Category: Palestine

Jordan welcomes Palestinian-Israeli Agreement

Red-Dead Water ProjectNorma Na’mat – Al-Hayat – 14th July 2017

Hazem al-Naser, the Jordanian Minister for Water and Irrigation, has praised the Palestinian-Israeli agreement which was reached between the two sides yesterday in Jerusalem, under the care of the United States. He noted that it represents a Palestinian claim to the results of the memorandum of understanding on the Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance, which was signed by Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Israel in Washington in December 2013 and witnessed by the US government and the World Bank. The memorandum granted the Palestinian side more than 30 million cubic metres of water annually.

al-Naser believes that this agreement “has achieved for our Palestinian brothers and sisters additional water supplies over what has they are granted by the Oslo accords and what followed them, in addition to Palestine’s sovereign water rights.” He emphasised that the new supplies “will provide the West Bank and Gaza with additional water supplies beginning this summer until 2021, which will ease the large water burden affecting the Palestinians.” Al-Naser committed to the continuation of “Jordanian efforts which have been expended in this matter, building on the unshakeable Jordanian desire to support the Palestinians and empower them in all cases. Water, especially, in the West Bank and Gaza, is one of these cases, as there has been an acute shortage of drinking water in these areas in years past.” He explained that “the implementation of subsequent stages of the Conveyance project will guarantee additional benefits for the Palestinians if implemented.”

Jordan, as the first country to implement the project, is greatly concerned with the plan, as it forms one of the most important pillars of Jordan’s water strategy. The project will supply Jordan with drinking water for many years to come, while also protecting the environment of the Dead Sea, which is considered a historical treasure and important economic resource for the country.

Translated by Conor Fagan

Original article found here.

On a ‘Democratic Camp’ in Israel once again

Democratic Camp

Ammad Shaqour – Al-Quds Al-Arabi – 7 July 2017

Two weeks ago, 23 June to be specific, a number of weekly and daily Arabic papers issued in Israel published an article by the head of the Joint List in the Knesset, Ayman Odeh, entitled “Towards establishing a democratic camp to increase our effectiveness and influence in the advancement of our cause”. This is no ordinary newspaper article. It is the announcement of a serious political project, which could give Arab Palestinians in Israel, who carry Israeli identity cards (for the first time since the Nakba in 1948), a role in Israeli politics, with all the repercussions that entails for their overall status as citizens and their demands for equality at all levels, and their rights as an ethnic minority in Israel. It could also affect all matters relating to the occupation and Israeli colonialism on Palestinian lands, and everything connected to the Palestinian cause.

By this call for an Arab-Jew “democratic camp” in Israel, the head of the Joint List is striving to ensure that Arab Israelis have an effective role in curbing racist Israeli policy and can repudiate all the policies of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, which is more extreme, right-wing and racist than any preceding Israeli government. Odeh delineates these policies with piercing insight, in four points, on four different levels:

– The systematic work to eliminate the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state, or of establishing relations with the vast majority of other Arab governments, and the striving to make normalisation public and official policy, so that regional conflicts become the priority over the Palestinian cause.

– Incitement against Arab citizens (in Israel) with a systematicness not preceded by any prime minister, and the intensification of legislation against Arabs.

– The systematic narrowing of the democratic margins, by the pursuit of humanitarian organisations, the destabilising of the Israeli Supreme Court, attempts to control media channels and academia, and spreading a low-level atmosphere of intimidation.

– The deepening of neoliberal economic policy which breaks down all networks of social protection for the poor and middle classes.

In his article/political project, Odeh then emphasises that Arab Israelis treat Jewish participants as “equal partners” in this “democratic camp”, by way of a correct and logical formulation. He says that the Arab minority in Israel alone cannot, on one hand, impose a change in Israeli policies, while on the other, liberal Jewish forces cannot impose that change without the large Arab minority. Or, as he states in his article, “so as not to accept interpretations of a formula based purely on equality, we, the Arab citizens, must realise that, being only 20% of the population, we alone cannot bring change. Our (different and diverse) partners in the “democratic camp” must also realise well that they cannot do so without us! Alternatives [to Israeli government policies] cannot be created without the quantitative and qualitative political weight of the Arab citizens. With this critical weight and this equality, we can build the democratic camp.”

