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
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
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.”
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.
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
More than 1,500 children lost one or both
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
3. The health sector has been left
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
the water is unfit for human consumption.
the money to buy bottled water, families often don’t drink for long periods.
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
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.
deficit increased by almost 20%, reaching about 65%.
water supply and sewage systems
shortages, along with restrictions on the import of construction material,
pumps and spare parts, have left Gaza’s water supply and sewage systems completely
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
unemployment rate is 43% overall and youth unemployment rate is 67%, one of the
highest in the world.
people employed in the agriculture and fishery sector have been affected
A destroyed economy
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.
Academic achievement is dropping
education facilities sustained damage or were destroyed during the assault.
children have weakness in memory and decreased concentration. They absorb less
material, lack a desire to learn and also lack proper conditions to study.
students struggle to cope with the loss of their peers and the lack of
opportunities after graduation.
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.
Today Ireland At the Israeli embassy , marking the first anniversary of last summer’s Israeli bombing of Gaza, which killed over 2,200 Palestinians including 551 children, and injured 11,000. 7 July 2014
One year ago, Ibrahim AlGhoul was rescued from the rubble of his home. His home was destroyed by Israeli forces during the most recent war on Gaza. This attack killed eleven members of his family, including baby Ibrahim’s twin brother, Mustafa.