Review of Gaza Girls, Growing up in the Gaza Strip

By Eve Mykytyn

Monique Jaques’ new book, Gaza Girls, Growing up in the Gaza Strip, is a study of young women living and often thriving in the difficult conditions that are present day Gaza. Jaques is a news photographer based in Turkey, who has covered the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iraq and West Africa. Her work has appeared in many news outlets, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

In 2004, Jaques documented the eight day war between Hamas and Israel. While covering the war, she became curious about the everyday life of girls growing up in Gaza. As Jaques writes, “Gaza is a troubled land— a 45-square-mile district, isolated by towering concrete blast walls, reams of barbed wire and foreign soldiers who patrol its perimeters.

After years of blockades and travel restrictions, the territory is shut off from the rest of the world. At night the never-ending buzz of drones lull you into a light sleep under their watchful din. If you stand on the beach you can see lights coming from Israel — a land that you will never be able to touch. Boundaries and surveillance define your existence and growing up there isn’t easy.”

But there is still the experience of growing up. “Like many peers around the world, these girls are figuring out who they are in a world built by grown-ups. Navigating girlhood is universal, even if the circumstances are not.”

Her experience as a war time photographer shows in her pictures. You can’t help but examine each picture carefully; Jaques has made each picture a story in itself. She shows moments of joy, and moments of girlhood; girls sitting on beds sharing secrets. We stare in wonder at the girls on surfboards, what are they doing out there?

There is a girl on horseback, and one singing in a music studio. Some of the older women portrayed are medical students and police officers (albeit in traditional covered dress), but there is a telling photo of a bride dressed in white, and totally covered from head to toe. We cannot see the woman that this bride is. A young girl stands next to her staring off in the distance. We are left to wonder if this is a modern society or a traditional one?

The book is not intended as a political statement. Still, any portrayal of Gaza raises political questions, at least in the mind of the viewer. Too many pictures portray children sitting in the dark because there is no electricity. We see girls in bomb shelters and girls attending weekly protests against the partition of Gaza and the West Bank. We fear a little for the girl in the boat. What will happen if she strays too far from shore? We are forced to wonder, what will happen to these beautiful young girls?

Jacques lets the pictures tell the story. Her book is available now on kickstarter.

Source: http://mwcnews.net

62% rise in israel’s arrests of Palestinian children

62% rise in Israel’s arrests of Palestinian children

MEMO | July 19, 2017

Palestinian children are often beaten and strip searched at arrest

Some 331 Palestinian minors were arrested by Israel between January and May this year, a 62 per cent increase on figures from 2012 to 2015, NGO Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) revealed yesterday.

According to a report released by the human rights group, Israeli forces regularly abuse Palestinian children, depriving them of food, subjecting them to beatings and preventing them from accessing legal counsel.

Accountability Programme Director at DCIP, Ayed Abu Eqtaish, stated: “For over a decade, ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system has been widespread and systematic.”

From the persistent and institutionalised ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children, to the systematic denial of their due process rights, emerges a system of control far removed from justice.

DCIP records of cases between January and June also show that 81 per cent of Palestinian children were strip searched upon detention, two thirds were denied legal counsel prior to interrogation and only three had a parent present during proceedings.

Read: Palestinian boy, 13, loses eye after Israeli forces shoot him

The report details that one of the youngest children to be detained was 12-year-old Suheib from a refugee camp in the occupied Ramallah-area. He was allegedly throwing stones when he was knocked to the ground by Israeli officers and then restrained, beaten and blindfolded. He was subsequently held overnight at a police station where he was interrogated and denied food for 24 hours.

In another case, a 13-year-old boy known only as Anas M. was tortured as an Israeli soldier grabbed his neck and attempted to strangle him.

Israel prosecutes up to 700 children each year in military courts. Last month DCIP held a congressional meeting on the situation of Palestinian children over 50 years of illegal occupation, concluding that Israel’s actions against minors outdoes all security rationale

 

While Attacks in Israel Make Headlines, Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza Ignored

Source

by 

 Girl in Gaza (photo: UNICEF)

A Palestinian girl in Gaza looks out the window of her partially destroyed home. (photo: UNICEF)

The recent acute humanitarian crisis in Gaza—on top of the routine humanitarian crisis that defines everyday existence there—has gotten sparse coverage in US media over the past three weeks.

