Thursday, November 30, 2023

The Released detainees of Palestine : 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.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Gaza War 2023 : This is what the real humans of Gaza say /are saying/said "Vol.1"

The people of Gaza have something to say to the world and you must hear them.

They are not those fake people of Gaza with fake terrible accents shown on Israel’s official accounts.

a boy from Gaza
A child looking at the dead body of his father
 before his burial in Khan Younes, Gaza 
by Belal Khaled 
First, the children of Gaza read this statement in a press conference in front of the famous Al-Shifa Hospital on 7 November.

“We want to live, we want peace, we want food, medicine and education; not bombs,” They said.

It seems that very few heard them because Israel intensified its attack against one of the few remaining hospitals standing.

The doctors at Al-Shifa Hospital persistently stand, dedicated to aiding patients and assisting thousands of families in search of a secure refuge amidst the horrors of war.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Gaza War 2023: Hospitals are still attacked by "white phosphorus" , forced displacements on Day 35

For the second consecutive day, Israeli forces persist in their attacks on Al-Shifa Hospital, with some units reportedly advancing in the North of Gaza.

Gaza's El-Shifa Hospital
El-Shifa Hospital is the only building with lights now in its area in Gaza 
Saber Nur El-Din for EPA 

Video and photographic evidence captured the Israeli army once again using white phosphorus while bombing the vicinity of the hospital.

Dr Khaled Abo Samra is from the doctors currently there and he posted this on Friday.

"We are enduring the most challenging moments within the confines of Shifa Hospital amid the brutality of Zionism. The Israelis have specifically targeted the maternity and outpatient buildings, opening fire and causing shrapnel to hit the complex. Those of us who remain, the doctors, are resiliently holding on, endeavouring to organize and multitask as nurses and cleaners. We consider ourselves an integral part of this land, and we make a solemn promise that we will not abandon our post until our last breath."

Israeli forces and their tanks reached the Al-Rantisti Children's hospitals and ordered the people to evacuate, only when the Palestinian people raised the white flags and their hands in surrender, they were shot by the Israeli military.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Gaza War 2023: The Israeli army unleashes R9X Hellfire on Al-Shifa Hospital “Warning: Graphic content”

Once again, we witness a real-time war crime being committed by the Israeli army, and the world seems indifferent, oblivious, and unresponsive.

Just a few hours ago, the Israeli occupation army deployed an AGM-114 Hellfire missile, also known as the R9X through a drone, in the yard of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, resulting in disturbing and graphic scenes of bloodshed that were captured on video. Here was the bloody moment, the missile hit the yard.

These are the remains of an Israeli artillery illumination round

“Warning: Graphic content”

At least one person lost his leg in this attack. Here is another angle for that young man who lost a limb in a few seconds. 

According to Palestinian activists and journalists, the Israeli army targeted the hospital’s yard next to the journalists' tent, close to where live stream cameras are mounted. People were sleeping as you can sleep.

The hospital yard has already been transformed into a shelter for internally displaced Palestinian families, including those of the injured.

Here is another video showing the moment the hospital yard was hit. 

The Hellfire R9X is an American air-to-ground missile, a variant of the Hellfire missile featuring a kinetic warhead with pop-out blades instead of explosives.

Commonly known as “Ninja missile”, the R9X has six blades flying at high speed, to crush and cut the targeted person.

It is designed allegedly for precision strikes against specific human targets. Its notoriety grew when the US military employed it to track down prominent Al-Qaeda figures, including Ayman El-Zawahary.

It is not the first time the Israeli army has used that type of similar weapons. In 2018, during the peaceful protests of “The Great Return March” which was organized by Palestinian Poet Ahmed Artema at the border fence, Israel fatally shot over 200 people and left 10,000 others injured. 

The Israeli forces used a novel type of ammunition called the "butterfly bullet," which detonates upon impact, causing extensive damage to tissue, arteries, and bone in the targeted individuals.

The Israeli army claims that the Hamas leadership is located beneath Al-Shifa hospital, which has been refuted as a false claim.

I think we saw in the videos that those who had their legs cut were simply Palestinian civilians who thought that they would be safe in the hospital!!

Non-Muslim Non-Arab doctors from Western countries who worked at this hospital were the first to deny these allegations, but the international community seems to be unresponsive.

Both the Palestinians and Hamas have called on the UN to inspect the hospitals to verify the truth of the Israeli allegations, but their pleas have largely gone unheard, and these hospitals remain largely undefended.

Here's a copyedited version of the paragraph:

Thursday evening alone, the Israeli army, often referred to as the "most moral" army in the world, launched attacks on four Gaza hospitals in a single night. First, they targeted Al-Rantisti Children's Hospital, rendering it inoperable.

