Yousef Al-Helou reports from Gaza for the Real News. 3 Dec 2013
Yousef Al-Helou is a Palestinian freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker, who recently took up a position as a Reuters Journalist Fellow at Oxford University.
Yousef is a regular contributor to Kia Ora Gaza’s website, and runs the Gaza TV News feeds on both Twitter and Facebook and is currently speaking at UK universities.
By Jacob Bentley, IMPACT: University of Nottingham official student magazine, 22 November 2013.
What are the aims of your speaking tour and what issues do you discuss?
I discuss the right to education and how Palestinian students are struggling to reach their universities abroad, or even in the West Bank. I also talk about the rise of Palestinian citizen journalists and their impact on the public perception of Palestine in the West.
You came to The University of Nottingham as part of this initiative on November 11th. How did you find students’ understanding of the Israel/Gaza debate?
It was good. I have received emails from attendees, thanking me and saying that they had learnt a lot about being a journalist in Gaza.
You encountered problems when attempting to leave Gaza last month to take up a scholarship at Oxford University. How would you describe this experience?
It was a challenge for me to leave Gaza, due to the restrictions that are still in place and being imposed by the Egyptian authorities.
I had to wait for two weeks due to these restrictions. The crossing has recently been closed again and thousands of people are stranded inside Gaza, and even at Cairo airport.
Most of those who arrive at Cairo airport are being kept at a small detention room which is in bad condition, until they are deported directly to Rafah in the morning- that is if the Rafah crossing was opened.
“It’s a bitter feeling to have to beg people to leave your own country”.
Of course, I received a lot of support from local and international friends, who tweeted and shared my posts to show solidarity.
It’s a bitter feeling to have to beg people to leave your own country. I feel like we are in prison – Gaza is known to be the world’s largest open-air prison. This makes me feel like we are being treated as subhuman.
“We cannot travel by sea and have no airport, so the Rafah crossing is the only line through which we can breathe”.
After Morsi’s ousting, security was tightened. The situation is now unbearable, with everything from power cuts to unemployment and poverty. There is a very high level of despair.
In June last year a team of 4 Kiwis from Kia Ora Gaza joined the ‘Miles Of Smiles’ international solidarity convoy that broke through the siege and delivered 10 tonnes of medical and educational aid to Gaza.
Yesterday Miles of Smiles Convoy 23 has arrived in the Gaza Strip, with solidarity activists from around the world entering the besieged territory, including some from Algeria, Libya, Jordan, Britain, Sweden and Malaysia. Partners for Peace & Development for Palestinians (PPDP) said in a media statement that the latest Miles of Smiles convoy which is not only showing solidarity with the people of Gaza but also trying to break the siege.
The organisation pointed out that the leadership of Miles of Smiles has been consulting the authorities in Egypt to discuss the possibilities and mechanisms for supporting aid convoys to Gaza and to find alternatives to the tunnels which were destroyed to protect Egyptian sovereignty. “The convoy leaders found the Egyptian authorities to be receptive,” said PPDP, “which resulted in a consignment of canned meat and medical supplies being allowed through the Rafah Crossing earlier this week, as well as ambulances, disability transport and cleansing vehicles.” Followed, said PPDP, by the convoy personnel on Thursday.
The Miles of Smiles leadership has urged everyone not to step back from supporting their brothers and sisters in the Gaza Strip because of the political events in Egypt. “Egypt will take good steps early next month towards facilitating the passage of aid convoys to the Gaza Strip,” the convoy leader insisted.
From Middle East Monitor report, 22 November 2013
Middle East Monitor report, Thursday, 21 November 2013
The Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb in the occupied Negev region has been destroyed by the Israeli occupation forces for the 61st time. Local Palestinian sources said that bulldozers protected by a heavy police presence were used to knock homes to the ground.“This time, the Israeli forces also uprooted trees and damaged fields belonging to the village,” said the sources. “They wanted to destroy all kinds of life so that the Palestinians will not stay there.”
The residents of Al-Araqeeb have different plans, however. They insisted that they will stay on their land which they inherited from their fathers and grandfathers and their fathers before them. They believe that the destruction of their village is part of Israel’s so-called Prawer Plan to clear the land of Palestinians to pave the way for illegal Jewish settlers.
Report from Gaza by Ashraf Shannon, PressTV. 18 November.
On 17 November 2012, the 4th day of the Israeli 8 day war on Gaza, the Palestinian death toll rose to 46, among them 5 women and 9 children.
The girl in the photo is Ronan Yousef Arafat – 7 years old. She died after an Israeli warplane targeted their home in Zaytoun area, eastern Gaza city.
Lest we forget – here is the names of those who died on the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th of November last year :
1 – Ahmed Said Khalil Jabari – 52 years
2 – Ronan Yousef Jalal Arafat – 7 years
3 – Mohamed Hamed alHams – 28 years
4 – Hadiya Adel Mashharawi -19 years
5 – Mahmoud Hamad Abu Soawin – 61 years
6 – Omar Jihad on Mashharawi – 4 years
7 – Haneen Khaled Tafesh – 1 year
8 – Habis Hassan Awad Msmah – 29 years
9 – Wael Haider Said Ghalban – 26 years
10 – Hisham Mohammed Ghalban – 26 years
11 – Mohammed Hani Kaseeh – 18 years
12 – Essam Mahmoud Abu Anzza – 22 years
13 – Khaled Mahmoud Abu Nasr – 23 years
14 – Rani Abdel Rahman Hammad – 28 yo
15 – Marwan Abdul Rahman Abu Qumssan – 52 years
16 – Walid Mahmoud Abdul A’badleh 2 years
17 – except Gamal Abdel Nasser – 16 years
18 – Faris Ahmed Diab Bassiouni – 8 years
19 – Mahmoud Raed Saadallah – 4 years
20 – Ayman al- Hassan Abu Warda – 24 years
21 – Tahreer Ziad Mohammed Salman – 22 years
22 – Ismail Omar Kandil – 23 years
23 – Kamel Younis Tafesh – 55 years
24 – Said Mohammed Talal Salman – 28 years
25 – Hassan Salem Alhela – 29 years
26 – Ziad Suleiman AbuFarhan – 23 years
27 – Ahmed Mohammed Abu Jalal – 34 years
28 – Amjad Mohammed Abu Jalal – 25 years
29 – Khaled Khalil Alshaer – 26 years
30 – Ayman Hassan Salim – 26 years
31 – Ahmed Osama alAtrash – 24 years
32 – Mohammad Saleh Alloulihy – 24 years
33 – Awad Hamdi Hassan AlNahal – 31 years
34 – Abdulrahman Salem Samara – 25 years
35 – Mukhles Mahmoud Edwaan – 30 years
36 – Osama Musa Abdel Gawad – 27 years
37 – Ali Abdel Halim Almanaema – 13 years
38 – Ashraf Hassan Darwish – 12 years
39 – Mohamed Mahmoud Amraasin – 21 years
40 – Osama Yousef Mansour Qadi – 26 years
41 – Ahmed Salim Salama Saeed – 60 years
42 – Hani Abdel Majid Salem Briam – 31 years
43 – Ali Hassan Ali Said Al Maghazi – 25 years
44 – Samaher Khalil Mahmoud Kodeih – 28 years
45 – Mohamed Sabri Aydat – 25 years
46 – Tamer Khaled Ahmed Al Hamri – 26 years
By the time the intensive ‘Pillar of Cloud’ bombing raids ended on 22 November, over 180 Palestinians had perished and thousands were injured. Hundreds of homes and much of Gaza’s fragile infrastructure was destroyed.