Julie Webb-Pullman reports

Gaza

Hemaya: Gaza Inquiry appointments raise questions

PRESS RELEASE
Hemaya Center for Human Rights

hemaya logo (400 x 107)

Hemaya Center for Human Rights is deeply concerned about the events leading to the resignation of Professor William Schabas as Chair of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, and his replacement by Ms Mary McGowan Davis.

We consider that best practice requires that potential conflicts of interest are explored PRIOR to appointment to such inquiries, and we are most concerned that this appears not to have been the case in regard to Professor Schabas. We remain concerned that it has also not been the case re Ms McGowan Davis, given her hasty appointment. (more…)


Huda hits Gaza hard

Laila

This storm Huda is truly the most terrifyingly noisy, bitterly cold and miserable storm imaginable.

Even in a house with fully-glazed windows shut, the wind whistles seemingly straight through them. Imagine how it is for the thousands of families with plastic (if it has not blown away), wood, rusty iron sheets for windows, or none at all – if I couldn’t sleep with four walls, a roof and theoretically intact windows then how could anyone with less? Imagine Gaza’s homeless’ night of bitter hopelessness…

The gusts were so strong I thought the windows were going to blow in. I could not decide whether to drag a mattress into the internal room away from the windows and risk my core body temperature dropping to a hypothermic level, or staying where I was huddled under a quilt and blanket, four layers of clothing and socks, with a coat on and a woollen shawl over my head, where at least I was maintaining an almost normal temperature. Imagine what it was like to be in the ruins of part-destroyed houses – maybe one or two walls, a bit of roof or nylon above your head if it hasn’t been ripped away by the wind – or even just a tent, which thousands of Gazans are forced to live in? With only the few clothes they were able to salvage from the dust and destruction of their homes?

Even with all my windows closed, the wind still forced the rain in, and it still lays in pools on the floor of two rooms. Even with internal doors closed and towels rolled and stuffed along the bottom to stop the draughts the towels literally flew across the floor halfway into the room. The wind even whistled between the joins in the wood of the doors. The internal room, even with all doors closed, was like a wind tunnel. Imagine a room with two walls…or none at all.

How can this family stay warm in this house in Beit Hanoun?

How can this family stay warm in this house in Beit Hanoun?

I took my chances and stayed in my bed – but I could not sleep – the noise was terrifying, the gusts battering against the glass, the rattling and tearing of the frames made any attempt at rest futile. Waiting for the windows to explode or the frames to be ripped from the walls was just like waiting for another Israeli missile during the last aggression – will THIS be the one that gets me? Imagine the families huddled together in the rubble, freezing, wind-battered, terrified, wondering which of them will not wake in the morning, which seems never to come…

Just like unified government. Just like reconstruction materials. Just like the lifting of the siege. Just like Palestinian rights. All promised but never delivered, like a day that never dawns.

Huda. Not just a storm, but an allegory.

The morning may now have broken, the winds died a little – but the bitter cold remains. And while the Palestinian Authority continues the tempest of its soft coup against Hamas, its collaboration with Israel and Egypt, and its apartheid policies against Gaza, there can be no thaw, no calm.

Like Huda, the PA is almost spent. The people who have survived will salvage what they can from the wreckage and work together to rebuild what it has destroyed. Only then can there be a sunny new day for Gaza – and Palestine.


27th Anniversary: Hamas is from the Palestinian people, and for Palestine

by Julie Webb-Pullman

Hamas in Nuseirat Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

Hamas in Nuseirat Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

“Hamas leaders come from the people,” senior official Dr Salah Al Bardawil told a huge crowd who took to the streets Friday in Nuseirat camp, Gaza, to celebrate 27 years since the birth of the Hamas movement.

“Hamas does not seek power or government, just Palestine’s liberation,” he said. (more…)


Beit Hanoun: Homeless but not utterly hopeless, thanks to NZers

By Julie Webb-Pullman
Source: Gaza SCOOP

Receiving clothes, blankets and schoolbags in Beit Hanoun 30/11/14

Receiving clothes, blankets and schoolbags in Beit Hanoun 30/11/14

With the help of New Zealanders the Palestinian Family Charitable Association in Beit Hanoun has done it again – provided warm winter clothes and blankets for some of the neediest children in Gaza as the wintry weather begins to bite.

Not that there are very many children in Beit Hanoun who are not needy – 1,500 apartment blocks were destroyed in this town during the 51 day Israeli offensive in July-August, leaving many thousands homeless and their schools full of displaced families. (more…)


Football no fun anymore for the Bakr boys

by Julie Webb-Pullman
Source: Gaza SCOOP

Brothers Montasr (left) and Younis Khamis Bakr (Photo: Yousef Al Rantisi)

Brothers Montasr (left) and Younis Khamis Bakr (Photo: Yousef Al Rantisi)

Flashback. July 16, 2014.

Boys. Beach. Sun. Sea. Sand. Football. Fun. An ordinary summers’ day like that in any other coastal city in the world.

Bomb. Blood. Missile. Martyrs. Mayhem. Mourners. An ordinary summer’s day in Gaza 2014.

Three months later the world has all but forgotten the “Bakr Boys,” the group of cousins playing on the beach that afternoon. Four of them – Ismail, Zakaria, Ahed and Mohamed – were killed. Four more survived the horror, physically at least.

Montasr, Hamada, Sayed and Younis are all now out of hospital, and could even play football again, despite legs peppered with shrapnel scars. But they don’t. (more…)


Donors, or enablers? Cairo’s ‘Gaza Reconstruction Conference’

by Julie Webb-Pullman
Source: Middle East Monitor

Egypt is currently blocking injured Gazans leaving the Gaza Strip, and blocking the flow of reconstruction materials to Gaza

Egypt is currently blocking injured Gazans leaving the Gaza Strip, and blocking the flow of reconstruction materials to Gaza

CAIRO’S Gaza Reconstruction Conference, you ask incredulously? And well you might – after all, Egypt is currently preventing the entry of materials to complete Qatari-funded projects in Gaza addressing the destruction of previous Israeli offensives. Building of roads, housing estates and hospitals have all ground to a halt despite being underway well before the latest Israeli war crimes in Gaza – crimes which have only further increased the need. (more…)


Mass Murder in the Mediterranean: Mohammed’s Story

by the Al Rantisi Family
Source: Middle East Monitor

Mohammed Al Rantisi (right) with his friend and business partner Sajed (left). Their business was destroyed by five missiles from Israeli F16s.

Mohammed Al Rantisi (right) with his friend and business partner Sajed (left). Their business was destroyed by five missiles from Israeli F16s.

Over 400 asylum seekers, including 100 children, were drowned in international waters on their way to Italy after the boat they were travelling on was rammed on 10 September, 2014 by people-smugglers angry because the migrants refused to transfer to a smaller boat.

As a report into the mass murder by human rights organisation EuroMid says, the travellers from the Gaza Strip, Syria, Egypt and Sudan had been promised a safe journey to Europe on a secure and comfortable ship.

One of them was our son and brother, Mohammed Al Rantisi, a 23 year old Management and Technology graduate heading to Europe in search of a brighter future. His favourite song was a message of farewell. (more…)