Friday, January 25, 2008

People Power

By the late Ismael Shamout

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A young girl from Gaza teaches us a little about the racist zionist...

Sit down and watch....Make sure there's a box of tissues close by

Just Added A San Diego Demo on Friday 1/25

Emergency San Diego Demonstration!BREAK THE SILENCE ON GAZA NOW!Stop US Complicity! End All US Aid to the Zionist State!
Meet Friday (1/25) at 3:00 PM
At the corner of Broadway and Front Street,downtown in front of the Federal Building.
Demo from 3:00 to 5:30 PM.
Called by : Al-Awda San Diego, The Free Palestine Alliance, and The NationalCouncil of Arab Americans.
Co-sponsor : International Action Center (IAC-SD).

Video of Palestinians at Rafah Crossing

Monday, January 21, 2008

Coalition Calls for Emergency Protests Jan.26 in Anaheim, Wash., San Francisco

End the Criminal Israeli Siege of Gaza NOW!
Stop the Collective Punishment of the Palestinian People!

Coalition Calls for Emergency Protests Jan. 25-26 in 
Washington, San Francisco, Anaheim and other cities

The A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition, joins with the National Council of Arab Americans (NCA), Free Palestine Alliance(FPA), Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, Palestinian American Women’s Association(PAWA), Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition and other anti-war and progressive organizations in calling for emergency protests demanding an immediate end to the Israeli blockade and siege of Gaza. Protests will take place on January 25-26 at Israeli embassies, consulates, U.S. federal buildings and other locations.

More than 1.5 million Palestinian people living are suffering from life-threatening shortages of food, medicines, fuel and other vital necessities, caused by the Israeli military’s sealing-off of one of the most densely populated areas of the world. Gaza City is blacked-out at night, including hospitals. Doctors must examine patients by candlelight. 

The crisis is growing more severe by the day. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the World Food Programme, which together supply food to more than two-thirds of the population, have stated that unless the blockade is lifted they will be forced to stop operations by this weekend. A cut-off in aid would threaten an already food-deprived population with mass starvation. The great majority of Gaza residents are from refugee families, driven out of other parts of Palestine when the state of Israel was created in 1948.

The Israeli government imposed a blockade on Gaza after the Hamas party was democratically elected in January 2006. The Bush administration backed Israel’s action. Last week, Israel tightened the blockade, sealing off Gaza, supposedly because of Palestinian attacks by the military wing of Hamas. Yet, on December 23, 2007, Israel rejected Hamas call for ceasefire negotiations. Since then, Israeli air and ground attacks have killed dozens of Palestinians and wounded hundreds more in Gaza, most of them civilians. In 2007, 373 Palestinians were killed in Gaza and the West Bank, compared to just 13 Israeli deaths.  

The Israeli blockade is in clear violation of international law, which strictly forbids collective punishment and labels it a war crime. Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) states in part: “No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.” 

Collective punishment is a war crime. Imposing a blockade on the population in Gaza is undeniably a form of collective punishment. The U.S. government, which gives billions of dollars in military and economic aid to Israel every year, shares the guilt for this war crime.

Among the cities where emergency protests will take place are:

Washington DC: Friday, Jan. 25 (time tba), at the Israeli Embassy, 3514 International Dr. N.W.

San Francisco, CA: Friday, Jan. 25, 4 6 p.m., Israeli Consulate, 456 Montgomery St. (near California)

Anaheim, CA: Saturday, Jan. 26, 1 p.m. 512 S. Brookhurst St. (Bet. Orange Ave. & Broadway)

New York, NY: Saturday, Jan. 26, 1 p.m., at the Israeli Embassy, 43rd St. and 2nd Ave.

Chicago, IL: Tues., Jan. 29, 5pm at the Lakeshore Theater, 3175 North Broadway (at benefit for the Friends of the Israeli Defense Force). Initiated by ISM, endorsed by ANSWER and others. Call 773-463-0311 for more information.

Seattle Demo: Friday, January 25, 4 p.m., Westlake Park, 4th & Pine Sts.

If you are planning your own protest, please let us know so we can post information about your event on the ANSWER website.


AL-Haq Action Alert: End the Siege of the Gaza Strip



Ref.: 01.2008E

21 January 2008


End the Siege of the Gaza Strip


On Sunday 20 January 2008, Israel’s ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip, including the blocking of fuel supplies, forced Gaza’s only power plant to shut down, plunging over 800,000 Palestinians into darkness. According to the General-Director of the plant, the shortage of electricity caused by the lack of fuel will affect the provision of medical care and water and sanitation services. On Sunday morning, the Gaza Coastal Municipalities Water Utility, which normally operates 130 wells as well as sewage treatment plants, stated that if the fuel supply is not restored by Tuesday, these services will cease to function throughout the Gaza Strip. Since Friday 18 January, Israel has also closed all Gaza’s border crossings and blocked all humanitarian aid, except in exceptional circumstances. With some 80 percent of Gaza’s population requiring food aid, the impact of these measures will be catastrophic. This escalation has also been accompanied by an intensifying of Israeli military attacks on the Gaza Strip in the first 19 days of 2008, costing the lives of 69 Palestinians, including four children and eight women, and the injury of over 190.


Israel’s current policy in relation to the Gaza Strip and its 1.5 million inhabitants constitutes an unmitigated violation of international humanitarian law including, but not limited to, Israel’s obligation as an Occupying Power to, at a minimum, ensure the basic needs of the population under its effective control, and the prohibitions on collective punishment, coercion and unlawful reprisals.


Israel’s current policy and recent actions have shown a casual disregard for the lives and dignity of the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, treating their suffering and the violation of their fundamental rights as little more than an inconvenience that will earn gentle reprimand from the international community and Palestinian National Authority, but will otherwise be irrelevant. With the intolerable conditions and constant state of fear that the Gazan population is now forced to live under, it is time for this position to change. Israel must not be allowed to shield itself from the implementation of its international legal obligations, nor should the international community shy away from enforcing such implementation. Inarticulate fears of disrupting a “peace process” that exists only in vague declarations and diplomatic handshakes, that treats the Gaza Strip as separate from the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and Palestinians as a divided people, cannot be an excuse for allowing the continued siege of the Gaza Strip. In fact, if any “peace process” is to succeed, the conclusion reached must embody a sense of justice. This requires, as an unavoidable starting point, that the fundamental rights of all parties be recognised and protected.


Al-Haq therefore calls upon,


  • Israel to immediately cease all military operations in the Gaza Strip and to end its policy of collective punishment, including the opening of border crossings to allow the movement of goods and people, and restoring the supply of fuel and humanitarian aid.


  • the Palestinian Liberation Organisation to establish Israel’s obligations under international law in respect of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip, including ending the collective punishment and ensuring access to essential medical services, food and water and sanitation, as an integral part of any negotiations.


  • regional organisations and individual states to take concrete measures, including economic and diplomatic sanctions, to ensure Israel’s compliance with international law.


  • all international agencies, including the UN, present in the OPT to actively draw the attention of international decision makers to the impact of Israeli policies on the Palestinian civilian population of the Gaza Strip.


  • the UN Secretary-General immediately bring the situation in the Gaza Strip to the attention of the Security Council.


  • concerned individuals and civil society groups to raise Israel’s violations of international law with elected officials in their home counties.


  • Palestinian armed groups to immediately cease the launching of rockets targeting civilian population centres in Israel.


The Missiles that the zionists stopped in Gaza

Sunday, January 20, 2008

All Out to Break the Siege of Gaza Now!

At this time, when outright Zionist criminal actions are directed against the Palestinian Arab people of Gaza, amounting to mass starvation, spreading of disease and suffocation in the most vile manner, we ask what does it take for the Palestinian Authority and Arab regimes to break their servitude and have some courage and an ounce of dignity - just an ounce?

