was heading to a hospital.

“She was about to give birth, but she was detained at an Israeli
checkpoint for three hours,” El-Farra said. “Amazingly, she eventually
got through and was able to deliver her child.”

“But it was only after she left the hospital and returned home with her
baby that she saw that her house had been demolished by Israeli
bulldozers while she was away.”

El-Farra, a Palestinian physician in the northern Gaza Strip, noted that
over the past three years, 59 Palestinian women have given birth while
waiting to cross an Israeli military checkpoint.

“It’s not just the numbers,” she said. “It’s a matter of human rights.
Just one case would be bad enough.”

El-Farra certainly knows her numbers, however. As vice president of the
Gaza Red Crescent Society, the equivalent of the U.S. Red Cross, she has
a firm command the grim statistics that define Gaza today: 140 square
miles, 1.4 million people — one of most densely populated areas on earth.

Sixty-one percent of the population is age 19 or younger. Nearly 1
million are officially registered as refugees. About 75 percent are
unemployed and nearly half suffer from hunger.

The situation facing Palestinians in Gaza only grew worse with the
so-called Israeli disengagement from the territory.

“It wasn’t a withdrawal,” El-Farra said. “It was a redeployment. Israel
pulled its troops out of Gaza but it still controls it. Gaza is still
under occupation. It is like a big, open-air prison” — a prison that has
only become more unbearable with the U.S.-Israeli blockade of Gaza after
the election victory of Hamas.

Although she was trained as a dermatologist, El-Farra’s medical work
today is wide-ranging. In addition to her leadership in the Red Crescent
Society, she directs the Rachel Corrie Children’s Center in Gaza and
works out of several clinics, ministering to Palestinians with both
physical and psychological injuries.

It was at one of the hospitals that she works at, Al-Awda Hospital,
where she helped receive Huda Ghaliya, 7, the only surviving member of a
family of eight who were victims of an Israeli bombardment of a Gaza
beach in June 2006. The shelling incident provoked worldwide outrage,
but it was not an isolated case.

“Our emergency rooms are overflowing because of the continuous
assaults,” she said. It’s not an easy task for us to offer emergency
treatment or major operations. We are constantly working under fire.”

Aside from direct injuries sustained by Palestinians in Gaza, El-Farra
pointed to the enormous human suffering caused by the destruction of the
area’s infrastructure. “Bridges, buildings and other structures have
been destroyed by the Israelis in a form of collective punishment,” she

“Take, for example, the Israeli bombing of the largest electrical power
plant in Gaza last summer. Without electricity, there is no
refrigeration. Food and medicines spoiled in countless households,
including my own. With no electricity, there are no water pumps
operating — so there is an acute water shortage.”

The U.S. government bears a heavy responsibility for the situation, she

“We are being attacked by American weapons. The Israelis couldn’t attack
us in this way without U.S. aid, money and arms,” she said. “At the same
time, we clearly understand that there is a difference between the U.S.
government and the U.S. people.”

The health and psychological well-being of children have been a major
focus of El-Farra’s work.

“Children in Gaza today have no safe homes, no safe streets, no safe
atmosphere and no safe schools,” she said. “My youngest son is 15 years
old, and for the last three years, on each morning he leaves for school,
I wonder if I will ever see him again — if either he or I will be killed.”

The Rachel Corrie Children’s Center, named after the 23-year-old U.S.
activist who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer while she was trying to
protect a Palestinian home from demolition in 2003, provides
psychological counseling and therapy to traumatized children.

El-Farra said the center serves as a safe haven for some of Gaza’s most
troubled children. “We encourage the children to do painting, drama,
story writing and other artistic activities,” she said. “We promote
education through play, and give them a place of their own. You can’t
imagine how much they appreciate this. It’s like heaven to them.”

Noting the help of international volunteers, including from Australia
and Sweden, in her work, El-Farra said global solidarity with the
Palestinians “is an important part of our ability to keep on living.”

“Solidarity gives us strength; it empowers us and it inspires us to work
harder.” She said the Palestinian cause “is not a charity case, but a
movement to claim our inalienable rights to peace and security and the
right of return. Support to us from abroad means a lot.”

She expressed dismay over the recent events in Gaza. “Hamas won the
election; they were clearly the Palestinian people’s choice. The
Israelis and the West immediately imposed an embargo and sanctions, and
taxes collected by Israel that were owed to the Palestinians were
withheld. The situation in Gaza changed from worse to worse, and one
could only expect there to be clashes.”

“Certain factions were supported by the American administration,” she
said, alluding to some of the leaders of Fatah. “But I blame both sides
for the strife, even as I understand the underlying reason for it is
U.S. interference in our internal affairs.”

Upon completion of her 45-day tour of U.S. cities, El-Farra traveled to
Egypt with the aim of returning to Gaza by way of the Rafah crossing.
But like approximately 6,000 other Palestinians, she was trapped on the
Egyptian side because of the crossing’s closure, now nearly two months old.

