// A series of articles on Palestine
    Peace be upon you,
    Welcome to Madinat Al-Muslimeen, the City of the Muslims. Please feel free to visit the different hot spots around the Madina and post any discussion, articles, suggestions, comments, art, poetry, events, recipes, etc etc. Basically anything you would like to share with your sisters and brothers!! Non-muslims are also of course quite welcome to share their comments. If this is your first time here, you need to register with the city council. Once you register you have 15 days to post your mandatory introduction and then you will be upgraded to a Madina Citizen, God Willing. Please note that our city does have regulations which are listed in the city constitution. Read them carefully before moving in. P.S. - You can also post anonymously if you wish. P.S.S. - Also be sure to check out our ARCHIVES from 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007. :)

Random Quote: Lonliness is better than bad company. -Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: A series of articles on Palestine  (Read 594 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Tabriz
Sis
Jr. Member
*

Reputation Power: 7
Tabriz has no influence :(
Gender: Female
Posts: 54


« on: Jan 03, 2009 10:05 PM »


I will keep adding to this. If anyone wants to add more stories, like personal stories to this please do so.

If the Jews can come back thousands of years later from all over Eastern Europe to lay claim to a land that no longer was theirs, why do they believe that Palestinians will easily give up what is theirs?


Laila Al-Arian on Gaza

To Live and Die in Gaza

12.30.2008 | The Nation
By Laila Al-Arian

On Sunday morning, I found out through a note my friend wrote on Facebook, that the Israeli Air Force was attacking my grandfather's neighborhood in Gaza. Safa, who lives near my grandfather in the densely-populated "Asqoola" in Gaza City, recounted the harrowing hours she spent terrorized by what she called "the constant, ominous, maddening, droning sound" of Apache helicopters flying above. "Outside my home, which is close to the two largest universities in Gaza, a missile fell on a large group of young men, university students," Safa wrote over the weekend. "They'd been warned not to stand in groups--it makes them an easy target--but they were waiting for buses to take them home. Seven were killed."

My family had been trying to speak with my grandfather since Saturday, after Israel began its onslaught on Gaza. But we haven't managed to reach him, perhaps not surprising since so many phone lines are down. "Hold one moment," is all we hear. A computerized directive from the phone company, one that sounds increasingly strident the more it's repeated. "Hold one moment." My mother hangs up in frustration, unable to ease her anxiety or clear her mind from worst-case scenario thoughts.

My grandfather moved to Gaza five years ago after living all over the Middle East for almost fifty years. As far as he was concerned, it was always a matter of time before he'd find his way back to his birthplace. He was born in Gaza City in 1933. Both of his parents died of cancer by his fifth birthday, so he was raised by four older sisters. The Gaza he knew during his childhood was transformed by the establishment of Israel in 1948. Following their forced expulsion from villages and cities across the country, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians streamed into the tiny coastal strip. Most of the refugees relied on assistance from the newly-created United Nations Relief and Works Agency to survive, and jobs were hard to come by. My grandfather was thus forced to move to other Arab countries so he could provide for his young family. By 1958, he had married my grandmother, a refugee from Jaffa whose father, a policeman, had been killed by Zionist paramilitaries ten years earlier. My grandfather took her and their one-year-old son to Saudi Arabia, where he taught Arabic to schoolchildren.

Leaving his beloved Gaza was painful for my grandfather, but he was left with no other choice. Because he was never allowed to become a citizen of any of the four Arab countries in which he worked and lived, my grandfather never felt at home. In his mind, they were transitory stops, temporary resting places on the way to Return. He would save as much as he could from his meager salary so he'd have enough money to take his family to Gaza for summer visits. After years of living modestly, he was able to buy a quarter of an acre of land on Gaza's coast near the Mediterranean Sea.

My grandfather was sitting in a cafe with a group of friends in the coastal city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia when he heard that Israel captured Gaza in the June 1967 war. His face went pale and he fainted from the shock. The Israeli Army's occupation meant Gaza was lost. But in practical terms the news had another catastrophic effect: the Israeli military authorities decreed that any Palestinian who was not in Gaza before the war was not recognized as a resident of the strip.

My grandfather became a US citizen in 1999. By the time he passed his citizenship exam, his knowledge of American history and governance rivaled my own. Three of his children had moved here years earlier, and started their own families. Though my mother begged him to live here with her, my grandfather's dream of returning to Gaza never left him - and it was his American citizenship that helped him do just that.

