“Meanwhile, the renewal of home demolitions also sparked condemnation throughout the world. The European Commission said the move would undermine negotiations with the Palestinians. [item 2 ‘US official slams right wing’]


Dear Friends,

First of all, thanks to all of you who wrote a solidarity message to Haneen Zoabi.  We can’t make her life easier in the Knesset or in Israel, but we can at least let her know that we value her and her acts.  She is a brave woman, and make no doubt of it, this Knesset as well as other Israeli Jews will do their best to break her.

As for the quotation above, it’s nice to know that an American official slams Israel’s ‘right wing’ (which is nothing less than all of the present Israeli government, plus many other Israelis), and that the European Commission is unhappy with the demolition of Palestinian homes.  So?  How do Americans and the EU Commission react?  With sanctions?  Of course not.  Talk is cheap.  They will keep talking and wagging their fingers while Israel keeps building more colonies, keeps increasing construction in existing colonies, and demolishing Palestinian homes: ”Nu! Nu! Nu!”  That really scares Israel!

But Israel is running scared.  Some of the world is beginning to wake up.  Not governments, but people.  How many more dock workers will follow the Swedish model and refuse to load and unload Israeli ships for a week?  How many more activists will be able to stop loading and unloading an Israeli ship for 24 hours as in Oakland?  And the first item below suggests another means of making occupation costly for Israel: Greeks blocked the El Al counters for 2 hours today, causing a 2-hour delay in the flight.  I trust that others all over the world will find additional means for making Israelis realize that something is wrong in Israel!

And so the government, Knesset, and courts react by punishing Zoabi, by exiling Abu Tir, and by passing new legislation.

But the grassroots movements react too—and so a new flotilla is in the making.  The final item is a request for money to help purchase and furnish one of the boats—the US one, the Audacity of Hope.  Please, if you can, donate, even if it is only a little bit.  All the little bits make big ones—just as little drops of water and little grains of sand make the mighty ocean and the beauteous land (excuse me for misquoting the ditty, but my memory, unlike wine, has not improved with age—but you get the idea, right?).

Prior to it are 10 other items.  Sorry.  Did not intend to send so much.  And number 10 is quite long.  But things are happening, and I am sure that you wish to know.

Apart from the initial item about the Greek action, and the final one none of the other items are positive.

The 2nd one merely relates that a US official and the European Commission are mouthing their supposed disgust with Israel.

Item 3 is brief.  It tells us about the expulsion of Abu Tir—not because he has actually committed any crime, not because he has threatened anyone.  No, only because he chose to be a member of Hamas.  Just imagine another country chucking out some Jewish individual because he/she belonged to the ‘wrong’ party!!!  Of course you know what the same people who are exiling Abu Tir would shout! “AntiSemitism,” of course.

Item 4 adds just a little new.  By now you all know that the Libyan ship ended up in Egypt rather than in Gaza.  But did you know that it was accompanied by 8 Israeli warships?  Must cost Israel quite a bit of money to keep 8 ships afloat accompanying a boat.  How many war ships will Israel need to counter a flotilla the size of 10 or 12 ships?  Don’t bother trying to figure that out.  Israel will undoubtedly find a way to make the lives of those on them difficult.  But how many flotillas can Israel stop?

Items 5 and 6 relate the same event, but in entirely different ways.  What Ynet omits, the PCHR report fills in, namely that a woman (she even has a name) is killed by an Israeli shell while going into her own home to rescue her 3 year old son when the shelling began.  But then how many Israelis care that a Palestinian mother is killed?  How many know about the PCHR reports, much less read them!

Items 7 and 8 are about new bills that are on the way to making Israel yet more undemocratic than it has been till now.  If the one on punishing supporters of boycotts goes through, I might spend the rest of my days in jail.  But I’ll be in good company.

Item 9 is such a fitting comment on the bills now on their way to becoming laws that I had to include it.

Item 10 is another view of Gaza—one quite different from that which I sent yesterday.  This does not mean that it was wrong and this is right.  Both aspects exist.  Gazans undoubtedly try to find some joy in life, as was suggested by yesterday’s article.  But this does not mean that things are hunky-dory.  They are far from that, as the article below shows.

Hoping for better days, and doing the little that I can to make the dream become a reality.

All the best,



1. Ynet Wednesday, July 14, 2010

13:46 , 07.14.10

Greek protest delays Israel-bound flight

Members of a Communist-backed labor union say blocked five El Al airline counters for two hours to protest Gaza blockade, Jewish state’s ‘oppressive policies’,7340,L-3919804,00.html

Associated Press

An Israel-bound flight was delayed for about two hours at Athens International Airport Wednesday after protesters against the blockade of Gaza blocked check-in counters, airport officials said.

Members of a Communist-backed labor union said they blocked five El Al airline counters for two hours to protest the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the Jewish state’s “oppressive policies.”