While waiting, she learned that her mother was deathly ill in Gaza, but
she was unable to come to her bedside. “I cannot cross the borders, I
cannot cross the Rafah crossing,” she wrote on her blog, “From Gaza,
with Love.”

“In her last hours I cannot be there; my hands are tied,” she wrote. “My
throat is dry, my eyes are full of tears. This is unjust, inhuman. This
is the occupation. … Goodbye, mum. I hope you rest in peace, a peace we
do not enjoy in Gaza.”

Her mother died on July 23.

//Dr. Mona El-Farra’s June 23 appearance in Chicago was co-sponsored by
Arab American Action Network and Not in My Name, a predominantly Jewish
peace group. Her tour was facilitated by the American Friends Service
Committee. For more information about El-Farra’s work with children,
visit the Middle East Children’s Alliance,

my lecture in Berekly covered by JenniferTaylor

As I entered the building, the faded sounds of an Arabic accent defending his race for an unsympathetic American media and audience brushed my ear. "Not all Muslim's are terrorists," the voice firmly stated. My sense of fairness chided listening to this man defend himself. Of course, after the reporter got what he wanted, he did not bother to listen to or report on the keynote speaker Palestinian physician and human rights activist, Dr. Mona El Farra, or her message of peace, solidarity, and social justice.

Fortunately for me, I did.

Dignified and powerful, Dr. Mona entered the room. The musty smelling church was filled with faces, wanting to hear her message – just like me. Except for the shades of darkness added to their eyes, skin, and hair, it was difficult to find differentiating characteristics from the Westerners in the room. None of this mattered, because we were unified in our desire to hear her warm message of love and solidarity, and to relate back to the Palestinian people they were neither alone nor forgotten.

Touring the world with her message, Dr. Mona's journey will move through European countries, ending in Egypt, where she will wait to return to her 365 square kilometer prison. How long she must wait is uncertain. In the previous year the boarder from Gaza into Egypt has been open a mere 65 times.

Gaza, a land stripped of faith, hopeless that the US will persuade Israel to honor its commitments in the "peace process," lurks below a cloud of darkness. A place where Dr. Mona claims, "The occupation deprives all who are exposed. The Occupied lose their dignity, and the Occupier loses their humanity." Since the redeployment of Israeli forces in 2005 close to 5,000 homes in Gaza have been destroyed by Israeli bulldozers, unemployment has reached record highs, and over 70% of the entire population lives under the international poverty line.

Children are growing up with what Dr. Mona calls, "disfigured psychology," with over 45% exhibiting signs of severe PTSD and no resources to help cope, the strain of daily life, is taking its toll. With limited access to food, 42% of Palestinian children are now malnourished. And as travel to school is barred daily by roadblocks and curfews, the level of education has slipped and illiteracy rates have risen.

"The burden is heavy." She says of living in an occupied land. She expressed deep concern for the people who have lost all hope. Common to the Arab culture, security, sustenance, and guidance, is the responsibility of the father and husband. When he looses hope, is arrested or worse yet, killed, the impacts on the family are haunting. As in most war and violence it is the woman and children who suffer most. Last year alone 59 pregnant women gave birth waiting at blockades on their way to the hospital. Out of the 59 births, 31 of those babies perished. As Dr. Mona points out, "The numbers of women who have lost babies does not matter, for even one woman to lose her baby in this manner is a crime against humanity."

Her concerns do not end here, as a physician; she struggles to perform her basic daily tasks. She is faced with power interruptions during surgery, inadequate medical supplies, and the spoilage of medications needing refrigeration. As vaccinations run out and Palestinians have less access to health care, she is deeply troubled by the potential reemergence of previously eradicated infectious diseases.

Yet, in spite of these hardships, Dr. Mona will vigilantly attempt to cross the border from Egypt into Gaza. And I wondered why…

Dr. Mona lives with the threat of death everyday, yet remains diplomatic. She is witness to the destruction of her friends, family, and community, yet continues to speak of hope through nonviolent action.

As she speaks, a photo appears of a Palestinian man with his arm wrapped round his wife atop a heap of rubble that used to be their home. He tells Dr. Mona as she takes the photo, "This is all I have now; I have my wife and she is enough."

While I listen and stare at the photo behind her, I begin to comprehend her desire to return. There on the man's face and in her voice is humanity. There is no nationalism, no religious claim to land, just a simple desire for peace. She advocates a one-state solution and the right of return, where the laws of the land protect justice, equality, and the rights of all residents.

The humanity in her voice – no military force will ever be able to extinguish.