Israeli officials have cut off electricity to almost 2 million Gazans for all but three or four hours a day—in conjunction with nominal Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who has cut funding for Gaza’s electricity in an effort to punish his political rivals in Hamas. The Gaza Strip, which remains under effective Israeli control despite the 2005 withdrawal of Israeli troops, requires 450 megawatts daily, but since June has received only around 150 megawatts per day. The power cuts, according to UN humanitarian coordinator Robert Piper, severely undermine “critical functions in the health, water and sanitation sectors,” and have created a “looming humanitarian catastrophe.”

The vast majority of US media also ignored a devastating UN report published Tuesday, documenting the humanitarian conditions in Gaza over the past ten years.

Neither the electrical crisis nor the UN report has been covered by the New York Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC or Fox News—though the Times and ABC did run AP reports on the former.

The Washington Post  (6/22/17) reported on the electricity cuts just over three weeks ago, but made sure to note in their headline “it’s not all Israel’s fault.” The Post (7/12/17) also mentioned the Gaza electricity cuts in a broader piece, told from Israel’s perspective, about that country’s fears that “Hamas will go to war.”  NPR did not report on the electricity crisis, but unlike the Post, it did have a piece (7/11/17) on the UN report.

In stark contrast, an attack on two Israeli police officers in Jerusalem Thursday was reported by all the above outlets except MSNBC. The New York Times (7/14/17), ABC News (7/14/17), CBS News (7/14/17), NBC News (7/14/17), CNN (7/14/17), Fox News (7/14/17), all dedicated airtime and/or column inches to the shooting in the Old City.

Attacks on Israeli forces—even ones that occur, like this week’s strike, in illegally occupied territory—are framed as random acts of hate with no political context. None of the above reports on the Jerusalem attack made any mention of the increasingly dire situation in Gaza. Nor, even more conspicuously, was there any mention of Israel’s killing of two Palestinians in a West Bank refugee camp less than a day before.

The routine, “factored-in” suffering of Palestinians—even when ramped up to hellish levels—is barely worth a mention by US media. It just is. And when it is touched on, it’s generally framed as Hamas or the Palestinian Authority’s fault, with the broader role played by Israel’s devastating, 50-year-occupation downplayed or omitted

Why is Mahmoud Abbas letting children die in Gaza?

Source

Palestinians hold placards condemning PA leader Mahmoud Abbas for his complicity of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, at a rally in Gaza City, 9 July. Mohammed Asad APA images

The deeply unpopular Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is helping Israeli occupation authorities inflict horrendous suffering on people in the blockaded Gaza Strip, as part of a cruel and cynical political game.

It is a campaign that in recent weeks has led to the deaths of more than a dozen Palestinians denied medical treatment outside Gaza – the most recent, a little girl called Yara Ismail Bakhit.

Israel and Abbas are doing this with the complicity of a so-called international community that remains silent about the unfolding catastrophe.

Closely allied with Israel, Abbas has long defined collaboration with its occupation forces as a “sacred” duty.

This collaboration has included encouraging Israel, from the very start, to tighten its blockade of Gaza.

The decade-long siege has brought the 2 million residents caged into the territory to perhaps their most dire crisis in a period that has included successive military assaults that have killed thousands of people.

On Thursday, Gaza’s only power plant shut down after emergency fuel supplies ran out.

The territory is now dependent on just 70 megawatts of power supplied from Israel, a fraction of the 500 megawatts it needs each day.

A “power watch” feature in the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz shows that Gaza City received just three hours of electricity on Wednesday, while some areas received four hours.

But with the power supply now below the all-time low it reached earlier this week, most residents face long stretches without any power at all amid the sweltering summer heat.

