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Elderly Couple Dies in Gaza Due to Suffocation

World  (tags: news, media, middle-east, Gaza, siege on Gaza, blockade of Gaza, end the siege of Gaza, humanitarian crisis, electricity shortages, health, Gazan couple dies of suffocation, israel, usa, Refugees&Relief, death, crime )

- 463 days ago -
A Health Ministry spokesperson said that the man, who was 90 years old and his wife 88 years old, used the charcoal grill to heat their house due to the lack of electricity


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fly bird (26)
Sunday January 14, 2018, 11:02 pm
Elderly Couple Dies in Gaza due to Suffocation.

An elderly couple using a charcoal grill to heat their house, in Gaza, was found dead on Sunday afternoon, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.

A Health Ministry spokesperson said that the man, who was 90 years old and his wife 88 years old, used the charcoal grill to heat their house due to the lack of electricity.

According to Days of Palestine, the spokesperson said that using the charcoal grill in a bad ventilation system causes carbon monoxide poisoning.

Gazans have been suffering during winter due to the inability to warm up the homes because of the lack of electricity, which is an integral part of the 11-year-old siege implemented and sustained by Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.

Ingo Schreiner (8)
Monday January 15, 2018, 12:38 am

Nita L (127)
Monday January 15, 2018, 12:44 am
Thank youJess.

Animae C (508)
Monday January 15, 2018, 3:01 am

TY Jess

Colleen L (3)
Monday January 15, 2018, 10:09 am
Tragic. Thanks Jess

fly bird (26)
Tuesday January 16, 2018, 9:40 pm
Zionism And Its Impact
By Ann M. Lesch

The Zionist movement has maintained a striking continuity in its aims and methods over the past century. From the start, the movement sought to achieve a Jewish majority in Palestine and to establish a Jewish state on as much of the LAND as possible. The methods included promoting mass Jewish immigration and acquiring tracts of land that would become the inalienable property of the Jewish people. This policy inevitably prevented the indigenous Arab residents from attaining their national goals and establishing a Palestinian state. It also necessitated displacing Palestinians from their lands and jobs when their presence conflicted with Zionist interests.

The Zionist movement—and subsequently the state of ISRAEL—failed to develop a positive approach to the Palestinian presence and aspirations. Although many Israelis recognized the moral dilemma posed by the Palestinians, the majority either tried to ignore the issue or to resolve it by force majeure. Thus, the Palestine problem festered and grew, instead of being resolved.

SG Encarnacao (0)
Wednesday January 17, 2018, 12:38 am
:( thank you

fly bird (26)
Wednesday January 17, 2018, 8:16 pm
Haunted by the horrors of Cast Lead .
17 January 2018

The clock was approaching 11:30 in the morning. For children in Gaza, it was the last day in school before a new year holiday. The bell was due to ring shortly.

At 11:27 am on 27 December 2008, Gaza was bombarded by Israeli warplanes. Instead of the anticipated school bell, the children heard the horrifying sound of bombs.

Operation Cast Lead – which began that day – was Israel’s most comprehensive onslaught on Gaza in decades. Israel used its air force, navy, infantry and artillery against a population that already had a long experience of being under military occupation and, more recently, under siege.

By the end of the offensive more than three weeks later, Israel had committed numerous massacres and used phosphorous bombs to target heavily populated areas and even shelled United Nations schools and the main UN food aid warehouse.

Israel paid $10.5 million in “compensation” for some of the damage caused. Yet it never apologized for slaughtering the innocent or targeting the UN schools that harbored hundreds of Palestinian families.

In 23 days, Israel killed more than 1,400 Palestinians, including more than 1,100 civilians, of whom 326 were children and 111 were women. It also injured about 5,300, some of whom remain disabled to this very day, and destroyed or damaged thousands of homes.

Yasser Ashour, now studying journalism in Istanbul, survived the attack to become an influential social media activist and a writer on Palestine. He was 14 at the time of the offensive. There were moments when he felt life had no meaning – especially after seeing in person or on TV scores of defenseless Palestinians, including some friends, killed during Israeli strikes.

“I was preparing myself for my final exams,” Ashour told The Electronic Intifada. “Then I heard massive explosions coming from everywhere. Then many other explosions followed. And it continued for 23 days.”

Ashour believes the timing of the Israeli raids was carefully chosen, he said, “to maximize the number of casualties and terrorize Palestinians.”

Ashour was part of a huge wave of schoolchildren who ran home in a situation of extreme fear.

He saw vans and lorries carrying the disfigured bodies of people killed by Israel. Today, he remains haunted by those images.


Ashour’s worst memories of that time period come from when Israel targeted his school and the surrounding area.

Located in Jabaliya refugee camp, that school – known as al-Fakhoura – was shelled by Israel on 6 January 2009. At the time, it was providing shelter to people who had to flee their homes.

Yet three days earlier, according to Judge Richard Goldstone’s “Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,” Israel had warned Palestinians “to move to central locations and attend United Nations centers.”

The next day, John Ging, UNRWA director of operations in Gaza, said during a press conference: “There is nowhere safe in Gaza. Everyone here is terrorized and traumatized.”

“I was one of the lucky few,” Ashour said. “When we evacuated our house, we did not have to go to UN schools. My mother distributed our family among several relatives’ homes, so if we were hit by Israeli missiles, some of us would get to survive.”

“But I will never forget the day Israel hit my school, killing 44 civilians,” he added. “Five of them were my own classmates and friends.” Defense for Children International - Palestine noted that 14 children were killed in “close proximity” to the school. Ashour remembered shrapnel injuring people inside the school.

“The next day,” he recalled, “I defied my mother’s pleas and participated in the funerals. It was the least I could do. Those kids that Israel butchered were full of life and full of potential.”

Although Israel claimed it targeted Hamas militants, a UN inquiry into the al-Fakhoura massacre found there was no firing from within the school and no explosives within the school.

The UN relief agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, “had given Israel the exact locations of all schools sheltering civilians,” Ashour noted. “Israel targeted the school on purpose, to terrorize us.”

Ever since the massacre, Ashour has tried to honor the memories of his classmates by exposing Israeli crimes.

“I run a few Twitter accounts with tens of thousands of followers,” he said. “The battle for justice for Palestine over social media is crucial and we have to win it. We don’t have Israel’s billions but we have the power of truth.”

“He never came back”

Nirvana Modad, 20, lost her father, uncle and a cousin when Israeli drones targeted a funeral tent near her home in the Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza City.

Nirvana’s father wanted her to be a physician. “I always wanted to become a doctor to save lives and to fulfill my dad’s dream,” she said. Nirvana is studying medicine at Al Azhar University in Gaza.

