Gaza: A Concentration Camp of 1.5 Million People

Gaza: A Concentration Camp of 1.5 Million People

By Jean Shaoul,

Israel mounts fresh military assault on Gaza

Israeli forces attacked 18 targets in the Gaza Strip belonging to Hamas, which controls the besieged enclave, in the second such action over the weekend.

The strikes followed an explosion during a demonstration of Palestinians on the southern border with Israel Saturday that injured four Israeli soldiers. The Israeli military shot and killed two Palestinian teenagers in response. It was the worst such border incident since Israel’s war against Gaza in 2014 and portends a broader offensive.

None of the militant groups in Gaza has claimed responsibility for the explosion. Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman accused the Popular Resistance Committees, one of the smaller armed groups in Gaza, of detonating the bomb. Nevertheless, as always Israel holds Hamas, the Islamist national bourgeois party that controls Gaza, responsible for the attack.

For months, there have been almost weekly demonstrations against Israel’s blockade of Gaza and the deteriorating economic conditions. Last December, tensions rose after US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Earlier this year, Gaza’s traders closed in protest over the deteriorating situation.

Israel’s Army Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot warned the cabinet recently that tensions were rising due to the worsening humanitarian crisis, that demonstrations were increasing in size and that an incident along the fence could spark an escalation of hostilities. His purpose was to get cabinet approval for harsh measures to deal with the crisis in the face of Gaza’s economic collapse.

Conditions in Gaza, a narrow coastal strip on the Egyptian-Israeli border, after 11 years of living under a land, sea and air blockade, are hellish.

Last year, a United Nations report stated that the living conditions for two million Palestinians had deteriorated “further and faster” than the prediction made in 2012 that the enclave would become “unlivable” by 2020. Large numbers of people are destitute. Forty-six percent of the population are without work. Sixty five percent live on $1.90 or less a day. This collapse in purchasing power has led to a huge drop in the number of trucks entering Gaza with food and equipment—from 800-1,200 a day to just 300.

Power shortages mean that most Palestinians are lucky if they get four hours of electricity a day. There is not enough power to pump sewage, so 95 percent of Gaza’s drinking water is not fit to drink. The coastal aquifer is almost unusable and will soon be irreversibly-depleted unless remedial action is taken.

The health system is collapsing, medical supplies are dwindling and clinics are closing, causing untold suffering and unnecessary deaths. Unable to get treatment in Gaza for complicated or chronic medical problems, many seek treatment in Egypt, Israel, the West Bank or Jordan. Yet last year, Israel granted just 54 percent of 25,000 applications for travel permits in time for patients to attend their scheduled appointments, down from 92 percent in 2012. As a result, at least 54 people died in 2017 waiting for visas.

Children are in school for just four hours a day.

There is no escape from this open-air prison. Israel has surrounded the Gaza Strip with a high-tech barrier and spent almost $1 billion building an underground-barrier project to seal its border to the attack tunnels into Israel. It controls two of the three exit points, while Egypt controls the third. Last year, Israel issued one-third of the number of exit visas issued two years earlier and just one percent of the number in early 2000. Movement between the two Palestinian territories, Gaza and the West Bank, in either direction is all but impossible.

The economic and social plight of the two million Palestinians living in the tiny enclave has been dire ever since Israel, with the full support of the US, European Union and the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA)—particularly since 2013—imposed a blockade on Gaza. Jordan, by imposing strict transit conditions on Gazans, and Egypt, which controls the Rafah crossing, have played a key role in the siege.

The siege of Gaza was mounted following the unexpected victory of Hamas over Fatah in the January 2006 elections which the major powers had intended as a means of strengthening the hand of Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah leader and PA President. Winning 44 percent of the vote in the West Bank and Gaza, compared to Fatah’s 41 percent, Hamas took 74 of the 132-seat Palestinian Legislative Council.

Hamas’ election victory was the result of widespread disgust at Fatah’s corruption and subservience to Israel. The Oslo Accords, which Hamas had earlier opposed, had brought wealth for a few and unemployment, poverty and military oppression for the majority, while the Israeli settlements on land to be included in any future state had increased.

Despite Hamas’ willingness to accept some form of a “two state solution” and take a minority role in a coalition with Fatah, Israel and the US rejected this. They demanded Hamas abandon its three core tenets and renounce the use of arms, recognise Israel and sign up to the Oslo Accords in return for international recognition of a Hamas-controlled PA, or face an international boycott. The other members of the Quartet, the UN, European Union and Russia, soon fell in line with Washington’s demands, and the EU too cut its aid to the PA.

The US and Israel were determined to prevent any attempts by Fatah and Hamas to reach an agreement, deepening the split between the two factions in order to divide and rule, while increasing Hamas’ economic dependence on Qatar and Iran.

In June 2006, Israel launched an attack on Gaza, knocking out its power station, making Gaza increasingly dependent on Israel for its electricity and precipitating daily power cuts lasting for hours at a time. Israel tightened its blockade on Gaza after Hamas forestalled and defeated an attempted coup by Fatah in a brief but brutal civil war in June 2007. Three military assaults on Gaza in 2008-09, 2012 and 2014 killed 1,417, 147 and 2,250 Palestinians respectively, and destroyed much of Gaza’s basic infrastructure together with tens of thousands of homes. Around 90,000 of the 500,000 people displaced by the 2014 assault remain displaced or homeless.

The blockade worsened after the military coup in Egypt that toppled the Muslim Brotherhood-led government of Mohammed Morsi and the clampdown on the Brotherhood and Hamas—a Brotherhood affiliate—by the military junta of Abdul Fattah el-Sisi.

El-Sisi closed Egypt’s border crossing at Rafah and forced Hamas to close the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt that had provided a means of circumventing Israel’s blockade and a source of income, by taxing the goods brought in, for Hamas.

Last year, Abbas imposed further hardship on Gaza. He stopped paying Israel for fuel for Gaza’s power station and electrical transmission into the Gaza Strip and ended or cut salary payments to thousands of public sector workers. This was to force Hamas into “reconciliation” talks with Fatah that culminated in a Cairo-brokered agreement in October. But the talks have stalled and the promised relief has failed to materialise.

In October, the World Food Programme announced a cutback in its food voucher programme in Gaza due to a budget shortfall.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration withheld $65 million in funding for the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA), which supports some 1.2 million in Gaza, as well as $45 million in food aid in the West Bank and Gaza that it had promised for an emergency UNRWA appeal.

UNRWA has for decades provided key social services as well as a vital lifeline for the poorest Palestinians. Now that too has gone and the viability of the agency itself is in question.

*

Featured image is from Defend Democracy Press.

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Abbas at the Security Council

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)

He long ago lost credibility for collaborating with Israel as its enforcer against his own people – for special privileges he’s enjoyed for years, growing super-rich, much of his ill-gotten wealth stashed in offshore tax havens while most Palestinians remain deeply impoverished and viciously persecuted, besieged Gazans most of all.

Tuesday at the Security Council in New York, he proposed an international peace conference in mid-2018, dealing with unresolved final status issues.

Earlier peace talks accomplished nothing. Conflict resolution defeats US/Israeli objectives. Violence and chaos serve them.

Years of betraying his people long ago proved Abbas can never be trusted – scamming, exploiting and persecuting Palestinians for Israel since Oslo.