We will get right to the point: this leadership is corrupt to its core and has sold every ounce of its dignity. Nothing is left! It is time for the Palestinian people and for the Arab masses to hold these war criminals and profiteers accountable.

Zionist actions are well known to our people - from Deir Yassin, to Kufr Qasem, to Sabra and Shatila, to Qana, to Janin, to Gaza and a whole lot of suffering and death in between. But the overt servitude by Arab leaders that has now reached outright complicity in the starvation of children and the killing of the sick and needy is a new low below which there is no lower filth. It is time for Zionist war criminals and their Arab servants to be held accountable.

The fig leaf charade of UN Security Council meetings amounts to nothing.
At the very least:

1. Egypt must open the Rafah crossing and immediately send adequate fuel, food and medicine at any cost. Not doing so is a but another blot of shame in that regime's history.
2. All political, economic and diplomatic relationships and normalization steps with the Zionists must be terminated.
3. Zionist leaders and their Arab servants must be tried for war crimes.

We call on all people to hold mass mobilizations worldwide to break the siege on our beloved people. We also call for holding war crimes tribunals for all responsible.

It is time to isolate and expose all those who continue to benefit from our misery while shedding crocodile tears; and, certainly, it is time to hold them accountable for their devastating crimes.

Let history record that the voice of our people can never be silenced and that our cry for freedom will surely pierce through all bastilles of hunger.

All Out to Break the Siege of Gaza Now!
Enough is enough!

The Free Palestine Alliance - USA
January 20, 2008

النفط العربي لا يشعل شمعة في غزة

الظلام يلف غزة

فلسطينيون يتناولون الطعام على الشموع في غزة
In the 21Th Century, the Palestinians go back to using candles for light

Picture by AF

Break the Silence on Gaza....

For Immediate Release
January 20, 2008


Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, calls on its chapters,supporting organizations and individuals to organize to break the silenceabout the ongoing Israeli war crimes being committed against Palestinians inGaza.
Organize street actions and protests, community meetings anddelegations to religious leaders and educators. Call and write the media andyour congressional representatives.
People of the world watch in horror as the racist state of 'Israel', withthe support and encouragement of the US government, engages in a genocidalproject to eliminate the indigenous Arab people of Palestine.

The world community has denounced the government of 'Israel' for using itsmilitary for the purpose of collectively punishing the civilian populationof the Gaza Strip, a clear war crime and violation of the 4th GenevaConventions.

The only power plant in Gaza was shut down today leaving the1.5 million inhabitants without electricity, water, or any functionalmedical facilities.Palestinians continue to endure starvation, aerial bombings, US CIAinterventions, and Israeli army brutality.

This murderous endeavor hascaused the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian civilians and the alreadyfragile economy of Gaza has been decimated.



For information to contact your congressional representatives, go to
For writing to the media, go to for contact information.
To make a donation to help the people in the Gaza Strip go to and simply follow the instructions.Please indicate that your donation is for the GAZA EMERGENCY FUND.BREAK THE SILENCE ON GAZA!DON'T DELAY! TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return CoalitionPO Box 131352Carlsbad, CA 92013, USATel: 760-685-3243Fax: 360-933-3568E-mail:, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition (PRRC) is the largestnetwork of grassroots activists and students dedicated to Palestinian humanrights. We are a not for profit tax-exempt educational and charitable501(c)(3) organization as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ofthe United States of America. Under IRS guidelines, your donations to PRRCare tax-deductible.To make a donation simply go to and simply follow the instructions.

Death and Darkness in Gaza, People are dying, Help us!

A humanitarian crisis is underway as the Gaza Strip's only power plant began to shut down on Sunday, and the tiny coastal territory entered its third full day without shipments of vital food and fuel supplies due to Israel's punitive sanctions. The Gaza Strip's power plant has completely shut down on Sunday because it no longer has the fuel needed to keep running .

One of the plant's two electricity- generating turbines had already shut down by noon. This will drastically reduce output to 25 or 30 megawatts, down from the 65 megawatts the plant produces under normal conditions.

By Sunday evening the plant will shut down completely, leaving large swaths of the Gaza Strip in darkness.

Omar Kittaneh, the head of the Palestine Energy Authority in Ramallah, confirmed that by tonight, the one remaining operating turbine will be powered down, and the Gaza power plant will no longer be generating any electricity at all. "We have asked the Israeli government to reverse its decision and to supply fuel to operate the power plant", Dr. Kittaneh said. "We have talked to the Israeli humanitarian coordination in their Ministry of Energy . We say this is totally Israel's responsibility, and that reducing the fuel supplies until the plant had to shut down will affect not only the electrical system but the water supply, and the entire infrastructure in Gaza – everything." After months of increasingly harsh sanctions, Israel imposed a total closure on the Strip's border crossings, even preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The Israeli government says the closure is punishment for an ongoing barrage of Palestinian homemade projectiles fired from the Gaza Strip. "Famine"180 fuel stations have shut down after Gaza residents to buy gas for cooking. A Palestinian economist Hasan Abu Ramadan said the current humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip will be deepened by the blockade on fuel and food supplies. He warned that Gaza Strip could go from a situation of deep poverty to all out famine, disease, and malnutrition. Abu Ramadan said that more than 80% of the Strip's 1.5 million residents have been surviving with the help of food aid from international organizations such as UNRWA for Palestinian refugees.International condemnation Most international actors in the region believe there already is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, including the UN's Emergency Relief Coordinator, the Undersecretary- general for humanitarian affairs John Holmes, who said at a press conference at UNHQ in New York on Friday that "This kind of action against the people in Gaza cannot be justified, even by those rocket attacks".

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed particular concern, in a statement issued later on Friday through his spokesperson, about the "decision by Israel to close the crossing points in between Gaza and Israel used for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Such action cuts off the population from much-needed fuel supplies used to pump water and generate electricity to homes and hospitals".

The UN Human Rights Council's Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied territories, John Dugard, also issued a much sharper statement on Friday, saying that Israel must have foreseen the loss of life and injury to many nearby civilians when it targeted the Ministry of Interior building in Gaza City.

This, and the killings of other Palestinians during the week, plus the closures, "raise very serious questions about Israel's respect for international law and its Commitment to the peace process", Dugard said.

He said it violates the strict prohibition on collective punishment contained in the Fourth Geneva Convention, and one of the basic principles of international humanitarian law: that military action must distinguish between military targets and civilian targets.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

If you are suffering from : no Income , no Electricity, no Water and no Gas ,then , for sure,
you live in the Gaza Strip

US says it's all in self defence.......

The United States of America today described the zionist's massacre in the Gaza Strip that have left more than 35 people dead and scores injured this week, as "legal self-defence"
The spokesperson of the US State Department Shaun McCormack said, "There have been zionist military operations which fall in the category of legal self-defence, and they [zionists] have the full right of self-defence."
I am sure that Abbas and company agree with this American position......I bet you that you'll never hear a word against this outrageous statement ,by Abbas or his lackeys ........ You will lose if you bet me on this one.......

Friday, January 18, 2008

Don't cry for me.......

Some of the destruction that happened today in Gaza.......
And you thought that the F-16 are harmless...

Damn you PA leadership , Arab Leaders, World community leaders ,and damn you UN ......