There is no doubt that this wise political project, if it succeeds, is capable of achieving a very important leap for Arab citizens in Israel, and their weight not just in Palestinian equalisation, but on the general Arab level. The practice of an effective role for the Arab minority in Israeli politics would remind us of the enormous role of Jewish minorities in America and in Europe. I am greatly aware of the vast gulf in status and opportunities between the Arab minority in Israel and the Jewish minorities in the West. What can be noted in this comparison is that the Arab minority in Israel is proportionally far larger than those Jewish minorities.

Over the span of 69 years, from the Palestinian Nakba to 1993, the year the Oslo accords were signed, and the beginning of ‘Gaza-Jericho First’, and more clearly, from the June 1967 War until Oslo, leadership and guidance of the Palestinian national effort has been tied to the Palestinian body outside the lands of Palestine. With the leaders and members of the PLO and many Palestinian families beginning to return (the total numbers, accounting for natural increase, in the first seven years of Oslo until the outbreak of the second intifada, stand at about half a million returned Palestinians refugees), the Palestinian centre of gravity has transferred to the ‘Interior’, which means the West Bank (including Jerusalem, of course), and the Gaza Strip.

Since the beginning of this century, incorrect policies, or what could be called policies lacking in sufficiently feasible or reasonable wisdom, have led to an unprecedented state of division in Palestine. This division led to the bloody coup in Gaza in 2007, in addition to the formation of core divisions between Palestinians of the ‘Interior’ and the Palestinian refugees (here we recall the Istanbul conference), as a result of the ignorance, neglect, and weak performance of the Palestinian Authority, and what the status of the PLO has led to. All this leads us to believe that the time has come for Palestinians in the ‘Interior of the Interior’, meaning in Israel, to direct the general Palestinian national effort.

With no Arab pressure for the Palestinian national effort, since the people of the Levant are preoccupied with their bloody and shameful wars, their national interests and the threats to their homelands, there is no alternative but to search for other means of support. In this context, I believe the Palestinians of the ‘Interior of the Interior’ have a role to play in this support. In life, ‘heroes’ search for a ‘role’, but ‘roles’ may also search for ‘heroes’.

Ayman Odeh concludes his article/project with an expressive and inspiring paragraph. “I do not want this article to close the debate, but to open its doors with confidence, strength and clarity. The time of fluctuation must end in the same place! Our people who support the Joint List, and who entrust us with responsibility for it, demand today more than ever that we not only analyse reality, but work to change it.”

The initiative by Palestinian citizens of Israel to establish an Arab-Jew “democratic camp” is worthy of support. It opens a wide and promising door for a fruitful national effort. Israel is not a country of six million Jews, each one the spitting image of Netanyahu or Bennett or Lieberman. It is a society of individuals, movements, organisations, clubs and parties of diverse stripes, forms, attitudes, intentions, and policies. There is no Palestinian advantage in considering and treating Israelis as though they are all mirror images of this colonial racist. It is our national interest not to be the cement and the glue which binds all the Israelis against our people and their legitimate rights and aspirations. Of old, they said, ‘he who does not realise fully will never be free of ignorance’.

Adding to the above is the outcome of the Israeli Labour Party elections two days ago, and the ascent of Amir Peretz and Avi Gabbay to the elections which will decide the chairman of the Labour Party, which may open the door for an expansion of Israeli support for the Arab-Jew democratic camp, which would have room for liberals in the Israeli camp.

It cannot be assumed that this proposed political project will proceed without any damage to the Joint List, but we must not forget that the List is a tool, and the objective, not the tool, is the most important.

Translated by Conor Fagan

Original article found here.

Shtayyeh calls on Arab banks to create Palestine Investment Fund

Dead Sea –

President of the Palestine Economic Council for Development & Reconstruction (PECDAR), Dr. Mohammed Shtayyeh, has called on Arab banks to create an investment fund for Palestine, the monies of which would support productive projects, especially those in sectors which generate jobs, or are run on a for-profit, rather than a charitable, basis. During his speech at the “Reality of the Palestinian Financial Sector: Opportunities and Challenges” conference, Dr Shtayyeh said “Palestine is daring and the Arabs are daring, let capital be daring also.” The conference, organised by the Union of Arab Banks, takes place at the Dead Sea in Jordan today and tomorrow.

