Photo of the Week: Carpooling sheep for Eid

Photo credit: Tanya Habjouqa
Date taken: August 7, 2013
Location: Qalandiya, West Bank, Palestine

A Palestinian man enjoys a cigarette in his car as he waits for traffic to clear at the Qalandiya checkpoint on the last evening of Ramadan. He is bringing a sheep home that will be consumed during the following day’s Eid Al-Fitr celebrations. [Read more...]

Photo of the Week: Strikes in Jordan

Photo credit: Khalil Mazraawi
Date taken: March 23, 2004
Location: Baqa’a Refugee Camp, Jordan

An elderly Palestinian man sits in front of his closed shop at the Baqa’a Refugee Camp’s marketplace during a strike to protest the assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, founder of Hamas. Yassin was killed the day before by an Israeli air strike while he was on his way to a local mosque in the Gaza Strip for morning prayers. Demonstrations were held throughout all of Jordan’s Palestinian refugee camps as well as in parts of the country’s capital city to pressure the Jordanian government into ending its 1994 peace treaty with Israel. [Read more...]

Gaza’s rectangular views

The rectangle is a very satisfying shape. The angles are precise. There is symmetry. Certain rectangles have even been scientifically shown to be visually pleasing. Calming, if you will.

But in the Gaza Strip, where Israel’s latest invasion took with it the lives of over 2,100 Palestinians and left behind scenes of devastation marked by total destruction, rectangles are open wounds. They provide raw panoramas of all that Gaza must rebuild. Or, if seen from the other side, they show what fifty days of bombardment can do to a person’s emotional and physical well-being.

Here are just some of Gaza’s most rectangular views.

A landscape of destruction is seen from the bathroom of a Palestinian apartment in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, August 18, 2014. Beit Hanoun was one of the hardest hit areas during Israel’s 50-day assault on Gaza. Photo credit: Thomas Coex

A Palestinian worker looks out of the damaged remains of Al-Awdah food factory which was shelled and then torched by the Israeli army, August 14, 2014. Just as the Israeli military had done during its ground incursion into the Gaza Strip in 2008-09, soldiers frequently targeted or set fire to buildings that were crucial for the sustenance of the territory’s population. Aside from civilian homes and warehouses, Israel also targeted a number of sewage treatment facilities as well as Gaza’s only power plant, leaving the territory’s 1.8 million people entirely reliant on power from electrical generators for at least the next year. Photo credit: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Palestinians attend a sermon at a United Nations-run school in Gaza City on Monday, July 28, 2014. It is the morning of Eid Al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that caps the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Normally, they would be praying at their local mosques. But because Israel had destroyed nearly two dozen mosques by this point in the invasion, the worshippers felt safer in the school. Photo credit: Lefteris Pitarakis [Read more...]

Photo of the Week: The streets clear in Palestine’s Sunset City

Photo credit: Dan Kitwood
Date taken: August 14, 2014
Location: Shuja’iyya, Gaza City, Gaza Strip, Palestine

Palestinians who had chosen not to flee from their Shuja’iyya neighborhood despite frequent Israeli shelling in the immediate vicinity begin to head home as the sun sets. [Read more...]

My first visit home

Guest contribution by Mohammad Horreya

This is long overdue, I’ve meaning to put my visit to Palestine, which has been sitting heavily on my mind, into a post since I got back. It’s not an easy thing to do, to find words for a 14-day-long trip that I’ve been dreaming of since I was eleven. I don’t even think I have the words for it, but I will try.

I’m 23 years old now, so Palestine has been permeating my mind for twelve years. Each year that passed saw more books that I consumed, more poems that I drank, and more pictures I dreamt about. But I think I should first start off with a bit of background. Contrary to what a lot of people believe about me, Palestine in my household was more of a centerpiece than the topic of discussion at the breakfast table. The only discussions I remember hearing of Palestine growing up were ones my parents had with each other or with old guests who would come over with pipes as thinking props in hand and vocal chords as megaphones.

The first time I asked my mom about Palestine was when I was ten. I had just come back from school and was sitting at the dining room table, excitedly pointing to flags in a book and asking my mom to which countries they belonged to. My teacher had assigned the class a national identity project. I reached a blue and white flag with a star in the middle and asked my mom about that one. My older brother, who was sitting with me, interjected with a teasing laugh and told me that’s where I’m from. My mom gave him a well-deserved smack on the head and confidently retorted, “inta falasteeni” — you’re Palestinian. [Read more...]

Photo of the Week: Before his demolished home

Photo credit: Oliver Weikin
Date taken: July 26, 2014
Location: Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip, Palestine

A young Palestinian man cries in front of his home in the northern town of Beit Hanoun after it was destroyed by Israeli air strikes. His home was among the nearly 18,000 destroyed by Israel during a fifty-day assault on the Gaza Strip that began on July 8, 2014. [Read more...]

Illustrated poetry: ‘Oh rascal children of Gaza’

Rafah-born author and poet Khaled Juma wrote a heartbreaking tribute to the children of the Gaza Strip amidst the missiles striking his hometown. At least 506 Palestinian children have been killed since Israel commenced its latest invasion of Gaza on July 8, 2014.

[Read more...]

Death in Gaza

Guest contribution by Amir Hussain

In the bruised streets of Shuja’iyya,
covered in rubble and smoke,
bodies are carried to the hospital
on the arms of a thousand men.

Near the harbor, boys play soccer.
Suddenly, shells break into bones
from a ship docked near sandy waters.
A man rushes in. A woman falls to her knees.

“Shuja’iyya,” they cry in one voice,
“Here lie your sons and daughters
without hands, fingers, and arms.”
Their voice is a song without end.

Consider now a family at home,
burned and blackened in sleep.
The sun falls over their heads
as blood-water seeps from the land.

From wet rock to stony harbor,
green shrouds lie in the streets of Shuja’iyya,
with faces uncovered and mouths
tipped open to the white sky. [Read more...]

The marriage that defied Israel’s invasion of Gaza

Guest contribution

A United Nations school in the Gaza Strip is the most unlikely wedding venue for the most talked about wedding of the year. Over 88 UNRWA schools across Gaza are currently sheltering nearly 250,000 internally displaced Palestinians who have lost their homes during Israel’s latest military offensives. About 150,000 more Palestinians are displaced, seeking refuge in NGO offices, hospital gardens, and homes belonging to family friends, distant relatives, and even strangers.

Two of these displaced Palestinians decided that they would no longer allow Israel’s invasion to put their lives on hold. One week ago, Heba Fayad and Omar Abu Namar found unimaginable strength in such exceptional circumstances and held their wedding at a UN school in Gaza City’s Shati Refugee Camp.

Heba, 23, did not get the wedding of her dreams. This was a ceasefire wedding in the final hours of the temporary truce — the threat of air strikes still loomed overhead. She did not get to leave for her wedding from her home in Beit Lahiya — a warplane destroyed it. Heba did not get to obsess over every detail of her big day — destruction and shattered lives surrounded her, and everything she had prepared for the wedding was covered in soot. She did not get to make a playlist with all of her favorite songs — she wanted to respect the two thousand dead in Gaza. [Read more...]

List of Middle East governments critical of Israeli human rights abuses in Gaza

What did you expect? [Read more...]


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