Gaza is burning ......
The West Bank is burning....
The Palestinian people are being butchered as if they are sheep with no one paying any attention to them.....
The zionists invaders are using all they have to inflect the most harm and damage against Palestinians and Palestine....
The PA leadership ,aka ,zionist caretakers ,are planning for a meeting with the zionist early next week ,as if they do even hear of what's going on all over occupied Palestine....
The Arab leaders are still admiring the pictures they took on the red carpet with Dabilluo ,and care less about their people ,so why care about the Palestinian people.....
The so called world community leaders ,including the UN and what it should stand for , do not give a damn and are no where to be found so we can hear what they think.
The media , or do start me talking about the media.....
The Palestinian people have no doubt ,that if it doesn't get worse ,it will not get better....
They also know ,that this PA leadership ,aka zionist caretaker, is part of the problem ,just like the zionists and their supporters , and they all will fail in their efforts to destroy the will of our people to achieve liberation and freedom ,just like everyone else in this world.....
The Palestinian people believe that there's a light at the end of the tunnel ,and that victory will be ours .......and hopefully sooner than all of our enemies think...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Israel's InhumanCrime Against The World
By Mary Sparrowdancer
c. 2008 by mary sparrowdancer1-14-8

(Part One of a multi-part feature focusing separately on the horrors endured in Gaza, and the West Bank.)
Weeping father carries child slaughtered by invading Israeli military forces in a Gaza civilian village.
The world's current political warlords lord themselves over us while openly demonstrating they have no regard for our opinions, our choices, our votes or our protests. They speak convincingly through their propaganda media machines about "freedoms" when in fact, liberty is their enemy and they are working hard in a futile attempt to destroy it. They do not realize, however, that liberty belongs to us, and it is not theirs to destroy. They speak of lawfulness, while swaggering in utter defiance of all laws of civility. They speak of terrorists and point fingers elsewhere, when they are the actual terrorists who have murdered and displaced millions of civilians since 2001. They speak of their humanitarian treatment of prisoners, when in fact they are consumed and entertained by violence and torture that would put Ancient Rome to shame. Nowhere are prisoners more shamefully treated than in the Gaza Strip, and this treatment is being funded and made possible by US dollars.
The Gaza Strip is bordered on the south by the sands and eternal mystique of Egypt, on the west by the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, its inviting beaches a place where dreams of peaceful tourist resorts once flourished, and on the east it is bordered by what used to be Palestine. In 1948, Israel announced itself a state withinPalestine, and began systematically forcing the Palestinians off their ancestral lands in order to build Jewish-only settlements. (1)
For almost two years, the Israeli military forces have completely surrounded Gaza. Israel has built tall, ugly walls around the borders of Gaza, including the border between Gaza and Egypt. The Israeli military forces patrol and attack the civilians of Gaza from the air with US helicopters, F-16s, and with drones. Israeli/ US tanks and bulldozers attack from the ground, storming through Gaza villages and refugee camps, destroying homes and killing more Palestinian victims. Israeli gunboats sit poised in the once peaceful waters off Gaza's shore, intent upon shelling unarmed fishing boats and massacring families daring to enjoy picnics on the beach. With all Gaza borders tightly closed, and with no way out by land, sea or air, approximately 1.5 million Palestinians are trapped in Gaza making it the largest and most inhumane prison on earth.
In September of 2007, after sealing all of the borders, Israel declared the civilian population imprisoned in the Gaza Strip a "hostile entity," and as such justifiedIsrael' s next plan to block the delivery of all supplies including water, food, soap, paper, textiles, fuels and electricity. At this moment the civilians trapped within the closed borders of Gaza, most of them refugees, await their fate at the hands of the Israeli military force. This is a military force that is funded by the US, and it is a force from which the civilians cannot now defend themselves, nor have they ever been able to defend themselves.
Palestinian man tries to carry a wounded friend after invading Israeli military forces shelled villages in Gaza. July 2006 Photo by Mohammed al Zaanoun, photojournalist armed only with a camera.
In speaking with photojournalists Mohammed al Zaanoun, and Mohammed Omer via email yesterday, I asked if the people of Gaza had access to clean water. The answer received from both was, "No."
"Dear Mary," Mohammed al Zaanoun wrote, "Gaza has many problems now, such as the electricity was cut off, and they [Israel] will not allow food and water to enter and many young are infected and dying due to closure of crossings."

(check http://www.currenti mohammad- az-zanoun. jpg for pictures)

At this time, therefore, the 1.5 million people trapped in Gaza have little or no access to clean water. Building supplies to repair water pumps and homes that have been bombed, shelled and bulldozed by Israeli forces are denied passage through the closed borders. Electricity is denied. Free trade beyond the borders is blocked. Transfer of emergency relief funds into Gaza is denied.
Cement is denied, leaving Gazans unable to even properly bury those already murdered by Israeli forces. Soap is denied. Postal service is denied. Bottled water is denied. Medications are denied. The sick are denied access to medical care across the blocked borders, as Mohammed pointed out. During the past three months, 70 of the desperately ill and innocent waiting for "permission" from Israel to cross the border for medical care have died. In 2007 alone, the Israeli forces slaughtered 290 people outright in Gaza, including children (this does not include those slaughtered in the West Bank). Now Israel is starving the remaining 1.5 million in Gaza, while also denying them access to clean water. (2)
One might wonder what the people of Gaza have done to provoke such a barbaric demonstration of hatred, racial rage and collective torture that is being displayed by the Israeli military forces.
While the published reason is that some Palestinians in Gaza have fired homemade, primitive Qassam rockets towards an Israeli settlement (while glossing over the fact that this settlement was built on land stolen from the Palestinians) , we now know that much of what is promoted in the mainstream US news is far from the truth. A more careful search reveals that Israeli Defense Minister, Yaakov Toran, is quoted as saying, "we need to remember that Qassams are more a psychological than physical threat.
Statistically they cause the fewest losses. . . " (3)
Qassams, which were first fired into Israeli settlements in 2002, are extremely inaccurate, short-range homemade rockets, and when they are fired from Gaza, they are generally fired in the direction of the Israeli settlement of Sderot. Sderot is located upon the ashes of the Palestinian village of Nadj. According to Dr. Walid Khalidi, the Palestinian inhabitants of Nadj were driven out when this village was ethnically cleansed by Israeli settlers in 1948, the year Israel announced its statehood. In Dr Khalidi's book, "All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated By Israel in 1948," Najd is said to be one of 418 ethnically cleansed villages. Not a trace of this peaceful farming community remains, but in the ashes of this village and the other 417 racially cleansed villages, there is a hint of the true reason behind the Israeli overkill, its frantic rage, and its racial violence against the Palestinian refugees. (4)
According to international laws regarding the Right of Return of refugees to their homes, the Palestinian refugees must be permitted to return to their own ancestral lands or be compensated justly for what was taken from them by Israel. The simple truth is that Israel, with its ever-mutating Swiss cheese borders, cannot remain in existence if this law is enforced. Israel cannot possibly give back all that it has taken from the Palestinian refugees, because every Israeli settlement that is dotting what was once the Holy Land, is built upon land stolen from the Palestinians. Incredibly, the only "Right of Return" law that Israel acknowledges, is the right of any Jewish person on earth to "return" to a land where neither they nor their ancestors have ever stepped foot, and call it home. (5) (6)
Therefore, one must ask a critical question. In order to protect the scattered-around "state" of Israel and all of its illegal settlements and rather than abiding by the international Right of Return laws, are the Israeli forces instead attempting to destroy as many Palestinian refugees as possible? One of the largest concentrations of Palestinian refugees is now being held captive, starved, deprived of water, bombarded daily, and slowly murdered through neglect and the withholding of basic needs inGaza.
Bush recently visited Israel, at which time he was "thanked" by Olmert for the $30 Billion package of US funds promised to Israel.
For those of us who are increasingly opposed to the activities of the state of Israel (as well as the activities of the US war machine abroad), this "gift package" is the equivalent of forcing all Americans into aiding and abetting what now appears to be a true terrorist state. Forcing Americans to support Zionist Israeli military and its host of illegal terrorist activities is an abomination. Americans should not have to helplessly watch as Zionist politicians in the US government hand US money over to the brutal, racist state favored by all Zionists. This is especially egregious because numerous US politicians have dual citizenships in both the US and Israel and enjoy frequent lavish trips and vacations to "Israel," the land forcefully taken away from the Palestinians. No one can support the state of Israel while also upholding his or her oath of office to support and uphold the US Constitution. (7)
This Christmas was bleak in Gaza. There were no winter clothes or toys to buy, and almost no money with which to buy goods. There were few sweet treats for the children. There was little food.
There was little medicine. There is no clean water. But, there was something else that remains in abundance, something that has never been taken away from the Palestinians. It is something that one can see well in the Palestinians if one takes a moment to look. It is something that continues to leave me in awe as well as with a profoundly growing respect.
The Palestinians have been patiently asking the world for help in ending the Israeli occupation of their homes and lands for 60 years now. Despite the fact that little help has been given to them and they remain refugees without human rights in their own land, there is something about them. Even after 60 years, they have not been broken in spirit. They have remained steadfast, patient, and still somehow in possession of a sense of humor that allows a ready smile, but they are also not ashamed of weeping when their hearts are broken. They have never given up, and they are determined to live in peace again on their ancestral lands - but there is something even more: They are filled with grace. Blocked from selling even their beautiful flowers abroad by the inhumane US and Israeli border closures, poverty stricken, jobless through no fault of their own and possessing almost nothing now, they gave each other those flowers for Christmas. (8)
Christmas in Gaza was also bleak for my friend, Mohammed al Zaanoun, although to date I have never heard him complain about his own situation even when I have asked him about it. With the typical grace shown by many Palestinians, he does not focus attention upon himself or his own suffering. With rare and brief exception, I have only heard him speak on behalf of others whose suffering he has witnessed and photographed. I, however, am aware of his personal suffering.
That was carnage the Israelis did not want the world seeing, and so they stopped the unarmed cameraman with typical Israeli force.