Alaa Modad, her father, had just gone to the shops to buy groceries.

“My dad sent the stuff he bought home to us with my sister and went to pay his respect to a neighbor killed by Israel whose funeral tent was around the corner,” Nirvana said. “And he never came back.”

While Alaa was visiting it, the funeral tent was hit by two missiles fired from an Israeli drone. That was two days before the end of the offensive.

As mourners in the tent scrambled for cover, several more missiles kept coming. Nine Palestinians were killed on the spot. Many others were injured.

“To me, Israel kills my father every day,” Nirvana said. “I am reminded of him by my medicine books, by my mother’s hard work, by the melancholy that has overwhelmed our home ever since [his death]. And every time Israel kills a Palestinian.”

Her family has continued to suffer because of Israeli state violence.

In 2014, Nirvana’s cousin, Nisma Modad, lost her father during another massive Israeli offensive.

“We escaped the 2008 war by a miracle,” said Nisma. “But in 2014 Israel killed my father. And God knows who Israel will kill next.”

“Sense of panic”

Ahmed Sheikh Khalil is now aged 19.

As he made his way home from school on the first day of Operation Cast Lead, “I saw smoke coming from every direction of Gaza City,” he said. “The explosions were shaking the ground beneath us. There was a sense of panic everywhere. I remember women running in the opposite direction, asking about their kids and telling us not to worry.”

One of Khalil’s cousins was killed in the attack.

“The scene of hundreds of people taking refuge in the UN school nearby haunted me for months,” Khalil said. “It was like what we see on TV happening to other people or happening a long time ago.”

“Like most kids in Gaza, I wanted to be a doctor,” Khalil told The Electronic Intifada. “But after that war and after every assault on Gaza, I realized I could help my people in other ways.”

As Khalil grew up, he became interested in media and journalism. Following another major Israeli attack on Gaza during the summer of 2014, he decided to study English.

“I want to reach and inform people from all over the world and not only Arabs or Muslims,” Khalil said.

The Islamic University of Gaza, where Khalil studies English literature, had many of its laboratories destroyed by Israeli missiles in 2009.

The office of Khalil’s father, who teaches history and politics at the university, was also destroyed.

“When the Israelis hit the Islamic University of Gaza, they claimed they targeted a chemical weapons lab,” Khalil said.

“It was hilarious, despite the tragedy. We joked about my father’s office harboring banned chemicals. But in all seriousness, it amazed me how Israel can lie and make up stories and still manage to deceive the world. I want to do something about this.”

“Too much to ask?”

Amira al-Qirim lost her father and two siblings during Operation Cast Lead.

Amira’s father, Fathi, was struck by Israeli artillery. Her brother and her sister were killed, too, during an attack on the al-Zaytoun area, south of Gaza City.

All three were left to bleed and die. No ambulance was allowed near them.

Herself injured in the attack and unable to walk, Amira crawled and hid in a neighbor’s home. She was found there in a hungry and weak condition three days later.

Amira is now a stay at home mother of two children.

“As a kid who survived that war, and the two others that followed, I volunteered for the media to expose Israel,” she said.

“I traveled to Europe for medical treatment. I spoke to people everywhere about my ordeal,” Amira added.

“I sought justice by filing a complaint to the International Criminal Court at The Hague. But here we are nine years later and Israel still commits crimes every single day, and justice has not yet been done yet.”

“I want my kids to live in peace,” she said. “I want every kid in Palestine to grow up without the possibility that Israel will kill them, or maim them, or orphan them, or traumatize them. Is that too much to ask?”

Refaat Alareer is the editor of Gaza Writes Back: Short Stories from Young Writers in Gaza, Palestine. He teaches world literature and creative writing at the Islamic University of Gaza. Twitter: @ThisIsGaza

Ahmed Abd El-Al is a freelance journalist based in Gaza. He writes for Al Jazeera Arabic. Twitter: @ahmedabdall1

fly bird (26)
Friday January 19, 2018, 9:20 pm
VIDEO -- Finkelstein on Gaza's Right to Resist Military Occupation (3/4) .
Jan 10, 2018

In part three of our interview on his new book "Gaza: An Inquest into Its Martyrdom," Norman Finkelstein discusses the legality, and utility, of Hamas' armed resistance to Israel's occupation

fly bird (26)
Friday January 19, 2018, 9:22 pm
Gaza's Economic Collapse.

fly bird (26)
Friday January 19, 2018, 9:28 pm
The fear I learned during Cast Lead has never left me.
18 January 2018

The morning of 27 December 2008 was as any other. My 14-year-old self put on a worn pale-blue school uniform, prepared my heavy bag and ran – late as usual – to catch the bus.

The bus stopped near my home in the Tal al-Hawa area of Gaza City, and there was the normal hubbub. Schoolchildren were crossing the road, young kids were crowding by the bus, hustling to get in.

On the short ride to our UNRWA school, I was chatting to my younger brother Salah, who was 9 at the time, about the cake we’d enjoyed the day before for our older brother Mahmoud’s birthday.

Just as we walked out of the bus the earth literally shook beneath my feet. Unbelievably loud explosions drowned out the screams and cries of those around me. My heart skipped several beats and all I really remember during the confusion was pulling my brother into the bus and down to the floor and holding on to him tightly.

I didn’t know it then, but at that moment – 10 minutes before our usual school assembly and 30 minutes ahead of the Saturday noon start for lessons – Israel had struck dozens of targets around the Gaza Strip in 100 near-simultaneous airstrikes. At least four were in the vicinity of the school.

Children poured out of the school, a human deluge of panicking students and teachers. Our bus driver ordered us back into the bus and tried to rush us all home. But traffic jams paralyzed the unpaved streets and people ran in all different directions.

No one knew where to seek refuge as giant black clouds of smoke smothered the city and obscured the horizon.

Desperately seeking sanctuary

The road home was blocked with rubble. Near the Arafat City government compound – right on our route – which was also the police headquarters, the rubble was mixed with blood and body parts.

Ninety-nine police cadets and officers were killed in those first moments, struck by five missiles as they were doing morning exercises and undergoing a routine inspection in the yard. There was chaos, with people pulling bodies from the rubble, ambulances zipping in and out of traffic, going this way and that, as new emergencies kept coming in.

The bus could not get us all the way back so my brother and I had to walk and run the last bit home. Tal al-Hawa saw several airstrikes on that first day, including on a former Preventive Security headquarters and the al-Asra tower block built – though never completed – to house those who had once been prisoners of Israel.

There was rubble everywhere and when we got to our house, my brother and I were terrified at what we might find. The outer walls were scarred with shrapnel, and inside, the floor was covered in broken windows, chunks of concrete that could have come from our walls or the fallen tower. Nothing and no one stirred inside. Fortunately, no one had been at home.

