Portraits of Palestinian Resistance: Ghaleb Rabah 'Allan

Ghaleb’s father, Rabah (48) worked in Israel as a laborer from 1977 until 2000, when he was no longer allowed to work there. He now has a job in a factory that manufactures solar heating tanks. He has provided well for his large family, his wife Mayada, his two oldest married sons, both waiters in Ramallah and living with him in the family compound. He has one married daughter who lives in Safa. Another is a sophomore at Birzeit University studying psychology. His five youngest children are all in school. 

Portraits of Palestinian Resistance: Ja'far Khaled Betillo

Ja’far’s father, Khaled, a truck driver and the father of four other sons and two daughters, was in a village called Naleen west of Ramallah when he got the frantic call from one of his neighbors. Ja’far, who had been taking driving lessons in Ramallah in the past few weeks, was there on the afternoon of May 24th for his driving test. To pay the fess of the test, he had just borrowed 350 NIS from his younger brother Hussein (20), a waiter at a restaurant in downtown Ramallah. 

Portraits of Palestinian Resistance: Milad Attallah Abu Al-Arayes

Refugee Camps all over the West Bank and Gaza are targets of frequent Israeli attacks. Al-Am’ari Refugee Camp, where Milad was born and where he lived with his family (refugees from Jaffa) until he was killed by the Israelis at the age of 19, is no exception. The Camp is on the outskirts of Ramallah and has seen its share of tragedies. Its approximately 6000 refugees are under siege, increasingly unable to provide for themselves. Al-Am’ari camp boasts of its share of Israeli air and land raids, home demolitions, bombs, as well as “wanted”, imprisoned and martyred men, women and children. 

Portraits of Palestinian Resistance: Introduction

Palestinian resistance to the occupation comes in many shapes and forms, some of which involves armed resistance undertaken by organized groups with various ideologies. These groups are composed of barely trained young men who pit their meager and crude resources against one of the best trained and best equipped military body in the world, the Israeli Occupation Forces. Of the 76 Israeli soldiers who died in 2005, only six were killed as a result of Palestinian attacks. 

'Annan's Story: Freedom stolen at thirteen

One day before Valentine’s Day, ‘Annan’s father went to his 13-year-old son’s school in Beitunia, Ramallah, and only found his oldest boy’s jacket and backpack on the school grounds. Along with four other boys ranging from the ages of 11 to 14, ‘Annan had been arrested by Israeli soldiers who gave him a beating that was evidenced in the bruises seen by his parents when they were finally able to see him only briefly during ‘Annan’s 15-minute court hearing two days later. He told them that the soldiers beat him with their fists and feet, as well as the butts of their guns. 

To Palestinians, Sharon was a man of war, not peace

The streets of Ramallah had a festive atmosphere last weekend as people bustled about the main commercial drag buying goods for this week’s four-day holiday Eid al-Adha. Campaign banners fluttered in the main square, and music blasted from political parties’ offices as official campaigning had just begun for the much-anticipated legislative elections to be held at the end of the month. However, conversation hushed in one corner shop in Ramallah’s old city when there was a televised update from Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, where Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been lying in a medically induced coma that will most likely be the end of his political career, should he survive. 

You Are Not Entering Free Gaza

On Sunday I meant to leave the Gaza Strip. This has exactly two exits. The first, the Rafah border crossing to Egypt, was, by Egyptian agreement with Israel, closed for six months when the Israeli army left Gaza - nominally for phantom ‘repairs’, a euphemism for Israeli-Egyptian collusion to forestall be it even the illusion of Palestinian sovereignty over Gaza’s borders. On Sunday morning I received a call: the second exit, the Erez checkpoint into Israel, was also closed, indefinitely, for no stated reason, not only to Palestinians - that would not be news - but to foreigners, too. That Gaza is a prison is a metaphor that suffers from overuse, because it is too literally true to function as metaphors usually do. 

With Jerusalem not its capital

As with all dialects spoken by people who are close to the land in their daily cycle, the fallahee Palestinian dialect has a homely feel to it. Like the embroidered dresses that older fallahee women still wear in Palestinian refugee camps, villages and cities, this dialect, with its warmth and earthiness, is a national locus for a people whose identity the Zionist project in the Middle East has long tried to suppress, writes EI contributor Rima Merriman. In a PR stunt, Israel has placed people at checkpoints who speak the Palestinian dialect. But despite the smooth talk, what is Israel really saying to the people of Palestine? 

The election buzz

We should have known that Gaza would be closed. However, someone told us that the border might be open and that we would be able to pass. Together with a colleague, who is also an accredited elections observer, we left the West Bank this morning to go to Gaza. Yesterday, Israeli forces killed seven Palestinians, most of the same family, when they fired a tank shell into an agricultural area in the area of Beit Lahia in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. The tank shell killed three brothers, three cousins and their neighbour. EI’s Arjan El Fassed writes from Ramallah. 

Lives torn apart in Ramallah

“My son was shot by them on a day like today,” says Georgette, “the bullet passed straight through his chest but he’s alright now, thank God.” She leans frailly on the fence that separates our gardens in Ramallah. “Best you not go out just yet, if you need anything just ask.” The Israeli Defence Force are in town again. They’ve been here all night arresting men suspected of involvement with armed resistance groups. They bang on doors and pull young Palestinians into the back of waiting jeeps. They come and go as they please.