He relinquished so much for nothing in return for so long. Most Palestinians distrust him. In 2005, Israel installed him as president, keeping him in office as long as he’s useful. Now in his 80s, perhaps not much longer.

Without joint US/Israeli approval, no peace plan will be accepted. For what it’s worth, Abbas proposed a peace conference involving Palestinians, Israel, and other nations representing the region and world community based on Security Council Res. 1850 (2008).

It called for Palestinians, Israel, other nations and international organizations to pursue efforts for a two-state solution, along with peaceful coexistence of all regional countries.

It urged all parties to refrain from actions harmful to the outcome of talks, along with “mutual recognition and peaceful coexistence between all States in the region in the context of achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

Washington, Israel, and other regional rogue states ignored its principles for the past decade – no likelihood whatever to expect them to turn the page for peace and stability ahead, notions they reject.

According to reports, the outcome of a peace conference must include acceptance of Palestinian statehood by the world community based on June 1967 borders, along with full UN member state status.

Abbas called for establishing a multilateral international mechanism, aiding both sides in talks to resolve all final status issues – in a specified period of time with guarantees for implementation.

He urged refraining from unilateral moves by both parties during negotiations, especially settlement construction, freezing Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, and halting efforts to transfer Washington’s embassy to the city.

Talks must adhere to principles of relevant Security Council resolutions, especially 242, 338 and 2334, he said.

A two-state solution must include East Jerusalem as exclusive Palestinian capital. He rejected interim solutions and temporary borders, minor land swaps permitted if both parties agree.

Diaspora Palestinians must be guaranteed their international law guaranteed right of return.

If agreement is reached, Abbas proposed letting Palestinians vote to accept or reject it by national referendum.

His proposal is like all other peace plans, dead-on-arrival when initiated.

This one has no chance to be implemented, its principles rejected by Washington and Israel.

Committed resistance against Israel oppression is the only chance for eventual Palestinian liberation.

Sham peace talks are a waste of time, raising false hopes, accomplishing nothing each time initiated – an Israeli delaying and diversionary tactic for more time to keep stealing Palestinian land.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Abbas bows before UN

Palestinian President Abbas bows before UN

Why Gazan’s Troppled Mubarak’s Wall Late Jan 2008???

Finally Anis Naqash revealed the secret  behind  breaking Gaza Wall Mubarak’s Egypt

Image result for Anis Naqash

The goal was not to break the siege to get their needs from the other side

What was the goal?

Upon the advise of Hezbollah’s Great Leader Martyr Imad Mughniyeh, under the cover of Tens of thousands Gazans mobilized by Hamas to crossed the borders, Hamas moved  thousands of Syrian and Iranian missiles hidden behind  the wall.

“It is your golden opportunity” Mughniyeh told Hamas.

Listen to Anis 23:30 in the following Video

السيد حسن نصرالله (يسأل خالد مشعل) من ارسل الصواريخ الى غزة؟

نصر الله يوجه رسالة لحماس حول سوريا

2:40

2:00

 A new Surprise, Another slap on Pharoah’s Face: Gazan’s Cut through the Wall of Shame

PUMPED: Posted late Jan 2008

Gazans cut through Egypt’s border barrier

Image: Palestinians cross the Rafah border into Egypt.

Some 80% of imports into Gaza come through the tunnels, the UN says

By Jon Donnison
BBC News, Gaza

 

“Every problem has a solution. The Egyptian steel barrier was a problem but we found a solution,” says Mohammed, a grimy-faced Gazan tunnel digger who didn’t want to give his real name.

Mohammed, covered in dust and dirt, is in the process of digging a 750m (2,460ft) smuggling tunnel from Gaza into Egypt. He says he’s been digging it for 18 months.

As he hauls up a plastic container of sand with an electric winch from the metre-wide tunnel shaft, he says the new underground Egyptian barrier aimed at stopping smuggling is a “joke.”

“We just cut through it using high-powered oxygen fuelled blow torches,” he says.

The Egyptian government says it began constructing the barrier along the Gaza-Egypt border last year. When finished it is meant to be 11km-long (seven miles), stretching down 18m (59ft) underground.
According to Egypt it is made of bomb-proof, super-strength steel and is costing millions of dollars to build.

‘Embarrassing’

Mohammed smiles when he hears this.

“We pay around a $1,000 (£665) for a man with an oxygen-fuelled cutter to come and break through it. It takes up to three weeks to cut through but we get there in the end,” he says.

If they [Egypt] opened the border, we wouldn’t need to dig tunnels. But until they do, we’ll keep digging, whatever they do to try and stop us
Mohammed, tunnel digger

Mohammed says the steel barrier is 5-10cm (2-4in) thick.

The BBC spoke to one man in Gaza employed to cut through the barrier. He said he could cut a metre-square hole through it in less than a day.

This news will be embarrassing for Egypt’s government.

Encouraged by the United States which gives millions of dollars in military aid to Egypt every year, it says it is trying to crack down on smuggling into Gaza.

The BBC asked the Egyptian government to comment on the fact that Gazans were already cutting through the barrier. The government has not yet responded.

Sheep and shampoo

The Palestinian territory has been under a tightened Israeli and Egyptian economic blockade since 2007 when the Hamas Islamist movement took over the territory.

The blockade was enforced to put pressure on Hamas and to stop weapons being smuggled in.

Lorries wait to load goods from the tent-covered smuggling tunnels in Rafah. Photo: April 2010

Little attempt is made to keep the tunnels secret

Egypt’s secular government is opposed to Hamas, which has historical ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition movement in Egypt which is illegal but largely tolerated.

Many Gazans are angry with the Egyptian government, which – they say – is increasing their suffering.
The blockade has meant that Gaza is to a great extent dependent on the smuggling tunnels from Egypt. Millions of dollars worth of goods are smuggled in every month.

Everything from fridges to fans, sheep to shampoo comes through the tunnels. The BBC even obtained video footage this year of whole brand-new cars being dragged through tunnels from Egypt.
The UN estimates that as much as 80% of imports into Gaza come through the tunnels.
Big business

The tunnels are not at all hard to find. In the southern Gazan town of Rafah, right on the border, there are lines of them covered by white tents.

map

<>Little attempt is made to keep them secret. They are surrounded by huge mounds of sandy earth which have been dug out of the ground.

The air is thick with diesel fuel from the trucks that transport the goods across the Gaza strip.
The openness of the smuggling operation suggests that if Israel and Egypt really wanted to stop the tunnels they could easily do so.

Israel has at times bombed some of the tunnels, but has stopped short of totally shutting them down.
Aid agencies in Gaza say that if Israel or Egypt really forced the smuggling to stop, it would lead to an even more desperate humanitarian situation in Gaza which would be damaging to Israel’s and Egypt’s international reputations.

Diplomats in the region also believe that so much money is being made in Egypt from the trade through the tunnels that much of the smuggling is likely to continue.

But the head of operations in Gaza for the UN relief agency Unrwa, John Ging, says that ordinary people in Gaza are losing out.

“Everything is expensive because people are hostage to the dynamics of a black market.”

Mr Ging stressed that it was the Israeli-Egyptian blockade that was allowing that black market to thrive.
The UN does not use illegal goods and building materials smuggled in through from Egypt.

If the blockade remains in place it seems the tunnel industry will continue to thrive, underground steel barrier or not.

