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Surviving Israels War on Gaza Fishers

Business  (tags: USmedia-news-world, Suhail Fadel, Khader al-Saidi, Rajab Abu Riyala, Gaza fishermen, Gaza fishing industry, Gaza siege, Zakaria Baker, Rashad al-Hissi, Jamal al-Hissi, Marwan al-Saidi, Muhammad Azzam Baker, Israeli War Crimes:Terrorism, END THE OCCUPATION-SIEGE ON GA )

- 319 days ago -
Israel has turned Gazas sea into a battlefield. Israels military routinely fires on boats, injuring, killing and arresting Palestinian crew members


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fly bird (26)
Tuesday May 8, 2018, 6:03 pm
Photojournalism: Surviving Israel’s war on Gaza fishers.

Israel has turned Gaza’s sea into a battlefield.

Israel’s military routinely fires on boats, injuring, killing and arresting Palestinian crew members.

“In the past, the sea used to be open. We would fish whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted,” Rashad al-Hissi, a 74-year-old Gaza fisher, told The Electronic Intifada.

According to the 1993 Oslo accords, Gaza’s fishing zone was supposed to extend 20 nautical miles out from shore. But Israel never allowed local fishers that range.

The furthest Gaza’s fishers have been able to work since then has been 12 miles out, and that was more than a decade ago. Since Hamas won elections and took control of Gaza’s internal affairs in 2007, the limits were reduced to six miles, then three before being raised again to six, the limit fishers face today.

Israel’s attacks on Gaza fishers are as arbitrary as these restrictions, sometimes firing at vessels even when they abide by Israel’s permitted nautical zone.

Israel’s regular attacks rendered fishing in Gaza a dangerous and unreliable occupation. Since the year 2000, Israel has killed eight fishers and injured 134, according to human rights group Al Mezan.

Despite the hardships, Gaza’s fishers have their hearts in the sea, with more than 35,000 Palestinians dependant on this industry for their livelihoods.

Here are some of their stories.


On 4 January 2017, Rashad al-Hissi loaned his boat to his cousin Muhammad al-Hissi to fish off Sudaniya Beach in northern Gaza.

Around 9:30 that night, Rashad heard noises coming from outside the house and asked his wife to go to the roof to see what was wrong.

“After she was gone for 15 minutes, she came back with her head down,” Rashad told The Electronic Intifada.

An Israeli navy gunboat crashed into Rashad’s boat, causing it to capsize and Muhammad to go missing.

Another cousin, Jamal al-Hissi, witnessed the incident from a few hundred meters away. The Israeli navy, he said, had shot at the boat with live ammunition, causing both Muhammad and the boat to disappear.

Within minutes, Rashad lost his cousin and his main source of income. “My dream is to have my boat returned to me,” Rashad said. “I have been wishing to die every second after my boat died.”

Muhammad’s body was never found, and his family believes him dead.

Without his boat, Rashad now struggles to afford the most basic household necessities, “I can barely feed my children,” he said.

“I sold all of my savings and all of my wife’s gold so we can live comfortably. We make $6 a day.”


Zakaria Baker, 44, was a fisher most of his life but now works at the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) in the Gaza Strip, trying to help others.

His own experience was tarnished with run-ins with the Israeli navy.

Zakaria stopped fishing as a profession when Israel increased restrictions on Gaza fishers in 2002, during the second intifada.

“I was out on a fishing trip with seven other boats,” Zakaria said, recalling an incident in January 1994. “During the trip, Israeli warships started approaching us and our boats. We tried to get away but they surrounded us from every direction.”

Israeli soldiers attacked the boats, beating and arresting the fishermen. Despite the cold weather, Zakaria said, Israeli soldiers stripped the men and left them shackled naked for five hours until they reached port.

“That day we were arrested and our boats confiscated for a whole year,” Zakaria said.


Marwan al-Saidi, 53, has fished the seas off Gaza for more than four decades.

In March 2017, Marwan’s son Khader al-Saidi embarked on a fishing trip with fellow fisher Rajab Abu Riyala after dawn. They were three to five nautical miles off the shore when the Israeli navy shot at the boat.

