Thank you to everyone who spoke up #InSupportofShahd as I was fighting Zionist attempts to silence me. Thanks to you and to everyone who took the time to send emails of support and share on social media and host me on their platforms, that we managed to win this unprecedented victory for Palestine on UK if not European Campuses. However, Zionist hate and racism continues to chase me, more viciously since I resumed teaching the Postcolonial Media Culture Module at Sheffield Hallam University.
On episode 51 of the Electronic Intifada Podcast, host Nora Barrows-Friedman speaks with me and my lawyer, Giovanni Fassina of the European Legal Support Centre. The podcast was originally published on the Electronic Intifada on 1 March with an update on the continuing. It was recorded on Monday 14 February, the day I attended the first lecture after I accepted to be reinstated and took a week off to recover. Please watch the podcast for my latest updates.
You can continue voicing your solidarity on #InSupportOfShahd and Palestinian voices. If you’re Jewish and want to add your signature to a letter circulating to support me and my University, please get in touch. This is necessary as apologists of Israeli apartheid, especially the infamous Jewish Chronicle, continue to protest my reinstatement with a more secure contract, and are branding my university as “a hostile environment for Jews” while citing a single person who sadly leads the Zionist-oriented Jewish Society at University of Sheffield. Send your signatures, (Name, role, city, email), by Monday 7 March. Free Palestine!
What happened so far?
Since Christmas Eve 2021, I came under renewed attack by Zionist publications – Jewish News, Campaign Against Antisemitism and Jewish Chronicle – protesting my recent appointment as an Associate Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU). I had recently submitted a PhD dissertation on the historical representation of Palestinian refugees in colonial, humanitarian and Palestinian documentary films, from 1917 to 1993. The Zionist defamation campaign, and the SHU’s initial response and decision to suspend my teaching duties, joins a historical pattern where the Zionist colonial narrative is consistently privileged over the narratives of the oppressed. Thanks to the thousands of people who spoke up in my support, we won and I returned to teaching with a more secure contract! I am grateful for the legal support from the European Legal Support Centre (ELSC), and the continuing solidarity from a group of brilliant people, academics and campaigners for anti-racism from all religious and ethnic backgrounds!
Some of you have followed me since my birth with Israeli guns pointed against my mum Halima‘s belly and grandmother who assisted her while carrying a lantern in one hand and a white banner in the other, fearing the deadly consequences of breaking the then-imposed military curfew on Jabalia refugee camp. Others have followed me since my activism from Gaza which have been expressed in resistance writings, paintings and Dabke dancing, hoping to bring the Palestinians closer to achieving freedom, justice, equality and return. This grew more prolifically since I was 17 years old when I survived with Gaza’s children-majority population, the 22-day Israeli offensive that led to the killing of 1400 Palestinians, including 308 children. As a third-generation refugee and a daughter of a former political prisoner who endured 15 years of captive resistance in Israeli jails, my undergraduate years were invested in the Palestinian detainees’ struggle and in exposing Israeli crimes by any means necessary against international failure to hold Israel accountable.
Ever since I left Gaza to pursue my higher education in October 2013, I have continued to be one of the loudest voices for Palestine and other anti-racist causes wherever my exilic journey took me, while keeping all those who sacrificed for antiracist causes in mind. Meanwhile, while any Jew around the world can claim citizenship in Israel and move immediately into Palestinian dispossessed lands, such as American extremist Jacob who occupied Al-Kurd’s family house in #SheikhJarrah, my family members are stateless, dispersed between Palestine and Europe, due to the conditions of siege and racist European policies that suffocate Gaza and restrict our ability to even return to our refugee camps.
This is not the first time I’m being harassed; Zionist David Collier published “case study on anti-semitism in Sheffield”, “Vienna’s only criminal Jewish attorney” emailed to my department, protesting my article on AJ: The IHRA anti-Semitism definition won’t protect Israeli apartheid. I have been one of the people who were most vocal against the IHRA and mobilized on a university level, UK and international level. See the Canary article on student and staff resistance against IHRA at SHU, and this OpenDemocracy video that I did which a group of Palestinian student activists in the UK at the PSC student conference in 2018.
On the 5th of May 1981, the Irish revolutionary Bobby Sands had a heroic death at the age of 27 after waging 66 days of hunger strike, the culmination of a 5-year protest that included the “dirty protests”, when Irish political prisoners resorted to smearing excrement on the walls of their cells in protest of prison officers’ repression and ill-treatment.
Many parallels could be drawn between the Palestinian and the Irish struggles for liberation. When I read Bobby Sand’s anthology “Skylark Sing Your Lonely Song” (1982), which accompanied my process of painting his portrait, my affinity with the Irish grew even stronger. We both lived under similar systems of oppression, the product of the British imperialism. We both resisted, to use his words, “an alien, oppressive, unwanted regime that refuses to withdraw from our land.” Sands rejected for the Irish to be treated like “ordinary” prisoners: “We are not criminals… unless the love of one’s people and country is a crime.” He fought the criminalisati on of the Irish people under British colonial rule, to be regarded as a political prisoner, a fight that my father Ismail and his comrades undertook in Israeli jails in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The courage Bobby Sands and his comrades showed in British prisons resonated over Palestine. My dad was 19 when he was detained and sentenced to 7 lifetimes, each amounting to 99 years of imprisonment, a charge that promised him and many in his position death in jail. Instead of dwelling on this thought, like their Irish peers, they turned prison into a ground of freedom fight. In May 1980, he was counting his 9th year inside Israeli jails which to this day remains filled by thousands of wrongfully persecuted Palestinian men and women whose only crime is the love of their land and people. He was one of 80 Palestinian political prisoners who had been transferred to the then recently opened Nafha prison in the Naqab desert (Negev). Nafha had unbearable conditions, especially designed to break the spirit of prisoners, deemed as the “cream” of the Palestinian prisoners. The prisoners themselves feared that the success of this “disciplinary” action would mean that “all detainees’ achievements prior to 1980 were void” and would create a precedent to be applied to other Palestinians under detention. “So, from day one in Nafha prison, we realised that we had to prepare ourselves to counteract this oppression,” my father said.
Whenever Palestinian prisoners have gone on hunger strike, the Israeli prison authorities have responded by punishing them collectively and inhumanely. The Nafha strike was no exception. Detainees endured various methods of repression and torture, including solitary confinement and force-feeding. Rasem Halawa, Ali al-Jafari and Isaac Maragha were the Palestinian versions of Bobby Sands then; they died as a result of force-feeding in the prison’s clinic during the legendary Nafha mass hunger strike which lasted 33 days. This is only a snapshot into the fight of the free prisoners in Israeli jails, which witnessed the martyrdom of 227 Palestinians and the detention of a million since 1967 Israeli occupation.
My grandparents and their generation of the 1948 Nakba hoped for their children to have a better life, free from any foreign domination. The same with my parents and their generation who were born in refugee camps, like Sands, believed that ‘our revenge will be the laughter of our children.’ Their sacrifices were made to ensure that future generations will not endure such injustices, but the struggle continues, one generation after the other, facing a pariah state founded on settler-colonialism, occupation and apartheid, planted in Palestine by the British during their colonial rule on Palestine (1917-1948). To this day, the new state of Israel enjoys unprecedented international impunity under a world order that has been more invested in the material sustainability of Israel than achieving justice for the indigenous people of Palestine.
In this grim reality, the Irish people have continued to be unapologetically allies in our struggle against settler-colonialism, providing a source of hope for the Palestinian people as they constantly reaffirm their solidarity. When Bobby Sands and his comrades died in British prisons, Palestinian prisoners smuggled a solidarity letter to their bereaved families. In 2012, an Irish convoy came to Palestine as several Palestinian detainees were waging battles of hunger strikes in Israeli jails. I met them at Gaza’s branch of the ICRC where we used to gather with families of political prisoners, soon after the Jenin-born Hanaa Al-Shalabi was released and deported to Gaza after a heroic hunger strike against her unlawful administrative detention in Israeli jails, without charge or trial. Then, the families of Irish martyrs and hunger strikers sent back a solidarity letter with hunger striking Palestinian prisoners, and met Hana Shalabi as she was recovering on a hospital bed in Gaza and presented her with an easter Lily.
My painting joins many other tributes to show that Bobby Sands’ memory is still alive in the hearts and minds of many across the world. Sands was absorbed by flowers, birds, the sky and stars, which fed his free spirit in jail. To mark the 40th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike, I painted his portrait with those symbols in mind, to celebrate his revolutionary legacy and the love, solidarity and freedom fights that binds the Palestinian and Irish people.
A disturbing trend of suicides is taking place amongst young people in the world’s largest open-air prison, the Gaza Strip due to a suffocating military and economic blockade. In less than 24 hours, 3 men in their early 20s, Ayman Al-Ghoul, Sulaiman Al-Ajjouri and Ibrahim Yasin took their lives. Meanwhile, an 18-year-old girl has attempted to take her life by swallowing huge amount of pills but survived.
I follow these local news in Gaza with great worry over the lives and potential of these people who symbolise the future of our homeland but whose horizons is extremely limited against a backdrop of a brutal process of dehumanisation that goes back to 1948 Nakba when a forth of dispossessed Palestinians sought refuge in the Gaza Strip and their hopes to return has been consistently repressed by Israel.
I especially worry over my youngest brother Mohammed (24) who’s raising a beautiful baby with his wife Asma amid extreme life precarities. Despite being very skilled, he’s jobless, and survives by whatever job opportunity that comes his way, even if it’s underpaid. He had many days when in one day he worked as a barber and a salesman at some retail shop, and an electrician. But most days, there are no jobs, forcing him to be dependent on my mum’s nurse salary which helps the family survive while my father is retired and his only source of income which he gets as a long-serving former political prisoner in Israeli jails, is cut amid financial crisis facing the Palestinian Authority. The sad thing is that my family is doing better than the majority of families for whom a loaf of bread is a struggle.
These suicides are signalling hopelessness due to accumulative violence coming from all directions that left them nothing to hold onto. And while all are undergoing ongoing trauma under siege and military attacks, mental health support is considered luxury, and is not available for the overwhelming majority.
In 2012, when the UN warned that Gaza would be uninhabitable by 2020, they undermined the dehumanising reality that haunted the population for decades of oppression under Israeli apartheid. According to a recent report by the UN, 3,601 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and over 100,000 injured during the past decade across the occupied Palestinian territories. Of these, 87 % were killed in Gaza, mostly during the 2012 and 2014 Israeli onslaughts on Gaza, as well as in the Great March of Return demonstrations that started in 2018 to call for ending the siege on Gaza and implementing the right of return to refugees who comprise 71% of Gaza population. Alongside these inconceivable numbers of lives lost and bodies sentenced to life-long disabilities, over 100,000 people were internally displaced as a result of Israel’s repeated bombardment of Gaza or what Israeli officials call, “mowing the lawn.” Only yesterday, Israel bombed several agricultural lands across the Gaza Strip.
The majority of those killed, maimed and displaced are young. Besides, poverty is sweeping the inhabitants of Gaza with unemploylment rates reaching over 50% while much higher amongst young people. 70% of youth under 30 are unemployed, and for women it is almost 90%. A total of 26,500 people in Gaza lost their jobs in the first three months of 2020. Moreover, 80% of private sector employees earn less than minimum wage, according to Gisha who stressed that the unemployment rate “does not even reflect the full extent of the poverty rampant in the Strip”. Meanwhile, even before Coronavirus pandemic has struck the world, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned of an epidemic as 97% of water in Gaza in unfit for human consumption.
I worry as I know the immense violence that Palestinians endure, the multigenerational trauma they carry, and the real pressures they navigate around to survive the life of punishment they are born into, for simply being Palestinians. Collective punishment is a war crime according to the 4th Geneva Convention to which Israel is a signatory. Despite that, Israel continues to act with impunity committing daily war crimes in the occupied terrorises, undermining human rights conventions and International Law. This is happening as the world watches Israel consolidating its system of apartheid across historic Palestine, sentencing Palestinians to a gradual genocide as part of their settler-colonial racist strategies that fights the very existence of the Palestinians on their lands.
When everyday is a struggle for survival, when life smells like death, when even their peaceful protests are turned into bloodshed, the world left them nothing to claim their humanity. Their souls will be haunting Israeli apartheid, its allies that bomb economic and military support into their killing machine of the Palestinians, and everyone who stayed silent while Gaza is suffocating.
End the siege on Gaza. Stop arming Israel. Sanction Israeli apartheid! Free Palestine!
Many thanks for this initiative by James Boswell, a member of Sheffield Labour Friends of Palestine who received my letter to MP Louise Haigh and decided to make a post around it, encouraging people to amplify the Palestinian call for justice for Iyad Hallaq and arms embargo on Israel. Contact your MP!
Eyad el-Hallaq, a 32-year-old autistic Palestinian, was chased and shot dead by Israeli police officers in occupied East Jerusalem on Saturday May 30th.
At protests taking place in Jaffa, Haifa, Jerusalem and in other Palestinian towns, demonstrators hold placards to draw attention to parallels between Hallaq’s death and the brutal killing of George Floyd that happened a few days earlier:
The man [Eyad Hallaq] was unarmed, and had fled the officers in fear, unable to communicate properly because of his disability. He died just a few metres away from his special-needs school, in East Jerusalem. The officer who killed him said he thought Hallaq was a terrorist because he was wearing gloves.
Click here to read the full report entitled “Eyad Hallaq’s Life Mattered” published by English-language Middle East newspaper The National.
Shahd Abusalama is a Palestinian refugee and a postgraduate student at Sheffield Hallam. She…
In an interview Christiane Amanpour conducted with Houston Police Chief on CNN, Art Acevedo stressed that kindness and solidarity should lead the way during these dark times, not ignorance.
Houston Police Chief @ArtAcevedo: “Let me just say this to the President of the United States, on behalf of the police chiefs of this country: please, if you don’t have something constructive to say, keep your mouth shut.” pic.twitter.com/z5AJpOO0RO
But will Acevedo agree that this kindness must include breaking the chains of complicity empowering racist ideologies from white-supremacy to Zionism? Will he feel the Palestinians’ immense pain and push to end Israeli and US military collaboration for the sake of all people at the receiving end of their brutality? Will he cut ties with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the deadly exchange of military services they manage between the US and our oppressor Israel?
His words will be merely a performance act if this kindness that he advocates for is not translated into meaningful change.
In December 2018, grassroots organising efforts, using Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) tactics, succeeded in forcing the Vermont State Police, Northampton and Massachusetts police chief to pull out of a police exchange program with Israel, managed by the Anti-Defamation League. This example should be reproduced all over the USA and beyond.
Connecting our struggles for a world revolution
To my black brothers and sisters from Palestine to the USA, your enemy is mine, and my enemy is yours. We must connect our struggles and build meaningful solidarity between us to resist our allied oppressors as a united front.
This means we need to understand each other’s struggles, unlearn imperial thinking that distorted our outlook to the world, connect the dots, and fight this multifaceted common enemy. Zionist systematic erasure of Palestinian natives and US institutionalised racism that targets natives and people of colour communities empower each other. We have to understand that oppression does not exist in a vacuum but is enabled through military, economic and diplomatic collaborations. Breaking this collaboration between them will serve our collective liberation.
Palestinian artist Lina: “no wonder that US police are so brutal in their methods, when they have given & received training from the Israeli Occupation Forces who terrorize Palestinians daily. As Palestinians, we should be 1st to reject all types of oppression.” #BlackLivesMatterpic.twitter.com/c0YMkdhtcC
Any state founded on colonialism, genocidal dispossession of indigenous peoples and slavery is fundamentally insecure. Methods of repression and coercion used against people demanding justice is their expression of their desperation to maintain the status quo. The US repression of #BlackLivesMatter protests and Israel’s systematic oppression of Palestinian resistance is an expression of this fragility that is rooted in their foundational problems. But it is ultimately down to the people if they submit or resist.
The successful anti-apartheid movement in South Africa teaches us that no oppressors ever voluntarily change. They have to be forced into changing through internal and global resistance. And just like the apartheid regime in South Africa, we need to understand how such supremacist powers do not exist in a vacuum, but are enabled, funded, and normalised by an international apparatus of violence, greed, ignorance and submission. If we unite to break this chain wherever we see it, we will eventually prevail.
Palestinian revolutionary Ghassan Kanafani reminded before Israel killed him in 1972 at the age of 36: “Imperialism has laid its body over the world… Wherever you strike it, you damage it, and you serve the World Revolution.” Kanafani was assassinated together with his 17-year-old niece Lamis. Both could have lived if they weren’t Palestinians.
Remember again, that those same Zionist killers, who dispossessed, imprisoned, killed and maimed Palestinians for 72 years, are the biggest recipients of US military ‘aid’, paid by US taxpayers. They also offer military training to many US police departments, and those techniques that brought about the lynching of George Floyd are widely used against Palestinians in the occupied territories, including children. Many of us stood in utter shock after a video that went viral of Al-Tamimi child being forced into a chokehold by an Israeli solider and fought off by Palestinian children and women.
In fact, at least 100 Minnesota police officers attended a so-called counterterrorism training conference in Chicago and Minneapolis, hosted by the Israeli consulate and the FBI. “There they learned the violent techniques used by Israeli forces as they terrorise the occupied Palestinian territories under the guise of security operations,” Steve Sweeney wrote for the Morning Star. Connect the dots.
From Palestine to Minneapolis, racism is a crime
The bottom picture records a Palestinian child from Al-Tamimi Family in chokehold by an Israeli soldier during popular protest at the occupied village of Nabi-Saleh. This was recorded on camera.
Few days after the murder of George Floyd Minneapolis, the Israeli occupation army killed Eyad Hallaq, a 32-year-old autistic Palestinian, near Al-Asbat Gate in occupied Jerusalem’s old city on the morning of 30 May 2020. His disability makes him like a 7 year old child, and he has hearing and speech difficulties. He was on his way to Elwyn school for disabled people. Israeli soldiers saw him holding a ‘suspicious object,’ they thought it was a gun- he held a cellphone. When they ordered Eyad to stop, he started running out of fear, like a child. The penalty was death sentence. Do you know how many times they killed him? 10 times! 10 bullets. Let this sink in.
Still, after the shooting, they declared a state of emergency in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem, looking for a gun of their fantasy and found none. During that time, medics were barred from entering the area as poor Eyad was bleeding to death. Let this too sink in.
If you cried for the pain of many black mothers over losing their children for being black, you should cry for Eyad’s mother.
“What’s his fault? they killed him in cold blood! he’s my only son ..”#Watch | The mother of martyr Eyad Hallaq mourn her son that have been shot dead by Israeli occupation police in occupied Jerusalem!#IsraeliCrimespic.twitter.com/shYpW6zS5r
Listen to her crying with dignity as she demands: “I want justice for my son from the state of Israel.” But will justice be served? Palestinians The aged wrinkles of her face are emboldened with bitter tears over too many young lives being killed systematically and for no reason, for the mere reason of being Palestinians.
The shocking killing of Eyad Hallaq needs to be seen in the context of how Zionist Israeli forces are historically indoctrinated to treat Palestinian lives and bodies as “disposable.” This is part and parcel of a consistent Zionist policy of keeping as few native Arabs as possible on as minimal land as possible, informing Israeli settler-colonial practices against the Palestinians, since the inception of Zionism and pre-state building until today. If this is not racism, then what is it?
Fighting racism entails the understanding that Zionism is racism, and as siding with the oppressed as well as opposing the genocidal colonisation of indigenous peoples, means standing in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for liberation.
As Angela Davis said, we need to stop accepting what we cannot change, and change what we cannot accept! She herself offers a great example of solidarity and organising across struggle, and we learn from her history of a trend of Palestinian and Black solidarity that became especially powerful during the Civil Rights Movement.
Angela Davis spoke of the Palestinian captive resistance and solidarity with her during her imprisonment in US jails in the early 1970s and beyond, and that’s why she adopts Palestine as her own struggle. My father who was detained by Israel in January 1972 and sentenced to 7 lifetimes for no crime, was amongst those freedom fighters behind Israeli jails who extended a letter of solidarity to Angela Davis which she remembers to this day and reflects on in her talks and writings.
“Palestinian activists have long supported Black people’s struggle against racism. When I was in jail, solidarity coming from Palestine was a major source of courage for me. There has been this very important connection between the two struggles for many decades”
Dr Angela Davis pic.twitter.com/TGK1fs84bm
Being Black shouldn’t be a death sentence. Being Palestinian shouldn’t be a death sentence. Racism, colonialism and all oppressive and discriminatory structures must be abolished if we were to create a just world.
Palestinians like me, living outside our country, fear that the coronavirus pandemic could be the latest nightmare to befall our loved ones back home. As of now there are more than 12,000 confirmed cases in Israel, around 350 in the occupied West Bank and 13 in Gaza, my home.
Having grown up in Jabaliya refugee camp, I know that the types of prevention measures imposed in Europe or the United States cannot be applied in Gaza. “Overcrowding and a lack of living space characterize Jabaliya camp,” as the UN notes. “Shelters are built in close vicinity and there is a general lack of recreational and social space.” Big multi-generational families live under one roof. Houses are separated by shared walls or narrow alleys. Residents are within earshot of their neighbors’ conversations and privy to their daily routines. Social or physical distancing is next to impossible.
There are 114,000 people living in Jabaliya refugee camp, but a similar situation can be found across Gaza, where 70 percent of the population are refugees.
In total, two million Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip, under a tight Israeli blockade for 13 years. Half the population are children. Living conditions are already dire, after three major Israeli military assaults since 2008, along with the impact of the siege. Basic infrastructure and services, including electricity, education and healthcare are already far from adequate.
In 2018, the UN specifically warned of the risk of an epidemic in Gaza due to the degraded sanitation system, and the fact that 97 percent of the water supply is unfit for human consumption. Health experts and human rights organizations are now sounding the alarm that a major outbreak of COVID-19 would be catastrophic, and have called on Israel to lift its restrictions on bringing vital supplies into the territory.
