Monday, May 23, 2016

Cement Entering Gaza After Absense for Two Months

The Israeli authorities finally decided to allow cement to be entered into Gaza after it been disallowed for two months. Large quantities of cement have been crossed through the Kerem Shalom border in the east of Rafah city. The Palestinian director of the border Moneer Ghalban assured that the process of entering cement into Gaza had officially started since early morning today. He also stated that 70 trucks carrying 2000 - 2500 tons of cement were supposed to be allowed to enter Gaza emphasizing that those quantities are meant for private and public construction projects only.  

Mr. Ghalban also said that the security officials and the Ministry of National Economy in Gaza are exerting all the necessary efforts to ensure the protection of cement consumers and penalize the traders who attempt to increase the purchase prices of cement. In fact, lots of people in Gaza have been waiting for cement in order to continue rehabilitating their houses which were destroyed during the last offensive on Gaza in 2014. It is expected that cement will continue being allowed to be entered into Gaza during the upcoming few days. 

It is important to remind that the Israeli PM Netanyahu decided on April 19 to stop allowing for cement to enter Gaza since he claimed that it is used by the militant groups for building tunnels used for military purposes. However, Netanyahu's decision has caused a dramatic increase of the suffering of Gaza people after the house repairing and rehabilitation projects were completely stopped. Those people whose houses were destroyed during the last war have been living with their children in the streets of Gaza as a result of the delays in delivering the cement needed for rebuilding their houses. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Israeli Intelligence "Shabak" Attempting to Recruit Gaza Fishermen

I preferred to write this post to show the extent of suffering lived by the Gaza fishermen and how the Israeli Intelligence attempts to recruit them in return to facilitating their work in the sea. Any fisherman refusing to collaborate with the Shabak could face one of three possible fates: Getting murdered, prosecuted, or becoming poorer. In fact, the Shabak has been recently extending their attempts even to recruit the members of families of Gaza fishermen through fake phone calls. I have heard recently the story of the wife of the fisherman Ahmed Hamed who received a phone call from someone claiming to be the representative of an Arabic charity. The caller told her that she was selected to get a temporary job and asked her to dial a number for getting more information about the salary and the procedures of starting the job. Ahmed's wife started for while to think that this could be a life saving opportunity for her family which has been suffering from extreme poverty since her husband was not allowed by the Israelis to practice his fishing job for several years. However, after a while, she started getting worried about phone call she received and decided to tell her husband about everything. When the husband, Ahmed, did some search about it, he discovered that three similar phone calls were received by the families of other fishermen and that the caller was just an officer from the Shabak which was assured by an investigation made by the local Palestinian security authorities. 

One of the other fishermen who also faced an attempt of being recruited by the Shabak is the 44-year old Ahmed Najjar. He refused to collaborate with the Shabak despite the promises of being given a permission to practice his fishing at restricted areas in the sea. As a result of his refusal to work as a collaborator, he got his sailing tools and ship being completely destroyed by the Israeli Navy and got arrested for two days before being released.
According to the Association of Palestinian Fishermen, Ahmed's story is one of lots of similar stories of Shabak attempts to recruit fishermen as collaborators and that these attempts have been escalating since 2015. It has also been recorded that the Israeli Navy had killed 12 Palestinian fishermen since 2000, injured 100, and prosecuted 420 fishermen.  

The continuous restrictions and barriers placed by the Israeli Navy in front of Gazan fishermen are believed to be important factors that play a major role in escalating the violence between the IDF and the militants in Gaza.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Gaza Student Awarded a Visit to NASA

This story is about a Gazan secondary school student Khaled Shehada who has an ambition of getting a Nobel Prize in Medicine through the use of technology to reduce the suffering of the patients in Gaza Strip. Such an ambition of Fadi did not come from nothing. It was initiated from a hard situation that made him more resilient and persistent to reach the tip of the science pyramid.

Shehada has recently achieved the first position in Gaza Strip and the tenth in Palestine in a scientific competition that was organized by Al Nayzak Organization for Supporting Education and Scientific Innovation. The competition was held in the frame of a Robotic Design project which involved the participation of a large group of state schools across the country. As a result of the successful achievement shown by Shehada during the competition, he was selected to receive the award of making a scientific visit to NASA and Maryland University. The visit is going to include participating in training workshops in Physics and Engineering fields that aim to develop the capacities of the participating students in their practical and scientific endeavors. 

The competition which Shehada was part of is held in cooperation with the Palestinian Ministry of Education in the frame of the Palestinian Youth Science and Technology Program. This program aims to develop and nurture the innovative ideas of school students of 9-11 grades in different disciplines of engineering, technology, and applied sciences. The winners of the competition are then selected to join a delegation for participating in special activities related to Space, Science, and Engineering within specialized scientific institutes in the United States.  The competition is supported by the General American Consulate in Jerusalem in partnership with the Excellence and Innovation Council.