On top of the darkness and the heat, many in Gaza face a cut off of any contact with the outside world: the PA telecom company Paltel said that internet and telephone services to thousands of customers in Gaza have been severed as generators fail.

Unheeded warnings

On Wednesday, UN human rights officials emphasized that the latest power cuts “have deepened the humanitarian crisis with hospitals in precarious conditions, water shortages growing and untreated sewage being dumped into the Mediterranean.”

Their warnings will likely go unheeded, just like so many in recent months, including from the International Committee of the Red Cross that said in May that Gaza was on the brink of “systemic collapse.”

For months, health facilities across the territory have been in crisis and Gaza City’s main hospital has slashed vital surgeries because there isn’t enough power to run life support systems.

As treatment plants fail, the territory is swimming in sewage.

Yet the European Union, which never rests from trumpeting its alleged commitment to “human rights,” has maintained a determined silence which can only be interpreted as full support for the measures inflicting such suffering on Gaza.

Instead, the EU’s embassy in Tel Aviv as well as a top UN official, touted Abbas’ authority for collaborating with Israel to increase the electricity supply to Jenin, a town in the northern occupied West Bank.

 The timing of the announcement, along with a grotesque ribbon-cutting ceremony in which PA officials appeared alongside Israeli military officers, looked calculated to rub salt into the wounds of people in Gaza.

Finally, on Thursday, after months of ignoring Gaza, the EU, as part of the so-called Quartet, issued a vague statement of “concern” that said nothing about Israel’s responsibilities.

Israel’s responsibility

The UN experts emphasized that while Israel’s power cuts were nominally implemented at the request of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, Israel remains legally responsible.

Previously, senior UN officials have attempted to play down Israel’s responsibility, shifting the blame to an internal dispute between the Abbas-run PA in Ramallah, and Hamas authorities that control the interior of Gaza.

In April, the PA told Israel it would no longer pay the full bill for electricity Israel supplies to Gaza, as part of Abbas’ campaign to oust Hamas by inflicting additional hardship on the population in Gaza.

Over the last month, Israel has sharply reduced the power it supplies to Gaza – the territory’s main source of electricity.

“Israel, as the occupier controlling the entry and exit of goods and people, bore the primary responsibility for the deterioration of the situation,” the UN human rights experts said on Wednesday, according to a UN press release.

Human rights groups previously affirmed that it is illegal for Israel, as the occupying power, to cut the electricity to Gaza no matter what Abbas says.

Despite the Israeli cabinet’s decision to accept the Palestinian Authority’s “cruel plan to further reduce the power supply to Gaza,” B’Tselem said last month, the situation in Gaza “is the result of Israel’s handiwork, achieved by its decade-long implementation of a brutal policy.”

Killing babies

Three-year-old Yara Ismail Bakhit, who suffered from a heart condition, died because she was denied a medical transfer out of Gaza.

Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra, the spokesperson for the health ministry in Gaza, said on Thursday that the toddler, from the southern town of Khan Younis, is the 16th person to die in recent weeks because they weren’t able to secure a medical transfer.

Yara’s death is another sacrifice to Abbas’ campaign against the population in Gaza; it came about due to the delays his health ministry is imposing on requests for medical transfers to Israeli or West Bank treatment facilities.

The Ramallah health ministry must approve such requests before Israel does because it pays for any treatment provided in Israeli or West Bank hospitals.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights has documented a steady decline in medical referrals since April – when Abbas’ renewed onslaught against the population in Gaza began.

PCHR said on Monday that the PA health ministry had failed to approve or renew referrals for “hundreds of patients suffering from serious and chronic diseases without displaying the reasons behind this decision.”

According to PCHR, the number of referrals dropped from almost 2,200 in March to about 1,700 in April and fell below 1,500 in May. In June, the PA approved just 500.

As of early June, medical authorities in Gaza had approved some 2,500 patients “suffering from serious diseases that have no treatment in Gaza” for treatment outside the territory. But a month and a half later, the Ramallah authorities had only approved 400.

PCHR said it was “shocked” that West Bank hospitals have begun refusing to see patients from Gaza because there is no guarantor of payment.