As Mohammed photographed and documented the July 2006 Israeli military attack on Gaza civilians as shown in the opening photos of this article, he was struck by Israeli fire first in the face and hand, but he continued photographing. He was then targeted and gunned down by an Israeli shell fired directly into his abdomen.
Upon impact, the shell fragmented into over 100 pieces inside him. Mohammed fell to the ground and as rescue workers ran to help him, he told them to save his camera.
"There are photos in the camera that bear witness to the truth," he said. "They will help awaken the world," Mohammed said.
They helped awaken me.
------------ ------
mary sparrowdancer is an independent journalist and author of a bestselling book about the return of the Messiah, "The Love Song." www.sparrowdancer. com Please feel free to copy this article about Gaza and send it to anyone in need of an awakening.
Mary is committed to helping Mohammed receive the reconstructive surgeries that he still desperately requires. If you would like to help, contributions for Mohammed can be sent via paypal to her email addresssparrowdance r1@earthlink. net - or her mailing address in care of Tenth Moon Press, 529 East Jennings Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301. Please earmark them "For Mohammed." Mary wishes to thank Congressional Candidate Mark Yannone, (AZ, Congressional District 3) for his input regarding oaths of office, and his brief, one-word comment suggesting that I include the photos in this article. He said, after looking at them, "Jesus."
------------ ---------
1.Gaza map. (1/14/2008)
http://images. nationmaster. com/images/ motw/middle_ east_and_ asia/ natural_resources. jpg
2. 2007 Statistics. (1/14/2008)
http://www.btselem. org/english/ Press_Releases/ 20071231. asp
3. Yaakov Toran talks about qassams. (1/14/2008)
http://www.ynetnews .com/articles/ 0,7340,L- 3222783,00. html
4. Najd. (1/14/2008)
http://umkahlil. blogspot. com/2006/ 06/sderot- built-on- ashes-of- ethnically.html
5. UN Human Rights Resolution 194. (1/14/2008)
http://domino. nsf/361eea1cc083 01c485256cf60060 6959/ c758572b78d1cd00852 56bcf0077e51a! OpenDocument
6. International laws. (1/14/2008)
http://www.hrw. org/campaigns/ israel/return/ crsr-rtr. htm
7. Thanks for the $30 Billion (1/13/2008
http://www.lebanese vbullet/showthre ad.php?t= 29111
8. Flowers for Christmas (1/13/2008)
http://bbsnews. net/article. php/200801071214 00252

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Demonstrations like this should take place everywhere

17 Palestinian killed and at least 30 wounded in Gaza in less than 4 Hours

PCHRPalestinian Centre for Human Rights
Press Release

Ref: 3/2008
Date: 15 January 2008
Time: 12:30 GMT

IOF Escalate Attacks against the Gaza Strip:
17 Palestinians Killed and at Least 30 Others Wounded in Gaza City in Less Than 4 Hours

On Tuesday morning, 15 January 2008, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed 17 Palestinians, including 5 civilians, and wounded at least 30 others, 5 of whom are in a serious condition, during an incursion into the al-Shojaeya and al-Zaytoun neighborhoods of east Gaza City. The incursion continued until noon. Preliminary investigations conducted by PCHR indicate that most of the victims were killed by tank shells, and that IOF troops used excessive lethal force without regard for the lives of Palestinian civilian living in the affected areas.

PCHR strongly condemns these latest crimes, and continues to be gravely concerned about the escalation of attacks by IOF against the Gaza Strip. PCHR calls upon the international community to immediately intervene in order to stop these crimes, as well as repeated Israeli threats to invade the Gaza Strip en masse, which will undoubtedly cause even more destruction, including deaths and injuries, to the Palestinian civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

According to the preliminary investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 08:00 on Tuesday, 15 January 2008, IOF heavy military vehicles moved nearly 3,000 meters into Palestinian areas around Malaqa Square, which lies between al-Shojaeya and al-Zaytoun neighborhoods in the east of Gaza City. IOF then indiscriminately opened fire at anything that moved within the area. A number of militants from the Palestinian resistance clashed with IOF, and the IOF responded by firing tank shells. As a result, 5 Palestinian militants were killed:

1) Rami Talal Farahat, 30.
2) 'Aahed Sa'dallah 'Ashour, 27.
3) Mahmoud 'Ata Abu Laban, 21.
4) Hussam Mahmoud al-Zahhar, 22.
5) Saleem 'Abdul Haq al-Mdallal, 20.

IOF continued to indiscriminately shell Palestinian houses and agricultural areas. As a result, 3 Palestinian farmers were also killed:
1) As'ad 'Eissa Radwan Tafesh, 65;
2) Marwan Sameer 'Ouda, 22.
3) Sa'id Mustafa al-Sammouni, 50.

Another 2 civilians, including a student, were also killed during the incursion:
1) Ayman Fadel Malaka, 35, a car trader who was in the car market located neat the affected area.
2) 'Abdul Salam 'Atiya Abu Laban, 19, a student.

In addition, 30 Palestinians, including a woman, were wounded by the IOF gunfire. The conditions of five of those wounded during the incursion is described as "serious" by medical sources.

IOF withdrew from the area at approximately 12:30. Soon afterwards, Palestinian ambulances rushed to al-Shojaeya and al-Zaytoun. Medical personnel found the bodies of 7 militants from the Palestinian resistance who had been killed by IOF during the incursion.

The victims were identified as:
1) Mohammed Majdi Hejji, 20.
2) Sakher Saleem Zwayed, 27.
3) Mustafa Yahia Selmi, 20.
4) Mos'ab Saleem Selmi, 21.
5) 'Abdullah Taleb Salem, 23.
6) Mohammed Sabri Hana, 20.
7) Khamis Abu Sawawin, 25.

PCHR is gravely concerned about this continuing escalation in attacks by IOF, and therefore:

1) Condemns these crimes, which are part of a serious of continuous crimes committed by IOF in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) with total disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians, considering them a form of collective punishment against the Palestinian civilian population in violation of article 33 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.
2) Stresses that IOF do not pay attention to the principles of necessity and proportionality when using their full-fledged arsenal against members of the Palestinian resistance, who are sometimes present in densely populated areas.
3) Calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to stop such crimes, and calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention, Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, to fulfill their obligation under article 1 of the Convention to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, as well as their obligation under article 146 to search for and prosecute those who are responsible for perpetrating grave breaches of the Convention, as such breaches constitute war crimes according to article 147 of the Convention and the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I).

Public Document
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 - 2825893
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. E-mail:, Webpage

Israeli forces kill 15 Palestinians, injure 45 in Gaza invasion;

Gaza – Ma'an – Israeli artillery fire killed 15 Palestinians, including Husam Zahhar, the son of senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar, while shelling the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City, witnesses and medics said.An estimated 45 other Palestinians have been injured.

Eyewitnesses said that at least numerous Palestinian activists have been injured by the shelling as Israeli tanks and armored vehicles slowly pushed towards the eastern Gaza City neighborhoods of Ash-Shuja'iyya and Zeitoun.

Palestinian medics at Ash-Shifa hospital identified some of the dead as Rami Farahat, Ahid Ashur, Muhamad Abu Laban Badwan Auda, Khalil Mudallal and Mustafa Salim .

The eyewitnesses said also that Israeli bulldozers destroyed farmers' groves in the area.Separately, witnesses said that Israeli military vehicles invaded the industrial zone near the Erez border crossing in the northern Gaza Strip.

Zahhar reactsMahmoud Zahhar is one of Hamas' founders and served as Palestinan foreign minister from 2006 to 2007. In September 2003, Zahhar's other son Khaled was killed in an Israeli airstrike that completely destroyed Zahhar's home in Zeitoun.

"This is one of the results of the Bush visit. He encouraged the Israelis to kill our people," Zahhar told reporters."What is going on in Gaza today is a shame for all of those who cooperated with [US President George W.] Bush, the criminal, and with the Zionists," Zahar said. "I am talking about all kings, presidents and ministers," he said, in an apparent criticism of Arab leaders who met with Bush. "We are telling them, today they are killing our sons, tomorrow they are going to kill yours."

Monday, January 14, 2008

غزة - اطفال يدرسون على ضوء شمعة في منزل عائلتهم خلال انقطاع التيار الكهربائي ليلة امس بسبب تخفيض كميات الوقود التي تكد بها اسرائيل قطاع غزة

Witnessing the Siege

By Safa Joudeh writing from occupied Gaza Strip, Palestine,
14 January 2008

It is supposed that one can build factual perception by reading the statistics and getting all the hard evidence, but I recently realized that a complete cognitive process relies first and foremost on visuals -- seeing the picture for oneself.I joined a camera crew and producer shooting footage for a first-person interview on the Israeli siege on Gaza .
The interviewee was Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj, head of the Palestinian International Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza , a coalition of organizations and individuals set out to do just that. We met with Dr. Sarraj at his office and booked him for the day.
Based on his humanitarian activism with the campaign, Dr. Sarraj would determine which areas were most pressing in terms of the crisis in Gaza , and therefore deserved priority over other aspects during the short interview. Dr. Sarraj confirmed what the producer and the rest of the crew had already mentioned -- when it came to crisis in Gaza , the health sector and the economic sector were at the top of the list. It was decided we would visit a couple of hospitals and a factory to shoot the right footage.
This is where the cameraman started taping and didn't stop till the end of the day.I cringed as I walked into al-Shifa hospital for the first time. Gaza City 's largest hospital, al-Shifa provides treatment for critical cases from all over Gaza , in addition to being the primary hospital for non-critical cases. That day the hospital was overflowing with the ailing, the wounded and the dying. We were lead to just one of over 1,500 patients who were denied permission to leave Gaza despite suffering conditions that threatened to be terminal or at best, permanently debilitating. A doctor explained that a 19-year-old young man with a drawn face propped up on a pillow, was at risk of having both legs amputated unless he was able to have a complicated medical procedure performed within the next few days, a procedure that is not available in Gaza . Upon further inquiry, we were informed by the young man's mother that her son had been shot several times by Israeli soldiers.A short walk to the dialysis unit revealed ten machines gathering dust in the corridor. We were informed that the lack of spare parts, disposable items such as needles, and medicines for dialysis patients prevented them from being able to operate the life-saving machines. Furthermore, both hospitals and pharmacies in Gaza have run out of 92 out of about 400 types of essential medicines used to treat other illnesses.At the Children's Hospital in the Nasser area of Gaza City, the doctor lead us straight to the infant care unit where several incubators were occupied and others lay unused in a corner. We peered at the unnaturally small newborns struggling for each breath. The food crisis in Gaza has lead struggling undernourished mothers to give birth to unhealthy babies. It dawned on me that despite the gravity of the medical crisis, the inadequacy or shortage of medical equipment bore no comparison to the lack of the most important human need of all: food.The camera rolled on as Dr. Sarraj made his way back into the car clearly distraught and deeply upset about the seemingly predestined condemnation of life manifested in the frail little bodies laying in the incubators, helpless, flawless, yet already scarred for life. Dr. Sarraj cursed under his breath, scoffed a not-much-needed reminder of the hell we are all living in Gaza .We made our way to a tile and brick factory that had been shut down due to the lack of cement and machine parts essential for it to function.Entering the industrial zone en route to our third and final destination, I was struck by the brazen contrast between my distant recollection of the area -- a once noisy, hectic bustle of trucks and machinery is presently an abandoned padlocked stretch of warehouses.A guard ushered us through the gates and as soon as we drove in, it was obvious that when the factory owner had informed Dr. Sarraj that they had closed down over a month ago, and that he had come in that day only to talk to us and allow the crew to take pictures, he wasn't joking. Except for the security guard, the owner and his assistant there was not a soul or a working machine in sight on the entire premises. "It's not only that the 40 families of the factory workers that are out of a job no longer have any income" the owner told us, "we manufacture bricks, strong bricks used for sidewalks and streets. Because there is no cement, we are not able to make these bricks anymore." The streets of Gaza we drove through on our way to the factory looked more like excavation sites than streets. I thought of all the 67,000 other factory workers and their families, also out of income.
Then another shocking statistic that only then seemed to make sense -- the annual per capita income in Gaza is $600. Compare that to $21,000, the annual per capita in Israel , barely a few miles away from where we were standing.Dr. Sarraj had joked that the six or so hours of shooting would have to be condensed to three minutes. Three small minutes?! We had taken up his entire day and would take part of the next morning. He's a busy man who not only heads the campaign, but he is also president of the Gaza Mental Health Programme, and president of the board of the American School in Gaza .
Dr. Sarraj has an influential role as a Palestinian activist, political thinker and intellectual, with many things to say and many people to say them to. He was happy to give the producer and the cameraman his whole day, though.
Though Dr. Sarraj and these journalists are determined to get their story out there -- no matter how much air time they get -- it's up to the rest of the world to listen.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

3شهداء من فصائل المقاومة في غارة إسرائيلية على سيارة قرب منزل هنية غرب مخيم الشاطيء

غزة- معا- استشهد ثلاثة مقاومين في قصف جوي اسرائيلي استهدف سيارة قرب منزل اسماعيل هنية في مخيم الشاطي بمدينة غزة.وقالت المصادر الامنية في مشفى الشفاء لوكالة معا ان 3 شهداء سقطوا في الغارة على السيارة من نوع "ماغنونم" استهدفتها طائرة اسرائيلية في المربع الامني القريب من منزل رئيس الوزراء المقال اسماعيل هنية .
وطبقا لذات المصارد فان اصابة اثنين من الجرحى وصفت بالحرجة جراء اصابتهما بحروق بالغة في انحاء الجسم.
وقال الناطق باسم كتائب الاقصى ابو الوليد لوكالة معا ان الشهيد المستهدف هو نضال حسين
العامودي 35 عاما القيادي في الكتائب , فيما ينتمي الشهيد الثاني لجيش الاسلام ماهر المبحوح , بينما لم تعرف هوية الشهيد الثالث
The health ministry in the PA caretaker government on Sunday accused the zionist occupation authority of carrying out "systematic execution" of Palestinian patients in the Gaza Strip in flagrant violation of international laws.