The current crisis offers states and corporations, driven by the desire to accumulate power at the best of times, a unique opportunity to expand and consolidate their control.
Citing the coronavirus emergency, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has authorized the deployment of surveillance technology normally used for “counterterrorism.”
For Palestinians, the pandemic is not a temporary emergency but represents continuity. The occupying power has imposed a never-ending situation of emergency that dates back to 1948, when the creation of Israel uprooted 800,000 native Palestinians from their homes. During the Nakba, our grandparents assumed they would return in a couple of weeks. Today, we observe the birth of a fourth or fifth generation in refugee camps.
Moreover, the use of electronic surveillance by Israel to spy on and blackmail Palestinians is nothing new. What is new here is the use of technologies tested on Palestinians against the privileged Israeli Jewish population who were previously largely shielded from such intrusion.
And while the pandemic is a boon for companies and states seeking to expand their power, it is in the short term a blessing in disguise for Netanyahu. Until a few weeks ago, he was counting his last days as prime minister and facing imminent trial on corruption charges. But for him, the pandemic could not be more timely: a state of emergency which he can manipulate and use to maintain power.
While all focus is on the pandemic, attention is diverted from Israel’s continued military repression of Palestinians. In March alone, Israel detained more than 350 Palestinians across the occupied West Bank and Gaza, including 48 children and four women. Meanwhile, prisons where Israel holds some 5,000 Palestinian political detainees, are – like prisons around the world – turning into hotspots for coronavirus. Israeli jailers and at least one released Palestinian are among confirmed cases. At least four other Palestinians were potentially exposed to the virus during interrogation by an Israeli prison worker. This has pushed detainees and their advocates to call for urgent international action to save them from Israel’s systematic policy of medical neglect in its prisons.
It is clear that the “emergency response” to the new coronavirus does not mean a suspension of Israel’s systems of oppression.
In the midst of the crisis, it is hard to think ahead. There’s no doubt that many measures being applied are necessary to save lives, as perhaps a third of the world’s population is under some form of lockdown. But decisions made in these extraordinary times could permanently shape the post-pandemic reality.
Education has gone virtual. Only essential workers are permitted to go to work, while others work remotely and untold millions have lost their jobs. In addition to expanding surveillance via mobile phone, drones are being used to monitor streets and ordinary people are acting as informants against those they suspect of breaking the rules.
When the health emergency is over, will all this become the new normal?
Wartime metaphors are in vogue. President Donald Trump has appointed generals to prominent roles in the US government’s response to what he calls an “invisible enemy.”
France’s President Emmanuel Macron has declared that his country is “at war,” while Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, has asserted that “we must act like any wartime government.”
Maybe this language helps alert people to the severity of the threat, but such comparisons sound horrible to survivors of actual wars – including wars that these very leaders have supported or fueled.
Although many countries and companies make fortunes from the business of war, war is ugly. It destroys life and human relations. The laws and conventions that people are used to in peacetime do not apply in war zones. This pandemic is nothing like a war.
During a recent Skype call with dispersed family members in Gaza and Europe, we all joyfully watched as my youngest sister, Tamam, a refugee in Brussels, rushed to her balcony to join her neighbors applauding the efforts of health workers.
This triggered traumatic memories of us huddled together in our home in Gaza, with other families who had escaped neighborhoods under heavy Israeli fire. We sat around a battery powered radio in a blackout, the floor shaking beneath our feet, listening to explosions, houses collapsing and people dying.
Then, we were scared to even look out of the window.
Our family has been shaped by such memories, including my mother giving birth to me during a military curfew on Jabaliya camp. If you broke an Israeli curfew, you risked your life, not just a mere fine.
A chance to reflect
This pandemic is a chance for reflection for people born in safe places, who are used to taking their rights for granted.
Even under lockdown, many still have access to healthcare, housing, education and freedoms that others facing the same pandemic do not.
COVID-19 exploits and exacerbates existing inequalities, globally and within societies.
In the United States, for example, Black and Latino people are getting sick and dying in far higher proportions than white Americans.
The virus provides an opportunity to question and challenge power structures such as capitalism, colonialism and imperialism, which produce this uneven vulnerability. While some commentators have asserted that the coronavirus is a great equalizer, this is clearly not the case.
My family in Palestine hopes that this pandemic reminds people of how connected we all are. We should learn from others who have suffered with life’s uncertainties for as long as they remember because of man-made inequalities that make some people visible as others are rendered invisible.
We should be united for each other’s welfare, not warfare. We should learn from Cuba’s model of solidarity, as it sends doctors to coronavirus-hit countries, while the US tightens sanctions and pressures countries to reject Cuba’s aid.
The virus is teaching us that we can be asymptomatic but deadly to each other, especially the vulnerable. And we are learning that as long as the virus exists anywhere, no part of the world is truly safe.
In short, caring for and helping each other is not just a value to aspire to, but a necessity for our collective survival.
I recently came under attack by Zionist groups and publications, including the Jewish Chronicle and UK Zionist Federation. Those attacks were routed through my university, Sheffield Hallam, as part of an organized attack on the Palestinian-led movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions of Israel, especially in England and Germany. Its purpose is to silence the rights-based movement that has succeeded in threatening Israel’s culture of impunity. It aims to undermine BDS activists’ credibility and in my case, smear my academic reputation.
I wrote about this in length on Jadaliyya. Please read and share wide in solidarity with Palestinian and solidarity activists whose are facing an increasing hostility from Zionist lobbies for daring to protest Israeli longstanding and systematic dehumanisation of Palestinians.
Enjoy the videos below, and support BDS in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
During a #StopArmingIsrael protest during a week of action against DSEI arms fair in September 2017. Photo by David Dinis Photography
My name is Shahd Abusalama and I’m a 3rdgeneration Palestinian refugee, born and raised in Jabalia Refugee Camp, northern Gaza. I’m standing here with so many Palestinians, born in Palestine and exile, to tell the founding Zionists of Israel who assumed that the old will die and the young will forget, that we will not forget Palestine, and we will never surrender our fundamental rights to exist, resist and return. We stand representative of many indigenous communities who faced various forms of oppression across the history of European colonialism and imperialism, to remind the world that settler colonialism is not a culture of the past, but a current reality that we have lived and defied from America, Australia and Ireland to Palestine.
My grandmother described a peaceful childhood in green fields of citrus and olive trees in our village Beit-Jirja. This life, the tastes, the sounds and the smells remained fixated only in her memories as Beit Jirja was dismantled alongside other 530 villages and towns that were depopulated and destroyed by Zionist thugs in 1948. For Palestinians, the Nakba was never a one-off event that happened in 1948. Israeli colonial oppression has never stopped and many Palestinian communities within Israel, including the people of Khan Al-Ahmar, are still fighting against their ethnic cleansing as we stand here.
My grandparents are present today more than ever as we mark the 71stanniversary of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, for what happened then is why I was born in Jabalia with a gun pointed at my head. During my mother’s labour, Israeli soldiers disrupted her way to Jabalia UNRWA Clinic as they forced a curfew that indoctrinated to shoot any moving being. Shooting to kill was common in the 1st Intifada when I came to life, and is a common practice now.
We saw it in the shooting and maiming of Gaza’s Great Return March protestors who stood with their bare chests against Israeli snipers to claim their humanity and to bring their right of return, an issue that Israel firmly rejected across the past 7 decades on racist grounds, to the centre of political debate. Their cries for justice come amidst US-Israeli attempts to push the right of return and Jerusalem “off the table”. It is time that we call those world leaders what they are: racist trolls. It is time to stand firm in our support of the Palestinian right of return, as without justice, there will be no meaningful peace.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip just survived another a 3-day deadly Israeli attack last weekend, which claimed 25 lives, including two pregnant women, two toddlers and a 12 year old child. While world news was quick to move on after the truce was announced, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip returned to a daily struggle for survival while more deadly violence is expected at any moment. That’s how my family welcomed Ramadan. Following the truce, I heard my parents calling relatives and friends and saying, “glad you survived” before continuing “Ramadan Kareem”.
Imagine living in an open-air prison where there is constant presence of death, and fear of walls falling inwards. This fear of being uncertain about anything, including your own life, even while in your home, is terrifying. This is what 2 million people faced last weekend as they are besieged by Israeli weaponry from air, land and sea, turning Gaza into a laboratory for its lethal arms, which Israel markets as ‘battle-tested’ in notorious arms fairs around the world, such as DSEI which London is hosting again this year.
It is not a coincidence that Gaza comes under attack during Israeli elections over and over again. Those elections are led by criminals using Palestinian children’s blood to win popular support. Meanwhile, the world is about to celebrate Eurovision in Israeli Apartheid on top of an ethnically-cleansed Palestinian land, a show whose whole purpose is to expose Israel’s ‘prettier face’ while deflecting global attention from its daily crimes against the Palestinians. Shame on all contestant countries, all the participants and audiences if they still support Eurovision in Israel while our victims’ blood haven’t dried.
This is nothing new. This is our decades-long lived experience that is normalised by a dominant media discourse that finds it comfortable to avoid addressing the power imbalance between the occupier and the occupied, to remove the context of settler colonialism and reduce it to conflict, effectively demonizing Palestinians and their legitimate struggle against their systematic dehumanization. Our injustice is also normalized by tax payers whose money is paid as military ‘aid’ for Israel, by politicians who suddenly fall short on words of condemnation once the perpetrator is Israel, by international institutions doing buisness with Israel or corporations that enable Israeli crimes, by Muslims of the world who normalise relations with Israel and buy Israeli dates merged with our pains of loss and dispossession, by Zionist Jews and Christians who support the uninterrupted process of ethnic cleansing against the native people of the ‘promised land’ in the name of God.
The best response to such brutality and normalisation is active solidarity!
We have a beautiful demonstration of solidarity today with thousands uniting from different races, religions, genders, professions and cities, to say: we’re not turning our back to the Palestinian people. We know too well that whether Palestine on news headlines or not, Israel is perpetrating violence uninterruptedly.
Every minute, innocent souls are buried, and building that took a lifetime to build are flattened. It is urgent that people of conscience all over the world join in solidarity and resist the collusion of their governments and institutions in this long-standing crime against humanity.
Why bomb Said al-Mishal Cultural Centre? Like many in Gaza, I remain in shock. My tongue cannot find the right words to mourn this erasure of our memories and culture, and my tears cannot take away the heaviness of my heart. It is a living nightmare I share with lots of Palestinian youth in Gaza for whom this centre was not merely a building.
Al-Mishal was one of the very few places in Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas on earth, which provided us with an escape from the suffocation we endure. Some of my most vivid memories are attached to this place. I recall my frequent gatherings with my friends and family there for a performance or a play and other cultural activities. I recall the times when I performed Dabke at its stage and jumped happily like a free bird as I saw the audience so engaged; smiling, singing along, clapping and struggling to remain seated. I remember the walks we had from there to the beach for a bite or a drink as we watched the sunset.
It was flattened to the ground. The horrific sound of this airstrike still echoes in my head and the pictures of its destruction keep me up at night.
It seized to be in a matter of pressing a button by Israeli Occupation Forces, and with this button, they took our precious memories. They stripped us of one of the very few windows of happiness and relief, which filled our hearts as we met to make culture, to celebrate our culture, to sing, dance Dabke, and laugh. Against all odds, this space existed, but apparently posed a ‘threat’ to Israel that had to be eliminated. The only reason for the destruction of such a building is to make our lives more unliveable.
Gaza’s Said al-Mishal was more than a venue to produce and celebrate Palestinian culture. It was a necessary means of survival for 75% of Gaza’s population who are children and youth; they are isolated in their densely-populated enclave, under a miserable reality, lacking basic human rights and spaces for fun, for creativity, for resistance though art.
Said al-Mishal Cultural Centre is perhaps a very good representation of the Palestinian struggle; produced under extraordinary circumstances, desperate for expression, visibility and recognition but ultimately silenced.
Gaza’s familiar landscape has been undergoing a process of distortion and erasure. In 2014 attack on Gaza, whole neighbourhoods were erased. Buildings that were like landmarks for us, where we used to pass by and meet with friends, were turned to rubble in the phase of a few years. It is nightmare to imagine returning to the place where I spent my childhood and early adulthood after five years of forced absence, and being unable to recognise it, thanks to the terror of mass destruction that Israel inflected on it. Can you imagine not being able to relate any more to your familiar landscapes due to a machine of genocide and destruction? It’s traumatic. What’s more traumatic is that we know that Said al-Mishal Theatre was not the first cultural institution to be targeted and will not be the last unless an international intervention is made.
This crime cannot be seen outside the systematic erasure and elimination of Palestinian existence, history and culture that is happening since 1948 Nakba, when Israeli apartheid was founded. Then, alongside the destruction of Historic Palestine and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, Zionist militias robbed thousands of books, paintings, musical recordings, and other artefacts from Palestinian homes, libraries, and government offices. This was repeated many times, including in 1982, when the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) archive was robbed in the Israeli siege of Beirut. In the wake of the 1982 looting, the PLO research centre director Dr. Sabry Jiryes spoke to New York Times, noting that Israeli troops took away its entire library of 25,000 volumes in Arabic, English and Hebrew, a printing press, microfilms, manuscripts and archives, smashed filing cabinets, desks and other furniture and stole telephones, heating equipment and electric fans.” ”More seriously,” he added, ”they have plundered our Palestinian cultural heritage.” He estimated the material losses at $1.5 million, but instated that what “we have lost are invaluable and possibly irreplaceable.”
All above examples are part of a deliberate Israeli colonial policy that seeks to erase Palestine from historical memory and erase all traces to the indigenous people, their history and cultural identity. This elimination makes it easier to claim a make-believe reality where “Palestinians do not exist,” as Israeli PM Golda Meire once bluntly said in 1969, or that they are a punch of primitive tribes with no culture.
Even if they erase all our traces to Palestine, our bodies will continue to carry the traumatic evidence of these constant Zionist crimes. If they erase our physical cultural heritage, they will not manage to erase our memory. We will remain the living evidence that challenges Israel’s historical myths and angelic self-image, which Israel tries to paint of itself.
Palestinian kids playing on the rubble of Al-Mishal Culture and Arts Theatre following an Israeli air strike on Gaza City, on 9 August. Photo by Ahmad Abu Awad
From the emergency room in Lewisham Hospital in London on Wednesday evening, I called my parents to inform them of a sudden allergic reaction I had to something that remains unknown.
I wanted to hear their voices which never fail to comfort me in exile whenever I experience moments of uncertainty – even though I know that they experience an extreme level of uncertainty at their end, in Gaza.
At that moment, around 11pm Palestine time, my parents would usually be asleep, but I called anyway, and to my surprise, my mom Halima answered quickly. She sounded troubled as she offered a list of instructions to avoid such allergic reactions.
The radio was playing in the background and my dad would interrupt the conversation, and both sounded distracted. Something was wrong.
“Bombings are everywhere. May God protect us and have mercy upon us. If you were here, you would have thought it was the beginning of another full-scale attack,” my mom said.
“The sky lights up and then a massive bombardment is heard, and within seconds another one, and another one, shaking the ground underneath us. The walls feel like they’re falling down.”
My parents just celebrated the arrival of their first grandchild. They called her Eliya, one of Jerusalem’s ancient names. Ever since, she’s been the focus of our conversations.
“Eliya, bless her, is crying non-stop as if she senses the danger. We can hear her screams from here as your brother Muhammad and Asma [his wife] are trying to comfort her,” my mom said in distressed tones. “We are panicking ourselves. Imagine how kids are feeling this terror.”
The anti-allergy injection given to me in the ambulance was making me drowsy, but the impact of her words made me switch back on.
This experience seemed to sum up the parallel realities I’ve lived since since I left Gaza.
Growing up in Gaza, the world’s largest open-air prison, uncertainty defined everyday life. Death is always present, even as you do your most mundane activity in your most secure place.
And yet we learned to face our worst fears and continue to live without internalizing this horror as if it were normal.
That is why resistance was a necessity in the face of this life of uncertainty and dehumanization.
Gaza is only a part of a much larger system of violence, displacement and confinement designed by Israel, and funded and normalized by the so-called international community.
The reality in Gaza is the product of settler-colonialism, ethnic cleansing, sadistic militarism, supremacist ideologies and moral hypocrisy. It is a showcase of not only Israel’s inhumanity, but that of the world as a whole.
Ever since I was old enough to understand the injustices that surrounded me as a child, I woke up every day questioning how despite its enchantment with human rights slogans, the world allowed this situation to continue.
Thursday morning, I called my family as soon as I woke up. My brother and his wife had a sleepless night with their 2-week old daughter.
My mom, who just got home from work, was eager to have a nap after a restless night. She works as a nurse in Beach refugee camp, at a children’s clinic run by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees.
But instead she sat on the tiles by the garden door to let her body soak in the coolness, as the lack of electricity in Gaza, except for a few hours per day, means that the air conditioners my family had installed cannot be used.
As she sat there, she told me stories of the mothers who came to the clinic.
“Several women told me that they had a sleepless night with their children crying out of fear,” my mom recalled. “They were clinging to them.”
Others said their children, including older ones, wet their beds.
“May God help them,” my mom said shaking her head. “I raised you all in extraordinary situations, and I worry Eliya is going to grow up in similar conditions, if not worse.”
I was looking at my mom on the phone with one eye, the other glancing at London’s modern skyline from the 11th floor apartment of a friend that looked out on a city and world that seemed entirely undisturbed by what is happening in Palestine.
Our conversation was interrupted by a troubled silence that indicated there was more to be said.
I perfectly understood her without a word being spoken, however. I remember how we barely expressed our emotions as individuals when we were all in the same boat, experiencing the same violence.
We had no choice but to be strong for each other, and support one another to keep moving forward.
Then my mother spoke about how most families in Gaza had lost a loved one, or had someone suffer a permanent disability due to successive Israeli attacks. Amid the catastrophic humanitarian and economic situation caused by Israel’s siege, people are exhausted.
“Our situation is heaven in comparison to other families who are completely dependent on UN aid and do not have even one member with a regular income,” my mom observed.
My mother sounded agonized as she spoke about the overwhelming situation and reflected that the challenges of wartime seem almost bearable compared with the grinding aftermath.
“Precisely!” I said, in an effort to bring some hope into the conversation. “What makes people go to protest near the fence with Israel is that they have nothing to lose but a life of misery.”
“Confronting and throwing stones at Israeli snipers lined up behind the fence is a means of survival to escape this cycle of powerlessness,” I said. I told my mother I thought it was an act of defiance and dignity.
At least 120 Palestinians have been killed during the Great March of Return protests that began on 30 March, more than 20 of them children.
“If only the world outside knew how we experience life. If only they put themselves in our shoes for a second,” I added.
“The times when we lived under physical military occupation were much better,” my mom said, interrupting me. She was referring to the years from 1967 until 2005, when Israel maintained soldiers and settlers deep inside the Gaza Strip, instead of besieging it from the perimeter.
I was confused and asked her to explain.
“We had confrontations then, similar to what we have experienced at the Great March of Return, but from even closer,” she said. “They would use their military power on us but we would have a brief window to express resistance, which was somehow consoling.”
“We would stand in their faces without any fear, despite our knowledge that they would eventually do what they are indoctrinated to do – imposing roadblocks, curfews, house raids and detention campaigns,” my mother explained. “We would stand tall in front of them as they attempted to kidnap your father, or one of your uncles, scream at them and curse them, eye to eye.”
“The Tamimis were every family in Gaza, during the first intifada,” she said, referring to the West Bank family of the teenager Ahed Tamimi, renowned for its role in the village of Nabi Saleh’s unarmed resistanceto Israeli occupation and colonization.
“I remember when the army broke into our house in the middle of the night, soon after your birth, looking for your father. They turned everything upside down and stole your father’s pictures and notebooks,” my mom said. “We did not stand still as they ruined everything. We resisted. We pushed them and threw our belongings which they had broken back at them.”
“But now they just drop missiles at us from their warplanes, gunboats or tanks as we sit in our homes unable to confront them.”
Whenever I talk anyone in my family, they say nothing much has changed, as if time has forgotten about their corner of world.
But time did not forget them completely. They experience time differently: through an innovative form of military occupation which has turned Gaza into a caged laboratory for lethal technologies to be sold later to other countries as “battle tested.”
They experience the progress of time as a regression, with resistance – not accepting their abnormal situation as normal – the only way to break free.
My 15-year old cousin Muhammad Abu Loz just got injured by gunfire from Israeli occupation forces at the Great March of Return, east of Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.
He was among thousands of Palestinians from all generations who have joined these marches in commemoration of Land Day, protesting against the longstanding Israeli colonial occupation and the denial of our inalienable political rights. Israel met them with 100 military snipers.
My cousin survived, but my grandfather’s neighbor, Muhammad Kamal al-Najjar, 25, was shot dead. He is one of at least 12 people who had been killed by Friday evening.
Four decades later, Land Day remains one of the most significant dates in the Palestinian political calendar – a day commemorated by popular resistance to ongoing Israeli colonial oppression, land theft and systematic policies of erasure.
In Gaza, Land Day demonstrations are held near the Israeli-imposed buffer zone, a strip of land inside the Gaza boundary that eats up 30 percent of the small territory’s farmland.
This buffer zone only tightens the Israeli chokehold over Gaza’s two million residents who are besieged by the Israeli military from land, sea and air.
From the north and east, Gaza is surrounded by Israeli artillery, tanks, snipers and military checkpoints. From the sea it is blockaded by Israeli warships that constantly fire on Gaza’s fishers, and from the south, the Egyptian military collaborates with Israel to maintain the closure of the Rafah crossing, the only lifeline to the outside world for most people in Gaza.
Sick with worry as I followed the day’s events from a distance, I called my mom in Gaza. I knew she had been looking forward to this evening’s celebration of her nephew Abed’s wedding, with drums banging as people joyfully sing and dance dabke.
My mom sounded overwhelmed over the phone. When I asked if the wedding was still on, she said yes.