“He was trying to earn a living for the household when he was arrested and the boat confiscated,” Marwan said. “They attacked him in the middle of the sea.”

Both Khader and Abu Riyala were arrested. Abu Riyala was released within 10 days but returned with a gunshot wound, and Khader was arrested and accused of crossing the permitted nautical zone boundary.

Marwan’s other boat was destroyed by Israeli forces during Israel’s assault on Gaza in the summer of 2014. “The boat was at the seaport because we didn’t go fishing during the war. We weren’t allowed to do so and we were under immense pressure,” he told The Electronic Intifada. Marwan is now still trying to fix his boat by closing the bullet holes.

Marwan did not hear anything about his son or the boat for a year. “I don’t know whether he’s alive or dead,” he said at the time of the interview.

Then Khader was released on 24 April, after spending almost one year in Israeli detention.

“I’m trying to stand up on my feet again,” he said.

“Does being a fisher make one guilty?”


Suhail Fadel, 52, was fishing three miles from the shore with his son in 2011 when Israeli forces suddenly fired at them.

“We jumped out of the boat and swam back to the port. I still remember the sound of shots that day,” Suhail said.

Israeli forces confiscated his boat and haven’t returned it.

The UAWC compensated Suhail with a small boat, an engine and some nets in 2013. But just like Marwan, Suhail’s boat was also destroyed by Israeli shelling during the 2014 assault on Gaza. “I was praying that nothing happens to the boat and the fishing equipment,” Suhail told The Electronic Intifada. “But unfortunately I lost my boat and many other fishermen did as well.” Suhail was forced to take a loan in order to fix his boat. Suhail, like many other fishers in Gaza who depend on fishing for their livelihood, has lost his main source of income.

“They destroyed my life,” Suhail said. “I am a father of eight children and I can hardly afford to provide them with the most basic necessities. I don’t know what to do, how to fix my life, how to raise my kids or how to register them in schools.”


Muhammad Azzam Baker began fishing when he was just in third grade.

“I remember in 2005 I used to make a lot of money fishing, and that’s why I left school.”

Things were a bit brighter back then.

“My mom would wake me at 6 am every morning. I would go to the port, prepare the motor and equipment and begin the day’s fishing journey.”

Muhammad used to help his father after school. He eventually dropped out in the tenth grade and began a full-time career life as a Gaza fisher.

Before the Israeli siege on Gaza started in 2005, Muhammad and his father used to catch 70 to 90 kilos of fish every day, earning between $28 to $84, according to the 25-year-old.

Muhammad now catches from nine to 15 kilos of fish every day, he said, “But it depends. Everyday is different from the other.”

“Now, from the $8 I make, I need to pay for the boat’s fuel, my cigarette pack and food for my siblings.”

Muhammad said that if he knew things were going to get this bad, he would have finished his education.

“But I love the sea and my soul is attached to it,” he said.

Fishers return from an overnight fishing trip.

Fishermen collecting fish from the boat after a long night of fishing. During high season, Israel sometimes extends the fishing limit to nine nautical miles.

The day’s catch is displayed for traders. The reduced fishing zones Israel allows Gaza’s fishermen is disastrous for them since they are often prevented from reaching fish-rich waters.

Smaller fish displayed for traders.

Gaza boats destroyed or nearly destroyed in Israeli attacks. Since 2000, the Israeli military has damaged more than 111 boats and equipment, according to the rights group Al Mezan.

Many of Gaza’s fishing vessels are riddled with gunshot holes.

Gaza fishermen attempt to fix their torn nets.

A photo from 2014 shows how Israel’s assault on Gaza that year damaged this boat, among many, causing it to burn at port.

A photographer inspects a boat damaged in Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza.

Gaza boats burning during Israel’s 2014 assault on the Strip.

All images by Mohammed Asad, a photojournalist based in the Gaza Strip.

Reportage by Hind Khoudary, a freelance reporter based in the Gaza Strip.

fly bird (26)
Tuesday May 8, 2018, 6:40 pm
Hold Israel Accountable for Gaza Land Day Killings. (Video 2:19)
Apr 6, 2018

Israeli snipers used live fire on Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza on Friday, March 30, 2018, killing at least 18 and injuring more than 1,400.

