Monday, March 24, 2008

Short Prose By the Sea

Alexandria is a museum of history. The city sprawls along the magnificent Mediterranean coast, the pace of its inhabitants coalesces with the slow ebb and flow of the sea’s waves. Alexandria is slow, but never dull. The traffic moves and here a car, even a taxi may stop allowing for a pedestrian to cross the street in safety. Unlike the rush of Cairo, the big city that never sleeps, Alexandria has a dawn and dusk when shops close and open again.

Alexandria is much like the city of Gaza, only it is not. Gaza City also lies on the Mediterranean, not far from Alexandria. But there. another rhythm reigns. Maybe it is due to Alexandria’s bay that the waves don’t come crashing in, but in Gaza they do and so does life. A phone call from my friend Hanna Sunday morning reminded me of the weight that reigns there. Life is heavy, another popular restaurant was bombed recently, electricity shortages prevail in the city, the tightening of supplies is felt in every dimension of life. A couple weeks ago Maha told me that gas shortages was causing their NGO employees to take taxis because they didn’t have petrol to run the NGO vehicles. She told me that 41 children had died in recent days. The tension is increasing and the social capacity to cope in Gaza is at a breaking point, like the waves that crash in ever harder in the summer months. After a field assessment the NGO was not able to find the required items in the market to purchase for families in need, like blankets. This is a hell they are living. Alexandria echoes paradise.

At night happy couples line the boardwalk of the cornishe. Vendors sell ice cream, candy cane, popcorn and a variety of seeds. The Greek Club is lively with upbeat Greek tunes, they have run out of ouzo, as the imported Greek drink goes quickly once it is imported from the nearby island. Coffee shops line the beach front, often crowded with customers playing backgammon, chess, sipping tea and coffee or just looking on, reading the newspaper to catch up on the days global news.

Newspapers often don’t make it in, due to the closure. If they do, it’s the very few who can afford them, and even if they can, why waste your money reading all that surrounds you daily? Here, it is hard to even find a coffee shop to read in. The beautiful sunset, the waves are only a temporary distraction before being whirled back into reality of the news that makes up the papers you never read.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Gaza's "Holocaust"

Jonathan Cook- Israeli Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai’s much publicised remark last week about Gaza facing a “shoah” — the Hebrew word for the Holocaust — was widely assumed to be unpleasant hyperbole about the army’s plans for an imminent full-scale invasion of the Strip.

More significantly, however, his comment offers a disturbing indication of the Israeli army’s longer-term strategy towards the Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Vilnai, a former general, was interviewed by Army Radio as Israel was in the midst of unleashing a series of air and ground strikes on populated areas of Gaza that killed more than 100 Palestinians, at least half of whom were civilians and 25 of whom were children, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

Read on

Saturday, March 8, 2008

International Women's Day: The Women of Palestine

The Worker Federation of Trade Unions dedicates this year’s Women’s Day to the women of Palestine, to the mothers of Gaza, to the girls in Ramalha who are facing today new barbarian attacks from the Israeli army.

Let’s express all together our Internationalist solidarity to the women of Palestine and to their heroic struggles.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Human Rights Groups: Gaza Crisis "Completely Avoidable"

Eight Human Rights groups released a report Thursday. They introduced their findings saying,

The situation for 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is worse now than it has ever been since the start of the Israeli military occupation in 1967. The current situation in Gaza is man-made, completely avoidable and, with the necessary political will, can also be reversed.

The Report points out Israel's responsibility by international law to Gaza.

Israel retains effective control of the Gaza Strip, by virtue of the full control it exercises over the Gaza Strip's land border, its air space and territorial waters, and the movement of people and goods. Hence, the Israeli authorities are bound by their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law to ensure the welfare of the Palestinian population in the OPT. The blockade, in response to indiscriminate rocket attacks into Israel, constitutes a reprisal against a civilian population and is forbidden by international humanitarian law.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The U.S.'s Dirty War in Gaza: Confirming the Past

The video reveals a bare room with white walls and a black-and-white tiled floor, where abu Dan’s father is forced to sit and listen to his son’s shrieks of pain. Afterward, abu Dan says, he and two of the others were driven to a market square. “They told us they were going to kill us. They made us sit on the ground.” He rolls up the legs of his trousers to display the circular scars that are evidence of what happened next: “They shot our knees and feet—five bullets each. I spent four months in a wheelchair.”

Wurmser [Dick Cheney’s resigned chief Middle East adviser] accuses the Bush administration of “engaging in a dirty war in an effort to provide a corrupt dictatorship [led by Abbas] with victory.” He believes that Hamas had no intention of taking Gaza until Fatah forced its hand. “It looks to me that what happened wasn’t so much a coup by Hamas but an attempted coup by Fatah that was pre-empted before it could happen,” Wurmser says.


“We need to reform the Palestinian security apparatus,” Dayton said, according to the notes. “But we also need to build up your forces in order to take on Hamas.”

On June 7, there was another damaging leak, when the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Abbas and Dayton had asked Israel to authorize the biggest Egyptian arms shipment yet—to include dozens of armored cars, hundreds of armor-piercing rockets, thousands of hand grenades, and millions of rounds of ammunition. A few days later, just before the next batch of Fatah recruits was due to leave for training in Egypt, the coup began in earnest.

a leaked memo

Read On At Vanity Fair