“But given our neighbor’s devastating loss and your cousin’s injury, the zaffa [the celebratory procession] is canceled and the wedding songs will be substituted with revolution songs celebrating freedom fighters,” she said.
My parents, like other Palestinians, anticipated Israel’s violence today, but for them Israeli violence is constant, so carrying on with the wedding is not as strange as it might sound. It’s a way to show that life goes on. Our daily lives are defined by paradoxes like this.
They also went to the place of protest in eastern Jabaliya yesterday to help set up the “return tents”, a recreation of 1948 Nakba Palestinian refugees’ tents which will remain rooted there until 15 May – Nakba Day – to call for our long-denied right of return to the lands from which we were expelled by Israel in 1948.
That right that remains at the core of our anti-colonial struggle.
This morning, they went to my grandfather’s house, where the wedding lunch was set to take place, not knowing that it would turn into a funeral.
Far from home
Our short conversation left me feeling further detached from my current place of residence in the UK, where the majority of people are spending Good Friday with their families in safety and happiness.
But in Palestine, Good Friday was stained with bloodshed and brutal violence, thanks to Israel.
There is no justification for Israel to open fire against protesters posing no threat whatsoever.
There is no justification for suppressing people whose right to resist colonial oppression is guaranteed by international law. The fact that Israel has been able to continue this brutal violence against Palestinians with total impunity for 70 years reflects a deep-seated moral problem in our world.
My thoughts and feelings on his killing are complex and cannot fully be expressed in words.
Abu Thurayya was actually one of four people killed by Israel on the same day. All were protesting against Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Yet because both of his legs had previously been amputated, the local and international media paid more attention to Abu Thurayya’s story than they do to the experiences of most Palestinian victims.
Many articles on his killing highlighted how Abu Thurraya posed no threat to the Israeli military to argue for his victimhood.
Palestinians killed by Israel usually don’t pose any real threat to that state’s heavily armed forces. Yet the question about whether he posed a threat shouldn’t even arise.
The very question ignores the power dynamics between a soldier serving an occupying power and civilians who have spent their entire lives under occupation. Asking a question about whether a Palestinian poses a threat is a subtle way of putting the blame on the victims.
I have no wish to tell a story of a 29-year-old whose disability did not make him immune to Israel’s lethal weapons. We have lost so many people that our wounds have never healed. Another killing deepens the pain felt in our open wounds.
I know too well the level of dehumanization to which Israel subjects us.
Israel and its supporters openly describe us as a “demographic threat.” Our history and identity, indeed our very existence as a people threaten to destroy all the myths that Israel has propagated in its desperate search for “international legitimacy.”
I know too well that being a Palestinian is enough reason for Israel to kill us.
Why should the specific tragedy of Ibrahim Abu Thurayya suddenly awaken people to Israel’s brutality against Palestinians? There are thousands of other striking examples – children being killed, beaten up (sometimes in front of cameras) and terrorized in Israeli jails – that only received a fraction of the attention being paid in this case.
It troubles me that we seem to have more sympathy for Abu Thurayya than we do for other victims.
Abu Thurayya had to have both his legs amputated after being attacked by Israel in April 2008.
Would we have felt less sympathy for Abu Thurayya if he had been killed in that attack? If so, why? It would have been the same victim, the same family devastated by losing a loved one.
Ibrahim Abu Thurayya was much more than a man who lost both his legs. He emphasized that much himself.
Abu Thurayya kept on working after he was attacked. He washed cars for a living and once said: “Please never look at my disabled body. Look at the great job I am doing.”
Losing his legs, he added, was “not the end of the world and life should go on.”
Abu Thurayya refused to be imprisoned by his disability. He also tried to live as freely as he could within the open-air prison of Gaza.
With his positive attitude, he provided an extraordinary example of dignity and resistance.
Since April 2008, Abu Thurayya had been featured in many news stories. He said a similar thing in each of them: “I challenge my disability, I challenge Israel as well.”
In his own way, Abu Thurayya had won a victory over Israel’s attempts to dehumanize Palestinians.
His story would require a book to do it justice – it is a story that must be placed within the collective Palestinian experience of Israeli colonialism. Yet there are some key components of that story which we must not forget.
He was born a third-generation refugee in Gaza’s Beach refugee camp. As a teenager, he worked as a fisherman. Every day he would venture out in a humble boat in waters patrolled by the Israeli Navy – a force that often uses brutal methods to prevent Gaza’s fishermen from plying their trade.
Abu Thurayya was just 20 when he had to have his legs amputated. He continued defying Israel until the end.
The final instance of his defiance came last Friday. Abu Thurayya stood in Gaza’s soil on the stumps of his amputated legs. He was waving a Palestinian flag, when an Israeli soldier on the other side of the fence fired at him, piercing his head with a bullet.
Abu Thurayya reminds me of Nadia, a character in Letter from Gaza, a short story which Ghassan Kanafaniwrote in 1956.
Nadia was aged 13 when she lost a leg when Israel carried out massacres in Gaza that year. She had been wounded while trying to shield her siblings from Israel’s bombs.
In that story, Kanafani implores that a friend living in California return to Gaza so that he can “learn from Nadia’s leg, amputated from the top of the thigh, what life is and what existence is worth.”
Shortly before he was killed, Ibrahim Abu Thurayya was filmed, saying: “This is our land and we will not give up.”
We can all learn about life from his story. That is why it must be shared, taught and remembered.
Stranded at the Rafah border crossing, Gaza. Picture shot on 29/09/2013
A clip on AJ+ titled, “Save the Children says Gaza has become unlivable for its one million children,” triggered a troubling anger in me. Sounds familiar? A UN report published in 2005 warned that the Gaza Strip could become “unliveable” by 2020.
As a person born and raised in Gaza’s open-air prison until just before Israel’s deadliest attack in summer 2014, this statement evokes numerous traumatic flashbacks. It makes me wonder: Has Gaza ever been liveable since Israel came to existence?
I cannot help but be furious at how the world continues to be blind to the fact that Gaza has already been unliveable for not only a year, or a decade, but for several decades. The disastrous humanitarian circumstances that this enclave has endured do not go back to when Israel officially designated Gaza as a ‘hostile entity’, legitimating the collective punishment of its population. It goes back to when Israel was created and the consequent influx of displaced Palestinians that were crammed into Gaza.
My grandparents were among those dispersed and dispossessed. Right now it just feels too painful to even think of how they coped with the experience of being uprooted from their evergreen villages. Yes, since even then, Gaza has been unliveable. Israeli missiles don’t have to be falling over civilians’ rooftops, killing innocents, for life there to ‘become’ unliveable.
It’s been almost 4 years since I left Gaza, and my memories remain very vivid, despite some memories I wish I could forget forever. I wish I didn’t have to draw examples from them.
A few months before Israel launched its most recent massacre in summer 2014, I remember being so depressed at times that I questioned whether my life was worth living. But I should have only questioned the humanity of the international community and imperial powers that endorsed our dehumanisation. Although I always compared myself with others who were in worse situations in order to be thankful for what I had, my life was unliveable. I remember being upset for missing the graduation ceremony, to which my classmates and I were looking forward, so we could celebrate surviving four years of our BA degree together. To comfort myself, I kept reminding myself of my privilege to have ‘luckily’ received a full scholarship to further my higher education, a dream that we all shared.
But this ‘privilege’ has an enormous toll on me, physically and mentally. Some of its costs accompany me still. For weeks, I persistently tried to cross the Rafah border while focused on my goals, in order to feed my hope and determination. For weeks, I woke up before anybody in the house did. My attempts to cross the border failed so often that I gave up on saying goodbye, and I couldn’t handle the sorrow in my parents’ eyes from having seen me in that situation – trapped, scared and distressed. For weeks, I shared this journey of humiliation with thousands of stranded people, including patients dying, students, children, elderly, and women, all desperately and miserably waiting for their nightmare at the Rafah border to come to an end. I eventually made it out without saying goodbye.
That was neither human nor liveable.
Numerous aspects of life there were unbearable. They still are. Whenever I talk to my family, we rarely engage in a serious conversation. We spend the little time we have – as long as there is power, thus internet – teasing each other and making jokes that usually revolve around electricity. Their humor itself is a coping mechanism that hides immense sorrow and unshed tears. However, being their daughter that knows them so well, I feel the sorrow in their eyes and voices and the topics they choose to share with me – I even feel it in their exaggerated pride of me. They believe that our separation and dispersion is a price for our success, and therefore any symbolic success is overly celebrated among the extended family and even on social media to cope with the trauma of our forced absence. I do feel a heartache when I think of them and of how they’re coping in these increasingly suffocating circumstances. I do feel a stab when I look back and count the years that I had to do without their physical presence in my life. No family should ever live with being forcefully dispersed.
None of this is liveable.
If we are enduring this brutal reality, it is because we love life. We are desperate for an ordinary life, and for that end we have coped somehow with the extraordinary and inhumane situations which surround us. For us, that is a form of resistance, as the other option was succumbing to despair. But our resistance to despair does not make our reality livable.
It’s been forever unliveable. We have expressed our pain and recounted the brutality that we endured before the eyes of the whole world. We voiced our desperation in so many ways, ranging from testimonies, to art and documentary, to armed-struggle against our occupying power, Israel, which has the mightiest military in the world. It doesn’t need an expert or the UN or Save the Children or an international body to testify that Gaza ‘has become unliveable’ or ‘might become uninhabitable by 2020’.
Gaza has been unliveable as a direct result of Israel’s existence, and the whole world has to be accountable for this ongoing dehumanizing cycle of violence that is endorsed by treating Israel as a normal state, which effectively means sentencing Palestinians to eternal misery.
International boycott of Israel is the way forward.
Below is the abstract of an academic article I published atKohl Journal. To read the article in full, press here.
Abstract: After a video accidently caught a sexual harassment incident I was subjected to at the Rafah border, my body became the ground upon which the most hegemonic ideological powers operating in Gaza fought for dominance. The video pushed me and my personhood to the margins under the rubric of my “protection” as a woman, an issue that is perceived by the general community as “common sense.” The media discourse that surrounded the incident demonstrates women’s multiple struggles in the Palestinian community and the central role that media and power structures play in defining and reinforcing certain hegemonic discourses, such as patriarchy. However, women have performed uncountable examples of implicit and explicit resistance to reclaim their agency in the face of oppression and patriarchy. In my case, social media tools allowed me to reclaim the original context of the event and expose the patriarchal cultural traditions that reduces women to their bodies and restricts and marginalises them. It also succeeded in paving the ground for more open discussion around the violations the women are subjected to on a daily basis in public and private spheres, and challenged the cultural taboo around sexual violence against women.
This picture features me behind Rafah Border Crossing, protesting against its closure on 29 September 2013
The Technion works in partnership with a number of Israel’s arms manufacturers and has even helped develop a remote-controlled function for the D9 bulldozers that Israel uses to demolish Palestinian homes.
The BDS motion also demands that the University of Manchester sells nearly £15 million ($19 million) worth of shares in corporations linked to Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians. These corporations include Caterpillar, maker of the D9 bulldozer.
The vote is the result of a long campaign by Palestine solidarity activists in Manchester, who insisted that their tuition fees must not be used to support institutions complicit in Israel’s crimes.
The BDS motion was approved following a poignant speech by Huda Ammori, a British-Palestinian student, who chairs the Recognise Refugee Rights society in the university. She referred to how her own father had to leave Palestine when he was just 6 years old. His family’s home in the Tulkarem area of the West Bank came under attack by Israeli forces in 1967.
“My father was forced out of his house in Palestine,” Ammori said. “The Israeli military shot at him and his siblings. He had to hide under the table, hoping to survive. They ran from the back of their house barefoot and had to hide in caves without any means of survival.
“I wish I had the privilege to say that my grandparents were in Palestine. But I don’t because they were ethnically cleansed. My great grandparents were there. My great great grandparents were there, too. But they [my grandparents] were forced out in order for the State of Israel to exist and to maintain a majority Jewish population – on the ruins of Palestinian refugees.”
“BDS is necessary to strip Israel of its impunity,” she added. “It is necessary to ensure that Palestinians regain their most fundamental human and political rights: freedom, justice, equality and return.”
The vote is particularly significant as the University of Manchester has strong historical links to the Zionist movement. Chaim Weizmann, the Zionist movement’s top lobbyist in Britain during the first half of the 20th century, worked as a scientist in the university. He went on to become Israel’s first president.
Today’s Zionist lobby is dedicating much energy to try and counter the BDS movement. The pro-Israel lobby tries to portray the BDS movement as motivated by anti-Semitism, despite how the movement explicitly condemns all forms of racial and religious bigotry.
Some opponents of the BDS motion in Manchester alleged that it made Jewish students feel unsafe. Ammori stressed, however, that growing numbers of Jews are insisting that Palestinians be granted justice and equality.
“This support is growing because they understand that it has nothing to do with Jewishness but with the Zionist oppressive colonial ideology that enables Israel’s ongoing oppression against Palestinians,” Ammori told The Electronic Intifada.
The BDS work will have to be sustained in the University of Manchester, even if demanding respect for Palestinian rights would appear to be in line with the college’s official commitment to “social responsibility.”
“It’s a great victory but this is only the beginning,” Etisha Choudhury, chair of the Action Palestine society in the university, said. “We are going to celebrate it but also work harder to be stronger and more effective in order to bring about more victories. We still have a massive journey ahead. We will continue until the university divests and cuts ties with the Technion.”
Palestine solidarity activists expect that they will encounter attempts to prevent the BDS motion from being enforced, despite how it was endorsed in a democratic vote. One fear is that the university’s administration will use the argument that cutting its links with Israel will cause “reputational damage.”
Ammori contended that the university would suffer worse damage to its reputation if it kept doing business with the Technion.
“They [the university’s administrators] claim to be socially responsible,” she said. “This is impossible given their association with the Technion, the weapons laboratory of the Israeli military.”
Ever since the emergence of the Palestinian cause, art has been the visual expression of the Palestinian struggle for liberation. Most visual production of Palestinian artists has been strongly tied with the political conditions that Zionist settler-colonialism brought in, shaping every facet of the Palestinians’ daily life. Palestinian artists are not exempt from these conditions. Palestinian art has mostly – but not only – reflected the Palestinian people’s suffering and state of loss and exile that the traumatic events of the 1948 Nakba caused.
The well-known Palestinian artist and art historian Kamal Boullata raised some questions regarding Palestinian art that I will try to offer a humble answer for through my drawings.
“How does one create art under the threat of sudden death and the unpredictability of invasion and siege? More specifically, how do Palestinian artists articulate their awareness of space when their homeland’s physical space is being diminished daily by barriers and electronic walls and when their own homes could at any moment be occupied by soldiers or even blown out of existence? In what way can an artist engage with the homeland’s landscape when ancient orange and olive groves are being systematically destroyed? When the grief of bereaved families is reduced by the mass media to an abstraction transmitted at lightning speed to a TV screen, what language can a visual artist use to express such grief? (Boullata, 2004)”
This piece will be a personal reflection on my life journey through the lens of my art that was mainly inspired from experiences instilled in my memory from my life in the Gaza Strip, Palestine.
Palestinian art as a narrative instrument of resistance:
Figure 2: For the Sake of the Sun
Palestinian art, from the twentieth century up until now, has always been a visual reflection of the Palestinian struggle that aimed to depict the reality of the Palestinian people, their hopes and aspirations, their suffering, coupled with resistance. It is also a visual self-representation tool that aims to provide a counter narrative to the hegemonic Zionist misleading narrative of the Palestinian reality, to raise political awareness on the Palestinian issue and urge for mobilisation at an international level.
Speaking of narrative brings to mind the words of Edward Said, the late Palestinian exiled academic and writer, which reminds that, “no clear and simple narrative is adequate to the complexity of our experience” (After the Last Sky 1986: 6).
“To be sure, no single Palestinian can be said to feel what most other Palestinians feel: ours has been too various and scattered a fate for that sort of correspondence,” Said eloquently stated. “But there is no doubt that we do in fact form a community, if at heart a community built on suffering and exile” (After the Last Sky 1986: 5-6).
Certainly, Palestinian art has served as a narrative instrument that is used to challenge the hegemonic Zionist narrative which has been tirelessly trying to erase them. Zionism’s existence was fundamentally based on the negation of the very existence of the Palestinian people, a fact that is implicit in Israel’s fourth Prime Minister, Golda Meir’s infamous quotation that, “There was no such thing as Palestinians, they never existed” (Matar, 2011, p. 84).
Among many other forms of expression, art for many Palestinians was seen as a way to visually participate in writing their own narrative, to express their identity, to empower the Palestinians’ voices, and to move beyond the victim circle to become actors who actively, critically and creatively engage with their surrounding matters.
Over the course of the Palestinian struggle, the Palestinian people increasingly regarded every piece of art that came to reflect their living conditions in the Israeli grip as a means of resistance. Many Palestinian paintings displaying the ‘forbidden’ colors of the Palestinian flag have been confiscated, and many artists faced interrogation or even a prison sentence due their art that was perceived as ‘an act of incitement’. Let us not forget the late Palestinian influential exiled artists Ghassan Kanafani and Naji Al-Ali, whose art and literary production led to their murder.
Reflections on my artwork
Figure 3: Children of Refugee Camps: A violated Childhood
The majority of Palestinians have become politicised due to their complex and intense political reality that shapes every aspect of their lives. I am no exception. Art for me was an expressive tool in which I found empowerment to my voice. It served as my humble tactic to overcome the state of siege and occupation imposed on us, to escape the feeling of helplessness that can be easily felt in such suppressive and oppressive life conditions that the Palestinian people endure which I was born within. It was also a tool that I used to engage politically and socially with the harsh surrounding. While living in Gaza, my art was an attempt to connect not only on an internal level as a part of the Palestinian community, but also internationally through online social networks that I used as a bridge that connects the international community with the Palestinian people’s struggle for liberation, which should be addressed as a central global issue.
Since my birth in Jabalia Refugee Camp in the north of the Gaza Strip, the biggest and most densely populated refugee camp in Palestine, I have never known what life is like without occupation and siege, injustice and horror. Like the child depicted in Figure 3, growing up in Jabalia refugee camp was the window to understanding the Palestinian reality under occupation. Art has been the way I naturally sought since a very early age to describe what I felt was indescribable.
In the context of Palestine under which people endure unbearable living conditions, creativity is a necessary tool for survival and a way towards less depression and better physical and mental health.
Personally, observing the Palestinian children being born in a difficult reality that subjugates them to terror and trauma at very young age was the most painful. Thus, most of my drawings are of Palestinian children whose innocent facial expressions I find most telling. Check Figure 3, 4 , 5, 6 and 7 in the slideshow below:
An ongoing Nakba:
My generation, the third-generation refugees, was already blueprinted with the traumatic events of the Nakba, which for Palestinians, is not only a tragic historical event that resides in the past, only to be commemorated once a year with events that include art exhibits and national festivals among other things. “It was never one Nakba,” my grandmother used to say asserting that it was never a one-off event that happened in 1948. The Nakba is experienced instead as the uninterrupted process of Israeli settler-colonialism and domination that was given continuity by the 1967 occupation, and which every aspect of daily Palestinian life is affected by. Growing up hearing our grandmothers recount the life they had before, the dispossessed lands that most would never see again, has formed the collective memory of the Palestinian people. My grandmother described a peaceful life in green fields of citrus and olive trees, the tastes, the sounds, the smells that remained only in her memories in our village Beit-Jirja which was violently emptied of its inhabitants and razed to the ground in 1948 like hundreds of other villages.
As Boullata described, ‘Today, memory continues to be the connective tissue through which Palestinian identity is asserted and it is the fuel that replenishes the history of their cultural resistance’ (Boullata, 2009, p. 103). Palestinian art has been always perceived as a cultural form of political resistance which often addressed issues related to collective memory, memories of the Nakba, and the lived reality of injustices and oppression endured by Palestinians under the on-going occupation with an emphasis on the people’s resistance in the face of Israel’s brutality as coupled with hope, which in itself is resistance. Art has served as a basic mobilization tool that was gradually perceived, not only by the Palestinian public, but also by the Israeli forces “as emblematic of a collective national identity and crucibles of defiant resistance to occupation” (Boullata, 2004).
Several drawings of mine, such as those featured below, were an attempt to emphasize this hope through the continuity of the struggle from one generation to another. They were my response to several Zionist leaders who assumed that time will make the Palestinian refugees forget about their right to return. The drawings come to assert that they were absolutely wrong. The old will die and the young will keep on holding the key, embracing their legitimate right to return. The key is a symbol of the undying Palestinian hope that return is inevitable. The young generation is perceived as those who will carry the burden of the cause and continue the struggle that the previous generation started until freedom, justice, equality and return to the Palestinian people. Thus, Palestinian children became the symbol through which “We nurse hope” as Mahmoud Darwish said (Darwish, 2002).
From an early age, drawing was not only a tool of expression, but also a way to convey a political message, to call for mobilisation in support of the Palestinian struggle. The power of art lays in the fact that is a universal language to communicate the unspeakable that many people in safety zones cannot fully understand. With the availability of online platforms, it became possible to reach beyond borders and checkpoints to a wider audience.
I was only nine years old when my parents noticed my drawing skills that were limited to black warplanes, pillars of smoke in the sky and crying eyes. This coincided with the eruption of the second intifada in September 2000 when I used to accompany my mother and aunt to the martyrs’ funeral tents to offer our condolences. I used to hate the green colour, as it was associated in my memory with martyrs’ funeral tents, which were disturbingly visible in Jabalia refugee camp’s landscape. The first poem I ever learned to memorize by heart was one by the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish entitled, “And He Returned …In A Coffin”. As a nine-year old girl, I stood in front of everyone sitting along the benches in the marquee, looked into the people’s tearful eyes, and in a powerful but shaking voice, I recited,
They speak in our homeland
they say in sorrow
about my comrade who passed
and returned in a coffin
Do you remember his name?
Don’t mention his name!
Let him rest in our hearts.
Let’s not let the word get lost
in the air like ash.