“If they opened the border, we wouldn’t need to dig tunnels,” says Mohammed peering into the shaft of his tunnel in Rafah. “But until they do, we’ll keep digging, whatever they do to try and stop us.”
“Every problem has a solution,” he smiles.

في مفاجأة من العيار الثقيل.. فلسطينيو غزة ينجحون في اختراق الجدار الفولاذي

 

عواصم: فجر حفارو الانفاق الغزاويين مفاجاة من العيار الثقيل، بكشفهم أنهم قد تمكنوا
من اختراق ما يعتقد انه الجدار الفولاذي المقاوم للقنابل الذي قيل ان السلطات المصرية مبنته للحد من عمليات التهريب على الحدود المصرية مع قطاع غزة.
وكانت السلطات المصرية قد بدأت العام الماضي في بناء جدار حاجز تحت الارض لمنع التهريب والتجارة غير الشرعية ببضائع تقدر بملايين الدولارات تدخل الى الاراضي الفلسطينية عبر الحدود المصرية مع قطاع غزة.
  ونقلت هيئة الاذاعة البريطانية “بي بي سيعن أحد حفارى الأنفاق فى قطاع غزة قوله: “أن لكل مشكلة حلا”، واضاف إن الغزاويين يستخدمون آلات (مشاعل) حرارية فائقة القوة لإحداث ثقوب فى الجدار الفولاذى، بينما قال آخر: “إن اختراق الجدار يمكن أن يستغرق ثلاثة أسابيع من العمل غير أنهم نجحوا فى ذلك فى نهاية المطاف”.

وزعمت الهيئة ان هذه أنباء محرجة للحكومة المصرية التى انفقت ملايين الدولارات لبناء هذا الحاجز وكانت قد قالت أخيرا إن العمل بالجدار الممتد لأحد عشر كيلومتر وبعمق نحو عشرين مترا تحت الأرض قد شارف على الانتهاء، وقالت الحكومة المصرية إنه مصنوع على ما يبدو من فولاذ فائق القوة لا يمكن اختراقه.

وتمثل عمليات تهريب البضائع عبر الأنفاق من مصر إلى قطاع غزة تجارة كبيرة تقدر بملايين الدولارات.. ومن بين تلك البضائع السيارات الجديدة التى يجرى تهريبها كل شهر.

وازدهرت تلك التجارة بعد فرض سلطات الاحتلال الاسرائيلي حصارها الاقتصادي على قطاع غزة، في محاولة للضغط على حركة حماس التي تتولى ادارة القطاع .

كانت تقارير صحفية كشفت في وقت سابق أن السلطات المصرية رفعت من وتيرة العمل في بناء “الجدار الفولاذي” على الحدود مع قطاع غزة لمنع عمليات التهريب عبر الأنفاق الأرضية ، حيث اقتربت أعمال البناء من منطقة صلاح الدين ذات الكثافة السكانية العالية والتي خضعت لعمليات مسح سكاني وحصر للمباني ، تمهيدا لإجلاء الأهالي من المساكن المتاخمة للشريط الحدودي وتعويضهم بأراضي بديلة .

ونقلت صحيفة “الشروق” المصرية المستقلة عن مصادر مطلعة القول إن الشركة المنفذة لأعمال الجدار أوشكت علي الانتهاء من عمليات حفر الخنادق وتثبيت الألواح الحديدية علي أعماق كبيرة ، كما تواصل 6 معدات عملاقة عمليات الحفر ويتواصل تدفق الستائر الحديدية علي مواقع العمل.

وأضافت المصادر ذاتها ” منازل منطقة صلاح الدين معرضة للخطر بسبب كثرة الأنفاق والتي تنذر بالانهيار في أي لحظة وهو ما يتطلب إعادة تخطيط المنطقة بالكامل”.

يذكر أن إسرائيل تمارس ضغوطا كبيرة على مصر منذ فترة طويلة لكي تتصدي للتهريب عبر هذه الانفاق تحت الأرض بين غزة وسيناء المصرية.وتقول ان الفلسطينيين يستخدمونها لتهريب الاسلحة والذخيرة الى جانب السلع التجارية التي يتم تهريبها الى غزة.

وكان ناشطون مصريون قد رفعوا دعوى على الدولة المصرية بسبب قرارها بناء الجدار على حدودها مع قطاع قائلين بأنه ينتهك التزامات مصر إزاء جيرانها العرب. وحدد القضاء الإداري المصري موعد جلسة النطق بالحكم في دعوى وقف بناء الجدار الفولاذي بين مصر وقطاع غزة يوم 29 يونيو/يونيو المقبل.
“جدار الموت”
 كان الكشف عن بناء السلطات المصرية لحدار حديدي على حدودها مع قطاع غزة قد أثار جدلا واسعا حيث اعتبره فلسطينيو غزة تديدا جديا لحصارهم المستمر منذ منتصف يونيو/حزيران عام 2007، بينما اعتبر مسئولون مصريون أن من حق بلادهم الحفاظ على أمنها ولديها مطلق الحرية في أن تفعل داخل أراضيها ما يؤمن سلامتها، ولا يمكن أن يزعم ولا يحق لعربي مهما كان، وباسم أي قضية مهما كانت أن يقول لمصر افعلي هذا أو لا تفعلي ذاك على أراضيك.
كانت تقارير صحفية ذكرت في وقت سابق أن مصر بدأت مؤخرا بناء جدار فولاذي بعمق من 20 إلى 30 مترا تحت الأرض، بطول عشرة كيلومترات تمثل الحدود مع غزة، في محاولة للقضاء على ظاهرة الأنفاق التي تُستخدم في تهريب البضائع من سيناء إلى القطاع المحاصَر.

وأدى الكشف عن بناء الجدار الفولاذي والذي وصفه الفلسطينيون بـ “جدار الموت”، إلى تصاعد ردود الأفعال العربية والدولية المنددة بالخطوة التي اتخذتها القيادة المصرية، وتمحورت ردود الأفعال حول استنكار هذه الخطوة التي اعتبر عددٌ كبيرٌ من المتابعين والمحللين أنها تأتي كخطوةٍ إضافيةٍ تهدف إلى تشديد الحصار على أكثر من مليون ونصف المليون فلسطيني مُحاصَرين في قطاع غزة منذ أكثر من ثلاثة أعوام متواصلة.

وفيما يخص مواصفات الجدار، ذكر موقع “الشبكة الفلسطينية الإخبارية” على الإنترنت، نقلا عن مصادر وصفها بالموثوقة، أن آلية للحفر يتراوح طولها بين 7 إلى 8 أمتار تقوم بعمل ثقوب فى الأرض بشكل لولبى، ومن ثم تقوم رافعة بإنزال ماسورة مثقبة باتجاه الجانب الفلسطينى بعمق ما بين 20 و30 متر.

وأضافت الشبكة فى تقرير مرفق برسم كروكى لقطاع من الجدار، أن العمل على الآليات الموجودة هناك يتولاه عمال مصريون فى أغلبهم يتبعون شركة “عثمان أحمد عثمان”، بالإضافة إلى وجود أجانب بسيارات جى أم سى فى المكان.