We asked a neighbor to call our mother, but the phone network seemed to be down. Unable to move and not knowing what else to do, we just sat and stared through the hole in the wall where the front window had been, waiting. Outside, we saw an empty dust-filled space where al-Asra tower had previously loomed.

My mother and four siblings eventually managed to find their way home (my father had passed away seven months earlier). We packed our bags, hoping we might be able to leave Gaza to find sanctuary in a family house in Cairo.

But we soon learned that it was too late. Both Egypt and Israel closed their crossings to Gaza at the moment of first strike and they would remain closed throughout the three weeks of Israel’s brutal offensive. We had nowhere to go.

Fish in a barrel

As the days wore on, the assault intensified. And the more we heard the names of friends and acquaintances broadcast as among the dead, the more this fate seemed certain for us.

We pushed the furniture against the windows and gathered together in the living room. We hugged every night as if for the last time, before we struggled to steal an hour of sleep. Above us, the sky lit up what seemed like every other second with airstrikes and artillery fire.

I regularly had to venture out to bring food home. There was little out there except for ruins and rubble. Israeli “evacuation leaflets” were scattered around, urging us to leave our homes; as if we had anywhere to go.

We were just fish in a barrel at which the Israelis shot without restraint. Hospitals were bombed, UNRWA schools were targeted. Death waited in every corner, and there were constant reports of overcrowded mortuaries where they had run out of freezers to store corpses.

With drones and warplanes in the sky above me and the shadow of death following close behind, I would walk an hour and queue for several more to secure the few loaves of bread that barely kept my family of seven alive.

Every step was taken in fear: I feared the buildings near me might collapse on my head or the cars next to me blow up. I worried that when I returned my home and my family would be no more.

On 3 January, Israeli troops invaded Gaza. As the reports came in, we were horrified at the scorched-earth strategy employed in border areas.

Over the days, they closed in on our neighborhood. Then one night, while listening to the radio, my oldest brother, Ahmad, 20 then, heard an unusual dragging sound. He shushed us and in that instant there was a burst of heavy machine-gun fire and shelling. The tanks had reached us.

We fell to the floor and crawled to the door, heading for the basement, which was also, unusually in Gaza, a garage.

There we sat, seven people in our small car, torn between waiting for rescue or trying to escape. Then the air filled with a garlic-like odor. We already knew it was white phosphorus … bad news travels fast in war.

The phosphorus rained down on the area like hellfire. We covered our faces with wet clothes and shut off the air conditioner, which we had turned on to get some air circulating in the car.

Every second seemed a lifetime. We were scared to make noise. We were scared to sleep. We did not dare move. We whispered and trembled for six hours until silence came with dawn. All this time, the Red Cross couldn’t enter the area. In the morning, a press vehicle evacuated us from the area, but there was no safe place to go. In the end, we decided to stay with relatives.

“If we are to die,” my mother said, “let us be together until the last moment.”


That day, our neighborhood fell. Later, I would hear how, at gunpoint, Israeli soldiers gathered the kids of the area into one apartment and asked them to snitch on members of Hamas in the neighborhood.

Some were even forced to open bags soldiers suspected of being booby-trapped.

A mentally ill neighbor tried to attack a tank with a hammer, but was disarmed, detained, handcuffed and shoved onto the floor of the tank. (The man, Muhammad Ahmad, was taken into custody and not released for a year).

A neighbor was praying alone when a tank shell crashed through his home and put him in a coma. He survived, but still suffers severe migraines. The Red Cross wasn’t allowed to evacuate civilians for two days. Many died.

By then, Israel had almost entirely re-occupied Gaza. Troops had invaded from the north, east and southeast until they almost met in the center of the Gaza Strip. And then the army began to retreat.

On 18 January, it declared a ceasefire and announced that the aim of the war had not been to end Hamas rule in Gaza, but to restore Israel’s “deterrence capacity” after its chastening 2006 assault on Lebanon and Hizballah.

When we went back to our neighborhood, it was almost unrecognizable. Houses were pockmarked with shrapnel and bullet holes, buildings had been destroyed by shells. Everything was turned upside down.

The area’s al-Quds Hospital had burned down, its ambulances broken and crushed under Israeli tanks, a supermarket had been looted and burned and apartments had been broken into and plundered.

Our own home was severely damaged, the furniture destroyed, its wooden doors broken into pieces.

In the weeks and months that followed, people waited anxiously for justice to be served.

We had hoped the much-publicized UN inquiry into the assault would do exactly that. And it might have had we not been betrayed in the end by our own Palestinian Authority, which had kept largely silent during the Israeli onslaught.

We learned that the PA agreed to delay a vote in the UN on the Goldstone Report after US pressure and in exchange, reports said – reports I believe – get an Israeli license to allow the Wataniya mobile phone company to operate.

Justice was sold and our people betrayed.

I was only 14 back then. Today, after two further Israeli military onslaughts, the constant fear I first felt in those days has become chronic. Sleep is hard: nightmares and memories prey on my mind. Loved ones are always exposed to danger.

My youngest brother, Yousef, was only a year old back then. He was passed from one person’s shoulder to another’s and survived that onslaught only to live through another two attacks in his short life.

Now, at the age of 10, his most vivid memories are of us hiding in the basement during military assaults, praying in silence, being trapped in darkness and isolated from the world, betrayed by everyone, and left to outwit fate in order to steal just another year of life.

fly bird (26)
Friday January 19, 2018, 9:50 pm
Lest We Forget

◾Sabra and Shatila Massacre, 16-17 September 1982

◾Kufr Qasem Massacre, 29 October 1956

◾Al-Aqsa Massacre, 08 October 1990

◾Lest We Forget: Gaza Genocide 27.12.2008 – 18.01.2009

◾The Extrajudicial Execution of Mahmoud Salah

◾One Friday Morning in Occupied Palestine – The Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre 25.02.1994

◾“They used to enter houses and kill women and children indiscriminately”: Deir Yasin Massacre, 09.04.1948

◾Waiting To Return Home: Palestinian Martyrs in Israeli “Cemeteries of Numbers” and Morgues

◾Oyoun Qarra Massacre, 20 May 1990

◾28 Years Later: Sabra and Shatila Massacre

◾This is Our Land and This is Our Blood

◾Gassing Palestinians: The Use of Lethal Gas in occupied Palestine

◾Remember Beita …. Remember Awarta

◾The Eagle of Palestine

◾One Heart; Beating for Palestine

◾The ‘Black Sunday’ of Palestine: Oyoun Qarra Massacre, 20.05.1990

◾From the Children of Palestine to the Secretary General of the United Nations

fly bird (26)
Saturday January 20, 2018, 7:45 am
Don't let Trump turn his back on Palestine refugees in need
Petition by UNRWA USA

To be delivered to President Donald Trump

The US government just made the decision to freeze millions of dollars to support support refugees and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) I want my tax dollars to support this work to provide critical education, healthcare, social services, and emergency protection to refugees in need.

