Palestinians in Gaza are still living through the trauma

Two months after Israel’s military offensive

By Motasem Dalloul

A family of four sons, two daughters, and both their parents has been homeless since 12 May when their apartment was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike on their six-story residential tower block in Al Naser neighborhood north of Gaza City. Raed Subaih, 45, is the head of the family. “We feel as if we are beggars when we seek the rent for our temporary home,” he told me.

His family’s temporary isn’t far away, “but it is in very poor condition.” He received $2,000 from the government in Gaza immediately after his apartment was destroyed. “We could only afford some of the basics such as mattresses, blankets, and kitchen appliances,” he explained. “However, the destruction of our house was not only a material loss. Yes, we lost our home, our documents, and our furniture, but all of these can be replaced, even if slowly and after a great deal of suffering, but our memories and our happy times could not be replaced. The suffering and trauma cannot be erased.”

Like other residents of the building on 12 May, Subaih received a phone call from Israeli intelligence agents telling him to leave his home within 10 minutes because it was going to be bombed. They gave no reason but insisted that the building must be evacuated immediately before being destroyed.

Each of the six floors had two apartments; ten families lived in the building peacefully until they were ordered to leave and Israel made them homeless. They, like hundreds of other families who lost their homes to Israeli bombs, are struggling to afford the rent for their temporary accommodation. Those who cannot pay have been living in makeshift tents or with their relatives.

“Our home was destroyed on the eve of Eid Al-Fitr,” Subaih pointed out. “I wish that we could have rebuilt our home before Eidul Adha, but it seems that Eidul Adha will be in the same temporary home.” He adds that they have set up a tent near the rubble that was once their apartment block, where they receive guests.

The Israeli onslaught lasted for ten days and nights between 11 and 21 May. Almost 1,500 families had their homes destroyed completely or badly damaged. Another 13,000 families live in homes which require essential repairs to make them practically habitable, but they are unable to carry out the repairs due to the ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza which leaves building materials in short supply. Meanwhile, Subaih tries to salvage what he can from the remains of his apartment as the rubble is removed.

The roads across Gaza are congested. Eidul Adha is approaching, and the busy streets and markets suggest prosperity and happiness. The reality, though, is that the Palestinians in Gaza are wandering the streets to fill the time; they are window shopping, not buying. Poverty is rising.

Last week, Israel announced an “easing” of the siege and allowed clothes and some other goods into Gaza, which had been held for months at Israeli ports. According to Ahmed Selmi, a salesman in a clothes shop in the center of Gaza City, this Eid is very different. “Many of our local residents are still affected by the Israeli offensive. Their purchasing power is very weak, so even though some goods have been allowed into the territory, business is slow.”

Palestinian MP Jamal Al-Khodari has said that the closures of the border crossings have inflicted massive losses on the Gaza economy. Ninety per cent of factories have closed and unemployment has risen sharply to 60 per cent.

With a chronic shortage of disposable income, noted Ahmed Habboush who owns a shop in Al Zawiyeh Market, the most popular in Gaza, people are unable to buy anything. Some shop owners in other markets have erected tents to display their goods but to no effect. The serious economic situation is affecting everyone.

The medical and psychological impact of the Israeli offensive is ongoing for many people, as is the physical impact of losing homes and infrastructure necessary for a normal life. Two months after Israel’s ten-day assault, though, all of these factors are responsible for the trauma that far too many Palestinians are feeling on every level. The sad fact is that they are unable to see any light at the end of the very dark tunnel into which Israel has plunged them.

(Source / 21.07.2021)

‘Neutrality’ and humanitarian aid for Palestinian refugees

Workers of United Nations Palestine Refugee Agency (UNRWA) prepare aids distribute to Palestinian refugees in Al-Shati Camp in Gaza City, Gaza on 14 January 2020. [Ali Jadallah - Anadolu Agency]
Workers of United Nations Palestine Refugee Agency (UNRWA) prepare aids distribute to Palestinian refugees in Al-Shati Camp in Gaza City, Gaza on 14 January 2020

By Ramona Wadi

US President Joe Biden has transferred $135.8 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), following the signing of the 2021-2022 Framework for Cooperation and with additional conditions for the agency’s commitment to “neutrality”.

“The signing of the US-UNRWA Framework and additional support demonstrates we once again have an ongoing partner in the United States that understands the need to provide critical assistance to some of the region’s most vulnerable refugees,” UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini stated.

US aid to UNRWA was given against a commitment by the agency to abide by conditions such as “communicating any serious neutrality violations” to the US. “Like all UN agencies, UNRWA and its staff cannot take sides in hostilities or engage in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature,” the agreement partly reads.US decision to cut UNRWA funding - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

US decision to cut UNRWA funding – Cartoon

UNRWA has been called out by Israel on several occasions, accused of enabling terror incitement through the Palestinian Authority’s curriculum textbooks. Resuming funding to UNRWA was criticised by Israel earlier in April, notably by Israeli Ambassador to the US and the UN Gilad Erdan, who described UNRWA as using “a twisted definition of who is a ‘refugee.”

In between US impositions and Israeli oppositions, Palestinian refugees are caught in the crosshairs of humanitarian aid. While UNRWA’s work is undoubtedly necessary, the condition of neutrality does more to align the agency with the international community’s politicisation of humanitarian aid rather than create opportunities for Palestinians to pursue their independence and eventual liberation.

Is the US really a partner that understands the need to provide for Palestinian refugees, as Lazzarini declared, or is the US once again playing a part in keeping UNRWA afloat while ensuring that Palestinians never move towards repatriation and decolonisation?

If neutrality is meant to stifle decolonisation, it stands to reason that UNRWA’s commitment to neutrality supports Israel’s colonisation of Palestine. Humanitarian aid needs to be reconsidered in terms of describing the process for what it is – a framework that takes political rights away from Palestinians in return for helping them to survive the indignities of forced displacement.

No matter how much aid is pledged to UNRWA, Palestinians will not be compensated for the loss Israel inflicted through its colonial appropriation of land. Furthermore, if UNRWA acquiesces to the US-Israeli definition of neutrality, it would also need to question its own role in providing for Palestinian refugees.

READ: US restores assistance to UNRWA

The tragedy of Palestinian refugees did not happen without a context. The Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestinian territory – an action which is completely void of neutrality and which the UN agreed to – needs to become part of the narrative when speaking about UNRWA’s funding and conditions; the latter also imposed upon Palestinian refugees.

Why are the UN and its affiliated agencies getting away with altering the meaning of neutrality to support a colonial enterprise that creates new Palestinian refugees on a daily basis? Conditioning aid for Palestinian refugees based upon the agency’s willingness to indirectly promote the narrative which Israel wants – that is, oblivion as to the crimes of settler-colonialism – ensures a political monopoly over humanitarian aid. One that ensnares Palestinians, rather than UNRWA, into the complexities of neutrality as dictated by Israel’s allies.

(Source / 21.07.2021)

Silwan: A silent war for Jerusalem’s soul

By Latifeh Abdellatif , Huthifa Fayyad

Since the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, Silwan has been the target of ongoing illegal Israeli settlement activity. Qutaiba Odeh is one of thousands of Palestinians in the ancient town fighting home demolitions and evictions to remain in their homes.

Transcribed by IMEMC

Qutaiba Odeh: “We live in a silent war. It’s a war you don’t hear or see, but as Palestinians in Jerusalem, we live it around the clock. There is not a house in Silwan today that does not have a story or a hardship. Either they have someone in prison, someone wounded or martyred, a child or a young man detained, a house threatened with demolition by the [Israeli] municipality or facing eviction by [Israeli] settlers.

My name is Qutaiba Odeh, a resident of Silwan town. My dream is that our generation does not live the same Nakba our forefathers lived. I am a from a Palestinian family in Jerusalem living in Silwan. We are a family of 21 members living in three neighborhoods. In Silwan, we have three houses, two of them threatened with demolition and the other one threatened with eviction.

If we speak about Jerusalem, we speak about Silwan. Yabous (Jebusites), the first Canaanite tribe, started in Silwan. The origin of human settlement in Jerusalem started in Silwan. Silwan is the southern safeguard of the Old City and al-Aqsa Mosque. Palestinians here live in approximately 12 neighborhoods, 6 of these neighborhoods are threatened with forced displacement and ethnic cleansing. We are here today in al-Bustan neighborhood. The [Israeli] occupation municipality decided in 2004 to demolish this neighborhood and turn it into a biblical park.

They want to settle in Arab towns and neighborhoods in Jerusalem among the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem. they want to abolish the idea of Jerusalem being the capital of Palestine through these settlement projects here and there, so that in the future they’ll be the majority and we the minority. Settler organizations like Ateret Cohanim, Elad and the Jewish National Fund are very active here and have a lot of influence. They are the other face of the right-wing occupation government.”

  • Since the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, ongoing illegal settlement activity in Silwan has sought to forcibly displace Palestinians to make way for Israeli settlers and national “biblical” parks.
  • For decades, Palestinians in the ancient town have been fighting against home demolitions and court-ordered evictions.

Odeh: “When I was 11-years-old, we had one house that was threatened with demolition in al-Bustan neighborhood. Back then we had a slogan which I remember clearly; ‘Today it is my home, tomorrow will be yours.’ Today, 16 years later, I, Qutaiba Odeh, have three houses instead of one threatened with forced displacement and eviction.”

Silwan resident: ” The goal is to demolish, to displace me. But what they are doing will not displace me. In a tent, under the rain and the sun, I will stay on this land. I will never leave it.”

Odeh: “It is a slow death that we, our children, our women and our youth live in. Maybe today we do not see the accumulating impact of this war on our bodies, but it is a psychological war. For us, it is a big war we live in constantly.
What tools do we have as Palestinians to show that we still live here? To show that we are not minorities and some foreign occurrence here. We are the owners of this land. Words are all we have to defend ourselves.

Just by saying ‘we will not leave’. We are painting these murals today on the walls of our homes that are threatened with eviction, to reaffirm their identity, and that we are the true Palestinian owners of these homes. These murals are the paintings of our lives, they are the bright eyes with which we see the world. These murals are the paintings by which we convey our voice to the universe saying that there are still Palestinians in Jerusalem, who are threatened in the twenty-first century with eviction and expulsion from their homes.”

  • Some 84 families in Silwan face eviction lawsuits, while 100 properties face demolition orders putting more than 2,200 Palestinians at risk of mass expulsion. As of 2018. at least 228,000 Israeli settlers live in occupied East Jerusalem, in violation of International Law.

Odeh: “Today I feel pain for every house in Silwan or Jerusalem being demolished or seized. This is not about Qutaiba. I am a reflection of these people, one individual. The point here is the forced displacement and ethnic cleansing of thousands of people, hundreds of homes. We are not talking about an individual story here. We are talking very much about a collective story. The names differ between Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan but in the end it is the same goal, the same issue, the same suffering, the same occupation and the same settler.

Having a home and living in Jerusalem is not an easy matter. It’s a big deal. We understand the weight of this. We know where we are. And we know the price we have to pay. From our lives, from our health. We know what it is going towards: our existence on this land. The subject of our homes is not easy. Honestly. I don’t think that we are today in a place where we can say our homes are just structures made from stones. Our homes are not just stones. For us, our homes are our dreams. They’re our memories, our past, present and future. They are my mother and father who lived in this place. They are our grandchildren, my nieces and nephews, who are growing up here. They are our stories. Our pain. Our happiness. Our graduation celebrations. Our warm hug. Our place of gathering. Our safety and security. Our homes are not stones and they will never be stones. For us, our homes are our life.”

(Source / 21.07.2021)

Facebook is imposing ‘digital apartheid’ on pro-Palestine accounts and content

Remah Mubarak speaks at a protest against Facebook, July 2021

By Eman Abusidu

Social media has played a major role in spreading awareness of the Palestinian cause, providing a voice to those marginalised by the mainstream. Now, though, social media outlets are excluding Palestinian voices from their platforms in order to silence them. Dozens of Palestinian pages and accounts have been removed, banned or restricted, and specific terminology often leads to users being suspended, especially on Facebook.

Controlling social media is a characteristic of dictatorships. What we are witnessing in the pro-Palestine arena is digital apartheid. Israel and its supporters in influential positions are, it seems, doing everything possible to prevent the reality of the colonial state’s brutal occupation and what it means for the Palestinians from reaching the outside world.

Facebook has now removed the page of the Palestinian Shehab News Agency, for example. Shehab is one of the largest Palestinian news pages on social media with more than 7.5 million followers on Facebook alone. “This is a violation of human rights and international laws that guarantee freedom of opinion and expressions,” insisted the director of the agency, Remah Mubarak. “It is a clear targeting of Palestinian content.”

READ: Facebook deletes dozens of misleading pages and groups in 3 Arab countries

As long as the content is positive about Palestine and its people, it seems, Facebook will censor it. “During the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza, our social media team at Shehab was in touch with a specialised team from Facebook. The platform imposed many unreasonable restrictions on us in terms of publishing and editing. Despite our agreement and commitment to these conditions, Facebook deleted our page completely.”

Image

This is the fifth time that Facebook has done this to Shehab since the agency was established in 2009. “There is no justification for this other than it being a response to Israeli pressure,” explained Mubarak.

The social media giant’s move has been rejected and condemned widely by media professionals and pro-Palestine activists. Palestinian journalists have called it “arbitrary and unfair”. According to Shehab editor Mohammed Haniya, Facebook’s action is simply a part of direct Israeli incitement against the agency. “Since I joined Shehab Agency in 2016, I have seen a continuous campaign of pressure against our news page on Facebook. This is the leading Palestinian page and the tenth most popular in the Arab world, according to annual digital ratings.”

PHOTOS: Gaza protests Facebook’s decision to silence Palestinian voicesMohammed Haniya, Presenter and Editor at Shehab Agency [Shehab Agency]

Mohammed Haniya, Presenter and Editor at Shehab Agency

According to a report by the Sada Social Youth Centre, there were 178 violations against Palestinian social media accounts in June alone, across most social media platforms. Facebook alone had 74 documented violations. In 2018, the Israeli Ministry of Justice said that Facebook responded “positively” to around 85 per cent of Israel’s requests to remove, block or provide data about Palestinian content on the site. “The Israeli occupation basically admitted three years ago that it was behind the deletion of Shehab Agency content and restriction of its access,” said Haniya.

Over the past few weeks, we have also witnessed social media censorship of events in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The voices of Sheikh Jarrah residents, as well as Palestinian and international solidarity activists, have been targeted by Facebook, Twitter and Instagram “systematically”. Social media companies have closed personal accounts and censored content about attacks on residents and activists by Israeli forces and illegal settlers in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood.

Instagram just let me know they might delete my account 🙂 because posting videos of state-sanctioned ethnic cleansing is against their community standards I guess 🙂


Mohammed El-Kurd@m7mdkurd
·Als antwoord op @m7mdkurdIG also deleted my videos about the settler and IOF invasions a few nights ago calling it “hate speech” after it amassed over 2k reposts. They literally want us to rot and die but without the world watching.

Nevertheless, despite such efforts by social media to restrict Palestinian content and whitewash Israeli crimes, awareness of the Palestinian cause is growing. A recent opinion poll has shown that there is also a corresponding fall in the support of the American people for Israel since the May offensive against Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

“Whenever they bring us back to ground zero,” Shehab’s Remah Mubarak added, “We come back stronger and more determined than ever to convey the Palestinian message to the world.” This much is evident from the fact that global sympathy for the Palestinians is growing at the expense of the Israeli occupation.

(Source / 19.07.2021)

A third of young US Jews see Israel as genocidal, poll finds

By Ali Abunimah

Efforts by Israel and its lobby to equate criticism of Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people with anti-Jewish bigotry are in overdrive.

Yet a new poll indicates that this campaign has failed even with the vast majority of Jewish American voters.

The survey commissioned by the Jewish Electorate Institute, a group led by supporters of the Democratic Party, contains several eye-catching findings.

Read More: ‘Death to the Jews’ would have caused an international scandal, yet Israel’s incitement gets a free pass

A quarter of Jewish American voters agree that Israel is an apartheid state – a number that shoots up to 38 percent among those under age 40.

Twenty-two percent of Jewish voters overall agree that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians, a figure that rises to an astonishing 33 percent among the younger group.

Read More: Israeli forces arrest 22 citizens from West Bank, including young men and ex-prisoners

Moreover, Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is similar to racism in the US, according to 34 percent of Jewish voters surveyed. That figure exceeds two in five among those aged under 40.

These findings are likely to dismay lobby group leaders who have long fretted about the erosion of support for Israel among Jewish Americans, particularly younger ones.

What’s also striking is that even Jews who disagreed that Israel commits apartheid and genocide often do not consider such statements to be anti-Semitic.

For example, 62 percent of those surveyed disagreed that Israel is committing genocide, but only half of those considered such a statement to be “anti-Semitic.”

Open to one-state solution

Jewish Americans are also more open-minded than they are perhaps generally given credit for when it comes to a political solution for Palestinians and Israelis.

While 61 percent surveyed still support the moribund two-state solution, a sizable minority – 20 percent – favors a democratic one-state solution with equality for everyone living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Just 19 percent favor formal Israeli annexation of the occupied West Bank without giving Palestinians equal rights – effectively the situation that exists now in all but name.

And when it comes to US aid to Israel, 71 percent overall consider it “important.”

But 58 percent agree that the US should restrict such aid from being used by Israel to build settlements in the occupied West Bank. Meanwhile, 62 percent favor the US restarting the aid to Palestinians cut by the Trump administration.

This poll did not ask respondents about the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, but a poll of Jewish Americans by the Pew Research Center published in May did.

It found that 34 percent of Jewish Americans “strongly oppose” the BDS movement. Consistent with other findings, those most hostile to BDS tended to be older, more Republican and more religious.

Bogus anti-Semitism claims

Whenever the world’s attention is focused on Israel’s atrocities, Israel lobby groups often try to deflect attention towards a supposed wave of anti-Semitism.

This May, when Israel massacred dozens of children in Gaza, was no exception.

Leading Israel lobbyists and corporate media talked up a wave of alleged anti-Jewish attacks across the US.

Yet a meticulous investigation by journalist Max Blumenthal revealed that these claims were baseless.

“What they’re doing in the US is basically trying to find an exit ramp from the scenes that even CNN was showing, of media towers in Gaza being taken out for no reason … or entire families being exterminated, to replace the victimhood of Palestinians with that of … American Jews,” Blumenthal told The Electronic Intifada Podcast last month.

That is not to say there is no anti-Jewish bigotry and that it should not be a concern. Indeed, 90 percent of those surveyed – a figure that barely varies by age or religious observance – are concerned about anti-Semitism in the US.

But among men and women, and across all age groups, 61 percent of Jewish voters surveyed are more concerned about anti-Semitism from the political right. Overall, just 22 percent said they are concerned about “left-wing anti-Semitism.”

This indicates that American Jews have not generally fallen for the propaganda that the left is rife with anti-Jewish animus, even as lobby groups have ignored or downplayed right-wing bigotry and even lethal violence against Jews to focus instead on attacking and blaming the Palestinian solidarity movement.

It is because people on the left tend to be more supportive of Palestinian rights and more critical of Israel that lobby groups have focused on falsely smearing left-wing parties and leaders – for example Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and former British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn – as anti-Semites.

It is a bad faith strategy that aims to punish and scare people into silence about Palestine and absorb all the energy that might go into advocating for Palestinian rights into defensively debating what is and is not anti-Semitic.

It also aims to divide left-wing movements and co-opt influential figures into supporting Israel while still posing as “progressive.”

The Jewish Electorate Institute poll, however, suggests that most American Jews understand that the greatest threat to their safety comes not from supporters of Palestinian rights, but from the anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim, anti-Black white supremacist political right.

Hard to sell

That significant numbers of Jewish Americans now accept that Israel is a genocidal apartheid state may seem surprising.

But it reflects broader patterns in American society of growing support for Palestinian rights and skepticism about Israel, especially among younger people.

Aside from Orthodox Jews, Jewish Amercians are a particularly liberal and progressive constituency: Overall 68 percent say they would vote for the Democratic Party if an election were held today.

Eight-two percent of the Jewish voters surveyed described themselves as moderate, liberal or progressive. Just 16 percent identified as conservative.

It is simply hard to sell Israel – a segregationist apartheid state – to a group that by huge majorities professes to support racial justice and progressive values in the United States.

A bellwether of that reality is the dramatic shift on Israel announced by Peter Beinart last year. An influential liberal Zionist commentator, Beinart long defended the two-state solution and opposed BDS.

But to the consternation and fury of Israel lobby leaders, Beinart recognized that his approach had reached a dead end and embraced a one-state solution based on equality.

The dilemma was also captured by Marisa Kabas, writing in Rolling Stone amid Israel’s attack on Gaza in May.

Kabas writes about how she and many of her young Jewish American peers are “grappling with the version of Israel presented on trips organized by groups like Birthright versus what they’ve seen unfold on the ground.”

She says they struggle with “how to square their love for their people and history with their commitment to racial and social justice, and how Israel’s actions in Palestine seem to fly in the face of ‘tikkun olam’ – the Jewish principle of improving the world through action.”

“Bottom-tier issue”

And contrary to the impression one could get from looking at major Israel lobby groups or listening to pandering politicians, the survey indicates that Israel is a very low priority for most Jewish Americans.

It is true that 62 percent of respondents say they are “emotionally attached” to Israel, while 38 percent say they are not. That attachment also weakens somewhat among those who are younger or less religious.

But how different would these numbers be if a pollster asked a group representing all Americans about their “emotional attachment” to Israel?

For decades, after all, US political leaders have been telling Americans that they have a specialunbreakable bond with Israel unlike with any other country.

Influential American Christianist clerics such as Pastor John Hagee, the founder of Christians United for Israel, even tell their flocks that supporting Israel is a religious duty.

In any case, emotional attachment – whatever that may mean – apparently does not translate into political priorities.

Only four percent of Jewish voters name Israel as one of the top two issues they want the US government to focus on, while three percent list Iran – another obsession of Israel lobby groups.

Meanwhile, by wide margins, the top concerns are climate change, voting rights and economic issues. Only among Orthodox Jews does a significant minority – 18 percent – see Israel as a priority.

For most Jewish voters, according to the Jewish Electorate Institute, Israel is a “bottom-tier issue.”

It has never been the case that Jewish Americans uniformly support Israel or its colonialist state ideology Zionism, although both anti-Semites and Zionists have been happy to allow this idea to prosper for their own purposes.

This survey, added to other evidence, helps dispel that myth.

(Source / 19.07.2021)

Analysis: I returned to Gaza after 15 years. This is what I saw

By Emad Moussa

Arduous, complex, and unjustifiably degrading. This was my two-day journey through the Sinai desert on my way to the Gaza Strip after 15 years of absence.

After long periods of closure over the past years, Egypt finally opened the Rafah Crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip in February this year, apparently “permanently” but in a limited capacity.

Egypt only allows Palestinians originally from Gaza and their direct family members to enter the Strip. Foreign passport holders must show a Gaza ID to be allowed in. Anyone else, including non-Gazan Palestinians, requires a special permit.

As we entered the Palestinian side of the border, it didn’t take long to stamp our passports and be on our way into Gaza.

It was a relief to see that after 15 years of blockade and four wars, Gaza has kept its intimate soul, although not without deep wounds”

Gaza seemed to have better infrastructure, cleaner streets, and certainly more organised traffic than I remember. But the trail of destruction left by Israeli jets and artillery in the 11-day war, only two weeks earlier could not be ignored.

Entering the outskirts of Gaza city from the East, through Shujaiya neighbourhood, the signs of poverty were alarmingly present, significantly more than anything I experienced last time I was there. It was visible in the young men who hung out on the sides of the roads, clearly jobless; in the number of grocery stores selling the same products; and in the large number of roaming sellers, many of them children.

Despite it all, there was still a familiar atmosphere, the same hospitable and friendly mannerisms. It was a relief to see that after 15 years of blockade and four wars, Gaza has kept its intimate soul, although not without deep wounds that I’d come to see days later.

Israel physically left Gaza in 2005, but the occupation realistically and effectively transformed from boots on the ground into a remote-control blockade.

After Hamas won the Palestinian legislative council elections in 2006, the blockade intensified and became more sophisticated, touching almost every aspect of life and affecting all residents in the Strip. Since then, Gaza has become an example of extreme restrictions on movement; conditional entry of products and an outright ban on others; severe shortages in electricity and medical equipment; and unprecedented levels of unemployment and poverty.

But this is a blockade like no other, an unorthodox case of deep oppression situated within the larger oppression that Israel’s occupation represents. Throughout history, colonial powers used extreme violence and collective punishment against their colonised subjects, but never before has an occupying power gone to war against the very people it controlled, as Israel has against Gaza.

The aftermath of the last war wasn’t only obvious in the destroyed infrastructure, but also in the collective emotional fatigue and apathy. It’s immediately obvious that the once obsessively held Covid-19 precautions no longer exist. As someone noted: “Corona is the least of our concerns.” With a health system so fragile, to ignore Covid-19 says a lot about the post-war priorities.

Gaza hasn’t changed much socially. Granted, a tightly knit social network and a deep-rooted patriarchal system play a significant role in sustaining a rigid social reality. In the Gazan scenario, however, it’s the artificial socio-political situation that is also to blame for creating a somewhat social stagnation.

Gaza is generally conservative, but there has always been room for liberal thought and unconventional worldviews. These seem to have retreated over the past 15 years in order to allow for an old-style conservatism to act as society’s primary line of defence against what many view as existential threats.

When it comes to resisting the occupation, the Gaza I know from 2006 now has a somewhat changed narrative. Back then, the walls were often covered with posters of the victims martyred by Israel’s aggression and anti-Israel graffiti.

Today, after 15 years of siege and four destructive wars, the martyrs and graffiti are still there, but in light of what Palestinians consider an exceptional resistance performance during the last wars and the incremental growth in military capabilities, large billboards mostly glorifying military achievements against Israel seem to dominate the major roundabouts and squares.

There appears to be a transition from the overwhelmingly victim-focused narratives to a victim-fighter narrative, with an emphasis on “fighter”. At some point, the PLO embraced such a dichotomy, but in Gaza, Hamas seems especially invested in the narratives of heroism and the lofty goals of liberation, more so than lamenting the destruction and casualties.

Gazans almost unanimously hold the resistance in high regard but are also openly unhappy about the performance of their leadership”

The religious side to this conviction sees sacrifices for the homeland as divine, but there’s also a psychological need, through the narratives of resistance, to keep the morale high. Against the enormous odds, Gazans certainly need, or rather, have to invent high morale in order to function, much less survive.

Gazans almost unanimously hold the resistance in high regard but are also openly unhappy about the performance of their leadership. Resentment of both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority is widespread, the suspicion of Egypt’s al-Sisi’s role in the ceasefire is present, although spoken about in a hush-hush manner while publicly praising Egypt’s help and historical role in supporting Palestine. There’s also some mumbling about Hamas’ monopoly over the war-and-peace decisions.

Above all, anger about Palestinian disunity continues to simmer, but ironically, people are also divided over whom to blame: Israel and the Arabs, Hamas and Fatah, or all. The Gazan situation is highly complex, so the blame game isn’t an easy or accurate exercise. Oftentimes, it’s only a venting technique; allowing people to feel a sense of control over an abnormal and uncontrollable situation.

No one knows how long this situation will endure, but most agree that Gaza’s political complexities, much like its misery, are manifold. They go well beyond the mere Israel-Palestine situation and the internal Palestinian disagreements, well into the regional and international power balances and alliances.

Meanwhile, the people of Gaza are left with no choice but to resist and cynically hope for a better future, a future that may be dull, but is at least predictable and manageable.

(Source / 17.07.2021)

In the peak of summer, West Bank demolitions leave 70 Palestinians homeless

After demolishing Khirbet Humsa for the sixth time in months, Israeli forces loaded the residents’ personal belongings and dropped them off miles away

By Oren Ziv

On Wednesday morning, in temperatures reaching past 104 degrees Fahrenheit, Israeli forces demolished the Palestinian village of Khirbet Humsa in the occupied West Bank for the sixth time in less than a year.


Israeli military and Civil Administration forces arrived at the Jordan Valley village at around 7 a.m. and began dismantling residents’ tents, confiscating them and loading them — along with their contents — onto an army truck. The truck then deposited the equipment over seven miles away. The IDF brought civilian buses to the site where the residents’ homes and belongings had been unloaded; however, the residents did not board the vehicles for fear that they were going to be expelled even further away. Instead, they fled for the hills and stayed until the army had left, around 6 p.m.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Civil Administration — the Israeli military’s administrative arm in the West Bank — demolished 27 residential structures and animal shelters, as well as water tanks. They also took food packages, effectively leaving the community without food and water. Israeli forces further confiscated personal items, including milk for children, clothes, personal hygiene products, and plants. Eleven households, which were home to around 70 people — including 36 children — lost their dwelling.

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem characterized the demolition as “abuse of the community’s residents,” and noted that the aim of the operation was to “forcibly transfer [Khirbet Humsa’s residents] from their place of residence and to take over their land.” The organization forcefully rejected Israeli claims that they had received the residents’ consent to carry out the demolition.

Khirbet Humsa is located in an isolated area of the Jordan Valley in Area C of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli security and administrative control. The village is close to the settlements of Ro’i and Bekaot, and reachable only via an unpaved road. During winter, the area is only accessible with an SUV.

The community’s residents live on privately-owned Palestinian land, on which they pay rent. They have been there for 60 years, and are spread out in four different encampments. Each encampment houses two or three families, and is not connected to water, electricity, or sewage infrastructure.

In August 1967, a few months after Israel occupied the West Bank, the army designated the area a firing zone, where the military conducts training exercises. According to OCHA, Israel has classified around 18 percent of the West Bank as a military training area, affecting around 5,000 Palestinian residents. The Israeli authorities thus consider Khirbet Humsa’s residents “trespassers,” even though they lease the land from its Palestinian owners.

Twenty-four hours after the demolition had concluded, the villagers were left without shelter from the sun and without basic necessities. The army’s confiscation of most of their personal belongings differed from previous demolitions, in which they usually took mattresses, nylon sheets, and blankets, and left the rest.

“The truck took everything,” said Walid Abu al-Kabbash, as he sat next to his destroyed home in the punishing heat. “This time round they left nothing. They took the flour and the water. Yesterday we were left in the sun for hours and they prevented media, diplomats, and aid organizations from coming here. When we tried to take photographs, they told us we weren’t allowed.”

Abu al-Kabbash noted that the first time the army demolished Khirbet Humsa was in November last year, and the community was left with no shelter from the rain while access to the village was blocked off by mud. “They arrive on the hottest or rainiest day of the year,” Abu al-Kabbash said. Pointing to nearby water and electricity infrastructure, he added: “Is this the law? A hundred meters from here there’s water and electricity, yet we have nothing.”

Musa, a Palestinian who came to help relatives after the demolition, said: “Would you take their place, living without water and electricity like this? And even the minimal amount they have, they’re not allowed to keep. There’s no [army] base or settlement here, and yet they carry out a demolition and leave them in this state.”

Commenting on the buses brought by the army, Walid, another resident of Khirbet Humsa, said that they were going to take the village’s women and children away. The army denied that it was planning to expel the community, but the demolition of their homes and the confiscation of their belongings convinced the residents that the intention was to evict them.

“It’s a transfer attempt,” said Dafna Banai, an activist with the Israeli feminist activist group MachsomWatch, who is in the Jordan Valley every week. “They didn’t take everything during previous [demolitions]. This time they left people with just the clothes they were wearing. [The army] tossed the residents’ belongings where they wanted to move them to.”

On Thursday afternoon, three IDF jeeps pulled up in Khirbet Humsa and ordered Israeli activists, journalists, and NGO workers to leave, threatening to confiscate their vehicles. One soldier said that the army had “suggested [to the residents] that they go elsewhere, and they refused.” Banai did not elaborate on why they refused.

The IDF Spokesperson said that journalists were barred from accessing the site due to “military activities.” However, according to activists, the soldiers’ only activity was preventing anyone from witnessing or documenting the extent of the damage being done to Khirbet Humsa.

The previous demolition of the community, undertaken in winter, provoked an international incident and was condemned by European diplomats. Ismail Abu al-Kabbash, another Khirbet Humsa resident, nonetheless said he is disappointed in the international community. “After the demolition in November, Americans and Europeans came and toured the area, but nothing changed. I’m worried about people and children, not about possessions. I’m in shock over what’s happened.”

Amid, 6, who was sheltering from the sun in a tent about half a mile away from his demolished home, asked why the army had confiscated his bicycle. His bike allowed him not only to play, he explained, but also to travel between different communities in the area.

Residents and Israeli activists found Amid’s bike in Ein Shibli, a village about 7.5 miles from Khirbet Humsa. It was in a huge pile of the belongings the army had confiscated, and which they had left on top of an empty hill, out in the sun, with no fencing or protection. On Thursday, several community members went to search for their clothes and other possessions.

Israel has demolished, confiscated, or compelled owners to demolish at least 421 Palestinian structures in the West Bank so far in 2021, according to OCHA. When compared with the same period in 2020, these figures represent a 24 percent increase in the number of structures demolished or confiscated, including an almost 110 percent increase in the number of donor-funded structures chosen for demolition, and a more than 50 percent increase in the number of people displaced as a result.

In a statement released following the demolition, B’Tselem called the operation “part of an Israeli policy applied across the West Bank that is intended to create intolerable living conditions, with the aim of making Palestinians leave their homes and then concentrating them in enclaves in order to take over their land.

“This policy is an attempt at forced transfer, which is a war crime under international humanitarian law,” B’Tselem’s statement said.

Mossi Raz, a Knesset member with Meretz, asked Defense Minister Benny Gantz to halt demolitions in Area C. “The state has a responsibility to protect those communities that are regularly evicted and are not entitled to assistance from their side,” Raz said. Nonetheless, he added, “it seems that the state is instead working harder to forcibly evict these communities while abdicating their basic human responsibility toward them.”

The Civil Administration said that the demolition was carried out in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling, and that the “enforcement operation… included demolition and confiscation of tents that had been illegally put up again by Palestinians who trespassed in 2012 into a firing zone in the Jordan Valley.”

(Source / 17.07.2021)

‘I want to make beauty from this ugliness’, says Gaza’s first calligraffiti artist

Belal Khaled puts the finishing touches on a 50-metre long artwork in Gaza in July 2021 [Majdi Fathi]
Belal Khaled puts the finishing touches on a 50-metre long artwork in Gaza in July 2021

By Eman Abusidu

‘The soul that fights in us’ are the words which Palestinian artist Belal Khaled spent four days drawing onto the 50 metre long, seven metre high bombed wall of a building in Gaza. With a flat brush and a bucket brimming with colours, Belal translated the Palestinian people’s feelings into a thick calligraphic piece that winds around itself.

“We chose this phrase to express every fighting spirit in every young man, woman, child and every soul in our Palestinian society. All their souls are fighting for the liberation of Palestine,” Belal tells MEMO.

Belal is a Palestinian artist who was born in Khan Yunis city in the southern Gaza Strip. He has been creating pieces made up of calligraphy for more than 15 years. “I started practicing this art when I was 14 years old,” he explains. After graduating from university, Belal concentrate on this art form to become the first person to bring calligraffiti – the art of combining calligraphy, typography and graffiti – to Gaza. From cars, handbags, walls as well as human bodies, Khaled leaves his prints everywhere.

“I created my own identity for Arabic calligraphy by inserting it on all the necessities of life, such as cars, shops, walls and clothes.”

Belal Khaled works on his next piece of art in July 2021 [Majdi Fathi]
Belal Khaled works on his next piece of art in July 2021 [Majdi Fathi]

“The art of calligraffiti is the art of discovering what you believe,” Belal says. “Converting fonts into paintings is my own style. I am trying to spread the culture of Arabic calligraphy and its beauties to the world. Our Arabic language has its own charm that it carries and adds a certain beauty to the letters.”

Through this art form, Belal hopes to encourage people to return to writing Arabic using a pencil and paper, and not rely solely on typing.

His artwork has now been displaced in the US, UK, France and a number of other European countries.

“I have travelled around the world, drawn many digital portraits, painted faces and participated in many exhibitions,” he says. Every stroke of his brush, he adds, has a meaning and reason.

Art exhibitions by Belal Khaled [https://www.instagram.com/belalkh]
Art exhibitions by Belal Khaled [https://www.instagram.com/belalkh]
Art exhibitions by Belal Khaled [https://www.instagram.com/belalkh]

“I also work as a photojournalist and I have a lot of pictures that have spread around the world from the Gaza war, the Syrian war, the refugee crisis in Europe and Greece, the Azerbaijan war and many other hot spots.”

During the last Israeli aggression on Gaza, Khaled documented the bombing campaign and highlighted the situation to the world. When the ceasefire was agreed, his work didn’t stop, he put on a safety helmet and an armoured vest, picked up his flat brush and rushed to the scenes of destruction.

When he found an unexploded missile he covered it with the words “Here, the child and the sheikh die and we do not give up. A mother collapses on her dead children and we do not give up.”

On the remains of the Jalaa Tower, which housed foreign media companies including the Associated Press and Al Jazeera, he wrote: “Journalism is not a crime.”

Belal Khaled paints an unexploded missile in Gaza May 2021 [Mustafa Hassona]
Belal Khaled paints an unexploded missile in Gaza May 2021 

In both his work as a photojournalist and as an artist, Belal wants the world to see another side of Gaza, to introduce them to the beauty beneath the destruction and the how people survive and live. “It is the artist and the photojournalist who are out there to show the world what is happening.”

I want to make something beautiful out of this ugliness. I want to find life and beauty in the midst of all this death and destruction.

Though he now lives in Turkey, he says he is going to continue spending time in Gaza for the foreseeable future to document the post-war landscape. His calligraffiti offers a glimmer of hope to the densely populated enclave.

Belal Khaled works on his calligraffiti project [Majdi Fathi]
Belal Khaled works on his calligraffiti project

Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish once said: “We love life if we find a way to it.” Palestinians proves every day that they love life and insist on turning the destruction into life. Belal works to make Darwish’s words come to life. In each of his pieces of art – both as a photographer and as a calligraphist – Belal shows the world not only the true image of the Israeli occupation’s savagery but also the beauty within every Palestinian soul.

(Source / 16.07.2021)

The West Bank is under two occupations

By: Majed El-Zebdah

The suppression of freedoms, threats and political arrests in the West Bank have increased following the assassination of political activist and parliamentary candidate Nizar Banat. Banat was killed under torture by a security force affiliated with the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Area C, under Israeli occupation control. This suggests a high level of coordination between the PA and the Israeli occupation regarding silencing any voice opposing the security coordination and cooperation with the Israeli occupation.

The assassination of Banat exposed the painful reality of the West Bank, which is under two occupations. The first occupation aims to confiscate land, displace Palestinians and bury their dreams of building a state and independence. The second seeks to strengthen the police grip, seize freedoms and suppress any Palestinian voice calling for building a state of law or abolishing the security and economic dependence on the occupying power.

Read More: Life in Sheikh Jarrah has become a ‘big prison’ under Israeli siege

The PA’s leadership and Fatah in Ramallah are in denial of the major changes witnessed in the Palestinian streets after the battle of Saif Al-Quds. Currently, there is overwhelming support for the Palestinian resistance and a sharp decline in the popular support of the PA and Fatah. This has been confirmed by numerous recent opinion polls, including one published by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah a few days ago. The poll showed that 53 per cent of Palestinians believe that Hamas is the movement most worthy of representing and leading the Palestinian people, compared with only 14 per cent who voted for Fatah led by Mahmoud Abbas. This shows that the PA has become a heavy burden standing in the way of Palestinian liberation from the Israeli occupation.

There has recently been a significant escalation in the following areas: Palestinian security services’ attacks against the families of political detainees in Ramallah; the arrests of dozens of human rights defenders, writers and ex-prisoners; the abuse of women; torture of people in the streets; the arrests of journalists and the confiscation of their equipment; the prevention of peaceful sit-ins; the masked men roaming the streets of the West Bank in the name of Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, issuing threats against those who think of protesting against the repressive measures of the authority and requesting the occupation to support the PA in its repression demonstrations.

Read More: Over 120 settlers storm Aqsa under police guard

In addition to all of the above, according to Hebrew newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, there are suspicions of corruption surrounding the coronavirus vaccines deal associated with high-ranking officials of the PA, according to a leaked official document published by Quds News Network. Moreover, there was the arbitrary dismissal of Palestinians denouncing the state of repression in the West Bank. The latest of such incidents was the dismissal of the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Public Library Ihab Bseiso, as well as the dismissal of the diplomat at the Palestinian Embassy in Lisbon Shahd Wadi, because they denounced the killing of Banat and refused to provide political cover for his killers. All of these acts are evidence confirming that the leadership of the PA and the Fatah movement in Ramallah have become a fascist dictatorship against their own people, and that they no longer object to collaborating with the occupation in its oppression and persecution against Palestinians to deprive them of their right of expression.

The Fatah movement and the PA’s leadership have underestimated the public’s anger which escalated with the assassination of political activist Banat. Rather than trying to lessen this anger by dismissing Mohammad Shtayyeh’s government and bringing security services’ leaders to justice for giving the direct orders that led to his murder, they called for a governmental investigation committee headed by the minister of justice of the same government. The committee lacked transparency, especially after Banat’s family representatives and human rights organisations withdrew from its membership. In addition, the committee refrained from announcing its findings. Meanwhile, intelligence services pressured leaders of Fatah in Gaza to provoke protests and clashes with the security services in Gaza to draw attention away from the ongoing acts of repression and suppression of freedoms taking place in the West Bank.

Recent attacks of security authorities against those who denounced the assassination of Banat, insisting on suppressing freedoms and violating them in the Palestinian streets, are all a natural extension of Abbas’s failure and his monopoly in representing Palestinians and making decisions for them. Abbas, who is the president of the PA in Ramallah, committed a number of legal violations when, in December of 2018, he dissolved the Palestinian Legislative Council and reconstituted the Supreme Judicial Council in Ramallah in early July 2019. This was a major encroachment on the judicial and legislative systems and a clear violation of the Palestinian Basic Law that stipulates the principle of separation of powers. It is as if Abbas was preparing for these days in which masses in the streets of the West Bank are rising up to demand freedom, only to find themselves facing a fully repressive regime that is not different from the occupation regime oppressing Palestinians for decades.

The PA’s leadership in Ramallah and the security services may temporarily succeed in suppressing protests calling for freedom of expression and peaceful demonstrations in support of political detainees, but they will certainly not succeed in stifling the free Palestinian voice. Palestinians are no longer afraid of subjugation and persecution. They now see the repression of the security services as an extension of the occupation, and believe that they need to be freed from them as a necessary prelude to liberation from the oppression of the occupation and its occupiers.

(Source / 14.07.2021)

Israel’s siege and violence are damaging Palestinian children’s minds

Palestinian children hold candles during a rally amid the ruins of houses destroyed by Israeli strikes, in Gaza City on 24 May 2021 [MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images]
Palestinian children hold candles during a rally amid the ruins of houses destroyed by Israeli strikes, in Gaza City on 24 May 2021

By Anjuman Rahman

Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip are being psychologically tortured. Growing up with periods of prolonged fear and abuse has devastating physical and mental consequences, and young people are suffering as a result.

Israel’s latest military offensive against the Palestinians in Gaza inflicted lasting trauma on children, with noticeable behavioural changes due to what they witnessed during the bombing; not only the destruction but also the killing of entire families.

“There have been repetitive attacks, assaults and massacres over the past 13 years in Gaza,” explained Dr Samah Jabr, chair of the mental health unit at the Palestinian Ministry of Health. “And with every attack, there is a new generation of people who are traumatised.”

There is no safe place in Gaza, and the number of children at risk is extraordinary. Israeli air and artillery strikes during the 11-day assault in May killed 253 Palestinians, including 66 children. More than 1,900 people were wounded.

The purpose of the atrocities and violence is to have a huge psychological impact on the people, noted Dr Jabr. “It is the children who are the most vulnerable because they are at that special stage in their development where they are not getting the chance to develop healthy defence mechanisms.”

READ: Jerusalem icon Muna El-Kurd highlights Sheikh Jarrah struggle in graduation speech

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2020 nearly half of the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank were under the age of 18. An average 15-year-old in Gaza has lived through four major Israeli offensives. Nearly everyone in Gaza knows someone who has been killed in the attacks.

Whole families are affected. “The children live under the care of adults who are suffering too, due to the high rate of unemployment, poverty and food insecurity in Gaza,” said Dr Jabr.

More than two million Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip and suffer from deteriorating economic conditions as a result of the Israeli blockade imposed on the territory since 2006. Around 70 per cent of the population are struggling with food insecurity and require aid, say World Food Programme officials. Unemployment stands at around 69 per cent. Israeli bombs have devastated the business community and infrastructure, meaning that recovery will be very difficult.

Death toll in Israeli attacks on Gaza Strip keeps rising...- Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]
Death toll in Israeli attacks on Gaza Strip keeps rising…- Cartoon

“The trauma is very special in Gaza because it is ongoing and being superimposed repetitively on historical collective trauma,” Dr Jabr pointed out. “And there is nowhere safe for families and children to seek refuge in Gaza.” There were times she and her colleagues intervened while the traumatic situation was still taking place. “I could hear the bombardment in the background when people called me from Gaza. It was a very unusual situation.”

She explained that mental health professionals are not equipped to provide suitable interventions for such chaotic situations. “Nevertheless, we support people by advising them to stay grounded and maintain their usual routine for the day in spite of all the difficulties.”

READ: Children in Gaza call on the world to save them

A series of research studies on the effects of war on Palestinian children living in the Gaza Strip concluded that symptoms of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were prominent amongst children who had been exposed to substantially distressing events, such as destruction of their family home; seeing family members being killed; seeing and hearing the jets and bombs; and the arrest of family members. The effects are severe and can dramatically hinder a child’s ability to sleep and cause a lack of concentration and panic attacks, as well as anxiety. Perhaps even more disturbing, they instil constant fear.

Dr Jabr believes that their suffering actually exceeds the definition of PTSD. Western-developed interventions and tools for measuring depression do not tend to distinguish between justified misery and clinical depression. Similarly, clinical definitions of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression do not apply to the experiences of Palestinians.

In addition to horrific physical injuries and deprivation, these Palestinian children face incomparable psychological trauma and crushing poverty, with little or no access to the support and medical attention they so desperately need. “It’s the intensity of violence and atrocities that are surrounding them. Usually we are trained to provide intervention to people who are traumatised in cases of primary event trauma like car accidents or a severe injury. However, in the life of a Palestinian child, they come from a background of historical, generational and collective trauma. Eighty per cent of Palestinians in Gaza come from refugee families who have lost their homes and more, and that huge loss stays within the family. Their families also participated in the Intifada and now they’re witnessing multiple wars and massacres on top of poverty.”

They find themselves without any hope of freedom, she added, or any sign that their situation will change. The siege is fracturing minds. In response, there is a culture of apathy towards the fate of Palestinians in Gaza and their cause, which further deteriorates their mental health.

“When people see that world powers side with the aggressor and say that Israel has the right to defend itself and ignore all the killings that take place in Gaza, Palestinian parents feel that they are blamed for the killing of their children by the Israeli occupation forces,” said Dr Jabr. “That is traumatising.”

READ: Don’t look away from Palestine

Directing suspicion towards the victim, thereby justifying or excusing the original violation that the victim suffered, is a clear attempt to avoid Israeli culpability for the deaths of Palestinian children. In addition to this dehumanisation of the Palestinian people, such an approach allows the how and why of these children being killed and wounded to be overlooked.

It’s abundantly clear that the international community is failing the people of Palestine, especially in Gaza. And yet, the discourse of psychological resilience has a heavy hold there. Dr Jabr addressed a common misconception that people are either resilient or completely hopeless. She believes that resilience is dynamic and is built by resisting oppression, as it provides a sense of justice and represents morality. “We can be resilient at certain moments, but not resilient at other moments. Simultaneously, people can be traumatised while showing signs of resilience.” The latter, she added, relies not only on the individual but also collective factors that can encourage the resilience of individuals. “These shouldn’t be ignored.”

In conclusion, Dr Samah Jabr called for international unity in challenging Israel’s aggression by standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people as they resist the occupation and military offensives. “The most valuable help is political support when Palestinians are active agents fighting for their freedom, not when it’s too late and they are bleeding around dead bodies. And when it comes to healing, we Palestinians will take care of it. In fact, we already are.”

(Source / 03.07.2021)