Why has UN rebuilt just one house in Gaza?

1 Dec


Fatima al-Zaza works in the kitchen of her family home in eastern Gaza City. It is the only house completely destroyed during Israel’s summer 2014 assault that the UN has rebuilt so far. [Adel Hana AP Photo]

By Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 29 November 2015.

FullSizeRenderAli Abunimah will be a keynote speaker at the 2016 NZ Conference on Palestine, Auckland Town Hall on Sun 3 April.

Why has the UN rebuilt just one house in Gaza?

In the whole period since Israel’s lethal and devastating summer 2014 attack on Gaza, the United Nations has provided assistance to just one family to rebuild its totally destroyed home.

“I held the new keys in my hand; at that moment, I felt relieved and happy, and I wanted to give the keys to my wife and show her the house and everything in it,” Atef al-Zaza said as he took possession of the home he will share with his spouse Fatima and their 12 children in eastern Gaza City, last October.

It replaces the home the al-Zaza family lost in July 2014, during Israel’s bombardment.

Pierre Krähenbühl, the head of UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, confirmed the stunning fact earlier this month that this remains the only totally destroyed house the UN has helped to rebuild.

He also revealed that as of 18 November, his agency’s engineers had confirmed that 9,117 homes in Gaza were totally demolished, a similar number suffered severe or major damage and another 123,000 suffered minor damage.

In July, the UN children’s agency UNICEF published this video highlighting the situation of some of the thousands of Gaza children still living in rubble:

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‘Amplify your voice for justice’

25 Nov

roger_waters2-620x412Roger Waters (Credit: AP/Vadim Ghirda)

“Amplify your voice for justice”: Roger Waters (co-founder Pink Floyd) and other prominent artists call for boycott of Israel in new video (below).

A growing number of artists support boycotting Israel to pressure it to comply with international law and respect Palestinian rights.


By Ben Norton, salon.com, 25 November 2015

“How can I perform in Israel when millions of Palestinians cannot attend?” asks renowned musician Roger Waters in a new video.

The video, released by Adalah-N.Y.: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, features influential New York City-based artists calling on other cultural workers to pledge their support for the boycott of Israel, in protest of the country’s illegal 48-year occupation of the Palestinian territories and constant human rights abuses against indigenous Palestinians.

“How can I play in Israel knowing that the government will use my show to whitewash its crimes?” inquires musician Kyp Malone, of the band TV on the Radio.

Waters and Malone are joined by other prominent artists, including Kathleen Chalfant, a Tony-nominated stage and television actress; Molly Crabapple, an artist and writer; Tunde Adebimpe, singer of TV on the Radio; Kool A.D., a rapper formerly of the group Das Racist; Tamar-kali, a rock musician; and Swoon, a visual artist.

“Cultural boycott is an ethical rights-based tactic with historical precedent,” explains Swoon in the video. Such a boycott played an important role in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote in a 2010 letter, “Just as we said during apartheid that it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa in a society founded on discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity, so it would be wrong for Cape Town Opera to perform in Israel.”

Just two days after it was released, the video had been viewed more than 100,000 times. You can watch it below:

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Humanity is at stake

24 Nov

USAF-us-air-force-fighter-jet-f16File photo of US airforce fighter jet

By Dr Ramzy Baroud, Middle East Monitor, 23 November 2015


Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His books include ‘Searching Jenin’, ‘The Second Palestinian Intifada’ and his latest ‘My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story’. His website is: http://www.ramzybaroud.net.

Dr Baroud will be a keynote speaker at the 2016 Conference on Palestine, Auckland Town Hall Concert Chamber on Sunday 3 April.

Forget Daesh: Humanity is at Stake

I still remember that smug look on his face, followed by the matter-of-fact remarks that had western journalists laugh out loud.

“I’m now going to show you a picture of the luckiest man in Iraq,” General Norman Schwarzkopf, known as ‘Stormin’ Norman, said at a press conference sometime in 1991, as he showed a video of US bombs blasting an Iraqi bridge, seconds after the Iraqi driver managed to cross it.

But then, a far more unjust invasion and war followed in 2003, following a decade-long siege that cost Iraq a million of its children and its entire economy.

It marked the end of sanity and the dissipation of any past illusions that the United States was a friend of the Arabs. Not only did the Americans destroy the central piece of our civilizational and collective experience that spanned millennia, it took pleasure in degrading us in the process. Their soldiers raped our women with obvious delight. They tortured our men, and posed with the dead, mutilated bodies in photographs – mementos to prolong the humiliation for eternity; they butchered our people, explained in articulate terms as necessary and unavoidable collateral damage; they blew up our mosques and churches and refused to accept that what was done to Iraq over the course of twenty years might possibly constitute war crimes.

Then, they expanded their war taking it as far as US bombers could reach; they tortured and floated their prisoners aboard large ships, cunningly arguing that torture in international waters does not constitute a crime; they suspended their victims on crosses and photographed them for future entertainment.

Their entertainers, media experts, intellectuals and philosophers made careers from dissecting us, dehumanizing us, belittling everything we hold dear; they did not spare a symbol, a prophet, a tradition, values or set of morals. When we reacted and protested out of despair, they further censured us for being intolerant to view the humor in our demise; they used our angry shouts to further highlight their sense of superiority and our imposed lowliness.

They claimed that we initiated it all. But they lied. It was their unqualified, inflated sense of importance that made them assign September 11, 2001 as the inauguration of history. All that they did to us, all the colonial experiences and the open-ended butchery of the brown man, the black man, any man or woman who did not look like them or uphold their values, was inconsequential.