ووفقا للمصادر فإن ماسورة رئيسية ضخمة تمتد من البحر غربا بطول 10 كيلومترات باتجاه الشرق يتفرع منها مواسير فى باطن الأرض مثقبة باتجاه الجانب الفلسطينى من الحدود يفصل بين الماسورة والأخرى 30 أو 40 متر.

وأوضحت أنه سيتم ضخ المياه فى الماسورة الرئيسية من البحر مباشرة، ومن ثم إلى المواسير الفرعية فى باطن الأرض، مضيفة أنه بما أن المواسير مثقبة باتجاه الجانب الفلسطينى فإن المطلوب من هذه المواسير الفرعية هو إحداث تصدعات وانهيارات تؤثر على عمل الأنفاق على طول الحدود من خلال تسريب المياه.

ولفتت إلى أنه خلف شبكة المواسير هذه يتمدد فى باطن الأرض جدران فولاذية بعمق يتراوح بين 30ــ35 متر فى باطن الأرض، وعلاوة على وظيفة هذا الجدار المصمم لكبح جماح الأنفاق إلى جانب أنابيب المياه، فإنه يحافظ على تماسك التربة على الجانب المصرى، فى حين تكون الأضرار البيئية والانهيارات فى الجانب الفلسطينى، على حد قول هذه المصادر.

وكان وزير الخارجية المصري أحمد أبو الغيط، قد أكد في تصريحات سابقة له “أن مصر ليست علي استعداد لأن تتوقف عن حماية شعبها وحدودها، وأن أحداً لا يمكنه أن يدفع بلاده لأن تخشي أمراً يحمي أمنها القومي،

مشيرا إلى أن الأهداف التي دعت مصر إلي إنشاء الجدار المصري هي تحطيم جدار مماثل كانت مصر قد أقامته منذ سنوات علي حدودها مع إسرائيل عندما كانت تحتل قطاع غزة،

وأن فلسطينيين قاموا بتحطيمه في يناير 2008 وهو ما دفع مصر إلي إعادة إنشائه حماية للأراضي المصرية من الاعتداء عليها ومنع من وصفهم بـ «هؤلاء الذين يقتحمون ويتسربون إلي الأراضي المصرية”.

 إلا أن مصادر أمنية مصرية أكدت أن قيام القاهرة بعمليات إحكام الحدود مع قطاع غزة فى الوقت الحالى عبر بناء سياج حدودى تقنى محكم جاء لدواعى السيادة والأمن القومى المصرى، ولا يعنى أبدا تشديد الحصار على قطاع غزة مشيرا إلى أن معبر رفح يظل مفتوحا معظم الوقت.
وقالت المصادر إن تهريب السلاح عبر الأنفاق “هو اعتداء مباشر على سيادة الدولة المصرية وشرعيتها كدولة، ولا يمكن السماح باستمراره عبر شبكة الأنفاق المنتشرة على تلك الحدود”، مضيفا أن من يستخدم الأنفاق لتهريب السلاح من سيناء فى اتجاه الجانب الآخر يمكنه استخدامها للتهريب فى الاتجاه المعاكس ليس فقط لتهريب السلاح ولكن المخدرات والأفراد أيضا.

وشددت المصادر على أنه “من حق مصر أن تهتم بسيادتها على حدودها وأن تطور الجدار الفاصل بينها وبين قطاع غزة ومن حقها أن يكون الجدار قويا لا تسقطه بلدوزات تحركها قلة غير مسئولة على الجانب الآخر من الحدود كما حدث فى يناير 2008 ويكون نقطة ضعف يستخدمها أعداء السلام”.

Genocide? As Gaza Dries Out, israel Turns Off Fresh Water Spigot

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Rather than heeding the warnings from the UN to open up Gaza’s blockade and allow vital aid, what we have witnessed over the course of the last decade is a periodic all-out Israeli assault on Gaza’s vital infrastructure.

GAZA  (Analysis) — Near the end of last month, Haaretz reported that, according to an expert hydrologist, 97 percent of Gaza’s drinking water has been contaminated by sewage and salt. The UN also confirmed that this was the case early last year, and clearly, the situation has remained unchanged even up until 2018. Robert Piper, the UN’s local coordinator for humanitarian and development activities, has called the situation “really very serious” and stated that “[w]e are falling far behind the demand for clean drinking water for Gazans.”This kind of mistreatment is part and parcel of an overall package of deprivation that continues to plague the Palestinian people. There are some 2 million residents in Gaza affected by this egregious policy, famously one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. Gaza’s water resources are fully controlled by Israel and the division of groundwater is something that was provided for in the Oslo II Accord. However, despite the fact that under the Accord Israel is allocated four times the Palestinian portion of water resources, it has been revealed that Israel has been extracting 80 percent more water from the West Bank than it agreed to.

In 2009, the World Bank wrote that the responsibility was on the government of Israel to recognize that water and sanitation is a central component of the Gaza Strip humanitarian crisis and make arrangements to facilitate fuel distribution to some 170 water and sewage pumps in Gaza; maintain the Beit Lahiya Sewage Lake; and restore regular electricity supply in order to reduce dependence on fuel for generators.

&amp;amp;lt;img src=”https://www.mintpressnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Citizen-Activist-email.png”/&amp;amp;gt; According to the World Bank, at the time, almost all of Gaza’s population was without running water and was dependent on stored water supplies. The World Bank also noted that nearly all sewage and water pumps were out of operation due to lack of electricity and diminished fuel supplies, something that we will address below. But once again, these deficiencies fall squarely on the shoulders of the Israeli government, which is wholly responsible for Gaza’s electricity and water supply.

In order to rectify the issue, the Deputy UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Maxwell Gaylard, called for the immediate opening of Gaza’s crossings to allow the entry of spare parts and materials critical to the restoration of Gaza’s water and sanitation services. Israel famously closed Gaza’s crossing points in June 2007 and the local population has been suffering ever since.

However, there are many other factors that have helped to create this humanitarian catastrophe. Israel routinely unleashes bombing campaigns on the Gaza Strip every few years, targeting vital infrastructure, including destroying Gaza’s only power plant in 2014. The blockade single-handedly prevents vital materials and equipment from making its way into Gaza, making redevelopment impossible, even some four years later.

 

Electricity supply

A Palestinian family warm themselves on a fire outside their makeshift home during a power cut in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. (AP/ Khalil Hamra)

A Palestinian family warm themselves on a fire outside their makeshift home during a power cut in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. (AP/ Khalil Hamra)

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the Gaza Strip endures dry, hot summers that are subject to drought.

Exploiting these conditions, Israel has used electricity as an inventive point of leverage to torture the Palestinian people, while the international community has stayed largely silent. This is the same international community that cites human rights abuses in Syria, Iran, and North Korea to promote military intervention and regime change to suit its geopolitical needs, yet stays silent as 2 million Gazan residents are suffering immensely in what is widely regarded as an open-air prison and the world’s largest ghetto.

On a good day, residents in Gaza over the last six months have been receiving three to four hours of electricity per day, the flow of which is controlled by Israel. However, according to the Times of Israel, Gazans were only able to obtain four hours’ worth of electricity thanks mainly to fuel supplies sent from Egypt. On a bad day, some estimates cite that Gazans have been receiving as little as two hours electricity per day if any at all.