There are currently 17,797 signatures. NEW goal - We need 20,000 signatures!

Miss You All Dearly (67)
Tuesday January 23, 2018, 12:08 am
The latest from Gaza

Would love to hear if our friend still with us......

fly bird (26)
Tuesday January 23, 2018, 11:52 am
No news for a long time, from out friend, Abo.

With the energy crisis and restrictions, only a few hours a day of electricity, year round, thanks to the Israeli siege, it is devastating on every aspect of life, for all in the Gaza Strip.

This is outright criminal
End the siege-blockade of Gaza!

fly bird (26)
Tuesday January 23, 2018, 11:57 am
Gaza will soon collapse and only Tel Aviv is helping, Israeli president claims.
22 Jan, 2018

The Gaza Strip, chafed and numbed by a decades-old Israeli-imposed blockade is on the verge of collapse, and it's all Hamas' fault, Israel's President Reuven Rivlin has said.

“The time is coming near when the infrastructure in Gaza will collapse, leaving many civilians in distress, with no sanitary conditions, exposed to pollution, impure water and epidemics,” Rivlin said Sunday as he toured the Gaza border region.

“Israel is the only one in the region that, whatever the situation, transfers basic essentials to the residents of Gaza so that they can sustain body and mind,” he said, as cited by Haaretz.

Perhaps, it's because aid from other sources has a hard time reaching Gaza, since Israel has repeatedly stopped donor-funded shipments and missions – sometimes using force to do so. In the infamous 2010 Mavi Marmara raid, Israeli commandos intercepted the "Gaza Freedom Flotilla" and killed nine activists. The subsequent international backlash forced Tel Aviv to relax the blockade somewhat.

Israel remains a “key driver” of Palestinian humanitarian suffering across occupied territories including the Gaza Strip, according to a recent report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). For instance, 97 percent of the water in Gaza is undrinkable with locals forced to pay six times the cost of ordinary water, it was reported Sunday. Gaza's Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently said that 2017 was "the worst [year] economically" due to punitive measures imposed by Israel. Unemployment rates in the enclave climbed to 46.6 percent by the third quarter of 2017.

President Rivlin, however, points to Hamas as the source of Gaza's suffering. “Regrettably, Hamas has once again exploited the plight of the Gaza Strip’s civilians and is using materials meant to benefit the lives of the residents for terrorist purposes,” he said.

Hamas remains "a terror organization" which seeks to destroy the State of Israel, Rivlin said, accusing the group of "developing terrorist bases in hospitals, in mosques, in schools," to plan attacks against Israel.

"The State of Israel’s mission is not completed. We will fight the terrorist organization. An extremist, cruel, and murderous terrorist organization. A terror organization which does not spare a single thought for the future and welfare of the residents of Gaza, and for which a 'reconciliation' of one kind or another is only a step towards the advancement of war," he said.

Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip in March 2007 triggered the land and sea blockade by Egypt and Israel, who cited security concerns. Despite some easing on embargo restrictions, some 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza remain locked in from the outside world.

Conditions in Gaza are likely to deteriorate further after Washington announced it's withholding $65 million of a planned instalment of $125 million to the Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA. That decision followed Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital on December 6, driving a stake through the heart of the two-state peace process which envisions East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state along 1967 borders.

Thank you, Dearly for this article link.
Israeli crimes against humanity, and violations of Palestinian human rights must be stopped. BOYCOTT!!

fly bird (26)
Wednesday January 24, 2018, 12:09 am
ICC to Open Full Investigation into Settlements, 2014 War on Gaza.
January 9, 2018

The International Criminal Court in The Hague is planning on investigating Israeli leaders over Israeli settlement expansion in Jerusalem and West Bank, as well as the 2014 aggression on Gaza titled ‘Operation Protective Edge.’

According to a report by Channel 10 Monday evening, the Israeli National Security Council warned Israeli lawmakers in the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the international court is planning on opening an investigation later this year into the 2014 war with Hamas, as well settlements in the West Bank.

PNN further reports that prosecutors at the International Criminal Court, at the behest of the Palestinian Authority, have opened cursory examinations in both matters, but NSC officials fear the preliminary probe will be raised to a full-blown investigation sometime in 2018, raising concerns the court could try Israeli officials for alleged “war crimes”, based on the complaints issued by the Palestinian Authority.

The deadly 2014 war on Gaza killed over 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza, approximately a quarter of whom were children, and left at least 11,000 permanently wounded. On the Israeli side, 74 were killed, 68 of them soldiers.

09/02/14 VIDEO: Gaza City’s Devastated Al-Shuja’eyya Suburb

fly bird (26)
Wednesday January 24, 2018, 12:22 am
Gaza Ministry of Health: Stern Austerity Measures Introduced to Confront Fuel Crisis.
January 17, 2018

The Ministry of Health in Gaza commenced on Monday morning, implementing a series of tough austerity measures, to face the shortage of fuel and electricity within its facilities.

Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qedra stated that the ministry has introduced a series of stern measures to confront the shortage of fuel and electricity, and will spare no effort to prolong its health services provided to Gazans.

Al-Qedra asserted that his ministry communicates with all bodies and organizations to contain the stifling crisis hitting its facilities.

Gaza’s hospitals need monthly an amount of some 630 liters of fuel, in case the electricity outage reaches 12 hours per a day.

The Gaza Ministry of Health appealed to all relevant bodies, organizations and the Palestinian government of National Consensus to urgently intervene, to save the health status inside the Gaza’s hospitals by supplying them the needed amount of fuel.

fly bird (26)
Wednesday January 24, 2018, 2:05 am
Without UNRWA I wouldn’t be alive today
January 19, 2018

It is regrettable that the most basic human needs of millions of Palestinian refugees are now being used as a weapon in the Trump administration’s political assault on Palestinians.

On January 16, the administration decided to withhold $65 million of a planned $125 million in US funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

UNRWA was established in 1949 to provide direct relief and public works programs for the Palestinian refugees who were expelled after the creation of Israel in 1948. For almost 70 years, Israel has failed to address the problem of the refugees that it created, so the UN General Assembly has regularly extended UNRWA’s mandate since then.