All the millions who died in Iraq were not considered a viable context to any historical understanding of terrorism; in fact, terrorism became us; the whole concept of terror, which is violence inflicted on innocent civilians for political ends, abruptly became an entirely Arab and Muslim trait. In retrospect, the US-Western-Israeli slaughter of the Vietnamese, Koreans, Cambodians, Palestinians, Lebanese, Egyptians, South Americans, Africans, was spared any censure. Yet, when Arabs attempted to resist, they were deemed the originators of violence, the harbingers of terror.

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Video: Israeli soldiers arrest young child

19 Nov


By Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 18 November 2015

This video shows Israeli soldiers detaining an 8-year-old child in Aida refugee camp, near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday.

It was shot by Salah Ajarma, director of Lajee Centre, a community organization in the camp.

The video has been seen tens of thousands of times since Ajarma posted it on his Facebook page.

Reached by telephone, Ajarma told The Electronic Intifada that the boy, Abdallah D., had been in a playground when he and other children were affected by tear gas fired by Israeli occupation forces.

The soldiers detained the boy and then effectively used him as a hostage and human shield, Ajarma said.

He said one soldier even held the boy with one hand while firing tear gas with another.

He said Israeli forces frequently fire tear gas and harass local residents.

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Israeli forces kill another Palestinian in hospital raid

13 Nov


PressTV news report, 12 November 2015

Deadly violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank continues as Israeli forces kill a Palestinian man during a raid on a hospital.

The Palestinian Health Ministry says the incident took place in Al-Ahli hospital in the city of al-Khalil also known as Hebron. Israeli undercover agents also abducted the cousin of the victim who was hospitalized in the surgical ward. The patient was wounded during recent clashes with Israeli forces. Israeli forces say the victim was a Hamas member. Deadly violence between Palestinians and Israelis began after Israeli forces quelled Palestinian protests against Tel Aviv’s aggressions. At least 85 Palestinians including 17 children have been killed by Israelis since early October.

Ma’an News agency report, 12 November 2015.

Abdullah Shalaldah, 28, was shot dead by Israeli forces who raided the surgery unit of al-Ahli hospital in order to detain his cousin, Azzam Ezzat Shalaldah, 20. Azzam had been shot by an Israeli settler last month, and was being treated at the hospital.

Around 20 undercover Israeli soldiers entered the hospital at around 4:00 a.m, dressed as Palestinian women and men. Israeli media reported that the forces arrived in two large vans with someone pretending to be pregnant.

The forces tied up Azzam while Abdullah, who was in the bathroom at the time, entered the room and was shot dead on scene.

The undercover forces then retreated from the hospital with Azzam, taking him into custody, witnesses added.

Palestinian Health Minister Jawad Awad accused Israeli security forces of “executing” Abdallah al-Shalalda, who he said was escorting a relative inside the hospital.

“The international community must intervene to protect our people from the Israeli killing machine,” he said.

The dehumanization process is reaching its peak

6 Nov

Screen-Shot-2015-10-25-at-10.34.11-AMAn Israeli border policeman with his coffee next to Dania Ersheid’s body after she bled to death in Hebron recently. Israeli forces executed the teenage school girl at a checkpoint in Hebron. Dania was 17 and a student at Al-Rayyan Girls’ High School. A witness at the scene, standing in back of  Dania in line at the checkpoint adjacent the Ibrahimi Mosque, said the teen raised her arms and stated “I don’t have a knife” before she was shot with “eight to 10 bullets” before she fell to the ground.

Gideon Levy, Haaretz (Israeli daily newspaper), 5 November 2015

The scenes happen almost daily: Stabbing, shooting, sometimes a lynching. (There is already a learned public debate in Israel: Lynching, for or against?) After that the body lies on the road, sometimes covered and sometimes not, the curious and the security forces looking at it as someone looks at a hunting trophy, a few of them taking selfies as a memento.

In one of the most shocking pictures spread on the social media in the past few days, we see an armed settler in Hebron, wearing a kippa of course, standing smiling and amused in front of the body of a Palestinian whose blood is flowing from his head. The blood is spreading on the road and the happy settler is taking pictures with his cell phone, to show the kids at home.

The expectation that one of the curious passersby looking at the bodies will also think about what he sees there, and in particular about who he sees, is not realistic. These are moments of anger and lust for revenge, and these are days of incitement, in Israel too, and the bleeding body on the street is not the body of a person; it is, in the eyes of many, a carcass.

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Video: Israeli soldiers run over Palestinian, attack medics

3 Nov

Video: Israeli soldiers run over Palestinian, attack medics

By Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 31 October 2015

This video shows Israeli soldiers in a military jeep deliberately running over a Palestinian youth at high speed on Friday and then attacking medics and journalists.

Separately, on Saturday, Israeli occupation forces shot dead a Palestinian youth in the northern occupied West Bank.

The incident in the video occured during confrontations between Israeli occupation forces and Palestinian youths in the town of al-Bireh near Ramallah in the West Bank.

At about 30 seconds, the Israeli jeep can be seen heading at high speed directly toward a running Palestinian youth, and driving over him.

The videographer then approaches the stopped jeep and the victim of the attack can be seen lying on the ground injured.

Israeli soldiers prevent Palestinian medics from treating him, violently shoving them and ordering them away.

The video was shot by Muhammad Shousheh of Jordan’s Roya TV.

Attack on medics

The Israeli gunmen then begin shooting pepper spray into the faces of medics and journalists.

Palestinian medics can be seen suffering the effects of the chemical spray.

An Israeli soldier continues to attack the medics with pepper spray even as they evacuate one of their injured colleagues on a stretcher.

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