It was moments like these, during the tumult of the second intifada that fundamentally shaped my consciousness about the land and my place in it. Since childhood, the scenes of war, the faces of martyrs, the injured and detained people, the cries and weeping of the martyrs’ relatives over the loss of their beloved, have been chasing me day and night. These scenes pushed me to seek art as a way to express my emotions, to reconcile with my wounds, to reflect on my memories and experiences that many Palestinians share.
Humanising Prisoners’ issue through art
Chains Shall Break
Moreover, being a daughter of an ex-detainee means I have grown a unique attachment to the plight of the Palestinian political prisoners, not only from a political perspective but also from a personal one. My father spent a total of fifteen years in Israeli jails, a part of his original seven life sentences. The stories of resilience, suffering and oppression that I grew up hearing from him about his stolen youth in Israeli jails have made me develop a particular passion to advocate for justice for Palestinian political prisoners who endure inhumane living conditions under the Israel Prison Service which denies them their most basic rights.
However, in spite of its importance, the issue of Palestinian political prisoners and their families who suffer immensely from the pain of longing and separation and are often denied their right to family visits is not given the deserved attention in the political arena. They are not only marginalized, but also dehumanized as whenever they are mentioned in the media discourse, they are mentioned as merely statistics or numbers. Through the drawings below, I attempted to humanize the prisoners’ plight and draw attention to their daily resistance in the face of the oppressive Israeli jailers that treat them as if they are not humans. I tried to depict their determination to break their chains, their resisting spirit in Israeli jails. I also tried to express their families’ pain as they are imprisoned in time, waiting for a day when their re-union without barriers in between will be possible again.
The Pain of Waiting: Imprisoned in Time
This drawing above was an attempt to show how waiting for a reunion between the prisoners and their families is in itself a torment. My mother experienced seeing my father being violently captured in front of her eyes from the middle of their house three times when the first intifada erupted in December 1987. She was a newly married bride expecting her first child, my eldest brother Majed, when he was re-arrested and forced to serve an administrative detention order, an arbitrary procedure that Israel uses against the Palestinian people to imprison people without charge or trial, usually based on secret information that neither the detainee nor his lawyer have access to. The experience was repeated when my elder sister Majd was born, and lastly soon after my birth. My mother has always described the torturous experience of waiting for my father’s release, how she spent days and nights staring at the clock, waiting impatiently to hear some news from him while her right to family visits was denied.
The imprisonment experience repeats itself hundreds of thousands of times across Palestine, regardless of gender or age. I have many family members, friends and neighbours who experienced unbearable conditions that range from physical torture to psychological torture to even sexual torture. Palestinian political prisoners have always resisted the brutality of the Israel Prison Service. They have no weapon but hunger to protest their inhumane living conditions and call for their right to proper medical care, the right to family visits and other basic rights under international law while imprisoned. “Hunger strike until either martyrdom or freedom” is a motto that many prisoners adopted. The drawing below aimed to illustrate the spirit of this motto.
Hunger Until Either Martyrdom or Freedom
Memories of War
The turning point of my life was at the age of seventeen, after witnessing the 22-day massacre that the Israeli occupation forces committed against our people in Gaza in 2008-09. During that dismal period when we remained in darkness amidst the continuous bombing, destruction and mass killing of Palestinians in Gaza, I had a terrible sense of being isolated from the rest of the world. The trauma of seeing such levels of brutality was intense. No one was certain if they would live for another day or not.
One of the most memorable moments is that when one night, I was sitting in darkness, surrounded by my mother and siblings in one small room of our house under one blanket. No voice could be heard, just heartbeats and heavy, shaky breaths. The beating and breathing grew louder after every new explosion we felt crashing around, shaking our home and lighting up the sky. Then suddenly, the door of our house opened violently and somebody shouted, “Leave home now!” It was my dad rushing in to evacuate our house because of a bomb threat to a neighbour. I remember that my siblings and I grasped Mum and started running outside unconsciously, barefoot. For three days we stayed in a nearby house, powerless as we sat, waiting to be either killed, or wounded, or forced to watch our home destroyed.
This merciless and inhumane attack killed at least 1417 men, women and children. I wasn’t among them but what if I had been? Would I be buried like any one of them in a grave, nothing left of me but a blurry picture stuck on the wall and the memory of another teenage girl slain too young? Would I have been for the world just a number, a dead person? I refused to dwell on that thought. Many drawings of mine, such as those below, were inspired from memories attached to this traumatic event whose memories always floated back whenever an attack was repeated. Most importantly, resorting to art was a necessary means that helped me preserve my sanity and overcome harsh traumatic events that I experienced throughout my life in the suffocating blockade of the Gaza Strip.
While living under conditions of ghettoization, occupation and military assault, a continuation of the Zionist domination of the Palestinian land that was dispossessed in 1948 for the ‘Jewish state’ to be founded, Palestinian artists continue to be driven to express themselves in paint, photography, and other visual media, with having the Palestinian struggle for liberation as the central theme for their artwork. Art has offered Palestinians a platform to engage with the politicaly complex reality and express the suppressed voice of the Palestinian people in visual forms that can communicate universally. It was also a way to humanise the people’s suffering that is usually dehumanised in mainstream media and reduced to a dry coverage of abstractions that present them as numbers and statistics. Palestinian art, therefore, has been perceived as a form of political resistance, a mobilization tool, a way to assert the Palestinians’ embrace of our legitimate political and human rights, such as the right to return, the right to self-determination, and the right to live in dignity and freedom.
A local magazine’s picture features my grandmother Tamam shouting at an Israeli soldiers during a curfew imposed on Jabalia Refugee Camp during the first Intifada
Edward Said once eloquently wrote,
To be sure, no single Palestinian can be said to feel what most other Palestinians feel: ours has been too various and scattered a fate for that sort of correspondence. But there is no doubt that we do in fact form a community, if at heart a community built on suffering and exile.
This shared state of suffering and exile has started since 1948 when the Zionist state of Israel waged its so-called War of Independence, which Palestinians call al-Nakba. Then, the series of Palestinian tragedies of uprootedness, dispossession and state of permanent temporality of the exile began; more than 800,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their villages and currently number more than six million Palestinians dispersed within the Occupied Territories and in exile, mostly in the neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
As Palestinians are commemorating the 67th of Nakba, my grandmother, whose no longer present in my life, feels more present in my thoughts and closer to my heart than any other day. As children, my grandmother brought up my siblings and me while my parents went to work. The more I became aware of the challenging life she led, the more I admired her. She was truly a fighter. The picture above was shot during the first Intifada when Jabalia Refugee Camp was under curfew and no one was allowed to enter the camp. This picture was printed on the front page of Al-Ayyam, a local magazine with a caption reading “Palestinian women arguing with an Israeli soldier at the entrance of the camp”. Armless as she stood without any fear, shouting powerfully at an armed-to-teeth Israeli soldier who ironically seem scared of her. She was filled with anger for being prohibited to enter and go to her home where my grandfather was dying. Dad saved the picture in spite of my grandmother’s rejection. She was frightened of this picture as she thought, “the Israeli occupation can do anything. A picture can make you a convict”.
My generation, the third-generation refugees, was deeply blueprinted with the traumatic events of the Nakba, which for Palestinians, is not only a tragic historical event that resides in the past, only to be commemorated once a year with events that include demonstrations, clashes with the Israeli forces, art exhibits and national festivals among other things. The memories of the old days in our green villages were our day and night stories that we were brought up hearing, our lullabies that always put us to sleep. I am no exception.
Since Nakba, my grandmother led a life of exile, which Edward Said described as, “the unbearable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home”. It always felt to me that she was incomplete, torn in between her physical place Jabalia Refugee Camp, and the place that she was dispossessed and exiled from Beit-Jerja. Nevertheless, my grandmother embraced the dream to return to Beit-Jerja until the last day of her life. She made sure her grandchildren memorize the stories she always repeated of the old days without any boredom as if stressing, “Never forget!”
“It was never one Nakba,” my grandmother used to say asserting that it was never a one-off event that happened in 1948. The Nakba is experienced instead as the uninterrupted process of Israeli settler-colonialism and domination that was given continuity by the 1967 occupation, and which every aspect of daily Palestinian life is affected by. Growing up hearing our grandmothers recount the life they had before, the dispossessed lands that most would never see again, has formed the collective memory of the Palestinian people. My grandmother described a peaceful life in green fields of citrus and olive trees, the tastes, the sounds, the smells that remained only in her memories in our village Beit-Jirja which was violently emptied of its inhabitants and razed to the ground in 1948 like hundreds of other villages. My grandmother, then, was a pregnant mother with a 2-year-old boy when she lived the trauma of the Nakba, a fact that made her deliver her second child before time as she was in panic making her way to northern Gaza.
At the beginning, she thought it would be a matter of few weeks and in no time, she would return and harvest the crops of olives, grapes and citrus fruits that they left behind. But they never did, or – to keep the hope alive – let’s say they didn’t return yet. Though illiterate, she understood the aim behind the United Nations’ ‘humanitarian’ work, which, she argued, wasn’t to ‘solve’ the problem of the displaced people back them, but to sentence them to a life-long refugee status. She could foresee that the aids that the UN provided were part of a systematic process aimed at making Palestinian refugees forget about their political rights and strip them from their past, a deliberate process that seeks to get them locked in the moment waiting to receive some help or charity to survive.
Similarly, the Palestinian intellectual Jabra I. Jabra, who was born in the same year as my grandmother in 1920, reflected on his memories of Nakba and in a very bitter language he wrote, “the dislodged population was to be deliberately called ‘refugees’” and that “the horrific political and human issue would be twisted that the maximum response it might elicit from a then weary world would be some act of charity, if at all”, and “we would be lumped together with them (the Second World War refugees), at worst another demographic case for the United Nations”, and the systematic destruction and ethnic cleansing of Palestine would be “soon to be hailed by hack novelists and propagandists in America and Europe as a heroic ‘return’”. Then the victims, who paid a devastating price for a crime committed in Europe, will be told: “You’re refugees, don’t make a nuisance of yourselves: we’ll do something about it. Refugee aid after a few months will trickle in: you’ll be numbered and housed in tattered tents and tin shacks. And try and forget, please. Hang on to your rocks wherever you are, and try to forget”.
Zionism has been clearly concerned about the Palestinian refugees whose negation is the most consistent thread running through Zionism. It has desperately attempted to erase them from the dominant narrative that reduced the settler-colonial Zionist project to a ‘heroic return’ and a mere ‘re-claiming’ of a land originally promised to them by God. Israel’s fourth prime minister, Golda Meir who notoriously once said, “There was no such thing as Palestinians, they never existed”, assumed that time will make the Palestinian refugees forget about their right to return: ‘The old will die and the young will forget’. Similarly, Ben-Gurion once bluntly said, “We must do everything to ensure that they never do return!” However, Palestinians, generation after generation, have demonstrated that forgetting was deemed just impossible and unthinkable. Thus, it is no wonder that the issues of the Palestinian refugees, as well as the Palestinian citizens of ‘Israel’ are the ones that electrify Israel the most.
As Jabra I. Jabra once stressed, “The Palestinian may still be an exile and a wanderer, but his voice is raised in anger, not in lamentation”. Currently, Palestinians, including intellectuals, artists, journalists and activists, are dispersed everywhere, doing every thing possible to make the issue of Palestine reclaim its centrality in the world’s political arena. The Palestinian struggle for liberation has become a global struggle thanks to the collective efforts of justice believers around the world. This anger shall keep resonating as long as Palestinians keep enduring the injustices that were brought to them due to the existence of the Zionist state of Israel, regardless of their geographic location. Countless examples of Palestinians have constantly demonstrated that even if the elderly die without returning, the young will keep on holding the key, embracing their legitimate right to return.
This video, which this blog post aims to publicize as much as possible, has been produced as a part of a campaign to encourage SOAS (London’s School of Oriental and African Studies) to break its ties with Israeli academic institutions.
Next week, 23-27 February, there will be a school-wide referendum in which students, academics and other staff members will vote on whether to boycott Israeli academic institutions and put pressure on SOAS to follow the BDS guidelines.
For weeks we have been campaigning for a yes vote, organizing events, distributing flyers and posters to raise awareness about the complicity of Israeli academic institutions in the ongoing oppression and human rights violations of the Palestinian people.
In this video we as the student and academic body of the BDS campaign aim to expose SOAS’s collaboration with Israeli academic institutions, such as Hebrew University, which are deeply tied to the Israeli military. We should not, as students and academics, let SOAS maintain these links in our name.
My journey to SOAS
In September, I made it to SOAS after a long and hard journey that really exhausted me. However, every day I feel happier that I was so determined to make my dream of becoming a student in SOAS come true.
Shortly after my graduation from Al-Azhar University, Gaza, with a degree in English literature, I had to start applying for scholarships to fund my postgraduate studies abroad, a dream that I always sought to realize. Fortunately, I won two scholarships: one to Britain and another to Turkey. It sounds like I had the luxury to just pick any country in which to pursue my studies. However, it was the Rafah crossing that chose for me to seek Turkey as a bridge, a secure exit onto my final destination of England were I could finally join SOAS.
On 1 October 2013, I made it to Turkey after almost a month worth of daily attempt to cross the gate of the Rafah border crossing. Rafah crossing was, and continues to be, a gate of humiliation and dehumanization, a gate that stands as an obstacle for many people in reaching out for their ambitions, a gate that puts a population of 1.8 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip under a slow-death sentence.
A bird being set free is the feeling I had when I finally crossed the border. Nevertheless, this sense of freedom was always hijacked and violated any time I was obliged to show my Palestinian Authority passport — a common story for millions of Palestinians!
I lived in Istanbul for a period of ten months. I struggled with a sense of fragmentation that I never had before. I had been shattered between two places, physically being in Turkey but mentally and emotionally being in Palestine. This feeling reached the highest point when on 8 July 2014, the Israeli occupation forces launched one of their most barbaric and genocidal wars against the Gaza Strip.
This 51-day attack was the first I saw from outside, an experience that I found more devastating than the many wars I witnessed while being around family, when we shock as we heard missiles landing around us day and night, threatening everyone’s lives. I was locked in my safe zone in Istanbul while suffering a psychological war that nearly drove me insane.
I had to deal with a serious challenge to keep my sanity while enduring an exhausting fear that I could lose any person dear to me any moment. This fear haunted me more and more, especially after I learned about the murder of my uncle from mum’s side, Mohammed Louz, and two neighbors with whom I grew up in the same house, Ahmad and Hazem Murad.
Vote “Yes” on BDS
A design done by SOAS BDS campaign in support of the academic boycott
Reflecting on that period is quite difficult to put in words. Every experience endured at the hands of the Zionist state of Israel feeds into my anger. My experiences empower my determination to move on and continue fighting the bubble of impunity that Israel is protected by, given a green light from the “international community.”
On 8 September 2014, twelve days after the announcement of the ceasefire, I officially became a masters student at SOAS, studying Media and the Middle East. I was a bit scared starting this new chapter of my life in which everything was new. But nothing could be more healing, inspiring or rewarding to me.
Every day lived here at SOAS makes me feel more like being at home. The secret behind this feeling has been the amazing and inspiring people I have met, especially the Palestine Society which embraced me, and I equally embraced. What brought us together was a shared conviction in the Palestinian people’s just cause, a shared commitment to the fight for freedom, justice and equality.
We, as students and academics who believe that academia is not neutral, and is actually political, believe that the campus is our battlefield to fight for what is right and push for a political stand that should be sided with the oppressed and against the oppressor, a stand against racism, oppression and occupation and in favor of justice.
Boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) is a tactic that we believe is an effective way for the international community to translate their solidarity with the Palestinian people into actions that can push the struggle for justice for the Palestinian people forward. We believe that BDS is a way to end Israel’s impunity and make them realize they cannot get away with their crimes against humanity, and that any crime they commit will cost them. The way to do it is to get the Israeli community out of their comfort zone, to encourage them to critically think of their state’s inhumane, racist and brutal policies and actions and to rebel against them.
At the moment, I feel more proud than ever to be a part of this community. We are now leading a campaign that is the first of its kind, not only in the UK, but also in Euro-American campuses.
Please dedicate five minutes to watch this video. It includes many SOAS academics and students who make the case for the academic boycott in a very eloquent and powerful way. Share the powerful message behind this video so others can be inspired to move beyond solidarity onto serious actions that can make a change for the Palestinian people.
Join the battle for justice, freedom and equality!
A Palestinian artist adds a creative touch on the pillars of smoke caused by the Israeli bombings in Gaza.
Below is my translation of a powerful article Louay Odeh wrote about the relationship between our Palestinian people in Gaza and resistance. I thought it is worth reading.
“The full support of resistance demonstrated by the Palestinian people in Gaza has been the greatest and the most obvious since the first Intifada 25 years ago,” A friend of mine from Gaza who is responsible for centres which became refuge to tens of thousands of families who have become homeless since the start of the Israeli offensive on Gaza.
It is not surprising to see the clear popular support of resistance, its call upon them to continue until their demands are met, and the total willingness and readiness of the public to pay whatever price entailed. It is not only related to the political affiliation, but resistance has become an integral part of geographic identity. It is difficult to find someone in Gaza who is opposing resistance, regardless of her/his political affliction. This is neither resulted from a united political program or adopting one strategy that unites everybody. It is the outcome of a general awareness our people in Gaza acquired by experience.
Every person in Gaza has become more experienced that the most well-known military or political analyst on earth. Everybody inGaza recognises the fact that there is no other option. They believe that they cannot trust any project, except for resistance, as it is the only thing that is able to offer a dignified human life to them. This conviction came after they lost trust in the so-called “peace process’, and anyone who represents it. They also lost trust in the international solidarity and human rights organisations and its agendas. Above all, they lost confidence in the Arab governments which usually exploits their cause to serve their own interest, not them.
Our Palestinian people in Gaza have paid blood and years amidst unbearable life under a suffocating siege until they reached this outcomes. No one managed to open a single crossing or offer the least human needs for them, such as water, electricity and freedom of movement. There are many attempts by political analysts who graduated from the most prominent universities, and political experts worldwide to understand Gaza and the harmonic relationship between its people and the resistance. They failed as Gaza doesn’t bend to any equation, and no political, or social or economical rule can be applied to Gaza due to its uniqueness.
In Gaza, you can find the Fateh-affiliated people opposing their leadership in Ramallah and chanting for resistance. In Gaza, you will find Muslims and Christians, the poor and the wealthy people, the Communists and the Islamists, all standing hand in hand with resistance with one hope uniting them: The victory of resistance.
Gaza which celebrate as it bleeds has its own uniqueness. Even Nature rules, such as sunset and sunrise, cannot be applied to like in Gaza. Life there is organised according to the power-cut program. For example, the morning may rise at 10 pm and disappear as sun is rising. Moreover, only in Gaza, a car can be sold after 5 years of use with a higher price because of how much it costed its owner. In Gaza, which is complex despite its simplicity, everybody knows that the end of this crisis and its outcomes will contribute to change their lives at least 2 years onwards. They have strong faith that the resistance will impose the conditions of truce which are going to be related their day-to-day life such as electricity, water or opening of borders. Therefore, this leaves no other option to the people but supporting resistance no matter what the cost will be.
Armed struggle is no longer a political strategy or merely a means of resistance. Resistance has become a wide term that includes many things. It is life. It is the ability to travel, to study, to receive a proper medical care. Above all, it has become a symbol for their dignity and an integral part of their identity. We’ve never heard them chanting for opening the borders, as they already know that it much be included among the conditions of possible ceasefire. Opening the borders will be the axiomatic outcome of the steadfastness of resistance in the battlefield. It will no longer controlled by a human will related to the mood of neighbouring countries and their agendas. The fact that everyone is conspiring against this piece of land imposed a new definition of resistance on them which will be taught later in military sciences. Gaza has managed to formulate this new definition which has become a central part of this geographic identity. Yes, it is identity that its most important component is resistance, and anyone who believes in humanity should feel honoured to adopt it.
Free Palestine. Down with Zionism. Glory for the martyrs!
My body shakes as tears fall out of control after watching the first minute of Al Jazeera’s 22-minute documentary on the Shujaiya massacre which Israel committed in the eastern Gaza City neighborhood a week ago today, killing dozens and flattening the entire area.
Thinking that the footage contained in Massacre at Dawn is just a fraction of the horror makes it even worse. No wonder Israel prevented media from covering the brutality that our people endured there.
(Readers in the United States can watch the documentary with English subtitles here. It can also be watched on Al Jazeera Arabic without subtitles.)
I tried to put myself to sleep as only sleep can give me a break from the pain. My attempts failed. So I got up to share with you the most heartbreaking scenes that keep playing back once I close my eyelids.
“My son is gone!”
The mother’s voice at 3:35 in the video saying, “My son is gone! Mahmoud is gone” echoes in my mind.
The mother was running, escaping death along with her son. Her son suddenly is shot and falls. She stops despite that Israeli forces were still shooting.
She risks her life to rescue him and starts screaming, “My son got injured. My son is dying. Help!” But no ambulances are allowed there. Finally a man comes, carries her son and they continue running. I don’t know if they survived.
Watch the traumatized elderly man at 5:58 who stutters, out of breath, “There was shelling. Everything was bombed.”
“We were stuck in the house while bombings everywhere. My son was killed and my hand got injured,” he says (my translation). “My son is still over there [in the house]. We were sitting together. I went to the toilet. I returned to find blood flooding out of his neck. He has been bleeding since the morning.”
Listen to the cries of the man at 7:00 who tries to prevent the camera from filming him, refusing to appear broken. “Instead of [us] feeding our babies with milk, they sent them rockets!” he exclaims.
The reporter asks him, “Do you have a house here?” He replies, “I have a house and I lost my four kids,” trying to hide his tears from the camera.
“Are they kids? Don’t worry. Speak so the world can see what we’re suffering here,” the reporter says. So the man tries hard to continue with a voice choked with tears, ”They’re kids. I don’t know where they are!” They might be lost, or dead, or under the rubble, some people took them or they evaporated, he says.