It is past time to end Israel’s impunity to using excessive force against Palestinians.

Email your Members of Congress now to demand the US open an investigation into Israel’s unlawful killing of Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza:

US Must Hold Israel Accountable for Gaza Land Day Massacre.

On March 30, 2018, the Israeli military met unarmed Palestinian protesters participating in the Great Return March with lethal and excessive force.

Israeli snipers killed at least 18 Palestinians and injured more than 1,400 with live fire, actions that Human Rights Watch are calling "unlawful." Since then, Israel has continued to shoot at unarmed protesters, killing a total of 41 Palestinians, including at least three children and a journalist.

Israel is expecting to act with impunity – again. But you can help hold it accountable for its excessive use of force against Palestinian demonstrators.

Israel is the largest recipient of US military aid, and several US laws require the imposition of sanctions against a government which uses US military aid to commit human rights abuses.

Contact your Members of Congress today and demand an investigation to hold Israel accountable for violating these laws.

Great Return March.


fly bird (26)
Tuesday May 8, 2018, 6:45 pm
Gaza is Under Siege But Not Alone! Let’s Build Towards a Military Embargo.

Strengthening, mainstreaming and popularizing Palestinians’ call for a two-way military embargo on Israel is the most effective response to Israel’s ongoing massacre. This means working to end all weapons sales and purchases to and from Israel, and ending military or police partnerships with the Israeli state.

We are witnessing Israel’s ongoing massacre against unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza. Through inspiring popular demonstrations, they are protesting Israel’s 12-year siege, and demanding their UN-sanctioned right of return to the homes they were ethnically cleansed from.

Palestinian activists in Gaza are asking, “What is the world doing while Israel’s massacre is live streamed?” It’s up to us to make sure they are not facing Israel’s crimes alone.

We must channel our rage at Israel’s atrocities into effective actions to hold Israel accountable. Together, we can escalate Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns.

Our concrete, strategic solidarity will send a strong message of support to Palestinians in Gaza: You are not alone, and we will work to hold Israel accountable for its murder of Palestinian protesters.

Strengthening, mainstreaming and popularizing Palestinians’ call for a two-way military embargo on Israel is the most effective response to Israel’s ongoing massacre. This means working to end all weapons sales and purchases to and from Israel, and ending military or police partnerships with the Israeli state.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee, Palestinian civil society’s largest coalition, calls on people of conscience, unions, municipalities, political parties, social movements, student groups, academics, artists, churches and LGBTQI groups, around the world to:

•Plan actions to intensify and amplify campaigns that are linked to the call to end military and security ties with Israel. For example, a protest against G4S, HP, or complicit banks (like Axa and HSBC) and companies with military ties, spreading campaigns to end partnerships with Israeli police, such as the Deadly Exchange campaign, etc. Include the hashtag #MilitaryEmbargo or #StopArmingIsrael

•Demand a position and/or debate on a military embargo against Israel in your parliament: Pressure your political parties, elected representatives and government to end military ties with Israel.

•Pass a motion to demand a military embargo against Israel at your city council, church, union or other civil society organizations. These motions are essential to popularize the demand for a military embargo on Israel, a demand which we can build in a sustained manner from the grassroots level.

•Organize a protest to pressure your government: Mobilize protests to pressure your government to end military and security ties with Israel.

•Write your local paper to express why you support a military embargo.

Visit the BNC’s military embargo campaign page for more information.

Please write to us with your action plans, questions and photos!

Two million Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip are showing incredible courage and determination to attain their rights. The #GreatReturnMarch continues despite Israel’s deliberate murder of more than 30 unarmed protesters and injuring of over 3,000. Palestinian journalists, children, women, youth and medical personnel have all been among those targeted.

Together, we can ensure they are not alone!

Animae C (508)
Wednesday May 9, 2018, 8:44 am

TY Fly

Janet B (0)
Thursday May 10, 2018, 8:36 pm

fly bird (26)
Thursday May 10, 2018, 11:10 pm
Israeli Military Fires on Fishermen, Razes Lands in Gaza
May 10, 2018

Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen as they were sailing off the coast of Rafah City, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Wednesday morning, according to local sources.

