Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Thoughts from Gaza of June 07

Thoughts- written on June 17 and 18th

On the third day of the clashes.. the so called Hamas - Fateh fighting, I wondered, while looking through the window of our kitchen at a couple of birds jumping and falling along the noise and passage of bullets, i wondered how do these birds perceive this status.. Death...? Facing death... but with unpaid prices... and overpaid prices. Calculations of who you are and what bullet you receive, and whether you are meant to die or no, or the source means to target someone like you or not... all these features of the perception of facing death.. What would they look like or sound like to these two birds. ? as soon as i saw them reacting to the exchange of fire around our quarter, i remembered the group of pigeons which i saw in an early morning of the Israeli invasion of rammallah in 2002, on a very quiet morning, we wake up, I stand on my balcony checking the scene, and the pigeons stand on the tank gun playing. It was a very strange picture.. but it was lovely and sad in a way.

This time, my thinking suddenly went deeper.. to ask them what does this mean to you.. ? birds?

18 June 2007
I’m trying now to gather my thoughts and feelings throughout that period and put it here in writing.. I find it difficult, as many meanings seem to be transitioning from meaningful to meaningless, and vice versa. The problem is that these experiences never stop to go deeper in our minds and hearts while they seem to be going more and more towards the surface…

Tired... Confused, sometimes happy, relieved... I don’t know what do I really feel..
I can’t feel good about killings! I also can’t but feel good about dignity and fight against out political, social and economical corruption.

My brain will explode soon.. I cant even write down the more I think about it .. the less I m even interested to reach an agreement with myself.
I m trying to avoid my friends, relatives… I don’t want to talk about it.. I don’t want to know more. .

One thought has been occupying my confused brain lately… What is civil war? I know now, that this is not yet one. But its coming.. if there will be still any Palestinian entity or being on this land. I honestly think that its better to just move around the world learn better ways to face these realities and come back.. but then, there wont be realities… on our ground.

Do I still care? Well, I have no patience, apparently to even tell the stories I hear or hear more stories from either side. But, today after coming back from work (first day of work after this big event) I lied down in front of the TV, watching Al jazeera , the new government of the west bank is being formed and they seem to be serious about it and sincere.!Well.. I cried. I felt I no longer belong to these faces in any way… they were some players in my living environment, terrible ones, maybe, but they existed.. today I didn’t know what to say.. I cried. Don’t get me wrong, its not that I m so passionate about brining back Palestine… or upset about not being united,.. no. its just the misery of this division of everything.. in the meaning of peace and war.. in meanings of life and death.. Humiliation and dignity..

Very much expected from these gangs in ramallah.. no wonder we have hamas in complete power in Gaza then. Is this how leaders act… when there people are in trouble..
Maybe we are not. I mean we, Gazans..
But still, they should know that they are limited and selfish.. I feel abandoned just like Hamas.. and I m just one woman living in a nice area in Gaza, who don’t have any responsibilities towards my PEOPLE!
I try to get over the details of things. Its very difficult in this part of the world... Especially that we already have nothing to do but talk and know about alllll what is going on.

I try again, and again to see a bigger picture. And then I say the following..
Hamas is a majority. Please someone remind those in ramallah…
Hamas if continued to be smart will win more and more.
Would Fateh accept to share power! Assuming that Hamas is the problem.. which I highly doubt, Fateh hasn’t been able to hear or know of any different skinned activist but the fateh skinned! The Fateh cultured!
Well.. they grew this culture..,. but cant accept it from others. Normal. Right. You know , maybe I should read more history.

Waiting for smart moves.. not saving lives moves.. I don’t want food and medicine in gaza only.. I want respect! I want faith in anything we do.. my god we lost so many of these motivating values for living.

We lost so much…
I hope we ll recover.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Alan Johnston..... We are Sorry..

The Second morning after abducting the British journalist- Alan Johnston form the BBC, people are worrying more. There is nothing that we can say...but that we want to apologize for what is happening to you I know you are safe,.. and no one is going to hurt you. But, Why this to you?
I met you once.. and it was a relieve to talk to someone from outside..knows how our minds work. Alan.. knew how Palestinians think and feel.. and that's why he was one of the few who understand the real roots of our causes....
I m not going to talk about who and why is Alan kidnapped..but i can say .. that its not important. The best part is that we know that even though you are now in such a terrible and shameful situation.. i know you understand.

Best to you Alan.
If you don't know Alan Johnston, please start to know about him now..
A profile by the BBC follows:

""Alan Johnston was born in Lindi, Tanzania on 17 May 1962.

He was educated at Dollar Academy in Dollar in Scotland. He has an MA in English and Politics from Dundee University and a diploma in Journalism Studies from the University of Wales in Cardiff.

He joined the BBC in 1991 as a Sub-Editor in the BBC World Service Newsroom before becoming the BBC's Correspondent in Tashkent from 1993 to 1995.

