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Gangnam Style Finds a Tragic Touch in Gaza

In News on February 18, 2013 at 11:51 AM



“We wanted to do something to bring focus to the plight of Palestinian political prisoners, of which there are around 5,000 in Israeli jails, including hunger strikers, children, women,” says Mohannad Barakat, 30, one of seven Palestinians who have made a Palestinian version of the Gangnam style.

The Gangnam Gaza Style parodies the chart-topping South Korean video ‘Gangnam Style.’ Gaza’s version injects sordid realities of Palestinians’ lives under Israeli military occupation and the years-long choking siege of the Gaza Strip.

“We wanted to tell the outside world about the impossible circumstances under which we live: that our airport has been destroyed, our fishers are prevented from accessing their sea, that half our population is out of work, that we use tunnels instead of border crossings and donkeys because fuel is scarce.”

The Gazan rendition of the Korean dance video highlights some of Gaza’s most urgent problems under the siege, including daily power outages, fuel shortages, lack of freedom of movement, and unemployment.

Dressed in black, heads wrapped with the traditional black and white Kuffiyehs (scarves), five men and two children dance a fusion of ‘Gangnam style’ and Dabke, the energetic dance found in many Arab countries.

The four-and-a-half minute video moves from Gaza’s coast, polluted with the untreatable sewage pumped into the sea at the rate of 90 million litres per day, to gas-less filling stations, to the tunnels which serve as border crossings and bring Israeli-banned construction materials into Strip, long devastated by Israeli-bombing.

The theatrical bomb explosion in the original Gangnam Style video also appears more appropriately in the Gazan version: with two major Israeli offensives on the Strip in the last four years, and numerous other Israeli attacks before and in between, Gaza’s Palestinians are all too familiar with bombings.

Wassim abu Shabaan, 10, one of the two children in the clip is one of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza whose homes have been destroyed by Israeli bombing and bulldozing in the last four years.

“The whole house was destroyed, everything was destroyed…our computer, my room, our clothes, everything,” says the boy of the 2009 Israeli bombing of his home.

“Palestinian children can recognise the difference between an F-15 and an F-16 warplane, and the difference between drones armed with missiles and surveillance drones just by their sound,” says Mohannad Barakat.

In the November 2012 Israeli attacks on Gaza, Israeli warplanes bombed Palestine stadium, one of Gaza’s few venues for sports and a place where disabled athletes trained. Gangnam Gaza depicts this destruction, the five men and two children entering the stadium with soccer balls in hand to find it in ruins.

The Gaza Community Mental Health Programme found in 2009 that over 91 percent of children in Gaza suffer from moderate to severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Children make up roughly half the population of Gaza’s 1.7 million people.

“All of us are affected by the siege and the various Israeli wars on Gaza. We all have psychological problems from living under these circumstances. We hadn’t recovered from the 2009 Israeli war on Gaza when the 2012 attacks occurred.”

Gaza’s infrastructure had likewise not recovered from the attacks and the siege, with hospitals reporting consistent shortages of essential medicines and medical supplies, and Gaza’s schools severely overcrowded, the vast majority of whom run double, even triple, shifts to accommodate all of the students.

Since 2006, when Israel bombed Gaza’s sole power plant, the entire Strip has been under daily rolling power outages, ranging from 18 and 20 hour outages in the worst years to the current eight hours on, eight hours off scheduled outages.

“It’s the 21st century but Gaza still has almost no electricity,” says Barakat. “The use of candles and generators indoors during power outages has caused a number of fires and carbon monoxide poisoning deaths in recent years.”

The Strip is currently enduring another crisis of cooking gas shortages, particularly hard during winter months when hot meals and beverages help make up for the lack of heating in the typically uninsulated homes.

The problem of sewage treatment has yet to be solved, for want of building materials to expand Gaza’s outdated sanitation facilities. The combination of power outages and little clean water to begin with contributes to a general water crisis, with 95 percent of Gaza’s water undrinkable by World Health Organisation (WHO) standards.

A 2012 United Nations report entitled ‘Gaza in 2020: a Liveable Place?’ predicts that Gaza’s sole aquifer, already over-tapped and under-replenished will fail by 2016.

