Monday, September 19, 2005

Closed in, again Closed in, again Closed, again

Am I beginning to sound l ike a broken record? If so, that should be a telling statement regarding the situation in Gaza after disengagement. Its the same old same old. And predictions about Gaza becomign a prison have very much materialized.

I had to cancel my ticket reservations from Cairo to the US, where Yousuf and I were supposed to meet up with Yassine, whom we haven't seen for 5 months (and who isn't allowed into Gaza by Israel, since he is a refugee). Israel refuses to give in on Rafah Crossing, and it remains closed for the near future in the meantime.

There is literally no way out of here for Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinians, save for an agreement to issue a high-priority (and difficult to obtain) 50 permits a day through the Erez Crossing. Its is noteworthy to mention that nearly 90% of GAza's Palestinians are refused permits through Erez, based on blanket "security reasons" (including myself...). I'm trying to come up with a list of all sorts of threatening things I could do that might account for this security denial-"stop, or I'll throw his dirty diaper in your face! I'm serious..not one step closer"

I'm beginning to feel like I'm part of an old 1970s Disney movie where a family attempts (succesfully) to escape walled in East Berlin in a hot air baloon. Hmmm. I can picture that now, Yousuf and I floating across Philadelphi, dodging (probably not for long...) Israeli drones and radars. Hey, we've careened across the Gaza coast in a donkey cart during closures of the (area formerly known as) Netzarim Junction, I think we can handle that.


Blogger Daniel said...

I thought the egyptians now control the border. What happened? The Israelis left and then came back?

7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anne from New York City said...

Daniel, Erez is the crossing for the border between Gaza and Israel, not between Gaza and Egypt. Look at a map and you'll see.

9:23 PM  
Blogger Laila said...

Hi Daniel. I think Anne, Daniel might be referring to Rafah in the south. Daniel, the Egyptians and Palestinians are in charge of the Rafah border-not the legal Crossing trough which formal traffic passes, get pasports stamped etc. This crossing is still a sticking point, and Israel wants to maintain ultimate control over it. So far no solution has been reached adn Israel has closed it for the indefinite future.

10:28 PM  
Anonymous zi said...


While you wait for gaza to explode into violence once again, enjoy this little ditty by Sacha Baron Cohen:

"Throw the Jew down the well
So my country can be free
You must grab him by his horns
Then we have a big party"

3:50 AM  
Anonymous arpia said...

Hello, I really like your blog, and reported on mine your article in EI. keep it up.

Raffaele from MIlan, Italy.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Abu Shaar said...

OK, this headline, perhaps written without irony in today online Haaretz:
"Shalom: Iron curtain between Israel, Arab world is falling"

Yet the iron wall in Rafah still stands, and the apartheid wall in the West Bank keeps getting longer

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Must be so hard when there is no one to blame.......

Israel is out of Gaza.

Israel navy is no longer on the Gaza sea. (even if Israel sais it will "maintain sa closure")

Israel has nothing to do with the Rafah crossing (Even if a stupid Israeli minster sais "israel will not allow..."

But you know the tryth. You are there. So why are you feeding US BS ? There is nothing that has to do with israel in Rafah anymore and you know it.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Text of interview with Fattah al-Shaykh, member of the Iraqi National Assembly representing Basra area, from Baghdad, by Ali al-Zufayri, Al-Jazeera presenter in the Doha studio, broadcast live by Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV on 20 September

[Al-Zufayri] Mr Fattah al-Shaykh, how do you assess this raid operation, which might be the first of its kind, to liberate British soldiers from a police centre?

[Al-Shaykh] In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. In fact, we, all the Iraqi people and the government, were pleased when we heard yesterday that the sons of the Iraqi people in the steadfast and mujahid city of Basra were alert and tried to detain two American [as heard] soldiers yesterday who wanted to foment sedition, stir up disturbances and sow the seeds of terrorism in Basra. Those soldiers were disappointed. The Iraqi people captured them and handed them over to the Iraqi government. This shows that -

[Al-Zufari, correcting him] Mr Fattah, they were two Britons.