Over time, with fading hopes that Palestinian refugees would be able to return to their homeland, and with greater needs arising from a more permanent life in their new locations, UNRWA increased its services to include education, health care, social services, infrastructure, microfinance, and emergency assistance. UNRWA also employs more than 30,000 people, most of whom are Palestinian.

Most of my own family has first-hand experience with the vital services that UNRWA provides. My grandparents were expelled from their hometown in Palestine in 1948 and ended up in the refugee camps of Lebanon and Syria. In this new precarious reality, living in tents in a foreign place with no job prospects, they likely would not have been able to survive if they did not receive food aid, healthcare, and eventually, their zinc-covered barracks homes built by UNRWA. It is no exaggeration to say that without these services, I might not be alive today.

In addition, my wife, my parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and almost all my relatives were educated in UNRWA schools, and several of them now teach there. When they became sick, they went to UNRWA health clinics. If they needed life-saving surgeries, UNRWA covered most of the cost. While under siege with skyrocketing prices, UNRWA stepped in to provide food assistance to many of my relatives in Syria.

Eliminating or even reducing UNRWA’s services will be highly detrimental to Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Because of the devastating Israeli siege on Gaza, almost one million people there rely heavily on food aid from UNRWA. With an unemployment rate close to 44 percent, about 80 percent of Gaza’s population are dependent on international assistance.

As stateless people, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are not entitled to several basic civil and economic rights. This has marginalized them so much that, among UNRWA’s five fields of operation, Lebanon has the highest percentage of Palestinian refugees living in “abject” poverty.

Due to the violence, destruction, and poverty caused by seven years of civil war in Syria, Palestinian refugees in the country have become highly vulnerable and almost all of them now require humanitarian assistance in the form of cash, food, and other relief.

Clearly, UNRWA provides some of the most basic human needs and services, and it is sad that President Trump is punishing refugees to gain political leverage over Palestinian leaders, so that they would return to so-called “peace talks.”

Instead, the US should force Israel to pay for UNRWA’s operations, as it is ultimately responsible for creating these refugees. Of course, the chances of Israel directly paying is almost zero, since it often makes the absurd accusation that UNRWA perpetuates the refugee problem (which is similar to claiming that soup kitchens perpetuate homelessness and should be shut down).

But the US could make Israel pay indirectly: by withholding the $3.8 billion in free military aid that it receives each year. Israel was proud to be recently listed as the 23rd richest country in the world, so it should show some more dignity and pay for its own oppressive military, rather than freeloading off of American taxpayers. If President Trump is serious about bringing the Palestinian Authority back to the negotiating table, nothing will be more effective than holding Israel accountable for its crimes against Palestinians.

fly bird (26)
Wednesday January 24, 2018, 2:19 am
Norman Finkelstein’s ‘Gaza’ is an exhaustive act of witness.

GAZA An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom.
Norman Finkelstein

After the 2012 war, I told my Gazan team that we needed a new word. ‘War’ was a goal-oriented pursuit, tempered by mortal and strategic risk. Israel’s conflict maintenance was neither.

After the 2014 war, while we still wore those 1000-yard stares, I set out to assign proportionate responsibility. I read books on military accountability, the arc from force projection to force protection, law of war handbooks, and every report I could find. I could not unpick their crazy-making inconsistencies. From their conclusions, I could not recognize what I had seen. I told my team that we needed a new kind of scholarship.

Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom

Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom, enables a different scholarship. Norman Finkelstein has set out to deconstruct the false narrative of war in Gaza, by refuting its component parts. One by one. Finkelstein is an author, activist and scholar with decades of archives and outrage to bring.

Gaza is one exhaustive act of witness. I differ with some of its choices, and I note that in order to emphasize that agreement is not required. I found Gaza hugely valuable as an argument, a demand for accountability, and as a response to the question my team repeated, “What do they think we are?”

From the outset, Norman Finkelstein is specific about his task. “This book is not about Gaza. It is about what has been done to Gaza.” The following 400 pages confront and debunk a decade of headline violence. Finkelstein excoriates not only Israeli political and military actors, but also those NGOs and institutions whose work should protect Gazan rights. Instead, he says, Gazans are pounded by the military, and then “betrayed” by a complicit set of institutions.

Finkelstein has said that he sought to combine rigorous scholarship with his anger at the lies which enable the violence. He digs his heels in, and he does not let go. And although he warns of the book’s tedium, I found his writing highly readable although, of course, his content is shocking.

To aid others’ research, I greatly appreciated the choice to include extensive footnotes, not endnotes. They are rich with sources for further reading. I would have loved a comprehensive bibliography, although that might have doubled the book’s length.

He wades straight in, with little repetition of the history.

Turning Gaza into a Target

Every writer must ask, ‘Why Gaza – why there?’ Norman Finkelstein suggests that “poorly defended but proudly defiant” Gaza has been an exigent site for “deterring Arabs, deterring peace”. There, Israel has periodically renewed its regional deterrence, without running the risks of fighting a fully equipped foe. I would add that, because Gaza lacks defensive weaponry, Israel fires at will from land, sea and sky. That one-sidedness makes it doubly important to scrutinize Israel’s choices closely.

Gaza’s scrutiny is relentless. Finkelstein uses statistics to hammer home the gross asymmetry of violence and harm. In Operation Cast Lead, the three-week invasion of 2008, 6300 Gazan homes were destroyed, versus one Israeli home.

He lists the allegations that are made, repeated, absorbed into the idiom – but never substantiated. After 29 ambulances were damaged or destroyed in Operation Cast Lead, the reporting (and commissioned reporting) of Physicians for Human Rights – Israel concluded that ambulances had been “targeted” in a campaign whose “underlying meaning … appears to be one of creating terror without mercy to anyone.” Israel’s brief cited Hamas’s “extensive” military use of ambulances, without meaningful evidence. Goldstone could find none. B’Tselem has found none. Israel’s Magen David Adom also disputes the charge, yet somehow it lives on as urban legend. 45 ambulances were damaged or destroyed in Operation Protective Edge.

To illustrate the intentionality of the Dahiya Doctrine of disproportionate force, Finkelstein heaps quote upon quote. Israeli military and government sources indict themselves. Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister, Eli Yishai, said of Operation Cast Lead that “It [should be] possible to destroy Gaza, so that they will understand not to mess with us… [T]housands of houses, tunnels and industries will be demolished.”

What does it take, Gaza asks, for Palestinian ambulances to be presumed civilian, or for Israel’s rationales for disproportionate force, which they describe so openly, to be questioned? For Finkelstein, this is where the big lie washes out: it is a war crime to intentionally apply disproportionate force, or to primarily target civilian infrastructure… unless one has prepared the ground by explaining in advance that every object is military, terroristic and therefore legitimate.

An infographic created by the Israeli military in July 2014.

