Sunday, August 29, 2010

Iftar without home / Un iftar sans maison, Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip, 29.08.2010

(c)Anne Paq/, Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip, 29.08.2010

The family of Shehade is having iftar outside, in front of the two tents they live in. They lost their house during operation Cast last. The house burned because of the whote phosphorus. Since then, for the last year and an half, they have been living in tents and are struggling to meet basic needs. Shehade said that one of the most difficult thing in losing his home was to lose his dignity.

Une famille palestinienne rompt le jeune du Ramadan en mangeant dehors, devant leurs deux tentes dans lesquelles ils habitent.
La famille de Shahade vit dans deux tentes, a beit Lahayia au Nord de la bande de Gaza. Il a y 8 enfants dont le plus jeune a 2 ans et demi. Pendant l'opération Plomb Durci, leur maison a ete brulee par la phosphore blanc, utilise de nombreuses fois par l'armée israélienne dans des zones civiles en violation du droit international. Ils ont tout perdu et ont du fuir les combats a pied. Dans un premier temps, ils ont trouve refuge dans une ecole, puis dans un camp constitue de tentes ou les conditions étaient déplorables. Au bout d'un moment, le propriétaire du terrain a demande aux gens de partir. Ils ont récupéré leur tentes et se sont alors installes dans un petit terrain appartenant a la municipalité. Une organisation leur a fournit des toilettes sommaires et l'UNRWA leur donne un peu d'aide chaque mois. Selon Shahade, “le plus dur est d'avoir perdu ma dignité. Je n'ai même pas d'argent pour offrir des habits neufs pour mes enfants pour le Ramadan.” Ses enfants ont été très affectés. Ils se réveillent la nuit en criant, et leurs notes a l'école ont chute d'une manière drastique. Le plus age a eu de graves problèmes psychologiques, et a disparu depuis deux mois. Il s'est enfui par les tunnels pour l'Egypte. La famille se demande comment ils vont pouvoir passer l'hiver dans de telles conditions, et cela d'autant plus que leurs tentes sont déchirées.

Gaza Old Market, 29.08.2010

(c) Anne Paq/, Old Market of Gaza, 29.08.2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

(c) Anne Paq/, Jabaliya refugee camp, Gaza Strip, 25.08.2010

Photos: Bassam Dardouna and another Palestinian stand in the abandoned apartments that they and their families are planning living in.

Bassam Dardouna et un autre palestinien dans les appartements abandonnes qu'ils ont recupere dans un immeuble appartenant au Hamas. Las d'attendre une solution pour leur logement alors qu'ils ont perdu leurs maisons demolies il y a un an et demi, ils ont decider d'investir un batiment laisse a l'abandon par l'autorite palestinienne. le Hamas a indique qu'il allait etudier la question mais allait prendre en compte le fait que de nombreuses personnes ne peuvent reconstruire a cause du manque de materiel de construction.
Eb depit de la rhetorique israelienne sur la levee du siege, les materiaux de construction sont toujours rares a Gaza, et le peu qui rentre ne couvre qu'une infime partie des besoins. De nombreuses personnes vivent encore dans des tentes, des logements de fortune, s'entassent chez des membres de leurs familles ou sont obliges de louer des appartements.

No reconstruction despite siege "easing"
Rami Almeghari, The Electronic Intifada, 27 August 2010

"We are not here to steal or take over something which is not our own. We are not criminals or thieves. We are humans who seek a safe shelter after we have lost hope that our houses will be rebuilt," said Bassam Dardouna, 46, head of a 15-member household, as he stood in the middle of an unfinished apartment.

Last week, Dardouna's and more than 35 other displaced families from the al-Salam neighborhood took over the abandoned, partially-built Abu al-Kheir building, a 10-story apartment block east of Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.

"For the past year my seven sons and five daughters have all lived in a small rented house in very cramped conditions," Dardouna explained. "I had to stop sponsoring my four sons who are enrolled at the university, as I have become increasingly unable to afford the rent."

Kamal al-Najjar is one of six brothers whose three-story house was completely destroyed by Israeli warplanes during Israel's winter 2008-09 attack on Gaza. Al-Najjar explained that he and his brothers have large families with between seven to nine children and, like Dardouna, could no longer afford to pay rent. "So we decided to move here," al-Najjar explained as he helped a worker fix up the apartment he had taken over.