Listen to the woman at 8:05 who is running and screaming like mad: “Our house collapsed over us while were inside. We left, miraculously” (my translation).
Then comes the injured child Bisan Daher on her hospital bed at 9:35, whose condition is like countless others who were the only survivors of their massacred families. She lost her parents and her siblings.
At 10:20, a man is crying with his children: “We were sleeping at the house normally. I don’t know how, the house was shelled all of a sudden. And shelled once again. I got out to find my wife dying in the hallway” (my translation).
His son at 10:35 says (my translation): “Our house was destroyed and my mother was killed. We took her to hospital but she became a martyr. She was looking through the window of my sister’s room when a missile hit the apartment below us and killed her. And our house was destroyed, how will we live?”
At 10:55, the boy’s sister says, “We weren’t doing anything. I woke up after a ‘warning’ rocket hit our house. Only seconds later, we found Mom dying in the hallway. We started screaming, calling for ambulance to rescue her but she was already dead. May she rest in peace.”
“Just like in 1948!”
At 12:28, a man who is fleeing says (my translation), “At al-Mansoura street, we were running in between bodies, torn pieces are on both sides, everywhere. Houses collapsed over their inhabitants. Worse than Sabra and Shatila.”
Another man escaping with his family says at 16:10: ”Just like in 1948! We are fleeing again. Let the world hear this. This is a new exodus.”
Within the scene of people fleeing Shujaiya, an elderly man paralyzed by shock is unable to run. His son retrieves him and carries him on his back, as he says, “May God get revenge of them [Israel].”
#GazaUnderAttack: As you watch this, just remember that this is just a glimpse of the indescribable horror endured by our people in Shujaiya.
That’s why Israel didn’t want its ugliness to be reported to the world and prevented media from entering the area as they were massacring civilians.
Remember that these people are the voices who had a chance to be heard. They were luckier than others, who suffered and were killed amidst the world’s silence.
All those who appear in this photo were murdered in one F16 attack against the building which they sought as refuge. This photo is what remains of them.
“Dad, I don’t want to die. Let us leave here,” six-year old Yasmin Al-Kilany screamed to her father while she was sitting on his lap, terrified. Then her 8-year-old brother, Yasir, also started nagging his father to leave. The children’s ability to cope with the horrors of life in the northern Gazan city of Beit-Lahya had clearly been extinguished, so their father, Ibrahim, decided to move.
Beit-Lahya, which is under continuous and random shelling from missiles, F16s and tanks, is almost empty now. A huge number of Palestinian families fled to the UNRWA schools, which have suffered a growing humanitarian crisis as a result. Almost 102,000 people have taken shelter in 69 schools, according to UNRWA.
The Al-Kilany family fled to Al-Shijaeyya, but the circle of Israel’s brutal attack continued to expand. On 20 July, Israel committed an atrocious Sabra-and-Shatilla-like massacre against the innocent people of Al-Shijaeyya, killing at least 66 people, including 26 children.
What the Al-Kilany family witnessed in Al-Shijaeyya forced the family to flee, again, along with all the residents who were running barefoot while shells and tank fire chased them. Amidst the bodies that were scattered everywhere between the rubble of the houses, they managed to survive.
They rented an apartment in the Al-Israa building in the neighbourhood of Al-Remal, a supposedly safer place. The children calmed down a little. In an attempt to restore a normal family atmosphere after days of horror, the mother, Taghrid, started preparing a dining table for the family to break their fast.
Around sunset, while the Al-Kilany clan were sitting around the table, waiting to hear the call for prayer that would allow them to eat, an F16 war-plane suddenly shelled the Al-Israa building, mixing food with their blood and torn pieces under the piles of rubble.
The family simply ceased to exist; Ibrahim and his wife Taghrid, and their five children aged between four and 12, were wiped out in seconds. Like many other families, nothing now remains of them except for rubble and makeshift graves. Among the dozens of massacres that Israel committed against families in Gaza, one or two from each family survived miraculously. No miracle happened though to rescue even one of of Al-Kilany family to share with us the last topic the family discussed before being murdered. No one.
‘Why does the EU and the international community turn a blind eye?’
The painful story of the Al-Kilany family was painstakingly narrated by Ahmad, brother of Taghrid, to Ola Atallah, a reporter from Gaza. Ahmad was trying hard to suppress his pain while narrating the story.
He eventually burst in tears, asking “what did Taghrid and her children do? Why isn’t the international community shouldering the responsibility and taking serious actions to stop the Palestinian bloodshed? They escaped twice from death but death chased them to wherever they sought refuge. Israel is fighting children, targeting families everywhere.”
The father, Ibrahim Al-Kilany, held a German passport after living there 20 years. He completed his studies as a civil engineer in a German university and worked as an engineer there for over a decade. He returned to Gaza in 2001 to get married and raise a family.
Earlier this year Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, was awarded Israel’s “presidential medal of distinction.” The German chancellor deserved this honor, some journalists dutifully reported, because of her “unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.” This might explain why Germany has shown no concern over the killing of so many families by Israel, including German citizens.
The statement issued by the European Union on 22 July shows a clear bias towards Israel. They condemned “the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas and militant groups in the Gaza Strip, directly harming civilians.” On the other hand, they repeatedly asserted that they recognise “Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself against any attacks.”
But the EU didn’t recognise our people’s right, guaranteed by UN resolutions, to use force in the struggle for “liberation from colonial and foreign domination.” General Assembly Resolution A/RES/33/24 of 29 November 1978 “reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, particularly armed struggle.”
More than 800 people have been brutally killed so far, 90% of them innocent civilians. Recognising Israel’s “legitimate right to defend itself” gives Israel a justification to kill them, and kill more. So any “concern” over the human cost caused by Israel in Palestine is meaningless. Our Palestinian people know very well that the EU, and the international Community, is as guilty as Israel as their silence is what gives Israel the impunity and the green light to carry out its massacres.
We know that nothing makes a Palestinian an exception. Ibrahim Al-Kilany’s cousin made this point powerfully, saying: “Their German passports didn’t offer his and his children’s lives an impunity. No German nor American nationality stops Israel from murdering us. Israel is like a monster that destroys everything it encounters. Residential buildings collapse over its residents. This is genocide.”
With plumes of black smoke still spiralling into Gaza’s sky, and Israeli shells from land, sea and sky still raining down on the coastal Palestinian enclave, threatening death for the 1.8 million Palestinians living under the blockade of the Gaza Strip, the western governments are still watching and barely doing anything to stop the Palestinian bloodshed, but repeatedly asserting their commitment to Israel’s security. The international media, and international politicians, continue to show a clear bias to the Israeli narrative, which makes them complicit in the ongoing crimes against humanity that Israel is committing against the civilians of Gaza.
Our people in Gaza have been left alone to face one of the strongest armies in the world — an army that has hundreds of nuclear warheads, thousands of soldiers armed with Merkava tanks, F-16s, Apache helicopters, naval gunships and phosphorous bombs made in the United States. Gaza has no army, no navy and no air force. And yet Israel plays the victim role.
The Israeli attack on our people has continued for 19 days. The Israeli occupation isn’t sufficient by the bloodshed they’ve caused, and continues to blame Hamas for the collective punishment of the population of the Gaza Strip. It is very important that the world acknowledges the fact that we are the occupied and the persecuted. Our resistance should come under the self-defense, not Israel’s terror.
We will not forget nor forgive every drop of blood shed by a Palestinian child. We will continue resisting, and neither Israel nor the International community shall manage to break our determination. No one shall stand in the way of our pursuit of freedom, justice and equality.
wounded children from Al-Shijaeyya area in Gaza stretching out in Gaza Hospitals which cannot any more accommodate the increasing number of injures. All of them are critical.
Where is humanity? Where are the people of conscience around the world? Our people in Gaza are being massacred, under genocide operation. #Israel doesn’t differentiate between ages. After many families were massacred including Al-Batsh, Hamad, Ghannam, Al-Haj. This time many families at once were massacred in Al-Shijaeyya.
The families there refused to evacuate their houses, remain dignified in their homes, and reject Israel’s attempt to make them homeless and humiliated with other 60 thousands Palestinians who filled UNRWA schools. Israel’s reaction to people’s steadfastness was randomly shelling their houses with artillery shells, tanks fire and F16 missiles towards the families’ houses who held in between its walls only children, women and elderlies. The Israeli Occupation Forces destroyed houses upon its inhabitants. People’s bodies were buried under the rubble for hours. Israel panned ambulances and media to to reach them, rescue them and let the cries of massacred be heard. In an attempt to veil these crimes Israel committed against the innocent inhabitants of Al-Shijaeyya, they prevented media from being there to document the massacre and let the world be a witness of it.
When the attack started, the inhabitants of Al-Shijaeyya started running barefoot, traumatised while missiles and artillery shells are chasing them for long distances without finding a safe shelter. But there were no secure refuge. A women with her kids stopped to rest under an olive tree. Her 13-year-old child was sitting on her lap when all of a sudden she found her bleeding, killed after she was targeted by tank fire. Traumatised mother started running again with the rest of her children trying to rescue who survived from them.
The Israeli occupation endorsed a two-hour ‘humanitarian’ truce starting from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm, to let the ambulances take injured and martyrs bodies. Within these two hours, they continued shelling people who were escaping from inevitable murder, committing a terribly atrocious massacre against our people in Al-Shijaeyya, medics and reporters.
Ambulances hurried to rescue the massacred people there during the two-hour truce, but Israel immediately violated the truce and attacked them. At least two of the medics and reporters were killed. At least nine were wounded.
More than 66 people were killed in a cold blood in Al-Shijaeyya massacre, including 26 children. Gaza hospitals received hundreds of injuries, most of them are children and women. There is a shortage in hospitals, in medical equipments. They cannot accommodate the increasing number of the injured people who are all suffering a critical injuries which threatens more lives with death. Palestinians reporters say that they witnessed huge number of wounded people laying on the floor, because there are not enough hospital beds.
You international activists around the world, especially in Europe and the USA, Israel acts with impunity because of your countries’ silence and unconditional support in all sectors to Israel. Your bias media which inverts between the oppressor and the victim supports Israel to continue massacring our people! Go to streets now and call for an immediate stop to the Palestinian bloodshed! Hold Israel accountable to its uncountable and deadliest crimes against our isolated Palestinian people in besieged Gaza. Call for BDS Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions. Call for cutting ties with Israel. Let them know that their money and taxes is used to support Israel with weapons and war vehicles to kill us in Palestine. We shall not forgive nor forget. We shall keep resisting with all legitimate means that we have as occupied people until justice is done to every drop of blood Palestinians shed across the 66 years of this ongoing occupation.
Names and ages of people who fell victim to Al-Shijaeyya massacre:
Narmin Rafiq Dyab Ayyad, 19 years old.
Fidaa Dyab Ayyad, 23 years old.
Ahmad Sami Deyab Ayyad, 27 years old.
Osama Rebhe Shehde Ayyad, 32 years old.
The child Mohammed Ramy Fathi Ayyad, 2 years old.
The child Mohammed Ashraf Rafiq Ayyad, 5 years old.
Muna Abderrahman Mahmoud Ayyad, 41 years old.
Hala Subhy Saady Ayyad, 24 years old.
The child Ghada Subhy Saady Ayyad, 11 years old.
The child Shireen Fathi Othman Ayyad, 17 years old.
Ibrahim Aref Ibrahim Al-Ghalayini, 26 years old
Mohammed Mohammed Ali Mhareb Jundiyya, 38 years old.
Alaa Jamaliddin Mohammed Barda, 34 years old.
Ahmad Ishaq Yousef Al-Ramlawi, 32 years old.
Ahed Saad Musa Sarsak, 35 years old.
Adel Abdallah Salim Eslim, 38 years old.
The child Dima Adel Abdallah Eslim, 2 years old.
The child Shady Ziyad Hasan Eslim, 15 years old.
The child Alaa Ziyad Hasan Eslim, 11 years old.
The child Fady Ziyad Hasam Eslim, 10 years old.
The child Khalil Ismail Khalil Al-Hayye, 6 years old.
The child Osama Osama Khalil Al-Hayye, 8 years old.
Osama Osama Khalil Al-Hayye, 8 years old.
Hala Saqer Hasan Al-Hayye, 28 years old.
Osama Khalil Ismail Al-Hayye, 29 years old.
The child Omar Jamil Subhy Hammouda, 10 years old.
Wesam Majdy Mohammed Hammouda, 30 years old.
Yousef Ahmad Younis Mustafa, 62 years old.
Muna Salman Ahmad Al-Sheikh Khalil, 49 years old.
The child Heba Hamed Al-Sheikh Khalil, 13 years old.
The child Samya Hamed Al-Sheikh Khalil, 3 years old.
Tawfiq Barawi Salem Marshoud, 52 years old.
The child Marwa Salman Ahmad Al-Sirsawi, 13 years old.
Maysa Abderrahman Said Al-Sirsawi, 36 years old.
The child Marwa Salman Ahmad Al-Shirsawi, 13 years old.
The child Dina Rushdy Omar Hamada, 16 years old.
Eman Mohammed Ibrahim Hamada, 39 years old.
Ghada Ibrahim Sulaiman Odwan, 38 years old.
Ibrahim Salem Jumaa Al-Sahabany, 20 years old.
Israa Yasi Atiya Hamdiyya, 28 years old.
Akram Mohammed Ali Al-Sakafi, 63 years old.
The child Eman Khalil Abed Ammar, 9 years old.
Tala Akram Ahman Al-Atwi, 7 years old.
Kaled Ryad Mohammed Hamad, 25 years old.
Khadija Ali Musa Shhada, 62 years old.
Khalil Salem Ibrahim Musbeh, 53 years old.
Aysha Ali Mahmoud Zayed, 54 years old.
Abderrahman Akram Mohammed Al-Skafi, 22 years old.
Esam Atehhe Said Al-Skafi, 26 years old.
Musab Salaheddim Al-Skafi, 27 years old.
Ali Mohammed Hasan Al-Skafi, 27 years old.
Mohammed Hasan Mohammed Al-Skafi, 53 years old.
Abderrahman Abderrazq Abderrahman Al-Sheikh Khalil, 24 years old.
Abdallah Mansoor Redwan Amarah, 23 years old.
Abedrabo Ahman Mohammed Rayed, 58 years old.
Fatma Abderrahim AbdelQadir Abu Ammouna, 55 years old.
Fahmy Abdel-Aziz Saad Abu Said, 29 years old.
Mohammed Raed Ehsan Akkila, 19 years old.
The child Marah Shaker Ahmad Al-Jammal, 11 years old.
Marwan Muneir Saleh Qunfud, 23 years old.
Yousef Salem Habib, 26 years old.
Tareq Fayiq Hajjaj, 22 years old.
Ahmad Ziyad Hajjaj, 21 years old.
Musaab Nafez Al-Ejla, 30 years old.
Resistance until freedom, justice and equality. Glory for the martyrs! Down with #zionism!
Because they are #PeopleNotNumbers, because their souls does count, and their blood is precious and will not go in vain, share this list widely!
This list documents the martyrs’ names and ages and the circumstances in which they were killed as a result to the ongoing inhumane and brutal Israeli attack on the Palestinian people in the besieged Gaza Strip. Since Sunday morning, July 6th, martyrs’ toll has risen to 635, including 161 children and 66 women and 35 elderly people. At least 3800 injuries were reported. The Israeli Occupation continues to bomb the Gaza Strip. Everywhere is being targeted. Everyone in the Gaza Strip feels as if they were a target. Israel doesn’t care whether they shell a densely populated neighbourhood or if they target a house full of people, even without a prior notice. This is mass killing. Israel must be held accountable for all its crimes against humanity. Don’t remain in front of your TV or computer screens watching and counting more victims among us. The international community must act and put an end to the Palestinian bloodshed. Act now! Israel acts with impunity because of the International Community’s silence.
July 23| The 17th day of the Zionist attack on Gaza from sea, land and sky:
Two people were killed as a result to the ongoing random shelling of artillery shells towards people’ houses in Khan-Younis.
1- Hamza Ziyad Abu Anza, 18 years old.
2- Wesam Alaa Al-Najjar, 17 years old
Two people were killed in an attack on Beit-Lahya:
3- Osama Bahjat Rajab, 21 years old.
4- Mohammed Dawoud, 23 years old.
5- Saddam Ibrahim Abu Asi, 23 years old, was killed after a critical injury he sustained yesterday in an attack on Khan-Younis.
July 22| The 16th day of the Zionist attack on Gaza from sea, land and sky:
Two people, including a child, were killed in an attack on northern Gaza:
1- The child Nour Al-Islam Raed Abu Hweishel, 12 years old.
2- Mustafa Mohammed Mahmoud Fayyad, 24 years old.
Two brothers were killed in an attack on eastern Rafah:
3- Khalaf Atiyya Abu Sneima, 18 years old.
4- Khalil Atiyya Abu Sneima, 20 years old.
Four people from Al-Hajjaj family were killed in an attack that targeted their house in Al-Bureij Refugee Camp.
5- The child Rawan Ziyad Jumaa Hajjaj, 15 years old.
6- Mohammed Shhada Hajjaj, 31 years old.
7- Fayza Saleh Abderrahman Hajjaj, 66 years old.
8- Yousef Mohammed Hajjaj, 28 years old.
Four people were killed in an attack that targeted them close to Al-Nabahin family’s house in Al-Bureij Refugee Camp:
9- Hasan Shaaban Khamisy, 28 years old.
10- Ahmad Kamel Abu Maghasib, 35 years old.
11- Raed Abderrahman Abu Maghasib, 35 years.
12- Atiyya Al-Daalis
Seven people were found under the rubble in Khan-Younis and Al-Shijaeyya, Al-Zaytoun, and Gaza:
13- Abdalla Al-Farra
14- Tareq Fayiq Hajjaj, 22 years old.
15- Ahmad Ziyad Hajjaj, 21 years old.
16- Musaab Nafez Al-Ejla, 30 years old. Al-Shijaeyya
17- Hamada Eleiwa from Al-Zaytoun area
18- Mohammed Khalil Ahl, from Al-Shiaeyya
19- Amjad Al-Hendy from Tal-AlHawa
Two elderly sisters were killed in an attack on eastern Rafah:
20- Hakma Nafei Abu Odwan, 75 years old.
21- Najah Nafei Abu Odwan, 85 years old.
Two other elderly women were found under the rubble of a house in Al-Zaytoun.
22- Fatima Hasan Azzam, 70 years old.
23- Maryam Hasan Azzam, 50 years old.
Two people were killed as a result of the random shelling of artillery shells on Al-Bureij Refugee Camp.
24- Ahmad Essam Wshah, 29 years old.
25- Ahmad Mohammed Ramadan, 30 years old.
26- Ahmad Al-Badawi was killed in an attack on a group of civilians in Beit-Lahya, northern Gaza.
27- Rafiq Kallub, 45, was killed in an attack that targeted a car in Beit-Lahya, northern Gaza.
28- Ibrahim Subhy Al-Feiry, 25 years old, was killed in an attack that targeted his family’s house in Beit-Lahya.
29- Mahmoud Sleem Mustafa Daraj, 22 years old, was killed after an injury he sustained due to an attack on Jabalia Refugee Camp.
30- Ahmad Abu Sido was killed in an artillery attack on Al-Mahatta park eastern Gaza.
31- The child Ramy Al-Kharwat, 4 years old, was killed in an attack on northern Gaza.
Two people were killed in another attack on Khan-Younis:
32- Haytham Samir Al-Agha, 26 years old.
33- Walid Sulaiman Abu Daher, 21 years old.
34- Yasmin Ahmad Abu Mur, 25 years old, was killed in an attack on Rafah.
Two people were killed in an attack on a poultry farm in Rafah:
35- Sameh Zuheir Al-Sawafiry, 29 years old.
36- Mohammed Musa Abu Fayyad, 36 years old.
37- Khadra Abu Tleikh, was killed in an attack on Al-Naser Neighborhood in Rafah.
38- Suha Naeem Kharwat, 25 years old, was killed along with fetus in an attack on Beit-Hanoun by artillery shells.
Three people were killed in an F16 attack on a house in Al-Nusairat refugee camp:
39- Yousef Abu Mustafa, 27 years old.
40- Obaida Abu Ghweishel, 18 years old.
41- Adel Abu Ghweishel, 40 years old.
Five people were killed in two attack on Dir Al-Balah:
42- Yousef Ibrahim Al-Ramahy
43- Eman Ibrahim Al-Ramahy
44- Ibtihal Ibrahim Al-Ramahy
45- Salwa Abu Mneife
46- Samira Abu Mneife
47- Mahmoud Sulaiman Abu Sabha, 55 years old, was killed in an attack on Khan-Younis.
48- Mohammed Naser Haroun, 38 years old, was killed in an attack on Al-Nussairat.
49- Nagy Jamal Al-Fajm, 26 years old, was lilled in an attack on Khan-Younis.
50- Abdallah Ismail Al-Bheisy, 27 years old, was killed in an attack on Dir Al-Balah.
51- Samih Abu Jalala, 64 years old, was killed in an attack on Rafah.
Two people were killed in an attack that targeted a motorcycle in Khan-Younis:
52- Hany Awad Owda Sammour, 75 years old.
53- Ahmad Ibrahim Shbeir, 24 years old.
Three people were killed in an attack on eastern Al-Burei refugee camp.
54- Raed Salah, 22 years old.
55- Ahmad Nasim Saleh, 23 years old.
56- Mahmoud Ghanem, 22 years old.
57- Musab Saleh Salama, 19 years old, was killed in an attack on Khan-Younis.
58- Mohammed Jalal Al-Jarf, 24 years old, was killed in an attack on Khan-Younis.
59- Wael Jamal Harb, 32 years old, was killed in an attack on Gaza City.
60- Hasan Khader Baker, 60 years old, was killed in an attack on Gaza City.
61- Ahmad Abu Salah was killed in an attack on Al-Sanafi area eastern Khan-Younis.