Protesters at Athens airport (Photo: AP)

“This was an action taken in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their effort to establish a Palestinian state,” union spokesman Giorgos Pontikos told the AP. He said police were present at the protest but did not intervene.

Wednesday’s protest occurred as a Libya-chartered ship carrying aid to the Gaza Strip was due to sail to an Egyptian port to avoid challenging an Israeli naval blockade of the Palestinian territory.

Athens airport officials said El Al flight 542 to Tel Aviv departed from Athens two hours after the scheduled time, at 12:30 (0930GMT) after the protest ended without incident.


2. Ynet Wednesday, July 14, 2010

21:21 , 07.13.10

US official slams Israeli right wing

Though Obama administration has not commented on homes to be built in Pisgat Ze’ev, official blames Right for attempt to complicate peace talks,7340,L-3919469,00.html

Yitzhak Benhorin

WASHINGTON – An official US source told Ynet Tuesday that the construction of 32 new housing units in Pisgat Ze’ev, Jerusalem land conquered in 1967, was another attempt by the Israeli Right to complicate peace talks.

A week after the latest meeting between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Obama administration refrained from bringing up the subject of the newly-announced construction.

But a US source commented on the matter, saying, “We recognize that Jerusalem is a deeply important issue to Israelis and Palestinians, to Jews, Muslims, and Christians everywhere. And we believe it is possible to reach an outcome that both realizes the aspirations of all parties for Jerusalem, and safeguards its status for the future.”

Meanwhile, the renewal of home demolitions also sparked condemnation throughout the world. The European Commission said the move would undermine negotiations with the Palestinians.

EC President José Manuel Barroso expressed his concern at recent developments in the capital during a press conference in Brussels with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Barroso said he was “concerned”, and that both settlement construction and the demolitions were  violations of international law. Fayyad added that the construction in Pisgat Ze’ev was inconsistent with the two-state solution.

The 32 homes are part of a larger project, which outlines 220 homes to be built near the Palestinian neighborhood of Hizma. An additional 48 homes are scheduled to be approved by the Jerusalem district planning committee next week.


3.  Ynet Wednesday, July 14, 2010

12:14 , 07.14.10

Court offers Abu-Tir ultimatum: Jail or expulsion

Senior Hamas official required to deposit NIS 150,000 prior to deportation and to sign document committing that he won’t return to Israel. If he fails to do so, he will remain in detention,7340,L-3919723,00.html

Shmulik Grossman

Senior Hamas official Mohammad Abu-Tir will be expelled from Israel this Sunday, the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court ruled on Wednesday. It still remains unclear to which country he will be deported.

Prior to this, Abu-Tir, who lives in the Abu Tor neighborhood of Jerusalem, will be required to deposit NIS 50,000 (about $12,900) with the court. If he fails to do so, he will remain in detention by court order. In addition, he will be required to post NIS 100,000 (about $25,800) self-bail and a third-party bail of NIS 100,000.

He will also be required to sign a document committing that he will not return to Israeli territory.

At the beginning of the month, an indictment was filed against Abu-Tir in the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court for remaining in Israel illegally.

“I am willing to do anything to remain in Jerusalem,” said Abu-Tir. During the same hearing, he declined the alternative to detention that was offered – deportation from Israel and NIS 100,000 bail that he will not return to within the Green Line.

In the past two weeks, Abu-Tir was in detention and was occasionally brought to the Magistrates’ Court in the capital. During his detention, he received an offer to resign from Hamas and cease all activities against Israel in exchange for permission to return to his home in Jerusalem.


4.  Al Jazeera

News Middle East

Gaza aid ship ‘diverted to Egypt’

The Amalthea is carrying 2,000 tonnes of supplies intended for the people of Gaza [Reuters]

A Libyan aid ship originally bound for the Gaza Strip has been diverted to a port in Egypt after the Israeli navy warned the vessel against trying to break an Israeli blockade on the Palestinian coastal territory.

Israeli warships were shadowing the Moldovan-flagged Amalthea, carrying 2,000 tonnes of food and medicine, to its diverted destination of El Arish port on the Egyptian Sinai coast.

“Eight Israeli warships are surrounding the Libyan aid ship for Gaza and preventing the continuation of its journey,” Yousseuf Sawani, executive director of the Gaddafi Foundation which charteredthe vessel, said early on Wednesday.

Sawani said earlier that the warships were “threatening” the Amalthea, also known as Al Amal, which he said was still headed for Gaza. But he made it clear that those on board would not violently resist any efforts to stop them.

“First and foremost, we want to arrive to Gaza. If this is impossible, we don’t want to subject anyone to danger,” he told Al Jazeera.

Sawani said that communications with the boat had been jammed and the vessel was moving at a slow pace because of the Israeli warships that were trailing it.

