IN PHOTOS ~~ YEMEN IS STARVING TO DEATH

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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NEW TOON ~~ THE OCCUPATION LITERALLY STINKS

Image by Carlos Latuff

Gaza’s sewage can’t be treated because of the ongoing Blockade & Israeli wars!!

Life in a septic tank

Hiba al-Ashi has to keep the windows of her apartment closed. It is the only way to avoid the foul odors from the polluted sea.

“Life has become unbearable,” said the 36-year-old mother, whose Gaza City home overlooks the Mediterranean.

Every day, 100,000 cubic meters of raw sewage are discharged into the sea around Gaza.

The Gaza Strip’s environmental problems have worsened in recent years.

Gaza has suffered from chronic electricity shortages ever since its sole power plant was bombed by Israel in 2006. Israel imposed an ongoing, severe economic blockade on the territory one year later, restricting the import of fuel and hindering repair of electricity infrastructure destroyed and damaged during successive military offensives.

Gaza’s power plant shut down entirely in April this year, and Israel further reduced electricity supply to Gaza this week – a violation of international humanitarian law, according to human rights groups. Electricity is currently available fewer than three hours per day.

One of the results – among others profoundly affecting daily life in Gaza – is that there is not enough power to run sewage treatment facilities in the territory. Desalination plants, which provide most of Gaza’s drinking water, are also operating at significantly reduced capacity.

“Unprecedented”

Visiting the beach used to be one of the only possibilities for enjoyment and relaxations for Palestinians living under siege in Gaza.

Pollution has narrowed such possibilities. Around 50 percent of Gaza’s beaches are unfit for swimming, according to the local Environment Quality Authority. A number of beaches have been closed to the public.

“The pollution rate of the sea water and beaches this year is unprecedented,” said Ahmad Helles, a representative of that authority. “This indicates that there is a real environmental disaster.”

According to Helles, both the sand and water are contaminated. The sand, he said, “carries a lot of microbes which may be harmful and cause illnesses in humans.”

Maher Salem, a leading administrator of water services in Gaza, said that the sewage facilities will “stop totally soon.”

“We are forced to pump all the sewage into the sea untreated,” he said. “This is preventing people from swimming and, in many cases, even going to the beach.”

Having a view of the sea or living near it is considered desirable throughout the world. In Gaza, however, many people wish to leave homes close to the shore.

“Living in a septic tank”

Taysir Abu Saada has lived in Beach refugee camp, part of Gaza City, for 18 years. He is trying to save money so that he can rent an apartment elsewhere. He wants to “take my family away from this unhealthy atmosphere,” he said.

“I feel like we are living in a septic tank, not a real house,” said his 19-year-old daughter Shaima.

Wisam Lubad, a 22-year-old student, used to enjoy walking on the beach. Now she has to hold her nose when she ventures towards the shore.

“Nothing is well in Gaza,” she said. “That includes the sea – our only escape.”

One recent day, a local family decided to eat a grilled lunch on the beach in Gaza City. The family found the experience so unpleasant that it abandoned the lunch after a short while.

“We’re living in a big tragedy in this country,” said Samar, one member of the family. “We have one disaster after another.”

Beaches in Rafah, an area of southern Gaza near its border with Egypt, have been closed – at the order of the local authority.

The closures are necessary “to protect our citizens from harmful diseases which may be caused by this pollution,” said Sobhi Abu Ridwan, who heads the Rafah municipality.

Masoud Matar is among a number of people in Gaza who have vowed to keep visiting the beach, despite warnings by the authorities.

“Everybody in Gaza considers the sea as their friend,” he said. “Most Gazans are poor. They cannot pay for holidays in resorts or go to swimming pools. The sea is their only hope for having a bit of fun when it is hot.”

The closure of beaches is also causing income losses. Many people in Gaza work as peddlers during the summer.

Muhammad Abu Assi is a recent college graduate, who was hoping to earn a little money by selling corn on the shore. “I was waiting for the summer to start my life as a peddler,” he said. “Now it seems that this is not going to happen.”

Fishermen, too, are worried about the consequences of the pollution.

One of them, Mahmoud al-Ghandour, said that much of the fish for sale in Gaza’s markets may be unsafe to eat.

“Fishing has been my life for 30 years,” he said. “I have never seen so much pollution as that which we’ve had over the past five years.”

Sarah Algherbawi is a freelance writer and translator from Gaza.

EID AL-FITRE MUBARAK

 To all of my Muslim readers, Family and Friends..

Eid al-Fitre Mubarak!

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The Glorious Holy Month of Ramadan will be coming to an end tonight at sundown … ushering in the wonderful feast days of Eid-al-Fitr. A time for joyous celebrations with families, a time to feel completely renewed and refreshed.
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That’s how it’s spelled out in the books…
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Unfortunately in Palestine the book is written differently… families are divided, family members are denied entry to join in the celebrations, families are mourning their loved ones killed by Israeli forces.
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It’s time for all to celebrate! It’s time for all families to be together!
Damn those that won’t let this be!!
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Let us hope that soon the situation will be different and we can all be together… secure in our own Homeland…. secure with a Right of Return… and THE RIGHT TO STAY!
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In the meantime…. AL-EID-MUBARAK!!! Make the best of it and try to enjoy.
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Never give up the dream and hope that all will be good one day...

IN PHOTOS ~~ INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE DAY IN NEW YORK

March to Trump Towers ….