The WHO reports that at least 81 patients have died due to delayed medical referrals since 2008 alone. In 2012, Palestinian authorities reported over 400 kidney patients were at risk due to lack of essential dialysis equipment shortages.

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP-UK) reports that 10 percent of children under five years old suffer chronic malnutrition, while anaemia is rampant among pregnant women.

Since 2007, the Israeli army has killed 2,300 Palestinians, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ June, 2012 report. Many of these deaths, and hundreds of the 7,700 injuries the UN reported (not including the November 2012 Israeli attacks) have occurred in Gaza’s border regions and on the sea, where fishers and farmers alike are targeted by the Israeli army as they work.

The Israeli-imposed “buffer zone” cuts Gazan Palestinians off from 35 percent of their agricultural land, impacting on their economy and local food sources.

Produce once exported to the rest of Palestine and to European markets, along with textiles and furniture, have not been exported since 2006, save an insignificant amount. The same June 2012 UN report notes that Gazan exports “have dropped to less than 3 percent of 2006 levels.”
Some of Gaza’s most desperately poor work in the hundreds of tunnels running to Egypt. As of June 2012, the UN noted that “at least 172 Palestinian civilians have been killed while working in tunnels,” since 2007.

Although most of the young men in ‘Gangnam Gaza Style’ have studied or are currently studying in post-secondary education, nearly all are unemployed.

Filmed over a two week period, using a cell phone camera, the clip cost roughly 100 dollars to make. “For taxis and phone cards mostly,” says Barakat.

Via IPSnews

Hamas Bans Gaza Hip-Hop

In News, OpIsrael, Palestine on February 11, 2013 at 2:25 AM


Gaza rappers use music to oppose Israeli occupation but Hamas sees it as an infiltration of western culture.

Massive Rally Held in Gaza Celebrating Fatah’s 48th Anniversary

In News, Palestine, Palestine, Politics, World Revolution on January 4, 2013 at 2:40 PM


Hundreds of thousands of supporters of the West Bank’s Fatah party have staged a rally in Gaza to mark the organization’s 48th anniversary. It’s the first mass Fatah gathering to be held in Gaza since Hamas ousted the party’s forces five years ago.

The public celebrations are widely seen as an attempt by the two sides to reconcile after years of tension and mistrust.

Scores of supporters camped out in downtown Gaza square overnight to ensure they had a spot for the festivities. Others arrived in droves, cruising nearby streets and waving Fatah and Palestinian flags.  Fatah officials claimed that 500,000 supporters turned out, while Hamas put the number at 200,000.

The focal point of the event was a speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas from his West Bank headquarters in Ramallah, broadcast to the crowd on giant screens.

“There is no substitute for national unity,” Abbas said in his address.

The rally comes just one month after Abbas, who is a member of the Fatah party, allowed Hamas supporters to celebrate their party’s founding by also holding a rally in the West Bank.  According to Hamas, 500,000 supporters turned out for the event.

The public celebrations are believed to be a step toward ensuring peace between the two parties.

“Today forms a historical intersection in Palestinian history because what was yesterday is not going to be tomorrow. Tomorrow will look different. Hamas and Fatah will have to look each other in the eye,” political analyst Elias Zananiri told RT.

Hamas is also making an effort to mend relations with its longtime foe. During a visit to Gaza last month, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal urged “reconciliation and national unity among the Palestinian ranks.”

“Palestine is for all of us, we are partners in this nation. Hamas cannot do without Fatah or Fatah without Hamas, or any movement,” Meshaal said in a speech.

Participants at Friday’s rally cheered on their party and its leadership, holding aloft pro-Fatah banners and pictures of President Abbas.

“The message today is that Fatah cannot be wiped out,” Amal Hamad, a member of the group’s ruling body, told Reuters. “Fatah lives, no-one can exclude it and it seeks to end the division.”

Party members said the rally preserved their sense of freedom, as they enjoyed their right to hold a public rally for the first time in five years.

“We feel like birds freed from our cage today,” party member Fadwa Taleb told AP. “We are happy and feel powerful again.”