62- Marwan Ibrahim Sammour, 38 years old, was killed in an attack that targeted him while riding his motocycle in Abasan area in Khan-Younis.
July 21| The 15th day of the Zionist attack on Gaza from sea, land and sky: 122 people were killed, including 41 child. Many victims haven’t been identified yet.
Two people were killed in an attack on Al-Mughraqa:
1- Bilal Jaber Mohammed Al-Ashhab, 22 years old.
2- Abderrahman Al-Farra.
3- Raed Ismail Al-Bardawil, 26 years old, was killed in an attack on Rafah.
In Rafah, Israel committed another crime against Syam family who was massacred early morning, killing 13 members of them, and wounding tens others.
4- Somoud Naser Syam, 26 years old.
5- Mohammed Mahrus Salam Syam, 25 years old.
6- Bader Nabil Mahrus Syam, 25 years old.
7- The child Ahmad Ayman Mahrus Syam, 17 years old.
8- The child Mustafa Nabil Mahrus Syam, 12 years old.
9- The child Ghaydaa Nabil Mahrus Syam, 8 years old.
10- Sharin Mohammed Salam Syam, 32 years old.
11- The child Dalal Nabil Mahrus Syam, 8 months old.
12- Kamal Mahrus Salama Syam, 27 years old.
16- Kamal Tlal Hasan Al-Masri, 22 years old, was killed in an attack by tank shells on Beit-Hanoun.
17- Ahmad Mohammed Azzam, 19 years old, was found in Al-Shijaeyya under the rubble of the houses that were completely destroyed as a result to the massacre that Israel committed against the innocent inhabitants of Al-Shijaeya. The killed toll in rises to 64.
18- Mahmoud Al-Nakhala was killed in an airstrike that targeted his house in Al-Sheikh Redwan in Gaza City.
Four people were killed in different attacks on Al-Zaytoun neighborhood eastern Gaza City.
19- Raed Essam Dawoud, 30 years old.
20- Zakariyya Mas’oud Al-Ashqar, 24 years old.
21- Kamal Mas’oud, 21 years old.
22- Saleh Badawi, 31 years old.
In an attack that targeted Al-Ghalban house eastern Gaza, two people were killed:
23- Majdy Mahmoud Al-Yazjy, 56 years old.
24- Mohammed Samih Al-Ghalban.
In another attack that targeted Jundiyya house in Al-Shijaeyya area eastern Gaza, three people were killed:
25- Tamer Nayif Jundiyya, 30 years old.
26- Rahma Ahmad Jundiyya, 50 years old.
27- Mahran Kamel Jundiyya, 32 years old.
Five people were killed in an attack on Al-Karamah buildings northern Gaza:
28- Yasmin Nayif Al-Yazjy
29- The child Mayar Nayif Al-Yazjy, 2 years old.
30- Wajdy Al-Yazjy
31- Safinaz Al-Yazjy
32- The child Anas Al-Yazjy, 5 years old.
Six people were killed in an attack on Al-Zanna area in Khan-Younis:
33- Ibrahim Asaad Al-Qarra
34- Nidal Jumaa Abu Asi
35- Karam Ibrahim Barham
36- Mohammed Abdel-Karim Al-Masri
37- Mohammed Abu Haddaf
38- Nidal Ali Mohammed Abu-Daqqa
39- Ibrahim Shaaban Bakroun, 37 years old, was killed in an attack on Al-Shaghaf area eastern Gaza.
40- Atiyya Yousef Darduna, 26 years old, was killed in an air-strike on Jabalia Refugee Camp.
41- Fatma Ahmad Al-Arja was killed in an attack on Rafah.
42- Arafa Sultan Arafat was found under the rubble of a house in Beit-Lahya.
Few minutes far from my house, in Al-Jalaa Street, another family was massacred. Al-Qassas Family faced the same murderous genocide that multiple families earlier faced, including, Hamad, Al-Haj, Al-Batsh, Ayyad, Skafi, Ziyada, Ghannam, Kawarei, Syam and many others. Eight women, including a mother and her FOUR children.
Two people were killed in an attack that targeted an agricultural land eastern Khan-Younis:
51- Mujahed Al-Aqqad
52- Mohammed Al-Zayty
Al-Shijaeyya massacre didn’t end on Sunday. It’s continuing. Three people were killed in an attack that targeted Hamdiyya, killing 3 people of the same family, including two brothers. Previously Jundiyya Family was attacked in the same region.
53- Yousef Ghazi Hamdiyya, 25 years old.
54- Mo’taz Jamal Hamdiyya, 18 years old.
55- Aaed Jamal Hamdiyya, 21 years old.
Israel committed another massacre wiping a whole family in an F16 attack on Al-Israa Building in Omer-AlMukhtar street in Gaza City. This family was breaking its fast when all of a sudden were targeted, all murdered. Another whole family, Al-Kilany family, is gone. Al-Kilany family evacuated their original house twice, but Israeli murderous warplanes chased them to where they were taking as a refuge in Al-Israa Building. A total of eleven victims were killed in the building, including 7 children.
56- The father Ibrahim Dim Ahmad Al-Kilany, 53 years old.
57- The mother Taghrid Al-Kilany, 45 years old.
58- The child Yasir Ibrahim Dib Al-Kilany, 8 years old.
59- The child Elyas Ibrahim Dib Al Kilany, 4 years old.
60- The child Sawsan Ibrahim Dib Al-Kilany 11 years old.
61- The child Yasmin Ibrahim Dib Al-Kilany 6 years old.
62-The child Rim Ibrahim Dib Al-Kilany, 12 years old.
Their neighbors also lost 4 members of the same family.
63- Ayda Mohammed Dirbas, 47 years old.
64- Mahmoud Shaaban Mohammed Derbas, 37 years old.
65- – Soura Shaaban Mohammed Derbas, 41 years old.
66- Enas Shaaban Mohammed Derbas, 30 years old.
67- Juhad Mahmoud Al-Mughraby, 22 years old, passed away after a critical injury he sustained due to an attack on Khan-Younis.
Three people were killed in an attack on eastern Rafah
68- Fady Azmy Brei’em
69- Othman Salem Brei’em
70- Salem Abdel-Majid Brei’em
71- Fady Bashir Al-Abadla, 22 years old, was killed in an attack on Khan-Younis.
More than 20 victims are still stuck under the rubble of houses that was completely destroyed yesterday in Al-Shijaeyya, Khan-Younis and Rafah.
July 20| The 14th day of the Zionist attack on Gaza from sea, land and sky:
Three brothers were killed in an airstrike that hit Moammar Family’s house in Al-Jeneina area in Rafah:
1- Mohammed Mahmoud Hussein Moammar, 30 years old.
2- Hamza Mahmoud Hussein Moammar, 21 years old.
3- Anas Mahmoud Hussein Moammar
Seven people were killed in an airstrike on Abu Suhaib Abu Ziyada in Al-Bureij Refugee Camp, including three brothers.
4- Yousef Saaban Ziyada, 44 years old.
5- Jamil Saaban Ziyada, 53 years old.
6- Shaaban Jamil Ziyada, 12 years old.
7- Mohammed Mahmoud Al-Maqadma, 30 years old.
8- Omar Shaaban Ziyada
9- Muftiya Mohammed Ziyada
10- Bayan Abdellatif Ziyada
A child and an elderly were killed in an attack on Rafah:
11- The child Abdallah Yousef Drajy, 3 years old.
12- Najah Saad Al-Din Drajy, 65 years old.
Aound sunset, while people of Gaza are breaking their fast, Abu Jamei family in Bani-Sheila was attacked by an F16, killing three people including a child and a pregnant woman: 13- The child Rayan Mahmoud Abu Jamei was killed in an airstrike on Bani-Sheila area Khan-Younis.
14- Sabah Tawfiq Mahmoud Taysir Abu Jamei, 38 years old. Pregnant
15- Fatma Mahmoud Abu Jamei, 66 years old.
16- Ahmad Abderrahman Abu Teem, 26 years old, was killed in an attack that targeted him in Khan-Younis.
17- Basim Al-Breim was killed in an attack on a group of civilians in Abasan in Khan-Younis.
18- The child Ayah Bahjat Abu Sultan, 15 years old, was killed in an attack on her house in Beit-Lahya northern the Gaza Strip.
Israel committed another massacre against another family. Al-Hallaq family’ apartment in Al-Remal area was targeted without a prior warning. Eleven of its inhabitants were killed, including 4 children, and 15 were critically injured.
19- The child Kanan Akram Al-Hallaq, 5 years old
20- Samar Osama Al-Hallag, 29 years old.
21- Hani Mohammed Al-Hallaq, 29 years old.
22- Suad Mohammed Al-Hallaq, 62 years old.
23- The childSajy ِAkram Hasan Al-Hallaq, 4 years old.
24- Hala Akram Hasan Al-Hallaq, 27 years old.
25- The child Mohammed Hani Mohammed Al-Hallaq, 2 years old.
26- Ibrahim Khalil Ammar
27- Asem Khalil Abed Ammar, 4 years old.
28- The child Rahaf Akram Abu Jumaa, 4 years old.
29- Ahmad Yasin
In Al-Shijaeyya, Israel committed one of the deadliest massacres against its inhabitants. The Israeli Occupation Forces randomly shelled families’s houses with artillery shells, tank fire, and F16 missiles. These houses weren’t emptied and held in between its walls mostly children, women and elderlies. 62 innocent children, women and elderlies were killed in a cold blood, and Gaza hospitals received 220 injuries, most of them are children and women. 26 children were killed in this massacre.
30- Narmin Rafiq Dyab Ayyad, 19 years old.
32- Fidaa Dyab Ayyad, 23 years old.
33- Ahmad Sami Deyab Ayyad, 27 years old.
34- Osama Rebhe Shehde Ayyad, 32 years old.
35- The child Mohammed Ramy Fathi Ayyad, 2 years old.
36- The child Mohammed Ashraf Rafiq Ayyad, 5 years old.
37- Muna Abderrahman Mahmoud Ayyad, 41 years old.
38- Hala Subhy Saady Ayyad, 24 years old.
39- The child Ghada Subhy Saady Ayyad, 11 years old.
40- The child Shireen Fathi Othman Ayyad, 17 years old.
41- Ibrahim Aref Ibrahim Al-Ghalayini, 26 years old
42- Mohammed Mohammed Ali Mhareb Jundiyya, 38 years old.
43- Alaa Jamaliddin Mohammed Barda, 34 years old.
44- Ahmad Ishaq Yousef Al-Ramlawi, 32 years old.
45- Ahed Saad Musa Sarsak, 35 years old.
46- Adel Abdallah Salim Eslim, 38 years old.
47- The child Dima Adel Abdallah Eslim, 2 years old.
48- The child Shady Ziyad Hasan Eslim, 15 years old.
49- The child Alaa Ziyad Hasan Eslim, 11 years old.
50-The child Fady Ziyad Hasam Eslim, 10 years old.
51- The child Khalil Ismail Khalil Al-Hayye, 6 years old.
52-The child Osama Osama Khalil Al-Hayye, 8 years old.
53- Osama Osama Khalil Al-Hayye, 8 years old.
54- Hala Saqer Hasan Al-Hayye, 28 years old.
55- Osama Khalil Ismail Al-Hayye, 29 years old.
56- The child Omar Jamil Subhy Hammouda, 10 years old.
57- Wesam Majdy Mohammed Hammouda, 30 years old.
58- Yousef Ahmad Younis Mustafa, 62 years old.
59- Muna Salman Ahmad Al-Sheikh Khalil, 49 years old.
60- The child Heba Hamed Al-Sheikh Khalil, 13 years old.
61- The child Samya Hamed Al-Sheikh Khalil, 3 years old.
62- Tawfiq Barawi Salem Marshoud, 52 years old.
63- The child Marwa Salman Ahmad Al-Sirsawi, 13 years old.
64- Maysa Abderrahman Said Al-Sirsawi, 36 years old.
65- The child Marwa Salman Ahmad Al-Shirsawi, 13 years old.
66- The child Dina Rushdy Omar Hamada, 16 years old.
67- Eman Mohammed Ibrahim Hamada, 39 years old.
68- Ghada Ibrahim Sulaiman Odwan, 38 years old.
69- Ibrahim Salem Jumaa Al-Sahabany, 20 years old.
70- Israa Yasi Atiya Hamdiyya, 28 years old.
71- Akram Mohammed Ali Al-Sakafi, 63 years old.
72- The child Eman Khalil Abed Ammar, 9 years old.
73- Tala Akram Ahman Al-Atwi, 7 years old.
74- Kaled Ryad Mohammed Hamad, 25 years old.
75- Khadija Ali Musa Shhada, 62 years old.
76- Khalil Salem Ibrahim Musbeh, 53 years old.
77- Aysha Ali Mahmoud Zayed, 54 years old.
78- Abderrahman Akram Mohammed Al-Skafi, 22 years old.
79- Esam Atehhe Said Al-Skafi, 26 years old.
80- Musab Salaheddim Al-Skafi, 27 years old.
81- Ali Mohammed Hasan Al-Skafi, 27 years old.
82- Mohammed Hasan Mohammed Al-Skafi, 53 years old.
83- Abderrahman Abderrazq Abderrahman Al-Sheikh Khalil, 24 years old.
84- Abdallah Mansoor Redwan Amarah, 23 years old.
85- Abedrabo Ahman Mohammed Rayed, 58 years old.
86- Fatma Abderrahim AbdelQadir Abu Ammouna, 55 years old.
87- Fahmy Abdel-Aziz Saad Abu Said, 29 years old.
88- Mohammed Raed Ehsan Akkila, 19 years old.
89- The child Marah Shaker Ahmad Al-Jammal, 11 years old.
90- Marwan Muneir Saleh Qunfud, 23 years old.
91- Yousef Salem Habib, 26 years old.
92- Fatma Abu Ammouna, 55 years old.
93- Husny Mahmoud Yousef Al-Absy was killed in an attack on Rafah.
94- Akram Mahmoud Abdessalam Al-Mutawwaq, 39 years old, was killed in an attack on Jabalia
95- Salem Ali Abu Saada was killed in an attack on Khan-Younis.
96- Mohammed Jihad Mohammed Al-Farra, 29 years old, was killed an an attack on Khan-Younis.
Israel shelled a house that belongs to Al-Shaer Family without a prior notice killing four members of the family, including two children
97- Mohammed Ayman Al-Shaer, 3 years old.
98- Heba Akram Al-Shaer, 15 years old.
99- Laila Al-Shaer, 33 years old.
100- Salah Al-Shaer, 40 years old.
101- Raed Mansur Nayfa
A mother and her baby was killed in an attack on their house in Rafah:
104- Mohammed Anwar Shabab was killed in an attack by artillery shells on Rafah.
105- Ashraf Ahmad Al-Shilawi was killed in an airstrike that targeted him in Jabalia Refugee Camp.
In different attack on Rafah and Khan-Younis, five people were killed:
106- Turkiyya Al-Abed Al-Bes
107- Ibrahim Khalil Ammar
108- Mnawra Abdel-Baset Ahmad Al-Sabei, 37 years old.
109- Mahmoud Mousa Abu Anze, 25 years old.
110- Ahmad Mohammed Ahmad Abu Zaanoona, 30 years old.
111- Anwae Al-Shahatit was killed by an Israeli vehicle which drove over him deliberately and killed him in Doura town near Al-Khalil.
112- The child Mohammed Rajaa Mohammed Handam, 15 years old, was killed in an attack on Rafah.
113- Mohammed Baddar Al-Daghma, 20 years old, was killed in an attack on Bani-Sheila in Khan-Younis.
On Sunday morning, eight people were found under the rubble of Abu Jamei’s house which was shelled yesterday around sunset.
114- The child Rouzan Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jamei, 14 years old.
115- Ahmad Sulaiman Mahmoud Salhoub, 34 years old.
116- Jawdat Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jamei, 24 years old.
117- The child Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jamei, 5 years old.
118- The child Haifaa Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jamei, 9 years old.
119- Yasmin Ahmad Salamah Abu Jamei, 25 years old.
120- The child Shahinaz Walid Mohammed Abu Jamei, 1 year old.
121- ٍSuhaila Bassam Ahmad Abu Jamei
122- Mohammed Ahmad Abdel-Karim Abu Jamei
July 19| The 13rd day of the Zionist attack on Gaza from sea, land and sky:
1- Said Ali Eisa, 30 years old, was killed in an attack on Juhr Al-Deek area eastern Al-Bureij.
The Israeli Occupation committed another massacre in Khan-Younis against the innocent people. 8 people were killed due to random artillery shells shelled at their houses.
2- Yahya Bassam Al-Surri, 20 years old. 3- The child Mohammed Bassam Al-Surri, 17 years old.
4- Mahmoud Reda Salhiyye, 30 years old.
5- Mustafa Reda Salhiyye, 21 years old.
6- Mohammed Mustafa Salhiyye, 22 years old. 7- The child Wasm Reda Salhiyye, 15 years old. 8- The child Ibrahim Kamal Naser, 13 years old.
9- Ahmad Mahmoud Hasan Aziz, 34 years old, was killed after an Israeli artillery shelled his house in Al-Nada buildings northern The Gaza Strip.
10- Raed Walid Laqqan, 27 years old, was killed in an attack that targeted Al-Tartouri house western Khan-Younis.
11- Iyad Ismail Al-Ruqqab, 26 years old, was killed in an attack that targeted him in Bani-Shheila in Khan-Younis.
Six people passed away today after critical injuries they sustained due to different attacks on Khan-Younis.
12- Mohammed Awad Fares Nasser, 25 years old
13- Mohammed Jihad Al-Qarra, 29 years old.
14- Rushdy Khaled Naser, 24 years old.
15- Bilal Ismail Abu Daqqa, 33 years old.
16- Mohammed Ismail Sammour, 21 years old.
17- Raafat Ali Bahloul, 36 years old.
18- Mohammed Ahmad Abu Zaanoona, 37 years old, was killed in an attack on Al-Mukhabarat buildings northern Gaza.
Two people, including a child, were killed in an attack on their house in Beit-Lahya.
19- The child Mohammed Ziyad Al-Rahal, 6 years old.
20- Mohammed Rafiq Al-Rahhal, 22 years old.
21- Mohammed Atallah Odeh Saadat, 25 years old, was killed in an attack on Beit-Hanoun.
22- Maali Abu Zeid, 24 years old, was killed in an attack on central Gaza City.
The Israeli Occupation warplanes shelled a 3-floor house that belongs to AL-Zawaydy Family, murdering 5 of the same family, including his two children and their parents.
23- Mahmoud Abdel-Hamid Al-Zawaydi, 27 years old.
24- The child Nagham Mahmoud Abdel-Hamid Al-Zawaydi, 2 years old.
25- The child Roaa Mahmoud Abdel-Hamid Al-Zawaydi, 3 years old.
26- Dalya Al-Zawaydi, 25 years old.
27- Mohammed Khaled Al-Zawaydi, 20 years old.
28- Mohammed Ahmad Al-Saeedy, 18 years old was killed in an airstrike that targeted a car in Al-Qarara in Khanyounis.
Three young men were killed in an airstrike on Abu Al-Ajin area eastern Dir Al-Balah:
29- Abderrahman Barak, 23 years old.
30-Tarek Al-Hatto, 26 years old.
31- Mahmoud Al-Sharif, 24 years old.
32- The child Samy Abdallah Jouda, 17 years old, passed away today after a critical injury he sustained in an attack on Gaza.
33- Mohammed Fathi Al-Ghalba was kileld in an attack on Khan-Younis.
The Israeli Occupation Forces targeted a group of children in Beit-Layha crossroad. All of them are from Hammouda Family.
34- The child Omer Jamil Hammouda, 7 years old
35- The child Yousef Jamil Hamouda, 10 years old.
36- Mohammed Rezeq Hamouda. 18 years old.
37- Mohammed Abderrahman Hamad, 25 years old, was killed in an attack on Beit-Lahya.
38- Fadel Mohammed Al-Banna, 29 years old, was killed in an attack on Jabalia.
39- Rani Saqer Abu Taweela, 30 years old, was killed in an attack on Al-Shijaeyya eastern Gaza city.
40- Ibrahin Qablan was just taken from under the rubble of a house that was shelled two days ago.
Two poeple were killed in an airstrike on eastern Rafah.
41- Ahmad Abu Thurayya
42- Abdallah Al-Masri
Two brothers were killed after being targeted directly by Israeli warplanes in Al-Zaytoun area.
43- Mohammed Al-Zaabut
44- Hatem Al-Zaabut
45- Adel-Aziz Abu Zieter was killed after as Israeli artillery shelled him eastern Deir Al-Balah.
46- Mo’men Taysir Abu Dan was killed by a tank shell on Abu Al-Ajin area in Dir Al-Balah.
47- Salem Ali Abu Saada was killed in an attack on Khan-Younis.
48- Akram Al-Mutawwaq was killed in an airstrike on Jabalia Refugee Camp.
49- Husny Mahmoud Al-Absy, 65 years old, was killed in an attack on Rafah.
50- Ayman Hisham Al-Naooq, 25 years old, was killed in an attack on Dir Al-Balah. July 18| The 12th day of the Zionist attack on Gaza: Israel started a ground invasion under the claim of destroy Hamas’s ‘terror’ infrastructure. Amidst this ground invasion, they shoot or shell every moving creature.
1- Majdy Jabbara, 23 years old, was killed after a tank fire was shot at him.
Israel tank fire killed two people including a baby eastern Rafah:
2- The child Fares Jomaa Al-Mahmoum, 5 months old.
3- Omer Eid Al-Mahmoum, a brother to a martyr who was killed in the 9th day of attack on Gaza.
Two brothers were killed in an artillery shelling against them in Beit-Hanoun:
4- Nasim Mohammed Nseir
5- Karam Mohammed Nseir
6- Saleh Salah Al-Shafei was killed in an airstrike on western Khan-Younis.