After the Palestinian Authority said it would begin resuming payment for Israeli electricity flows to the Gaza Strip (at a cost of some $2.8 million per month), Israel announced it would restore its share of the electricity supply. However, this will increase Gaza’s electricity supply only to approximately six hours’ worth of electricity per day. The outage of electricity is expected to last for 12 hours a day at least, according to the Electronic Intifada.

One should bear in mind that, with a Gazan population of around 2 million residents, the effects of this stringent electricity supply are felt far beyond just the average household. In August of last year, Gaza’s children’s hospitals also warned of a health “catastrophe,” as power cuts routinely take place during four-hour-long dialysis treatment.

For years, Israel has attempted to shed blame from its inhumane policies and instead point to the debacle solely on an internal Palestinian issue between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Last year, Human Rights Watch’s director for the region, Omar Shakir, told the right-wing pro-Israel publication Algemeiner that because Israel is “legally the occupying power,” it bore the brunt of the responsibility for this crisis. “Israel controls the borders, the airspace, the waters of Gaza, so Israel has an obligation that goes beyond merely responding to a request from Palestinian authorities,” Shakir reportedly said.

The Electronic Intifada also notes that Israel has been using electricity as a politically viable blackmail tool, with Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) stating it would restore electricity after Israeli prisoners held in Gaza were returned, as well as the bodies of two Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul. It is also worth noting that Egypt, too, shares a great deal of the blame for this horrific treatment of the Palestinian people

 

Assaults on Gaza

a Palestinian girl walks next to destroyed houses, in the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza City

A Palestinian girl walks next to destroyed houses, in the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza City after a devastating bombing campaign by Israel in March of 2015.

Rather than heeding the warnings from the UN to open up Gaza’s blockade and allow vital aid, what we have witnessed over the course of the last decade is a periodic all-out assault on Gaza’s vital infrastructure.

Since the blockade was enforced, there have been three major IDF operations in Gaza: Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, and Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

Following Operation Cast Lead, the World Bank reported that there had been severe damage to the water and sanitation infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.


Read more by Darius Shahtahmasebi


After Operation Protective Edge in 2014, the UN reported that more than 20,000 Palestinian homes, 148 schools and 60 healthcare centers in Gaza were damaged or destroyed. Israel even bombed a disability center at the time. Gaza has no air force, no air defenses, and no substantive military to defend its people.

While most pro-Israeli pundits would point to Hamas rocket fire as an excuse for the interventions, the truth on the ground tells a different story.

The Submission to the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, published by Truthout, quite clearly demonstrates that Israeli airstrikes and ground attacks preceded Hamas rocket fire; and that Hamas rocket-fire had been nonexistent since Israel’s previous assault in 2012. In other words, Hamas had been abiding by its terms of the ceasefire — even while Israel had been starving Gaza of basic human rights, as argued and outlined above.

Further, in July 2014, The Guardian published a blog by investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed, which claimed Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza in 2014 was rooted in a desire to control Palestinian gas off the coast of Gaza and had nothing to do with concerns about Hamas rocket fire. The Guardian axed his blog not long after.

The Jerusalem debacle

Israeli police fire tear gas at Palestine protesters during protests against US. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Ramallah, Occupied Palestine. Feb 2, 2018. (AP/Majdi Mohammed)

Israeli police fire tear gas at Palestine protesters during protests against US. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Ramallah, Occupied Palestine. Feb 2, 2018. (AP/Majdi Mohammed)

Israel modus operandi has been to attack Gaza by punishing the civilian population with these heavy sanctions affecting its basic life necessities. It is almost as if the Israeli government has been attempting to provoke a response from the Gaza Strip, which could then be used again to justify yet another intervention — given it has been proven that Israel has lied about its stated reasons for intervention in the past. This response, however, never came in the form that Israel might have hoped for.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, inflaming an already tense situation, was the political icing on the cake of Palestinian suffering. Regardless of one’s views on the Israel-Palestine conflict, which continues to divide people all along the political spectrum, the fact remains that this decision alone pushed an already volatile situation to a point of outright violence. According to Reuters, since Trump’s infamous decision, at least 13 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces.

Further, it wasn’t long after Trump’s announcement that Israel began resuming air strikes in the Gaza Strip. Perhaps this is a sign of things to come in the not-too-distant future. While tensions are heating up between Israel and Syria, Lebanon and Iran, it has been largely overlooked that Hamas and Israel are preparing for an imminent war even as we speak.

 

Gaza in crisis

A Palestinian man and his son warm themselves by a fire during cold, rainy weather on the outskirts of the Khan Younis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, Jan. 5, 2018. (AP/ Khalil Hamra)

A Palestinian man and his son warm themselves by a fire during cold, rainy weather on the outskirts of the Khan Younis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, Jan. 5, 2018. (AP/ Khalil Hamra)

In 2015, the UN predicted that Gaza would become uninhabitable by 2020. Not pulling any punches, the UN concedes the cause of this crisis is based on two important factors: Israeli military operations and the decades-long blockade that has crippled Gaza’s economy and infrastructure. Reportedly, Gaza has an unemployment rate of some 50 percent, the highest unemployment rate in the world, with a youth unemployment rate of at least 60 percent.

According to The New York Times, UN officials are warning that Gaza is facing a total collapse. Rather than exporting some much-needed freedom, human rights and democracy, the Trump administration instead announced that it would withhold $65 million from UNRWA — vital money required for providing basic necessities for some 1.2 million Palestinians in Gaza. The Times also wrote:

Still, whether out of bluster or desperation, Gazans both in and out of power have begun talking openly about confronting Israel over its blockade in the kind of mass action that could easily lead to casualties and escalation.”

No matter how one cuts it, whether Israel has been intentionally trying to elicit a response from Gaza or not, the fact remains that the Israeli government is intentionally pursuing a long list of policies that will almost certainly lead to a hostile escalation, as the international community continues to turn a blind eye to the everyday suffering of the Palestinian people. Israeli policies indeed border on a systematic genocide that will, if unchecked, completely erode the Gaza Strip to nothingness in just a few short years.

Top Photo | Palestinian children fill their bottles with water from a UNICEF tap in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. (Photo: UNICEF)

Darius Shahtahmasebi is a practicing attorney with an interest in human rights, international law, and journalism. He is a graduate of the University of Otago, where he obtained degrees in Law and Japanese. Follow him on Twitter at @TVsLeaking.

Emboldened israeli Ministers Openly Call for Killing Palestinians With More Genocide

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Israeli Agriculture Minister, Uri Ariel. (Photo: via MEMO, file)

By Ramona Wadi

Israeli Agricultural Minister Uri Ariel wants more injured and dead Palestinians in Gaza. “What is this special weapon we have that we fire and see pillars of smoke and fire, but nobody gets hurt?” he said on local radio. “It is time for there to be injuries and deaths as well.” This was reported by Haaretz.

Ariel’s comments come at a time when, bolstered and emboldened by US support over Jerusalem, Israel is seeking to increase ways in which Palestinians are restricted even further in terms of politics, freedom of movement and resistance to its military occupation. The increasingly threatening rhetoric, combined with its often resultant violence, is a clear message that Israel wants Palestinian existence to be determined according to its own colonial needs.

Indeed the minister’s remarks are indicative of Israel’s need for violence and conflict to sustain its existence. Framing his penchant for more deaths against the narrative of the purported “Palestinian terrorist”, he also amalgamated his demands with Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s comments from 2016. At that time, far-right extremist Lieberman recommended the further fragmentation of Palestinians by suggesting that the homes of those involved in resistance should be demolished, and that those who “desire coexistence” should be rewarded.