When he finally moved back to Gaza, my grandfather changed. He stopped a lifelong habit of chain smoking and embraced the outdoors, faithfully tending the garden in his courtyard. He drank mint tea in his nephews' vineyard and ate from the fig trees he could only dream about years before. But he was also dismayed by the changes he observed. His hometown had become so overcrowded that trees were cut down to make room for more buildings. With more than 10,000 people per square mile, it has the highest population density in the world. (Considering Gaza's overcrowded environment, it is hard to fathom how anyone can argue that Israeli's aerial bombardment is focused exclusively on "Hamas targets.")

My grandfather, throughout his life, never belonged to any political factions, but like many Gazans he hoped that Hamas' election would bring back a semblance of law and order. Palestinian Authority officials had been dogged by allegations of corruption since they began administering Gaza and the West Bank under the 1993 Oslo accords. To many Gazans, the PA and its minions were no better than gangsters.

With Israel's draconian blockade of Gaza, imposed as punishment for the election of Hamas and backed by the US and Europe, my grandfather's life was transformed yet again. Medication to treat his diabetes was in short supply and because of a shortage of gas and electricity, his family was forced to use primitive kerosene burners for cooking. Bakeries now had to resort to baking bread with animal feed and sewage treatment plants were crippled as fuel ran out, forcing the water authority to dump millions of liters of waste into the Mediterranean Sea. Electricity was scarce, with homes receiving an average of only six hours a day. Unemployment shot up to 67 percent. Because of the border closures, my grandfather's nephews, who used to work in construction in Israel, now had no source of income. Israel's blockade caused a slow starvation of the entire population, as malnutrition rates spiked upwards of 75 percent among the strip's 1.5 million residents. As in most siege situations, children suffered the most from hunger and disease.

As missiles rain over Gaza, I can only imagine what my grandfather is thinking. Much of the territory's civilian infrastructure, including police stations, universities, mosques and homes, has been decimated. In the Jabalya refugee camp, five sisters, the eldest aged seventeen and the youngest only four, were killed on Monday as they slept in their beds when an Israeli air strike hit a mosque by their home. Their parents told reporters they assumed they were safe, since houses of worship typically are not military targets. The cemetery where the girls were buried was filled to capacity, so they were placed in three graves. A United Nations spokesperson said the killing is a "tragic illustration that this bombardment is exacting a terrible price on innocent civilians." The bereaved father expressed the sentiments of so many in Gaza in an interview with the Washington Post. "I don't have anything to do with any Palestinian faction. I have nothing to do with Hamas or anyone. I am just an ordinary person." A few days after the attack, I found out that the girls were relatives of our family friends in Florida.

I asked my mother why my grandfather did not leave Gaza while its gates were still open. Why he didn't leave before the siege, before life became unbearable, and before this latest bombardment. "Because that's where he feels he belongs," she said. "He was always homesick before. Gaza is where his parents were buried. It's where he wants to die."

About Laila Al-Arian

Laila Al-Arian is a freelance journalist and co-author, with Chris Hedges, of Collateral Damage: America's War Against Iraqi Civilians (Nation Books), based on their 2007 Nation article "The Other War." more...
Tabriz
Sis
Jr. Member
*

Reputation Power: 7
Tabriz has no influence :(
Gender: Female
Posts: 54


« Reply #1 on: Jan 04, 2009 03:50 AM »


The following is from Laila. Here is a short biography about her, in her own words:

I am a Palestinian from Gaza. I am a Muslim. I am a journalist. I am a mother. This blog is about the trials of raising my children between spaces and identities-Gaza, the US, Lebanon, Haifa, while working as a journalist, and everything that entails from potty training to border crossings. My husband is a Palestinian refugee denied his right of return to Palestine, and thus OUR right to family life. Together, we endure a lot, and the personal becomes political. This is our story.

LAND OFFENSIVE BEGINS IN GAZA

We just came back from a protest in Durham...before we left my father called to let me know a land invasion was imminent, and that a bomb had been destroyed a mosque near them-killing 11 civilians.

He just now informed me that a land invasion HAS BEGUN. Everyone is bracing themselves.

hHe said Israel destroyed 3 JAWAL centers (the mobile provider) so many mobile phhones, including his own, are down, but his landline is functional..

He tells me that a building behind my cousin's house in Gaza City was destroyed, and is now burning down in a voracious fire. It had an orphanage in it.

My mother says she won't lie..they are terrified.

Flares and firebombs are being shot to light up the sky. Propaganda fliers telling the people of Gaza that "they chose Hamas and and Hamas has abandoned them"; that "Hamas will lead them to catastrophe"' superimposed on an image of a bombed-out building; and calling on them to "take charge of their destiny" adn to call a given phone number or email with tips and then a warning to call "in secrecy" (thanks for the tip). Israel is also broadcasting on al-Aqsa TV station there.