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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THE ENDGAME ~~ ANALYSIS OF THE PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

I  know that resistance against an evil  foreign military occupation is a legitimate right and even a sublime national duty.  However, Palestinians must approach this matter of resistance with utmost discretion, because it is never enough to be right as one has to be wise as well, and wisdom has a thousand doors!

THE ENDGAME:   It is either One democratic state for all or perpetual open-ended conflict

By Khalid Amayreh

 
It is no longer possible to deny the clarion reality  that Israel has succeeded, with or without American consent, in decapitating virtually all realistic prospects for the creation of a viable  and territorially- contiguous Palestinian state on the West Bank, e.g. an  entity that would have East Jerusalem as its capital.  The massive Jewish settlement expansion and aggrandizement all over the occupied West Bank has simply eliminated all possibilities for a true Palestinian state worthy of the name. We who live here in the West Bank see things on the ground and therefore know what we are talking about.  Please don’t lecture us on the reality we live around the clock.
 
This is not the view of one frustrated or  disillusioned Palestinian as some day-dreamers, who are detached from reality, would probably think. In fact, this is the candid impression of most serious pundits , Israeli and Palestinian alike, as well as American and European.
 
There are several reasons why a true and dignified peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians is ruled out. 
 
Israel today is ruled by a fully-fledged fascist and jingoistic government controlled by Jewish supremacists who reject  any notion for a balanced peace settlement   with the Palestinians involving “territorial concessions.”  Moreover, the Israeli Jewish society continues to drift rather steadily toward brash fascism and pornographic racism.  Even the Israeli justice system, the erstwhile last remaining “glimmer of hope” has been infiltrated rather heavily by Nazi-minded ideologues who are indoctrinated in Talmudic Jewish supremacy and who believe that the lives of non-Jews in general and Palestinians in particular have no sanctity.  We are talking about racist Talmudic thugs who think that non-Jews living “in the land of Israel” must either be expelled and massacred in the Biblical style! Or enslaved as woodcutters and water carriers,  also in Biblical style.
 
In short, it is absolutely futile to count on the possible emergence in Israel of a genuine and pro-active peace camp, let alone a peace government,  in the foreseeable future.  This is, of course, in addition to the fact that the relentless and unceasing settlement expansion has put an end to all realistic and reasonable hopes for the establishment of a true Palestinian state, considered the ultimate basic requirement for a genuine and durable peace.
 
As to the United States, it is no secret that when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians, America is a real lame duck and   loses its independent will to  Israel, a foreign state  that willy nilly, occupies the driver’s seat in Washington,   with Washington utterly powerless even  to object or say a simple “NO”.  This isby means  a new story.  One of the best books which illustrated America’s shocking submission and subservience  to Israel is the Zionist Connection by Alfred Lilienthal, written in the late 1970s.
 
I am not doing to delve too much into the “adulterous” American-Israeli affair. But I do want to point out that it is futile to expect the US to force Israel to walk in the path of peace as the entire American political establishment continues to be thoroughly enslaved by Zionist money and influence. 
 
More to the point, there are those who would argue rather rightly  that the US had nearly seven long decades to achieve peace in the Middle East but to no avail. Hence, it would be naïve to expect Washington to undergo a sudden transformation  of mentality or awakening of  conscience. This would be like expecting a perfectly peaceful coexistence between ferocious wolfs and meek lamps.  Hence, I can conclude rather safely that getting the US to force Israel to return to the armistice lines of the 4th of June, 1967 is out of question.  It is a total illusion.
 
As to Arab states, it is equally pointless to count on them to help the Palestinians regain their usurped rights.   Most Arab regimes, as we all know, have no will of their own as these regimes grovel disgracefully at Washington’s feet. After all these autocratic regimes are not responsible to their peoples and they value the “legitimacy” that comes from America’s acceptance more than the legitimacy that should come from their people’s acceptance.  They  are  no more than cheap, ignominious slaves of Washington. Needless to say, a slave by definition has no freer will of his own.
 
Even Iran can not fare much better.  The intimate dark embrace between Iran and the manifestly nefarious regime of Bashar Assad has exposed Tehran’s fanatical and genocidal Shiite regime as  absolutely  unprincipled, thoroughly sectarian and unethically expedient.  Iran is only using the Palestinian cause as a propaganda tool to spread Shiism in the Arab-Muslim world. That is the crux of the matter.
 
So what is in the offing? No one knows for sure.  But a careful examination of reality suggests that the de facto  elimination of a prospective Palestinian state will leave us  with two main broad alternatives: First, the hypothetical creation of a unitary democratic state between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean where  Palestinians and Jews could live together  in peace as equal citizens.  It is utterly inconceivable , however,   that Israel would willingly agree to the emergence of  such a state since this sort of entity would effectively spell the end of Zionism and put an end to Israel as a Jewish state. 
 
Moreover, the Palestinians’ higher birth rate could eventually (in a few decades) cause Jews in Israel-Palestine to become a demographic minority.  (Palestinians already constitute 50% of the population in mandatory Palestine, including Israel Proper, West Bank, and the Gaza Strip). Hence, the so-called one-state solution, though the best possible historical solution, at least,  from this writer’s view point,  can not really be viewed as an absolute or inevitable alternative.
 
