Archive | August 15, 2014

Zero Yazidis Stranded on the Mountain*

Zero Yazidis Stranded on the Mountain*

By Jason Ditz

The 40,000 Yazidis stranded on the mountain. That was the pretext for US military intervention in Iraq, as set out by President Obama last Thursday. The air war was commenced, and officials were talking up sending ground forces for “rescue” operations as recently as this afternoon.

But a funny thing happened when the US “advisers” got to Mount Sinjar. There weren’t 40,000 starving Yazidis stranded there. In fact, the indications are that there never were, and the Pentagon quickly dropped the “rescue” plan.

What happened? It turns out there were Yazidis already living on the top of the mountain, and while there were some refugees who fled up there, the humanitarian crisis was never what it was made out to be, and an influx of Kurdish PKK fighters from Syria quickly broke the overblown siege.

The Pentagon is trying to manage the narrative by simply saying the rescue mission “appears unnecessary,” but the fact that it was used to start a US war remains, and the State Department is doubling down, trying to spin the lack of a crisis as vindication of the war.

“President said we’re going to break the siege of this mountain, and we broke that siege,” bragged Brett McGurk on Twitter, neglecting to mention that the siege was largely mythical in the first place. The Pentagon wasn’t nearly so daring as to take credit for solving a crisis that didn’t exist.

Instead, the Pentagon is combing the countryside of northwestern Iraq, where their former casus belli was before it so rudely evaporated, and looking for other crises that they might use as a justification for continuing and escalating the war.

Officials seem to be totally ignoring the obvious question: where the false story of a massive Yazidi crisis came from in the first place. In that regard, there are no easy answers, though the obvious beneficiaries of the new US war are the Kurdish Peshmerga, which are suddenly getting flooded with Western arms to fight ISIS, and eventually, to fuel their secession.

The administration just seems grateful that they got an excuse to start a war they’ve been chomping at the bit for, and even if the excuse didn’t exactly pan out, they’ll quickly find another.


Related Topics:

Oil Drives U.S. and U.K. Airstrikes in Iraq*

Tribesmen Mobilise against ISIL after Killing an Iraqi Woman*

ISIS Weapons Made in Israel*

Muslims and Christians March against ISIL*

ISIS Demolish the Nabi Younes (Prophet Jonah) Mosque*

ISIS exposed at House of Lords and the Covenant of Prophet Muhammad (SAW)*

The Misled Foreign Fighters in Iraq*

ISIL Faces Mosul Residents in Defence of Shrine*

Personal Sovereignty, and the Power of the Sovereign Spirit*

Personal Sovereignty, and the Power of the Sovereign Spirit*

By Neil Kramer

Lotus2The common understanding of the word “sovereign” brings to mind images of kings, queens and supreme rulers, with all the associated regalia, pomp and circumstance that we have come to know from our television screens. It’s hard to get away from, particularly in Britain where Queen Elizabeth II is a mere 31 places removed in the “senior direct royal line” from French-born William The Conqueror (or William The Bastard as he was known before 1066). With such a long, rich history of hereditary royal dominion, it’s understandable that people can’t help but think of sovereignty as something outside of themselves, but that is starting to change.

For a growing number of people focusing on matters of consciousness, sacred knowledge and personal freedom, the reclamation of the word sovereign has become profoundly consequential. Within this paradigm, to recognize oneself as a sovereign being is to acknowledge one’s own total spiritual autonomy and unconditional entitlement to self-determination. It is a primary avowal of oneself as a free and natural human being – not a serf, a subject, a corporate entity, or even a citizen. No persons or man-made laws have any jurisdiction whatsoever over a sovereign being. This is all very alarming for any empire that secretly prefers its populace to feel toothless.

It’s deceptively tricky for us to comprehend that power is not something that is graciously conferred upon us by the authorities. It is not something that we must work hard to be worthy of. Real power is not something that can be handed over at all: it is something that we already have inside us. It is there from the beginning and it is the ultimate power. It is the power of freewill.

The amount of freewill an individual possesses is directly proportionate to the depth and clarity of consciousness attained. Before it can be fully realized, the very existence of our free will must first be acknowledged. The slumbering mind is not cognizant of the awesome reality-shaping power that lies within its grasp; freewill might just as well be equated with choosing what movies to watch or what shoes to buy. In contrast, the awakened mind is acutely aware of how freewill can transform imaginal visions into manifest things. It is seen as a defining characteristic of the spiritually alive human.

The more integrity, equanimity and honesty we resonate in our thoughts, deeds and conduct – the more honorable we are – the purer our mind. This allows us to deepen and broaden our consciousness and that determines the impact of our freewill upon the world. It is one of the cleverest failsafe devices that the universe has ever implemented. It ensures that only the true soul, transparently operating from a place of honor, can actually change reality.