No injuries were reported, according to Ma’an. The fishermen said they were forced to head back to shore afterwards “in fear for their lives.”

As part of Israel’s blockade of the coastal enclave since 2007, the Israeli army, citing security concerns, requires Palestinian fishermen to work within a limited “designated fishing zone,” the exact limits of which are decided by the Israeli authorities and have historically fluctuated.

The Israeli army regularly detains and opens fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen, shepherds, and farmers along the border areas if they approach the unilaterally declared buffer zone.

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem recently concluded that Israel’s Gaza closure and “harassment of fishermen” have been “destroying Gaza’s fishing sector,” with 95 percent of fishermen living below the poverty line.

12/21/14 94 Israeli Ceasefire Violations Since August

Several Israeli military vehicles entered into the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning, razing lands along the border with Israel.

Witnesses said that four Israeli military bulldozers entered dozens of meters into the town of Khuzaa, in the eastern Khan Younis district.

The bulldozers razed and leveled lands across from the “camps of return,” set up by Palestinian protesters along the border.

Israeli soldiers also reportedly repaired portions of its border fence that had previously been pulled down by Palestinian youth.

05/10/18 Higher National Commission of Great March of Return and Breaking of Siege Appeals to International Community to Save Gaza

Paola S (10)
Friday May 11, 2018, 12:39 pm
Thank you so much for always posting about Palestinian People

Margie F (148)
Saturday May 12, 2018, 1:14 am

Margie F (148)
Saturday May 12, 2018, 1:43 am
Thanks again

surjit s (1)
Monday May 14, 2018, 1:44 pm
Once my friend said '' If Pals/arabs put down it's arms there would be peace in middle east and if Israel put down it's arms there would be NO Israel ''

fly bird (26)
Monday May 14, 2018, 4:00 pm
your 'pal' can say what he or she pleases.. means very little, unless, one is trying to make some kind of presumption, in which case, anything goes.

There is a saying, "how the mighty have fallen"..

Peace IS the way.

fly bird (26)
Monday May 14, 2018, 4:02 pm
End all U.S. 'aid' to Israel!

Feed, shelter, provide medical care for Americans.
American taxes are not offered up by American taxpayers for genocide, or human rights violations, surely...

The Latest: OIC condemns US embassy move to Jerusalem

fly bird (26)
Monday May 14, 2018, 4:04 pm
Still refugees, wherever we are.
14 May 2018

I grew up with snippets of my family history told in short, evocative sentences.

“We had the largest field of figs in the village,” or, “Your grandfather loved horses and he used to own several.”

Most heard, however, was: “We lost everything during the Nakba.”

Much of my information came from my late grandmother, Jamileh. I remember gathering around her with my siblings during power cuts, listening to her stories about my grandfather and their life before the Nakba. She would smile when she described their village, al-Masmiya al-Kabira, recalled her memories of the harvest season, or how she fell in love with my grandfather.

I am of the third Nakba generation. But though I was born almost 45 years after the fact, we all remain refugees, displaced and dispersed. My early life was dominated by UNRWA, the United Nations agency that was set up to cater to Palestine refugees. And “refugee” is a word that I used to hear everywhere: at the UNRWA schools where I studied for nine years, at the UNRWA medical centers, and in Beach refugee camp, set up by UNRWA, where I grew up.

My father was born in Gaza in 1954. His grandparents had taken refuge there, some 40 kilometers south of their village, during the 1948 Nakba after they heard news and rumors about the Deir Yassin massacre.

“I remember my father talking to my mother about it,” my grandmother, who was 16 at the time of the massacre, once told me. “They had heard that they forced the women to take their clothes off and sent them in buses to other villages in order to frighten and threaten them. The men of our village were afraid of a similar massacre in our village, and we decided to leave. Later, we heard that they destroyed it.”

Sawsan, a refugee mother

My mother is originally from Nilin in the central West Bank. She, too, lived her whole childhood as a refugee in Jordan, where she was born in 1967, and later Syria, after her family fled their village during the Nakba.

For me, to be the son of two refugees is to live in a continual state of insecurity and nostalgia. I never really knew my relatives from my mother’s side or many of my father’s siblings. The Nakba affected me directly this way and in all areas of my childhood and life.