Dr Shtayyeh stressed the role of the private sector in the gradual disengagement from colonial dependency imposed on us by the occupation. He indicated that there is an official preference for strengthening economic relations with the Arab world. The Palestinian economy could act as a winch for policy decisions, he said, and enable local products to take the place of the Israeli products in our markets, and bolster the positions of our people in Jerusalem.

Shtayyeh laid out a picture of the economic situation to Arab investors and banking representatives, analysing the disturbances in the structure of the Palestinian economy caused by the occupation, as a result of the control over resources and borders. He said that despite all the challenges, there have still been success stories, such as the success of the banking sector, noting that the size of deposits in Palestinian banks is approximately 12 billion dollars. He added that the amount of corporate funds traded on the Palestinian securities market is valued at almost 3.5 billion dollars, and that there are about 115 thousand stockholders in companies listed on the Palestinian stock exchange.

Dr Shtayyeh explained that Palestinian banks are working under exceptional circumstances as a result of the occupation, which necessitates exceptional treatment to address the obstacles which they face. He asked Arab banks to grant facilities for productive loans, and to make it a priority to encourage investors to develop projects which would create jobs. He continued by saying that the private sector must be the principal creator of employment, and that it is unhealthy for the Palestinian Authority to remain the largest employer of the Palestinian workforce.

A number of challenges lie ahead for the Palestinians, Shtayyeh told the conference. First is the extremist government in Israel, which does not want a solution, and which undermines the Palestinian state through a tight grip on Area C, the Jordan Valley, Jerusalem, and the Gaza blockade, and its further attempts at “settlement bleaching” and its striving to make settlement legal. As for the second challenge, according to Shtayyeh, that resides with the new American establishment, which has not yet fully expressed its foreign policy, despite all the negative press which it has received. The third challenge is the weakening of Arab nations, and the destructive conflicts which it is experiencing, while finally the fourth challenge is to end the division and if there is a will, to work towards a possible solution for the conflict.

Translated by Conor Fagan

Original article found here.

Aoun: The Palestinian Cause Must Remain Alive to Achieve Peace in the Region

Beirut –

The Lebanese president, General Michel Aoun has stated that the Palestinian question must be kept alive in order to reach fair and lasting peace in the Middle East.

During a meeting with the Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, in the Lebanese capital Beirut, President Aoun said that Lebanan supports everything which can bring solidarity between the Arab nations.

He said that the League remains an authority, and hopes that the coming Arab summit, to be held in Jordan on March 29, will be able to address the current Arab issues. He stressed that Lebanon would contribute to any Arab effort in this direction.

For his part, in a statement after the meeting Aboul Gheit said that the visit to Lebanon served to emphasise the League’s support for Lebanon, and the great value it places in the role which Lebanon plays in the Arab League and beyond.

He explained that the meeting also included a discussion of ongoing preparations for the next Arab summit, and the importance of President Aoun’s participation, in addition to the current situations in the Arab states.

Referring to the new era of American president Donald Trump, and his remarks on relations between the US and Israel, Aboul Gheit said that, “Many of his statements lack precision, and that also applies to his future statements, in the sense that we don’t know what President Trump intends to do, even after a long conversation which has extended over a year.”

He added, “We are following and watching with great concern what President Trump says about Jerusalem, and we hope that he takes care and caution with relation to East Jerusalem, because there may be profound consequences if steps are taken which are not well thought out.”

Translated by Conor Fagan

Original article can be found here.

She lived the Nakba decades later… and advises no one to migrate

Ramallah – – Ahmed Daraghmeh

Lena,* a Palestinian refugee, advises anyone considering crossing the Mediterranean as an illegal migrant against setting out on the journey. She does not hesitate to express her regret for embarking on the hazardous voyage, after living through moments of death in all its horrific details and suffering ordeals similar to the pains experienced by Palestinian refugees following the Nakba, as she made her way to Europe in search of a better life, which is still elusive two years after her arrival.

Twenty year old Lena’s life is just one more chapter in the long novel of Palestinian exile and alienation. Her family were forced out of Palestine in 1948 and driven to Lebanon, where they were again forced to depart, fleeing the civil war. Lena has now been settled in a building beside her twin sister in a refugee camp in Roskelda in Denmark, after leaving her sister and mother behind in Algeria.