Gaza extracts enduring themes from the documentation. Finkelstein refutes them at length, beginning with the charge that Hamas uses civilians as human shields. He brings each digression back to its meaning: this is the narrative that corrodes Gazan human rights and civilian protections. This is how Gazan casualties are downgraded to the status of collateral damage, and this is how responsibility is devolved from Israel’s choices to those of Hamas.

These themes lead Finkelstein to his later, extended argument that evidence about these wars is evaluated within a tilted frame. Monitors accept that Israel may err occasionally from its responsible and legitimate use of force, while assuming the illegitimacy and malice of Hamas actions.

Gaza’s approach is retrospective, and I would have liked more linkage with emerging currents of thought. Gaza arrives at a moment of intergenerational change in the debate between and about Palestinians. A number of Gaza’s intractable issues may be transformed, rather than being fixed within the old parameters. A few examples will illustrate:
◦Palestinians are debating the framework which best expresses their experience, in order to unite behind a single narrative and set of demands for restoration.
◦The laws of occupation describe a temporary state. How will Palestinians respond to the inability of existing law to regulate such an enduring occupation regime?

As these and other issues are re-conceived – decolonized – I find myself more hopeful that policy and activism will transform this mess. Of course the exercise of accountability is historical. However, Gaza’s list of issues might also have served to point readers forward.

In his brief chapter on Operation Pillar of Defence, November 2012, Finkelstein notes other states’ ability to limit the extent and duration of IDF bombing. I would also have liked him to push further into questions of donor / state responsibility. Their acquiescence, and their neoliberal aid choices, are not challenged often enough among the things done to Gaza.

From Chronicle to Accountability

By the time I reached the section on Operation Protective Edge, July – August 2014, midway through the book; I had figured out how Finkelstein’s prosecutorial inquest could enable me to contextualize the war we had seen.

Alongside Gaza, I opened the Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) analysis of the IDF’s weapons policies and rules of engagement across the Gaza wars. AOAV situates the facts of 2014 within longitudinal trends. Together, the AOAV’s progression and Finkelstein’s detail more starkly illuminate Gazans’ increasing danger.

To those retrospective documents, readers must also bring the testimony of someone who lived it forward, in an overcrowded shelter, on the grounds of a hospital, or at home in the dark. You have to let a voice explain that it was incessant, that the tonnage of high explosives made the ground tremble as the losses compound.

The killing of four boys on the beach took everyone’s breath away, yes, but three more children were struck and killed while playing on their roof the following day.

One of my team called me then, whispering so that her own children would not hear her say, “I’m afraid. They’re trying to break our spirit by killing the children.”

The violence around us was so order-of-magnitude disproportionate that the mind resists taking it in. A voice demands that you not only take it in, but that you transpose it onto your life, your children, your neighbourhood.

I remember rolling out from beneath my desk at dawn on July 30. Reports logged more than one bomb per minute overnight, and my hands shook while I searched the news websites. “What would you say,” I challenged each one, “if it happened in Tel Aviv?”

The bombardment and the shelter schools and Shuja’iyya and Khuza’a and Rafah and … Where was the world?

And then, where was the accountability?

Finkelstein replies by moving from chronicle to argument. In chapters called Betrayal I and II, he charges the human rights NGOs with “capitulation as pervasive as it was pathetic”.

He presents his disagreement with Amnesty International in three rounds, and he reproduces their response in full. At the heart of it, he asks,

Did Israel primarily set out to target Gaza’s civilian population or legitimate military objectives during Operation Protective Edge? Whereas Amnesty’s factual evidence overwhelmingly affirmed the former, its legal analysis of this evidence consistently presumed the latter. In other words, its legal analysis repeatedly contradicted its own evidentiary findings and effectively exonerated Israel of the most explosive charge levelled against it.

He calls their conclusions “materially ludicrous and morally a travesty”. Evidence that would be sufficient to condemn others, in Gaza could surmount the lenience that he calls SP4I — the special presumption for Israel’s good intentions.

UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) reporting viewed each Hamas rocket as inherently indiscriminate because the rockets could not be aimed.

It perplexes, then, why it’s not also an inherently indiscriminate attack when Israel unloads, in a precision strike in the heart of a densely population civilian neighbourhood, a 2000-pound bomb that “generates an 8500-degree [Farenheit] fireball, gouges a 20-foot crater as it displaces 10,000 pounds of dirt and rock and generates enough wind to knock down walls blocks away and hurl metal fragments a mile or more.” Instead, the [UNHRC] report deemed Israel’s use of such a weapon in such circumstances “extremely questionable.” Pray tell, what questions remained?

He also details what he calls the UNHRC’s false equivalence of suffering. An even-handed assessment of the harm can not do justice to the conflict’s real proportions:

Gaza Israel Ratio
Civilians killed 1600 6 270:1
Children killed 550 1 550:1
Homes severely damaged or destroyed 18,000 1 18,000:1
Medical facilities damaged or destroyed 73 0 73:0

Excerpted from Table 12 in Gaza: Inquest Into Its Martyrdom

Why did NGOs and institutions steps back and refrain from more aggressively investigating possible breaches of law? Finkelstein attributes it to a public that had grown accustomed to, and accepting of, the “periodic massacres” in Gaza, to nervous eyes on the punishment that had been meted out to other investigators, and to political heat.

Gaza concludes with an appendix on the occupation’s “comprehensive repudiation of international law”. Finkelstein calls on the UN General Assembly to demand its end, regardless of any ‘interminable negotiating process, the manifest purpose of which… [is] to make the occupation irreversible, and to consign to oblivion the people of Palestine.”

Beyond ‘Gaza’

On his own terms, Finkelstein does what he set out to do. Now, let me challenge a few of his terms which, I believe, make the task incomplete.

Where does all the outrage go – now what? Why is carnage in Gaza allowed, why do Western states and people sit still for it? The question extends beyond Finkelstein’s scope, yet this is where his book naturally leads me. I am not satisfied to be left where Gaza ends.

Finkelstein has taken on a mountain of a task, to police some of the violations and reporting of the violence done to Gaza. I agree that the narrative of what is done to Gaza amounts to a big lie. However, I think that the military campaigns are enabled by the lie. He has not challenged the lie at its source.

The dehumanization of Gaza is the vector upon which the violations travel: the ceaseless suggestions that Gazans are less than human and therefore less deserving of human rights; that they are tainted and therefore less deserving of civilian protection in war. Being hidden makes them easier to demonize. They can be harmed without strenuous objections, because they have already been rendered unlike us.