Fatah lost a parliamentary election to Hamas in 2006. Relations between the two parties collapsed one year later when Abbas ordered the dissolution of the Hamas-led unity government in Gaza. Hamas responded by ousting Fatah forces from the Gaza strip and setting up a rival government there.

Under Egyptian mediation, the two parties reached a unity agreement in April 2011, although it has not yet been implemented.

Via RT

US Blocks UN Resolution Condemning Illegal Israeli Settlements

In Israel, Israhell, News, NWO, Other Leaks, Palestine, Palestine, Police State, USA, World Revolution, Zionism on December 21, 2012 at 7:22 AM


The Obama administration has blocked a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s latest expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Israel has announced the construction of thousands of new settlement homes following last month’s historic recognition of Palestine as a non-member observer state by the United Nations.

The White House has publicly criticized Israel but has refused to take punitive action, including withholding any of the billions in annual U.S. aid.

On Wednesday, each member of the U.N. Security Council, except the United States, issued statements condemning the settlement expansion after the United States refused to accept a binding resolution.

Ron Paul: How to End the Tragedy in Gaza

In Israhell, News, NWO, Ron Paul, Ron Paul 2012, Zionism on November 26, 2012 at 12:24 PM



As of late Friday the ceasefire in Gaza seems to be holding, if tentatively. While we should be pleased that this round of fighting appears temporarily on hold, we must realize that without changes in US foreign policy it is only a matter of time before the killing begins again.

It feels like 2009 all over again, which is the last time this kind of violence broke out in Gaza. At that time over 1,400 Palestinians were killed, of which just 235 were combatants. The Israelis lost 13 of which 10 were combatants.  At that time I said of then-President Bush’s role in the conflict:

“It’s our money and our weapons. But I think we encouraged it. Certainly, the president has said nothing to diminish it. As a matter of fact, he justifies it on moral grounds, saying, oh, they have a right to do this, without ever mentioning the tragedy of Gaza…. To me, I look at it like a concentration camp.”

The US role has not changed under the Obama administration. The same mistakes continue. As journalist Glen Greenwald wrote last week:

“For years now, US financial, military and diplomatic support of Israel has been the central enabling force driving this endless conflict. The bombs Israel drops on Gazans, and the planes they use to drop them, and the weapons they use to occupy the West Bank and protect settlements are paid for, in substantial part, by the US taxpayer…”

Last week, as the fighting raged, President Obama raced to express US support for the Israeli side, in a statement that perfectly exemplifies the tragic-comedy of US foreign policy. The US supported the Israeli side because, he said, “No country on Earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.” Considering that this president rains down missiles on Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and numerous other countries on a daily basis, the statement was so hypocritical that it didn’t pass the laugh test. But it wasn’t funny.

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton traveled to Tel Aviv to meet with Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, but she refused to meet with elected Palestinian leaders. Clintonsaid upon arrival in Israel, “America’s commitment to Israel’s security is rock-solid and unwavering.” Does this sound like an honest broker?

At the same time Congress acted with similar ignobility when an unannounced resolution was brought to the House floor after the business of the week had been finished; and in less than 30 seconds the resolution was passed by unanimous consent, without debate and without most Representatives even having heard of it. The resolution, H Res 813, was so one-sided it is not surprising they didn’t want anyone to have the chance to read and vote on it. Surely at least a handful of my colleagues would have objected to language like, “The House of Representatives expresses unwavering commitment to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders…”

US foreign policy being so one-sided actually results in more loss of life and of security on both sides. Surely Israelis do not enjoy the threat of missiles from Gaza nor do the Palestinians enjoy their Israel-imposed inhuman conditions in Gaza. But as long as Israel can count on its destructive policies being underwritten by the US taxpayer it can continue to engage in reckless behavior. And as long as the Palestinians feel the one-sided US presence lined up against them they will continue to resort to more and more deadly and desperate measures.

Continuing to rain down missiles on so many increasingly resentful nations, the US is undermining rather than furthering its security. We are on a collision course with much of the rest of the world if we do not right our foreign policy. Ending interventionism in the Middle East and replacing it with friendship and even-handedness would be a welcome first step.

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