An Egyptian official confirmed that the ship sought and received permissionto sail to El Arish, where authorities would unload its humanitarian aid cargo and transfer it by land to Gaza.

But he said that there was “no co-ordination at the moment with the ship and we do not know where its final destination is”.

Possible disputes

An Israeli official hinted at possible disputes between the chartered crew and passengers over the destination.

“It’s far from clear that there is agreement about where the ship is headed,” said the official, who had been briefed on the navy’s radio exchanges with the Amalthea since contact was made with it some 160km from Gaza Strip’s shores.

Just before midnight, the ship’s crew said they were stuck because of engine trouble.

In a recording played on Israel radio, a crew member said he did not know how long it would take to repair the main engine and resume the journey.

Amalthea was still around 90km from land but is not expected to dock for another day. It is carrying 12 crew members and at least nine passengers, including six Libyans and one each from Algeria, Morocco and Nigeria.

Overland convoy

A separate attempt to deliver aid relief and medical supplies to Gaza is also currently under way.

A convoy of 150 people, including “unionists, journalists and academics”, is travelling overland in 25 vehicles from Jordan to the Egyptian Rafah crossing.

These challenges to the blockade come a day after Israel’s military admitted mistakes in the May 31 attack on a flotilla of aid vessels trying to breach the blockade.

Nine pro-Palestinian activists, eight Turks and a dual US-Turkish citizen, were killed after Israeli soldiers boarded the lead ship Mavi Marmara.

Following an international outcry over the raid, Israel recently eased restrictions on the Gaza Strip, allowing some previously banned items into the territory.

But construction materials remain heavily restricted, Gazans have very limited freedom of movement, and Israel still enforces a naval blockade of the territory.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies


5.  Ynet Wednesday, July 14, 2010

00:33 , 07.14.10

Report: IDF kills woman in Gaza

Palestinians say tank shell hit home in Al-Bureij. IDF: troops fired at figures approaching border fence,7340,L-3919528,00.html

Ali Waked and AFP

The IDF killed a woman and wounded two of her relatives in the Al-Bureij refugee camp in Gaza on Tuesday, Palestinian medics said.

The sources said the woman was killed when the shell hit her house.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Office confirmed that soldiers had opened fire on suspicious figures seen approaching the border fence, and that a hit had been identified.

The army added that terror agents were at work in the area, laying explosive devices and conducting hostile activity.

Earlier Palestinian sources said an IDF force had opened fire on a cell of gunmen firing mortar shells at Israel from an area adjacent to the camp.

The sources say the gunmen belong to the Salafi movement, identified with al-Qaeda.

Two weeks ago the Air Force carried out a strike in Gaza that killed a gunman firing an anti-tank missile. The man was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Three others were injured.


6,  Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Press Release

Ref: 60/2010

Date: 14 July 2010

Time: 10:00 GMT

Israeli Forces Kill One Palestinian Woman and Wound Another Three Civilians, Including Two Women, in Central Gaza.

On Tuesday evening, 13 July 2010, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed a Palestinian woman and wounded another three civilians (an elderly man and two women), all of the same family, after bombarding their home with artillery shells.  The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns this crime, which constitute the highest degree of disregard for Palestinian civilians’ lives.  PCHR stresses that failure to open investigations into the actions of suspected Israeli soldiers officially encourages them to commit further crimes.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR and statements given by a member of the victims’ family, at approximately 20:45 on Tuesday, 13 July 2010, a number of women from the Abu Sa’id family from the Gaza Valley village, in the central Gaza Strip, were sitting near their house, which is approximately 400 meters from the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.  At this time, Israeli troops positioned at the border fired two artillery shells at the house; the troops were unprovoked and the witnesses could not suggest any reason for the attack.  As a result, Amira Jaber Abu Sa’id, 30, was wounded by shrapnel to the shoulder and her sister-in-law, Sana’a Ahmed Abu Sa’id, 26, was wounded by shrapnel to the feet.  Members of the Abu Sa’id family phoned the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) to send ambulances to the area.  Ambulances arrived at the area fifteen minutes later, but were unable to reach the targeted house because IOF continued to fire on the area.  The ambulances were forced to drive back to Deir al-Balah.  At this time, Ne’ma Yousef Abu Sa’id, 33, remembered that her three-year-old child was still outside the house.  She went to find her child, but IOF fired a third shell at her.  Ne’ma was killed instantly by shrapnel to the head and the abdomen. Her father-in-law, Jaber Abu Sa’id, 65, was also wounded by shrapnel wounds to the right thigh.  The family continued to call the PRCS.  Approximately one and a half hours later, a PRCS ambulance arrived at the scene after coordination with the Israeli authorities through the Palestinian Liaison Office.  The ambulance transferred the dead woman and the wounded to al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al- Balah.  Medical sources at the hospital affirmed that Ne’ma Abu Sa’id died of shrapnel wounds from an artillery shell.  The wounds of the other persons were described as moderate.

