Eóin Murray

Disengagement diary

There is certainly something in the air. Gunfire, cheering - general celebrations. Outside the al Shawa Convention Centre in the heart of el-Rimal distract of Gaza City there are marches - last night by Islamic Jihad - to celebrate the redeployment of the Israeli military. On Friday Fatah held another demonstration in Gaza City. Hamas have been practising for redeployment all week by letting off random explosions. Each side is trying to claim the redeployment for its own. The PLO Flag Shop in Gaza City is decked out with special t-shirts celebrating what they call “withdrawal”. There are Palestinian flags hanging outside the shop with “FREE GAZA” printed on them in black. 

Welcome to Costa-del-Gaza

The two sides of present-day Gaza are the poverty-stricken Palestinian population and the Israeli settlers who control about 45% of the land. But neither population is united; the divisions within each are as real as those between them. And the Israeli soldiers present in numbers to protect the settlers are now charged with overseeing their withdrawal - and if necessary, eviction - by August. The settlers are far from homogeneous. They include religious Zionists from Hebron, growing in numbers in the southern part of the Gaza settlement blocs, who believe that disengagement is a denial of the will of God; but there are also social-welfare recipients with their bags packed, who are ready to go upon payment of substantial compensation packages. What will Gaza become after Israeli occupation? Eóin Murray reports on embattled Jewish settlers and Palestinian fears. 

Lock down in Gaza

We are preparing now for lock down. I have this sense that perhaps a prison guard has in an American high security prison. I’ve seen it in the movies. The prisoners are causing too much trouble and you hear the heavy black boots of the guards stomp down the iron corridors. Then one of them shouts “lock down!” or some other phrase that hides the brutality of what is about to happen. Someone else pulls a huge switch and the sound of metal clanking metal is awesome. That’s the preparation now. The Israeli occupation army is building everywhere. I thought they were mean to be disengaging? Eóin Murray reports from Gaza. 

The Art of War

There is something about the art of war - not the methodology - but the art, that fascinates. People looking for a way of expressing the misery of warfare. It is, even if it deals directly with the topic of war, a way of escaping or, at the very least coping, with conflict. The real art of Gaza is on the streets, the art of resistance, the art of revolution and memory. Eóin Murray has fond memories of a trip to Derry for his Dads birthday in which they stood by Free Derry corner and were amazed by the amazing power of the house murals which surrounded them. There was a real sense that these murals expressed the fears and memories of the people and, in so doing, assisted them in their struggle for human and civil rights, for peace and for justice. 

Israel's revenge in Zaytoun, Gaza

Our taxi wove through the narrow streets of Gaza, our driver giving us a brief tour of the horrors.  We saw the house of Sheikh Yassin and the point where he was executed.  Demolished Mosques, homes and businesses point the direction to the Zaytoun neighbourhood in south central Gaza City. The past few nights have been sleepless.  The Israeli forces have attacked from land, sea and air.  My home, close to the sea, echoed and shook with the pounding of the shelling on the nearby Beach Camp.  Further into the centre of Gaza the people of Zaytoun (which means ‘olive’) have been imprisoned in the scene of some of the most intense fighting since the Intifada began.