After my parents got married in Syria, in 1984, my mother started to see her family in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus much less. My father was working as a journalist with the Palestine Liberation Organization and they had to travel a lot.

And by moving to Gaza in 1994, after the Oslo accords, and being issued with one of the newly created Palestinian Authority passports, my mother effectively gave up hope of full freedom of movement. She knew that from then, meeting her family, in Jordan or Syria, would be very difficult because Palestinians needed visas that were – and are – almost impossible for them to obtain.

It didn’t stop her from trying. Many of my childhood memories revolve around us applying for visas to spend our summer holidays in Syria and Jordan and then waiting for what would be the inevitable rejection.

Every year brought more disappointment for my mother and every year her children saw her vexed and frustrated. She missed the weddings of her siblings, and she missed the births of their children. She was not there as her parents grew older.

In 2005, and after a decade of trying, we were finally successful, though, as always with Palestinians, not completely: my father and an older brother were not granted visas.

Eventually, I managed to travel with my mother and two sisters to Syria through Egypt. It would be just the third time my mother had seen her parents since 1984. Despite my young age, I was 11 at the time, I remember the minute details of that trip. It was also the first time I met my grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. All those people had been nothing but photographs to us, our mother’s children. They suddenly sprang into warm, loving life.

We came back to Gaza after spending one of the best months in my life. However, I haven’t met my grandparents since then, though my mother did see them for a week in Syria in 2011.

My grandparents are still in Syria. My uncles and aunts are divided between Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The only way my mother can meet them is online. They share laughs, tears, dreams, fears, and a lot of childhood memories, but only through technology and only at an enforced distance.

Tawfiq, a refugee father

My father’s situation wasn’t much different from my mother’s. Born in Gaza, he returned there with my mother in 1994, joining his parents and two sisters, but leaving two brothers and two sisters abroad in Jordan, Spain and Canada.

This was much to my grandmother Jamileh’s despair, especially on New Year.

“It’s another year without your uncles, aunts, and cousins around me,” she would always say. “I’m not sure I’ll be alive for another to meet them.”

In 2012, we learned that my grandmother was dying after years battling cancer. I would spend the nights with her in her small square room at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City. She spent all night praying for each one of us by name, starting with my late grandfather and ending with her great grandchildren.

Hers was an “isolation room,” reserved for the terminally ill. But I understood she felt isolated in more ways than one, especially from her absent children.

My father called all his siblings to get them to make arrangements to come. It was not to be.

Neither sister had any success in obtaining the needed papers and my uncle in Spain found his passage blocked at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport. As a Spanish citizen, he had to try to come through the Israeli-controlled Erez checkpoint, but EU status was to prove of no benefit: he was arrested at the airport and spent the night in detention before being sent back to Spain.

Another uncle, who lives in Canada, took a more risky route. He came through Egypt and traversed the smuggling tunnels into Gaza. It was desperate. And late. His mother passed away before his arrival and we were forced to postpone a funeral which three of Jamileh’s other children were unable to attend until he made it through.

Today I live in Paris. My parents and siblings are in Gaza. I have relatives across the Middle East, Europe and Canada. But nowhere can we feel safe or settled or permanent.

Ours is a state of temporariness and a longing for the security of our own homes on our own land whether in al-Masmiya or Nilin and those fig trees my grandmother would recall so fondly.

Mousa Tawfiq is a journalist, formerly based in Gaza, currently living in Paris.

fly bird (26)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 2:38 am
Palestine: The Last Chapter?
May 15, 2018

Not by a long shot. Not while there is one true Palestinian still standing, still demanding and still fighting.

There have been many setbacks for us Palestinians in the last 100 years. First, the British unjustly and illegally imposed on us the Balfour Declaration in 1917. We stood fast and said ‘no.’ Then the same British tried to impose on us the partition of the Peel Report in 1937. We stood fast and said ‘no’.

Then came the unfair UN partition plan of 1947 and we stood fast and said ‘no’.

Then they allowed the creation of Israel in 1948. We stood fast and we said ‘no’. Still the Israeli Apartheid fascist regime ethnically cleansed our land and murdered our people. We took the blows, we stood fast and we said ‘no’.