From Gaza with Love and Words Sharper Than a Two-Edged Sword

by eileen fleming

One of the most modest yet accomplished women I have ever met is Dr. Mona El Farra. Among the many accomplishments of this selfless dermatologist who lives in Gaza is her position as the Director of Gaza Projects with Middle East Children's Alliance [], Board Director of Red Crescent [Cross] Society of Gaza, and Health Development Consultant of Union Health Workers Committee of Gaza and the blogger of "From Gaza With Love"

This reporter spoke with her over dinner the night before she addressed over 5,000 activists at the historic D.C. March to End the Occupation of Palestine March on June 10, 2007.

Dr. El Farra informed me, "The children's psychology is damaged by the aggression of Israeli forces and the U.S. MECA[Middle East Children's Alliance] is dedicated to rebuild and repair it. Despite the fact that children and women and the whole population of my country has been damaged, we know that the world is not any government...The issue is the problem of the refugees and their right to return to their homeland. Israel has made the facts on the ground impossible for a two-state solution. This land should be about equal human rights for all people. Israel must take the moral responsibility for what they did in 1948!

"If we have a two state solution as things are, we are left with one strong state and one very weak one. Americans should know that their tax dollars go to support human rights abuses and occupation. This deprives both sides of dignity and humanity. Israel talks about security and safety, but their exaggerated actions damage children and civilians.

"I was 15 years old during the first year of occupation. Young kids in Khan Younis got together to say NO to occupation. We threw stones at the Israeli tanks and the IDF hit me and many others with sticks [billy clubs]. I was on the ground and the soldier beat me, but I returned to demonstrate again and again. My father wanted me to stop, but I did not. I also wrote pamphlets-a very dangerous activity!

"I went to medical school for dermatology and returned home and found myself naturally in the refugee camps. I have always been a community worker for preventive medicine and nonviolent...I strongly believe it is impossible for Palestine to have a viable state when humanitarian and inalienable rights are denied and what happened in 1948 is ignored."

On June 7, 2007, Dr. El Farrar addressed the United Nations, "First, let me say that 2007 is the 40th anniversary of 59 years of the brutal occupation of the Palestinian people.

"As we called for an end to apartheid in South Africa and the right of all people to live together and have equal rights, we must now, before it is too late, call for true justice for the Palestinians.

"Today, we heard about the economic plight of the Palestinian people. We heard about Palestinians in Israeli prisons which number close to 8,000 men and women, including approximately 350 children under the age of 14, most of whom have been tortured.

"How many UN resolutions must be passed by the UN? How many years of calling for 2 States before there is an understanding that Israel continues its aggression on the ground against women, children and men, the demolition of thousands of homes and the continued building of the apartheid wall?

"Let us not just speak of the Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza. We must never forget those who live as second-class citizens inside Israel and most of all, those who were forced from their homes and lands in 1948.

"Now is the time to call for a real peace, with justice for all the children in the region. This can only be accomplished by supporting the right of return of all Palestinians.

"Now is the time to acknowledge that the two-State solution is not the answer.

"From Gaza I came, where the children of my country have no safe homes, no safe streets, no proper and adequate health facilities, no proper food, clean water, or regular electrical power, no recreational activities and no good education. The list of deprivation of their basic needs is too long to count.

"I lived this occupation as a child, and am still living it as an adult. I can see it in the eyes of my daughter when she is afraid, tired, restless and exhausted because of the unsafe and unpredictable quality of life in Gaza under occupation. I saw it as soon as we crossed the borders on our way to Egypt, where she sensed something new and different: freedom, safety and space. Gaza is like a big, unsafe prison. And it is a very small place for 1.4 million people, half of whom are children.

"I face the occupation every day during my work when hundreds of Palestinian patients are denied permits and accessibility to proper medical treatment, outside Gaza. There are a few lucky patients who get a referral and permit for treatment outside Gaza. The majority, however, have to wait and wait. Many die while waiting.

Eileen is the Reporter and Editor of

thank you for your kind support

Dear All
my friends everywhere many of you i have not met in person , your comforting encourging emails and comments in my blog , helped me great deal while grieving my late dear mother . the most difficult part of this grieve was that i couldnot see her while she was calling for me .it was only little piece of paper called permitt , a permitt to allow me to enter my country , and in such extraordinary huminatarian situation .i told you before it is occupation, it is racist occupation it is injustice as well , it is my cause and your cause to unifiy our efforts and fight with all our mighty against injustice to fight .all other sorts of injustices small or large.we are not weak , together we are not weak, we are stronger than thier weapons and mad wars , expolitation wealth and occupation , justice is on our side and it is a lot .
when i was in my 1st speaking tour in the USA i met wonderfull people , many of them work hard to achieve peace . peace that is based on justice , i felt strong i was empowered and inspired , being at home now i have a messege of solidarity to transfer to my people , to tell them that the world is not silent , and our solidarity , unity and networking is great power .it is not only the messege that i have, i have also a practical support too that will help to make the chanhge in the lives of many poor families in Gaza, occupation and political instabilty made them poor and poorer ,
the ppaletinian cause is not a case for charity , we are apeople with inlainable rights , no peace without justice and justice means RIGHT OF RETURN