These Gaza families are among thousands whose houses were either partially or completely destroyed during the Israeli bombardment and invasion. Hamas, which runs the Gaza wing of the Palestinian Authority, reacted to the takeover of the building by saying it would consider that the vast majority of affected people have been unable to repair or rebuild damaged homes due to the lack of building materials.

There has been a chronic shortage of building materials since Israel imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip more than three years ago. In June of this year Israel announced a partial "easing" of the blockade, under international pressure following its massacre of peace activists aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

Larger shipments of goods and commodities have entered the territory since Israel has announced relaxing the closure of Gaza. While more consumer goods and foodstuffs are more abundant in Gaza's markets, building materials are still scarce.

Even existing construction projects are stalled due to the persistent Israeli blockade on building supplies. Among them are a major housing project being built by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis, and more than 100 UNRWA schools.

"At this moment, there is nothing happening on the ground regarding construction materials for the UN projects," said Basil Nasir, director of the United Nations Development Program in Gaza. When announcing its "easing," Israel had said it would allow supplies in for UN-sponsored projects.

According to Maxwell Gaylard, United Nations Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, vital UN projects such as water and sanitation infrastructure and clinics are also on hold.

"Our position is that the blockade in terms of air, sea and land should be lifted and this position has not changed," Gaylard told The Electronic Intifada. Gaylard acknowledged that since Israel announced the easing, about 200 truckloads per day were coming through the Kerem Shalom land crossing as opposed to about 70 before. But this is still far short of what is needed.

"As for housing, schools, sanitation and water, we are talking about tens and tens of thousands of truckloads" of needed supplies, Gaylard said. Gaylard added that the UN was focused on getting permission for more materials to come through and according to him, the Israeli government is trying to expand the capacity of the Keren Shalom crossing.

But Omar Shaban, an economist in Gaza, contends that disallowing construction materials into the coastal territory has nothing to do with logistical factors. He blamed Israel for what he termed collective punishment against of the population in Gaza, a violation of international law.

Israel was forced to announce the easing of the siege following outrage over its attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, Shaban said, "but the siege is not yet lifted significantly as there are also widespread restrictions on movement of people in and out of the Gaza Strip."

According to Shaban, Israel's continued refusal to allow construction supplies into to Gaza is because "If they allow more materials, they think that Hamas will benefit. So they prefer the easiest way of punishing the whole community and by so doing they have failed to separate between Hamas and the rest of the Gaza community."

Shaban added: "I am not saying here that Israel has the right to punish Hamas, because at the end of the day Hamas was elected democratically, so the international community should help Hamas to adapt itself and to be part of a normal political system."

Evidence for this view also came recently when Israeli deputy prime minister Silvan Shalom told Quartet Envoy Tony Blair that Israel would not supply additional electricity to Gaza -- which suffers from severe shortages -- because that would "benefit Hamas.

"I think Israel wants to keep Gaza under pressure as a poor area while Palestinians are divided into two leaderships -- one in Gaza under Hamas and the other in the West Bank under the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority. Such a division gives Israel the excuse to do nothing towards changing the status quo, especially rehabilitation of the war-torn Gaza," said Shaban.

Bassam Dardouna and Kamal al-Najjar might have finally found some comfort in the abandoned building, but the needs of thousands of other displaced families remain unmet.

"Since we have been displaced, we have received many promises. We have increasingly felt we have been already deserted," Dardouna said.

Rami Almeghari is a journalist and university lecturer based in the Gaza Strip.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Living near the buffer zone / Vivre pres de la zone tampon, east of Gaza Valley, 26.08.2010

(c) Anne Paq/, east of Gaza Valley, 26.08.2010

The house of the Abu Sa'eed family, home of 17 persons, is located at 370 meters from the fence. On 13 July 2010, three artillery shells were shot at the house. Following the second strike, the mother of five children, Ni'meh Yousif Abu Sa'eed (An-Nabaheen), 32 was killed when she went outside to look for one of her children who was missing. Three other family members were injured. Since then, the family lives in constant fear for further attacks. The children who are not allowed to go to the Eastern side of the house have problems sleeping and ran into the house each time they see an Israeli patrol jeep. They have to walk 5 kilometers everyday to school. No one can visit the house after sunset, and the family is then confined into the house. Shootings are recurrent. (see also al mezan' press release below)