Her father had been working in the Palestinian embassy in Algeria for almost four years when the Algerian authorities asked him to leave the country. He returned to Palestine, where his attempts to reunify the family in Gaza met with failure.

Lena was unable to find any work in Algeria, which suffers from high unemployment, and so she decided to migrate. In 2014, she headed to Libya, where she spent 25 days in a house with 200 other refugees, among them elderly people and children with faces full of tears. Everyone was afraid to leave the house as the smugglers had told them they ran the risk of being arrested by the Libyan police.

After 25 demoralising days, as described by Lena, the smugglers removed them from the house without any of their bags, due to the large number of migrants and the small size of the boat. Fifteen minutes after the launch of this “boat of death,” the engine failed, and they spent six hours adrift on the open sea, unable to return to the coast for fear of arrest.

Lena says that she and the other passengers had lost all hope, before the sound of another boat brought them back to life. It processed to tow them across the sea for twelve hours, and they were then transferred to a larger ship which conveyed them across the Mediterranean. It was as five days before Lena arrived at a refugee camp in the Danish capital. Her time there was very difficult, and ended with the camp’s closure, after which she was relocated to the camp in Roskelda.

Despite her successful crossing and safe arrival on terra firma, unlike the thousands of other refugees who have drowned in the sea or were returned to their countries, Lena describes her experience as “cruel and degrading,” and is certain that she would not embark on the crossing if she could go back and face the decision again.

Lena adds that even after her settlement in Denmark, “Europe is not a path strewn with roses, and adaptation to life there is not easy.”

After having experienced the long pain of asylum and the ravages of migration and exile, Lena was given a chance to train as a journalist with a paper belonging to the Red Cross. She now writes stories about refugees and their bitter experiences, but says, “I have accomplished nothing in the last two years, and I feel as though I have lost my future. I wanted to study veterinary medicine.”

She also adds, “The training has helped improve my English, and it fills up my time. I get to know a lot of the refugees and their tragic stories.”

For now, Lena works three days a week in a Red Cross headquarters, about an hour and a half’s journey from the camp in which she lives.

*A pseudonym

Translated by Conor Fagan 

View the original article here.

Hebron: Two men injured by live ammunition in Dura

Hebron – – Two young men were shot and injured with live ammunition Saturday, during confrontations with occupation forces which erupted in the Hanina area of Dura, south of Hebron.

Several sources report that Red Crescent ambulances transferred the two men to hospital in Hebron for treatment. One suffered a bullet to the abdomen while the other was shot in the shoulder.

According to Palestinian Red Crescent crews stationed at the site of the confrontations, on-site treatment was also provided to a number of civilians injured by rubber-coated bullets, along with dozens of others suffering the effects of tear gas inhalation.

Translated by Conor Fagan

View the original article here.

Jenin: Thousands mourn woman killed in Istanbul bombing

Jenin – Wafa – Thousands of mourners from the towns of Arraba and Kefr Ra’i, as well as neighbouring towns and villages southwest of Jenin, turned out yesterday to accompany the body of Nasreen Hashim Hammad Lahlouh (28), killed four days ago in the Atatürk airport bombings, to her final resting place in Arraba cemetery, after a funeral procession through her home town. The procession became a public march as crowds arrived from Arraba and neighbouring villages to mourn her passing.

After a gathering for friends of the deceased, crowds traveled the streets of Arraba with the body, swathed in a Palestinian flag, on their shoulders, angrily decrying acts of terrorism and the unjust killing of innocent people. Hashim Lahlouh, the father of the deceased, strongly condemned the attacks, saying: “These murderers have destroyed the lives of innocent people, including my daughter in the prime of her youth. They did not act in the name of Islam, and neither can anyone worthy of praise plan to commit atrocities such as that which happened at Atatürk.”

The deceased was the mother of a two year old daughter, and was married to a man from the Melham family of Kefr Ra’i. She had been living in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, working in a computing school, and at the time of her death was pursuing a doctoral degree in Turkey. 

Translated by Conor Fagan

View the original article here.