[Al-Shaykh] Excuse me, yes, they were two Britons. This shows that the sons of the Iraqi people are completely committed to protecting their country, whether in Basra, Al-Najaf, Al-Sadr City, Samarra or anywhere else. Apart from what the UK forces are doing, this was frankly considered a violation. They claim that they are forces that enjoy international cover and that they can do what they want and can ravage Iraq. As for how the UK forces acted, they encircled the Major Crimes building and opened fire on citizens. This is a flagrant violation of human rights and this per se is terrorism, whether conducted by the UK forces, the US forces or all the foreign occupation forces. These forces that claim that they came to liberate Iraq have to respect Iraq and the Iraqi people. Regardless of the UK forces' actions carried out against the sons of our people in Basra, I reiterate that this is a flagrant violation against the sons of the Iraqi people.

[Al-Zufari] We would like to get a clearer understanding of the issue. What do you think the UK soldiers were doing wearing civilian cloths? The UK forces did not comment on their presence in that place?

[Al-Shaykh] What would they say? Do you expect them to say that they are terrorists, British intelligence members working to stir up disturbances in Basra? Basra has been volatile for four days. I, personally, was a guest in Basra two days ago. I could see that the UK forces were always provoking the Iraqi people in Basra. There are indiscriminate arrests and pressure. Shaykh Ahmad al-Fartusi [a leader of the Al-Mahdi Army in Basra ] and his aides were arrested as a result. Moreover, they began giving excuses about him and said that there were charges levelled against al-Fartusi. Yesterday, when we - five members, including the spokesman, of the Independent National Bloc - met Patrick (Toppin), representative of the British embassy in Baghdad, he said that he asked us to be patient and not to stir up disturbances. While we were at the Conference Palace, a telephone call was received from Basra on that two UK soldiers were trying to stir up disturbances. Explosive materials were found in their car and they opened fire on one of the citizens, breaking his legs. Moreover, the Iraqi police began assuming their role in the right manner [to contain the situation], but the British forces this time are trying to violate even the Iraqi law and mistreat the Iraqi police who defused this sedition.

[Al-Zufari] Mr Fattah, there is an important point here related to the extent of the relation and the coordination between the Iraqi police, the Iraqi forces and the UK forces. The incident probably indicates that they failed to coordinate and exchange information. The UK forces maybe filed a request [for the soldiers' release]. What kind of argument do you think this incident would raise with regard to the relation between the Iraqi and UK forces, specifically in Basra?

[Al-Shaykh] The Iraqi forces always receive orders from the Iraqi officials and this is their duty as policemen or National Guard members, may God reward them well for carrying out their duties perfectly. However, what the UK forces are doing is not necessarily known by the Iraqi forces or coordinated with them through exchange of information. There are occupation forces, armoured vehicles, tanks and military aircraft in Basra. Moreover, there are members of the British intelligence present in Basra especially, since Basra is currently a sensitive and important area in Iraq. There are members of the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] and Mossad [word indistinct], as well as many institutions in this city. What happened is not due to the lack of coordination, but a scandal took place when the anniversary of the birth of the expected Imam Al-Mahdi, may God hasten his honourable appearance, is commemorated. Almighty God exposed the true image of the occupier. In Karbala, a foreign member was trying to detonate his car among visitors yesterday. This shows a great deal of grudge they harbour. I say that if the situation continues as is, I expect that the 1920 Revolution will erupt again against the Britons in the south.

[Al-Zufari] Fattah al-Shaykh, member of the Iraqi National Assembly representing Basra area, from Baghdad, thank you very much.

Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, in Arabic, 20 Sep 05

Copyright Al Jazeera and BBC Monitoring 2005

1:26 PM  
Blogger umkahlil said...

Thanks, Laila, for the wonderful interview with Abu Rahme.

10:35 PM  
Blogger Amelopsis said...