PCHR condemns this crime, and:

Stresses that this crime is a part of a series of continuous crimes committed by IOF in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) with total disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians.

Calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to stop such crimes, and calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War to fulfill their obligation under Article 1 of the Convention to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, as well as their obligation under Article 146 to search for and prosecute those who are responsible for perpetrating grave breaches of the Convention as such breaches constitute war crimes according to Article 147 of the Convention and the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I).

Public Document


7.  Ynet Wednesday, July 14, 2010

10:49 , 07.14.10

Referendum bill passes in Knesset Committee

With pressure from Netanyahu, cabinet delays discussing bill that would necessitate national referendum before withdrawing from Golan Heights or east Jerusalem. Knesset House Committee passes bill. Next stage is Knesset vote,7340,L-3919676,00.html

Zvi Lavi

A bill that would necessitate a national referendum before any withdrawal from territory under full Israeli sovereignty, such as the Golan Heights and east Jerusalem, was passed Wednesday in the Knesset House Committee. The bill will now be put for a vote in the Knesset for a second and third reading.

According to the bill, should the government approve a withdrawal from territory under full Israeli sovereignty – the Golan Heights and east Jerusalem – the decision will be put to a vote in the Knesset. Once passed in the Knesset, a national referendum will be held within 180. Only a vote of 80 Knesset members or more can forego a referendum.

The bill was tweaked and passed in a first reading by the previous Knesset. The Knesset House Committee applied the law of continuity, which allows for legislation from a previous Knesset to be completed. On Wednesday morning, Knesset House Committee Chairman MK Yariv Levin (Likud) put the bill up for an expedited voting process, as most of the committee members are absent.

Seven of the committee members voted in favor of the bill, and two voted against it.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs discussed the bill on Sunday, but decided to delay a deliberation on the bill by three months. This decision was made partly because of pressure from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to avoid any embarrassments with the international community. A group of ministers, led by Isaac Herzog, Yaakov Ne’eman, and Dan Meridor, expressed their vehement opposition to the bill.

Labor opposes

All of the numerous reservations on the law that were submitted were rejected. The Kadima faction lifted party discipline on the vote.

The Labor Party representatives voted against the bill even though the party supported the bill in its previous version, which applied on to withdrawal from the Golan Heights. The initial version of the bill was drafted during late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s term and has been revised over time until it received its current form.

After the vote, MK Chaim Oron (Meretz), who is not on the committee but attended the deliberations, said that the bill will deter any serious political figure from entering into peace talks with Israel. On the other hand, MK Carmel Shama (Likud) said that the bill is good news from the Golan Heights. “So far, the IDF has protected the Heights from external threat, and this law protects it from threats at home.”

MK Molla came out against Likud: “Likud apparently does not trust the prime minister and his discretion to protect the Golan Heights. Therefore, it passed this law in order to put a boot on the prime minister and bury negotiations with Syria.”


8. Haaretz Wednesday, July 14, 2010

HomeArticle Print PagePublished 18:42 14.07.10

Latest update 18:42 14.07.10

Israelis inciting anti-Israel boycotts could soon be forced to pay dearly

Knesset approves in initial reading bill that would allow targets of boycotts to sue boycotters for large sums.

By Jonathan Lis

The Knesset approved on Wednesday an initial reading of a bill calling for heavy fines to be imposed on Israeli citizens who initiate or incite boycotts against Israel. If approved into law, the fines would apply to anyone boycotting Israeli individuals, companies, factories, and organizations.

“In the U.S. there is are laws aimed at preventing Americans from boycotting U.S. allies, including Israel. It appears that in light of the reality in Israel, we need a similar law that applies to Israeli citizens,” said the bill’s sponsors – coalition chairman Zeev Elkin (Likud), MK Arieh Eldad (National Union) and MK Dalia Itzik (Kadima).

Under the new law, any group could sue damages of up to NIS 30,000 from anyone who launched a boycott against them, or incited a boycott, without having to prove that damage was indeed caused. An additional sum could then be demanded once damages were proven.

The bill comes in response to a wide range of boycotts – financial, academic, and others – that have recently been encountered in Israel. Elkin said Tuesday that “we mustn’t accept boycotts against Israel, whether academic or economic. The state must protect itself from the increasing processes of delegitimization, and provide compensation to those harmed by it.”

“The wall-to-wall support of this bill proves that members of Knesset recognize the need to maintain a balance between democratic rights and the premeditated targeting of Israeli bodies,” Elkin went on to say.