Meanwhile, Abbas’ health ministry has also cut the budget for medicines for Gaza, leading to an acute crisis that is putting the lives of hundreds of people, including children with cystic fibrosis and cancer patients, in grave danger.

PCHR said: “Denying patients their right to receive medical treatment abroad, in view of the absence of a proper alternative in Gaza, is a clear violation of the right to health ensured in the Palestinian Basic Law” – in effect the Palestinian Authority’s constitution.

PCHR calls on world governments to put pressure on Israel “in its capacity as an occupying power” to guarantee the rights of people in Gaza under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

It also “calls upon the international community to pressurize the Palestinian Authority not to undermine the basic rights of Palestinians residing in the Gaza Strip” and to respect its obligations under international law to the Palestinian people it allegedly serves.

The problem is that the Palestinian Authority and its leader are tools in the hands of the so-called international community against the Palestinians and their cause.

Their role is to help Israel occupy and pacify the Palestinian population, even at the price of the lives of children in Gaza.

israel’s war on Palestine’s food supplies: Gaza’s fishermen and farmers attacked from sea and air

Gaza’s fishermen and farmers attacked from sea and air

Crops on a farm in Gaza, severely damaged by herbicide sprayed by Israeli planes. B’Tselem investigated and published this photo, February 2016.

Israeli forces fire at Gaza fishermen, spray pesticides on Palestinian crops

By Ma’an
May 09, 2017

GAZA CITY — Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, locals told Ma’an.

Fishermen said that Israeli forces shot at Palestinian fishing boats in two separate incidents off the northern coast of Gaza on Tuesday morning.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that they were looking into the reports.

Tuesday morning’s events came a day after Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian fisherman with live fire off the coast of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip.


Replacing the machine guns with water cannon. The navy does this when a boat has international observers in it. Filmed by International Solidarity Movement

Meanwhile, Gaza farmers told Ma’an that Israeli drones sprayed pesticides on Palestinian crops along the border with Israel in central and southern Gaza on Tuesday morning.

The pesticides, they said, damage crops in the area, which is Gaza’s main agricultural region.

The army spokesperson also said she would look into the case.

Earlier this year, Gazan farmers said that Israeli forces regularly sprayed weed killers on both sides of the border fence to guarantee a clear view of the area for the army.

However, Gaza Ministry of Agriculture agronomist Wael Thabet told Ma’an at the time that the chemicals could travel up to 1,200 metres through the air away from the buffer zone, burning crops and causing Palestinian farmers huge economic losses.

Palestinians who work near the Israeli-designated “buffer zone,” which lies on both the land and sea sides of Gaza, often come under fire from Israeli military forces, as the authorities have not made clear the precise area of the designated zone.


Encounter between Gaza fishermen and Israeli patrol boats

By Harriet Sherwood, Guardian
July 20, 2011 — just a short quote from her Tweets

One IDF boat just circling our boats about 50m away. Other boat a bit further away.

A lot of resources devoted to a few tiny fishing boats.

Sea is calm today – except our little bit. Backwash creating lot of waves. They keep sounding siren. But we have all cut engines.

I’m told that the point of the IDF continually circling us is to create continuous waves and noise. Makes fishing harder.

One fishing boat just been swamped by backwash. They are giving up and going back to port.

The photo below has been used many times in the last three years to illustrate Israeli naval vessels firing at fishing boats from Gaza. No date, no credit,but it appears to be what it says it is.

Netanyahu: killing Gaza kids in 2014 was ‘necessary’

Netanyahu: killing Gaza kids in 2014 was ‘necessary’

UN: more than 2,260 Palestinian citizens were killed during this war, including 551 children and 299 women UN report: 11,231 Palestinians were injured including 3,436 children and 3,540 women, 10 percent of whom suffer permanent disability, more than 1,500 Palestinian children were orphaned and 142. –

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that 2014 Israeli offensive on Gaza, where around 600 children killed, was “necessary.”

During a hearing held by the State Control Committee at the Israeli Knesset, he said: “We did not want a war in the summer of 2014 and we tried to prevent it.”