Honor also serves as a keen instrument of discernment, especially with regard to observing intent and behavior, both in ourselves and others. We have an in-built facility for gauging whether someone’s words and deeds are honorable or not. Honor is one of those rare qualities that transcends the usual social and demographic boundaries; its unique energetic signature is readily perceptible to most humans. We can feel it.

One would think that honor is a highly desirable attribute for any leader who represents large numbers of people. Indeed, it ought to be a mandatory requirement for any sane society, to insist on leaders who naturally radiate honor in their governance. We should never be afraid to look into the hearts of our fellow men to ask these questions. Think of any prominent personality in the media. You can tell pretty much straight away whether their motivations are honorable or not. It’s not hard to look beyond the veneer of customer-facing geniality. Though we may see the persistent fabrication of sincerity, faith and morality in certain individuals, not all things can be so easily counterfeited. The singular nuances of honor remain decidedly elusive to those who have not actually walked the talk. They can’t quite pull it off.

Honor cannot be stolen or sequestered. Nor can it be read from a script or learned at a government training center in Aspen. You don’t automatically acquire it by rolling your sleeves up to help out at the orphanage, or volunteering at the soup kitchen, or showing up at church on Sunday, or pretending to give a hoot about massacres in distant lands. Observing the famous faces of politics, business and entertainment going through these masquerades has never really fooled anyone.

For the naturally ascendant human spirit, honor is a fundamental impulse. It is what we want to do and it is how we want to be. Even so, it can sometimes be difficult to muster the necessary spiritual courage and self-discipline to make this into a living reality. Things get a little rusty with lack of use. Fortunately, our forefathers devised all kinds of positive frameworks to help us regain spiritual fitness. One such system – the Noble Eightfold Path – was formulated by Siddhartha Gautama, aka Buddha, about 2500 years ago. It is a simple yet elegant teaching in conscious living, consisting of right view, right thought, right speech, right behavior, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.

The key word here is “right”. At first glance, one might reasonably argue that what is right for one person might be wrong for another. Right? Not quite. Rightness is a reflection of truth. Truth is both universal and relative. How so? When we shift perspective, we affect the universality of our truth. Zoom way out from your own concerns and your sense of truth takes on a more universal aspect. You are compelled to know a truth that is not only valid for you, but for others too. The further you zoom out, the more consciousness and creation that truth has to encompass and respect. The opposite is also the case. Zooming in exclusively on your own personal affairs decreases the universality of your truth. To act with honor, therefore, is to flow with divine ordinance. We don’t learn what is right – we allow our innate knowing of it to arise. We already have it. We are sovereign.

Juxtaposed against the backdrop of the all-encompassing modern media, all this talk of righteous conduct can seem rather fusty. Take in a few consecutive evenings of television and one comes away with the impression that there’s no interest in such things anymore. Self-destructive actors, bigoted politicians, disoriented sportsmen and violent musicians are constantly held up as the sexy anti-heroes of the new millennium. The media doesn’t even bother to covertly infer the desirability of decadence anymore; they boldly proclaim it in shiny gold letters. Gossipy, half-witted lifestyle magazine covers – unaccountably exhibited at every supermarket checkout – are splattered with the most squalid tales of human lechery. Dishonor makes headlines, for those who like it. But it is when these pollutants are squirted through every orifice of the system that one wonders where we are on the graph curve of civilization? Are we witnessing a rerun of the last days of Rome?

Perhaps Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD), the last of the “Five Good Emperors”, is well placed to comment. Aurelius’ sharp insights into human nature often helped him to rise above the various negative gravitations of high office. He wrote:

“A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.” Such truthful proclamations helped distinguish Aurelius from the madness and debauchery of previous emperors such as Tiberius, Caligula and Nero. As the historian Herodian wrote: “Alone of the emperors, he gave proof of his learning not by mere words or knowledge of philosophical doctrines but by his blameless character and temperate way of life.”

Aurelius highlights the fact that, ultimately, personal ambition is rather a precarious life path, as it serves only to satisfy the fleeting appetites of the ego. When we think of our own modern day emperors, we can see how quickly this can turn sour. It is always such a breath of fresh air when a genuine human soul steps into the fray and exhibits the sort of noble qualities that give us faith in humanity again. In these strange days, I have been reassured to know that such fine people are out there and they are out there in number.

Spiritual sovereignty teaches us that force and power are two very different things. Anyone can exert force, but not everyone is endowed with power. To wield real power, we must be in harmony with our higher purpose, with universal truth. This is the truth that we can feel in our hearts, minds and spirit, and is a compass for conscious growth. When we build that into our everyday thoughts and deeds, we live as honorable men and women.


