Rifkah and my mother

Today was the first time in the past seven years that I entered Jerusalem legally. I have a green West Bank Palestinian ID, which means that since the 2000 intifada started and the wall was built, I’m forbidden from entering any part of Israel as well as Jerusalem, which is only 20 minutes away from my home town of Ramallah. However, this hasn’t stopped me from going there. I would climb sandy hills opposite to Qalandia checkpoint (the main checkpoint at the entrance of Jerusalem), hide behind buildings from the sight of the Israeli soldiers, and sneak into Jerusalem. 

Is this Ben Gurion or Hell?

Anyone who has traveled through Ben Gurion airport in Israel knows that it is a unique experience. For most Israeli Jews, the experience is comforting, a quick and accommodating entry into a nation created and developed for their exclusive benefit. For Palestinian-Americans and many activists working in occupied Palestine it is quite a different experience. Most of these travelers are held for hours and questioned repeatedly, some of who are stripped naked and in some cases (especially in the last two years) denied entry. EI contributor Remi Kanazi reflects on his recent experience there. 

My mother is in her last moments and I cannot cross the borders

My mother is in the hospital at the moment. She is severely ill. She was admitted to the hospital three days ago. I cannot reach her. I finished my 45-day speaking tour in the US. All across the US and during every lecture I told the audience about our suffering, living in this big prison called Gaza. I told them about the borders closure and about the patients who passed away while waiting to cross the borders. The borders have been closed for more than five weeks and patients have died while waiting to cross the Rafah crossing, the only crossing between Gaza and Egypt. 

Hello from Rafah

Here in Gaza, we’re all listening to the radio and watching the news every hour (our only way of knowing what’s happening in the outside world), waiting to see what Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), Israel and the US are planning for us, and where our fate will take us. This has become more than a prison for the people of Gaza. It’s hard not to feel like animals in a zoo, where we are caged and have enough food for two weeks at a time to keep us alive, but not well or free while someone decides what to do with us. 

The failing of Gaza

Transportation is one of the few sectors of Gaza’s economy that is relatively constant. No matter how dire the financial situation, collective taxis are always shuttling people along the main roads of the Gaza Strip. This past week saw an exception to even this rule, reflecting the severe desperation of Gaza. There are a few reasons for this. Many people are afraid of what the future may bring. Militarily, Hamas has shown its domination over Fatah by ousting the latter in 48 hours. Philip Rizk writes from Gaza. 

The desecration of democracy

Hamas’ violent takeover of the Gaza Strip last week resulted in two governments: the Hamas leadership headed by deposed Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza and a new emergency cabinet led by the Western-backed economist Salam Fayyad in the West Bank. Both are calling the other the perpetrators of a coup. What are the sources of this division? A fear overtook the Gaza Strip after Hamas took control of institutions this past week, which are rightfully theirs to control. EI contributor Philip Rizk writes from Gaza. 

Awaking to a different Gaza

In Gaza people awake today to a new reality. Last night, my host Isa told me military coups were the sort of thing he heard and read about, he never thought he would experience one. Yesterday Gazans did. Although the final Fatah stronghold was still standing by the evening Hamas fighters were already making the rounds in the streets, three and four jeeps at a time, loaded with armed men wearing all black, their faces covered with masks, holding their guns in the air, a few, rather uncomfortably, waving to the people. Philip Rizk writes from Gaza City. 

Water and Resistance

The view from the Palestinian village of Nahhalin, in the west Bethlehem area, is sobering. This small village — along with the villages of Husan, Battir, Wadi Fuqin, and Al Walaja — are becoming more and more isolated from Bethlehem. As Israeli colonization in the Etzion bloc grows and as the Wall continues to cut deeply into the West Bank and strangle these communities, these Palestinian villagers have little access to the rest of the Israeli occupied West Bank. Even now, Israel is burrowing out a tunnel under the major settler bypass road running through the Etzion bloc. Timothy Seidel writes for EI

Visiting The Dead in Gaza

Jamal’s car was sounding more and more rickety I noticed as we drove to his house for lunch. He was late since he had spent the entire day at the Rafah border with some neighbors who were trying to cross to Egypt for medical care. They had gotten there at the crack of dawn only to turn back in the late afternoon without success. Of the thousands gathered a select few had made it across, but they were not among the lucky few. I have to be honest, I have no idea what the hell must be like crossing that border because I have never had the privilege or bad fortune to attempt to do so. 

Another assassination in Ramallah's city center

It was a good day today, well, that is until about 5:40pm when Israeli undercover and military forces assassinated a Palestinian outside the window where I was standing. The target was Omar Abu Daher, a 22-year-old who it seems happens to be a member of a security force loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He was only one of several that were murdered in cold blood today; two more were killed in Gaza, one in Tulkarem, two others in Jenin. These are the ones reported so far, but the night is still young.