Yasser Abu Moailek

A doctor of peace

On weekdays, he brings a new generation of Jewish Israelis to life. On weekends, he goes back to his Palestinian patients at the packed Jabaliya refugee camp to try and help them get appointments and transfers to the more developed Israeli hospitals. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, 51, gynecologist and obstetrician, is the first Palestinian doctor working at the Israeli Soroka University Hospital in the city of Beersheba. He goes through security checks and a multitude of checkpoints almost every day to reach his workplace. 

Palestinian blacksmith dreams of returning to job in Israel

On a sunny Friday afternoon, Tawfiq Saad sits in front of his house, drinking tea and watching his four children play in a small patch of land right across the house, near the northern border of the Gaza Strip, in the small town of Beit Lahiya. Suddenly, a thunderous sound echoes throughout the area, and clouds of smoke rise less than a hundred metres from his house. The terrified children dash to the house screaming. The youngest of them, five-year-old Najat, jumps into her father’s arms and starts crying. 

Hamas's militant arm turns to fighting internal chaos

20 May 2006- For many months now, people assumed that the militant arm of the Islamist movement Hamas, the Ezzeddin Al Qassam Brigades, had stopped its operations by orders of the political echelons of the movement. But recent events in Gaza City demonstrate that, in fact, this militant group is more active than ever. Its agenda, however, has changed. On 23 April, several Brigade members intervened to protect Palestinian Health Minister Basem Naim, from the Hamas-led government, when he was assaulted by several gunmen at his office in Gaza City. 

'TV on demand' all the rage in West Bank

The Abu Kmail family sat in their modest living room in the heart of Hebron city watching their favourite local TV station - their only pastime on a quiet evening, free of Israeli raids. The documentary being shown did not quite appeal to the taste of the two teenage sons, who wanted to watch an action movie instead. The father, municipal health inspector Awni Abu Kmail, quickly dialed a number and spoke briefly on the phone. Suddenly, the documentary was interrupted and an action movie began instead. 

Ex-car thief aims to revive business in Gaza

Abdel Rahman sat on a sand dune near the northern borders of the Gaza Strip, looking around the vast expanses of land that was once the Jewish settlement Eli Sinai. He moved his sight northwards over to the distant Israeli city of Ashkelon, and released a sigh. “This area was my main base of operations. We were very rich, but the fighting brought our business to its knees,” he said. Abdel Rahman once headed a large car theft ring in Gaza. He said he was not afraid of Palestinian and Israeli law enforcements. He said his “business” brought benefits to both sides and supported many families along the way. Stealing Israeli cars and smuggling them to Gaza emerged notably after the signing of the Oslo peace accords in 1993. 

Hamas and the PA at loggerheads

For a long time, relations between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Islamist movement Hamas have been tense. On September 30 these tensions finally boiled over. After a series of mysterious and still-disputed events, members of Hamas clashed with Palestinian police officers throughout Gaza City. Three Palestinians were reported killed, including a major in the Palestinian police, while more than 50 others, among them children, were injured. 

Israel's 'Sound' Terrorism

It all started with an explosion on September 23, at a military rally for the militant Palestinian movement Hamas - its last before declaring an end to all weapon displays in the streets of Gaza. Hamas leaders blamed Israel for the explosion, arguing that it was a bombing by unmanned spy drones targeting leaders in the movement. However, PA officials said that the explosion had actually resulted from a malfunctioning makeshift ‘Qassam’ rocket. On the same night, HAMAS sent 30 rockets into the Israeli town of Sderot. Five Israelis were reported injured in the heaviest rocket attack in more than six months. The Israeli response was fierce. 

Breaking psychological barriers

On the night of Sunday, September 11, two days before our trip, the last Israeli soldier left the Gaza Strip, ending 38 years of Israeli military occupation. All of a sudden, Egypt was open to Palestinians. We were standing there on the edge of what was a graveyard of man and stone - the no man’s zone in which many Palestinians had lost their lives at the hands of the Israeli army. We were seven friends and coworkers, some of which had come to verify the rumors in Gaza about unchecked crossing into Egypt, while others were tourists, making their very first trip outside the Gaza Strip. 

Gaza family's nightmare comes to an end

He was a happy man, gracefully making his way amid the guests who filled his living room, distributing smiles as well as juice, while sharing jokes and social talk, with a smile that would not leave his face. “Nafez Abu Nahyeh was reborn today,” whispered one of the guests, while pointing at their host, who took the center of a rustic couch with his four children, tickling the youngest and caressing the hair of the eldest. For more than three years the Abu Nahyehs were prisoners in their own home, after Israeli soldiers had commandeered their house, which is situated right next to the Jewish settlement Kfar Darom. 

In Gaza, the dead bury the dead

On September 10, after an Israeli incursion into the northern Gaza Strip that had left at least five dead and dozens wounded, I went to a Gaza City cemetery to look for a young gravedigger. I had met Mossab, a slim 18-year-old boy from Gaza City, a week earlier. He had long ago dropped out of school to pursue a profession that appeals to very few people, but which is catering to more and more youngsters in Gaza. In the city’s Sheikh Radwan cemetery, Mossab, along with several other boys, was employed to dig, guard and take care of the graves of the men, women and children that pack the graveyard.