طالب من غزة يفوز بجائزة رحلة لوكالة ناسا

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Youth Enforcing International Institutions to Close Doors in Gaza on Nakba Anniversary

A group of Palestinian youth in Gaza succeeded in closing the doors of a number of international organizations operating in the strip as an anger expression on the 68th anniversary of the Nakba. The protesting youth hanged a paper saying "Closed By Youth's Order" on the doors of the targeted institutions including United Nations Development Program (UNDP). This is a step taken by the protesters to show their objection on the avoidance of the United Nations to hold their responsibilities towards the conditions of the Palestinian refugees.

Fadi Yousef, one of the protestors, stated: "We are following this symbolic step of closing the UN office as an attempt to show our condemnation of the frequent attacks made by the Israeli Army forces and the settlers against our people in Gaza Strip and the West Bank".

Fadi has called upon the UN to hold its moral and legal responsibilities towards the Palestinian people. He also indicated that the closure of the doors of these organizations will be only for one day to put pressure on the UN to have a clear position in the mid of the frequent Israeli atrocities. Another guy said that the goal of the protest is to emphasize on the right of return for the Palestinian refugees and to show objection on compromising any of the legal rights of the Palestinian people.  

شبان غاضبون يغلقون مؤسسات دولية في غزة | شبكة رعد الإخبارية

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A 35 year old Gaza woman leading her successful accessory making business

Fatma Abu Daya, a 35 year old housewife telling the story of her resilience and success in the mid of the bad economic conditions in Gaza: “I learned by myself and have become able to run my own business. My kids have become professional producers like me despite the absence of their father who has been out of the country for 4 years looking for a job. After my husband left us, the situation started to become more difficult. I had no option but to sell the house furniture and my personal belongings to cover the expenses of my children. However, I did not surrender and started to take some professional courses in making embroidery and manual arts productions. I now became able to produce my own artistic products and sell them in several markets.”

Fatma added: "When I was going to the market, I used to watch the expensive accessories which I had no enough money to buy. However, I learned how to design and make these accessories through watching educational online videos. I then started to gradually design some small pieces such as rings and nickles which have gained the admiration of everyone. I then suggested to one of my friends to use the same methodology to design accessories for a shoe which I succeeded in. When I found myself becoming more successful in this field, I decided to develop a special Facebook page for marketing my hand made accessories and products. Immediately, I received many requests from customers who wanted to buy my promoted accessories. I even have become unable to satisfy all the requests I receive due to its huge amount. Some of the requests come from customers in the West Bank asking me to deliver them large quantities of my products". 

This is just a story of one of the Palestinian women who did not surrender to the bad economic situation of Gaza. Lots of women like Fatma are now running their own businesses which cover several working fields including even harder ones. I've recently heard of some women starting to work as carpenters and their products even started penetrating the local market with high competition against the products made by many professional male carpenters. This situation, in my view point, reflect the fact that the Palestinian woman is allowed to occupy all different positions in their communities without being exposed to any objections as some people falsely claim. 


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hot Weather In absence of Electricity Have Increased Suffering of Gaza People

 The Gaza Strip is being affected by the extremely hot weather that has been hitting the country since the begining of the current week. This is happening at the same time of no sufficient electricity being available in the houses of the Gazan people after the breakdown of one of the electricity transmission lines coming from Egypt.

The hot weather is caused by the seasonal Indian on the Sham countries including Palestine. According to the weather monitoring authorities, the weather will keep being in hot status and the temperature is expected to be higher than its annual averages by 5-7 Celsius degrees.

Such a wave further increased the suffering of the Gaza people especially those having no electricity at homes for more than 12 continuous hours a day. The people living in the city of Rafah have been affected the most and their suffering has been increased due to the shut off of the Egyptian Electricity lines which they depend on since 3 years. Mr. Abu Al Ez, a citizen living in the Tal Al Sultan area in Rafah, says "The cutting off of electricity for long hours has increased our suffering to the extent that we have become unable to stay in our houses because of the hot weather". "We go out and return to our houses finding no electricity. This is an unbearable situation and makes us extremely frustrated. There must be a solution for this problem and the suffering we have been living in for more than 10 years" He added while returning back to home from work.

The story of Mr. Abu Al Ez is not that different from the story of the old man Subi who sat on a wood chair in front of his house which is built of metal slices. Mr. Subhi says while putting on his head a piece of textile dryed with water "I escaped from the house because of the high temperature and the cut off of electicity for long hours".   

The Egyptian Electricity lines feeding the city of Rafah in the south of Gaza strip were shut down yesterday evening as a result of technical failure in the central electricity station in Areesh. The egyptian company has been providing Rafah with 28 Mega Watt of electricity since several years. This has helped in alleviating the electricity problem which Gaza has been suffering from since 2006.