The ministry, in a press release, said that the death of three patients in Gaza on Saturday bringing the number of victims of the zOA siege to 68 in the past seven months reflected the zOA's insistence on going ahead with its plan.

It pointed out that the three suffered from cancer of the kidney, of the stomach and of the blood.
The ministry said that the death of three patients on a single day pointed to a "serious indicator" threatening the lives of hundreds of patients in Gaza.

It stressed that legal and human rights institutions should assume their roles in demanding an immediate end to the siege especially the ban on patients' travel and on entry of enough and needed medications.

Two Kiled and six injured and the silence is deafening

zionist warplanes killed two Hamas fighters and wounded at least six other Palestinians during an air raid on a military installation belonging to Hamas' armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, near the Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis on Saturday evening.
Witnesses said the zionist aircraft fired three missiles at the military site.
Mu'awiya Hassanain, the director of ambulance and emergency services in the Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed the deaths of Mansour Albraim, and Ayed Abu Abed, both fighters with the Al-Qassam Brigades. They had been taken to Nasser hospital.
From Ma'an News

رئيس "شاباك": "قتلنا ألف مخرب في غزة خلال عامين"

تبجح يوفال ديسكين، رئيس الـ "شاباك" الإسرائيلي، في جلسة الحكومة الأسبوعية، صباح اليوم، بأن جيش "الدفاع "الإسرائيلي والـ "شاباك" قتلا في السنتين الأخيرتين نحو 1000 من المقاومين الفلسطينيين في قطاع غزة. جاءت اقوال ديسكين في معرض استعراضه الأمني الذي يقدمه "شاباك" أسبوعيا للطاقم الوزاري.وعقب آفي ديختر، وزير "الأمن" الداخلي بالقول "إن الأمر يعني أنه تم قتل خمس الناشطين "الإرهابيين" في قطاع غزة، حيث من المعروف أن في القطاع نحو عشرين ألفا من "ألمخربين"، حاثا السياسيين "أن يتعاملوا بشكل مختلف من أجل وضع حد لحرب الإستنزاف ضد سديروت والبلدات القريبة إلى غزة" أضاف ديختر، قائلا:" إنها حرب غير متكافئة حيث أن إسرائيل تضرب "المخربين" فيما "الإرهاب" الفلسطيني يصيب المواطنين" على حد زعمه، والدليل على ذلك هو رحيل ثلاثة آلاف مواطن من سديروت في الفترة الأخيرة..وفي سياق متصل، قال ديختر في جلسة وزراء حزبه "كاديما"، إن من الضروري إجراء بحث في مؤسسات الحزب قبل التوصل إلى اتفاقية إطار مع الفلسطينيين، حيث من غير المجدي أن نصل إلى اتفاق قبل تنفيذ المرحلة الأولى من خارطة الطريق التي نوليها الأولوية قبل أي شيء. يجب، أوّلا، الطلب إلى الفلسطينيين تنفيذ سلسلة من الأمور لفرض القانون.من جانبه، أكد إيهود أولمرت، في جلسة الحكومة الأسبوعية ذاتها، على أن الرئيس الأمريكي جورج بوش، قد وعد بأنه لن يتم تنفيذ أي اتفاق "بيننا وبين الفلسطينيين قبل تنفيذ خارطة الطريق بجميع بنودها، بما فيها الإلتزام بالمحافظة على أمن إسرائيل".

Gagged while Gaza is crushed

12 January 2008

Stuart Littlewood calls on readers to request the Committee on Standards in Public Life to examine whether there is undue Israeli influence at the heart of the British government that is preventing it from taking a principled stand on Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights.

The British government has maintained a strict silence on the cruel blockade of Gaza and efforts by Israel and its Western allies to crush the civilian population and eliminate their democratic choice, Hamas.

Not a word of criticism has been heard from the great and the good about this wickedness.

In the meantime, some 20 surgeons, academics and others, with knowledge of Gaza and the occupied Palestinian territories, have written urging Britain’s corruption watchdog, the Committee on Standards in Public Life, to examine whether there is undue Israeli influence at the heart of the British government.

One of these, David Halpin of, is a trauma surgeon who has advised the Hamas government on how they should investigate the use of illegal weapons by Israel and last year led a team of seven UK doctors into Gaza. The Dove and Dolphin Medical Centre, named after David's charity, was opened then.

The Israel lobby's deep penetration of our political system, many feel, is preventing Britain from taking a principled stand on Middle East matters, including the long catalogue of violations of Palestinian human rights, the Gaza siege being a particularly nasty example.

Our minister with responsibility for Middle East affairs is a former chairman of Labour Friends of Israel. His shadow is a member of Conservative Friends of Israel. Indeed, a large majority of Conservative MPs and MEPs are Friends of Israel. The lobby also claims a considerable number of Labour MPs and ministers. The Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel website brazenly states that its first aim is to maximize support for the State of Israel within the party and Parliament.

All MPs (and many parliamentary candidates) are exposed to the lobby's influence and a large number apparently carry its message into their parliamentary work, causing damage to our democracy and harm to Britain's interests and reputation abroad.

The regime's tentacles reach into the Standards Committee itself, where the three political party appointees are top-ranking Friends of Israel or closely connected to Friends of Israel. The committee, as everyone knows, is there to uphold the famous Seven Principles of Public Life. The presence at the heart of government of people pledged to promote the interests of another country – and not declaring their dual allegiance – undermines at least five of these sacred principles.

What will the public, already sick of our politicians, make of this,bearing in mind that for 60 years Muslim and Christian Palestinians have been terrorized, murdered and dispossessed by a regime so warmly embraced in our name?

The secretary of the committee says that it is not the sort of issue that's likely to be pursued. Ducking and weaving already, then. However, the watchdog has a brand-new chairman, Sir Christopher Kelly, who took over just a few days ago. Will he be up for the challenge?

Meanwhile, the Israeli government, with Britain's connivance, continues to impose its vicious siege on innocent civilians – including the Christian community – apparently determined to turn Gaza into another Warsaw Ghetto. What a disgraceful way to start the New Year.

This morning [10 January] the following email arrived from a senior doctor in Gaza:

I am writing so fast as the charge of my battery will be lost while we live in the gloom with the seldomly available electricity. My children are studying on candles for their exams.

Today a friend of mine, he is the head of pharmacy in the Ministry of Health, asked for some life-saving medications for a cancer patient, the very limited resources that we have were not enough to meet his need. I could not sleep when I went home, thinking that additional victim will die because we do not have money to pay for his treatment. Two days ago the elevator had fallen at Al-Remal clinic, thank God there were no injuries... Our generators are surrendering, I lost one three days ago in Bayt Hanoun hospital and today I need another one for Al-Dora paediatric hospital. There are no vegetables for the hospitals because we can't cover the supplier's invoice.