Three people were killed including 2 children in an attack on Gaza City:
7- Abed Ali Nteiz, 26 years old
8- The child Mohammed Shady Nteiz, 15 years old
9- The child Mohammed Salem Nteiz, 4 years old.
10- Salmiya Sulaiman Ghayyad, 65 years old, was killed after an Israeli tank fired at him eastern Rafah.
11- Ahmad Abdallah Al-Balhasawi was killed in an airstrike on Um-AlNasser village, northern Gaza.
Around mid-day, an Israeli artillery shelled three children in their bedroom while they’re sleeping peacefully there, leaving the siblings all dead.
13- The child Walaa Ismail Abu Muslim, 13 years old.
14- The child Ahmad Imail Abu Muslim, 14 years old.
15- The child Mohammed Ismail Abu Muslem, 15 years old.
16- Hammad Abdel-Karim Hammad Abu Lehya, 23 years old.
17- Mohammed Abdel-Fattah Rashad Fayyad, 26 years old.
18- Mahmoud Mohammed Fayyad, 25 years old.
Four members of the same family were brutally killed in a tank fire towards their home in Khan-Younis:
19- Bilal Mahmoud Redwam, 23 years old.
20- Munther Redwan, 22 years old.
21- Ahmad Fawzi Redwan, 23 years old.
22- Mahmoud Fawzi Redwan, 24 years old.
Two cousins were killed by a tank fire in Khan-Younis:
24- Hani Asaad Abdel-Karim A-Shami, 35 years old.
25- Mohammed Hamdan Abdel-Karim Al-Shami, 35 years old.
The Israeli Occupation Forces committed another crime on Friday’s evening after a tank shelled a house that belongs to Abu Jarad family in Beit-Hanoun, murdering EIGHT members of the family:
26- Naeem Musa Abu Jarad, 23 years old.
27- Abd Musa Abu Jarad, 30 years old.
28- -Suha Musa Abu Jarad, 26 years old.
29- Rajaa Eliyan Abu Jarad 30- The child Haniyya Abderrahman Abu Jarad 31- The child Samih Naeem Abu Jarad 32- The child Musa Abderrahman Abu Jarad, 6 months old. 33- The child Ahlam Musa Abu Jarad
Three brothers were killed in a brutal Israeli attack on Mawarej Area in Khan-Younis:
34- Amjad Salem Shaat, 15 years old.
35- Mohammed Salem Shaat, 20 years old.
37- Mahmoud Salem Shaat, 22 years old.
38- Mohammed Talal Al-Sane’ was killed in an attack on Rafah.
39- Ismail Ramadan Selmi Al-Loulahi, 21 years old.
Three people from Abu Sneina Family were killed in an airstrike on eastern Rafah:
40- Mustafa Faisal Abu Sneina, 22 years old.
41- Emad Faisal Abu Sneina, 18 years old.
42- Nizar Fayiz Abu Sneina, 38 years old.
43- Mohammed Saad Mahmoud Abu Saada was killed in an attack on eastern Khan-Younis.
44- The child Rezeq Ahmad Al-Hayek, 2 years old, was killed in an attack on Al-Shawwa hall in Gaza City.
45- The child Sarah Mohammed Bustan, 13 years old was killed in an attack on Al-Tuffah neighborhood in Gaza City.
Two children to one parents were killed in an airstrike in Al-Shijaeya neighborhood in Gaza:
46- The child Emad Hamed Elwan, 7 years old.
47- The child Qasem Hamed Elwan, 4 years old.
48- Hamza Mohammed Abul-Hsein, 27 years old, was killed and torn into pieces in an airstrike on eastern Rafah.
49- Yousef Ibrahim Hasan Al-Astal, 23 years old, was martyred after a critical injury he sustained during the attack.
50- Mohammed Awad Matar, 37 years old, was killed in an attack on a grave-yard northern Gaza.
51- Raafat Mohammed Al-Bahlool, 25 years old, was killed in an attack on Khan-Younis.
52- Walaa Al-Qarra, 20 years old, was killed in an attack eastern Khan-Younis.
53- Mahmoud Ali Darwish, 40 years old, was killed in an attack on Al-Nussairat in the center of the Gaza Strip.
54- Ahmad Abdallah Al-Bahnasawi, 25 years old was killed in an attack on Un-AlNaser village northern Gaza.
55- The child Abdallah Jamal Al-Samiry, 17 years old, was killed in an attack on Khan-Younis.
Two were killed in an attack on Al-Fakhari area in Khan-Younis:
56- Ahmad Saleh Al-Ghalban, 23 years old.
57- Hamadah Abdallah Al-Bsheiti, 21 years old.
Two people were killed in an Israeli attack on Rafah.
58- Saleh Zgheide, 20 years old.
59- Alaa Abu Shabab, 23 years old.
60- Ghassan Salem Musa Abu Azb, 28 years old, was killed in an attack on Khan-Younis.
61- Hussam Muslim Abu Eisa, 26 years old, was killed in an attack on Juhr Al-Dik.
July 17| The 11th day of the Zionist attack on Gaza:
Israel couldn’t wait for the 5-hour ‘humanitarian’ ceasefire to end to return more inhumanly and rain over to the people of Gaza more missiles and cause more bloodshed among them. The main target is children. 5 children were killed
1- Ismail Yousef Taha Qasim, 59 years old, was killed after his house was shelled in northern Beit-Hanoon.
2- The child Rahaf Khalil A-Jabbour, 4 years old, was killed in an attack on Al-Manara neighbourhood in Khan-Younis.
3- The child Yasin Al-Hamidy, 4 years old passed away today after he could no longer resist the critical injury he sustained as a result to an attack on his house in Gaza city.
One of Sheiber’s Children who was killed in an attack against their house on Thursday July 17
Three children were killed in an attack on a house that belongs to Shahbir Family in Al-Sabra neighbourhood southern Gaza city.
4- The child Fulla Tarek Shahbir
5- The child Jihad Essam Shahbir
6- The child Wasim Essam Shahbir
Two people were killed in an attack on Khan-Younis, including a man and his an elderly grandmother.
7- Hamza Husam Al-Abadla, 29 years old.
8- Zeinab Mohammed Said Al-Abadla, 71 years old.
Two poeple were killed as a result to an attack on Al-Jneina Neighbourhood in Rafah early morning:
9- Mohammed Ahmad Al-Hout, 41 years old.
10- Mohammed Abderrahman Hassouna, 67 years old.
11- Husam Hamal Shamallakh, 23 years old, passed away due to a critical injury he sustained after his house in Gaza City was shelled.
12- Mohammed Kamel Abderrahman, 30 years old, was killed in an attack on Al-Sheikh Ejlin beach.
13- Mohammed Mahmoud Al-Qadim, 22 years old, was killed in an airstrike that hit his house in Deir-Albalah.
14- Ahmad Reihan, 23 years old, was killed after The Internal Minister Fathy Hammad’s house was shelled in Beit-Lahya.
15- Salem Saleh Fayyad, 25 years old, was killed in an attack on his house in Deir-AlBalah
Three people were killed in an airstrike that hit the house of Abu-Sneima Family, eastern Rafah.
16- Abdallah Salem Al-Akhras, 27 years old
17- Bashir Mohammed Abdel-Aal, 20 years old.
18- Mohammed Ziyad Ghanem, 25 years old.
19- Amal Khader Ibrahim Dabbour, 40 years old, was killed in an attack on Beit-Hanoun.
July 16| The 10th day of the Zionist attack on Gaza: A total of 24 people were killed, including 7 children.
1- The child Lama Mohammed Al-Satry, 3 months old, fell from her house’ s window and died after Israel shelled their neighbours’ house blowing her outside and killing her.
2- Ahmad Al-Nawajha passed away today after a critical injury he sustained when he was passing by the car which was shelled yesterday in Rafah. He’s the third one who fell victim to this attack.
Two people were killed in an airstrike that hit Abu Owda’ house in Rafah:
3- Mohammed Ismail Abu Owda, 23 years old.
4- Mohammed Abdallah Zahouq, 27 yeas old.
Three people were killed as a result to a brutal attack on Bani-Sheila in Khan-younis:
5- Omar Ramadan Abu Daqqa, 24 years old.
6- The child Ibrahim Ramadan Abu Daqqa, 10 years old.
7- Khadra AL-Abd Abu Daqqa, 65 years old.
Three people were killed after war vehicles started shelling artillery shells against people’s houses and lands close to the buffer-zone:
8- Mohammed Sabry Al-Dabbary, 20 years old.
9- Ashraf Khalil Abu Shanab, 33 years old.
10- Atta Al-Ammour, 60 years old.
Two people were killed as a result to Israel’s attack on Al-Arjany house in Khan-Younis.
11- Abdallah Mohammed Al-Arjany, 22 years old.
12- Mohammed Taysir Sharrab, 23 years old.
13- Abderrahman Ibrahim Khalil Al-Serhy, 37 years old, was killed in an airstrike on Al-Zaytoun neighborhood southern Gaza city.
This is the bank of targets that Israel aims to wipe away. Those four children are a demographic threat for #Israel and therefore, they deserved murder. Those children may have got fed up because of staying at home, doing nothing but listening to bombardment and then running to radio to listen whose house was shelled and who was killed. They went to beach assuming that their football and innocent smiles will not make them a target for the Israeli occupation. Indifferent with the drones that are buzzing above their heads monitoring them and threatening death to 1.8 million Palestinian living in the Gaza Strip, they decided to simply play football. As they were kicking football to each other, the Israeli Occupation Navy found that action very provocative, as they are supposed to be sitting in one of the UNRWA schools corners shaking out of fear. But they weren’t. They were as if saying, “Fuck to Israel. We shall not fear. We will play.” Israel decided to play back. But the only game they know though is shelling murderous missiles and causing more bloodshed among the Palestinians.
RIP dear angels:
14- The child Ahed Atef Baker, 10 years old.
15- The child Zakariya Ahed Baker, 10 years old.
16- The child Mohammed Ramez Baker, 11 years old.
17- The child Ismail Mohammed Baker, 9 years old.
18- The child Hamza Raed Sary, 6 years old, passed away could no longer resist a critical injury he sustained due to an Israeli attack on Jabalia few days ago.
Soon after this indescribably inhumane attack, another attack happened again a group of people walking by Al-Katiba yard in Gaza City in the street killing an elderly woman, her son and her two grandchildren.
19- Yasmin Mahmoud Al-Astal, 4 years old.
20- Osama Mahmoud Al-Astal, 6 years old.
21- Kawther Hussein Al-Astal, 70 years old.
22- Hussein Abdellatif Al-Astal, 23 years old.
Two brothers were killed in an airstrike on Abasan area in Khan-Younis:
23- Akram Mohammed Abu Amer, 34 years old.
24- Kamal Mohammed Abu Amer, 38 years old.
Smoke billows from a building hit by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, on July 15, 2014 after Israel accepted Egypt’s proposal for ceasefire.
July 15| The 9th day of the Zionist attack on Gaza: On Tuseday, a total of 9 people were killed even after Israel claimed to accept Egypt’s proposal for ceasefire since 9 am. Bombing continued and murder continued.
Three people were killed in an Israeli attack on Khan-Younis:
Sulaiman Abu Luli, 33 years old.
Atwa Ameera Al-Ammour, 63 years ld.
Bushra Khalil Zurub, 53 years old.
A motorcycle was targeted in Rafah early morning killing two cousins:
Ismail Salim Al-Najjar, 46 years old.
Mohammed Ahmad Ibrahim Al-Najjar, 49 years old.
Two people were killed after an Israeli warplane targeted a civil car close to Abu-Yousuf-Alnajjar Hospital:
Saleh Said Dehleiz, 20 years old.
Yasir Eid Al-Mahmoum, 18 years old.
Ismail Fattouh, 24 years old, was killed in an attack on Al-Shijaeya area eastern Gaza.
Subhy Mosa Abdel-Hamid, 77 years old, was killed after Israel shelled an agricultural land in Khan-Younis.
July 14| The 8th day of the Zionist attack on Gaza: On Monday, a total of 14 people were brutally killed. Three children among them including 4-years old Sarah Omar Sheikh Eid.
Two people were killed in an Israeli airstrike against Khan-younis:
Mohammed Shakib Al-Agha, 22 years old.
Mohammed Younis Abu Yousef, 25 years old.
A child and a young man were killed in an attack that targeted them in Al-Mataen area in Khan-Younis.
The child Kamal Atef Abu Taha, 16 years old
Ismail Nabil Abu Hatab, 21 years old.
Relatives cry as they hold the body of 4-year-old Sarah Sheik Eid during her funeral outside Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, 15 July 2014. The girl was killed along with her father and uncle during an overnight drone strike of Israeli Forces in a village outside Rafah.
Israel committed another crime by shelling a house that belongs to Eid Family killing three members of the family, including a 4-year-old child and her father and uncle.
The child Sarah Omar Sheikh Eid, 4 years old.
Omar Sheikh Eid, 24 years old.
Jihad Sheikh Eid, 50 years old.
In two different airstrikes against eastern Khan-Younis, four people were killed:
The child Zeyad Nael Al-Najjar, 17 years old.
Tamer Salem Qdeih, 37 years old.
Abdallah Mahmoud Barakah, 24 years old.
Hamid Sulaiman Abu Al-Arraj, 60 years old, was killed in an airstrike that hit Deir Al-Balah city.
Three people could no longer resist the critical injuries they sustained as a result to different Israeli airstrikes on several places in the Gaza Strip
12. Zeyad Salem Al-Shawi, 25 years old.
13. Adham Mohammed Abdel-Aal
14. Mohammed Yasi Hamdan, 24 years old.
15. Munir Ahmad Badarin, 22, was shot dead in the abdomen and thigh during clashes between stone-throwers and Israeli occupation forces in Al-Samou’ area in Hebron.
July 13| The 7th day of the Zionist attack on Gaza: On Sunday, the Israeli attack continues for the thirteenth day, and more people are murdered.
Two people were killed in an attack on Rafah son after midnight:
1- Shady Mohammed Zurub, 21 years old.
2- Emad Bassam Zurub, 21 years old.
3- Muhanned Yousef Dheir, 23 years old, was killed after his motorcycle was targeted in Rafah.
Seven people passed away after injuries they sustained due to different attack on different areas in Gaza.
4- Hijaziya Hamed Al-Helo, 80 years old.
5- Fawziya Abdel-Aal, 73 years old
6- The child Moayad Al-Aaraj, 2 years old.
7- Hussein Abdelqader Mheisen, 19 years old.
8- Haitham Ashraf Zurub, 21 years old.
9- Ramy Abu Shanab, 25 years old.
10- Ezz Al-Din Bulbul
11- Laila Al-Uwaydat, 41 years old, was killed in an attack against their home in Al-Maghazi Refugee Camp.
12- The child Husam Ibrahim Al-Najjar, 14 years old, was killed in an attack against Jabalia northern Gaza.
13- Maher Thabet Abu Mur, 24 years old, was killed in an attack on Al-Husaynat area.
14- Mohammed Salem Abu Breis, 65 years old, wa
s killed in an attack on Deir-AlBalah.
15- Samer Talal Hamdan was killed in an attack on Beit-Hanoun northern Gaza.
In an attack that targeted a group of people who were back from al-taraweeh prayer eastern Rafah, three people were killed:
16- Saddam Musa Muammar, 23 years old.
17- Musa Shehde Muammar, 60 years old.
18- Hanady Fathi Muammar, 27 years old.
19- Ruwayda Abu Harb, 40 years old, was killed in an attack on a house in Al-Zawyda area.
July 12| The 6th day of the Zionist attack on Gaza: On Saturday, the Palestinian people’s cries in besieged Gaza got more louder to try a shake the world’s conscience to act to stop their bloodshed especially that Israel is escalating its inhumanity and brutality. Forty-four victims were killed on Saturday, including 7 children. Al-Batsh family was massacred. Israel committed a genocide that killed 17 of them at once. When will any serious action be taken? When Israel going to continuing wiping out the rest of the Palestinian people? Shame of everyone who watches this genocide continues while standing idly by.
Israel shelled a group of people gathering in Jabalia Refugee Camp killing four of them:
1- Islam Yousef Qandil, 27 years old.
2- Abderrahman Al-Khateeb, 38 years old.
3- Mohammed Abu Sneina,
4- Husam Al-Razayna, 39 years old, a brother of three martyrs.
5- The child Anas Yousef Qandil, 17 years old, was killed in an airstrike that hit Al-Nasser neighborhood in Gaza City.
Israel, again to prove that its inhumanity and brutality is beyond description, shelled an association for disabled people in AlSheikh-Zayid northern Gaza, killing two girls suffering from disabilities.
6- Ola Wshahy, 31 years old.
7- Suha Abu Saada, 38 years old.
In an attack on Al-Tuffah neighborhood, 3 people were killed:
8- Hasan Ahmad Abu Ghoush, 24 years old.
9- Ahmad Mazen Al-Balaawi, 26 years old.
10- Ibrahim Nabil Hamadah, 30 years old.
Another three were killed in an attack close to Ansar Mosque in Gaza:
11- Ali Nabil Basal, 32 years old.
12- Hamadah Al-Halaby, 28 years old.
13- Mohammed Abu Askar, 20 years old.
14- Mohammed Abdallah Al-Sharatha, 23 years old, was killed as a result to Israel’s shelling of a group of civilians in Shasha’a area, eastern Jabalia, northern Gaza.
15- The child Qasem Jaber Udwan Odeh, 16 years old, was killed in an attack on Khan-Yousin, southern Gaza.
16- Khawla Al-Hawajra, 24 years old, was killed after an F16 shelled a house that belongs to Khalifah family in Al-Nussairat Refugee Camp.
17- Refaat Yousef Amer, 36 years old, was killed in an attack against Al-Saftawi St, northern Gaza.
ِA father and his son were killed after they were targeted in Al-Nazzaz St. in Al-Shijaeya eastern Gaza City:
18- Ghazi Areef, 62 years old.
19 – Mohammed Ghazi Areef, 26 years old.
In an attack against Al-Zaytoun Neighborhood, eastern Gaza, two people were killed:
20- Ahmad Yousef Dallul, 47 years old.
21- Fady Yaqoub Sokkar, 25 years old.
The Israeli Occupation doesn’t want people in the besieged Gaza Strip to have a single secure place. They want them dead wherever they are. Again, the Israeli Occupation massacred 6 people at once in an airstrike that hit them directly while standing in front of their house in Al-Sheikh Redwan area in Gaza:
22- Rateb Sub7y Al-Seify, 22 years old.
23- Zamy Mahmoud Ubeid, 51 year old.
24- Nidal Mohammed Al-Malsh, 22 years old.
25- Sulaiman Saed Ubeid, 56 years old.
26- Ghassan Ahmad Al-Masry, 25 years old.
27- Mustafa Mohammed Enaya, 58 years old.
A whole family! 17 members of Al-Batsh family were killed at once in an attack against their house in Al-Shijaeya area eastern Gaza. Their bodies arrived at the hospital as torn pieces. 40 others were critically injured. It took the ambulances and the rescue crew hours to get the bodies out from under the rubble. How indescribably stone-hearted to press a murderous war vehicle to wipe a whole family? Genocide is the right word to describe this. When will the world act? When all of the Palestinian people are wiped out?
One of Al-Batsh family members who survived to keep the story of his family alive and keep his family’s cries and blood that nobody heard slaughter us inside.
28- The child Anas Alaa Al-Batsh, 10 years old.
29- The child Manar Majed Al-Batsh, 13 years old.
30- The child Quussay Essam Al-Batsh, 12 years old.
31- The child Mohammed Essam Al-Batsh, 17 years old.
32- Yehya Alaa Al-Batsh, 18 years old.
33- Ibrahim Majed Al-Batsh, 18 years old.
34- Khaled Majed Al-Batsh, 20 years old.
35- Mahmoud Majed Al-Batsh, 22 years old.
36- Marwa Majed Al-Batsh, 25 years old.
37- Jalal Majed Al-Batsh, 26 years old.
38-Ahmad Numan Al-Batsh, 27 years old.
39- Bahaa Majed Al-Batsh, 28 years old.
40- Azeera Yousef Al-Batsh, 59 years old
41- Majed Subhy Al0Batsh, 65 years old.
42- Amal Hasan Al-Batsh, 49 years old.
43- Nahed Naeem Al-Batsh, 41 years old.
44- The child Qussay Alaa Al-Batsh, 8 years old.
July 11| The 5th day of the Zionist attack on Gaza: On Friday, the Israeli Attack on Gaza continues, and Palestinian people continue to fast Ramadan under continuos bombing and mass-killing everywhere across the Gaza Strip. ِ A total of 20 people were killed:
Another bloody morning rose to our Palestinian people who try hard to stay steadfast and keep their determination high in spite of Israel’s desperate desire to break them. Another family, Ghannam Family, was massacred. Israel shelled their house in Rafah and killed 7 people; four of them belong to Ghannam family, including a 7-year-old child . Other 15 others sustained critical injuries.
1- The child Ghalia Deib Jaber Ghannam, 7 years old.
Ghannam house soon after being shelled.
2- Wesam Abderrazeq Hasan Ghannam, 23 years old.
3- Mahmoud Abderrazeq Hasan Ghannam, 26 years old.
4- Kifah Shaker Deib Ghannam, 33 years old.
5- Mohammed Muneir Ashour, 25 years old.
6- Raed Abu Hani, 50 years old
7- The child Nour Marwan AlNajde, 10 years old, was killed due to missiles’ shrapnels piercing her body in the same attack on Ghannam Family.
8- Anas Rezeq Abu Al-Kas, a pharmacist, was killed after his apartment was targeted in Tal-Alhawa area in Gaza.
9- Naser Reyah Sammamah, 49 years old, passed away due a critical injury he sustained on July 10 as a result to attack on Al-Zaytoun neighborhood.
Israeli warplanes targeted Al-Nazzaz neighborhood in Al-Shijaeya, eastern Gaza and murdered two people:
10- Husein Al-Mamlouk, 47 years old.