Lieberman’s differentiation of Palestinians, particularly the latter group, is a simplistic approach which negates many of the reasons why not all Palestinians are visibly involved in resistance. One obvious reason which Israel has perpetrated is the juxtaposition of survival due to extreme poverty and lack of basic necessities, and the struggle against several forms of state violence. It also refutes the fact that most Palestinians, unlike the leadership of the Palestinian Authority, do not want to live under colonial rule.

Whether Ariel’s statement suggests yet another military offensive against the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip remains to be seen. However, there is no doubt that demands for state violence against civilians will become more brazen, as Israel basks in the impunity which is sustained on two levels: that generated by its own actions and absence of accountability under the pretext of “security concerns”; and the international community’s endorsement of this false narrative.

Another ramification of Ariel’s words is the separation of the visible injuries and killings in the occupied West Bank and the silent forms of slow extermination in Gaza as a result of Israeli-imposed deprivation. Clearly, he prefers the macabre spectacle of multitudes of injured and dead Palestinian civilians in Gaza and, what is more, he is allowed to express himself in such a manner without censure of any kind, safe in the knowledge that killing Palestinians has not only become normalised, but also expected.

The dehumanization of Palestinians in the Israeli minister’s words is also reflective of how statistics contribute to the absence of Palestinians in terms of collective memory. For Israel, the numbers serve to boost the false claims of self-defense. Conversely, statistics for Palestinians depict the cycles of murder by Israeli institutions. The international community, on the other hand, is partial to the anonymity of numbers, particularly when there is no requirement other than for it to turn a blind eye until Israel decides upon the next phase of Gaza’s destruction, whereupon the UN will exhort the colonial entity’s “right” to defend itself against the colonized. In doing so, it will also affirm its contempt for human rights and resolutions by refusing to uphold the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and, indeed, their right to resist military occupation by any means available.

– Ramona Wadi is a staff writer for Middle East Monitor (MEMO) in London, where this article was originally published. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. 

Homeless in Gaza

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Ali Hassan/Anadolu/Getty Images

 Mohamed Shuman playing music near the wreckage of his family’s house, Gaza City, June 2015

On November 11, 2017, the gray streets of Gaza suddenly turned yellow as tens of thousands of people came out to wave the flag of Fatah, the party of their former leader Yasser Arafat. This was the thirteenth anniversary of Arafat’s death, and, for the first time since 2007, when the Islamic resistance movement Hamas defeated Fatah in the bloody civil war that followed Hamas’s electoral victory the previous year, it had permitted a public commemoration of Arafat Day.

By allowing the celebration, Hamas had given the first substantial sign that it was serious about a new reconciliation deal, signed with Fatah in October. According to the agreement, the more moderate Palestinian faction, led by Mahmoud Abbas, which rules in the West Bank, would also assume local administrative control inside Gaza. With such a prospect, the people of Gaza hoped that Israel might be persuaded to lift the siege of the territory, which was meant to isolate Hamas and had the effect of punishing all Gazans for having voted for the party, which Israel, the United States, and the European Union consider a terrorist organization. Some Gazans have dared to hope the deal might even pave the way for tentative new discussions about wider peace.

A carnival atmosphere took hold across the besieged strip during the commemoration, with children selling sweets and cakes. As the crowds packed into a central square, leaders of Hamas and Fatah promised to end their division and find unity. The people cheered but seemed fearful, too: after such a long time they were once again putting battered trust in their leadership to try to bring a resolution to the conflict with Israel. An eighty-nine-year-old woman named Aisha waved her yellow flag, tears in her eyes: “I can’t breathe,” she declared, “but I can cry.”

The sudden joyous outpouring reminded some of the euphoria that erupted in 1993, after Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin, then Israel’s prime minister, signed the Oslo Accords on the White House lawn. But as Gazans know, Oslo failed to address what many of them believe was the root cause of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians: the dispossession of Palestinians during the Arab–Israeli war of 1948, during which the Jewish state was created. Oslo proposed to reverse Israel’s illegal land seizures of 1967, offering a “two-state solution,” with the Palestinian state constructed out of Gaza and the West Bank, joined by a safe passage across Israel, and East Jerusalem as its capital. But the negotiators did not address the long-standing claim of Palestinian refugees that they have a right to return home. Nowhere is that right as deeply felt as it is in Gaza, which holds the highest concentration of Palestinian refugees, many living within a few miles of their pre-1948 homes.

A slice of land just twenty-five miles long and seven miles across at its widest, the Gaza Strip sits at the southwest tip of Israel, bordered to the west by the Mediterranean, to the south by Egypt, and to the east and north by Israel. The other chunk of Palestinian territory, the West Bank, lies fifty miles away, with Israeli territory in between.

Until 1948 there was no “Gaza Strip”; the area around Gaza City was part of a much larger region of British-ruled Palestine known as the Gaza District, which contained scores of Palestinian villages. During the 1948 war a total of 750,000 Arabs fled or were expelled from all over Palestine. About 200,000 of those living in the south sought refuge in the Gaza City area, which Egypt had seized during the war.

In December 1948 the United Nations passed UN Resolution 194, stating that the Palestinians should have the right to return to their homes, but Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, refused, saying that Palestinians would “never return.” Within a few years Israel had erased almost every Arab village in the former Gaza District. “The old will die and the young will forget,” Ben-Gurion is said to have declared. The Arabs of Palestine, however, have not forgotten the events of 1948, which they refer to as the Nakba, or catastrophe, and they have been working harder in recent years than ever before to preserve the memory of their lost homes.

Ben-Gurion also expressed the hope that the refugees would move away from camps near Israel’s border and disperse into Arab countries, but while some did move away, most have stayed in order to be close to their land. The original 200,000 refugees who fled to Gaza now number up to an estimated 1.7 million. (Each descendant of a refugee is also classified by the UN as a refugee.) And with them in the Strip live another 300,000 Palestinians, indigenous to Gaza.

Today more than two million people live in Gaza, which is surrounded by walls and fences patrolled by Israeli soldiers. Israeli drones fill the skies above, its gunboats patrol the sea. On Gaza’s southern border is the Rafah crossing into Egypt, usually closed because Egypt has cooperated with Israel’s siege.

The only point of entry from Israel for human traffic is the Erez checkpoint, on Gaza’s northern border. Yet even while making that crossing it’s hard to believe anyone lives on the other side. The only other people passing through with me on a recent visit were a group of British surgeons from the charity IDEALS, their suitcases packed with prosthetic limbs.

Inside Gaza, the medieval and the modern seem to coexist, as horses and carts crowd the streets along with cars and trucks, while children in pristine uniforms pour out of schools. A new UN school is built each month in order to accommodate the population growth. In the middle-class Rimal area, students speaking into mobile phones struggle to be heard over hawkers selling wares. Shops seem well stocked, but prosperity is an illusion, since many of the luxury goods have been smuggled through tunnels from Egypt and hardly anyone can afford them. Thundering generators struggle to provide emergency power as Gaza itself struggles to survive the siege while still rebuilding after recent wars. The Israeli assault of 2014 lasted fifty-one days and killed 2,200 people, including five hundred children, as well as destroying thousands of homes, schools, water plants, and hospitals. Israel lost sixty-six soldiers and seven civilians during the conflict.