Print Page Send to a friend Comments Share Text Size +|- Follow us on Twitter Become a Facebook friend This story is by:

Jonathan Lis


9. Haaretz Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Latest update 01:38 14.07.10

Revolution continued

By Elia Leibowitz

Nine years ago I published an article in this newspaper under the heading “Cultural revolution, Israeli-style.” I argued there that actions taken by the government against the research universities invite a cultural revolution with shades of similarity to the “cultural revolution” in China 44 years earlier, albeit with inevitable differences due to the profound dissimilarities between the two cultures.

A renewed comparison of Chinese history with the events of recent weeks concerning the academic world in Israel reveals that the Israeli cultural revolution is indeed marching forward.

On May 25, 1966, a young philosophy lecturer at Beijing University published a dazibao – a poster sharply attacking the rector and professors at the university and depicting them as anti-Chinese, haters of the state and traitors to the principles of socialism, the rock of the people’s existence.

The poster won an enthusiastic response from chairman Mao Zedong, who ordered that it be distributed throughout the country posthaste.

The result was immediate. On May 29, 1966, at the high school associated with Tsinghua University, the first nucleus of the Red Guards was formed. That was the opening shot of the Cultural Revolution, which raged throughout China. The Red Guards – mostly gangs of students – imposed merciless terror on the country. Unhindered and working in the name of the nation and for the sake of social justice, they violently attacked officials tasked with keeping the public order as well as intellectuals, professors, teachers and people in the arts and humanities.

Many were killed and many more exiled to concentration camps where they were pried of their deviant and treacherous thoughts and brought into the fold of correct Marxist consciousness.

The Cultural Revolution in China made the lives of millions miserable while it was happening but its destructive results were felt in China for many years. A manifestation of the cultural darkness that descended on China is the total absence, for about 30 years, of papers originating in China in the international scientific press.

In recent weeks there has been vigorous anti-intellectual activity throughout Israel, mostly against professors, both male and female, writers, artists and intellectuals, who are depicted as anti-Israel, haters of the state and traitors to the principles of Zionism, the bedrock of our existence.

Nationalist student organizations are distributing documents in the style of the dazibao with the encouragement of the education minister and members of the Knesset Education Committee, and with the tacit agreement of the Israel’s leaders.

If this activity is a portent of things to come, we are at the start of another significant step in the march of the cultural revolution in Israel. The Israeli revolution looks different from its older brother in China, especially in its dimensions and it’s lack of violent.

However, as in China, it has been accompanied by a large ad campaign and tendentious reports in the media. In the absence of violence, the pace of its development is slow and only few people in the country feel the undercurrent.

Over time, though, the revolution will undermine the cultural infrastructure on which rest the intellectual achievements of the Jewish community in Israel over the past 90 years.

Unlike in China, Israel’s ability to survive the trend depends on the existence of exactly what the Israeli-style cultural revolution is seeking to destroy: our culture. If the Knesset and the public do not stop this revolution, the outcome is liable to be disastrous for the existence of the state.


10.  New York Times Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Trapped by Gaza Blockade, Locked in Despair


GAZA CITY — The women were bleary-eyed, their voices weak, their hands red and calloused. How could they be expected to cook and clean without water or electricity? What could they do in homes that were dark and hot all day? How could they cope with husbands who had not worked for years and children who were angry and aimless?

Sitting with eight other women at a stress clinic, Jamalat Wadi, 28, tried to listen to the mental health worker. But she could not contain herself. She has eight children, and her unemployed husband spends his days on sedatives.

“Our husbands don’t work, my kids are not in school, I get nervous, I yell at them, I cry, I fight with my husband,” she blurted. “My husband starts fighting with us and then he cries: ‘What am I going to do? What can I do?’ ”

The others knew exactly what she meant.

The Palestinians of Gaza, most of them descended from refugees of the 1948 war that created Israel, have lived through decades of conflict and confrontation. Their scars have accumulated like layers of sedimentary rock, each marking a different crisis — homelessness, occupation, war, dependency.

Today, however, two developments have conspired to turn a difficult life into a new torment: a three-year blockade by Israel and Egypt that has locked them in the small enclave and crushed what there was of a formal local economy; and the bitter rivalry between Palestinian factions, which has undermined identity and purpose, divided families and caused a severe shortage of electricity in the middle of summer.

There are plenty of things to buy in Gaza; goods are brought over the border or smuggled through the tunnels with Egypt. That is not the problem.

In fact, talk about food and people here get angry because it implies that their struggle is over subsistence rather than quality of life. The issue is not hunger. It is idleness, uncertainty and despair.

Any discussion of Gaza’s travails is part of a charged political debate. No humanitarian crisis? That is an Israeli talking point, people here will say, aimed at making the world forget Israel’s misdeeds. Palestinians trapped with no future? They are worse off in Lebanon, others respond, where their “Arab brothers” bar them from buying property and working in most professions.

