United States

We talk in silence, we stand together

I receive the dreaded 9pm call from my father. My heart skipped a beat — late night calls always bear bad news. “More bombings, I can’t sleep. Israeli navy gunships are bombarding Gaza City’s Tel al-Hawa neighborhood, you know where Amo Musab lives, where he built his new house,” he says, referring to his cousin. Laila El-Haddad writes from the US

Hitting the wall

For exactly half my life, I’ve been angry and outspoken about the tragedy of Palestine. It seems like I’ve been shouting at a wall for the better part of three decades. The Electronic Intifada co-founder Laurie King reflects from Washington, DC

Nowhere to hide from the bombing

“You don’t know anymore; you don’t know who is alive, you feel you are in a trap, you don’t know who is a target,” said my friend and neighbor in Gaza City, journalist Taghreed El-Khodary. The fear resonated in her voice while she was on the phone to Al-Jazeera. Taghreed lives on a street near my parents. “Where to? Where can I go seek refuge to?” she continued. 

Trapped, traumatized and terrorized

My father and I made simultaneous back to back appearances on domestic CNN and CNN International last night. My father spoke calmly, eloquently, in the pitch dark of besieged Gaza, with only the the fire of Israeli bombs illuminating his world. “They are destroying everything that is beautiful and living,” he told the anchor. His hands were trembling, he confessed, as my mother and he lay on the floor of their home, where they moved their mattress far away from the windows. Laila El-Haddad writes from the US

For the sake of Gaza's 800,000 children

As I sit and view the reports, photos and live videos streaming in from Gaza I find it impossible to make sense of it all. As a boy growing up in Israel and attending a regular public school, I remember being taught the story of Abraham, the patriarch arguing with God over the decision to destroy the city of Sodom. Miko Peled writes from the US

Bloodied in Gaza as the world silently watches

“There is a complete blackout in Gaza now. The streets are as still as death.” I am speaking to my father, Moussa el-Haddad, a retired physician who lives in Gaza City, on Skype, from Durham, North Carolina in the United States, where I have been since mid 2006 — the month Gaza’s borders were hermetically sealed by Israel, and the blockade of the occupied territory further enforced. Laila El-Haddad writes from the US

The struggle is not over: Remembering Mohammed al-Kurd

The saying that a man’s home is his castle goes back to the 1500s. Whether it is a mansion or a mud hut, a home to which you can retreat and be safe is a basic human need. But since 2001, Abu Kamel (Mohammed al-Kurd), his wife and five children were forced to fight every day for the right to stay in the East Jerusalem home his family had lived in for decades. Pam Rasmussen remembers Abu Kamel. 

Do no harm: A torture victim remembers

I wasn’t really surprised by the watchdog group Physicians for Human Rights-Israel’s (PHR-I) latest intervention to Israel’s health ministry, in which they accused Israeli doctors of complicity in the torture of Palestinian detainees in Israeli interrogation centers. Indeed, it sounded all too familiar to what I experienced during 550 days of incarceration in a South African prison from 1990 through 1992. Naji Ali writes for EI

No time to celebrate

Frankly, I’ve always been a little uneasy about explicitly Jewish actions around Palestine. Isn’t this a human rights issue in which all voices are equally needed and valued? What difference does one’s background make when one is speaking up for justice? I worry that people will listen more to what a group of Jews has to say than to Palestinians and other activists. I don’t believe in a a special “Jewish position” on Palestine. Deborah Agre writes from San Francisco. 

No checkpoints in heaven

My father was a man who always defied the notion that one can only be the outcome of his circumstance. Expelled from his village at the age of 10, running barefoot behind his parents, he was instantly transferred from the son of a landowning farmer to a penniless refugee in a blue tent provided by the United Nations in Gaza. Ramzy Baroud remembers his father who passed away on 18 March.