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F16 rockets do not end the hopes of Gaza’s youth

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Yosef Al-Hissi

Yosef Al-Hissi

Yosef Al-Hissi, 23, from Jabalia Refugee Camp in the north of the Gaza Strip, was a footballer before he was hit by a missile from an Israeli F16 fighter jet and lost his leg during last year’s offensive on Gaza. Despite his appalling injuries, he did not lose hope of continuing his friendship with a ball, but it is now as a basketball player that he is starring in the camp’s Al-Basma Club.

In the midst of Israel’s 2014 offensive, Al-Hissi was a happy young man as he went to bed with F16s and drones roaring overhead. He woke, not to find his brother Ali and sister Hala sleeping in the next beds, but to doctors trying to stop the bleeding cuts and bruises all over his body.

“Until then,” he insists, “I did not know what had happened.” He asked the doctors what was going on. “Why am I here? Where are Ali and Hala?”

On day 13 of the offensive, the Israelis targeted a building near the playground next to Yosef’s house, which is at the edge of the refugee camp. There was no major damage to the playground. “I was happy in the hope that the war would end in a day or two and I could go back to playing football with my friends,” he says. In the hospital, though, the doctors told Yosef that he had lost his leg and he might be there for a long time. “I was stunned at that moment. Both my hands were bandaged to the degree that I was unable to stretch down to feel whether my leg was there or not.”

On that fateful night, an Israeli F16 targeted the house adjacent to Yosef’s. “My mother said that the Israeli intelligence services phoned our neighbours, but they could hardly flee their home,” Yosef tells me. “Just three minutes after the call, the attack, which destroyed our neighbours’ house and caused much damage to our house, took place.”

Mother’s words decreased my pain

His mother and other relatives and some friends were in the hospital room with him. His mother bent close and told him not to worry. “God willing, you will recover very soon and you will be back home, as well as in the playground and will play with your friends.” However, although he knew that it would be difficult to go back to the playground he still told his mother, “I hope so!”

Back home a couple of months later and Yosef’s mother, Halima, is holding the remaining part of her son’s leg and looking at his face. “I recognise that he is disabled now, but since the very beginning, I have been beside him and I will remain beside him forever. I have been encouraging him, looking forward to any chance to reintegrate him into his own community just as before he was wounded.”

The Palestinian ministry if health said that there are 70,000 disabled people in the Gaza Strip, making up 4.5 per cent of the population. According to a recent ministry report, 13 per cent of the people wounded in last summer’s offensive are disabled due to “new and strange” Israeli munitions that seem to target and sever limbs.

“The rehabilitation of these people will take a long time,” the report says. “Artificial limbs cost between $1,000 to $4,000 each.” The ministry has had to halt financial support for those needing artificial limbs because of the continuous Israeli siege and lack of resources, in addition to the ban on the equipment needed for this purpose.

‘Al-Basma Club is my hope’

Yosef decided not to accept being marginalised within society and started to work on getting back to full activity. He knew that he would not be able to go back to the football pitch but he could not end his love of a ball.

“One day, my mobile phone rang,” Yosef says. “It was my cousin Ahmed who told me about Al-Basma Club. He said that I can play basketball with a special team for people like me.”

Yosef did not think twice about joining Al-Basma. “My mother encouraged me, believing that it was my chance to get back to the playground where my dreams had been forged before I was wounded.”

Shadi Mas’oud, the head of the club in Jabalia said that Yosef is a positive addition to the basketball team. “He is energetic and active and has an elevated corporeal spirit,” Mas’oud explained. “He started training in March, made very fast progress and has become one of the prominent members of the team.”

‘Not disabled’

Gaza’s Deputy Social and Welfare Minister, Yosef Ibrahim, said that his ministry runs special programmes for those who have lost limbs. “The number of such people in Gaza is very high compared to most countries in the world,” he said, “so we are running special government-funded programmes to integrate them in society.”

Watching a match between two basketball teams in the main Gaza stadium, Ibrahim refused to call Yosef and his colleagues disabled. “They are not disabled,” he said, “they are people with special needs and they are not involved in activities specified for the disabled.” These are groups of people with common interests who meet together and practice several kinds of activities that they enjoy, he added.

As he finishes playing in an official match between Al-Basma and a team from Al-Salam, Yosef says that he does not “surrender” to his disability. “We are playing basketball here,” he stresses, “and I hope to swim in the future.”

Palestinian human rights organisations have called on the international community to put an end to the repeated Israeli aggression on Gaza. The enclave has more than enough limbless people.