I don’t know for sure what Israel will do with six million Palestinians who will double their numbers in less than forty years.   What I do know and am sure of is that is that Israel is hoping for a “miracle” that would eliminate or at least neutralize  the Palestinians demographic “peril.”  In fact, I strongly  believe that a visibly and explicitly fascist Israel could embark on the “unthinkable” to prevent history from taking its natural course.  After all.  genocide is part and parcel of the Jewish-Talmudic mindset. This is why, the Palestinians must be very very vigilant and alert because nothing can be taken for granted.   I am not a prophet of doom and gloom, but  matters of survival can’t be subjected to chances.   The Palestinian people have survived despite history and we continue to survive thanks to the good will of the international community. That is why we must constantly strive to enhance and expedite every conceivable element that could help us consolidate our survival as a people. This must include  building real bridges with peace-minded elements in Israel.  In the final analysis, we are against Israeli oppression, racism, and aggression, not against Jews as Jews.  That is why  we must strive tirelessly to woo as many Jews of good-will as possible to our side.  This is good for  both us and  them and for  peace.
 
A final word: I  know that resistance against an evil  foreign military occupation is a legitimate right and even a sublime national duty.  However, Palestinians must approach this matter of resistance with utmost discretion, because it is never enough to be right as one has to be wise as well, and wisdom has a thousand doors!
 
But we must immediately stop  targeting innocent Israeli civilians even as revenge for the targeting by Israel of our innocent civilians.
 
Targeting innocent civilians, especially knowingly and deliberately,  is always immoral, self-defeating and utterly damaging to our cause.  Ours is a just and noble cause. We must not tarnish it with senseless acts of terror.  Does any Palestinian in his or her  right mind think that murdering a pregnant lady in full view of her children  will benefit our cause and make  people hasten to embrace our struggle against occupation, racism and apartheid.
 
 
Finally,  the second (and last)  alternative is perpetual  open-ended  conflict. This is by all means  a nightmarish and hair-raising scenario.   I hope,  for the sake of our  (Jewish and Palestinian)  children and their children that our leaders will prove themselves more farsighted than they have been.  Otherwise, future generations would curse the moment they were born.

‘LONG LIVE THE NEW KING’ IN TOONS

Images by Carlos Latuff

The next Saudi King

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Trump and Netanyahu are very excited with their new toy — Mohammed bin Salman, the heir apparent in Saudi Arabia

Related (Click on link)

Trump and new Saudi heir vow to pursue Mideast peace

Call comes with Jared Kushner in region for talks aimed at restarting Israeli-Palestinian negotiations

PHOTO OF THE DAY ~~ THE BRAVEST LITTLE BOY IN PALESTINE

Good morning from Palestine!

VIDEO THAT THE ZIONISTS DON’T WANT YOU TO SEE

It is not enough that American Jewish leaders never hear from Palestinians themselves — they do their best to ensure that American politicians don’t, either.

Consider the sequence of events that began on June 8. On that day, an advocacy group called No Way To Treat a Child hosted a panel discussion on Capitol Hill. That’s not unusual. Advocacy organizations hold panel discussions on Capitol Hill all the time; the location makes it easier for congressional staff to attend. What made this one unusual was its subject: the Palestinian experience under Israeli control.

Why Is A Pro-Israel Group So Desperate To Keep You From Watching This Video?

When it comes to Palestinians, the American Jewish establishment is in the ignorance business. The average American synagogue has never hosted a Palestinian speaker. The average “pro-Israel” activist has never read a book by a Palestinian author. The American Jewish philanthropists who fund Birthright send thousands of young American Jews to Israel each year, on a program that systematically excludes the voices of 50% of the people who live under Israeli control.

But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that for major American Jewish organizations, ignorance is an export. It is not enough that American Jewish leaders never hear from Palestinians themselves — they do their best to ensure that American politicians don’t, either.

Consider the sequence of events that began on June 8. On that day, an advocacy group called No Way To Treat a Child hosted a panel discussion on Capitol Hill. That’s not unusual. Advocacy organizations hold panel discussions on Capitol Hill all the time; the location makes it easier for congressional staff to attend. What made this one unusual was its subject: the Palestinian experience under Israeli control.

You can watch the panel online. The first speaker was Omar Shakir, the Israel-Palestine director of Human Rights Watch. In dry, rather clinical, terms, Shakir discussed some of the consequences of the fact that West Bank Palestinians are subjects, not citizens, of Israel. He noted, for instance, that in Area C, which encompasses roughly 60% of the West Bank, it is “nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain a permit to build a home.” When Palestinians build without a permit, the Israeli government often demolishes their homes.

Following him was Brad Parker, a staff attorney at Defense for Children Palestine. Observing that, according to the most recent statistics, Israel holds hundreds of Palestinians between the ages of 12 and 17 in its jails, often for stone throwing, Parker explained that the Israeli military frequently arrests Palestinian children at night. They are often bound, blindfolded and transported to a military installation, where they wait until morning before being interrogated without a lawyer and without their parents knowing where they are. They “essentially disappear for 24, 48, 96 hours.” Then they are generally prosecuted in military courts where the conviction rate approaches 100%.

Following Parker was Yazan Meqbil, a young West Bank Palestinian attending college in the United States, who talked about growing up in a house repeatedly slated for demolition. “Every single day,” he said, “I used to wake up hoping my house will not be demolished.” Meqbil ended his remarks by saying: “Palestinians, we all have a dream, to be free, to live like normal human beings. To not be afraid whenever we leave our homes.”

 

IN PHOTOS ~~ WAS YOUR GRANNY ARRESTED YESTERDAY FOR DEMANDING PEACE?