La maison de la famille Abou Sa'eed, ou habitent 17 personnes, est située à 370 mètres de la clôture. Le 13 Juillet 2010, trois obus d'artillerie ont été tirés sur la maison. À la suite de la seconde frappe, Ni'meh Yousif Abu Said (An-Nabaheen), la mère de cinq enfants, , 32 a été tuée quand elle est sortie pour chercher un de ses enfants qui manquait. Trois autres membres de la famille ont été blessés. Depuis lors, la famille vit dans la peur constante de nouvelles attaques. Les enfants qui ne sont pas autorisés à aller du côté Est de la maison ont des problèmes de sommeil et courrent se cacher dans la maison chaque fois qu'ils voient une jeep de patrouille israélienne. Ils ont à marcher 5 kilomètres tous les jours pour se rendre a l'école. Personne ne peut visiter la maison après le coucher du soleil, et la famille est alors confinée dans la maison. Les tirs sont récurrents, surtout pendant la nuit.

IOF Opens Fire on a Residential House; Woman Killed and Others Injured; Al Mezan Condemns the Attack and Calls on the International Community to Intervene

At approximately 8:30pm on Tuesday 13 July 2010, Israeli occupation forces (IOF), positioned at the separation fence east of Gaza Valley, south east of Gaza City, fired three artillery shells on a residential house. As a result, a woman was killed and two other women were injured as well as the landlord. The house belongs to Jabir Ismail E'alian Abu Sa'eed, 64.

In his affidavit to Al Mezan, the landlord said that at approximately 8:30pm on Tuesday 13 July 2010, he was sitting outside his house when he heard an explosion near his house. He ran inside the house. Then he heard another two consecutive explosions and gun shots.

As a result of the attack, Ni'meh Yousif Abu Sa'eed (An-Nabaheen), 32, was killed as she sustained injures in the head, the front side of the abdomen and cuts in the thighs. She was injured while she was looking for her children around the house. Sa'eed was married and had five children. Three other persons were also injured in the attack. Al Mezan identified their names as follows:

· Sanaa’ Ahmed Abu Sa'eed (Abu Maraheel), 25, who is married and has two children, sustained injuries in the lower parts of her body;

· Amira Jabir Abu Sa'eed, 30, who sustained injuries in the right shoulder; and

· Jaber Abu Sa'eed, the landlord who sustained injuries in the right thigh.

The house was also physically damaged as a result of the attack.

The house which was attacked is located south east of the Gaza Valley cemetery. It is 400 meters away from the eastern separation fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Al Mezan believes that the location of the house is an important reason for its attack as the house is located in an area which the IOF usually attacks as part of enforcing the security buffer zone inside the Gaza Strip. The IOF hindered, as usually in this area, the arrival of ambulances to evacuate the injured persons. Ambulances waited for almost an hour and a half until the International Committee of the Red Cross coordinated with the Israeli side to allow them to enter the area and to evacuate the injured to Al Aqsa Martyrs hospital in Deir Al Balah.

Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights strongly condemns the continuous Israeli flagrant violations of human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL). Al Mezan deplores the continuous Israeli attacks against Palestinians even when they are not in the security buffer zone and there are no acts of hostility in the area. The IOF's attacks violate its legal obligations under IHL, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention and the principles of discrimination and proportion.

Al Mezan calls on the international community to promptly intervene to stop the IOF from enforcing the security buffer zone inside the Gaza Strip. Enforcing the security buffer zone means taking up considerable parts of the Palestinian lands and forcibly displacing the Palestinians who live in that area. Al Mezan also calls on the international community to take prompt actions to ensure due protection of Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT).


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rafah- Annee zero, Gaza Strip, 21.08.2010

(c) Anne Paq/, rafah, Gaza Strip, 21.08.2010

In the tunnels / dans les tunnels, Rafah, gaza Strip, 21.08.2010

(c) Anne Paq/, rafah, 21.08.2010

many goods are still entering only through the tunnels. They are still numerous and are surprisingly accessible, and very close to the border (most entrances are only at 250 meters away from the borders).

beaucoup de biens continuent de rentrer uniquement par les tunnels. Ceux-ci sont encore assez nombreux et sont etonnamement accessibles et proches de la frontiere avec l'Egypte (la plupart des entrees ,des tunnels sont a seulement 250 metres, sous le nez des gardes frontieres egyptiens).

