Wednesday, May 16, 2007

As Gaza Burns

Things have been crazy in Gaza over the past two days. Very crazy. In between working and actually trying to keep our wits about us as we've been holed up indoors for two days no, I've had little time to blog.

Things are tenusouly calm at the moment with on-again-off-again gunfire, which is better than it was only a few hours ago. But things in Gaza have a way of cahnging very quickly-for better or for worse. Volatility is its defining characteristic.

We happen to be sort of be in the eye of the storm as it were. Fierce battles employing mortars, RPGs, and heavy machine gun fire were raging all around our house today, at times only a block away, interdispersed with the thuds of Israeli gunships bombing areas of eastern and northern Gaza.

Yousuf of course became more and more concerned as the day passed, until I finaly told him they were not firing, but rather making an enourmous pot of popcorn outside that would fill the streets once it was done. At first he wasn't convinced, then he later remarkred "mama, I don't really like this kind of popocorn!". When the firing died down, he ran into my room excitedly shouting: "mama, mama! I think the popcorn is done!!"

The city was literally transformed into a ghost town, and civilian life was all but paralyzed. Storekeepers kept shops closed and virtually all residents, including schoolchildren and university students, remainded penned indoors. Most did not even dare to go to their balconies.




The occasional shopkeeper who did stay open was harassed by gunmen patrolling the streets.





"I don't understand-what are they fighing over, the trash in the streets?" lamented one shopkeeper to me.

"We're in a malestrom and i don't see a way out."

Impromptu checkpionts were set up along the major roads, cutting off access from Gaza City to the north and south of the strip.



Unidentified snipers took positions on high-rise towers through the city, as both facrtions vied for strategic control of various locations.

The victims of course in all of this were the residents, particularly those who lived in the towers. Many residents complained of having spend the past two days holed up in their ktichen withou electrictiy, and ambulances not being given access to the injured in the buildings.

One woman told me gunmen searched apartments for armed men and set afire several flats.

The most troubling part is how this is unfolding with such purpose, and yet with so little protest. There is something far more sinister sinister behind it all of course, namely, the US's unambiguous plot to undermind the Unity Government by arming, training, and "stregthening" Abbas, Dahalan, and their respectivfe security forces. The latest plan was uncovered in a JOrdanian newspaper last week before being whisked off the presses.

I talk about this in a Guardian article i wrote today.

For now, we wait, and see what tommorow brings.

14 Comments:

Blogger Raz said...

It would be fair to mention that over 40 rockets were fired on Israeli civilians in the past 24 hours. This is done in an attempt to drag Israel into a reaction which will unify Palestinians. And that Israel has hardly reacted. And that if this goes on Israel will react and may people will be unnecessarily killed.
Kind of depressing to know that it is not going to stop and that people will be killed and that those who fire these rockets will get what they are after - more chaos in Gaza.

11:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laila, I am wrong again! I castigated you for focusing on Boston when the big journalistic scoop was right outside your door. Today's piece was a nice bit of reportage -- in the sense that I got a flavor of the place (Gaza) from someone who knows the culture, speaks the language and hasn't "parachuted" in for the day from some cushy place. I also followed your link to the Guardian article which I happily recommend. In it you restate your American conspiracy thesis. I also recommend that anyone reading it also read (at least) the first 10 comments, all of which neatly demonish your argument. The comments go on (over a hundred?) but as expected they become tedious and repetitive. Stay well, keep your head down and keep reporting. (I like your style and am capable of filtering out the Hamas party line.)

Arnie in NYC

11:22 PM  
Blogger @bdul muHib said...

I am so sad for what you are going through there. My thoughts and prayers are with you and all of Gaza.

12:33 AM  
Blogger iNFaMoUsJeSt said...

Thank God you and Yousef are okay. There isn't much for me to say than to let you know that you guys are in my prayers. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger and that IS a fact of life.

On a nice note, I'd like to let you know that I have been seeing various young people at my school wearing pro-palestine shirts and a university near by is becoming very palestine-aware. This is really surprising! My area is primarily white of the rich elite class, and we have a good number of zionists all over the place. Not to mention, we are right next to the capital. Hey, we have MySpace and Facebook activism going on... =)

Keep that chin up!
Dios la bendiga (God bless)

6:39 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

"There is something far more sinister sinister behind it all of course, namely, the US's unambiguous plot to undermind the Unity Government by arming, training, and "stregthening" Abbas, Dahalan, and their respectivfe security forces."

That's right, and Iran is happily arming and training Hamas. Is that any less sinister? Or is it simply countries looking after their interests?

Nobody is forcing the Palestinians to fight each other. How bad does inter-Palestinian fighting have to get before your nation takes an honest look at themselves in the mirror, and recognizes that this culture of extremism and violence has been one of the main factors in your suffering over the last 100 years.

Dan

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laila wrote: The fact is, Gaza is not combusting spontaneously.

To quote Alistair Crooke, "the US is not only not interested in dealing with Hamas, it is working to ensure its failure" - a policy promoted and openly acknowledged by the American deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams.