15 PEOPLE WERE ARRESTED

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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WOW!! LATUFF GETS TOP BILLING IN ISRAEL

Political cartoonist Carlos Latuf regularly compares Israel to Nazis, but that didn’t stop Channel 2’s Arad Nir from recommending his work.

 Latuff

Israeli journalist recommends anti-Semitic cartoonist

Arad Nir, Channel 2 News’ foreign affairs editor, on Tuesday recommended to his followers on Twitter that they follow anti-Israel political cartoonist Carlos Latuff.

Nir described Latuff’s caricatures as “sharp” and pointed out that Latuff, “as usual, does not spare anyone.” But for some reason he ignored the anti-Semitic tone in Latuff’s caricatures and the fact that he often compares between Israel and the Nazis in his caricatures.

Latuff won the annual Iran holocaust denial contest in 2006 due to the anti-Israel character of his drawings.

In 2012, it was revealed that Latuff used his artistic abilities to benefit “Occupy AIPAC”, an organization that seeks to de-legitimize Israel and its supporters.

Hanan Amior, editor of the media criticism site Perspective, who revealed Nir’s tweet, said in response on Tuesday, “This is Arad Nir, who compliments anti-Semites who are obsessed with comparing Israel to the Nazis, recommends their works and sucks up to them. The same Arad Nir who announced on the air that he would not send his children to the IDF, and who lied to Channel 2’s viewers when he claimed that the BDS movement is opposed only to the communities in Judea and Samaria.”

“It is amusing to remember that Arad Nir, who grovels before a blatant and extreme anti-Semite, recently accused [President Donald] Trump of surrounding himself with anti-Semites. Channel 2 News viewers should know who presents them with information and who his heroes are,” added Amior.

Nir’s Twitter recommendation did not go unnoticed by Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud), who responded with a sharply worded post on Facebook.

“Sometimes I am asked why I criticize Arad Nir, and I think he provides the answer himself every now and then, like today, when he praises an exhibition of caricatures by an anti-Semitic cartoonist who compares Israel to the Nazis in various ways. A man who won an Iranian Holocaust denial cartoon competition in 2006. ‘Thank you Arad,’ the anti-Semitic cartoonist replies to his warm recommendation. ‘So precise, so sharp, so sad!’ Arad Nir replies,” wrote Erdan.

“This is the same Arad Nir who attacked U.S. President Donald Trump for being surrounded by anti-Semites. How far can the hypocrisy go? Look at the shocking caricature I attached, which is just one example of the horrors created by Arad Nir’s favorite cartoonist, and how the same cartoonist compares IDF soldiers to Nazis who murder children in Lebanon. Arad Nir is the foreign news editor of the most watched newscast in Israel. So why do I criticize him? Because sometimes, silence is slime,” added Erdan.

Arad Nir Flash 90

SOURCE

 

Latuff adds the following …..

For the record, I’m not the author of the following cartoon, falsely mentioned by . Dishonesty at best!

IN TOONS ~~ ISLAM; RELIGION OF HATE Or RELIGION TO HATE?

MUSLIMS ARE PEOPLE TOO

Images by Carlos Latuff

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A much better solution!

IN PHOTOS ~~ DARK DAYS OF RAMADAN IN GAZA

“Power cuts have become a part of our life. We have already adapted to living with long hours of darkness.”

Image by Carlos Latuff

Abbas has no shame being Israel’ gatekeeper while it’s turning Gaza into a concentration camp where people are locked up living in harsh conditions

In photos: Gaza left to suffer in the dark

Gaza City’s Beach Street, a busy thoroughfare connecting the southern and northern areas of the Strip, is often in total darkness. During power cuts the lights go out along Gaza’s most trafficked streets, plunging the roads into darkness and causing accidents.

Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip have endured a chronic electricity crisis since Israel imposed an economic blockade on the territory 10 years ago.

The territory’s electricity infrastructure has been targeted and damaged during successive Israeli military offensives, and Israeli import restrictions have hindered repair.

An Egyptian crackdown on tunnels through which cheaper fuel was smuggled into Gaza exacerbated the situation in 2013.

Rolling blackouts now last 20 hours per day after Gaza’s sole power plant shut down when it exhausted its fuel supply in mid-April. Resupply has been delayed due to an ongoing dispute between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza over high taxes on diesel fuel and the collection of payments from electricity consumers.

Currently, there are only four hours of electricity per day in Gaza, and that is about to decrease as Israel moves to cut its electricity supply to the territory by 40 percent.

Hospitals have become dependent on generators and solar-based sources that can keep vital equipment running for a few hours when there is no electricity.

Power cuts disrupt the operation of water pumps and wells, with water supply to households currently standing at four to eight hours every four or five days.

Wastewater plants have been forced to shorten treatment cycles, causing 120 million liters of untreated sewage to flow into the Mediterranean Sea each day.

The crisis has led the International Committee of the Red Cross to warn that Gaza is on the brink of “systemic collapse.”

Reportage by Mousa Tawfiq, a journalist based in Gaza and photos by Mohammed Asad, a photojournalist based in Gaza.

Mahmoud Banat, 47, used to run one of the biggest appliance repair and retail shops in Gaza City’s Beach refugee camp. “I took this profession from my father. I’ve done my best to keep up with new technology and the daily improvements in this field.”

Banat said the chronic power cuts in Gaza have caused damage to appliances, and some residents have bought equipment to protect their devices from potential harm caused by outages.

“As you can see, my shop is full of broken and disabled televisions and electrical devices. People are suffering and losing a lot of money to fix their devices. People prefer energy-saving televisions that can be powered with generators and batteries. Some types of televisions consume a lot of power and they aren’t widely used these days.”

Banat’s business hasn’t benefited from the situation.

“When the electricity crisis began in 2006, I started to face difficulties at my shop as I couldn’t work during the power cuts,” he said. He sold his shop and moved into a smaller one, where he currently only does repairs, and no longer sells appliances.

“It’s a disastrous situation. My life is completely destroyed and I have five children; two of them are university students.”

In addition to harming Mahmoud’s business, the electricity situation has put pressure on his wife, Najwa Banat, 42.

“We suffer from a water crisis as there is no electricity to run water pumps at the houses,” she said while preparing a cup of tea.

“I can’t do any housekeeping. I have to get up after midnight to wash clothes and clean the house. I make sure to keep the candles away from the hands of my children. I’m always stressed and feeling uncomfortable. We live in a very difficult situation surrounded by hardships and daily challenges.”

In 2010, Ahmad Rajab, 26, opened his barbershop in Gaza City.

“Eight years ago, when I finished school, my family didn’t have enough money to pay my university fees. Some of my relatives advised me to learn a simple trade that people always need. I decided to master the skill of shaving and I had a diploma from a certified training center.”

From day one, Rajab had to contend with the electricity crisis.

“At the beginning, I bought a small generator to use during power cuts. When we were using the Egyptian fuel, I needed $6 a day just for fuel. Nowadays, with the Israeli fuel, which is three times more expensive, I need $18. I don’t think that I’ve ever earned more than $20 a day.”

“I bought those rechargeable shavers for $100. They are not cheap, but it is my only choice to keep working.”

“I hope to have a better tomorrow and for this crisis to be solved. We have begun to believe that it’s our destiny to not have a better life. It’s like a nightmare without end.”

Hussam al-Sousi, 24, took his mother and two sisters to Gaza City’s corniche to escape from darkness and boredom. They found that the corniche was darker than their house.

“We came here for some relief, but it is all the same. We are very lucky to have the car headlights,” he said.

Hussam, a law school graduate, works at his father’s garment factory.

“Even our work is affected. We used to work in the morning. Now, we organize our work according to the electricity. Sometimes we have to work after midnight using generators with expensive fuel.”

For Hussam’s mother, Sanaa al-Sousi, 45, the power cuts cause other woes: “My daughters’ midterm exams were in the last week. They had to get up very early to study [when the electricity was on]. Studying by candlelight gave my youngest daughter Leila a headache. I don’t know what we are going to do if the crisis lasts until the final exams.”

For Leila, 8, there are additional consequences: “There is no ice cream in the shops. I don’t know what I’m going to eat during summer.”

“I sell grilled and boiled corn on the beach. I work here during summer because the beach is full of people, while in winter, I sell vegetables in a small booth at the market,” said Mahmoud Ghanim, 26. “I’m a father of two sons and my wife is pregnant with a girl. I have no choice but to work hard.”

Ghanim, who lives in Beach refugee camp, said that he had to leave school at the age of 15 to work with his father as a fisherman. His family’s trade has been badly affected by the Israeli naval blockade and constant violence against Gaza fishermen by Israeli forces.

“It wasn’t an easy choice, but I couldn’t risk my life for a job that could barely feed my children,” he said.

Ghanim found his own solution to be able to work during the dark nights – a solution which cost him the equivalent of a week’s earnings.

“Before the current crisis, I didn’t face any problems at nighttime because Beach Street was always illuminated, but now we are in darkness. I paid $40 to buy a battery, a charger and a power-saving light to use when there is no electricity.”

Suha Ashour, 68, has been going to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City for dialysis treatment for a decade.

“In 2007, I had a heart attack. The medical treatment and the consequences of the heart attack affected my kidneys. I have to go to the hospital three times a week for dialysis sessions.”

Ashour, a mother of six, said that the four-hour sessions are exhausting, especially during summer.

“After the sessions, when I return home, I feel suffocated and I can’t stay in hot weather. My sons brought me an air conditioner, but most of the time there is no electricity and it’s very difficult for me at this age to stay in such circumstances.”

Ashour said hospital staff have warned her and other patients that their dialysis treatment may be disrupted by power cuts.

In 2012, the neonatal unit at al-Nasr children’s hospital in Gaza installed a solar power system to ensure the running of their equipment. The unit receives 100 to 200 patients per month and any power cut can put infants’ lives in jeopardy, according to its coordinator Dr. Shireen Abed.

“We deal with very sensitive cases aged between zero and 28 days. Our unit receives three to five patients per day and all the equipment needs electricity: incubators, monitors and ventilators,“ she said.

“When the solar power system needs periodic maintenance, the situation becomes catastrophic. We transfer the neonates to other units to be attached to the required devices. The power cuts pose a real danger to the lives of our children in the unit, but the solar system provides us with the needed power.”

“I can’t imagine the situation without this solar power system,” she added.

Palestinians in Gaza have used backup generators to provide electricity to their houses and shops. But the high price of the Israeli fuel, $2 for a liter, is out of reach for many in the territory, where unemployment rates are the highest in the world.

“People didn’t use batteries or solar cells in their houses before 2014, they used generators,” said Ziad al-Rayashi, 32, the owner of a batteries and solar cells shop in Gaza City. “Using the generator for eight hours each day costs an average family more than $480 a month. No one can afford it.”