11- Saber Sokkar, 80 years old.
12- The child Saher Abu Namous, 4 years old, was killed in an airstrike that hit his house northern Gaza.
13 – AbdelHaleed Ashra, 54 years old, was was found killed and buried under the ground after his land was shelled in that was shelled yesterday.
In an Israeli airstrike that hit a municipality vehicle in Al-Bureij refugee camp, 3 people were killed including a child.
14-The child Shahd Al-Qarnawi, 5 years old.
15- Shahraman Ismail Abu AL-Kas, 42 years old.
16- Mazen Mustafa Aslan, 63 years old.
17- Adnan Al-Ashhab passed away after an injury he sustained due to an attack yesterday.
18- Mohammed Rabei Abu Hameedan, 65 years old, was killed in an attack on northern Gaza.
In an attack on Barakah Family’s house in Beir Al-Balah, two people were killed:
19- Mohammed Al-Sameery, 24 years old.
20- Ramy Abu Musaed, 23 years old.
Yasir Al-Haj, the only survivor of Al-Haj family who was massacred. 8 people of the same family were killed.
July 10| The 4th day of the Zionist attack on Gaza: Victims who were killed on Thursday since Midnight, the 4th day on the ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza.
Israel committed another massacre against NINE Palestinian people who escaped Gaza’s hot summer to Khan-Younis Beach and to watch #WorldCup, not expecting to face murder there, including two pairs of brothers. Rest in peace:
1. Hamdy Kamel Sawali, 33 years old.
2. Ahmad Kamel Sawali, 24 years old.
3. Mohammed Khalil Qennan, 26 years.
4. Ibrahim Khalil Qennan, 24 years.
5. Sulaiman Al-Astal, 57 years old.
6. Mohammed Al-Aqqad, 24 years old.
7. Mohammed Ihsan Firwana, 27 years old.
8. Ahmad Salim Al-Astal, 24 years old.
9. Musa Mohammed A-Astal, 50 years old.
10. Raed Shallat, 37, was killed and 6 others of his family were injured in an attack on their house in Al-Sawarha area.
Israel committed another atrocious massacre against the innocent people of Gaza as if they think their victory comes through shedding as much of the Palestinian blood as possible! This time Al-Haj and Al-Halabi Families who were peacefully sleeping in Khan-Younis and WITHOUT a prior warning, Israel shelled their houses at 2 am. EIGHT people, The mother Amnah and her 4 children, along with another three of Al-Haj family were totally torn and charred bodies were found under the rubble of the house which was put all down on the ground. At least 20 others were critically injured. The majority are children and women. Only one person survived from AL-Haj family, who is Yasir Mahmoud Al-Haj.
11- ِThe child Fatma Mahmoud Al-Haj, 12 years.
12- Tareq Mahmoud Al-Haj, 18 years old.
13- Saad Mahmoud Al-Haj, 16 years old.
14- Najlaa Mahmoud Al-Haj, 29 years old.
15- Asmaa Mahmoud Al-Haj, 22 years old.
16- Omar Mahmoud Al-Haj, 20 years old.
17- Basemah Abdel-Fattah Al-Haj, 57 years old.
18-Mahmoud Lutfy Al-Haj, 58 years old.
19- Raed Al-Zawar3a, 33, was killed in an airstrike that hit Hujr Al-Deek area.
Overnight, Israeli warplanes continues to rain missiles repetitively threatening innocent people’s lives with death.
20- The child Abdallah Ramadan Abu-Ghazal, 5 years old, was killed in an airstrike on Beit-Lahya northern Gaza.
A father and his son were killed in an attack on their house in Bani-Sheila, Khan-younis.
21- Ismail Hasan Abu Jamei, 19 years old.
22- Hasan Abu Jamei, 60 years old.
In the very morning, an Israeli F16 shelled a civil car in Al-Nafaq st. in Gaza City, killing three young men.
Around noon, Israel targeted a civil car northern Gaza, leaving three charred-torn bodies
26- Mahmoud Talei Wallud, 26 years old.
27- Hazem Ibrahim Baalousha, 30 years old.
28- Nour Rafiq Oday Al-Sultan, 27 years old.
29- Mohammed Kamal Al-Kahlout, 25 years old, was killed in an attack that hit a group of civilians in Abed-Rabbo area northern Gaza.
30- ٍSamy Adnan Shaldan, 25 years old, was killed in an Israeli airstrike that hit a motorcycle in Al-Zaytoun Neighborhood in Gaza.
31- Mustafa Abu Mahrouq, 22 years old, after he sustained a critical injury caused by an air-strike on his motorcycle in Deir-AlBalah.
32- Ahmad Zaher Hamdan, 22 years old, passed away today after he sustained a critical injury due to an Israeli attack on Northern Gaza.
33- ِThe child Bassam Abderrahman Khattab, 6 years old, was killed as a result to an Israeli attack that hit close to his house in Al-Hakar area in Deir-Albalah.
34- Raed Salat, 37 years old, was killed in an attack that targeted his house in Al-Nussairat.
Israel continues to shell civilians’ houses to kill as many innocent people as possible. At least 20 children were killed only on Wednesday.
July 9| The 3rd day of the Zionist attack on Gaza: On Wednesday, July 9th, the Israeli Occupation Forces continues its brutal attack on the civilians of Gaza, shedding more of the Palestinian blood and causing lots causalities. Eight children were brutally killed only today so far, including a 1-year-old baby Mohammed Malaka, and his 27-year-old mother Amnah Malada
Israel committed another crime against a Al-Nawasra family’s house in Al-Magazi Refugee Camp. Five people were killed, including a mother and her two children were found as pieces under the rubble.
1. The child Mohammed Khalaf Al-Nawasra, 4 years old.
2. The child Nedal Khalaf Al-Nawasra, 5 years old.
3. Their mother Aysha Nejem, 24 years old.
4. The child Salah Awad Al-Nawasra, 6 years old.
5. Mahmoud Nahed Al-Nawasra
6. Amjad Hamdan, 23 years old, was targeted earlier on while he was in front of his house in Beit-Hanoun, Northern Gaza.
Around noon, Israel shelled another Al-Masri Family’s house in Beit-Hanoun, killing a mother and her 14-year-old son
7. Sahar Hamdan Al-Masri, 40 years old.
8. The child Mohammed Ibrahim Al-Masri, 14 years old.
Bombing Al-Masri Family in Beit-Hanoun coincided with another brutal attack against Abdel-Ghafour Family’s house Family in Al-Qarara area southern Gaza, killing another mother and her daughter, and wounding the father.
9. Amal AbdelGhafour, 27 years old.
10. The child Ranim Jouda AbdelGhafour, 1 year old.
11. Mohammed Khaled Al-Nimra, 22 years old, was killed in another airstrike on Al-Sabra neighborhood in Gaza.
In another brutal attack on Al-Zaytoun Neiborhood, 27-year-old mother and her new-born baby and only baby were killed. Another young man was killed in the same attack.
12. The child Mohammed Malaka, 1 year old
13. Amnah Malaka, 27 years old
14. Hatem Abu Salem
In another attack against AbuKweik Family’s house in Al-Nussairat Refugee Camp, central Gaza, an elderly man and his son were killed.
15. Abdennaser AbuKweik, 60 years old.
16. Kaled Kweik, 31 years old.
17. 80-year-old Nayfa Faraj-Allah was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Al-Mughraqa area, central Gaza.
18. Rafiq Al-Kafarna, 30 years old, was killed after an Israeli missile hit his motorcycle in Al-Manshiya st. in Beit-Lahia, Northern Gaza.
19. The child Mohammed Ureif, 13 years old, was killed in an airstrike against Al-Shaaf area, eastern Gaza, at noon.
Hamad Family who was massacred yesterday and lost 6 members of the same family, has been targeted again by Israeli warplanes which killed another two of the family; a father and his son.
20. Hani Saleh Hamad, 57 years old.
21. Ibrahim Hamad, 20 years old.
22. Hamdhy Shehab, a driver of a news-agency vehicle was killed in an airstrike that hit his car which has a media sign in central Gaza City. 8 Others were injured in the same attack.
In another brutal attack against Rafah Border crossing surroundings, a grandmother and her grandchild were killed
23. Samya Al-Arja, 65 years old.
24. The child Maryam Al-Arja, 11 years old.
25. The child Yasmin Al-Mutawwaq, 2 years old, was killed in an airstrike on Jabalia Refugee Camp.
Three Martyrs were killed in an Israeli airstrike that hit a civil bus in Al-Sha’biya crossroad in central Gaza city.
July 8|The 2nd day of the Zionist attack on Gaza: On Tuesday, July 8th, 2014, a total of 24 martyrs fell victims as a result to Israel’s bombing.
1. Mohammed Saaban, 24 years old
2. Amjad Shaaban, 30 years old
3. Khader Abu Jabal, 45 years old #Martyrs above were killed in an Israeli airstrike that hit a civil bus in Al-Sha’biya crossroad in central Gaza city.
4. Rashad Yasin, 27 years old, killed in an israeli airstrike on Al-Nussairat Refugee Camp.
5. The child Mohammed Ayman Ashour, 15 years old.
6. Riyad Mohammed Kaware’, 50 years old.
7. The child Basem Salem Kaware’, 10 years old.
8. The child Hussein Yousef Kaware’, 10 years old.
9. Mohammed Ibrahim Kaware’, 50 years old.
10. Baker Mohammed Jouda, 22 years old.
11. Ammar Hasan Jouda, 26 years old.
12. The child Siraj Iyad Abdel-aal, 8 years old
Martyrs from (5-12) were killed in a massacre Israel committed against a house that belongs to Kaware’ family in Khanyounis. Kaware’ Family’s neighbours remained on the roof of the house forming a chain of human-shields, thinking that this action of unity and humanity will prevent Israel to shell the house. But Israel proved to the whole world that their inhumanity and brutality is beyond description and shelled the house.
13. Hafith Mohammed Hamad, 30 years old
14. Ibrahim Mohammed Hamad, 26 years old
15. Mahdy Mohammed Hamad, 48 years old
16. Fawziya Khalil Hamad, 62 years old
17. The child Dunya Mahdy Hamad, 16 years old
18. Suha Hamad, 25 years old
Martyrs from 13_18 were killed in a brutal attack with an Israel F16 launched against Hamad Family in BeitHanoon Northern Gaza without a prior notice.
19. Mohammed Habeeb 22 years old
20. The child Musa Habeeb, 16 years old
Both Mohammed and Musa were killed in an Israeli airstrike that hit a motorcycle in Al-Shijaiya area eastern Gaza.
21. Saqer Ayish Al-Ajjouri, 22 years old, killed in an attack against Sheikh-Zayid neighborhood in Jabalia, northern Gaza.
22. The child Ahmad Nael Mahdy 16 years old, killed after Israel shelled a place in Ahmad-Yasin Street in Gaza.
23. Abdelhady Al-Soufi, 22 years old,
24. Sulaiman Abu Sawawin, 22 years old
Both killed after Israel shelled an area close to Rafah border crossing.
“Our honeymoon will never last my love!” The fiancee of yesterday’s martyr Abderrahman Al-Zamli having her last look at her martyred groom.
July 6| The 1st day of the Zionist attack on Gaza: On Sunday, 11 people were killed in several attacks against different places in Palestine; two in the West Bank and 9 others in the Gaza Strip.
Two Palestinian workers were killed after being deliberately run over by a truck driven by an Israeli settler in Haifa northern occupied 48 lands.
1- Zahi Subi Abu Hamed from Qalqiliya
2- Anwar Astal from Tulkarem
Two Palestinians were killed in an israeli airstrike that hit Al-Bureij Refugee Camp central #Gaza.
3- Mazen al-Jarba, 30, the third martyr in his family and the last member
4- Marwan Salim, 23
Six people were killed after Israeli warplanes shelled a tunnel in Rafah, southern Gaza.
5- Ibrahim Al-Bal’awi 24
6- Abderrahman el-Zamly, 22
7- Mustafa Abu-Mur, 22
8- Mustafa Abu-Mur’s twin brother Khaled Abu-Mur, 22
9- Sarif Ghneem, 22
10- Gumaa Abu-Shallouf, 24
11_ Ibrahim Abdin, 23, killed in an airstrike that hit Northen Rafah.
A total of 8 Palestinians were brutally killed in different places in Palestine during the alleged search for the 3 missing settlers who were later found dead. Then the heart breaking story of 15-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir comes.
Let’s not forget the 15-year-ld Mohammed Abu Khdeir who was kidnapped by group of savage settlers on July 2nd and then forced to drink gasoline and then burned alive to death, claiming that they have done this atrocious attack after the Israeli Occupation Forces found the three missing Israeli settlers killed. Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s brutal murder erupted a sort of #intifada all around Palestine, people had enough with the Israeli Occupation and its oppression and brutality. Only during three weeks of searching for the three missing Israeli settlers: around 600 Palestinians were detained, More that 2100 building and houses were raided aggressively terrorising their inhabitants and 8 people were killed, including:
23-year-old Ahmad Al-Sabarin in Al-Jalazoun Refugee camps after the Israeli Occupation well-armed soldiers clashed with Palestinian stone-throwers on June 19.
14-year-old Mahmoud Jihad Doudin’s chest was pierced by an Israeli live bullet cutting his life short during classes in Doura town near Hebron on June 20.
30-year-old Mahmoud Atallah Ismail ِAl-Tafifi was killed today by a live bullet shot by the Israeli Occupation Forces in Ramallah on June 22.
27-year-old Ahmad Said Al-Fahmawy was shot dead in Nabes while going to perform the morning prayer. Palestinian sources reported that he was mentally sick and the Israeli occupation soldiers asked him to return home but he refused. Then they shot him by a live-bullet and he was let on the floor bleeding for an hour without allowing the ambulances to reach him, until he passed away.
22-year-old Mustafa Aslan, a champion of Palestine in boxing, passed away after a week of resisting death on his hospital bed after being shot in the head by the Israeli occupation murderous army on June 26.
The 78-year-old Fatma Rushdy was just killed by the Israeli army after they broke into her house on June 26. The trauma caused her a critical stroke. The brutal zionist army banned the ambulance from entering to rescue her for an hour. when the ambulance was allowed to get in, she was already dead.
Muhammad al-Fasih, killed after two Israeli missiles hit a care in Gaza’s al-Shati camp on June 27.
Usama al-Hassumi, killed after two Israeli missiles hit a care in Gaza’s al-Shati camp on June 27.
This drawing of mine describes the way I feel: depressed, frustrated and suffocated while waiting for the Rafah border crossing to open.
I have tried many times to write about my experience at the closed Rafah border crossing with Egypt that has left thousands of people in Gaza stranded. Every time I start, a deep sigh comes over me. Shortly after I feel paralyzed, and finish by tearing apart my draft. I have never found it this difficult to write about a personal experience. No words can capture all the suffering and pain our people in Gaza deal with collectively under this suffocating, inhumane Israeli-Egyptian siege.
As I write, I am supposed to be somewhere in the sky, among the clouds, flying to Istanbul to begin my graduate studies. But I could not catch my flight, as I am still trapped in the besieged Gaza Strip, sitting in darkness during the power cuts caused by fuel crisis, trying to squeeze out my thoughts during what is left of my laptop’s charge.
As much as I am attached to Gaza City, where I was born and spent all 22 years of my life, each day I spend trapped in it makes me despise living here. Each day that passes makes me more desperate to set myself free outside this big, open-air prison. Each day makes me unable to stand the mounting injustice, torment, brutality and humiliation.
Hardships and happiness
I have never experienced as many extreme ups and downs as I did this month. Despite the hardships throughout September, I also had some immensely happy moments. I think will remember them the rest of my life. This is life in Gaza: highs amid lows, everything in the balance, nothing secure from day to day, no plans, no guarantees.
At the beginning of September, I started the process to secure my visa for Italy. I am supposed to be there on 10 October to celebrate the publication of my first book, the fruits of my work over more than three years of writing. It is the Italian version of my blog, Palestine from My Eyes, which I started in May 2010. My book launched on 22 September. It was impossible for me to attend its release in Italy.
My blog was never about me as an individual. It is rather about a young Palestinian woman who grew up in the alleys of a densely inhabited refugee camp with an imprisoned father. It is about a woman whose awareness of her Palestinian identity was shaped in a besieged city under the brutal Israeli occupation. My blog is about our people, who are routinely dehumanized and whose stories are marginalized and unknown to the majority outside. It was about our Palestinian political prisoners and their families, whose lost and missing loved ones have become statistics, numbers which fail to communicate all the injustices they face under the Israeli Prison Service, which denies them their most basic rights.
The book, inspired by the harsh and complex reality we are forced to endure, makes me feel that my responsibility as a voice for our Palestinian people has doubled. Some amazingly dedicated Italian friends are fixing a busy schedule of events, book fairs, conferences and presentations in many different cities. My presence in Italy is very important, because I am sure few people there have met Palestinians. I am anxiously waiting for the Rafah border to open so I can be there for these events, to help my book spread as widely as possible.
I read on Reuters last Tuesday: “According to Abbas’s request, Egypt agrees to reopen Rafah border crossing on Wednesday and Thursday for four working hours each.”
My first reaction was laughter. Where was Abbas while the Rafah border was closed to thousands of patients seeking medical care abroad which they cannot access in Gaza, or students whose dreams to pursue their education overseas were crushed?
We are not only paying the price for the unsettled situation in Egypt. We have even become the victims of our own divided Palestinian leadership. It makes me furious to think that the opening of Rafah crossing, a lifeline for our people in Gaza, has come under the influence of the internal division between political parties competing to seek favors from our colonizers. The ruling factions seem to have become participants in the collective punishment we suffer.
The headline infuriated rather than relieved me. Opening the Rafah border for eight hours over two days was not a solution to the crisis caused by the complete closure of Rafah for more than a week.
The same day, in the taxi heading home, I received a call telling me I finally got a visa to Italy. I was so happy I forgot the conservative nature of my society and started screaming out of happiness in the car. The visa process took shorter than I thought. I called my friend Amjad Abu Asab, who lives in Jerusalem and received my passport for me, since Israel prevents Palestinians in Gaza from visiting the city, urging him to find someone coming into Gaza via the northern Erez checkpoint on Wednesday.
This can be my chance to leave Wednesday or Thursday, I thought. My happiness didn’t last. “Erez checkpoint will be completely closed from Wednesday until Sunday, 22 September, because of the Jewish holidays,” Amjad said. “No express mail, and no person, can cross Erez to Gaza during this period.”
“What an absurdity!” I screamed. “When the Rafah border crossing finally reopens, Erez checkpoint closes. We have to deal with Israel from one side and Egypt from the other. How long will we live at the mercy of others? There must be some emergency exit.”
Life of uncertainty
“The definition of uncertainty in the dictionary is Gaza,” my fellow Electronic Intifada writer Ali Abunimah once told me. That describes in short my life at the moment, and the lives of our people generally: a life of uncertainty.
I had no choice but to wait for the Jewish holidays to end for Erez to reopen and to get my passport. But on Wednesday, I insisted on going to Rafah. I refused to sit at home, powerless, unable to do anything but wait. At Rafah border crossing, I saw a gate of humiliation. People crowded on top of each other, roamed the waiting hall, waited impatiently for some news to revive their hopes, and ran after policemen, asking for help and explaining their urgent need to travel.
I met many of my fellow students who were stuck as well. They came with their luggage, hoping they could leave, but ended up dragging it back home.
I stayed until 2:00pm, hoping that I could at least register. I did, I think. I explained my situation to a policeman at the gate. He took my scanned copy of my passport and returned after about five minutes, saying, “Your name is registered.” I am not sure what he meant, but he did not say anything else. I asked him if there was a certain date I could leave. His reply was, “Only God knows.” I wish someone could tell me when I will be able to leave so I can have a break from worrying. But no one knows anything, “only God knows.”
While doing an interview with the Real News Network that morning at the border, an elegant elderly man in a formal black suit and holding a black bag interrupted. “I would like to make an interview,” he said. “I speak English, and if you like, I can do Hebrew.” The old man looked very serious as we awaited his poignant words. “This border, all this area, was mine. They came and stole it.” As he continued, the Real News crew and I realized the interview was descending into farce. “I have bombs in this bag and I can explode the whole place in a second!” the man said. We started laughing and said jokingly, “Go explode, then. We’re standing by you.” Yes, this Rafah gate of humiliation must be wiped away so we, Palestinian people in Gaza, can have some breath of freedom.
The Rafah border crossing closed again after 800 persons left to Egypt on Wednesday and Thursday. I am sure this closure would be easier to understand if it was a natural disaster. But knowing that other human beings are doing this to me and 1.7 million other civilians living in Gaza, while the rest of the world looks on, is too difficult to believe. It is more painful and shocking to realize that our neighboring Arab country, Egypt, is joining our Zionist jailers and collaborating with them to tighten the siege.
This experience made me believe that human dignity has become a joke. International law is nothing but empty, powerless words printed in books. We are denied our right to freedom of movement, our right to pursue our education, our right to good medical care, and our right to be free or to live in peace and security. But no one in power bothers to act.
I spent September worrying about the border and my dreams which may fade away if Rafah remains closed. This takes a lot of my energy and makes me suffer from lack of focus and sleep, and makes it hard for me to sit and express myself in writing or with a drawing. Our people’s tragedy caused by the ongoing closure of Rafah border continues, and the crisis is deepening. Living in Gaza under these circumstances is like being sentenced to a slow death. Act and set us free. It is time for these injustices we face on a daily basis to end.
Shahd Abusalama is a Palestinian writer, artist and activist, born and raised in Jabalia Refugee Camp, Gaza, and now based in the UK. She is one of the co-founders of Hawiyya Dance Company who explore solidarity, identity, cultural resistance through Dabke, the folk dance of Palestine. She is a PhD candidate at Sheffield Hallam University, focusing on documentary films that address the Palestinian refugees in Gaza. She holds an MA in Media and the Middle East from SOAS, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Al-Azhar University - Gaza.