One week after the Israeli army brutally attacked a weekly non-violent legal demonstration against the wall in the village of Bil’in, August 18th saw yet another black and blue protest. ISM reports that this time the army showed a greater sense of preparation as they added water cannons to their arsenal of rubber bullets and sound grenades. The cannons fired blue colored water on the demonstrators resulting in burns and skin irritation, stirring questions of whether the water had been mixed with chemicals.
Photo courtesy of ISM Palestine
While the devastation of Lebanon continues to dominate the headlines many Palestinian bloggers such as Salah Al-Dein are saying “What about Gaza and the rest of the Occupied Territories?” Haitham Sabbah also looks at disengagement and the increase in conflict one year later. In Gaza, Sharifo says that nothing has changed: “…all the infrastructure of Gaza, one of the world's most densely-populated areas with 1.4 million residents, has been destroyed…”
Mohammad from Rafah Today is another resident blogger who has witnessed first hand the crisis taking place:
The mobile phone rings and my friend Abed is screaming into the phone: “Mohammed, explosion here in Gaza city, many injured many killed. There are no ambulances and many have been injured and killed.” It was the house of Iyad Al Masri, a Palestinian man living in the Eastern part of Gaza City. The explosion killed one person and many were injured.
Photo courtesy of Mohammed @ Rafah Today
Who knew that a lacking consistent supply of electricity amidst the sweltering heat could be such a persistent problem in Gaza? Naj, a Gazan, describes just some of the difficulties in living there lately. The absence of electricity also kept Mona El-Ferra from publishing a rather interesting post about the Jabalia Library Project she established in 1992 in Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp. One of the fruits of that project was Adham Khalil who has since gone on to become a bit of an activist and blogger himself, articulating in a recent post what the expectation of inevitable martyrdom in a state of occupation feels like.
Meanwhile, ISM reports on Gazans protesting the recent abduction of Fox News journalists although all armed groups have denied any involvement.
Naseem Tarawnah of The Black Iris reports on a group of Hollywood A-list celebrities that have taken out an ad condemning Hizballah and Hamas, blaming both groups for everything that has transpired lately in Lebanon and Gaza. Umkhalil believes it is an attempt to whitewash any Israeli responsibility for the devastation and has some helpful suggestions to enlighten these celebrities about the core of the conflict.
As the whole world knows by now, Palestinian resistance fighters captured one Israeli soldier on June 25th followed by Hizballah’s capturing of two Israeli soldiers on July 12th. This however is only half the story as Haitham Sabbah offers us the other half in much ignored greater context.
Haitham also has an interesting post based on reports by Israeli human rights organizations who outline the Israeli policy of “Silent Transfer”: separating Palestinian families by denying entry rights into Israel making it impossible to reach the West Bank and/or Gaza.
Meanwhile Israel has been busy rounding up Members of the Palestinian Parliament and Naseem wonders if it will get to a point where Palestinians will be forced to hold another election with its whole government in Israeli jails. Desert Peace says: “It's time for Israel to accept the fact that Hamas was elected to represent the Palestinian people. Until that is done, there will be no change whatsoever in the situation we have here… none.”
Umkhalil posts a collection of letters sent to the Independent on the fate of Palestinian refugees being denied a right of return. Desert Peace attempts to look at the arguments against the right of return for Palestinians by a state that has a law of return for it’s own people.
Osaid Rasheed, a nurse in Hebron, is not a stranger to death and the moments of reality that ensue. However this time a friend’s son is one of the victims, causing Osaid to reevaluate the heavy gravity of such moments. “Is it that we are touched only when death comes to those who mean a lot to us?” he asks.
Though not all wounds in Hebron come in the form of bullets. Missy of ISM reports of two ten-year old Palestinian boys who were detained by the Israeli army after settler boys threw rocks at them. Human Rights Workers attempted to intervene only to be told by one of the soldiers: “Don’t worry. We’ll keep them for about an hour. We’re going to punish them.”
Ohoud worries about the future of Palestinian culture in the unsteady hands of the modern generation. “Who will write about Palestine’s history so beautifully, about the vines and oranges of Haifa?about Tabareyya and Old Jerusalem?”, she asks. Meanwhile Iman has an interesting post on “Hebrew Watermelons”: remnants from the making of Israel at the cost of “foreigners”.