The word ‘peace’ has never seemed further from the recent realities that have gripped the region. Instead, the word ‘conflict’ seems to dominate the undertones of every blogger who’s been keeping track of the developments in Palestine; and even ‘conflict’ feels like a euphemism these days.
Fayyad at Kabobfest looks at “today’s word…root cause”, a term promoted by world leaders such as George W. Bush, but always seeming to stop short of a comprehensive search of the actual ‘root causes’.
Speaking of being less than comprehensive, the media has been showing two sides of the war according to Christian Sunni of Palestinian Pundit, while Fadi at Kabobfest fills us in on the words you won't hear on CNN.
An alarming message left by the webmaster of Rafah Today on July 14th reads “Mohammad was struck with shrapnel as he was taking those photographs. Thank God he was wearing a bullet proof vest.” Hopefully Mohammad is safe and sound although his latest photos are quite telling of the situation in Gaza.
Photo courtesy of Mohammed of Rafah Today
“Cowards” and “Puppets” is how Ola describes the reaction of some Arab governments. While the Arab League has admitted to being “Impotent”, Shaden has a better word for it (in all three regional languages).
And slowly the words begin to form questions…
Questions such as: ‘Why is Israel always right?’, asks Haitham Sabbah. And Does Gaza = Iraq? ‘War’ and ‘Hatred’: which one breeds which, wonders Lulu. ‘The Right to Defend Itself’ has been another popular talking point for world leaders this week. Naseem Tarawnah of The Black Iris wonders what it means to defend one's self, while Ola offers a promising (re)definition.
“Safe”, does it have an address? A question Laila El-Haddad poses when she reassures her son Yousuf that the loud thunder outside their residence in the U.S. is not the gunfire and shelling he’s accustomed to hearing outside their home in Gaza.
And while the borders of Gaza has been closed off by Israel since June, supplies are running short and people are stranded; thousands are left waiting to go home. Often in such conflicts casualties become numbers and we tend to think in abstractions but in a post alternatively titled “Love, Borders and Desperation” one of those waiting is Laila’s friend Yasmin: a bride trying to go home just to get married.
It must be a troubling time for the mothers of Gaza, as the Palestinian Ministry of Health reports that of the 82 reported deaths during the first 12 days of July, 22 are children. Mona and her daughter Sondos in Gaza cannot get a full night’s sleep without being awakened to explosions and sonic booms; blogging during those few hours when the electricity returns before disappearing into the darkness that has descended upon Gaza lately. She also visits the Attar family north of Gaza to hand out presents to 50 children. Their home was partly destroyed and then occupied as a base for Israeli snipers during a 3 day operation in the area.
The attention of so many has been turned to Gaza and more recently Lebanon. But turmoil lives on in the West bank as well. In the village of Bil’in, Iman tells us of a bride and groom who decided to hold a patriotic wedding ceremony by joining a peaceful protest against the Israeli wall. They were both part of the 26 demonstrators injured by batons, rubber bullets and tear gas of Israeli soldiers. The village was eventually invaded.
Elsewhere, in Jericho an ISRAA kindergarten that hosts 150 children was raided by the Israeli army who took off with four computers and a scanner. Some local youths tried to stop the soldiers by hurling stones at their jeeps but the response they received came in the form of rubber bullets and live ammunition, injuring five.
Katie describes her trip to Jerusalem in the midst of the chaos in Gaza. Wanting to visit the Al-Aqsa mosque she finds it inaccessible. Instead she goes home with quite a story after being trampled on by an Israeli policeman on horseback for asking the wrong question. West Jerusalem however is another story: “The surreality of the contrast between Arab East Jerusalem and Jewish West Jerusalem was even more astonishing than it usually is.”
Photo courtesy of Katie Miranda of Postcards From Palestine