The disaster is with those who have no bread in their homes, yes bread and I mean it, as I know one family like that in Gaza, the father is a cardiac patient, the family is nine members, two of them are disabled, and their elder son who is a university student found himself the bread winner of this family at once. I swear that they have nothing to eat unless somebody of the neighbours send them food.

Winter is not that cold in Gaza but it can still chill the bones of children in the primary school of my elder daughter, as the principal of this school sent me a letter saying that they need to fix the broken windows as the wind blows the classes and they have no financial resources. We will see how we can manage that, but this is not the only school.

The situation in the local market is just funny, the shelves are almost empty in many of the supermarkets of the poor Gaza ... the people call it here in Arabic Al-Hisar, which means the siege. This is what we have in Gaza for the new year of 2008.

Readers are invited to join in pressing the Standards Committee to uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life and banish from Parliament lobby groups acting on behalf of foreign powers. Please write to:

Mr Charles Ramsden
Secretary to the Committee
Committee on Standards in Public Life
35 Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3BQ

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Report of Popular Committee Against Siege in Palestine

Translated by Adib Kawar. Revised by Mary Rizzo.

Food Products

Since the start of its siege on the Gaza Strip, Israel has permitted the passing of food products on an intermittent basis, but upon considering the Strip an enemy region, the Occupiers limited the number of basic food products. They are allowed to be up to and not exceeding 11 items, certain food products that turned out to be in great shortage, and there is complete absence of a great number of others, thus resulting in an acute rise in prices in addition to other factors, that affected the every aspect of the lives of Gazans. As per the report of the central bureau of statistics, the increase in prices reached 5.79% in August, 3.15% in September, 1.03% October and 1.13% in November; meaning an increase since the beginning of the siege of 8%, compared to an increase in the West Bank of 0.10%.

Estimates for daily consumption of the following food products in the Gaza Strip are: 867 tons of flour, 153 tons of sugar, 110 tons of rice, 75 tons of different kinds of oil and 49 tons herbs and vegetables.

As of 12/6/2007, the strangling siege over the Strip reached its seventh month and the siege's drastic results on all economic sectors of life in the Gaza Strip make it a catastrophic zone of the first degree, as 1.5 million citizens are living under the effect of the siege. The movement of people and goods from and to the strip is paralyzed, and all commercial transactions have been stopped in a manner that contradicts all agreements, intents, commitments and accords the occupation took upon itself with international organizations to facilitate the movement of goods and people within and outside Palestinian territories. They made three agreements on the matter, the last of which was reached in November 2005, relative to movement and transit. Yet, the occupation proceeded with its antagonistic and criminal policy that resulted in shredding the lives of Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and the Strip. The Strip occupation acts have strangled whatever was left of its originally fragile economy resulting from the effects of Zionist occupation. The Strip, which depends entirely on its imports from and through Israel has been greatly affected. Since it started its siege, Occupation forces didn't allow any raw materials to be brought into the Gaza Strip, as well as forbidding Gaza from exporting its products, the outcome of which is an increase in the percentage of its inhabitants living under the poverty line to 85% as per some estimates, while according to the International Bank, estimates increased from 35% by the end of 2006 to 67% by the end of October 2007. The percentage of unemployment reached 65%, therefore, further decreasing the purchasing power to meet basic human needs, not taking into account the sharp decrease of income down to US$ 650 per annum.

Direct monthly losses as a result of the siege are estimated at 45 million US$, which are spread as follows: The industrial sector 15 million US$ namely, 33% of the total, agriculture 10 million US$, 22% of the total, trade, services and fishing 20 million US$, 45% of the total.

Private Sector

Private sector productivity in the Palestinian territories in general and the Gaza Strip in particular had a sharp 76% decline from what it was at before the Al-Aqsa Intifada. Down to 31.1 during the first quarter of 2001, although it recovered some of its vitality to reach an average of 46% during the period extending between January 2006 and July 2006. But upon imposing the full siege on the Strip on mid July 2007, productivity decreased directly to 11%. The cause is due to Occupation authorities having stopped the application of the Customs Code for the Strip, which resulted in banning the importation of all raw materials especially. Since local raw material in all of Gaza’s industrial facilities does not exceed 10%, noting that even this percentage is obtained with great difficulty, thus costs have increased more than the total cost of production. In addition to the difficulty in marketing locally produced products because of the siege, the ban on exportation has dealt a fatal blow to this sector of the economy.

Studies show that more than 65% of the private sector establishments had to decrease their commercial activities to a level exceeding 75%, while noting that 30% of these establishments had to shut down their operations.

The Industrial Sector

The industrial sector depends completely on imported raw materials. It depends up to 80% on imported machines and spare parts, and during the peak season of production (May – June) it is possible to export 748 truckloads of industrial products per month (including furniture, food products, clothing and agricultural products).

Since the beginning of the siege, the Occupation cancelled the application of its Customs Code for the Strip, resulting in the stopping of all industrial activities, which depends up to 85% on imported raw materials that are imported from Israel or in transit through it, and statistics indicate that more than 96% of industrial establishments, a total of 3,900, were shut down, stopping the export of their product; as a consequence 33,000 out of 35,000 employees and workers in this sector joined the ranks of the unemployed up to the date of the imposition of the siege in mid June 2007, and after the siege the number of employed industrial workers does not exceed 2,000.

Estimates issued by the Union of Palestinian Industries said that direct monthly losses since the beginning of the siege on the Strip is 15,000,000 US$, as the net daily income of the industrial sector in Gaza last year was 500,000 US$, which means that a total 97.5 of furniture workshops closed their doors up till the end of 2007, while statements issued by economic sectors shows a total loss of 120,000,000 US$. The affected sectors' statements indicate that no furniture exports, such as 95% of the wood industries, stopped production. Only 30 out of the 600 establishments in this sector are still working, a net loss of 55,000,000 US$ (8 million in July, 10 in August, 12 in October, 13 in November, and 12 in December) in addition to 6,500 workers who lost their jobs, 245 monthly truck loads of exports were stopped.

The Agricultural Sector

The Gaza Strip has 70,000 donums (9364 Hectares) of agricultural land, with a production capacity between 280,000 to 300,000 tons of agricultural products per annum, one third of which is usually exported. The agricultural sector counts 40,000 permanent jobs for citizens in Gaza (namely 12.75% of the working force), it is also the source for food and life for one quarter of the population in the Gaza Strip. Since the beginning of the total siege, the Occupation banned the exports of its products including agricultural products out of the Strip, and furthermore, it prohibited the import of seeds and seedlings, fertilizers and other agricultural requirements, which caused big losses exceeding the original estimates since mid July up to end of 2007. These losses amounted to 65 million US$, and according to the Ministry of Agriculture statements, the average daily losses due the ban of agricultural products is 150,000 US$. Thus, a total loss during the last six months that amounts to 28,000,000 US$. About 25,000 tons of potatoes were destroyed and more than 10,000 tons of other products were destroyed or sold locally at much lower prices then those of export prices (local prices were 10 to 15% of the export prices). While other farmers suffered direct losses as a result of produce being sold locally compared to export prices, as a result of dumping the products produced for export purposes in the local market, it is expected that the total produce in the last season shall drop by 20 to 30% less than in the previous season. Thus, losses are estimated at 10 million US$ monthly.

It is important to mention that the siege destroyed agricultural products for the period between 15 November 2007 and May 2008.

The number of workers in this season is 7,500 farmers, whose estimated production is 14 million US$ which was supposed to be produced fully for export, as an area of 3130 donums (418 Hectares) is planted with strawberries, tomatoes and carnations.

On the other hand, and as a result of the difficulties in the fishing industry, estimates are that 3,000 fishermen are expected to lose their jobs with an estimated monthly loss of 3,000,000 US$.

