July 28, 2014 |
On my refrigerator door I keep a photo of an exceptional Palestinian woman who ran kindergartens in Gaza in the 1990s for the Philly-based American Friends Service Committee. Mary Khaas, who died more than a decade ago, would drag her teachers from their refugee-camp homes to visit her Jewish friends at a kibbutz just across the Gaza border. She believed in two states, and wanted each side to stop demonizing the other. Attitudes have hardened in Gaza over the last decade, and I don't know how Mary would feel now. But as U.S. efforts to produce a lasting cease-fire falter, and temporary cease-fires run down, the photo reminds me that many Americans can't conceptualize the humanity of the civilians who are dying there.
May 30, 2013 |
KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip - Arab Idol is an over-the-top TV ratings smash in the Middle East, and a young crooner from a Palestinian refugee family, whom admirers have nicknamed "the Rocket," is stealing the show. The surprise breakout of the second season is a 23-year-old Gaza Strip resident named Mohammed Assaf, whose patriotic folk songs and romantic ballads - with their themes of grit, longing, and love - have propelled him into the final rounds. "I think this shows the world there are many normal people in Gaza, that Gaza is not just this place of terrorists and criminals but nice people," said Ala'a Nabrees, 22, a longtime friend.
December 30, 2012 |
EL-ARISH, Egypt - Thousands of tons of building materials such as cement and steel began crossing into the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Egyptian and Palestinian officials said, temporarily easing a five-year-old blockade on the coastal territory. An Egyptian security official said the shipment was made in consultation with Israeli officials, who were in Cairo on Thursday to discuss security in the Sinai Peninsula and the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire agreed upon by Gaza's Hamas rulers and Israel last month.
August 30, 2012
Rescuers search for boat survivors CANBERRA, Australia - Six people were plucked from the ocean in a mounting rescue operation on Thursday after a boat reportedly carrying 150 people was believed to have sunk off the Indonesian coast, an official said. The emergency was the latest in a series created by a growing human smuggling trade in which thousands of asylum seekers from countries including Afghanistan, Iran and Sri Lanka travel in overcrowded fishing boats from Indonesia to Australia.
June 28, 2011 |
ATHENS, Greece - Organizers of a flotilla to challenge Israel's sea blockade of the Gaza Strip say they'll sail any day now, but they are struggling to overcome delays that they attribute to Israeli pressure. They have held regular news conferences to talk up their campaign, but they are so cautious that they will not say where their boats are docked. Dire warnings and diplomatic sensitivities shadow the politically charged plan to deliver aid to the Palestinian territory. The fear is a reprise of a similar mission a year ago that ended when nine activists on a Turkish vessel died in a raid by Israeli commandos.
May 26, 2011 |
CAIRO - Egypt's decision Wednesday to end its blockade of the Gaza Strip by opening the only crossing to the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory this weekend could ease the isolation of 1.4 million Palestinians there. It also puts the new Egyptian regime at odds with Israel, which insists on careful monitoring of people and goods entering Gaza for security reasons. The Rafah crossing will be open permanently starting Saturday, Egypt's official Middle East News Agency said. That would give Gaza Palestinians their first open border to the world since 2007, when Egypt and Israel shut their crossings after the Islamic extremist group Hamas overran the strip.
April 9, 2011 |
JERUSALEM - Israeli aircraft and ground forces struck Gaza on Friday, killing four Hamas extremists and five civilians in a surge of fighting sparked by Thursday's Palestinian rocket attack on an Israeli school bus. Hamas officials also said an Israeli air strike killed three of its militants, including a senior commander, early Saturday. The Israeli military had no immediate comment. Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers seemed on the brink of another round of intense violence, just a little over two years after a three-week war in which persistent rocket fire from Gaza triggered a devastating Israeli military offensive in the territory.
September 5, 2008 |
Swaying but maintaining his balance inside a hospital therapy room, 15-year-old Asaad Mahmoud is learning to walk on prosthetic legs, circling the floor with bright-eyed determination, and tackling the daunting challenge of stairs. Sweat glistens on his brow; he hesitates on the first stair. "I can't," he protests momentarily, before summoning the courage to abandon the banister in favor of the crutch-cane cuffed to his one good arm. By week's end he would climb the first tier of steps, unassisted, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Later, he would exult before the Rocky statue.
February 24, 2006 |
We try to keep things light and airy most of the time in this column. Spooky aliens, gun-toting heroes, mushy romances, comic relief, you know the deal. Not today. The 2004 HBO documentary Death in Gaza is a hard dose of reality. Tough to swallow and sure to bring tears, the film focuses on three children growing up in the Gaza Strip. It is also a tribute to James Miller, the Emmy Award-winning filmmaker of CNN's Unholy War and Beneath the Veil, whose plan, with reporter Saira Shah, was to follow the lives of Israeli children as well.
November 26, 2005 |
Banners pinned to the fences of this edgy border crossing proclaim Palestinian aspirations now that Israel has withdrawn from the Gaza Strip and loosened its grip on Gaza's only direct access to the outside world. "Gateway to liberty," "A step toward complete sovereignty," "The beginning of hope," read the slogans arrayed around this sun-splashed transit terminal on the Gaza-Egypt border. They had been put up for yesterday's ceremony marking Palestinian control for the first time of their own international border crossing.