My father tells me Gaza's streets are as "dark as Kohl".
Tabriz
Sis
Jr. Member
*

Reputation Power: 7
Tabriz has no influence :(
Gender: Female
Posts: 54


« Reply #2 on: Jan 05, 2009 04:59 AM »

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/the-death-and-life-of-my-father-1225793.html

The death and life of my father

For Fares Akram, The Independent's reporter in Gaza, the Israeli invasion became a personal tragedy when he discovered his father was one of the first casualties of the ground war

By Fares Akram in Gaza
Monday, 5 January 2009

The phone call came at around 4.20pm on Saturday. A bomb had been dropped on the house at our small farm in northern Gaza. My father was walking from the gate to the farmhouse at the time. It was our beloved place, that farm and its two-storey white house with a red roof. Nestled in a flat fertile agricultural plain north-west of Beit Lahiya, it had lemon groves, orange and apricot trees and we had recently acquired 60 dairy cows.


It was the closest farm to the northern border with Israel. Ironically, we always thought the biggest danger there was not from Israeli troops, who usually went straight past if they were mounting an incursion, but from stray Hamas rockets aimed at the Israeli towns north of us.

But shortly before sunset on Saturday, as Israeli ground troops and tanks invaded Gaza in the name of shutting down Hamas rocket sites, the peace of that place was shattered and my father's life extinguished at the age of 48. Warplanes and helicopters had swept in, bombing and firing to open up the space for the tanks and ground forces that would follow in the darkness. It was one of those F16 airstrikes that killed my father.

The house was reduced to little more than powder, and of Dad there was nothing much left either. "Just a pile of flesh," my uncle, who found him in the rubble, said later with brutal honesty.

Like most Gazans, my mother, my sisters and my wife – who is nine months' pregnant – and I have spent the past week of the Israeli onslaught trapped inside our flat in the city. But my father had decided to stay up at the farm; he knew it would be impossible to get back to tend the livestock if the expected troop invasion began. But he called us every day.

The last time I saw him was on Thursday when he brought cash and a bag of flour. We talked about the imminent birth of my first child and how we would get my wife, Alaa, to hospital amid the bombing and chaos. Of course, on Saturday evening there was no hope of getting an ambulance up to the farm because the roads were cut off by the Israelis. So my uncle and brother drove the 8km and the rest of us sat, in shock, shivering in the dark apartment, bed covers over us to keep warm, the sound of non-stop tank shelling around us. Deep down we all knew Dad was dead. He would have been in or near the house, and if an F16 strikes directly at your house you know what it means.

They arrived to find a smoking pile of rubble. Most of the cows lay dead; others had run off injured. Mahmoud, a teenage relative, was with my father when the Israeli bomb smashed into the house. The force of the airstrike threw him 300 metres. They found Mahmoud's body in a neighbour's field.

We buried my father and Mahmoud yesterday morning in a very quick funeral, knowing Israeli tanks were just 3km away, on the outskirts of the city. We could hear the rattle of the machine-gun fire accompanying the tanks. The Israelis may say there were militants in the area of our farm, but I'll never believe it. The most advanced point for rocket-launchers is 6km south. Up at the border, it is just open farmland with nowhere to hide.

My father, Akrem al-Ghoul, was no militant. Born in Gaza and educated in Egypt, he was a lawyer and a judge who worked for the Palestinian Authority. After Hamas took over, he quit and turned to agriculture. Dad's father, Fares, who had been driven out of his home in what is now Israeli Ashkelon in 1948, had bought the land in the 1960s.

During the second intifada and until the Israelis withdrew from Gaza in 2005, the farm was taken over by Israeli settlers, but after 2005 we went there every holiday. In Gaza, the only escape is the beach or, if you are lucky enough, the farmland. My father hated what Hamas was doing to Gaza's legal system, introducing Islamist justice, and he completely opposed violence. He would have worked hard for a just settlement with Israel and a better future for Palestinians. When the PA gained control over the West Bank, he moved to Ramallah to help establish the courts there.

My grief carries no desire for revenge, which I know to be always in vain. But, in truth, as a grieving son, I am finding it hard to distinguish between what the Israelis call terrorists and the Israeli pilots and tank crews who are invading Gaza. What is the difference between the pilot who blew my father to pieces and the militant who fires a small rocket? I have no answers but, just as I am to become a father, I have lost my father.
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to: