Eva Bartlett In Gaza offers views of Palestinian life in Gaza under siege. Eva sailed to Gaza in November 2008 with Free Gaza and stayed on with the ISM till June 2010. She has recently returned to the Strip.
"For the past five years we've collected garbage by traditional means: donkey and cart," says Abdel Rahem Abulkumboz, director of health and environment at the Municipality of Gaza. The municipality of Gaza alone produces 700 tons of waste daily, Kumboz says. More than half of this waste is collected daily by 250 donkey carts.
"It's a means of doing the job, but not an optimal one," says Kumboz.
Among the growing problems facing waste management throughout the Gaza Strip, even this simple solution nearly came to an end this month.
"The funding allotted to garbage collectors finished at the end of February," says Kumboz, noting that it is not slated to resume until June at the earliest.
"An ark is literally a large floating vessel designed to keep its passengers and cargo safe," say the group preparing 'Gaza's Ark'. But their ark, they say, is "a vessel that embodies hope that the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip can soon live in peace without the threat of the Israeli blockade."
An initiative by Palestinians in Gaza and international solidarity activists, Gaza's Ark entails "purchasing a run-down boat from a local fishing family," says Michael Coleman, a member of Free Gaza Australia and on the Gaza's Ark steering committee.
At around 5 a.m., long after the Azzan (call to prayer) has sounded from various surrounding mosques for the early morning prayer, but still before sunrise, my brother-in-law's family in the apartment below turn on Quranic recitations -- technically not considered music but soothingly melodic nonetheless -- as they get their kids ready for school, which they go to in two shifts, starting very early, because all of Gaza's schools are massively over-crowded.
In the random times when I get up during these quiet hours, I revel in the sounds almost devoid of human noise… no honking taxis, children playing soccer in the streets, street sellers circulating goods… (there's about a 2-hour window of reverie before these all begin anew).
Driving to Gaza one morning, the shared taxi enters a traffic jam outside the UN school. The street is jammed with children, cars trying to butt ahead, a motorcycle sitting in the middle of the mess, clogging everything.
"The police are there when you don't need them, not there when you need them," grumbles the driver.
Roadside vegetable vendors: spinach, cauliflower, romaine lettuce, oranges imported from Egypt because the vast majority of Gaza's trees have long since been bulldozed by the Zionists.
"In Gaza we don't lead normal lives, we just cope, and adapt to our abnormal lives under siege and occupation," says Dr. Mona El-Farra, a physician and a long-time human rights and women's rights activist in the Gaza Strip. On International Women's Day, when many of the world's women are fighting for workplace equality and an end to domestic violence, Farra and the majority of Gaza's women fight for the most basic of rights.
"It is difficult to live in this small piece of land, where basic needs like clean water, regular electricity, proper sanitation and means of recreation are not met. Women in Gaza are particularly traumatised by the continuous Israeli military attacks," says Farra.
GAZA CITY, Dec 17 2012 (IPS) - Shortly after Israel and Hamas signed a ceasefire agreement on Nov. 21, the Israeli navy abducted 30 Palestinian fishers from Gaza's waters, destroyed and sank a Palestinian fishing vessel, and confiscated nine fishing boats in the space of four days.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reported that 14 fishers from a single family, stationed just three nautical miles from the coast of the Gaza Strip, were all arrested on Dec. 1.
A July 2012 report by the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, covering the period from January 2011 to April 2012, recounts offenses the Israeli navy committed, including the abduction of at least 60 fishers, the shooting and injuring of at least 12 fishers, more than 13 fisher’s boats taken, and the intentional damage of fisher’s nets and equipment.
With over 3,600 fishermen and 70,000 people dependent on income from the sea, Gaza’s fishing has been decimated by such Israeli tactics and policies. “When there is no income, fishers must depend on food aid from the United Nations (UN),” says Bakri. “But there are a lot of other needs, like housing, clothing, medical care, education.”
I may lose my daily bread, if you wish I may hawk my clothes and bed I may become a stone-cutter, or a porter Or a street-sweeper I may search in animal dung for food I may collapse, naked and starved Enemy of light I will not compromise And to the end I shall fight.
You may rob me of the last span of my land You may ditch my youth in prison holes Steal what my grandfather left me behind: Some furniture or clothes and jars, You may burn my poems and books You may feed your dog on my flesh You may impose a nightmare of your terror On my village Enemy of light I shall not compromise And to the end I shall fight.
Some time after descending further south from the former Khiam prison, the fortified fence separating Lebanon and occupied Palestine appears, as do the red-roofed Israeli homes in the formerly mixed Palestinian and Lebanese town of Metulli: M notes that this town was an example of many such towns home to Jews and Muslims, living side by side without problem...before the arrival of Zionists.