Abrams is a dual national israheli working for bush and the Lukid...he is a convicted felon from iran contra who was found guilty of lying to congress but daddy bush let him out of jail (saying 'he is a patriot who had good intentions')

abrams pesonifies the lying pro zionazi bush administration and should still be in jail...but baby bush likes lying zionazi felons and uses them extensively in his war on islam

1:46 PM  
Blogger David Ackers said...

We have linked to your commentary: 'As Gaza Burns' in our daily "security briefs" (today's are available at http://www.madrid11.net/articles/sbriefs170507 ).

Madrid11.net is the branch of openDemocracy (the leading online magazine of international affairs www.opendemocracy.net) to do with terrorism and global security.

If you are interested in what you see at Madrid11.net (soon to become Terrorism.openDemocracy.net), please feel free to link to the site or the daily security briefing, or to submit your own opinions and comments on security issues.

Thank you,

David Ackers

2:48 PM  
Blogger Nasrawi said...

Laila - allah ygaweekum.

Stay strong - regards from me and all the staff at I'lam. Hope you will take care and we see an end.

It's amazing - how the US can undermind the unity governement like this and how the EU can call on the officials to restore calm to Gaza when they were the cause for today with their biased approach against Palestinians and their sanctions. Disgusting.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I hope there is evetually real peace and you all are safe.

I laughed at two parts in the blog. The first time was in reference to the popcorn.

And the second time was when you mentioned the "sinister sinister" plot by the US to support Abbas. How about the tons of support coming Hamas from Hezbollah, Iran and Syria? Do these qualify as evil too? Hamas seems to have plenty of weapons too. You seem to show a lot of sympathy in your posts about Hamas which indicate your clear preference. Why don't you come out and say it openly? And why a Hamas future would be better. My guess is that you see Hezbollah in Lebanon as a model. I think that view misses the significant differences between the parties.

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi

I am a Palestinian living in Palestine. I was looking in the Palestinian news sites and blogs in English to see how they cover the fighting in Gaza, and was really surprised that this serious situation had very little coverage. Most blogger did not mention it, most news sites did not mention it.

I donno why they do so. Are they embarrassed? Is it harmful to the image of Palestine to say that yes we are killing each other. I was disappointed.

Then I saw this entry in your blog, and I was more disapointed. I was disappointed because you cover the fighting in a very detached, remote and its-not-my-business way. You do not even try say who is fighting who and why we have reached such a state.

But when you want to provide an explaination to all this, of course you blame America. And you use the magic word "Dahlan".

I think you were successful in using the magic word "Dahlan" in getting the attention of the guys at EI to publish your superficial piece. Because the guys at EI think that Dahlan is the rot of al evil in Palestine. Your superficial piece on the fighting have saved them the guilt of not mentioning the fighting at all.

The fighting in Gaza and the miserable situation of our leadership and community as a whole in Gaza and every where else is not to be blamed on Dahlan or the USA. It is our fault as a community. We have created monsters by our own arrogance and ignorance. We have glorified the kilers and followed them blindly.

We can not continue to blame every one else but ourselves, we can not hide our shameful problems even if we pushed them away from our English, Western directed websites.

Its not a popcorn pot outside. Even ur kid did not believe it.

Khalid Taha - Jenin

6:29 PM  
Blogger Abu Shaar said...

Thanks to God you are safe!

Jen from New York just posted an frightening email from Mohammed Omer on her Myspace blog --not sure if this will work as a link:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/3582bv

Take care and much busses to Yousef.

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kevin kevin kevin :)


you make me laugh

do you think the support of hamus from hezbollah or anywhere else you may imagine even comes close to the $10 billion israhel gets from USA?

secondly teh US is supporting fatah against a democraticqally elested government,,hamas

finally kevin has it ever occured to youy that US support of Israhel is wrong since israhel is all stolen from palestine?

have you no conscience?

kevin why take it out on lailah? a nmajority of palestinians voted for hamas....because fatah is corrupt (as is israhel)

no conscience and no clue kevin

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Ryan said...

Laila how can you be foolish as to suspect the U.S. of anything other than begging the world to take it's gift of freedom? What on earth makes you think the U.S. would interfere with matters of another nation? And even if they did do such a thing you certainly shouldn't bring it up.

11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

doesn't everyone agree that it was soooo nice of bush to re arm the PLO against hamas?....but not let up on the sanctions that are starving the paalestinians to death?

in other words bush has money for war on islamist which he is to stupid to understsand but not for feeding the poor

its about like those ads i get from the jpost all the time pointing out that 1/3 of the children in israhel are below the poverty line and looking for a handout....but israhel has money for apartheid walls and jews only roads and 400 nukes which it threatens the world with constantly

its a mindset that is destructive and the perps will not be left out of the destruction

so israhel cares more about killing arabs and stealing more land than feeding their children

and bush cares more about killing islamist than hearing what they have to say

its a mad mad world and not getting any better by the ashkenazi on here glotting over palestinians killing palestinians.."They Sow the Wind, and Reap the Whirlwind"

2:19 AM  

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