Al-Rayashi sells alternatives that don’t require fuel.

“Engineers invented new methods. We use car batteries to generate electricity by charging the battery and using it for lighting and watching television.”

A car battery charging system cost $1,200 a year ago, according to al-Rayashi. This price was far out of reach for the average Gaza resident – especially after the last cuts to civil servants’ salaries by the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank – so retailers slashed prices to increase demand. He now sells the system for $650.

Despite the price drop, people prefer smaller battery charger systems used just for lighting and Wi-Fi. “This more simple system costs $40 and it can barely light a room, but people can’t afford the bigger one,” al-Rayashi said.

“We do our best to provide our people with the cheapest devices, despite all the difficulties we face. We pay a lot of taxes to the Israeli side to get our goods from their ports and crossings.”

Though Gaza gets more than its fair share of sun, the use of solar power is very limited.

“It’s cleaner and better, but very expensive. The most simple solar power system costs $1,700 just for lighting and television. The upper class are the only people who can buy this system,” al-Rayashi said.

University student Khalid Mahdi, 19, and his friend Hussam al-Khatib, 20, play billiards at a small shop in Gaza City.

“We escaped from the poor LED lighting at our houses to find the same lighting at the billiards hall,” Mahdi said.

“Playing billiards is a hobby and we do our best to practice it regularly, but we can barely see the balls with these lights,” he added. “Every Gazan has these lights at his house and complains of their bad quality. But we don’t have other choices.”

“We are university students. We can’t study with bad lighting and we can’t practice billiards for the same reason,” al-Khatib said.

Most buildings and workshops have big generators which are usually put in the street, causing noise pollution. Yet even towers have stopped using them due to the long hours of power cuts and the cost of the fuel needed to power the generators.

Police officer Ahmad Musallim, 42, lives on the eighth floor of the Sea Tower in Gaza City.

“The generator works for 10 minutes every two hours for the elevator, and from 6 pm to 9 pm every day. If a person wants the elevator [outside the fixed time], he must pay 5 shekels [approximately $1.50] to turn on the generator.”

“My children go to school. After six hours of class, they have to walk up eight flights of stairs. I wish I could do anything to help them.”

“Power cuts have become a part of our life. We have already adapted to living with long hours of darkness,” said Fatima Qudaih, 42, in Khan Younis, southern Gaza.

“The long power cuts prevent us from using the water pumps. It’s the nightmare of every housewife here in Gaza. We can’t wash clothes or dishes.”

“My son takes some jerrycans and fills them at a nearby water station. It’s more expensive and much more difficult to use,” she added.

Wafaa al-Najjar, 63, and her sister Samiha, 60, use a clay oven to bake and cook at their home in Khan Younis.

“We used to use an electric heater for baking, but now we use this oven, especially since cooking gas is expensive,” Wafaa said.

The sisters use tree branches from their farm for the fire. “We live in a rural area. Women in these areas are strong and rely on themselves. We know that our life is difficult, but we do our best to keep going. We simply don’t have any other choice,” Wafaa said.

According to Samiha, the bread baked on the electric heater tastes better, but the one made in the clay oven reminds them of their mother.

Ahmad al-Jahjouh, 52, a carpenter in Gaza City, said that his work is “paralyzed” with only four hours of electricity each day.

“Sometimes the four hours of electricity are during the night. At first, I was coming to my shop with my workers and we worked after midnight. But the neighbors complained because of the noise, which I fully understood.”

“I used to have 20 workers in this shop. Now, it’s just me and my two sons. We produce nothing. And even when we use the generator, our profit is negligible.”

“I have nothing to say. I don’t sleep and I’m very tired. We have been suffering for years and our patience has run out.”

 

FROM

BLACK FRIDAY TOON

Image by Latuff

Israel and the PA agreed to cut Gaza’s electric supply by 40%. Now, Gaza residents prepare for the worst.

Majda Tantesh, 42, lives in the Beit Lahia city in the northern Gaza Strip. Like all of Gaza, the city only gets a few hours of electricity a day. After Monday’s Israeli Security Council ruling, approving the Palestinian Authority’s request to cut Gaza’s electricity supply by 40 percent, Majda told Mondoweiss she only expects things to get worse.

Majda, who has American citizenship, moved back to Gaza in 2009 to be closer to her family and loved ones. When she first moved back to the enclave, they were getting around eight hours of electricity a day. During the past eight years that number has been cut in half.

“We get around four hours of electricity a day now, but still even when the electricity is working, it cuts every half hour for ten to thirty minutes,” she said. “It’s very hard because it’s summer now and so hot here. We need air conditioning, we need fans, we need the refrigerator — we’re always throwing away food because there is no electricity. Our food is constantly going bad and I have to throw it out.”

Earlier this month, Mondoweiss received leaked documents detailing the correspondence between the PA’s Minister of Finance and Planning, Shukry Bishara and Israel’s Minister of Finance, Moshe Kahlon.On Monday Israel’s security cabinet approved the PA’s request to cut Gaza’s electric supply by 40 percent, meaning even shorter periods of electricity for the citizens who have been suffering the devastating effects of a ten-year blockade implemented by the Israeli and Egyptian governments after Hamas won elections in 2007.

In the letters, Bishara requested that the electric supply, controlled by Israel and paid for by the PA, not be allowed to exceed 25 million shekels ($7.1 million), which will mean a 40 percent cut in Gaza’s electricity.