Policing the laws of war and the rights of civilians will be necessary and insufficient, as long as the demonization persists – not of Hamas, but of Gazans. Gaza is indispensable to the demand for accountability. However, we also need to restore Gazans as humans to whom the laws and rights apply. That will level the frame for future scrutiny.

We need to do that before the next war.

Therefore, I think that Gaza needs a companion volume, with three themes.

First, the narrative needs to include the baseline as well as the headline violence. NGOs like B’Tselem and Gisha do an excellent job of factually presenting the blockade and separation regimes. However, there is urgent need to expose the wretched euphemisms which normalize so much prosaic violence: the ‘relative calm’, the ‘incursions’, the apparently endless supply of ‘terrorist infrastructure’, and the ‘targeted killings’ that turn all of Gaza into a pinball deck.

Second, Finkelstein acknowledges that ‘being done to’ insufficiently describes any community, but he is wary of celebrating Gaza’s stunted agency. Isn’t the reverse true? Isn’t it insufficient to describe Gaza without it? Gazans are entitled to their rights, precisely because they are whole people, choosing, stubborn, normal, cohesive as contact cement under pressure, and unconscionably confined from birth. When we describe them more fully, we draw attention to the violations of their most basic human status. The big lie about Gaza will not be defeated without restoring the full humanity of those being lied about.

Finally, a fuller narrative requires the willingness to hold Hamas and other Gazan fighters to account, which this book does not do. Norman Finkelstein asserts that Hamas cannot be expected to avoid jeopardizing civilians by moving its fighters away from civilian objects, since they would be unreasonably exposed elsewhere. Given a right of armed resistance to occupation, he questions how poorer, obstructed belligerents are intended to resist, if not with primitive armaments like Hamas’s (un-aimed) rockets. He gives the suicide bombings of the Second Intifada no real, critical attention at all.

This lets Hamas and the other Gazan militants off the hook too lightly. Accountability calls everyone to proportionate account. I think that the fighters’ accountability is of specific importance in Gaza.

Israelis protest that they cannot fight a war in Gaza, without firing into or near civilian buildings. Finkelstein dismisses them: if it can’t be done legally, then stop doing it. These are wars of choice, with alternatives. Some things are just wrong, like dropping large, high-explosive bombs onto walled cities.

Well, I also felt pretty indignant about the bastard who decided to fire from near our wall, late in the afternoons of the 2014 war. I did not equate the ‘bang’ of his rocket launches with the BOOM of an Israeli reply that sent the plaster snowing down, but I heartily wanted them all to step away from the buildings.

Hamas was also found to have violated the neutrality of UN installations by storing weapons in several schools which were not being used as shelters. I’ll repeat that: there were no weapons at the seven shelter schools which were struck by the IDF. A range of other reports might also merit investigation.

Gazan fighters did make choices. Some were harmful.

Their choices are a dimension of what is done to Gazans. In fact, it seemed that one facet of being Gazan was the knowledge that one’s life and one’s children were valued cheaply, at times by both belligerents. It hurt to see my own team internalize and accept their discounted status. Their whole jeopardy deserves recording and accounting.

It does not diminish Gaza’s case to challenge Hamas’s choices. The obligations of belligerents are not reciprocal. That is, they do not owe legal behaviour to each other, and the misbehaviour of one does not release the other from its legal obligations. Every armed party, independently and with no opt-out, is bound by these laws. Therefore, confronting the proportionate harms of Hamas does not excuse any violation by Israel.

Calling for full accountability more fully illuminates the treacherous ground that Gazans inhabit.

Besides, Gazans don’t need to be perfect victims, in order to deserve protection. It’s enough for them to be humans with the same rights and protections and potentials that we all recognize in each other.

Norman Finkelstein’s book is of enduring value to Gazans, and those who seek accountability for the violence perpetrated in Gaza. I recommend it, alongside other voices to tell the story as fully as possible.

Author’s Note: I read a draft of Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom, and commented on the sections covering the time I worked and lived in Gaza, 2011 – 2015. I also worked as a member of UNRWA’s emergency management team, in Gaza, through most of Operation Protective Edge, the war of 2014. The opinions here are mine alone, and do not represent my former employer.

fly bird (26)
Wednesday January 24, 2018, 11:22 pm
Inside the Trump Administration's War on UNRWA and Palestinian Refugees.
January 23, 2018

A diplomatic insider describes attempts by Jared Kushner and Nikki Haley to destroy a UN agency that supports millions of Palestinians.

Max Blumenthal

The Trump administration’s decision to drastically slash American contributions to the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) has sent shockwaves through the organization and left millions of Palestinian refugees wondering if the basic ingredients for their survival will soon disappear. “This is the worst financial crisis in UNRWA’s history,” Chris Gunness told the Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah.

UNRWA was established in 1950 to care for the 750,000 Palestinians who were driven from their homes and land by the Israeli military two years before. Today, the agency provides free education, healthcare and basic foodstuffs to the five million Palestinians spread across the Middle East who inherited refugee status. In the Gaza Strip, UNRWA is the second largest employer and responsible for providing services to over 70 percent of the population. Indeed, the agency is a lifeline for most residents of the besieged coastal enclave, and its collapse would likely trigger a society wide catastrophe.

With its bid to defund UNRWA, the Trump administration has broken with decades of American policy. The administration had initially intended to cut off funding to UNRWA altogether, but an intervention by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson secured an American pledge of $60 million for the year — only half of what the US had been obliged to donate.

A diplomat with knowledge of the Trump administration’s discussions about funding UNRWA told me that Tillerson finessed the funding to demonstrate his authority over colleagues he saw as intruding on his turf. The diplomat described presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley as Tillerson’s rivals, and as the key forces behind the assault on UNRWA.

Kushner is a pro-Israel ideologue whose family has donated heavily to illegal Israeli settlements and nurtured a long friendship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Tasked by the president with achieving the “ultimate deal” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Kushner has put forward a one-sided plan that promises to relegate a Palestinian state to a few cantons in the West Bank and a little neighborhood on the edge of East Jerusalem, consolidating Israel’s settlement enterprise while leaving millions of Palestinians legally excluded from their own national project.

By starving UNRWA, Kushner hopes to force Palestinians to relinquish their refugee status and eliminate the right of return granted to them by UN Resolution 194. He would thereby remove one of the few cards the Palestinians have left to play at the negotiating table. Since he is unable to shatter the agency in a single blow, his strategy is aimed at disruption.

Haley has joined forces with Kushner to destroy UNRWA, but for other reasons. According to the diplomat, Haley has been fuming since the entire UN General Assembly voted this December to condemn Trump’s pledge to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “We will be taking names,” Haley warned ahead of the vote, vowing to punish the UN for defying Trump.