It is like an inferno !! The Israeli army used white phosphorus missiles against the children’s hospital.

Then they directed their attack towards the Awada Hospital.

And yes, this is the “fire belt bombing”.

Then we had the attack on Al-Shifa hospital.

According to the health officials in Gaza, it is only a matter of hours before all hospitals in Gaza will be out of service.

The number of victims in Gaza and West Bank killed by the Israeli attacks reached 10,966 people in addition to 28,500 injured. According to the official numbers, 10,818 people have been killed so far in Gaza including 4,412 children and 2,451 women.

This week, Gaza's only psychiatric hospital became non-functional after sustaining damages due to an attack on 5 November.

According to the UNRWA, there 50,000 pregnant women are in Gaza, with over 180 giving birth every day.

Unfortunately, the Israeli army won't stop.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

#LateHumansofGaza: The lost lives of Egyptians in Gaza

On Monday, it was announced that Egypt managed to evacuate about 152 of its citizens from Gaza for the first time after 30 days since the start of the Israeli war.

The news came as videos began to resurface for Egyptians calling the Egyptian government to evacuate them as it helped foreign countries to evacuate their citizens through the Rafah border crossing.

Currently, there are extensive evacuation efforts underway, with over 7,000 citizens from more than 60 countries being evacuated from the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing. This operation is made possible thanks to Qatari mediation efforts.

According to some estimations, there are not less than 40,000 Egyptians alone in Gaza alone.

Some of them are Egyptians who married and lived in Gaza like for instance Mai Gamal.

Earlier on Friday, friends and colleagues of Egyptian feminist and researcher Mai Gamal announced that she was killed along with her Palestinian husband and all his family in an Israeli strike in Sheikh Radwan district.

May Gamal of Gaza victims
Late May Gamal 

The 1988-born moved to Gaza with her Palestinian husband in August 2021.

The “Tadwein” for Gender Studies NGO member continued to write about moving to the besieged strip. She also helped in launching the “Women under the Shelling” initiative dedicated to the women of Gaza and their needs under a war like no other.

She was a member of the Edraak Foundation for Development & Equality where she was the Director of the Support and Advocacy Unit and the founding researcher of the Observatory for Crimes of Violence against Women and Girls.

Mai Gamal is not the only Egyptian Citizen to be killed in the current Gaza war.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Gaza War 2023 : It is a textbook genocide that has been taking place for decades

Just as news, videos, and photos emerged from Gaza’s Jabalia Refugee Camp, showing a true war crime before our eyes, another piece of news circulated within the realm of human rights defenders.

Craig Mokhiber, the director of the New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), announced his resignation due to the United Nations' failure to protect civilians in Gaza.

His resignation letter sent to the High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk found its way to Twitter. It is a must-read.

Mokhiber, who joined the UN in 1992, has also served as the UN's Senior Human Rights Advisor in both Palestine and Afghanistan, leading a team of human rights specialists attached to the High-Level Mission on Darfur, among other roles. 

I encourage you to read this resignation letter, as it is essential

Dear High Commissioner,

This will be my last official communication to you as Director of the New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

I write at a moment of great anguish for the world, including for many of our colleagues. Once again, we are seeing a genocide unfolding before our eyes, and the Organization that we serve appears powerless to stop it.

As someone who has investigated human rights in Palestine since the 1980s, lived in Gaza as a UN human rights advisor in the 1990s and carried out several human rights missions to the country before and since this is deeply personal to me.

I also worked in these halls through the genocides against the Tutsis, Bosnian Muslims, the Yazidi, and the Rohingya. In each case, when the dust settled on the horrors that had been perpetrated against defenseless civilian populations, it became painfully clear that we had failed in our duty to meet the imperatives of prevention of mass atrocities, of protection of the vulnerable, and of accountability for perpetrators.

Survivor from Gaza's Jabalia Refugee Camp children on Tuesday
Survivors from Gaza's Jabalia Refugee Camp children on Tuesday 

And so, it has been with successive waves of murder and persecution against the Palestinians throughout the entire life of the UN.

High Commissioner, we are failing again. As a human rights lawyer with more than three decades of experience in the field, I know well that the concept of genocide has often been subject to political abuse.

But the current wholesale slaughter of the Palestinian people, rooted in an ethno-nationalist settler-colonial ideology, in continuation of decades of their systematic persecution and purging, based entirely upon their status as Arabs, and coupled with explicit statements of intent by leaders in the Israeli government and military, leaves no room for doubt or debate.

In Gaza, civilian homes, schools, churches, mosques, and medical institutions are wantonly attacked as thousands of civilians are massacred. In the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, homes are seized and reassigned based entirely on race, and violent settler pogroms are accompanied by Israeli military units.

Across the land, Apartheid rules. This is a textbook case of genocide.