‘Moroccans press charges against the Moroccan officer leading Israel’s operations in Gaza,’ Hibapress (Morocco), 4 August 2014

A group of Moroccan politicians and law makers are seeking to press charges against IDF Southern Command leader Major General Sami Turgeman for his role in the current Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip. According to the group, Turgeman, whose family migrated to Israel from Morocco in 1965 when he was six months old, holds full responsibility for Israel’s aggression against Palestinians. Continue reading

Unseen Aspects of War by Khaled Juma

1346532718Khaled Juma is a Palestinian poet, author and writer from Rafah, who moved from Gaza City to live in Ramallah a year ago. He wrote the following as the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip continued for the tenth consecutive day.

جوانب لا ترى من الحرب

بقلم خالد جمعه

أخطر ما يحدث في الحرب هو ما لا يقال، ما لا يتم تصويره، ما لا يتم الحديث عنه، إنها ليست مجرد قصص تروى هنا وهناك لتثير تعاطف الناس وتستدر دموعهم، بل إنها الجريمة الحقيقية ضد الإنسانية، الجريمة التي لا يتم الالتفات إليها لأن صوت الدم دائماً أعلى، ولكن المأساة في النهاية هي المأساة، والمأساة الكبيرة لا ينبغي أن تلغي إحساسنا بالمأساة الصغيرة، وهذه ليست مقارنة بين ما يحدث في دول متقدمة ديمقراطياً وبين ما يحدث في فلسطين، وفي غزة تحديداً، بل هي محاولة لتوصيل صورة عن معنى أن تعيش ظرف الحرب، حتى وإن لم يقصف بيتك، ولم يقتل أبنك، ولم تجرح زوجتك.

أول هذه الأمور التي سأتحدث عنها، صوت الصاروخ بوزنه الخيالي، ما هو تأثير صوت صاروخ طائرة F16، حتى وإن لم يقتل ولم يجرح، الصاروخ الذي يتراوح وزنه بين 250 كيلو جرام في الحد الأدنى، و1000 كيلو جرام فما فوق، ولا يمكن للطائرة من أجل أمانها أن تهبط لمسافة تزيد عن 2700 متر، لهذا لا يمكن سماع صوتها غالباً، ولا صوت الصاروخ وهو يهبط منها، فجأةً، تسمع صوتاً يأتي في الغالب بعد الانفجار لأن سرعة انفجار الصاروخ أعلى كثيراً من سرعة الصوت، والقضية لا تتعلق فقط بالانفجار الذي يعطيك فكرةً عن يوم القيامة، بل بالارتجاجات التي تحدث بعد انفجاره، فإسرائيل تجرب نوعية من الصواريخ من أجل أن تهدم أنفاقاً يفترض وجودها في منطقة القصف، فتسمع صوتاً في البداية يشبه الرعد الثلاثي في بحر مفتوح، وقبله تكون السماء قد أضاءت للحظات، وتأتي الاهتزازات بعدها، وقبل أن تفيق من صدمة الصاروخ، يأتيك الذي يليه، ولا يمكنك أن تبدأ بالعد لتعرف متى ينتهي، لأنهم لا يملكون عدداً محدداً، فقد قصفوا مرة مجمعاً وزارياً مجاوراً لبيتي بثلاثة عشر صاروخاً مثلاً، المهم، أن الصاروخ إذا لم يقتلك، أو يصبك، فتتعلق المسألة بوضعك وقت انفجاره، هل أنت نائم؟ تشرب الشاي؟ تقف على الشباك؟ وأنت وحظ جسدك في رد فعله، أحياناً تسقط أرضاً من دفع الهواء الساخن الذي يحدثه الصاروخ، أو يخرج الشباك من الحائط معلناً انتهاء مقاومته، أو تسقط علب الشاي والسكر من الرفوف إلى الأرض، أو تجد جارك أمام باب بيتك وقد دفعته الارتجاجات خارج بيته، وكل هذا يتعلق فقط بصوت الصاروخ، أما عن فعله، فلا أحد بقي ليخبرنا عما يحدث حين يسقط الصاروخ بجواره.

الأمر الثاني، هو مسألة الرعب والانتظار حتى في الحالات التي لا يتم فيها القصف، ففي الحرب، تتغير عيارات الجسد، شكل العينين، حساسية الأعصاب، تزداد حدة السمع، وحاسة الشم تتفوق على حاسة الكلاب، استقبال الجلد للهواء، حتى شكل الوقت يتغير، لا يكمن ذلك التغيير في عامل واحد فقط، بل يتحكم فيه خوف الأطفال، خوفك الشخصي، رائحة الهواء، الأرواح السابحة في الهواء، صمت الأمهات المرعب، قلق الآباء وهم يحاولون إخفاءه، في الحرب نصبح شيئاً آخر بين البشر والآلة…

الأمر الثالث هو مسألة الإحساس بالأمان، ففي كل الحروب هناك أطراف، ويمكن لمن ليس طرفاً في الحرب أن يشعر نسبياً بالأمان، أما في غزة، فلا يوجد ترف مثل هذا، فأنت معرض للموت إذا كنت طرفاً في المعركة، وإن كنت جاراً لطرفٍ في المعركة، وإن كنت جاراً لصديق له ابن عم طرف في المعركة، وبالطبع هذا لا يمنع أن يتم قصفك حتى بدون وجود كل هذه العوامل، كما حدث مع أطفال بكر الأربعة تحت أنظار جمع غفير من الصحفيين الأجانب.

الأمر الرابع يتعلق بإحساسك بأنك تتحول من ضحية إلى جلاد، فكيف تشعر إذا قصفوا بيتك ورأيته في الأخبار الغربية معروض كبيت لإسرائيلي مسكين فجرته صواريخ قادمة من غزة، إن المأساة الأخرى التي تتعرض لها بعد مأساة قصفك ومأساة قتلك، مأساة سرقتك من نفسك ومنعك من الصراخ، في الحرب كذلك تشعر كم أنت وحيد، لا أحد ولا شيء لك، كل شيء عليك، حتى الأبواب والتلفزيون والهواء والناس والجماهير، على الأخص حين تسمع عبارة مثل: إسرائيل لها الحق في الدفاع عن نفسها.

المسألة الخامسة تتعلق بما بعد قصف البيوت، هذا في حالة أنك نجوت من تحت الصاروخ، فالبيت هو المكان الذي نربي فيه الذكريات، وحين تقصفُ إسرائيل البيوت “بهذا المعنى”، فهي تقتل حياة من يسكن هذا البيت حتى وإن لم يكن هو في داخله، أليست الذكريات التي ربيناها في البيوت التي دُمّرت هي أجزاء منا؟ ألا يعتبر تدمير المكان الذي ربينا فيه هذه الذكريات، هو تدمير جزء منا كما هي أيدينا أو رؤوسنا أو قلوبنا؟

المسألة السادسة، هي مسألة الجرحى، فعلى سبيل المثال، في مجزرة عائلة البطش، أصيب خمسون شخصاً في الغارة ذاتها، هذه الإصابات منها إثنان وثلاثون أصيبوا ببتر في الأطراف، ولكن لأن حجم الموت كان كبيراً، فإن هذه الإصابات تصبح في موقع بعيد عن الصدارة، فبعد كل حرب تخرج غزة بآلاف المعاقين لا يذكرون إلا كرقم من أرقام الحرب.

المسألة السابعة تتعلق بالعامل النفسي، فكيف يمكن تصور حالة الناس الذين يتعرضون لكل هذا الضغط ولا يمكنهم الصراخ أو البكاء، سواء أولئك الذين صرعهم صوت الصاروخ، أو الذين فقدوا أولادهم أو آباءهم أو أصدقاءهم أو أحد معارفهم أو كلهم، أعرف صديقاً أحرقت قذائف الدبابات مكتبته عام 2008، ورغم أنه مثقف ويعي الحالة جيداً، إلا أنه لم يخرج من الحالة إلى اليوم، وتلمح دمعة في عينيه كلما ذكر الأمر، فماذا سيكون وضع الأطفال إذن؟ هؤلاء الذين لا يفهمون ماذا تعني كلمة إسرائيل، ولا معنى كلمة موت، يعرفون فقط ـ كما قال لي طفل ذات مرة ـ ليش الله بيحبناش.

