Sami Abu Salem

Can You Describe Your Emotions when a Missile Falls Beside Your Baby?

The three-day-old baby Mohammed and his 23-year-old mother Asam were sleeping in their room when an Israeli missile hit their house early this morning in the heart of Jabalia refugee camp, north Gaza. “I do not believe [it], the rocket fallen from the sky near sons and daughter; it is a miracle it did not blow up,” said Husseini Abu Salem, 46, the grandfather of Mohammed. Shadi Abu Salem, the father of the baby, said he has just entered his room when the rocket hit the house. 

A short trip to Gaza made them orphans

It is just an old house at the northern edge of Khan Younis, in the south Gaza Strip. Its asbestos ceiling, wrinkled walls, and old wooden doors ridden with holes reflect the cruel poverty of Abdelqader Ahmed, 57. His 80-year-old mother, Fadhiyya Ahmed, spent yesterday in one of her favorite pastimes - being with her family. Sons, daughters, grandsons, and sons-in-law gathered around her, celebrating the return of her son Zakariyya from Saudi Arabia. 

Black Weekend, Bloody Mud, and White Sand

The tears have not yet left the innocent face of one astonished girl, Huda Ghalia, 12, who lost 7 members of her family yesterday, while they enjoyed their weekend at the shore in the town of Beit Lahia, north of Gaza. Huda and her sisters and brothers were happily enjoying their first weekend together without thinking of homework, as they recently completed their school exams. The Ghalia family went to a less populated area at the northern part of the beach, where white sand dunes and little wild plants were scattered. 

Gaza artist opens "Fathers" exhibition

Mr. Alain Rémy, the French Consul General in Jerusalem, and Moein Sadeq, the deputy general of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquity (MTA) joined many people, including children, to gather under fluttering Palestinian and French flags at the door of the little museum of Qasr Albasha in the old city of Gaza. They gathered not for politics, but to celebrate the new exhibition, “Fathers,” by the Gazan artist Taysir Batniji, hosted at the museum under the patronage of the French Cultural Centre (CCF) and the MTA

Romantic moments under artillery

The charming fragrance of lemon filled the area when my wife and I were on the roof enjoying the warm breeze last night in Jabalia Refugee Camp, north of Gaza. My wife, Suha, was happy with the scene of the moon in the middle of the partially cloudy sky and the aura of sanctity. Suha’s eyes were glittering and her beautiful smile was shining in the middle of darkness. We were chatting and exchanging jokes. The innocent laughs of my wife added a special taste to the romantic moment. Suddenly, the explosions literally rocked the ground of my apartment building. The Israeli artillery shot tens of rockets on “unoccupied areas!” 

Gazan poets gather for reading on eve of Ramadan

Lanterns and old-fashioned lamps dangled from the wood ceiling over hundreds of citizens gathered on the eve of Ramadan (the month of fasting for Muslims) to attend night of poetry recitation by young poets. The four young poets were in a semi-competition to win the most applause from the officials and ordinary citizens who were enthusiastic to spend this unique time far from politics. The night of poetry recitation, “There is a Room for Happiness”, was organized by the Rahala Association. 

Rafah: A new kind of tears in the rubble

For more than five minutes the grandmother of 19-year-old Khaled Al-Najjar has not stopped hugging or kissing him in the Salahiddine (Philadelphi) corridor on the Palestinian-Egyptian border. “I have not seen my grandson for 11 years. The Israelis prevented me from traveling to Egypt and prevented my grandson from entering Gaza,” said the crying grandmother. Khaled is a Palestinian resident of the Egyptian city of Al-Arish, with half of his family in Gaza and the other half in Egypt. The last time they met each other was in 1993. 

Children of Gaza happy for "Bigger Prison"

Despite the hot weather in Gaza, thousands of Palestinian citizens poured Monday into the evacuated colonies at the northern tip of the Gaza Strip. Elderly, youth, children, fishermen, farmers and family members were keen to have a historical look at the three settlements of Duggit, Eli Sinai and Nissanit. Fishermen pushed their boats into the sea, while hobbyists installed their fishhooks at the shore. Parents toured among the rubble of Duggit while teenagers were planting Palestinian and other different colored flags on the telegraph poles of the destroyed electric network. Sami Abu Salem writes from Gaza. 

"Key of Return", a Marriage Gift in Gaza

“I was 17-year-old when I was arrested, I spent four years and a half in Israeli prisons, on the charge of fighting Israeli occupation. Through making keys, I feel as I am still fighting for my rights.” He said that his “biggest dream” is to return to his grandfather’s house. “I hope the UN resolution 194 will be implemented, to be able to return to our home and to be a warded compensation for tens of years living as a refugee.” Nasser Flaifel tells about his own way of commemorating the 57th anniversary of Nakba, his adherence to the right of return, and how he makes keys to remind us and the world that Palestinians will never forget their right to return. 

Palestinian workers under "moral terror"

In the heart of Jabalia Refugee Camp, there was no more room in the two-room 50 square meters house of Mahmoud Al-Dhabous 42. He is an unemployed father of 7 children, lost his work because he refused to “betray his people.” The washbasin in the kitchen is broken. The door of the bathroom is full of holes while the two rooms packed with sleeping children, clothes and books. Al-Dhabous is a sample of thousands of Palestinian workers the Israeli intelligence have been trying to recruit them as traitors for a permission of work inside Israel. For nine consecutive years, Al-Dhabous has worked for a factor of greenhouses in the industrial zone of “Eretz”. He has been jobless for more than a year. The Israeli intelligence prevented him from working as he refused to “collaborate”.