He was the BBC Kabul Correspondent from 1997 to 1998.
He returned to London and the BBC World Service to be a programme editor of The World Today and then a general reporter in the BBC World Service Newsroom.
His three-year posting to Gaza as BBC Correspondent began in April 2004, where he has worked for all BBC outlets in both radio and television""

"""Fears for BBC Gaza correspondent

Johnston has been the BBC's reporter in Gaza for three years . The BBC says it is concerned for the safety of a correspondent who has gone missing in the Gaza Strip.
The corporation said it had been unable to contact Alan Johnston, but did not comment on Palestinian reports that he had been kidnapped.
Johnston's car was found abandoned in Gaza City shortly after he left his office to drive home.
Several journalists and aid workers have recently been kidnapped in Gaza. All have been released unharmed.
Johnston, 44, has been the BBC's correspondent in the Gaza Strip for the past three years - and the only foreign journalist from a major media organisation based in Gaza
'Experienced reporter'
Details of what happened are sketchy. Palestinian police said four gunmen were seen in the vicinity of where Johnston's car was found.
Palestinian Interior Minister Sayeed Sayyam said Johnston's disappearance was a "criminal act".

Palestinian security forces have set up checkpoints around Gaza and are searching for the correspondent.
The BBC described Johnston as a "highly experienced and respected reporter".
"It is his job to bring us day after day reports of the Palestinian predicament in the Gaza Strip," said the BBC's diplomatic correspondent, Paul Adams, himself a former Middle East reporter.
Alan Johnston was born in Tanzania and educated in Scotland. He joined the BBC World Service in 1991 and has spent eight of the last 16 years as a correspondent, including periods in Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.
He became Gaza correspondent in April 2004 and is in the last few weeks of his posting there."""

Saturday, February 10, 2007

We are being suffocated

The outside world has to grasp that Palestinian infighting is the product of an intolerable blockade Sami Abdel-Shafi in Gaza CitySaturday February 10, 2007

It was a surreal but telling reflection of how lonely Palestinians have become as their leadership has seemingly been pushed into breakdown and failure, while Israel watched from the sidelines. Late one night, I was suddenly yelled at to stop my car, turn the lights off and roll down the windows. Two masked men, without any identifying insignias, closed in from the sides; one pointed his machine gun at me while the other, two steps behind, shouldered a loaded rocket-propelled grenade launcher. That was a week last Thursday, hours after fierce clashes erupted between Hamas and Fatah, ending the seventh ceasefire between the factions, and ushering in the deadliest power struggle yet.
To Palestinians it seemed sadly clear that the moral credit of their cause was being eroded: how must it look to the outside world that they had flip-flopped in one year between democratic elections and internecine violence?
A day before this incident, a House of Commons development committee report warned of drastically deteriorating conditions in the occupied territories as a result of the US-led economic embargo in the wake of last year's elections. The report questioned the proportionality of Israel's own blockade and its implications for the prospects of a lasting peace. The Palestinian infighting only underlined the sense of those warnings.

The militiamen I had run into had no clear lines of authority. One turned out to be a recent accountancy graduate who had never been able to find a job and had been given no weapons training. Many such armed men simply need an income. Without any means to provide for their families, they join one of the many security outfits to secure a salary. The international community needs to grasp the dire consequences of maintaining what is the largest regional prison in the world: Camp Gaza Strip....

