Series: Meet 6 women building a future in Gaza - Madeleine Kulab, 21

Madeleine Kulab grew up by Gaza’s glistening blue sea, watching the waves crash into the strip’s 25-mile Mediterranean coastline. But at 13, when her father, who suffered from a form of palsy, could no longer fish, Kulab took the helm and became her family’s breadwinner.

Now 21, she says becoming Gaza’s first and only fisherwoman was not easy, both because she is a women and because she lives in a society whose dysfunctional relationship with Israel takes a daily toll. “Even the sea isn’t free here,” Kulab says. “People always looked at me and teased or scolded my dad … they didn’t take me seriously. But we ignored them.”

Since Israel imposed its land and sea blockade, families have suffered. On the water, if fishermen exceed a six-mile limit imposed by Israel, they risk being shot at by the Israeli Navy. “We are given small swimming zones to fish where there isn’t any good fish,” Kulab says, noting her boat has been shot at in the past. “It’s a cage.”

Zakaria Bakr, head of Gaza’s Union of Agricultural Workers, says Kulab is one of the best on the sea. “Living in Gaza taught her to be brave,” he says. “Both physically and mentally. This isn’t always easy here … few men are as strong.”

Aside from the now occasional snickers of men, she also must contend with some of the most restrictive politics in the world.

The conditions weigh heavily on everyone, but groups say women are disproportionately and uniquely burdened. “You’re dealing not only with the Israeli siege, but a conservative society and government that places expectations and limitations on you,” says Reem Hairab, a coordinator at Gaza’s Women Affairs Center. “In Gaza, it’s hardest for the women to breathe.”

Since last summer’s war, the organization says new women come to the center daily, pleading for extra work as their family’s sole provider. Activists also note a spike in domestic violence and divorce rates. When you’re trapped, says Rami Abdu, chairman of the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, anxiety and tension rise not just politically, but also — and especially — personally.

“Women are often on the frontlines of the occupation, of the struggle,” he says. “They often lose the most.”

For Kulab, it’s been a slow recovery. She now fishes two to three times a week, depending on how much fuel she can afford. Because prices have spiked, she often only breaks even on the sea, making around $25 a day. To make up for the slow period, she makes fishing nets for her colleagues and takes Gazans on boat rides, offering them a short reprieve from their circumscribed realities.

Kulab has become something of a local celebrity and her younger sister wants to follow in her footsteps, but Kulab refuses. “She must finish school … she must make something of herself,” she says. While Kulab finished secondary school, she still dreams of going to college. She wants to become a sports teacher.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever have that chance,” she says. “But I at least want her to.”

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Who Is Destroying the Palestinian Dream?
By Khaled Abu Toameh

The confrontation between Hamas and its rivals inside the Gaza Strip is likely to escalate in the coming weeks and months. Hamas now has so many enemies inside the Gaza Strip that to combat them, it would have to step up its repressive measures. These measures, however, will only lead to more retaliatory attacks by anti-Hamas forces, and plunge the Gaza Strip into a state of increased anarchy and chaos. Many Palestinians are worried that the Gaza Strip will sooner or later fall into the hands of Islamic State or Al-Qaeda.

In the West Bank, meanwhile, such a threat does not exist, largely thanks to Israeli security measures against terror infrastructure and cells. The Palestinian Authority, for its part, is also waging a massive campaign against Hamas and other Islamist groups in the West Bank. The PA is not doing this out of concern for the “peace process” with Israel; Mahmoud Abbas and his lieutenants know that these Islamists will kill them first on their way to killing Jews.

The growing state of anarchy in the Gaza Strip, as well as the continued power struggle between Hamas and Fatah, do not bode well for those who still believe that the creation of a Palestinian state will bring about peace and stability in the region. The way things are going these days, particularly in the Gaza Strip, it seems that a future Palestinian state will be added to the list of Arab countries that are currently witnessing civil wars and bloodbaths.

It is time for the international community to wake up and realize that the Palestinian dream of establishing an independent state is being destroyed by none other than the Palestinians themselves.