But the situation is certainly dire. Scores of interviews and hours spent in people’s homes over a dozen consecutive days here produced a portrait of a fractured and despondent society unable to imagine a decent future for itself as it plunges into listless desperation and radicalization.

It seems most unlikely that either a Palestinian state or any kind of Middle East peace can emerge without substantial change here. Gaza, on almost every level, is stuck.


A main road was blocked off and a stage set up for a rally protesting the electricity shortage. Speakers shook nearby windows with the anthems of Hamas, the Islamist party that has held power here for the past three years. Boys in military camouflage goose-stepped. Young men carried posters of a man with vampire teeth biting into a bloodied baby.

The vampire was not Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister. It was Salam Fayyad, prime minister of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

“We stand today in this furious night to express our intense anger toward this damned policy by the illegitimate so-called Fayyad government,” Ismail Radwan, a Hamas official, shouted.

As if the Palestinian people did not have enough trouble, they have not one government but two, the Fatah-dominated one in the West Bank city of Ramallah and the Hamas one here. The antagonism between them offers a depth of rivalry and rage that shows no sign of abating.

Its latest victim is electricity for Gaza, part of which is supplied by Israel and paid for by the West Bank government, which is partly reimbursed by Hamas. But the West Bank says that Hamas is not paying enough so it has held off paying Israel, which has halted delivery.

“They are lining their pockets and they are part of the siege,” asserted Dr. Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas leader and a surgeon, speaking of the West Bank government. “There will be no reconciliation.”

John Ging, who heads the Gaza office of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, known as U.N.R.W.A., says the latest electricity problem “is a sad reflection of the divide on the Palestinian side.”

He added, “They have no credibility in demanding anything from anybody if they show such disregard for the plight of their own people.”

Today Hamas has no rival here. It runs the schools, hospitals, courts, security services and — through smuggler tunnels from Egypt — the economy.

“We solved a lot of problems with the tunnels,” Dr. Zahar said with a satisfied smile.

Along with the leaders has come a new generation that has taken the reins of power. Momen al-Ghemri, 25, a nurse, and his wife, Iman, 24, an Arabic teacher, are members of it.

University educated, the grandchildren of refugees, still living in refugee camps, both of the Ghemris got their jobs when Hamas took over full control by force three years ago, a year after it won an election. Neither has ever left Gaza.

Mr. Ghemri works as a nurse for the security services, earning $500 a month, but is spending six months at the intensive care unit of Shifa Hospital.

Spare parts for equipment remain a problem because of the blockade. But on a recent shift, the I.C.U. was well staffed. In the office next door, there was a map on the wall of Palestine before Israel’s creation.

Mr. Ghemri’s grandparents’ village, Aqer, is up there, along with 400 other villages that no longer exist. A wall in another office offered instructions on the Muslim way to help a bedridden patient pray.

Mr. Ghemri’s wife greets visitors at home wearing the niqab, or face veil, only her eyes visible. She believes in Hamas and makes that clear to her pupils. But her husband sees the party more as a means toward an end.

“You can’t go on your own to apply for a job,” he said. “For me, Hamas is about employment.”

He does like the fact that, as he put it, Hamas “refuses to kneel down to the Jews,” but like most Gazans, he is worried about Palestinian disunity and blames both factions.

In fact, there is a paradox at work in Gaza: while Hamas has no competition for power, it also has a surprisingly small following.

Dozens of interviews with all sorts of people found few willing to praise their government or that of its competitor.

“They’re both liars,” Waleed Hassouna, a baker in Gaza City, said in a very common comment.

People here seem increasingly unable to imagine a political solution to their ills. Ask Gazans how to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — two states? One state? — and the answer is mostly a reflexive call to drive Israel out.

“Hamas and Fatah are two sides of the same coin,” Ramzi, a public school teacher from the city of Rafah, said in a widely expressed sentiment. “All the land is ours. We should turn the Jews into refugees and then let the international community take care of them.”

Dried-Up Fortunes

Hamza and Muhammad Ju’bas are brothers, ages 13 and 11. They sell chocolates and gum on the streets after school to add to their family income. Once they have pulled in 20 shekels, about $5, they go home and play.

On one steamy afternoon they were taking refuge in a cellphone service center. The center — where customers watch for their number on digital displays and smiling representatives wear ties, and the air-conditioning never quits — seems almost glamorous.

The boys were asked about their hopes.

“My dream is to be like these guys and work in a place that’s cool,” Muhammad said.

“My dream is to be a worker,” Hamza said. He hears stories about the “good times” in the 1990s, when his father worked in Israel, as a house painter, making $85 a day. Later, their father, Emad Ju’bas, 45, said, “My children don’t have much ambition.”

The family is typical. They live in Shujaiya, a packed eastern neighborhood of 70,000, a warren of narrow, winding alleys and main roads lined with small shops.