Health Sector

The health sector has been exposed since Zionist Occupation imposed its siege on the Gaza Slip to a major blow, which affected its ability to provide the basic required health services to its citizens. During the most recent period, a great shortage of a large number of basic pharmaceutical needs, that is 92 types of medicines until the date of the preparation of this report, and another 84 kinds are expected to go out of stock within the upcoming days. This is in addition to the disability of 134 medical instruments to perform because of the lack of spare parts needed for their maintenance, among these machines are 31 kidney dialysis machines. Summed to all of this is the inability of citizens to travel abroad for medical treatment. Statements issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that hundreds of patients with acute medical illnesses, and those which require highly specialized surgeries especially in the brain, nerves and bones, as well as the treatment requirements for cancer patients, and those with kidney and heart diseases, could not travel abroad for treatment. The Occupation refused to allow 720 patients to leave the Strip for treatment since the beginning of the siege, out of which there were 270 serious cases. The Ministry of Health recorded dozens of deaths (more than 70 deaths) of patients that needed treatment outside the Strip, and since the Popular Committee Against the Siege started its activities towards the end of October, it has registered 50 cases of deaths due to the siege itself. The Red Cross has issued reports that document the arrangements they make for the travel of acute cases from Gaza to Israel or though it for medical reasons. Before the siege, there was an average of 300 to 400 cases monthly, but since the siege the number has greatly decreased to an average of 100 cases per month.

Construction and Infrastructure Sector

Since Israel's announcement of the stoppage of the application of its Customs Code for the Gaza Strip, and banning the import of raw materials including iron and cement, the sector has suffered almost complete paralysis, (the stopping of 13 tile factories, 30 cement factories, 145 marble factories and 250 brick factories), thus 3,500 people lost their jobs.

Besides this, all development projects have been stopped, the value of which is estimated at 350 million US$, as the United Nations development stopped all its construction contracts for the infrastructure in the Strip, such as rehabilitation of street, water and sewage facilities, with an estimated cost of 60 million US$, and the UNRWA stopped its program for creating job opportunities at an estimated cost of 93 million US$ from which more than 16,000 people were supposed to benefit.

Freedom of Movement and Crossings

The Gaza Strip is connected with the outside world through six entry points, five of which are connected with the Occupation. They are: Karm Abu Salem, Sowfa, Al-Mintar and Beit Hanoun (Eretz) crossings. As for the Rafah crossing, it is connected with The Arab Republic of Egypt. Israel controls its side of the five crossings, in which complete paralysis is practiced. Israel doesn't permit the transport of people from and toward the Strip except for extremely rare cases. It is allowed only through the Eretz crossing and only for employees of foreign establishments as well as in some acute health cases. Yet, most of these cases’ applications for crossing are refused.

As for people's food product requirements and other supplies, estimates point out that the Strip requires imports from the outside world and from the West Bank. About 300 truckloads per day of raw material and other goods comprise the daily requirements.

Israel doesn't allow the transit except for basic human needs and basic food products. This has resulted in the lack of any stockpile of basic products, in addition to the absence of a large number of basic food products in the Palestinian market. Only 1,806 truckloads were permitted in October and 1812 in November, that is, an average of 60 per day, far below the basic survival requirements.

Rafah Crossing

The Rafah crossing lies in the south of the Strip, and connects it with The Arab Republic of Egypt. It is the only crossing specialized for people from outside the Strip, and it was supposed to be prepared for goods, but that has not been completed yet. The crossing saw several repeated closures during the past two years that lasted for months at a time, and since 15th June, the crossing is completely closed. The result of this is a crowd of 6,000 citizens stranded on the Egyptian side of the border; so they cannot perform their work, continue their studies or even live an ordinary life.

Al-Mintar Crossing (Carni)

Al-Mintar crossing falls to the east of Gaza City, which is considered to be the commercial crossing. It is connected with the West Bank and Israel and the rest of the world, and it is considered to be a vital artery for the life of the Strip's citizens. It is designed to accommodate forty truckloads per day, but after the incidents that took place in the Strip on 14/6/2007, it has been totally closed for exports, but regarding imports it is utilized in a limited manner, and only for importing flour and animal feed.

As an example, only 348 truckloads were allowed to pass in August it was used for four day for 18 hours per day. Thus only 269 trucks were allowed to pass during the entire month. In September it was opened for 7 days only, for a total of 54 hours during which 480 truckloads were permitted to pass. In October there were only 738 truckloads during 13 total days, 71,5 hours of work. In November 631 truckloads passed. This is compared to 8,639 truckloads in May 2007 and 11,329 in April of the same year, noting that agreement with Occupation authorities allowed total monthly work hours of 2300 hours.

Sowfa crossing

The Sofa crossing lies in the south of the Strip (to the east of Rafah, which is specialized for imports of construction material, but after stiffening the siege, the two crossings of Karm Abu Salem and Sowfa started to be used as secondary replacement crossings to Al-Mintar crossing for importing humanitarian needs, even though the crossing was partially and irregularly utilized. Only 2,551 truckloads were permitted to cross in July, and in August it operated for 21 days. In September it opened for 12 days with a total number of 1,792 and 646 truck loads respectively. In October only 500 truckloads passed during 13 days and 71.5 working hours, while in November 182 truckloads were allowed to pass, that is, a reduction of 92% in the number of trucks between July and November. The goods that are permitted to pass are basic goods, vegetables, frozen goods and dairy products.

Karm Abu Salem crossing

Karm Abu Salem crossing is in the southeast of the Strip and is used for importing goods from The Arab Republic of Egypt through Israel. The Occupation used this crossing for limited quantities of goods of human character, and since the beginning of its use Israel interfered to limit the daily number of trucks to 17 daily. It operated in August for 18 days with a total number of 408 truckloads. In September the crossing operated for only 11 days with a total number of 356 trucks. In October 568 trucks were permitted to cross, an average of 15 per day, and a total number of 90 working hours, and in November 1,000 trucks were permitted to cross it.

Beit Hanoun (Eretz) crossing

This crossing is supposed to be used by people crossing towards the West Bank and Israel, and it is considered as fully closed since the start of the crisis. It is used only for employees of foreign establishments and for a limited number of Palestinian Arabs with critical health conditions after coordination with the Israeli liaison office for obtaining permits that are granted only with great difficulty. Not all cases who apply for entry are given permits, and as per the statements issued by the Ministry of Health, the number of rejected applications was 900 patients by the end of November, while reports issued by legal centers indicate that those people who are granted entry permission are subjected to extortion and bargaining by Israeli intelligence agents. (Pressure is put on the patients to force them to collaborate with Israeli Occupation, Translator’s note.)

The Nahal Uze crossing:

This crossing lies at the east of Gaza City and it is used for fuel and gas transportation, with fuel and gas storage tanks connected directly with Israel by pipes.

The Gaza Strip requirements, under normal conditions, is 350,000 liters of petrol, 120,000 liters of benzene, 350 tons of gas, and 350,000 liters of petrol for industrial use in generating electricity. It is important to mention that the Israeli Occupation cabinet decided on 25 October to reduce fuel supplies to the Strip which was immediately put into effect. Estimates show that the reduction of fuel supplies dropped to between 15 -35% of the minimum requirements, which left great negative effects on vital and important sectors of daily life of Palestinians in the Strip. The month of November experienced the stoppage of pumping of a number of water wells that depend completely on fuel to operate, and public sewage treatment stations has also stopped, which certainly exposes the Strip's population to an environmental disaster, in addition to threatening the lives of patients in hospitals especially since a number of hospitals depend on fuel to run their units.

Source in Arabic:

Original article published on 30 December, 2007

About the author

Adib Kawar and Mary Rizzo are members of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, translator and reviser are cited.