In 1967 they invaded, conquering the last remaining part of Palestine. Despite maintaining the occupation for the past 51 years we took the brutality, the savagery, the theft of our land, our natural resources and our culture and still we said ‘no’.

In 1987 the Palestinian people under occupation broke their shackles and shed their fears and stood united in the first intifada. Despite the brutal response, the stones against the machine guns, the hope against despair the Palestinians stood their ground and said ‘no’.

In 1993, when the PLO unwisely signed the Oslo Accord giving the Israeli occupation the legitimacy it craved for decades, we the people of Palestine stood fast and said ‘no’.

During the next few years all the agreements that were signed between the PLO (now known as the PA) were honoured diligently by the PA and totally disregarded by the Israeli regime. The land theft and the building of illegal settlements continued apace and in the year 2000 the Palestinian people took to the streets again , in their tens of thousands and started the second intifada. Despite the loss of life and the destruction of homes, the imprisonment and deportations of many leaders and the murder of Yasser Arafat we stood fast and said ‘no’.

The check points in the West Bank under the Oslo Accord mushroomed and they now number over 500. The settlements kept expanding and new ones created as the feral squatters on those settlements, armed to the teeth and with malice in their hearts kept raiding our villages, desecrating our holy places and burning our children alive. Despite all of this, we the Palestinian people stood our ground and said ‘no’.

Israel made a tactical withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. In the words of a Palestinian student in London with whom I shared a platform a few years later, and I quote, “The Israeli Occupation Army put us in a cage, locked the door and threw the key deep into the sea.” We stood fast and we said ‘no’.

Israel does not take rejection or resistance kindly. The army invaded and continues to invade towns and villages in the West Bank on a daily basis. They kill, they kidnap, they imprison, they torture and they destroy. Still we say ‘no’.

Then came the unprovoked Israeli attacks on Gaza 2008, 2012 and 2014 deploying unimaginable evil force and internationally prohibited armaments, culminating in the near total destruction of Gaza. They polluted and poisoned the underground water resources to the extent that a United Nations announced report in 2015 stated that if this did not cease Gaza would be uninhabitable by 2020.

Naturally, nothing changed. The situation in Gaza is more dire than ever and the people of Gaza have reached suffocation point. As a result they did not lie down and die, as Israel, America and their allies would wish them to do. The stood fast and said ‘no’ and for the last six weeks they have been coming out in their hundreds and thousands in the so-called buffer zone between Israel and Gaza challenging the occupation and demanding their right of return to the towns and villages that they were expelled from 70 years ago today.

The brutality and callous disregard for Palestinian lives and international law by the Israeli Occupation Army reached a zenith yesterday when they gunned down more than fifty Palestinians and wounded in excess of 2700. No Israelis have been killed.

TheTrump Administration and its acolytes are blaming Hamas for this slaughter. ‘The victims are to blame’, they say, ‘not the aggressors’.

Yet, the Palestinians, all over Palestine are standing fast and saying loud and clear.

‘No, never will we abandon Jerusalem.’

‘No, never will you prevail.’

‘This is our land, this is where we belong and this is where we are staying.’

I shall close this with the words of one of my compatriots in Gaza. Hammad Abu Safiya, a grandfather of 14 grandchildren said yesterday.

“Nothing will change the situation of the Palestinians – but a volcano or earthquake that destroys their state. Then the Palestinians may be able to return.”

Jafar M Ramini is a Palestinian writer and political analyst, based in London, presently in Perth, Western Australia. He was born in Jenin in 1943 and was five years old when he and his family had to flee the terror of the Urgun and Stern gangs. Justice for the people of Palestine is a life-long commitment.

fly bird (26)
Wednesday May 16, 2018, 12:03 pm
No More U.S. Weapons to Israel.

Sign this petition to the U.S. government:

End the provision of free weapons to the government of Israel.

fly bird (26)
Wednesday May 16, 2018, 10:12 pm
Deconstructed with Mehdi Hasan

The Killing Fields of Gaza.

Israeli activists speak out on the occupation of Gaza.

Margie F (148)
Monday May 21, 2018, 8:20 pm
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