المسألة الثامنة تتعلق بمفهوم يسميه كارل غوستاف يونغ “تخزين الأزمة”، وطبيعة هذا المفهوم تتعلق بآلية دفاع يصممها الجسد في حالات الخطر، خصوصاً أمام أولاده كي لا يصيبهم بالرعب، وبعد أن تنتهي حالة الخطر، يستعيد الجسد كل الخوف والارتباك دفعة واحدة مما يؤدي إلى مصائب لا يعلمها إلا الله، تفرز في الغالب تشوهات لا يعيها حتى صاحبها أحياناً، وأذكر بعد حرب 2012 أن كثيرين قالوا لي: من الغريب أننا لم نكن نشعر بالخوف أثناء الحرب، ولكن بعد أن انتهت نشعر بالرعب، هذا هو بالضبط مفهوم تخزين الأزمة.

المسألة التاسعة هي مسألة فقدان الذاكرة الجغرافية للأمكنة، فحيث يوجد مكان نرتبط به، تقصفه إسرائيل وتدمره، وبعد سنوات، لا تستطيع أن تقول لصديق: كنت ألعب هنا، أو كنت أدرس هنا، فـ”هنا” لم يعد موجوداً، هناك  محو للذاكرة الجغرافية للمكان، إسرائيل تحاول محو ارتباطنا بالأمكنة.

المسألة العاشرة هي فقدان الأمان والثقة بالأم والأب لعدم قدرتهم على حماية أطفالهم، وهذا يؤدي لاحقاً إلى تشوه العلاقة بين الآباء والأبناء.

الحرب قاسية، تشوه معالم الإنسان فينا، مهما كانت لدينا قدرة الصمود، وقبل أن يفكر أي أحد في إعادة ترميم وإعمار غزة بعد الحرب، عليه أن يفكر جدياً في طريقة لترميم أرواح الناس ورتق الفتحات في نفوسهم، لأن هذا في النهاية ما تهدف إليه إسرائيل من وراء ذلك، قتلنا، أو هدم أرواحنا وقدرتنا على الحياة.

السابع عشر من تموز 2014



Unseen Aspects of War

By: Khaled Juma

The most dangerous thing that happens in war is what is not said, what is not photographed, and what is not talked about. It is not just stories that are told here and there to stir up peoples’ emotions and make them cry, but it is the real crime against humanity: the crime that does not receive attention because the sound of blood is always louder. However, in the end the tragedy is the tragedy, and it is huge, but should not override our sense of the small tragedy. This is not a comparison between what happens in democratically advanced countries and what happens in Palestine, especially in Gaza, but it is an attempt to convey an image of what it means to live in a state of war, even if your house is not bombed, your son is not killed, and your wife is not injured.

The first thing I will talk about is the sound of the missile and its imaginary weight. What is the effect of the sound of a missile from an F-16, even if it does not kill or injure, a missile that weighs at least 250 kilograms, and often over 1000 kilograms. For its safety the plane cannot descend lower than 2700 metres, and therefore its noise cannot often be heard, nor the sound of the missile it drops. But all of a sudden, you hear the sound that usually comes after the explosion, because the speed of the missile’s explosion is much higher than the speed of sound. The matter is not just related to the explosion, which gives you an idea about the Day of Judgement, but also the tremors that happen after the explosion. Israel tested the characteristics of missiles in order to destroy tunnels supposedly in the area of the bombardment. Therefore, you hear a sound, which at first sounds like thunder on the open sea, before the sky lights up momentarily. Then come the tremors, and before you recover from the shock of the missile, the next one comes at you. You cannot start counting to know when it will end, because they possess an unlimited number. For example, they once bombed a ministerial compound next to my house with 13 rockets. It is not important if the missile kills or injures you, as the matter concerns where you are at the time of the explosion. Are you asleep? Drinking tea? Standing next to the window? You might get lucky in how your body reacts. Sometimes you fall to the ground from the rush of hot air caused by the missile. Or the window falls out of the wall, marking the end of its resistance. Or tea and sugar fall to the ground from the shelves. Or you find your neighbour at your door as the tremors forced him out of his house. All of this is only related to the sound of the missiles. As for what they do, no one remains who can tell us about what happens when a missile falls near them.