“The parties responsible for the collection of electricity dues in the Gaza Strip have systematically failed to reimburse the PA for the cost incurred on their behalf,” the PA minister wrote. “Accordingly, it should be clear to all concerned [parties] that we have reached a stage where this state of affairs is no longer acceptable.”

In the letter, dated May 15, the PA minister asked for the cuts to be implemented within the week. So far the cuts have not yet been implemented, but are expected to incur in the very near future.

The electricity cuts comes amid failed attempts of unity talks between the Fatah-led PA government and the Hamas-led Gazan government. While the Palestinian people feel united across Gaza and the West Bank, the divisions between the two rival political parties are about to make life for the 2 million people in Gaza even more desperate.

“Everyone is feeling bad here, and expecting more bad to come with the current political situation going on now. It’s a very hard situation,” Majda told Mondoweiss. “It is already hard and it will soon become much worse. I am thinking to try and buy solar panels to store the electricity because we can’t live without it. We need electricity for our daily life. My daughter goes to college and she needs to use the computer to make reports. We barely have enough time with power to charge our phones as it is.”

While Majda hopes to try and get solar panels, she said that as the cuts get worse, demand for such technology will go up, hiking prices and making solar panels harder to find, since the panels must be shipped through the blockaded borders.

In addition to the small scale effects of the power cuts, Gaza is already suffering from lack of power for its water and sewage systems, which are paralyzed without electricity, and result in raw sewage being dumped straight into the Mediterranean coast.

Last month, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, warned that the cuts would end up “plunging [Gaza’s] population into a spiral of a humanitarian catastrophe.”

“The power plant, that supplies 30 percent of Gaza’s electricity, stopped functioning on 16 April, due to a dispute between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas over taxation on fuel,” Mladenov said in a statement. “The lines supplying power from Egypt into Gaza are often down for technical reasons. This leaves Israeli power lines, which provide some 60 percent of Gaza’s electricity, as the only reliable energy source. Meanwhile the Palestinian Government has decided to cap its purchase of electricity from Israel for Gaza.”

Israeli rights group B’Tselem on Tuesday decried the power cuts, and called on Israel not to “shirk” its responsibilities in the Strip.

“Despite [the] intolerable reality [in Gaza], the Israeli cabinet has decided to accept the Palestinian Authority’s cruel plan to further reduce the power supply to Gaza. Should the Israeli decision be implemented, the situation in Gaza will deteriorate even further, making the area virtually unlivable,” the group said.

“This is not some sort of natural disaster. Had that been the case, Israel would have likely sent in a humanitarian aid mission. Instead, the reality in Gaza is the result of Israel’s handiwork, achieved by its decade-long implementation of a brutal policy. Israel can, and must, change this reality.”

As rights groups are predicting catastrophe the people of Gaza are worried, but Majda said they are also hopeful.

“It’s going to be scary situation, but here people when people talk about it they are hopeful,” she said. “We say God willing things will get better — there’s nothing else we can do about it.”

TODAY’S TOON ~~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. PRESIDENT

Image by Latuff

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE RAMADAN IN GAZA

Video: Ramadan in Gaza

Ramadan, a time of worship and joy for Muslims around the globe, is mixed with sadness in Gaza.

During Ramadan three years ago, Israel launched a massive military offensive that would last 51 days and claim more than 2,200 Palestinian lives.

The many families in Gaza who lost loved ones during that offensive, and the ones that came before it, feel little joy in their absence.

Successive Israeli military offensives, and a decade of blockade, have destroyed Gaza’s economy, further clouding Ramadan.

But Palestinians in Gaza try to carry on with Ramadan traditions – sharing meals with family and visiting neighbors after a long day of fasting, enjoying qatayif sweets and and carob and tamarind drinks.

Video by Ruwaida Amer for The Electronic Intifada.

IN PHOTOS ~~ UNITED STRUGGLE ~~ US OUT OF PUERTO RICO // ISRAEL OUT OF PALESTINE

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Newsletter of Veterans for Peace

 

AFTER 50 YEARS ISRAELIS MUST DISRUPT THE ‘NORMALCY’ OF THE OCCUPATION

One of the most disturbing aspects about the reality in Palestine is its normalcy.

It has become normal to see Palestinians shot and killed, even children. The faces of young Palestinians showing up daily on social media, boys and girls shot by soldiers, accused falsely of attempting to stab a soldier.

It has become normal to see Israeli soldiers shooting skunk water and tear gas, and snipers using live ammunition at unarmed protesters who want the land that was once theirs and the freedom they never had.

Image by Latuff

Why Israelis must disrupt the occupation

And it has become normal for us to engage in the endless, fruitless debate on whether Palestinians throwing stones at armed Israeli soldiers who invade their homes constitutes violence, or whether or not Zionism – which produced this violence – is a racist ideology. And all the while the suffering and the oppression of millions of Palestinians go on almost uninterrupted.

It is no secret that Israelis and Palestinians live two separate realities.

Even when we privileged Israelis go to the village of Nabi Saleh on a Friday to participate in the weekly protest, at the end of the day we are free to leave the village, leave the occupation and return to our safe, clean, well-paved spheres. Unlike the Palestinians we leave behind, our homes will not be raided, our roads will not be blocked and our children will not have to hide for days or weeks from the threat of being shot, arrested and tortured.

We return home sweaty and tired, covered in tear gas and skunk water and we feel we did our bit. But what bit did we do? What is the role of the privileged Israeli activists within the resistance and why are we accomplishing so little?