Speaking on behalf of these groups, which have issued several statements in this regard, Al-Mizan Centre for Human Rights has called for the world to put pressure on the Israeli occupation and the Egyptian authorities in order to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip and let disabled travel abroad for treatment and rehabilitation. Lifting the siege will also give people like Yosef and his teammates the chance to take part in international tournaments and display their skills on a wider stage. They are hoping beyond hope that the occupation authorities will take heed and lift the siege. That F16 and others like it did a lot of damage, but it did not end the hopes of the youth of Gaza.

(Source / 25.05.2015)

Written by altahrir

May 25, 2015 at 7:19 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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REBORN FROM THE WOMB OF MY DESTROYED HOUSE

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Reborn from the womb of my destroyed house

My mother gave birth to me fifty-three years ago (on July 3, 1961). However, I consider August 23, 2014 as my second date of birth. On that day, I horribly experienced death when an Israeli military aircraft destroyed my house. Fortunately, a miracle happened and I was born again from the rubble of my house.

Israel launched its latest offensive war on the Gaza Strip on July 7, 2014. The war lasted for 51 days and left many Palestinian casualties. More than two thousand were killed and more than eleven thousand were injured. Almost all of these casualties were civilians as Israeli military aircrafts, tanks, and warships severely attacked thousands of civic Palestinian buildings. On Day 48 of the war, I myself had a traumatic experience; my own house was attacked while I was inside.

Dr. Hassan El-Nabih receiving his Ph.D. from Boston College.

In the morning of this special day of my life, about six houses near my home were targeted and reduced to rubble by Israeli F-16 aircrafts. Some of those who lost their houses spent some time at my house before managing to get to another place. Israel had been hitting in the Gaza Strip very brutally, yet unwittingly; Israel seemed to have no real bank of targets. Although the area where my house is situated was not a war zone, my family and I had experienced similar hard situations during the aggression. However, what happened around ten o’clock of that day was too shocking and devastating.

I was sitting with my family (my mother, wife, and ten children), commenting on the miserable conditions of the neighbors who had lost their houses. We prayed for them and all other Palestinians. Suddenly, my cell phone rang. It was not one of my contacts. I examined the number; it was strange, not international or local mobile (jawwal), and although it had the Gaza city code, the rest of the number was not Gazan. However, it was not a problem for me to answer the call; I talk to whoever calls me. In fact, I give my contact information, including my cell phone number, to my students in the first class (I am an assistant professor of Linguistics and EFL in Gaza).

When I said, “Hello!” someone on the line asked (in Arabic), “Is that Hassan Ahmed El-Nabih?”

I responded, “That’s right! Who’s speaking?”

“This is Captain Saleh from the Israeli Defense Army,” he said. Leave your house immediately because we are going to carry out a bombardment in the area.”

“Are you going to attack my own house?” I worriedly asked.

“No, we are not going to bomb your house, but to the east of your house.” The telephone call ended at this point.

I thought deeply about what I had heard. My house was bordered from the east by an orchard, not a house, The orchard was full of different beautiful fruit trees. I was surprised to know that it would be attacked; to the best of my knowledge, there was nothing illegal in the orchard.

However, I quickly relayed the message of the so-called Captain Saleh to my family and close neighbors, who acted accordingly. My wife took care of my ill old mother (75); I took care of my disabled daughter, Yasmin (20); and my old sons took care of their younger siblings. In less than five minutes, we all were in the street. I managed to get my mother, wife, little kids, and Yasmin into my car, which was parked in front of the house. As she was walking into the car, my mother bitterly said, “We were forced to leave our housebarefooted 66 years ago. Alas, this is happening again now!” I calmed her down and asked my son, Mohammed, to drive off to a relative’s house. My other three old sons (Ahmed, Mahmoud, and Talal) and I ran off the place and started to watch from a distance of about 400 yards.

Celebrating Dr. El-Nabih's mother’s 75th birthday last January.

My mother’s heartbreaking words reflect the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people for about seven decades. She was recalling what happened to her family in 1948 (she was just nine years old). As she told us before, she was living at Kofakha Village, a few miles away from Gaza. Israeli troops attacked the village, destroyed her family’s house, along with other houses, and burned their barn. They only just escaped with their lives and fled barefooted to Gaza.

I was standing away and watching what would happen next. About 10 minutes after the call, I saw an F-16 rocket heading very fast towards the orchard that bordered my house. There was a very loud explosion accompanied by a cloud of smoke and debris. The airstrike damaged nearby houses, including mine. The outside entrance to the building of my house and the wall separating it from the orchard totally collapsed. Some windows and doors were also broken.

I waited for 15 minutes before starting to approach my house. At least six reasons justified my decision to return.

