Israel’s blockade keeps Gaza in the dark

The Gaza Strip has been under siege for a decade, with a strict Israeli-Egyptian blockade controlling the entry and exit of people and goods. Electricity is rationed throughout the territory, as Gaza has access to less than half of its power needs through purchases and local generation, officials say. Residents may receive eight hours or fewer of electricity a day, with blackouts common. Gaza’s power plant was bombed in 2006 and the electricity network suffered further damage during the 2014 war, straining the system to its limits. The lack of electricity also has consequences for the pumping and treatment of sewage water. In addition to Israeli attacks and restrictions, infighting between Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah have contributed to a lack of progress in solving the territory’s power crisis. “There are plans to develop a new power plant or even solar fields, but … we need international approval and we lack agreements between Fatah and Hamas,” said Hazem Ahmed, a representative of Gaza’s local power company.

The 40th anniversary of Land Day, in Gaza City

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A Palestinian student crawls under a large banner made by Palestinian artists to mark the 40th anniversary of Land Day, in Gaza City. Land Day is an annual day of commemoration for Palestinians of the events of that date in 1976. In response to the Israeli government’s announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of dunams of land for security and settlement purposes, a general strike and marches were organized in Arab towns from the Galilee to the Negev. In the ensuing confrontations with the Israeli army and police, six unarmed[3] Arab citizens were killed, about one hundred were wounded, and hundreds of others arrested.

Scholarship on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict recognizes Land Day as a pivotal event in the struggle over land and in the relationship of Arab citizens to the Israeli state and body politic. It is significant in that it was the first time since 1948 that Arabs in Israel organized a response to Israeli policies as a Palestinian national collective. An important annual day of commemoration in the Palestinian national political calendar ever since, it is marked not only by Arab citizens of Israel, but also by Palestinians all over the world. 1756334493

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A14-year-old Palestinian boy detained by Israeli soldiers

A 14-year-old Palestinian boy, looks out of an Israeli army vehicle after he was detained by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank town of Bani Naeem, near Hebron

Gaza border opening raises Palestinians’ hopes

For the second day in a row, hundreds of Palestinians have gathered in the southern part of the besieged Gaza Strip with hope of passing through the rarely opened Rafah crossing. Sunday’s border opening comes a day after more than 700 people were allowed to enter Egypt a day earlier, as well as more than 700 others who were allowed to return to Gaza after being stuck in Egypt for months. Gaza has endured a tight blockade, enforced by both Israel and Egypt, since the Palestinian group Hamas took control of the territory in 2007.
Egyptian authorities open the border only for brief periods every few months, according to Gisha Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement, an Israeli rights group. READ MORE: Palestinians in Gaza mass for rare Rafah border opening Egypt has severely restricted entry through Rafah since June 2013, when Abdel Fattah el-Sisi became president following the overthrow of his predecessor, Mohamed Morsi.
The crossing was last opened in early December. More than 25,000 people have registered to cross Rafah because of urgent needs, including about 3,500 who need to travel for medical purposes, according to a report published at the local Maan News Agency. Gisha notes that “Rafah crossing was open on 27 days only, with transit out of Gaza to Egypt barred on four of these” during the first nine months of 2015.

Another winter in Gaza

More than a year since Israel’s deadly onslaught on the besieged Gaza Strip, the United Nations refugee agency (UNRWA) estimates that 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza are preparing to spend a second winter in damaged homes and makeshift structures.
Despite promises made by Arab nations such as Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates to provide funds to rebuild homes, many families are still waiting for aid. With deliveries of concrete hinging on Israeli permits, Gaza’s reconstruction process has faced grinding delays, fuelling a black market with significantly inflated prices for building materials
 Many of Gaza’s makeshift homes are unfit for the upcoming cold, wet winter. Some have walls made solely out of plastic sheeting and pieces of fabric, while others are made from pieces of corrugated iron. Other families continue to live in precarious, partially destroyed buildings, with gaping holes and dangerous hanging chunks of concrete.
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For the families trying to live and survive here, the upcoming winter has become a consuming worry. Rain is already destroying cobbled-together walls, and there is little escape from the cold. Pneumonia killed several Palestinians in Gaza last winter, and many are concerned about what the coming months could bring.

 

 

Palestinian girls demonstrate their skills with AK-47 rifles

Palestinian girls demonstrate their skills with AK-47 rifles as they attend a Hamas women’s rally in Gaza City in support of Palestinian stabbing attacks against Israelis.

Masked Palestinian holding a knife

A Palestinian woman paints a mural, depicting a masked Palestinian holding a knife, in support of Palestinians committing stabbing attacks against Israelis, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Keep your head up, you are a Palestinian

12107128_10154316868870760_2316740372225107649_nKeep your head up, you are a Palestinian,

Do not bend, bow, no matter how necessary it may be, you may not have the chance to raise your head ever again,

A wounded Palestinian protester is evacuated during clashes

A wounded Palestinian protester is evacuated during clashes with Israeli troops near the border between Israel and Central Gaza Strip. Forty-one Palestinians and seven Israelis have died in recent street violence, which was in part triggered by Palestinians’ anger over what they see as increased Jewish encroachment on Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound.