Thursday, December 7, 2023

Gaza War 2023: The Deir El-Balah massacre on 5 December in video and photos (+18 Graphic content)

 Describing the current situation involves recounting how I was focusing to work on this post on what happened to Deir El-Balah, only to discover that the Israeli army has committed at least two massacres, resulting in the loss of numerous civilian lives.

Regrettably, the international media appears indifferent to the ongoing casualties over the past 24 hours.

On Tuesday, the Israeli Occupation Army once again perpetrated a series of massacres against Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

Top of Form

This time it was in Deir El-Balah, in central Gaza.

The Israeli shelling targeted a street in Deir El-Balah, precisely next to the home of Palestinian Photographer Motaz Azaiza. He captured the immediate aftermath of the shelling in both video and photos.

I compiled the videos that he shared on Instagram into an 11-minute unedited video, which I strongly recommend watching until the end. You can watch it on YouTube because it is restricted due to the graphic content. 

This footage provides an unfiltered glimpse into the current situation in Gaza.

Motaz Azaiza, despite being named GQ Middle East Man of the Year, couldn't even celebrate for a moment as he searched for his brother. 

Deir El-Balah's street after the Israeli shelling. 

Fortunately, his brother survived, but sadly, his neighbour and friend, Mohamed, lost his life.

Monday, December 4, 2023

Gaza War 2023: They are not journalists and photographers anymore; they are people facing genocide

"The stage of risking everything to bring you the news is over, and now the survival stage has started," said Palestinian photojournalist Motaz Azaiza on Saturday.

“I brought enough news to you, and God be my witness, it was for God and to serve my country,” said Azaiza as the Israeli army entered its second day of attacking Gaza after breaching the truce between it and Palestinian factions led by Hamas.

Bissan , Ismail and Motaz 

“We are now facing the start of internal siege; we can’t move to North or South.” The young Palestinian photographer, who was chosen as GQ Middle East’s Man of the Year 2023, described in a post in Arabic how the Israeli tanks surrounded central Gaza on both the Northern and Southern ends.

The message of Motaz Azaiza 

“Our situation is more dire than you can imagine,” Azaiza, who lost scores of his family members in this way, said.

“Remember: We are not content for you to share. We are a cause attempting to stay alive, alone.”

I've read what Motaz Azaiza has said and shared online, and I feel deeply concerned—worried for him and for other Palestinian reporters, photographers, and citizen journalists who, for two months now, have bravely conveyed the truth to the world.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

The Released detainees : The World Forgotten Palestinian Children in Israeli prisons

Since November 24th, a truce brokered by Qatar and Egypt, with support from the U.S., has been held between the Palestinian factions led by Hamas and Israel. Tuesday marked the fifth day of the ongoing truce, subject to potential extensions.

While Cairo, Doha, Washington, and Gaza advocate for a ceasefire, Tel Aviv faces internal divisions. The current Israeli cabinet is at risk of collapsing as its right-wing ministers oppose any truce or exchange of captives, aiming for the continuation of aggressive colonial racist policies toward Palestinians.

Palestinian Fawzy Al-Junaidi
From the archives: The arrest of 16-years-old Palestinian Fawzy Al-Junaidi
 in occupied West Bank in December 2017 by Israeli forces

The Israeli army itself exhibits internal divisions, driven by the fear that a peaceful completion of a Palestinian detainees-Israeli captives exchange deal would signify another defeat for Israel.

Once again, Israel’s invincible army will be defeated by a militant group whose members wearing knock-off Adidas pants and slippers instead of boots in Gaza. That defeat would impact the image of the Israeli army in the region.

Until Tuesday, 60 Israeli captives, including women and children, have been released from Gaza in exchange for the release of 180 Palestinian detainees, mainly women and children, from Israel. Additionally, 21 captives, comprising 19 Thais, one Filipino, and one Russian-Israeli man, were released in separate deals.

Notably, Israel initially excluded Thais and Filipino workers from its negotiations, leading both the Philippines and Thailand to involve their Ministers of Foreign Affairs in discussions in Doha and Cairo.

Under ideal circumstances, no child, elderly person, woman, or unarmed individual should be taken captive or held hostage.

Following the truce deal announcement, the Israeli government has already published a list of 300 Palestinian detainees online. 

However, examining the disproportionate numbers of Palestinians, particularly children and women, unjustly detained in Israeli prisons and the harsh conditions they endure, one might comprehend the motives behind such actions.

It was a desperate action to release those detainees or rather hostages as they have been called by the Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry at the UN Security Council in New York on Wednesday. Since October 7, the Israeli occupation forces arrested about 3,365 Palestinians in the West Bank.

In the Arab world, we know this technique as Israel is trying to use these new detainees in the talks to release its hostages instead of the old Palestinian detainees already in Prison.

In the past five days, Western media coverage has once again focused on one side, perpetuating the demonization of the other.