The air is heavy with dust and fumes from cars, scooters and horse-drawn carts. Every shop has a small generator chained down outside. Roaring generators and wailing children are the sounds of Shujaiya.

Families are big. From 1997 through 2007, the population increased almost 40 percent, to 1.5 million. Palestinians say that large families will help them cope as they age, and more children mean more fighters for their cause.

Mr. Ju’bas and his wife, Hiyam, have seven boys and three girls. Two of their children have cognitive disabilities. Since Israel’s three-week war 18 months ago here aimed at stopping Hamas rockets, their children frequently wet the bed. Their youngest, Taj, 4, is aggressive, randomly punching anyone around him.

For six years Mr. Ju’bas worked in Israel, and with the money he bought a house with six rooms and two bathrooms. In 2000, when the uprising called the second intifada broke out, Israel closed the gates.

After that, Mr. Ju’bas found small jobs around Gaza, but with the blockade that dried up. His only source of work is at the United Nations relief agency, where two months a year he is a security guard.

He admits that at times he lashes out at his family. Domestic violence is on the rise. The strain is acute for women. Men can go out and sit in parks, in chairs right on the sidewalk or visit friends. Women are expected to stay off the streets.

The women at the stress clinic gathered about 10 a.m. They entered silently, wearing the ubiquitous hijab head scarf and ankle-length button-down overcoat known as the jilbab. Two wore the niqab over their faces.

They spoke of sending their children to work just to get them out of the house and of husbands who grew morose and violent.

They blamed Hamas for their misery, for seizing the Israeli soldier, Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit, which led to the blockade. But they also blamed Fatah for failing them.

“My own children tell me it is better to die,” Jamalat Wadi said to the group.

Ms. Wadi’s home was next door and she ran over to check on the family. She found her eight children wandering aimlessly in an open paved area, a courtyard filled with piles of clothes and plastic containers. The house had one unfurnished room and her husband, Bahjat, 28, was on the floor, unconscious, his arm over his head, his mouth open.

“He sleeps all the time,” Ms. Wadi said, motioning as though throwing a pill in her mouth.

The Wadis are refugees, so they receive flour, rice, oil and sugar from U.N.R.W.A. Tens of thousands of others here receive salaries from the Ramallah government to stay away from their jobs in protest over Hamas rule. They wait, part of a literate society with nothing to do.

Ms. Wadi said that when she visited her mother, her two brothers fought bitterly because one backs Hamas and the other backs Fatah. Recently they threw bottles at each other. Her mother kicked them out.

In another meeting, Mr. Ju’bas was unshaven and unwashed. The previous night he had hit his wife, one of his children said. The washing machine had broken and he had no money to fix it.

He told his wife to use the neighbors’. But she was embarrassed. She stayed up all night cleaning clothes and crying.

“My only dream,” Mr. Ju’bas said, “is to have patience.”

Inside Looking Out

The waves were lapping the beach. It was night. Mahmoud Mesalem, 20, and a few of his friends were sitting at a restaurant.

University students or recent graduates, they were raised in a world circumscribed by narrow boundaries drawn hard by politics and geography. They all despaired from the lack of a horizon.

“We’re here, we’re going to die here, we’re going to be buried here,” lamented Waleed Matar, 22.

Mr. Mesalem pointed at an Israeli ship on the horizon, then made his hand into a gun, pointed it at his head. “If we try to leave, they will shoot us,” he said.

There are posters around town with a drawing of a boot on an Israeli soldier, who is facedown, and the silhouette of a man hanging by his neck. The goal is to get alleged collaborators to turn themselves in. The campaign has put fear in the air.

Israel is never far from people’s minds here. Its ships control the waters, its planes control the skies. Its whims, Gazans feel, control their fate.

And while most here view Israel as the enemy, they want trade ties and to work there. In their lives the main source of income has been from and through Israel.

Economists here say what is most needed now is not more goods coming in, as the easing of the blockade has permitted, but people and exports getting out.

That is not going to happen soon.

“Our position against the movement of people is unchanged,” said Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, the Israeli in charge of policy to Gaza’s civilians. “As to exports, not now. Security is paramount, so that will have to wait.”

Direct contact between the peoples, common in the 1980s and ’90s when Palestinians worked daily in Israel, is nonexistent.

Jamil Mahsan, 62, is a member of a dying breed. He worked for 35 years in Israel and believes in two states.

“There are two peoples in Palestine, not just one, and each deserves its rights,” he said, sitting in his son’s house. He used to attend the weddings of his Israeli co-workers. He had friendships in Israel. Today nobody here does.

The young men sitting by the beach contemplating their lives were representative of the new Gaza. They have started a company to design advertisements, and they write and produce small plays.

