Mohammed Omer

Kites rise above the divisions in Gaza

GAZA CITY, 15 June (IPS) - Mahmoud Abu Teior, 13, knows it’s Abdullah’s kite up in the skies, though he has never seen Abdullah. But that kite rises into the skies from across the Egyptian side of the border across from Gaza. And, Mahmoud knows Abdullah’s voice because they speak sometimes. They have never met, and likely never will, but they are connected through their kites. 

An award for the voiceless in Gaza

The siege of Gaza has many layers. I work here as a journalist, amid near-daily air and land assaults from Israel, amid the unending killings and destruction of land and livelihood, which are all made more unbearable by critical shortages of fuel, food, medicine, electricity for hospital machinery and electricity for my work. Recently I returned from fieldwork to find cheerful news from John Pilger: that I have won the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, along with my respected colleague Dahr Jamail. 

Siege hits Palestinians before they are born

GAZA CITY, 14 May (IPS) - The Israeli siege of Gaza that has restricted access to food, water and medicine is now beginning to hit unborn children and newborn babies. “Many babies are born suffering from anaemia that they have inherited from their mothers,” Dr Salah al-Rantisi, head of the women’s health department at the Palestinian ministry of health in Gaza told IPS. And the mothers are becoming anemic because they do not now get enough nutrition through pregnancy. 

Too quiet in Gaza's harbor

GAZA CITY, 6 May (IPS) - It’s been strangely quiet for some time at the port in Gaza. No clanging of hooks, no sounds of creaking cranes or of thumping of nets upon decks. Boat engines, normally puttering and spewing exhaust, lie entombed under covers. Of the 40,000 fishermen and others who make a living from the catch, only about 700 are still busy, according to the Fishing Syndicate in Gaza. The boats need oil, and Israel will not let the fishermen have it. 

Thousands attend funeral of slain Gaza journalist

GAZA CITY, 18 April (IPS) - Fadel Shana’a just had to go to the scene of the Israeli bombing. As a Reuters cameraman, that was his job. He wasn’t the only one killed, but through his pursuit of attacks as they happen, he was always more at risk than most others. Fadel Shana’a was killed Wednesday because he was in the firing line, but also because, eyewitnesses said, he had begun to film the tanks that were firing. A barrage of metal shrapnel pierced his body as a tank missile landed close to him. 

No ambulance, call the radio

GAZA CITY, 12 April - “I am bleeding uncontrollably, I need an ambulance.” That was not a call to emergency services, it was an appeal broadcast live on radio in Gaza City. Who knows whether there will ever be an ambulance or not. But this way the ambulance services still hear the appeal broadcast on al-Iman FM Radio Station, one of few independent radio stations in Gaza. And if the emergency services cannot help, someone else who hears the appeal might. 

Gaza running on near empty

GAZA CITY, 5 April (IPS) - Ayman Eid stands as motionless as his orange Hyundai taxi. Never mind taking a passenger somewhere, Ayman has no idea how he will ever get home. The queue at the petrol station seems endless. Drivers have run out of petrol even to queue up in their cars; they just queue up themselves, empty cans in hand. Only the lucky leave with a full can by the end of a day. 

In prison, who knows why?

GAZA CITY, 19 March (IPS) - You would think the baby boy named Yousef has his life ahead of him. But who knows, with a child born to Palestinian parents from Gaza. What’s more, Yousef was born in an Israeli prison. He is the only one of Fatima al-Zeq’s nine children who is with her for that reason — she was arrested nine months ago. But these days the baby is not with her. 

No day is women's day in Gaza

GAZA CITY, 7 March (IPS) - Mahasen Darduna suffers in ways the world recognizes; her suffering comes at the hands of the Israelis. But there are many Palestinian women whose suffering the world does not see, because their hell is inflicted on them by fellow Palestinians. One way or another, no day is woman’s day in Gaza. For a week, Mahasen Darduna, 30, has sat day and night by her son’s bedside in the hospital. The boy, Yahiya, nine, was among a group of children hit by an Israeli missile while playing football on a field at the Jabaliya refugee camp. 

Trade union building targeted in Gaza

GAZA CITY, 4 March (IPS) - Two F-16 missiles were all it took to bring down the five-story headquarters of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions. The Union, established in 1965, is one of the forerunners of the movement calling for an international boycott of Israel, and imposition of sanctions on it until Israel meets its obligations over UN resolutions, borders, and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.