Several overlooked facts, crucial to understanding the situation, include the illegality of Israel's presence in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights, as it constitutes an occupying force according to international laws and UN Security Council Resolutions, particularly Resolution No. 242.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Al-Shifa Hospital Premature Babies: All what We know about Rana, Halima’s Baby

When I shared the photo of the premature baby lying alone in an incubator, one eye open and the other injured, little did I anticipate that this image, offering a glimpse into the world of the renowned Al-Shifa Hospital's premature babies, would quickly go viral.

Premature Baby Rana of Gaza, the daughter of Halima Abd Rabou
Premature Baby Rana of Gaza, the daughter of Halima Abd Rabou
by Belal Khaled 

I felt a sense of joy, thinking that the narrative of this tiny fighter, who not only battled for her life as a preterm baby but also faced the additional challenge of being Palestinian, a life the Israeli army seemed indifferent to, resonated with many.

She was introduced in the Arab media as Baby Halima, named after her deceased mother. Regrettably, it later came to light that my information was inaccurate, stemming from a mix-up.

Now here is the correct information.

This is baby Rana Shamlakh, the daughter of Mrs Halima Abd Rabou.

According to photojournalist Belal Khaled of the AFP, baby Rana lost both parents, they are martyrs according to the official documents issued by the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The family are martyrs in Arabic  by Belal Khaled
The family are martyrs in Arabic 
by Belal Khaled 

It is unclear if the mother, Mrs Halima died during the delivery or in the war. 

There was a mix-up of information when Khaled, who is currently doing a tremendous job of transferring the image of what is happening in South Gaza, captured her famous photo at the Emirati field hospital and her medical record where she was introduced as the baby of Halima Abd Rabou.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Watch this: Long Live us and Long Live Palestine in video

In the wake of the 2023 Gaza War, a surge of Arab and Palestinian artists took to the internet to express their solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza through their art. This outpouring of creative expression is not a new phenomenon for the Arab world.

Long Live us and Long Live Palestine "Omar Rammal"
Long Live Us and Long Live Palestine "Omar Rammal"

On the contrary, Palestine and the Palestinian resistance have long been a source of inspiration for artworks across various mediums, including painting, literature, poetry, cinema, and music.

This time arts found a bigger and quicker platform online. I wanted to share samples of those artworks. After all, it is important to share with the world what we say because it seems that the world does not see us as humans. 

Please watch this short film by Palestinian director Omar Rammal. It went viral on social media across the Arab world in the past few days.

It is called “Long Live Us, Long Live Palestine.”
And yes, there are whole younger generations of Palestinians that won’t forget nor forgive.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Can we save Old Jerusalem's Armenian Quarter?

 On Saturday, the Patriarchs and heads of Churches in Jerusalem issued a joint statement declaring their total support and solidarity with the Armenian Patriarchate warning against Israeli settler takeover of Armenian Quarter land without saying explicitly.

It was the latest update in ongoing serious development that is not covered as it should in the media due to the ongoing ethnic genocide in Gaza by the Israeli army.

The statement of the Churches in Jerusalem and the Holy Land expressing deep concern about recent events in the Armenian Quarter of old Jerusalem.

They urgently appeal to relevant authorities to restore peace and harmony in the Armenian Quarter, emphasizing the need for legal negotiations to prevent further escalations.

Cathedral of Saint James in the Armenian Quarter
The door to the famous Cathedral of Saint James in the Armenian Quarter 
Arab Media considers it as a symbol of the Armenian Quarter 
with its words in Arabic "The Armenian Monastery"  

The statement of the Churches of Christianity's Holy Land comes after the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem issued a statement on Saturday pleading with them to stand with it in what it called "unprecedented times," saying that what has been happening in the past few days was "another clear step taken toward the endangerment of the Christian presence in Jerusalem and the Holy Land."

So, What is happening in the Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem's Old City?

Israeli Occupation Police aka IOP ordered local Armenians to vacate the Armenian Gardens, also known as the Cows' Garden, in the Old City of Jerusalem, alleging misappropriation of property.

How or why did this happen?

It turned out that the Armenian Patriarchate made a significant mistake, and there is now a genuine concern that this error may jeopardize the existence of the Armenian community in Old Jerusalem after 16 centuries of its presence.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Gaza War 2023: After 40 days and nights "Graphic"

After 40 days and nights since the commencement of the Israeli war supported by the West in Gaza, it becomes apparent that the objectives were not solely focused on freeing Israeli captives or eliminating Hamas.

After 40 days and nights, the toll stands at 11,320 Palestinians killed, predominantly civilians, with 4,650 children, 3,145 women, and 685 elderly among the victims due to the Israeli airstrikes, shelling and besiege. " Israeli airstrike killed at least 13 Israeli captives but their safety is not a priority for the Israeli Military as what it is important to them is to keep that fake military superiority alive"

father mourns his son after he was killed due to an Israeli airstrike  in Gaza last "AFP
A father mourns his son after he was killed due to an Israeli airstrike 
in Gaza last "AFP

These documented deaths represent only a part of the tragic toll. Currently, there are still 3,600 Palestinians, including 1,750 children, officially listed as missing, presumed to be under the rubble.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), during this period, a Palestinian child was tragically lost every 10 minutes on average.