Their first performance in front of several hundred people involved a recounting of the horrors of the last war with Israel, with children speaking about their own fears as video of the war played.

Their second play, which they are rehearsing, is a black comedy about the Palestinian plight. It assails the factions for fighting and the Arabs for selling out the Palestinians.

“Our play does not mean we hate Israel,” said Abdel Qader Ismail, 24, a former employee of the military intelligence service, with no trace of irony. “We believe in Israel’s right to exist, but not on the land of Palestine. In France or in Russia, but not in Palestine. This is our home.”

Mona El-Naggar and Fares Akram contributed reporting.



July 14, 2010

Dear Friends,

This is an important moment in history. In the aftermath of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre and increased world-wide scrutiny of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the Israeli government has mounted a huge public relations campaign spreading the lie that by letting a few more items into

Gaza the blockade has been lifted. This is not the reality. Gaza is still under siege, vital building materials and other supplies are banned, exports of goods from Gaza are denied and neither ships nor people can travel without permission from Israel, permission which Israel will not give. Gaza is essentially an open-air prison under a U.S.-backed Israeli blockade.

We are planning to launch a U.S. boat to Gaza, joining a flotilla of ships from Europe, Canada, India, South Africa and parts of the Middle East due to set sail in September/October of this year. In order to succeed in this essential but costly human rightsproject, we need significant financial support.

Citizens around the world have responded to the plight of the Palestinian people and are taking action to help break the blockade which is suffocating the lives of the people of Gaza and denying them their liberty. The U.S. government is complicit through established policies that uncritically support Israel in its brutal attack on the Palestinian people and on those who attempt to intervene on their behalf. We in the United States must continue to step up and do our part. We must join with others from across the world to support an end to the collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza.

We turn to you to help make the U.S. boat, The Audacity of Hope, a reality. We must raise at least $370,000 in the next month. These funds will be used to purchase a boat large enough for 40-60 people, secure a crew, and cover the licensing and registering of the boat. In addition, the funds will subsidize some other costs of sending a U.S. delegation. We can make this happen together. For example, with 370 people giving $1,000, or with 3,700 people giving $100, we will have raised our full amount.

We have already received donations ranging from $10 to $10,000. So, give what you can and give generously. From the deck of The Audacity of Hope, we will be in a powerful and unique position to challenge U.S. foreign policy and affirm the universal obligation to uphold human rights and international law. Let us act now because every moment counts and every dollar counts. Together we will contribute to the great effort to end the blockade of Gaza and the illegal occupation of Palestine.

Please spread this appeal letter far and wide, so that others will contribute as well.

Thank you for your generosity.

On behalf of the U.S. BOAT TO GAZA,

Nic Abramson, Middle East Crisis Response

Elliott Adams, Past President, Veterans For Peace

Laurie Arbeiter, Activist Response Team

Russell Banks, Writer

Medea Benjamin, Co-founder CODEPINK

Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies

Naomi Brussel, Activist Response Team

Allan Buchman, Founder and Artistic Director, The Culture Project

Leslie Cagan, Co-Founder United for Peace and Justice

Henry Chalfant, Film Maker

Kathleen Chalfant, New York

Ellen Davidson, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA

Noor Elashi, Writer

Basem Emara, Gaza Freedom March

Hedy Epstein, Palestine Solidarity Committee, St. Louis, Missouri

Mike Ferner, National President, Veterans For Peace

Felice Gelman, Gaza Freedom March

Jane Hirschmann, Jews Say No!

Jennifer Hobbs, New York City Attorney/Gaza Freedom March

Abdeen Jabara, Past President, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee,

Civil Rights Attorney

Tarak Kauff, Veterans for Peace

Kathy Kelly, Co-Coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence

Eleanore Kennedy

Michael Kennedy

Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies,

Department of History, Columbia University

Ramzi Kysia, Free Gaza Movement

Iara Lee, Cultures of Resistance/Freedom Flotilla Survivor

Helaine Meisler, Hudson Valley BDS

Gail Miller, Women of a Certain Age

Fatima Mohammadi, Attorney at Law/Freedom Flotilla Survivor

Donna Nevel, Jews Say No!

Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights

Mariam Said, New York

Najla Said, Actor/Writer

Hannah Schwarzschild, American Jews for a Just Peace

Kathy Sheetz, Free Gaza – USA/Freedom Flotilla Survivor

Ann Shirazi, Granny Peace Brigade

Eleanor Stein, Albany Law School

Michael Steven Smith, New York City Attorney/Author

Sarah Wellington, Activist Response Team

Ret. Col. Ann Wright, Freedom Flotilla Survivor

Dorothy M. Zellner, Veteran Civil Rights Activist

Organizations listed for identification purposes only

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contributions of $150 or more to:


Write Stand for Justice in the memo line.

Institute for Media Analysis

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