Friday, February 09, 2007

Monday, February 05, 2007

Update- on Internal Clashes

In Gaza battle, even home is not safe
Gaza City, Feb 05: Gaza's civilians have no place to hide. With war raging in the streets between Hamas and Fatah loyalists, bullets, grenades and ceiling-piercing mortar shells are flying from all directions, battering homes, shops and schools. "Anyone who says he is not scared is a liar," Zaher Abdel Rahman, a computer technician whose sixth-floor apartment in downtown Gaza City has been hit by bullets and a mortar shell, said Sunday. There's no way to run. The Gaza Strip's border is closed, locking 1.4 million Palestinians in a coastal territory just 27 miles long and 5 miles deep with food and other basics running short. A fresh cease-fire was declared Sunday evening, but there was no indication it would be any more successful than previous truces in recent weeks of factional fighting. Gazans have long been accustomed to violence. But until recently, combat was between Palestinian militants and Israeli troops, and the lines of battle were clear. The last few weeks of fighting between Hamas and Fatah gunmen have taken on a different feel. Gunfire can erupt at any time, poorly trained fighters shoot at random, and the target isn't always known. Fighting has left parts of Gaza a moonscape of burned cars and wrecked buildings. Some of its best known institutions, including mosques and universities, have been heavily damaged from fires set by combatants or rockets punching holes in the walls. Civilians are caught in the middle. Gunmen take up positions on the roofs of Gaza City's high-rise apartment buildings, put up makeshift roadblocks in residential areas and harass anyone venturing outdoors when there is no shooting. Residents are afraid to tell gunmen to leave their buildings, despite the danger they will attract fire. On Saturday, a Hamas radio station warned that the Islamic militant group's men would attack any building where they spotted rival fighters. But they have not carried out the threat. Even in areas without fighting, people are wary when they go outside. On Sunday, children walked down streets with their backs to walls to lessen the danger in case gunfire should break out. Some residents liken their situation to the fighting that devastated Beirut during Lebanon's civil war in the 1970s and '80s. "My wife was crying on Friday night all the time. I tried to comfort her. She looked at me and said, 'You are crying as well,'" said Abdel Rahman, the computer technician, recounting a gunbattle outside their apartment building. "We were crawling just to get to the bathroom." His home is near the headquarters of the pro-Fatah Preventive Security force, site of some of the heaviest fighting. The family said the apartment building's electricity had been cut off for three days, and a generator ran out of fuel. During lulls in fighting, Gazans run out to buy supplies to tide them over through the next round of battle. But many supermarkets are closed, and supplies of key items such as milk, bread and diapers have been running low. Near the Preventive Security headquarters, people had to pass three Fatah roadblocks, and nearby a Hamas gunman told a motorist who slowed to look at damage: "Go ahead and drive. Otherwise, your car will look like this." The sides have been locked in a power struggle since Hamas defeated the long-ruling Fatah party in legislative elections a year ago. The tensions have brought worsening violence. The bloodiest round erupted Thursday, with 28 people killed and more than 230 wounded in four days. The Hamas-allied Islamic University was badly hit. Nearly all its nine buildings had extensive damage from rocket fire and blazes set by Fatah forces. Computers were looted, classrooms reduced to rubble and science laboratories destroyed. Awni Abdel Kader, the university's head librarian, said 3,000 reference books were destroyed, including religious works and rare books. A few students and workers entered Sunday to inspect damage. "God punish them," one veiled student wailed as she left a building. On Sunday, Hamas gunmen attacked bases of Fatah-allied troops with mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades before the announcement of yet another truce. Forces pulled back, Hamas and Fatah officials conducted joint patrols and police replaced gunmen on rooftops. The rivals also began releasing hostages, officials said. Previous truces have been short-lived, however, and Hamas accused Fatah of kidnapping one of its fighters after the cease-fire began. Sunday's truce began ahead of a planned meeting Tuesday between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and Hamas' exiled leader, Khaled Mashaal, in Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas was also expected to attend. Abbas is pushing Hamas to join his party in a moderate coalition to get international sanctions lifted against the Hamas-led government. Hamas has rejected international demands that it renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist, despite the economic sanctions that have caused widespread hardship and left it unable to pay tens of thousands of civil servants. Bureau Report

Saturday, January 27, 2007

15 killed in Gaza. Internal Clash in the past 24 hours

Just as part of the expected situation in the Palestinian Territories, Internal battles continue.
Is it really organized ? No. As many here believe- at least Fatah doesn't seem to be as organized. Hamas is much more organized and disciplined.
Are they strong? which party is stronger?
Close to be equal. But, major disadvantages of Fateh Militants is that they are not loyal to a certain leader. Even smaller militias do not seem to have loyalty to their leaders or direct bosses as experiences are showing. Many attacks by Hamas to Fateh leaders that were received by Fateh with coldness and carelessness, some even think that they want to get rid of each other. As we are learning about the people who are being targeted or threatened that they don't receive any "party" protection not even from their "sponsors" or partners. Ghreib Story is one of the examples.
The strength is ideology- Hamas's members are blindly tough with any thing that faces them they are also positive dealing with some of their mistakes. They have extreme willingness to sacrifice for their leaders, party and their ideology.

This result, is it because Hamas is only evil or very excited to get in power period. Its a result of many really bad guys who either stood next to Arafat or now standing by Abu Mazin who have main roles in dealing with the cause with coordination with the regional and international governments. In other words, poweful outside, corrupt and untrusted inside have been governing us for a while. Its easier to stay in opposition, but it has been easier for Fateh to ignore the right of "others" to exist or share power.

Tens of stories you hear in Gaza, and you are not expected to be able to memorize the details, headlines are enough at the moment. Hamas car was bombed by explosives tied into the car and killed 2 militants. Hamas attacks a Fateh leader while kidnapping going on between both sides.
All night, Hamas and fateh were fighting in the street of Gaza, several attempts to attack and control main buildings and bombing them in other cases.
The preventive security force, one of the least popular forces that Mohamad Dahlan have invested his money and intelligence to have his own "gangs" He no longer controls it but ties are still to exist. This side of the pictures is the least popular and sometimes unpopular among the fateh members themselves. Anyway, why am i here now..?
Oh, OK. Last night we were invited for a dinner at our friends' house, things were escalating around evening especially around the area of our friends. We didn't want to cancel it especially that good food was already prepared for us. We arrived while shooting was taking place and a couple were killed in the area. We passed through points of the presidential guards, police, and others they made sure that we are not "militants from the other side! We arrived and it was fun.....
an hour later the news were coming in saying that one of the problems was about to be solved....but after killing of hamas militants today (new ones) Hamas threatened to attack the Preventive Force building...This building is located 200 meters away from the house that we were at! To make this story i cant really describe the shooting and he bombing and the whole atmosphere that we experienced, battles continued till 6:00 am it started at 8:pm. We left this morning from that the streets (mainly in this area of Gaza its the President's control- its close to his house and office) were full of soldiers of the presidential guards and police, heavy weapons and many points at the crossroads.

I apologize to those who are disappointed ...but this is going to get worse..