Second is the issue of terror and waiting, even in situations where there is no shelling. In war the body’s ability to gauge its surroundings, the shape of the eyes, and nerve sensitivity all change. Hearing becomes more acute, sense of smell surpasses that of dogs, and skin acclimatizes. Even the concept of time changes. These changes do not lie in a single factor, but hold sway over children’s fear, your personal fear, the smell of the air, spirits floating in the air, the horrible silence of mothers, and the worry of fathers who try to hid it. In war we become something else, somewhere between human and machine.

Third is a matter related to a of sense of security, for in all wars there are different sides. Anyone who is not a party in a war can feel relatively safe. But in Gaza, there is no such luxury. You are exposed to death if you are involved in a battle, if you are the neighbour of someone involved in a battle, or if you are the neighbour of a friend whose nephew is involved in a battle. Of course, this does not stop you from being bombarded even if none these of factors are present, as was the case with the four Bakr children, killed in plain sight of a large gathering of foreign journalists.

The fourth matter is related to you feeling as if you have transformed from victim to executioner. How would you feel if they bombed your house and you saw it on the Western news being displayed as the house of a poor Israeli, blown up by missiles coming from Gaza? Your tragedy of being bombed and killed is stolen from you, while you are prevented from screaming. In war you feel like you are alone. Nothing is with you. No one is with you. Even the doors, the television, the people and the crowds. It is most noticeable when you hear an expression like: “Israel has the right to defend itself.”

Fifth is what happens after the bombardment of houses. If you survive the missile, the house is the place in which we are raised and have memories. In this sense, when Israel bombs houses, it kills the life of the resident even if they are not at home. Are the memories we grew up with which are destroyed not pieces of us? Should we not consider the destruction of the places in which we were raised with these memories to be the destruction of a part of us, just like our hands, our heads, or our hearts?

Sixth is the issue of the wounded. For example, during the massacre of the al-Batesh family, 50 people were injured in the same raid. These injuries included 32 people who had to have limbs amputated. However, because the death toll was so large, these injuries were nearly ignored. After every war in Gaza, thousands of people with disabilities are not mentioned, other than as statistics.

The seventh matter is a psychological factor. Can you image a situation in which people who are being subjected to all of this pressure cannot scream or cry? Whether it is those who lose consciousness at the sound of a missile, or those who have lost their children, fathers, friends, an acquaintance, or maybe all of the above? I know a friend whose library was destroyed by a fire after being shelled by tanks in 2008. Even though he was educated and well aware of the situation, he has yet to recover from that situation and gets a tear in his eye anytime it is mentioned. So what will be the situation of our children? They do not understand what the word “Israel” means, or the meaning of the word “death.” They only know — as a child once told me — “Why doesn’t God love us?”

Eight is something related to the concept Carl Gustav Jung called “crisis storage.” The nature of this concept is related to a defence mechanism designed by the body for dangerous situations, especially in front of children so as to not terrify them. After the dangerous situation ends, the body recalls all the fear and confusion at once, which leads to misfortunes only known by God, that often produce imperceivable abnormalities. I recall that after the 2012 war, many people said to me: “It is strange that we did not feel scared during the war, but after it finished we feel terrified.” This is precisely the concept of “crisis storage.”

The ninth matter is the issue of geographical memory loss. When there is a place we are connected to that is bombed and destroyed by Israel, years later you are not able to tell your friend “I played here,” or “I studied here,” because “here” no longer exists. There is an erasure of geographical memory, and Israel tries to erase our connections to this land.

Tenth is the loss of safety and confidence in mothers and fathers due to their inability to protect their children. This subsequently leads to the breakdown of relationships between parents and their children.

War is cruel, it distorts the human characteristics within us, no matter our ability to withstand. Before anyone thinks about the restoration and reconstruction of Gaza after the war, they must think seriously about the way to restore the lives of the people of Gaza, and sew up the holes within them, because what Israel ultimately aims to do is kill us, or at least demolish our spirit and ability to live.

17 July 2014

Translated by Kevin Moore.


‘Al-Quds Brigades calls on fighters not to accept rumours of a truce,’ Saraya (Palestine), 15 July 2014

Upon reports of an Egyptian ceasefire proposal accepted by Israel, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, the Al-Quds Brigades, released the following statement calling on its fighters to continue its fight against Israel. Continue reading