Sewage into the sea / les egouts dans la mer, wadi Gaza, Gaza Strip, 21.08.2010

Photos by Anne Paq/, Wadi Gaza, Gaza Strip, 21.08.2010

Sewage is seen flowing directly into the sea, in the Gaza Wadi area, Gaza Strip, 21.08.2010.
An estimated 50-60 million liters of waste per day have been pumped into the sea. Normally, the sewage is pumped to prearranged sites for treatment, but the shortage of fuel in the Gaza Strip has caused disruptions in the supply of electricity. These shortages, lack of sufficient quantities of chemicals necessary for treating sewage, and spare parts, has led the Gaza officials to pump the waste into the sea. This has become of major health concerns, with sewage carrying bacteria that are dangerous for swimmers. Fishermen also report a sharp decrease in the numbers of fishes available.

Les eaux usées sont vues se déversant directement dans la mer, dans la région de Wadi Gaza, la Bande de Gaza, 21.08.2010.
Il est estimé que 50 à 60 millions de litres d'eau usees sont deversées par jour directement dans la mer. Normalement, les eaux usées sont pompées vers des sites de traitement, mais la pénurie de carburant dans la bande de Gaza a provoqué des perturbations dans la fourniture d'électricité. Ces pénuries, et le manque de quantités suffisantes de produits chimiques nécessaires au traitement des eaux usées, et des pièces détachées, a conduit les responsables à Gaza a deverser les déchets dans la mer. Cela est devenu un problème de santé majeur, les eaux usées etant porteuses de bactéries qui sont dangereuses pour les nageurs. Les pêcheurs signalent également une forte diminution du nombre de poissons disponibles

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Living near the buffer zone / Vivre pres de la zone tampon, Beit Hanoun, Gaza, 18.08.2010

(c) Anne Paq/, Beit Hanoun, Gaza, 18.08.2010

The Ahmad family lives in a half-destroyed house located near the buffer zone. The house was struck by a bomb during Operation Cast Lead. Three rooms were destroyed but miraculously nobody got injured. The family was then displaced for 10 months during which they were renting a flat, and partly repairing the house. They are back, but do not feel safe, in a house which is still half destroyed and is marked everywhere by the war. In the evening they are confined to the house for fear of shootings due to the fact that they live close to the buffer zone.

La famille de Ahmad vit dans une maison a moitie détruite située près de la zone tampon. La maison a été frappée par une bombe lors de l'opération «Plomb durci». Trois chambres ont été détruites, mais miraculeusement personne de la famille n'a ete blessé. La famille a ensuite été déplacée pendant 10 mois au cours duquel ils ont été obliges de louer un appartement, le termps de reparer sommairement leur maison. Ils sont de retour, mais ne se sentent pas en sécurité, dans une maison qui est encore à moitié détruite et porte les traces de la guerre. Le soir, ils ne bougent pas de la maison par peur des tirs des Israeliens comme ils sont pres de la zone tampon.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Demonstration in Beit Hanoun against the buffer zone / Manif a Beit Hanoun contre la zone tampon, Gaza, 17.08.2010

(c) Anne Paq/, Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip, 17.08.2010

A group of Palestinians from beit hanoun, together with internationals demonstrated against the buffer zone in Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip, 17.08.2010. The demonstrators walked towards the buffer zone and then enter it, reaching a point around 150 meters away from the Wall at Eretz Crossing. The demonstrators removed part of the barbwire . Some shots were fired by the Israeli army but no one was injured. The protestors were them forced to leave the area. The buffer zone has been declared of 300 meters. Many farmers lost some lands, and many people were shot at in the area, even beyond the 300 meters.

Un groupe de Palestiniens de Beit Hanoun, soutenus par des internationaux ont manifesté contre la zone tampon à Beit Hanoun, dans la bande de Gaza, 17.08.2010. Les manifestants ont marché vers la zone tampon et puis l'ont penetree pour atteindre un point à environ 150 mètres du Mur au passage d'Eretz. Les manifestants ont retiré une partie de barbelés mis en place par l'armee israelienne. Quelques coups de feu ont été tirés par l'armée israélienne sur le groupe, forcant les manifestants a quitter la zone.

La zone tampon a été déclarée de 300 mètres. De nombreux agriculteurs ont ainsi perdu des terres, et chaque semaine des personnes sont blesses ou tuees dans la zone et meme au dela des 300 metres.

Daily life in Gaza, transportation / La vie a Gaza- transports

(c) Anne Paq/Activestills, Gaza Strip, 15.08.2010

many people cannot afford the price of the gasoline nor to mention a car and use animals for transportation.

beaucoup de palestiniens a Gaza ne peuvent payer de l'essence, et encore moins une voiture, et ont recours aux animaux pour le transport.