Assad: hervormingen begin 2012 voltooid

De Syrische president Bashar al-Assad heeft vandaag tegenover een VN-delegatie gezegd dat de hervorming van de grondwet in februari of maart volgend jaar moet zijn afgerond.

Hij benadrukte zijn ‘toewijding aan het hervormingsproces dat moet leiden tot een meerpartijendemocratie’, aldus een verklaring van delegatieleden Brazilië, India en Zuid-Afrika.

Verder erkende Assad opnieuw dat er ‘wat fouten’ zijn gemaakt door zijn veiligheidstroepen in het begin van de opstand. Er wordt aan gewerkt om herhaling te voorkomen, voegde hij eraan toe.

( / 10.08.2011)

With The Poor

The Prophet (SAWS) actually feared for his nation from surplus more than he feared from poverty, “By Allah, it is not the poverty about which I fear in regard to you but I am afraid in your case that (the worldly) riches may be given to you as were given to those who had gone before you and you begin to vie with one another for them as they vied for them, and they may destroy you as they destroyed them .”

Yet, he realized that poverty is quite a great trial.  Therefore, he used to supplicate to Allah (SWT) saying, “O Allah, I seek refuge in Thee from disbelief and poverty.”He also used to say, “Steady us in our faith, and protect us from poverty.”

Because the Prophet (SAWS) realized the severity of the crisis of poverty and its attenuating impact on people, he supported the poor and even lived amongst them.

His life was not that different from the lives of the poor.  Lady Aisha (RA) narrated, “The family of Muhammad did not eat their fill for three successive days till he died.”

He treated the poor with mercy and kindness, and he used to give them whatever he could, although he, himself, was poor.  He also used to teach his companions to have mercy upon the poor as well.  Consider his kind, sweet words, “O son of Adam! It is better for you if you spend your surplus (wealth), but if you withhold it, it is evil for you. There is (however) no reproach for you (if you withhold the essentials) for a living. And begin (charity) with your dependants; and the upper hand is better than the lower hand.”

He also said, “If anyone gives as Sadaqa the equivalent of a date from that (earning) earned honestly, for Allah accepts that which is lawful, the Lord would accept it with His Right Hand, and even if it is a date, it would foster in the Hand of the lord, as one of you fosters his colt, till it becomes bigger than a mountain.”

And he said, “Nothing is more delighting to me than this that Uhud should be of gold for me, and no dinar is left with me out of it before three nights pass except a dinar which I would set aside for the repayment of debt upon me.”

These are many more examples of the same attitude.

The Madinan society was generally poor, and therefore, to list all incidences and narrations that demonstrate the Prophet’s (SAWS) mercy is impossible.  Yet, we are trying to clarify the picture by giving examples, and those who seek more detail can refer to the sunnah..

Consider what the Prophet (SAWS) had taught abu-Dharr (RA), although abu-Dharr was very poor, “Abu-Dharr, when you prepare the broth, add water to it and invite your neighbor over.”

He also used to teach women to give their neighbors when he said, “O Muslim women, none of you should consider even a sheep’s trotter too insignificant to give to her neighbor.”

He wanted every individual in the society to care for the others and to help them as much as they could afford.

One day, Jabir ibn-Abdullah (RA) invited the Prophet (SAWS) to eat with him at his house.  Although the Prophet (SAWS) was starving, he did not want to go alone.  He took some of the Muhajireen (immigrants from Makkah) and the Ansar (residents of Madinah) along with him, and miracously, the little amount of food available at Jabir’s house became enough to satisfy all those who attended

Abu-Talha (RA) also invited the Prophet (SAWS) to eat and the Prophet (SAWS) did the same thing. He took along all the people present in the mosque at the time, and again, a miracle happened and everyone was satisfied.

Jareer ibn-Abdullah (RA) narrated, “Some desert Arabs clad in wool clothes came to Allah’s Messenger. He saw them in sad plight as they had been hard pressed by need. He (the Prophet) exhorted people to give charity, but they showed some reluctance until (signs) of anger were seen on his face. Then a person from the Ansar came with a purse containing silver. Then came another person and then other persons followed them in succession until signs of happiness were seen on his face. Thereupon Allah’s Messenger said: He who introduced some good practice in Islam which would be followed after him (by people) he would be assured of reward like one who followed it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect. And he who introduced some evil practice in Islam which would be followed subsequently (by others), he would be required to bear the burden like that of the one who followed this (evil practice) without their being diminished in any respect.”

The Prophet (SAWS) was always keen to help the poor by giving them what he had, and when he could not find anything, he would ask his companions to help, not to leave a poor man without help.

Abu-Huraira (RA) narrated, “A person came to Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) and said, ‘I am hard pressed by hunger.’ The Prophet (SAWS) sent message to one of his wives (to procure food for him) but she said, ‘By Him Who has sent you with Truth, there is nothing with me (to serve him) but only water.’ He then sent the (same) message to another, and she gave the same reply, until all of them gave the same reply. The Prophet then said, ‘Allah would show mercy to him who will entertain this guest tonight’ A person from the Ansar stood up and said, ‘Messenger of Allah, I am ready to entertain.’ He took him to his house and said to his wife, ‘Is there anything with you (to serve the guest)?’ She said, ‘No, but only sustenance for our children.’ He said, ‘Distract their attention with something, and when the guest enters extinguish the lamp and give him the impression that we are eating.’ So they sat down, and the guest had his meal. When it was morning he went to Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) who said, ‘Allah was well pleased with what you both did for your guest this night.’”

This was how mercy was so evident in Madinah at the time of the Prophet (SAWS)!

The Prophet (SAWS) never stopped giving despite his continuous suffering.

Sahl ibn-Saad narrated, “A woman brought a woven Burda (sheet) having edging (border) to the Prophet. Then Sahl asked them whether they knew what is Burda, they said that Burda is a cloak and Sahl confirmed their reply. Then the woman said, ‘I have woven it with my own hands and I have brought it so that you may wear it.’ The Prophet accepted it, and at that time he was in need of it. So he came out wearing it as his waist-sheet. A man praised it and said, ‘Will you give it to me? How nice it is!’ The other people said, ‘You have not done the right thing as the Prophet is in need of it and you have asked for it when you know that he never turns down anybody’s request.’ The man replied, ‘By Allah, I have not asked for it to wear it but to make it my shroud.’ Later it was his shroud.”

The Prophet (SAWS) always considered giving to be better than keeping, and consequently, he continuously gave. Among the best descriptions of his merciful attitude is what Lady Aisha (RA) narrated, “We slaughtered a sheep and gave away most of it. I told the Prophet (SAWS) only a small piece was left. He then said in all his wisdom, ‘All of it is remaining (through charity) but that piece’”

Such was his life and his mercy!

I would like to conclude this chapter by mentioning this special incident that has great educational value.  It should not be perceived that by the Prophet’s giving and encouraging his companions to give would mean that he would accept that the poor may continue to ask for help for the rest of their lives.  On the contrary, the Prophet (SAWS) was keen on teaching the poor the importance of working to fulfill one’s own needs.  He wanted them to avoid the disgrace of asking and begging and enjoy the sweetness of giving.

Anas ibn-Malek (RA) narrated, “A man from the Ansar came to ask the Prophet (SAWS) for charity. The Prophet asked about what he has at home, and the man said that he has some fabric which they use to wear sometimes and other times to sit on. The Prophet instructed him to bring it over. Then he asked if any of his companions would like to purchase the fabric. A man offered to buy it for one Dirham. The Prophet asked for a higher price, until a man offered two Dirhams for it. The Prophet took the money and gave it to the poor man. The Prophet told him to buy food for his family with one Dirham and to use the other to buy and axe-head and bring it back to him. The Prophet then tied a hand to the axe-head and asked the man to use it in cutting wood, then selling it. And so the man went to cut wood and began to sell it. He collected ten Dirhams which he used for food and clothes. The Prophet (SAWS) said to the man, ‘This is better than asking for charity which you will be asked about on the Day of Judgment. Asking charity is permissible for only three cases; extreme poverty, paying off a large fine, or for paying blood-money in case of killing someone by mistake.’”]

The Prophet’s (SAWS) mercy upon the poor was for their good and welfare and to help them attain true happiness.  He did not only aim to feed them temporarily, but also to teach them, raise their spirits, and broaden their minds.  He wanted their welfare in this worldly life and in the hereafter.

His approach was truly balanced and comprehensive. A sign of a true Prophet!

It was the Prophet’s humility, mercy and kindness that Allah spoke about when He said what can be translated as,

“And in no way have We sent you except as a mercy to the worlds.”  (TMQ, 21:107).

( / 10.08.2011)

AIPAC: The Israeli Lobby

AIPAC - The Israeli LobbyThe United States supports Israel in a variety of ways. We give them all sorts of military and economic support, roughly 3 billion dollars a year. Israel, despite the fact, it is a relatively rich country, receives more foreign aid than any other other country in the world. We veto resolutions in the United Nations all the time that are critical to Israel. Is one allowed to question that reality, or is the pro-Israel lobby so strong, financially and politically, that the relationship with Israel is taboo and therefore unmentionable? And what happens to those who dare expose the unmentionable?

In March 2006 the American political scientists John Mearsheimer (University of Chicago) and Steve Walt (Harvard) published the controversial article ‘The Israel Lobby and US foreign policy’. In it they state that it is not, or no longer, expedient for the US to support and protect present-day Israel. Together with the power shifts in Congress and the increasing doubts about the current Middle-East policy, this could become the fuse in the powder keg. Backlight talks to the people concerned in this ‘new realism’ debate.

The documentary sheds light on both parties involved in the discussion: those who wish to maintain the strong tie between the US and Israel (Neocon Richard Perle, televangelist John Hagee, and lobby organization AIPAC), and those who were critical of it and not infrequently became ‘victims’ of the lobby. Member of Congress Earl Hilliard from Alabama advocated a rapprochement with the Arab world and was promptly ousted by a political adversary who had the support of Aipac money. Historian Tony Judt, who tried to maintain that Israel was becoming a belligerent and intolerant ethno-state, driven by religion, found a lecture cancelled at the last minute. And Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth was personally attacked after he had criticised the violence Israel had used in the mini-war against Lebanon last summer.

Finally the question arises to what extend the pro-Israel lobby ultimately determines the military and political importance of Israel itself. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson (Colin Powell’s ex chief-of-staff) explains how the lobby’s influence affects the decision-making structure in the White House. The lobby, Congress, the White House and Israel itself seem to have ended up in a suffocating embrace: will it ever change and how could it?Tony Judt and Richard Perle conclude by raising the crucial matters: what is the alternative? And what other friends can Israel count on?

See the fil on the website (Red.)

( / 10.08.2011)

Iran invites head of Arab League to Palestine conference

Nabil El-Arabi, secretary-general of the Arab League, has received an official invitation from Iran’s Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani to attend the Fifth International Palestine Conference to be held in Iran in early October. Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, passed on Larijani’s invitation at a meeting with El-Arabi Tuesday in the Arab League headquarters in Cairo.
Boroujerdi stressed the importance of the conference, citing the importance of the Palestinian cause to Iran and saying that all countries must unite in support of Palestine, the reason for the conference.

He added that talks with El-Arabi itook in the significant historic stage that Egypt is undergoing, expressions of his support for Egypt and stressing that the outcome will serve the Palestinian cause. Boroujerdi expressed his hopes that Egypt goes on to hold presidential and legislative elections.

Iran and Egypt are important countries, said Boroujerdi, and close ties between them must be established which would have a large impact on the region and the world. Iran anticipates such ties and is waiting for the Egyptian government’s decisions concerning the issue, he said.

Boroujerdi went on to express his concern with the situation in Syria, saying that Iran expects that the United States – after losing Egypt in its regional balance – is now playing in the Syrian arena to make up for the loss of Egypt.

He said: “Thus, we must help Syria so as not to allow the United States of America to interfere in regional issues and find itself another base to attain this goal,” asserting that the US wants to break resistance in the region and realise its interests “to open the road ahead of the Zionist entity which continues settlement activity in the occupied lands.”

Boroujerdi called for the support of the Syrian government in ending the current situation in Syria, mentioning what El-Arabi had stressed as the need to continue to exert effort with the Syrian government to find resolutions for the unrest.

( / 10.08.2011)

Hebron, isreaeli forces detained 4 palestinian teenagers

Hebron, (Pal Telegraph) – Israeli forces detained 4Palestinian teenagers overnight Tuesday in the West Bank town of Beit Ummar, locals said.

Soldiers detained Ahmad Jawabreh, 15, and Muhammad Eqtet, 16, after raiding their homes, popular committee spokesman Muhammad Awad told Ma’an.

Awad said a Molotov cocktail had been thrown at an army watchtower at the entrance to the town but caused no injuries.

A military spokeswoman said there were no arrests in Beit Ummar overnight.

She said three Palestinians were detained in Idhna, west of Hebron.

Meanwhile Yousef Abu Maria, a member of the national committee to resist the wall and settlements, said Israeli forces raided the Al-Mantara area. Soldiers fired stun grenades before entering homes, she added.

( / 10.08.2011)

Pechtold, over ‘Noorwegen’: Wilders voedt de frustraties

‘Noorwegen’ doet het islamdebat hevig oplaaien. Van Wilders kan links ‘de boom in’, Pechtold kaatst de bal terug. En het wordt tijd dat ook Rutte eens afstand neemt.

De aanslagen in Noorwegen drijven het islamdebat in Nederland steeds verder op de spits. PVV-leider Geert Wilders reageerde maandag via De Telegraaf woedend op zijn politieke tegenstanders.

Die vinden dat hij het zich moet aantrekken dat Breivik zich in zijn manifest een aanhanger toont van het PVV-gedachtengoed. Wilders, als door een wesp gestoken: ‘Links grijpt dit aan om te proberen af te rekenen met de PVV en demoniseert er flink op los met een bijna ziekelijke gretigheid. Maar tevergeefs (…) Ze kunnen de boom in. Allemaal.’

Verbaasde, meewarige reacties waren gisteren zijn deel. ‘Er is een brute aanslag gepleegd op 70 linkse jongeren, maar de PVV komt niet verder dan links kan de boom in, aldus het Kamerlid Sadet Karabulut (SP). En VVD-hoofdbestuurslid Mark Verheijen:  ‘Ach arme Geertje. Wat nou 77 doden? Waren we toch bijna vergeten dat HIJ natuurlijk het grootste slachtoffer is van Breivik.’ Later op de dag nam Verheijen zijn woorden alweer terug, geschrokken van de vele woedende reacties die hem via Twitter bereikten.


D66-leider Alexander Pechtold hield zich tot nu toe op de vlakte, maar wil zijn verbazing niet langer voor zich houden. ‘Wilders probeert zich een slachtofferrol aan te meten die hem niet past. Het is nu bijna vijf jaar geleden dat hij de tsunami van islamisering aankondigde. Sindsdien heeft hij aan de lopende band oorlogsretoriek en doemscenario’s over ons uitgestort.

‘Hij wil schieten op de benen van hooligans, spreekt over zijn fractie als een knokploeg namens miljoenen, heeft het over de multiculturalistische elite die een totale oorlog uitvecht met de bevolking, stelt dat de moslims met miljoenen Europa uit moeten worden gezet, en ga zo maar door. Natuurlijk hoeft hij zich niet te verantwoorden voor Breiviks daden, maar wel voor het klimaat waaraan hij zijn steentje heeft bijgedragen.

‘Hij moet beseffen wat hij aanricht met het eeuwige doemdenken en de zwart-witbeelden. Als je voortdurend een apocalyptische sfeer schept, draag je bij aan een wereld zonder toekomstbeeld, zonder perspectief. Hij voedt de frustraties bij zijn aanhang. Dát is zijn verantwoordelijkheid.’

Wat verwacht u van hem?

‘Dat hij zijn rol erkent en open staat voor het debat daarover. Een politicus heeft in Nederland een enorm bereik. Dan kun je niet alleen wat bommetjes plaatsen en daarna weglopen  voor elke vorm van uitleg en argumentatie. Dat wil ik tegen Wilders zeggen: vertel nou ook eens hoe jij de samenleving voor je ziet. Kom nou zelf eens met oplossingen.

‘Je moet er als politicus ook voor zorgen dat mensen als Breivik je niet kunnen misbruiken, bijvoorbeeld door het achterwege laten van die geweldsretoriek. Wij mogen Wilders daarop aanspreken want dat doet hij zelf ook bij anderen. Hij is degene die iedereen met een moslimachtergrond steeds betrekt bij de aanslagen van Al Qaida. En hij houdt mij nota bene verantwoordelijk voor het klimaat waarin hij wordt bedreigd.’

Pechtold pakt Wilders’ citaat uit 2009 er even bij: ‘Als er ooit wat gewelddadigs gebeurt tegen mij of de PVV en haar aanhangers, dan weet iedereen vanaf nu dat Eberhard van der Laan en Alexander Pechtold hebben bijgedragen aan een klimaat waarin dat voor sommige gekken gerechtvaardigd leek.’

Pechtold: ‘Maar hij wil zelf nergens op worden aangesproken! Sterker nog: hij doet er nu nog een schepje bovenop. In zijn reactie spreekt hij over moskeeën als haatpaleizen. Dat is de tweede keer sinds het aantreden van het kabinet. Eerst het islamitisch stemvee, nu dit. Het is je reinste discriminerende retoriek. Daarom is het ook tijd dat we dit breder gaan trekken: een reactie van Wilders verwacht ik eigenlijk al niet meer, maar waar is de minister-president?


‘Je kunt niet dag in dag uit politiek afhankelijk zijn van iemand zonder dat je in de scherpste bewoordingen afstand neemt van dit soort uitspraken. Rutte kan niet blijven zeggen: het is maar de gedoogpartner en verder heb ik er niets mee te maken. Dan vraag ik me zo langzamerhand af wie wie aan het gedogen is.’

Het antwoord van Wilders kent u in elk geval al: u kunt de boom in.
‘Ja. En het wordt tijd dat hij eens onder zijn palmboom vandaan komt en zich nader verklaart. Ik snap best dat je schrikt als je naam dertig keer wordt genoemd in zo’n manifest. Dat is afschuwelijk. Maar juist daarom verwacht ik een inhoudelijke reactie.

‘Voorlopig lijkt het erop dat hij er niets van begrepen heeft. Misschien moeten we hem zo zoetjes aan maar eens wat minder serieus gaan nemen.’

( / 10.08.2011)


stars and bombs

Aug 5 2011

We are watching the sky, sleeping on the roof to escape the heat. I flatter the clouds’ beauty and am watching sporadic shooting stars when the first F-16 appeared from the direction of the sea. No sound, just a blinking red light quite high up.  Three more follow. Their roar slowly becomes audible and they drop a couple of flares.

We trace their path, above us, chilling.  The roar is normal, F-16s are normal, and reading in the news the next day that some part of Gaza was bombed is normal. They continue eastward and a bombing seems imminent.  It is. A thick cloud of black smoke blots the dim lights of houses in eastern Deir al Balah where the F-16s have struck.

Their roar doesn’t disappear yet.

They’re bombing Khan Younis, Emad says matter of factly. Not a hard guess, what else are they doing up there are nearly 2 am.

He keeps working on his laptop and I keep sleepily tracing the sky, watching this time for their re-appearance not for shooting stars.

After a few minutes of re-contemplating the sky, we know precisely where they’ve gone.

Two massive blasts, the house shakes. They’ve bombed somewhere near the sea, which is only a few hundred metres away.  I remember the shakes of the Ezbet Abed Rabbo house Leila and I were in when F-16s were flattening the area during the Israeli war on Gaza in 2008-2009.  One directly behind that house, the walls ready to cave in; one across the lane some 30 metres away, leaving a massive crater.

The night sky is orange again, gone are the stars and romance.

He is hugging me, pushing my head down to the ground, protecting from any flying debris. Pointlessly he tries to protect me, but when the blasts are on you no amount of hugging and ducking will do.

A bit of confusion… to stay rooftop or run down to the ground. I remember when the Sharouk building with various media outlets was repeatedly hit by smaller missiles, not the one-ton F-16 crater-makers.  The building danced and it felt like the stairs had turned into one long slide, to take us from the 9th or 10th floor down light speed.

The drive to see what happens next is strong, leaving us not wanting to abandon the roof.  We stay, and soon his brothers appear to see where the blasts have hit. We go down to check on his parents, thankfully asleep, hard of hearingness a relief this time. We go back up and the orange has gone, its grey and starless now.

“It’s raining” says Emad.  I’m confused, think he means the bombing triggered some weather reaction.  Concrete dust flutters down upon us, the dry kind of rain. The ambulance sirens wail, the Red Crescent or Ministry of Health ambulances will be racing for the site.  If they are late, the dead and injured will be piled into any car near the explosion that still moves.  There is a sustained honking in Gaza that everyone recognizes as make way, we’ve got another victim here.

Now 3 of his brothers are rooftop with us and going over the blasts.  For a Strip that has seen so many Israeli terror bombings over the years, this latest –comparatively far away at a few hundred metres –has hit a nerve even with these men putting on bravado. They are brave, of course, and endure psychological war in addition to actual blasts.  Every time one of those fucking F-16s flies over us, it’s a reminder of the last war, or of previous attacks, or of random bombings, or of friends and family martyred in their sleep, cars, homes…

Everytime those F-16s intentionally break the sound barrier to create a bomb-like sonic boom, everyone within range instinctively remembers their own personal horror at whichever Israeli war or attacks.

His brothers are talking about their children, how one child clinched up into a ball in his sleep, how hard is for all the children.  But their rapid banter betrays them: its hard for them as well.

In true Palestinian style they mask any fear they might be feeling—as any human should be feeling in these circumstances –with jokes and teasing.