Laila I've just discovered your blog - THANK YOU - your pictures from the post on the 15th are wonderful. You captured the joy of so many people in a fleeting moment of history.
For some of us who do our best to stay informed (not by mainstream media) it is still difficult to get real, true news about Palestine unless you personally know someone there; perhaps not the case if one can read Arabic but I cannot. You offer a personal insight that I've not found until now.
I'm saddened to know that Gaza has indeed become a prison, as predicted. I'll be looking in regularly and will be checking your article on EI - haven't read it yet.

On another note: why are the detractors always cowardly 'anonymous'??? They should have the courage of their convictions and leave a website so others can see where their opinion stems from!

11:23 PM  
Blogger Abu Shaar said...

Good point. It's easy to be rude anonymously.

I supposed they could be tracked by their IP addresses, which are logged.

12:34 AM  
Anonymous another anonymous said...

Why should your "detractors" be tracked down? In my case, I've always commented in a polite way, despite the fact that I disagree with some of the opinions here.

Also, Some people don't have websites of their own.

So should people who disagree not comment here for fear of being "tracked down?" Thats not really how a discussion should work, is it?

8:28 AM  
Blogger Amelopsis said...

I wasn't suggesting 'tracking anyone down' - just don't know why you can't leave a name - make one up! If you leave anonymous how can anyone tell one from another??

4:21 PM  
Blogger Abu Shaar said...

It's very easy and so, oh I don't know, so very Usenet, to hide behind anonymity in discussions.

I mentioned the logged IP addresses only to remind everyone that the notion of remaining anonymous on the Internet these days,well, problematic at best.

So play nice

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog is great always makes me laugh and smile and but part of me hates to read it because im israeli and it makes me realise what the country i grew up in is doing.Keep up the great work shiri sasson

11:30 PM  
Blogger mnuez said...

You are adorable!

The fact that tons of jew-haters jerk off over your site is a wonderful release that you provide for them. You write well, have a journalist's savvy and make yourself relateable-to. And they love it! The fact that you're clearly a monster of the most vomitoriuos order who undoubtedly provides assistance to baby killers and who, equally clearly, would enjoy killing a few jews personally, doesn't really matter. Because you're a mom. And a mom who writes nicely.

How the other jew haters must love it!

As for me? I view you as a fellow blogger whose thoughts and feelings I enjoy reading and commenting on and I also view you as just another monsterous jew killer, one in a long line of millions of such folk.

Thus divided I continue to enjoy your blog both for it's "bloggerness" and for laughing at the fact that people take you for anything other than what you are. Evil.

(P.S. Here's the cue for Jews to clamor forth telling me that in fact I am the Nazi and that this unfortunate woman is the victim of Israeli nazis like myself and other assorted supporters of (quote) "israel's policy". You Rumkowskis are a magnificent, and uniquely Jewish breed and I always enjoy meeting you, so don't be shy. Clamor.)

12:49 AM  
Blogger umkahlil said...

Laila, If you get haloscan comments, ( you can ban and delete, which I suggest for the above commenter.

8:53 PM  
Blogger solitarioh2005 said...

The fact that you're clearly a monster of the most vomitoriuos order who undoubtedly provides assistance to baby killers ..".

As far as I am concerned Laila has treated me with respect and kindness and I am not an Arafat backer to say the least.
Actutally i am pro israeli.
I do not agree with her in many issues but she as always treated me fairly and has been a fine person.

8:49 PM  
Blogger Amelopsis said...

Mnuez your arrogance is far too boastful. Because a person does not agree with Israeli policy towards Palestine (or any other issue for that matter) does not make one a 'jew hater'.

Judaism is not a synonym for Zionism, and all those who have an opinion on the issue are also not defacto either Arab, Muslim, Israeli or Jewish.

There is a very big world out there full of diverse people and cultures - some of us even have opinions.
My opinion of you (based only on the above comment) is that you have an overtly self centered and presumptuous attitude; the worst of it is that you appear to be a hate monger with no desire or aptitude for personal growth.

7:50 PM  

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