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Another innocent child dies in Israeli bombardment of northern Gaza

At 5.30pm on Monday 10 April 2006, at least six artillery shells fired by the Israeli military fell on the family house of Mohammed Rabe’eya Ghaban in Beit Lahiya, in the north of the Gaza Strip. Shrapnel from the shells pierced the skull of Mohammed’s eight-year old daughter Hadeel, killing her instantly. The shelling also resulted in the injury of eight other family members, including Hadeel’s brothers and sisters: Rawan Ghaban (18 months); Rana Ghaban (3); Munir Ghaban (4); Amneh Ghaban (9); Ghassan Ghaban (11); Bassam Ghaban (15) and Tahrir Ghaban (17). 

Food crisis again threatening Gaza, with crossing to Israel closed

With the Karni commercial crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip still closed, a senior official of the main United Nations agency helping Palestinian refugees warned that the clock is ticking toward a dangerous lack of basic food. “If Karni remains closed, we are, once again, counting down to a food crisis,” said John Ging, Director of Gaza Operations for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), on which 765,000 refugees depend for flour, oil, sugar and other basic items. “The clock is now ticking and distribution will have to be shut down entirely for the second time in less than a month if the crossing does not open immediately,” he added. 

Made in Palestine NY Exhibit extended following 3,364 visitors in 3 weeks

April 11th, 2006 — Organizers of the Made in Palestine exhibit announced today that the New York show will be extended until May 27th, after seeing 3,364 visitors pass through the Chelsea exhibit, in the heart of New York’s art world, during the first three weeks. Made in Palestine is the first museum quality exhibition devoted to the contemporary art of Palestine to be held in the United States. It is a survey of work spanning three generations of Palestinian artists who live in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, the Galilee, Syria, Jordan, and the United States. 

UN agency paints grim health scenario of possible cut-off of funds to Palestinians

The Palestinian public health system faces a rapid decline towards possible collapse, with limited or no access to preventive and curative services for nearly half the population, particularly the poor, in the event of a cut-off in donations and an Israeli suspension of tax transfers, according to the United Nations health agency. Control and management of the public health system would shift away from the public sector to non-government organization (NGOs), UN agencies system and the private sector under the scenario developed by the UN World Health Organization (WHO). Analyzing the consequences of a cut-off after the election victory of Hamas, WHO said the public health system would suffer acute financial crisis. 

Oxfam criticizes EU decision to suspend aid to Palestinian Authority

EU foreign ministers have agreed on a freeze of EU aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, according to newswire reports. Ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday (10 April) decided to continue the European Commission’s temporary suspension of payments to the Hamas-led government in the Palestinian territories. The commission announced the suspension on Friday (7 April). In a letter to the Middle East Quartet, Oxfam warned that Palestinians are on the edge of survival. It said that “one in four people depend on aid. Three in four live on 2 dollars a day. Their plight will worsen, if donors stop giving aid to the Palestinian Authority.” 

HRW: "Jordan should open its border to Palestinian refugees fleeing Iraq"

Jordan should immediately reopen its border to Palestinian refugees fleeing violence in Iraq, Human Rights Watch said today. The international community should assist Jordan by offering to resettle these Iraqi Palestinian refugees in third countries acceptable to them. On April 4, a group of 35 Iraqi Palestinians arrived at the border, fleing from Baghdad, adding to the 94 Iraqi Palestinians already stranded on the Iraqi side of the border. They have fled lethal violence and threats to their lives in Baghdad, where they have lived for decades. The refugees told Human Rights Watch that they fled after seeing scores of their compatriots killed in Baghdad in recent months. 

ICRC concerned over deteriorating situation in occupied Palestinian territory

The director of operations of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Pierre Krähenbühl, has just ended a week-long visit to Israel and the occupied and autonomous Palestinian territories. Under International Humanitarian Law, it is the responsibility of the State of Israel to ensure that the basic needs of the civilian population in the occupied territories are met. These needs include foodstuffs, medical supplies, means of shelter and other essentials. Moreover, the law requires all States party to the Geneva Conventions to allow the free passage of essential humanitarian supplies. 

Book Review: American author's debut novel, "The Woman I Left Behind"

Khalid and Irene are like two tectonic plates - when friction arises between them, their relationship is shaken to its core. Coming from two separate experiences - American Irene, who lived a privileged East Coast childhood, and Palestinian Khalid, who lost nearly all of the significant people in his life to war — the two come together with great passion that later gives way to uncertainty and distrust, shaking their faith in each other. Their rocky journey towards mutual trust is at the center of Kim Jensen’s debut novel The Woman I Left Behind

Israel's Elections: A Decisive Vote for Apartheid

“Israel votes for disengagement and final borders” and “Israelis abandon the dream of Greater Israel” were the main themes in the spin that characterized mainstream, even some progressive, media coverage of the Israeli parliamentary elections which took place on March 28. In reality, the election results revealed that a consensus has emerged among Israeli Jews, not only against the basic requirements of justice and genuine peace, as that was always the case, but also in support of a more aggressive form of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and cementing Zionist apartheid. 

Just another Gaza Friday

I’ve always loved Fridays in Gaza. In the mornings, save for the lone garbage collector futilely sweeping the abandoned streets and Municipality park, littered with plastic cups, watermelon seeds, and strangled straws from the night before, the hustle and bustle of the city comes to a standstill. It is a serene if lethargic time, an escape from the sea of chaos, uncertainty and violence that grips our lives each waking day and night. For a few hours, things seem ordinary in a place where ordinary is an illusion.