Friday, May 04, 2007

Gaza gloom

Well, we made it safe and arguably sound, after another exhaustive battle through the nightmare that is Rafah Crossing, or as Gazans like to call it "Rafah Resort".

The good news is we made it through after spending just one night in Arish, and just before the crossing was closed again. Of course this was not without jostling through hundreds of tired, heat-exhausted, and dusty passengers. The Khamaseeni winds were fierce and dry and merciless.

Because the crossing had been closed for a week prior to Thursday, there was a backlog of passengers, and the flow was excruciatingly slow (think of a VERY thing bottleneck). I literally had to jam my way through the arms of Egyptian security guards ala "try and stop me", Yousuf in tow, and together with another woman and her children, steamrolled our way through a crack in the opening of of one of the doors leading to the Egyptian side of the passage.

This move, in combination with a snide remark I made to the head Egyptian security guy about how they run the border on bribes almost got me arrested. I was forced to make a public apology for this accusation, which I refused to do b/c it was so blatant, and so my passport was relegated to the back of the pile until the "investigator" showed up, and then one officer "took pity" on me and let me through.

Because the crossing only operates a limited number of hours when it DOES open (on Thursay, only 5) everyone is desperate to get through-who knows when it will open again?

"We just live to wait," says my friend Fares. "We wait for the border to open again. We wait for the salaries. We wait for the law to be restored."

Upon arrival, my first impression of Gaza after a few months of absence can be summarized in one word: gloom. The garbage strewn streets were covered in a thin layer of dust of course from the winds, but it was not only that. IT was the people. They were altogether absent from the streets-on a Thursday night.

"People are scared" offered my friend, as went to grab some ice cream.

"They are scared of the situation, of the absolute lapse of order and law, of where where we are headed. And they are depressed and despondent-there's no hope anymore for anything. Not even with this unity government. The world has abandoned them. And the result is a foregone conclusion."

Forget about light at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel itself, as far as Gaza is concerned, has been destroyed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's simple, Gaza is hell on Earth. THe people who occupy Gaza have no souls. Nuke the place.

12:00 AM  
Blogger A.Q. said...

Please can you post some photos of what Gaza looks like on your most recent visit. Thanx.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Laila,
I just read that Khaled Mashal had rejected an American paper which suggests / demands that Israel starts removing barriers and pulling out of Palestinian areas whilst Palestinians stop firing rockets into Israel (about 10 are fired each day at the moment) and smuggling weapons into the Gaza strip.
To me this sounds like madness - what is the benefit of firing these missiles? they will not cause us to pack and leave and the only result of firing them is stopping any chance of progress.
Can you try and explain why this offer was rejected (actually, called a bad joke or something like that)?
By the way, this paper was critised here too and viewed as a dangerous set of requirements. As far as I know Israel had not reacted to it so far.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

raz the PA rejected the US proposal AFTER the israheli did

please be more complete in your diatribe

the PA rejected it because it denied the UN recognized right of resistence to israheli illegal occupation for the lifting of a few roadblocks

now why did Israhel reject it? we know raz...because you want peace right? sure you do

2:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

also raz while we are on the subject what does the kiddnapping of dozens of palestinians every week accomplish for peace and the colective punishment of closure of the OPT and the keeping of the tariff tax money that belongs to the PA? yes raz we know you and kin only want peace

and raz we know you only want peace and that is what all the checkpoints are all about all across the west bank right raz?
and what layla just went through at the rafah border?

all very peaceful raz

its obvious to the most casual observer raz (even to you and yours i am sure) that if the israheli wanted peace they would give up the illegal outpost and squatter colonies in the OPT and move back behind the green line...there raz and only there do you invaders have any semblance of a right to a checkpoint between two nations (which would increase you own legitamacy)
so why the rodblocks and checkpoint inside the OPT raz? and what is wrong with the saudi peace deal? assuming you really do want peace and not just a piece of egypt, a piece of syria a piece of lebanon a piece of jordan

you ever wonder why no one...not even those that support you like the christian you raz?

ever wonder why you and your kin been thrown out of so many countries?

3:03 AM  
Blogger BHCh said...


raz the PA rejected the US proposal AFTER the israheli did

Correction: Palestinians rejected the US security plan before Israelis considered it:

ever wonder why you and your kin been thrown out of so many countries?

I think you are in a really good position to explain us. The thing is... We have learnt to defend ourselves from the likes of you.

I think your post is incomplete without you explaining why the Rafa crossing was closed for a week.

1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is an example of why palestinians fire qaasams into zionist temporarily occupied palestine (otherwise known as israhell 'the blite of the nations')

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

facinating article on why the ziocon plan for the ME will fail:

3:15 PM  
Blogger Monster Mom said...

Live strong Laila...

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

shlemazl said:

'I think you are in a really good position to explain us. The thing is... We have learnt to defend ourselves from the likes of you.'

why yes being a student of history i am and thanks shlemazl and may i point out your avatar is giving you away as kosher anti christ deciple? :)

the joos were thrown out of all those countries for the following reasons:
1. baby killing
3. undermining the government of your host country

and being a student of history i can tell you that history does indeed repeat itself and the jooish practices dont change

you still kill babys, still persue usury and still undermine all countries goernments that you can, onlynow we got it on a global scale

and there will be no kosher coverup and screaming of 'blood libel' since the facts can be seen by anyone

so how bout that olmert? and livni? hahahahah :) how bout that nasrallah? :)

4:50 PM  
Blogger Laila said...

Hi Raz

As far as I know, the US has stated in no uncertain terms that these "benchmarks" will not be demanded or forced upon anyone, least of all Israel.

Rejecting them is likely a rejection of the entire premise behind them, which is a rejection of Hamas's authority in government and instead attempting to strengthen Fateh and its militias.

After all, the document asks Israel approve requests by Gen Dayton for the provision of weapons, ammunition and equipment for security forces under the control of Mahmoud Abbas and stipulates that Palestinian security forces must be brought under the authority of Mohammed Dahlan.

In general, it is felt that the plan does not put the onus on the occupiers.

Re rockets: Firing rockets are not seen as necessarily a very "effective" thing to do from many angles, even by a large number of people, but many groups insist on doing it as an expression of their right to continue 'muqawama', i.e. resistance. Sometimes they are fired more as an act of political defiance domestically.

And to be completely realistic, what change of "real progress" has there ever been, even as Gaza continues to be under complete siege, 50, 000 palestinians continue to be denied family re-unification, etc. etc.?

5:31 PM  

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