“Humanitas” by Geirix - www.facebook.com/iceland.geirix
Via Flickr:
Dr. Mads Gilbert is one of the great people you meet in life.  
A doctor from Norway who goes out of his way to help people in Palestine, both grown ups and children who have been injured in the war going on there.-
Photo by: Photographer.is/Geirix
Camera: Olympus OM2n
Scanner: Nikon Super Coolscan LS-4000 ED
Film: Ilford HP5+
Lens: Olympus Zuiko 50mm f/1.4
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Copyright 2015©Photographer.is/Geirix
Not for media use - all rights reserved

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In 2014 Ahmed Salama narrowly escaped death in the recent war has lost his mother and two of his brothers .. Today in 2015 Ahmed studying master’s degree in microbiology . Gaza

Gaza, one year on: 10 facts

A year has passed since the beginning of the assault on Gaza. In 51 days, over 2,200 Palestinians lost their lives and 11,200 were left injured. “Operation Protective Edge” was one of the most deadly attacks on Gaza and reduced entire neighbourhoods of the Strip to rubble. Today, the media spotlight has moved on, but Palestinian families are still living among the rubble of their destroyed houses, with little food, no electricity and no running water.

1.       Thousands of people are still homeless

  • 100,000 people whose houses were destroyed during the conflict are still without homes
  • Less than 1% of the construction materials required to rebuild houses has entered Gaza and at this rate, it will take decades to rebuild.

 2.       The children of Gaza are paying the highest price

  • More than 1,500 children lost one or both parents.
  • 1,000 out of the 3,000 children injured in the Gaza assault have life-long disabilities.
  • The vast majority of children suffer from severe emotional distress and trauma – the UN estimates that 373,000 children need psychological support.  

 3.       The health sector has been left shattered

  • 73 hospitals & healthcare facilities were damaged or destroyed during the assault.
  • 16 healthcare workers were killed, 83 ambulance drivers and volunteers were injured.
  • The total cost of the conflict to Gaza’s health care system is estimated at $50 million.
  • Medicines are at zero stock levels.
  • The destruction of Al-Wafa hospital has left Gaza with no rehabilitation centre and 1,000 disabled children without care.

 4.       Food insecurity is a major issue

  • Food insecurity was at 57% before the conflict. It now affects 73% of the population.
  • An estimated 80% of the population relies on humanitarian aid, mainly food assistance.
  • 10% of children under 5 in Gaza suffer from stunting or malnutrition.

 5.       Access to clean water is extremely difficult

  • 95% of the water is unfit for human consumption.
  • Lacking the money to buy bottled water, families often don’t drink for long periods.
  • At the beginning of 2014, only a quarter of Gazan households had access to running water every day, and only for a few hours at a time. The assault only made the situation worse, due to the severe damage to infrastructure.

 6.       Constant shortages of electricity

  • The only power plant was destroyed during last year’s assault and is now running at half capacity due to shortages in fuel with critical public service installations facing power cuts up to 18 hours per day.
  • Electricity deficit increased by almost 20%, reaching about 65%.

7.       Overwhelmed water supply and sewage systems

  • Theses electricity shortages, along with restrictions on the import of construction material, pumps and spare parts, have left Gaza’s water supply and sewage systems completely overwhelmed. 
  • Up to 90 million litres of partially-treated sewage are being discharged into the Mediterranean Sea on a daily basis. 
  • Experts deem Gaza’s current waste disposal operations unhealthy, causing a serious threat to public health.

 8.       Unemployment is at its highest

  • Gaza’s unemployment rate is 43% overall and youth unemployment rate is 67%, one of the highest in the world.
  • 40,000 people employed in the agriculture and fishery sector have been affected

 9.       A destroyed economy

  • Thousands hectares of cropland, including agricultural infrastructure (i.e., greenhouses, irrigation systems, livestock shelters, and fishing boats) were destroyed during the attack.
  • 963 enterprises in the manufacturing sector were hit during the assault.
  • The 8 years blockade has completely destroyed the economy, having put severe restrictions in place preventing goods from leaving Gaza.

 10.   Academic achievement is dropping

  • 30% of education facilities sustained damage or were destroyed during the assault.
  • Traumatised children have weakness in memory and decreased concentration. They absorb less material, lack a desire to learn and also lack proper conditions to study.
  • University students struggle to cope with the loss of their peers and the lack of opportunities after graduation.

Please send a letter to the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs today.

The TLV snapchat story is a perfect showcase of how, even a year on after the beginning of the assault on Gaza, Israelis still lead and live normal lives while being totally unaffected by the ongoing siege and occupation whatsoever, while fasting Palestinians in Gaza throughout Ramadan are having iftar besides the rubbles of their own homes and are still living in immense poverty due to the devastating effects of Israel’s mass-scale bombing campaign.