The UN says that Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020. Sitting on stones by the seafront with Emad, my twenty-five-year-old Palestinian driver, we could see why: raw sewage was pouring out into the water, the electricity cuts having crippled the sewage system. Emad pointed out that the stones we were sitting on carried the names of Palestinian villages destroyed in 1948. He was sitting on Majdal, where his family came from. He looked up the coast to the swinging cranes of the thriving Israeli port city Ashkelon, built on the spot were Majdal once stood. I was sitting on a stone named Huj, a village just a few miles from Gaza. Many areas and streets in Gaza are named after villages the residents once lived in. A man Emad and I met named Ali Abu Aleish, who lives on Huj Street, produced documents showing that his family owned land that is now part of an estate constructed by Ariel Sharon, the deceased former prime minister of Israel.

In view of Gazans’ daily struggles, it seems surprising that they have time to think of the past. But it is precisely because of recent wars that memories of 1948 have been strengthened. The bombardment of Gaza in 2014 caused people to feel that a “second Nakba” was occurring. I first heard the phrase soon after that war from an old man named Abu Ibrahim, who was sitting on the pile of rubble that had recently been his home. His family had herded sheep around Beersheba for centuries, and in the war of 1948 they were forced to flee, first living in a tent, then building a house near Gaza’s border, from which they could see their old land. He showed me an urn his mother had carried on her head from Beersheba; the urn had survived the first and second Nakba, he said proudly.

Ibrahim’s reference to the second Nakba was echoed up and down Gaza. The destroyed houses, the panicked flight, the tents in which the homeless had to live—these have reminded many of what happened seventy years ago.

In the aftermath of the 1948 war, the refugee tragedy caused headlines and protests around the world, but the story soon faded from view. The Israeli government told the world that Palestinians had fled their villages of their own accord or on orders from Arab armies that wanted them out of the way. There was no obligation on Israel, therefore, to let Palestinians return, since, according to this argument, their displacement was not Israel’s responsibility. Any “infiltrators” who tried to go back were criminals, and they were shot or put in prison. With the US standing behind the new Jewish state, Palestinian accounts of 1948 were too often ignored.

In the late 1980s Israel’s so-called new historians, most notably Benny Morris, examined newly opened Israeli archives and found no evidence that the refugees had fled on orders from Arab leaders, but had done so mostly out of terror after hearing reports of massacres carried out by Israeli soldiers in villages such as Deir Yassin, where Jewish militiamen killed over 150 Palestinian civilians. Ilan Pappé, another of Israel’s new historians, went further, identifying what he called a plan of “ethnic cleansing.”

By this time, however, Israel’s official narrative of 1948 was so entrenched that the voices of these new historians were barely heeded by politicians, and in the 1990s it was considered impossible to secure Israeli support for the Palestinian right of return. Even Arafat agreed to set it aside during the Oslo talks. Today many Palestinian analysts blame Arafat, as well as Israeli and Western negotiators, for Oslo’s failure, warning that a newly unified Palestinian leadership will not remain unified for long if it doesn’t insist on addressing the right of return in any new peace talks. “During the Oslo process the right of return was relegated as if a mere irritant, not a fundamental human right,” said Ramzy Baroud, the son of a 1948 Gaza refugee, editor of The Palestine Chronicle and author of the forthcoming book The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story.* “The collapse of the peace process and the failure of Oslo brought the right of return back to the center.”

In Israel, however, where the policies of the extreme right-wing have received endorsement from Donald Trump, particularly through his stunning recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the prospects of putting a Palestinian right of return on a negotiating table seem more unlikely than ever; the mere mention of it is enough to destroy the possibility of a rapprochement. Even the dovish Yossi Beilin, an architect of Oslo, says the two-state approach remains the only option: “The right of return will never happen. All this talk of ’48 is a mood, not an opinion.”

Sarah Helm

 Palestinians posing for selfies on a pier by the Mediterranean Sea, Gaza City, March 2017

Some Palestinians agree with Beilin. “Palestinians always claimed their rights to historical Palestine,” said Ghassan Khatib, professor of politics at Birzeit University in the West Bank. “Then someone came along and convinced them that this was utopian and would not happen, offering a trade-off to go for the possible instead. Now people realize the possible and the impossible are both impossible, so they might as well stick to the impossible. But they have no strategy, no plan.”

Gaza’s own “new historians,” however, like Salman Abu Sitta, founder of the Palestine Land Society, which maps pre-war Palestine, say the prospects are not hopeless. “The conflict began in 1948, not 1967. It cannot be solved without returning to the root cause,” said Abu Sitta, who fled the Gaza District as a child. And there is a Palestinian plan, he said, which is to win back ground in the narrative war by challenging Israel’s version of the 1948 war. A form of peaceful resistance, this campaign of retrieving the facts is already well underway, he said, largely thanks to the younger generation of Palestinians.

In Gaza more than 60 percent of the population is under the age of twenty-five, and it is among the young that the deepest despair often takes root. Some are turning to radical Islam, others to drugs. As many as eighty suicides are reported in Gaza each month, according to local aid groups, many among the young. Most of Gaza’s younger generation have nevertheless remained remarkably resilient, preparing against the odds for a better future, while also making an effort to learn about their past.

Earlier this year I encountered this resilience at a Gaza girls’ school, where I met with a class of seventeen-year-olds preparing for final exams. All had plans to study further in order to become doctors, social workers, journalists, and lawyers—“anything that helps free Gaza,” as one said. I asked how many had lost family in the war, and at least ten hands shot up.

“Why did Balfour give away our land?” asked one girl, referring to the declaration made in 1917 by Arthur Balfour, then British foreign secretary, pledging to create in Palestine a Jewish homeland. “Why did the world not implement UN Resolution 194 [the Palestinian right of return]?” “Why should I be a refugee when my land is one kilometer away?”

Their teacher explained to me that schools were placing more emphasis than ever on teaching history, studying the pre-1948 villages and the Nakba, since it helped the children understand the present. “They have lived through three wars”—in 2008, 2012, and 2014. “They want to understand how this can be. Their parents don’t have answers but if they can learn their story from the beginning they can make their own minds up and find connections to the present.” The teacher herself had lost her father in the most recent war. “He survived 1948 but was killed in 2014,” she said.

Many of the young are profoundly disillusioned with Palestinian politics, openly scorning the “old men,” as they call leaders of both Hamas and Fatah who have failed to find solutions for their generation, preoccupied instead with internal squabbles. Despite the unity displayed on Arafat Day, few young Gazans believe the reconciliation agreement will hold, saying that the only way to bring Palestinians together is around the issue of 1948. “At a popular level Palestinians everywhere including citizens of Israel are resurrecting these ’48 values in response to divisions of their leadership. It is an issue that unifies everyone,” said Ramzy Baroud.

Talking of 1948 certainly unifies Gazan families as they live under siege. In Shati refugee camp, power cuts force families to sit together in the dark, often passing the time by listening to a grandparent describing life in his or her old village, which appears so much better than life today. “In summer I ran into the long grass or lay in the cool orange groves,” said Fatmeh Tarqash as her children and grandchildren listened. “In winter we built a fire and took the embers indoors for warmth.” Fatmeh’s grandchildren have nowhere to run today. In winter the asbestos-roofed homes in the camps are cold and damp, and in summer the walls sweat.