تزامناً مع موجة الحر .. انقطاع الكهرباء زاد معاناة سُكان غزة


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Long Electricity Daily Cutoff Periods Increasing the Suffering of Gaza People

Since the start of the economic siege on Gaza in 2007, people have started suffering from long periods of electricity cutoffs that sometimes hit the level of more than 12 hours per day. Besides the consequent shut down of many active businesses, absence of electricity has caused lots of people to feel bored and disappointed all the time during the day especially when they are being deprived of any other entertainment activities in their daily life. Several cases have been reported of unemployed people setting themselves on fire because of the bad conditions of having no jobs, no entertainment, and no electricity. As a result of the continuous cutoff of electricity, many businessmen directed their interests in running solar energy generation projects. However, the cost of installing a solar energy system to produce sufficient electricity for a house in Gaza may reach about 3000 USD which is an unaffordable amount for more than 80% of the Gaza population. Therefore, some people have no option other than using generators or candles to at least produce sufficient lightning in their homes at night times. However, people coming from vulnerable backgrounds who cannot afford buying a generator use candles for this purpose. The use of candles have unfortunately caused the full burning of several houses in Gaza which resulted in the death of more than 10 children so far!

The major cause of the Gaza electricity problem is the continuous absence of the natural gas needed for the proper operation of the Electricity Generating company. Israel which is responsible for providing Gaza being under its occupation with all its necessary needs does not allow for the passage of sufficient amounts of natural gas needed for electricity generation. The Israeli officials use this to put more pressure on the people of Gaza to set a revolution against the ruling government of Hamas in Gaza.

كهرباء غزة: عودة جدول الـ8 ساعات اليوم

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Unemployment Rate Among Gaza Graduates Hitting 40%!

 Graduates in Gaza Strip are encountering a highly difficult situation in their job search upon completion of their studies. According to the recent statistics of the Ministry of National Economy, the unemploymate rate among the graduates in Gaza has become more than 40%. Moreover, the labor market has become incapable of employing new graduates due to the weakness of national production. More than 80% of the local factories operating in various fields have been shut due to the high competition of the products being imported from overseas markets.

Dr. Mohamed Salibi, who graduated with a PhD in Telecommunications Engineering from a Turkish University three years ago, did not find a job opportunity in one of the Gaza universities. The 29 year old Doctor who is currently working as a Taxi driver says "I got my PhD with distinction from a leading university in Turkey. However, I could not find a job neither in a university nor in a governmental institution". He adds "I have applied to all jobs related to my field of study and presented all the certificates of my academic and industrial experience with my applications. I have even applied for jobs that require people with only bachelor and diploma degrees until I have decided to start looking for jobs through Graduate Employment Programs". During the period of his studies, Dr. Mohamed always wished to return back to Gaza in order to apply the skills and knowledge he gained for the benefit of Gaza. He unfortunately found a situation that constituted a major barrier in front of achieving his ambition.

The story of Dr. Salibi is not that different from the story of the 29- year old graduate Awad Ahmed who also got a PhD Degree in the same field from a strong university in Malaysia. Upon completion of his studies which lasted for three years, he thought of returning to work as a telecommunication engineer in Gaza but was astonished by the difficult situation of the graduates in the city. Dr. Awad stated that he started writing petitions to the leading Palestinian figures and officials but nothing has been given to him except promises for being considered in future times. He also stated that all of the ambitions and plans he has held for several years have now been destroyed.

دكتوراة في هندسة الإتصالات ويعمل سائقاً : شبح البطالة يُخيم على حملة شهادات"الدراسات العليا" في غزة

Friday, May 13, 2016

Opening of Rafah Border after 85 days!

The people of the Gaza strip have got only two gates to use for traveling abroad. One of the gates is controlled by Israel that has been placing a highly strict siege on Gaza for 10 years now. The Israelis put very strict criteria to issue people permits to leave Gaza through its Erez crossing. These criteria are only related to people with humanitarian cases. Other people such as students and many patients have no other way out except via the Rafah Border with Egypt. This border has been completely shut by the Egyptian authorities since the winning of Mursi in the presidential elections. Just only yesterday, the authorities in Egypt have announced their intention to open the boarder for the first time since 85 days and it will only be open for two days. Many people who have urgent reasons for travel have felt very happy when hearing the news about the reopening of the border and started packing their bags for travel. However, not all of them were allowed to travel. The difficulties and suffering of people have reached to the level that some of them were even asked to pay monetary bribes to Egyptian officials in order to allow them to travel. Some people had no other option but to pay such bribes which sometimes reached 1000 - 4000 USD. People coming from poor and vulnerable backgrounds were not able to pay such large amounts of money and therefore denied access via the border. The below picture shows some people shouting at the Egyptians just as a protest of their rejection of the ways they are being treated on the boarder. Many of them have even organized protests in front of the headquarters of international human rights organizations as an attempt to raise their voice and spread the word of their suffering to the whole world.  

Gaza crossing briefly opened by Egypt, but even cancer patients remain caged