He continued: “That war was necessary and that the conflict was a clear victory for Israel, seen by the fact that Hamas begged for it to end.”The result of that offensive was the murder of more than 2,260 Palestinian citizens, including 551 children and 299 women, a UN report said.

According to the same report, 11,231 Palestinians were injured including 3,436 children and 3,540 women, 10 percent of whom suffer permanent disability.

In addition, the report stated that more than 1,500 Palestinian children were orphaned and 142 Palestinian families had three or more members killed in the same incident, for a total of 742 fatalities.

Meanwhile, 18,000 housing units were destroyed in whole or part, 73 medical facilities and many ambulances were damaged.

During the offensive, the number of internally displaced people reached 500,000, or 28 per cent of the population in Gaza.

Between July 7 and 26 August, the Israeli occupation forces carried out more than 6,000 airstrikes in Gaza, many of which hit residential buildings.

The highly critical state comptroller report, published in February, noted serious mistakes and failures by the Israeli military and government ahead of and during the 51-day offensive.

Noting that he cannot speak about the realities of the carnage, Netanyahu said: “Invite me to an operative discussion, not in front of the cameras. We can talk about what happened during Protective Edge and afterwards.”

Congresswoman Betty McCollum tells Netanyahu to end abuse of Palestinian children

Source

Palestinian children protest to show solidarity with child prisoners in Israeli jails, Gaza city, January 2015.

Mohammed Asad APA images

 

A member of Congress said she had “a clear message” for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in Washington on Wednesday: he must respect the rights of Palestinian children.

As US President Donald Trump and the Israeli leader held a joint press conference at the White House, Representative Betty McCollum of Minnesota challenged Israel’s systematic abuses of Palestinian children in a post on Facebook.

“Israel’s military detention system arrests, interrogates and prosecutes as many as 700 Palestinian children – as young as 11 years old – every year,” McCollum says. “Abuse is rampant and children often have no lawyer or parent present during detention and interrogation.”

“Israel must end the abusive military detention of Palestinian children,” she adds. “Israeli children, Palestinian children – all children – should be able to live free of systematic, state-sponsored human rights abuses! Respecting the human rights of children is the only path to peace and security in the Middle East.”

McCollum also took to Twitter to demand accountability from Netanyahu:

     Rep. Betty McCollum

 @BettyMcCollum04

As @netanyahu visits today, Israel must respect human rights & end abusive military detention of Palestinian children. 

Breaking silence

McCollum continues to break with the vast majority of US lawmakers who refuse to challenge Israeli policy.

In June 2015, the Democrat authored a letter, co-signed by 18 other members of Congress, demanding that the Obama adminstration push Israel to end its abuses of Palestinian children.

Two months later, the lawmaker called for sanctions on the Israeli Border Police unit responsible for killing Palestinian teenagers Nadim Nuwara and Muhammad Abu al-Thahir on 15 May 2014.

The boys were shot in cold blood at a Nakba Day protest – their killings caught on video – near the Ofer military prison in the occupied West Bank village of Beitunia.

McCollum initiated another push in June 2016 urging Obama to appoint a special envoy to protect the rights of Palestinian children under Israeli occupation. Lawmakers who signed McCollum’s letter condemned Israel’s rampant use of administrative detention – incarceration without charge or trial – against Palestinian children in Israeli military jails.

Grassroots activists with the No Way to Treat a Child campaign – a joint initiative of Defense for Children International – Palestine and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – have been working closely with lawmakers on the issue of Palestinian children in detention.

“Congresswoman McCollum’s leadership and integrity inspires us,” AFSC’s Jennifer Bing told The Electronic Intifada.

“Her voice is among a growing number of Congress members who are speaking up for the human rights of Palestinian children – children who face systematic oppression and denial of rights by the Israeli army,” Bing added.

Inspired by the No Way to Treat a Child campaign in the US, activists in Australia gathered the support of 49 members of Parliament last November on a letter calling for Israel to end its abuses of Palestinian children

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