Were you scared? they tease me.  Yes and no.  Once again numb from the fear, as I was during the 23 days of Israeli bombing Gaza in winter 2008-2009, but that horror of what comes next always exists.  How many martyrs will there be? Inshallah none.  Is this the start of the next Israeli slaughter of locked-in Palestinians or will that come tomorrow? What the hell will I do when I am not here… not like I can stop any of this, not like I can protect them any more than Emad’s loving attempt. How can I possibly ever leave here, when that next massacre is always looming from those Israeli war machines above and around us?

The Zionist news tomorrow will blather on about a strategic strike against terror.  But rearrange their scripted words and you get the truth: it is a strategic terror against Palestinians, as always, and involved living, breathing, dreaming, working human beings below those terrorizing F-16s, breathing the dust of another bombed building.

2:30 am

Emad and I are sleeping, not sleeping but lying down, inside this time, not that that makes any difference.  I’m thinking shit,shit,shit, how can I ever leave him and his family and my friends and everyone here? We’re both lost in our own heads, thinking about the blast.

Blast. Another one.  It’s louder inside, because of the echo.  Thankfully the windows are open; blasts like that shatter windows; we’d have a glass shard rain upon us this time.

His younger brother is coming back from work at his grocery shop, laden with yogurt and hummus for “suhoor”, the morning meal before fasting begins anew. His ears are ringing from the nearness of the bomb but he hides whatever anxiety he surely haswith grins and chatter.

They re-play the same jokes made on the roof earlier. It’s for Ramadan, they’re giving us fire-works, they’re making a party.  They’re helping us wake up (we slept through suhoor yesterday, not even hearing the mild beating of the street drummers who circle waking people up for a meal and prayer).

Emad’s father is unplussed. He doesn’t feign bravado or joke, just sits a little sleepily and looks at his paper with the prayer times written down. He goes to the nearest mosque five times a day, including the early morning prayer. He’s lived a long, hard life, expelled from his farm land and village which is now buried under some Israeli name, reared a family in one of Palestine’s many, many, impossibly overcrowded refugee camps where families slept in tents for years until they improved to stifling concrete block homes with entire families in one single, dank room. He’s worked to educate his many, many sons and daughters. He’s lived through all the Zionist hell Israel dishes out, from his expulsion to the occupation and horrors that go with that to the sporadic bombings to the full-out invasions. He’s lost a son to cancer that couldn’t be treated properly because he couldn’t access the needed medical care outside of Gaza.

So when all of us are gibbering or teasing or mulling the last bomb blast, he is off somewhere in his head but his expression doesn’t betray it.  And I think he’s only really concerned about being on time for the next prayer. A life of repeated drama is enough to render bomb blasts somewhat insignificant.

It’s the same target as half hour ago, but this time surely there are casualties, people who waited some minutes before going to see the damage.  Israel, of course, knows this.  During the last war on Gaza, first Israeli bombings would be followed just one or two minutes later, sometimes 5 minutes, by another bomb in the same place. Family and friends who’d come to help rescue bomb victims would themselves be torn apart by the second and third blasts. A technique guaranteed to get the bystander civilians who come to rescue, if not the medics.

We return to sleep, wary.

( / 10.08.2011)

Population of Gaza fears Israeli invasion in midst of communication blackout

Late Tuesday night, residents throughout Gaza lost internet, cell phone and landline phone service, creating a communication blackout similar to one which occurred just before a massive Israeli invasion in 2008. The blackout sparked fear among Gaza residents that an Israeli invasion might be underway.

Gaza Strip (image from
Gaza Strip (image from

Just before the communication blackout began, residents of northern Gaza witnessed Israeli armored bulldozers mobilizing along the northern border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The main Palestinian cellphone company, Jawwal, told reporters with Ma’an News Agency that they were aware of problems with service, but did not know what was causing it.

During the 2008-9 invasion of Gaza, Israeli forces bombed the main power plants, plunging Gaza into a sea of darkness. Due to the ongoing Israeli siege, the electricity infrastructure of the Gaza Strip has been unable to fully recover, and fuel shortages have prevented the power plants from operating at full capacity. Since the 2008 invasion, Gazans have been on rolling electricity blackouts most of the time – in most parts of Gaza, people receive just six hours of electricity a day.

The Israeli military did not issue any statement or comment on the communication cut-off.

According to local sources, telephone landlines run by Paltel, the Palestinian Telecommunications Agency, were cut off, along with cell phone service by all of the major cell companies.

The source of the blackout is still unknown.

( / 10.08.2011)