Besides settling her vendetta against virtually the entire world, Haley is exploiting her platform at the UN to curry favor with the pro-Israel oligarchs who could propel her presidential ambitions. Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire Netanyahu confidant who donated $5 million to Trump’s inauguration, has been the second largest donor to Haley’s 527 political organization, with a $250,000 donation in 2016. (Last year, Adelson dumped $10 million of his personal fortune into the Israeli-American Council, instantly transforming the group into a pro-Likud competitor to AIPAC, the main arm of the Israel lobby in Washington.)

Haley’s most influential advisor at the UN is not any foreign policy expert, but a veteran Republican consultant from South Carolina named Jon Lerner. A former advisor to the neoconservative darling Sen. Marco Rubio, Lerner has identified his mentor as Arthur Finkelstein, the notoriously ruthless Republican operative who advised Netanyahu’s 1996 run for prime minister and helped broker the merger between Netanyahu’s Likud Party and Avigdor Lieberman’s far-right Yisrael Beiteinu in 2013.

Haley's pro-Israel messaging appears to reflect Lerner’s plan to position her as a presidential contender.

Trump National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary James Mattis have been credited in some reports with helping Tillerson secure the compromise on UNRWA funding, but according to the diplomat, they were willing to fight for the funding.

For his part, Trump has proven rudderless, shifting positions from moment to moment depending on which advisor has his ear. The diplomatic source said the president took Tillerson’s side during a lunch in early January, then suddenly pivoted to back Haley after she lobbied him a few days later. Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, have done next to nothing to push back against the attack on UNRWA.

The defunding of UNRWA would immediately result in the shuttering of 700 schools that provide 525,000 young people with first-rate, secular-oriented educations that emphasize gender equality and human rights. Basic food supplies would dry up for millions in some of the poorest regions of the Middle East. And as recent history has shown, refugee camps can be easily instrumentalized by radical elements from abroad.

The case of Naher al-Bared, when jihadists infiltrated a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon in 2007 and triggered a brutal invasion by the Lebanese Army that resulted in the camp’s complete destruction, should serve as a frightening lesson in how quickly things can fall apart. But within the Trump administration, personal ambitions and pro-Israel ideology have overwhelmed any concern about further destabilizing a region that is already teetering on the brink.

fly bird (26)
Saturday January 27, 2018, 5:08 pm
It's Time for Light! Send two solar lanterns to Gaza's Children and shine yours every Wednesday.

In Gaza, electricity is still blacked out for 20 hours each day, which makes even the simplest of tasks impossible. That's why we're asking your help to send Nur Al Amal (Light of Hope) solar-powered lanterns through the blockade to children in Gaza so they can study and play safely when the power is out. Rebuilding Alliance partnered with four Palestinian Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to distribute lights directly to families in need. A 2-for-1 matching grant is in place to send a second LittleSun solar light for each one we buy. Help empower Gaza's next generation, help open the blockade, and bring hope to all.

#ItsTimeforLight. #NurAlAmal

How can you particpate and bring more light into the world?
•Donate money to send lights to Gaza. For a donation of as little as $50, we will send three LittleSun solar lights to Gaza and gift one to you in your window;
•Place lights in the window (need not be solar) on Wednesday nights to show you want to brighten the future of Gaza's Children;
•Take a picture of youself with your light in the window and upload it to Instagram, tagging @RebuildingAlliance #itstimeforlight #nuralamal

Thanks to the remarkable generosity of individuals, families, schools and faith groups and thanks to two matching grants, Rebuilding Alliance has sent a total of 27,000 Nur al Amal solar lights to date. But 750,000 children are impacted by this 10 year blockade — with your help, let's send 40,000 solar lights in 2018

Here's what Gaza families are saying about what a difference the Nur Al Amal solar lanterns have made:

“I use (the solar lanterns) always at night to teach my children instead of using candles because candles are very dangerous for us, but the solar light is much safer and easier. I use it to light the children's room because they are afraid of darkness when they go to the bathroom at night. They are not any more after using the solar lights. Finally, thanks a lot for people who do their best to help us in this very bad electricity situation.”

“My husband uses it when he goes to the mosque to pray at night and at dawn, and my children use it to light their rooms at night to study. Also I use it when I work in the kitchen and cook for the family. I want to thank God and I appreciate the efforts of those who sent the lights for us so it can help us in our lives. It is much easier to use for women and old people and for children and most importantly it is a really good alternative to candles. It is much safer than candles. Many accidents happened here in Gaza because of candles, families burnt because of using candles while sleeping at night. Our children are now safe with the solar lights.”

"I use it in studying at night. I am now in the high school and with this bad electricity that we live in, I suffer a lot because I need to study hard to get a high average. Nur Al Amal lantern is easy and doesn't cost anything, I put it in my room and I turn it on all the night when I am studying, it is a really good alternative for candles because it is much safer and I prefer it. Thank you, I am speechless and can't find the words to thank you."

Brighten the Future of Gaza's Children. Summary:

The sole power plant in Gaza has shut down. Electricity is out 20 hours/day, making the simplest of tasks difficult. Help send solar-powered Luci lanterns through the blockade to children in Gaza so they can study and play safely when the power is out. We partner with Palestinian NGOs to distribute lights directly to families in need. A 2-for-1 matching grant now sends twice as many lights. Help empower Gaza's next generation, help open the blockade, and bring hope to all. It's Time for Light.

10 years of blockade on Gaza has resulted in widespread darkness with power only available for four hours a day in rolling blackouts. 750,000 children are affected by electricity shortages and are forced to use kerosene lamps and candles with horrific accidents. Life is put on hold when the sun goes down - studying is difficult and playing is unsafe. Imagine being a student and not having light to finish your homework, or a little child without a nightlight. Solar lanterns change this.

Short-term solution:
With your help, we are delivering thousands of solar-powered lights to children in Gaza so they can read and study. Rebuilding Alliance has been working with Non Governmental Organizations in Gaza since 2003. Pre-clearance is secured before shipments through both Palestinian and Israeli Customs offices. We will soon send our 4th pallet with a double shipment of 5860 solar lights for arrival in time for exams. With your donation our 5th shipment can arrive during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Long-term impact:
The reassurance of a little light lets Palestinian children know that the world cares about their future. In Gaza, there's a special tradition during Ramadan to give children a 'fanous' lantern to help them realize their own light within. Let's extend that tradition to people the world over, encouraging all to shine a solar light in their own home to come to know the children and families of Gaza, and to connect with each other through this program to build sustainable peace for all: #bealight

Donate to this project:
It's Time For Light!
Together, let's Brighten the Future of Gaza's Children.

Send two, receive one Nur Al Amal (Light of Hope) solar-powered lantern for you!
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