Fatmeh’s twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, who works with people whose hearing has been impaired by explosions, listened carefully, and then exclaimed: “They grew their own food. They were self-sufficient. But today we must be beggars.” She pointed angrily to a UN food box. When the electricity to the house suddenly came back on she showed me her family’s old village on Google Earth. Would she settle for a two-state solution? “No. If they give us part of the land back, they will expect us to be grateful to them. Why should we be? It’s ours.”

Gazans have a new tool in their campaign to raise awareness about their dispossession: the Internet has allowed them to bring their erased villages back to life by posting photographs of documents and land deeds. Gaza’s “new historians” are also journalists who contribute to the Electronic Intifada and other burgeoning Palestinian news sites. A young journalist, who didn’t wish to be named, films close to Gaza’s northern border and streams his footage of Gazan fishermen being monitored by Israeli gunboats as they haul in a catch. “We live in a box,” he told me. “A fake place. We want to show people what it’s really like and not rely on others to tell our story.”

New technology also allows the young to look to the future. At the Islamic University of Gaza, architecture students redesigned their ancestral villages as futuristic cities for a competition to be judged in London. One showed a Palestinian town that had been destroyed in 1948 rebuilt with skyscrapers and huge highways. A month later I saw the finalists’ drawings posted on the wall of a London art gallery, where the participants joined us from the West Bank and Gaza via Skype. Talk of construction rather than destruction was moving, but these futuristic designs for Palestine after “the return” seemed fanciful. It is unlikely that construction by Palestinians on land recognized as theirs will begin anytime soon. After all, it is Israel that is carrying out the construction by building settlements across Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Israel is increasingly intransigent about granting any land at all, even in the West Bank, where illegal settlement continues at speed, as it does in Arab East Jerusalem. Yet some new ideas for a resolution are emerging, particularly among the new generation of Palestinians who talk about a one-state solution with Jews and Arabs living as equals in a single democratic state on all of mandate Palestine. Among Israeli Jews today this prospect seems especially fanciful, but some Israeli radicals predict it must come. Ilan Pappé, speaking in Cambridge recently to launch his new book, The Biggest Prison on Earth, said that the one-state solution was “not an impossible scenario” and that the alternative is for Israel to continue developing as “an apartheid state.”

Although the concept of a one-state solution is still in its infancy, we are certain to hear more about it, precisely because the prospects for two states seem dead. The one-state idea is already being discussed within senior ranks of the moderate Palestinian Authority. Saeb Erekat, the chief negotiator for Mahmoud Abbas, responding to Trump’s Jerusalem move, declared that by recognizing the city as Israel’s capital, Trump had finally killed the two-state idea, adding: “Now is the time to transform the struggle for one state with equal rights for everyone living in historical Palestine from the river to the sea.”

There is even a smartphone program called the iNakba app that provides maps indicating where Palestinian villages once were and what Israeli towns might be there now. Driving across Israel to reach Gaza, I used the app as a guide back in time, passing the site of the Palestinian village of Yibneh, which is now Yavneh. Near the huge Israeli port of Ashdod lie the remains of Isdud, where a Gazan friend of mine, Abu Hasan, once lived. On a recent visit to Gaza he told me how to find his house, but it was no longer there.

Almost all traces of the Palestinian villages have disappeared. A woman I met in Ashkelon, who had recently emigrated from Ukraine to Israel, had never heard of Majdal, which had been a thriving textile center before 1948. “There were never any Arabs here,” she told me. “It’s a lie.” The iNakba app revealed that the Arab market that still stands in Ashkelon’s Old City was once the main market of Majdal.

There are some signs that Palestinians are gaining ground in their narrative war. They have new allies inside Israel, where a small number of young Jewish Israelis are helping Palestinians excavate their history. A group called Zochrot (“remembering,” in Hebrew), a nonprofit organization formed in 2002, aims to “raise awareness of the Palestinian Nakba.” Zochrot devised the iNakba app.

Israel’s “official historians” have gone on the defensive, busying themselves with reclassifying sensitive historical files, held in Israeli archives, relating to 1948. Benny Morris found that among the reclassified files were those relating to the massacre at Deir Yassin. Morris first saw the documents in the 1980s, but said that “the Defense Ministry offered no explanation” for why they have been reclassified.

Whatever small gains the Palestinians are making in their narrative war, however, they are under no illusion about the monumental task they face if their objectives are ever to be achieved. At a café in Gaza, the author Dr. Mohammed Bugi expressed skepticism. “We need a new Mandela,” said Bugi, recently banned from traveling to Amman to promote his new book on pre-1948 Yibneh. “And a new de Klerk,” said Fayez Sersawi, an artist whose studio was bombed in 2014. “Now they are trying to crush our culture and shut our history down. The Nakba has never stopped. The patterns just repeat themselves.”

At Rafah, a border town on Gaza’s southern tip, the repeated patterns of the conflict are highly visible. Camps here are named after the old villages—Yibneh, Isdud, and Huj—and have been regularly bombed in recent times, just as the villages were in 1948. Rafah’s streets are full of posters of martyrs; its camps have always produced the most determined resisters, including suicide bombers. Many of them—including some who were responsible for the carnage across Israel during the Second Intifada, which erupted in 2000 in the despair that followed Oslo’s collapse—were descendants of those who arrived in 1948.

Close to the Egyptian border, where the Sinai sands sweep into Gaza, small plastic shelters cover openings of tunnels being dug into Egypt, though in recent months Israel has begun working on a new underground wall, sunk deep into the desert, to block off such tunnels. Nearby on Rafah’s beach is a jumble of shacks, home to fishermen, descendants of villagers from Jura, once a thriving fishing community just up the coast. History is about to repeat itself for the people of Jura whose refugee dwellings lie in the path of bulldozers clearing the area to create a wider buffer zone.

Most residents of Rafah, so exposed here on the border, have suffered too much as a result of the conflict to wave flags for Arafat or anyone else. Those I spoke to did not express hope for the near future, often saying in chilling terms that “something worse than the Nakba” is about to happen. And yet they also know that in Gaza a change of mood—too easily dismissed by Yossi Beilin—can be the harbinger of change. When the mood in Gaza changed in 1987, it led to the First Intifada, which in turn led to the first moves toward peace negotiations.

Even in Rafah the renewed attention being given to the Nakba has also spread a kind of confidence, a sense that one day the refugees’ story will be known and the injustice they have suffered recognized. The very fact that evidence of the Nakba is now preserved online, the history now already widely available, has contributed to this confidence.

While in Rafah I visited my friend Abu Hasan, whose erased village I had searched for on my drive to Gaza, and I told him I’d failed to find his house. He was not surprised, but expressed the view that the Nakba would not be forgotten. He had just completed his own history of his village. “How can our Nakba—our catastrophe—be forgotten? For us it continues every day,” he said. “What would you think if you were told you had to leave your home one day and suddenly abandon everything you’d ever loved and known and never go back. Would you forget?”

Was he still expecting to go back to Isdud? “I go back every night. In my dreams I go back and play among the trees and chase the birds. Perhaps I won’t go back myself. I’m very old. And Isdud won’t be like I knew it. But Palestinians will go back one day, I’m sure.”

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