To begin with we need to admit that this is resistance and ask whether we are willing to take part.

On any given Friday there may be about 10 Israeli activists, be it in Nabi Saleh or Bilin, currently the two main locations for Friday protests in the occupied West Bank. Some Israelis walk in the back, some in the front.

Shadows?

Some like to say they are merely documenting. Most, like shadows, don’t seem like they know their place and don’t want to interfere. Few confront the Israeli forces. So the question that begs to be asked is, what are we accomplishing?

If we don’t use our privilege to push the envelope and to confront the Israeli authorities, then we are indeed mere shadows.

My latest visit to Nabi Saleh was on 26 May, exactly two weeks after Saba Abu Ubaid, 23, was shot and killed by Israeli forces during a protest there.

The march began, as always, with people walking down the hill from the mosque after noon prayer, carrying flags and chanting. There were about 30 or 40 people (though in the charges that would be brought against me, the Israeli police claimed there were 200 protesters), mostly Palestinians with a few regular Israelis and other foreigners.

After a few minutes we were confronted by the Israeli forces who informed us we were to disperse.

How does one begin to describe the outrage? Fully armed soldiers on occupied land telling the people whose village they invaded that they must disperse. But in Palestine, this is normal so there is little outrage.

“Shoot them in the legs”

The usual pushing and shoving began and was then followed by the firing of tear gas, skunk water and, before too long, live ammunition. Considering what had taken place there just two weeks earlier, seeing snipers take their positions and take aim at the kids on the hills was cause for serious concern. I heard someone whose name badge identified him as Raja Keyes order the snipers to “shoot them in the legs.”

Nabi Saleh residents began sitting in front of the snipers to block their sights. More tear gas, more skunk water and more snipers followed.

Keyes was right next to me when he walked to a group of women and children watching the events from the side of the road and, with a smile on his face, threw a tear gas grenade at them. One of the mothers ran up a terrace to interfere with the snipers and was pushed around by soldiers. I ran up towards her, went around a young officer who tried to stop me and by the time I reached her they came for me.

Four or five officers, including Keyes had me in a tight grip. The officers were from Magav – although often described as “border police,” Magav is a unit within the Israeli military.

By that time, the officers had good reason to resent me and want me out of the way.

The photos and videos of my arrest made their way to social media, so suffice it to say they were not gentle and I was not compliant. (My arrest is at about 12:10 in the video below of the day’s events, made by Palestinian activist Bilal Tamimi.)

At one point after I was arrested, Keyes introduced himself formally to me as “force commander” and asked for my ID, which I did not have.

Later on, when I was taken away in the armored vehicle, he was seated in the front and I proceeded to tell him that he was no “commander” and he was not heading any “force” but rather they were all a gang of armed bullies.

But this is not about me or any other single activist. It is about the role that we Israelis can play which is unique because Israeli law provides us with a shield that Palestinians and international activists do not have.

It is not our role to play unbiased spectators or to document, nor is it our role to just follow along. We can get in the faces of the commanders and the soldiers and disrupt their work. In fact, one of the comments made constantly by the commanders is that we are “disrupting their work, and will be arrested for that.”

My response is that this is precisely the point! Why show up if we let them go about their business? When we are arrested we are always charged with disrupting officers on duty, even when we don’t, but that is exactly what we must do.

Along Highway 443 – sometimes known as the “apartheid highway” – there is a sign in Hebrew that says: “By order of the commanding general, Israelis are prohibited from entering the villages along this road.” When activists do go to the villages to protest, they challenge this command. But still, the shield that our Israeli ID provides us can be used to disrupt the normalcy of the occupation everywhere.

Israelis, even dedicated, well-meaning ones, do far too little and we use far too little of our privilege to challenge and combat the injustice meted out against Palestinians. Most Israeli activists won’t even call for refusal to serve in the Israeli army because they consider that too radical.

No one likes to be arrested, particularly when it involves a night or two in jail, sharing a smoke-filled room with no ventilation and no company save cockroaches and two-bit criminals who hate activists even more than they hate Arabs.

If we are to play a role in the overthrow of injustice, and if we are to one day see an end to the oppression of more than half of the people with whom we live, then we must use our privilege and act to end the normalcy and the oppression.

WHY BUILD WALLS WHEN IT’S EASIER TO JUST KILL THE POPULATION …

Video shows coalition forces using phosphorous munitions against ISIS
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 Amaq News Agency releases videos purporting to show US-led coalition using white phosphorous munitions in Raqqa in heavily populated areas in violation of international law.

Meanwhile ….

Supreme Irony In Gulf — Latuff’s Cartoon This Week

IN PHOTOS ~~ UNITED AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIA

Image by Latuff

In 30 cities throughout the U.S. fascistic hate groups held hate rallies on Saturday, 6/10.  They claimed that they were opposing Sharia Law which Muslims were intending to establish here.  Many of the participants were confronted by groups opposed to their anti-Muslim tirade with fights breaking out in some cities.  In NYC there was no violence – the anti- fascists outnumbered the hate groups many times over.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Report by Chippy Dee

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IN VIDEOS ~~ DENIAL AND REALITY OF ISRAELI APARTHEID

First the denial …..

Now the reality …..

Thousands of Palestinian workers queue at this Israeli military checkpoint before dawn each day.

Video by Ahmad Al-Bazz, Haidi Motola and Anne Paq/Activestills.org

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