(Source / 24.05.2015)

Written by altahrir

May 24, 2015 at 9:08 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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Gazan boats to receive Flotilla 3 at sea

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GAZA, (PIC)– A number of Gazan boats will sail from Gaza port to receive the Freedom Flotilla 3 on May 31 on the anniversary of the Israeli attack on the Turkish solidarity ship Mavi Marmara, the representative of Miles of Smiles convoys Ali al-Nazli said.

Nazli revealed, in a statement on Sunday, that the Gazan boats will be raising the flag of Palestine along with other flags of the participating countries in Flotilla 3. The boats will raise banners calling for lifting the siege on Gaza as well.

He also renewed the Palestinian welcoming of Flotilla ships saying “it is time to end the illegal and unmoral siege on Gaza and to hold accountable all those who contributed to the siege which is a collective punishment crime”.

Nazli called on the Arab and Muslim peoples in addition to all countries of the world to support the Palestinians and to end the Israeli occupation.

On the same day, marches and demonstrations will be launched in several Arab countries including The Sudan, Morocco and Lebanon as well as European and African capitals including London, Copenhagen, Rome and Cape Town.
(Source / 24.05.2015)

Written by altahrir

May 24, 2015 at 8:55 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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Abbas: We rejected all ‘transitional solutions’ for Palestinian state

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President, Mahmoud Abbas [File photo]

President, Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said today that he rejected all transitional solutions and the introduction of temporary borders for the aspired Palestinian state.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum which kicked off this morning in Jordan, he said that those who advocated such ideas should stop doing so.

“We emphasis our rejection of any transitional solutions and what is called a state with temporary borders,” Abbas said.

He said these temporary borders would divide the Palestinian people and their land.

Abbas called on the international community to help introduce a deadline for the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

He said he was committed to a just and comprehensive peace and the two-state solution, which would open the door for the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Abbas also called for solving final status problems, including the issue of Palestinian refugees and prisoners.

“Israel’s continued occupation and settlement building hinders all this,” Abbas said.

Seated in front of Abbas was Israeli President Shimon Peres, who attended the World Economic Forum in Jordan, along with more than 900 business leaders and foreign politicians.

Discussions in the forum, which ends tomorrow, are due to focus on the economy and youth problems in the Middle East.

(Source / 23.05.2015)

Written by altahrir

May 23, 2015 at 9:35 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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New road parallel to Israeli buffer zone in Gaza

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israeli bulldozer

This week, the Hamas military wing started to pave a new road along the Israeli military buffer zone along the eastern borders of the Gaza Strip.

Farmers in the nearby areas said that they saw bulldozers owned by Al-Qassam Brigades had approached the buffer zone and started working.

“At first, a Palestinian bulldozers owned by the Palestinian housing ministry started working,” a farmer from the middle area of the Gaza city said.

He continued: “The Israeli monitoring tower opened fire at the bulldozer, pushing it to retreat. A few time later, a new bulldozer escorted with two Qassam 4×4 vehicles returned to the same area and started working.”

A senior Qassam source stated, “the construction of a new road along the buffer zone is underway.” The source said that the read will be 300 metres far from the borders and Qassam is planning to setup monitoring towers opposite to the Israeli towers.

Since the ceasefire announced on August 26 that ended a 51-day Israeli offensive, Al-Qassam has deployed its members along the borders to prevent any Palestinians firing rockets or carrying out any offensive against the Israeli side.

However, the Israeli occupation has been breaching the truce almost everyday as it opens fire at Palestinian farmers in the east of the Strip and fishermen off the Gaza coast.

(Source / 23.05.2015)

Written by altahrir

May 23, 2015 at 9:24 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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Prisoner Adnan Khader starving for 15th day over Israeli admin detention

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JENIN, (PIC)– 37-year-old Palestinian detainee Khader Adnan Musa has been on an open-ended hunger-strike for the 15th day running in protest at being held administratively, with neither charge nor trial, at the Israeli occupation jails, the Muhjat al-Quds Foundation for Prisoners and Martyrs said Tuesday.

According to the Muhajt al-Quds Foundation, prisoner Adnan, currently held at the Hadarim solitary lock-down, has been turning down meals and refusing to undergo medical check-ups in protest at his administrative detention.

The detainee further refused to be spoken up for by his private attorney or by lawyers from other human rights institutions in line with an earlier decision of his to boycott Israeli occupation courts, which according to him “do little more than seeking pretexts to legitimize the so-called ‘secret’ indictments file.

The detainee called on the Palestinian masses and Diaspora to rally round him by all means available and work on restoring his freedom.

“Allah has created us free. Either we live so or else we’d better die,” a leaked letter by prisoner Adnan read.

Prisoner Khader Adnan, who staged one of the longest hunger strikes in history in 2012, further spoke out against the harsh penalties and tough torture he has been made to endure in the solitary lock-down of the Hadarim jail.

Adnan was arrested near Jenin in July during an Israeli arrest campaign across the West Bank. He is one of many former prisoners re-arrested for unclear reasons.

In November an Israeli military court ruled to release Adnan after five months without trial or charge, but the ruling was never implemented and Adnan remains in jail without any explanation as to why he has been arrested.

In 2012, he took part in a 66-day hunger strike against administrative detention, without trial or charge. The agreement that released him on April 18 of that year also ended a hunger strike of 2,000 Palestinian prisoners, who had called for an end to administrative detention.

(Source / 19.05.2015)

Written by altahrir

May 19, 2015 at 8:47 pm

Freedom Flotilla III Sets Sail Toward Gaza, Carrying Medical Supplies And Solar Panels

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Marianne, a trawler just launched from Sweden, will be joined by other vessels en route to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza and deliver lifesaving supplies to Palestinians.

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MINNEAPOLIS — Marianne, a trawler owned by Swedish and Norwegian activists, is the first ship in the newest Freedom Flotilla. Carrying supplies, activists and important international dignitaries, the activists hope to end Israel’s deadly blockade on the Port of Gaza.

The blockade of the Port of Gaza, maintained by the Israeli navy with assistance from Egypt, is part of an overall stranglehold that Israel maintains over Palestine which keeps strict, inhumane limits on the flow of food, medical supplies and equipment necessary to repair Gaza’s ruined infrastructure. Journalists and human rights monitors are routinely denied access to the region, as well.

Marianne departed Wednesday from Gothenburg, Sweden. The ship stopped in Copenhagen Saturday, whereDutch dignitaries and journalists joined the Swedish team after a celebratory concert. The passengers now include Trine Pertou Mach, a member of the Danish parliament, and Jonas Rolsted, an author. The ship’s cargo includes medical supplies and solar panels.

A joint effort of Ship to Gaza Sweden and Ship to Gaza Norway, Marianne will be joined en route by vessels from other nations, all intent on reaching the Port of Gaza. Activists from Canada, Italy, Spain, Greece and South Africa are expected to be involved. Dr. Moncef Marzouki, the former president of Tunisia, intends to join the flotilla aboard another vessel.

Writing in April for Palestinian news and advocacy site the Electronic Intifada, Jamal Khoudary reported onthe devastating effects of the Israeli blockade on an occupied nation struggling to recover from last summer’s ruthless attacks, which left 300,000 homeless. “As a result [of the blockade], a million of Gaza’s population of 1.8 million is dependent on aid,” he wrote.

Exports have dropped to just 4.5 percent of what they were before the blockade began in 2007. The restricted flow of goods into and out of Gaza has caused widespread job losses and damage to the manufacturing sector and prevented effective medical care.

Unemployment rates have hit an unprecedented level at around 50 percent. Hundreds of factories and workshops have either been destroyed or stopped functioning as essential materials are not allowed into Gaza,” reported Khoudary. “Many patients have died due to limitations on movement of individuals.”

The naval blockade is also enforced with deadly force. Palestinians and their supporters report that Israel frequently fires on fishing boats. Fishermen have been killed before, including as recently as March when the Israeli navy fired on Tawfiq Abu Reyala’s boat.

Israel’s history of attacking humanitarian aid

Israel also responded to the first Freedom Flotilla with shocking violence when it was launched five years ago by the Free Gaza Movement and Turkey’s Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief. In May 2010, after military speedboats intercepted the ships, Israeli commandos boarded the lead vessel and killed nine activists.

Against the objections of the Turkish government, an International Criminal Court investigation found no grounds to bring war crimes charges over the flotilla raid, claiming it was not an incident of “sufficient gravity” to fall under their jurisdiction. But Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada, accused the investigatory panel of Zionist bias and criticized the United Nations for putting a known human rights abuser, former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez, in charge.

A second Freedom Flotilla, attempted in 2011, failed due to numerous factors, including low turnout, Greek naval interference and damage to two vessels, leading activists to accuse Israel of sabotage.

With groups from more nations now signed onto the coalition, activists hope for success on this third outing. According to a Freedom Flotilla Coalition press release, Marianne’s cargo is symbolic of the goals of the entire movement: to free Palestine from Israeli control.

“In the blockaded Gaza Strip, where the infrastructure has been demolished, solar cells will thus provide an opportunity to independent local production of clean energy,” they wrote. “The sun can not be blockaded.”

(Source / 19.05.2015)

Written by altahrir

May 19, 2015 at 8:17 pm

Posted in Revolution Palestine

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