Related Topics:

Sexuality Beyond the Veil 

Society Says Your Body Not Your Mind!

Self-Love is a Journey

Can You Just Change Your Mind Just Like That!

The Menstrual Bloodline

Letter to the Self #3: Arrogance

The Lesson That Cannot Be Taught!

Self-Awareness: Between Me, Myself and Others

Mother Ashkenazi, Father Muslim – Dahlia Wasfi Argues Against Illegal Occupation

Giving Up on Yourself to be White

Transformation: Lessons from Rumi*

A Fly-kick Saves a Woman from Being Raped*

Evolution: God’s Game

Life is about BEING REAL, not Perfect*

A Child’s Personal Sovereignty… Stolen!*

US activists to block Israeli cargo arriving at West Coast Ports*

US activists to block Israeli cargo arriving at West Coast Ports*

The Port of Oakland, California is one of the busiest shipping ports in the United States. On 16 August, it will also be a flashpoint of the growing global movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

A diverse coalition of groups is coming together to shut down the port and prevent the offloading of an Israeli vessel scheduled to dock Saturday morning. They are targeting Israel’s largest cargo shipping company, Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd.

They join several other West Coast port cities including Seattle, Vancouver and Long Beach in organizing port shutdowns. If all actions are successful, the US and Canadian West Coast will be effectively locked out to Israeli commercial shipping.

Direct response

On 30 July, the Palestinian trade union movement called on Palestine solidarity activists to work with US labour rights activists to oppose Israel’s onslaught in Gaza.

As of 11 August, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reports that 2,008 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed since Israel’s attacks began on 7 July. The Bethlehem-based International Middle East Media Centre has published the list of names of those killed.

More than 8,100 Palestinians have been injured, and 386,000 internally displaced. The damage to buildings, homes, schools and infrastructure is, thus far, estimated at $6 billion, not accounting for the decimation of people’s jobs and livelihoods in Gaza.

The direct action at the port is a direct response to the Palestinian trade union movement’s call and Israel’s current assault on Gaza. But Bay Area organizers emphasize that this is just one part of a coordinated escalation of efforts to mobilize for Palestine.

“We really want to take the conversation beyond the massacre in Gaza, and to the whole Zionist project in Israel and what it is being imposed on Palestinians because we know this is cyclical,” Reem Assil, an organizer with the Bay Area’s Arab Resource and Organizing Centre, told The Electronic Intifada.

“It’s not just about the military offensive in Gaza. That sparked an international outrage, but we know this is nothing new. The ceasefire is still up in the air, and we want to make sure to use this point in our history to make sure this never happens again. Part of doing that is to isolate Israel,” she said.

Since the Palestinian trade unions released their letter, organizers have been working closely with the members of the local chapter of the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union, ILWU-10, to build and create a sustainable coalition.

“This is the kick-off of what we hope to be many. We hope this is the beginning of a continued coordinated strategy of working with local rank and file and educating union members,” Assil said.


A shutdown of the port scheduled several weeks back was postponed in order to build more solid ground support, seen as a critical part of an action of this magnitude.

“Symbolically, the port shutdown is a way to build solidarity with civil society and trade unions all over the world,” Assil said.

According to Assil, ILWU-10 members have been coming to meetings, fly-posting the port and helping to mobilize their rank and file members.

“We hope the workers will be on the picket line with us on the day of [the action],” she added.

On 6 August, the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee declared its full support for the picket, writing:

“The Transport Workers Solidarity Committee calls on transport workers the world over to refuse to work Israeli cargo on ships, rails, planes or trucks on August 16. If we can stop the Israeli capitalists’ profits, even for a day, we send a message to the racist Zionist regime that we will not oil their bloody war machine.”

Furthermore, the workers’ vision doesn’t stop with Oakland:

“It needs to be a whole West Coast strategy; it can’t be just one port but needs to be coordinated on the West Coast,” they stated.

Coalition support

Over the next week, Long Beach, Seattle and Vancouver all have upcoming actions planned at their respective ports. Activists with Labor for Palestine, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, New York City Against War and Al-Awda: Palestine Right to Return Coalition are planning to demonstrate in New York at the Israeli consulate in solidarity with the Oakland port shutdown.

Assil told The Electronic Intifada that Zim offloads at the Oakland port every Saturday, carrying goods that are made on confiscated Palestinian land — both in settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and within present-day Israel.

The strategy for Saturday involves picketing and peacefully blocking several entrances to the Port of Oakland. If an arbitrator — an arbiter from the Port Authority, which is not affiliated with the workers’ unions — determines that the presence of a significantly-sized picket line raises concerns of safety for the union workers, ILWU must cancel workers’ shifts with full pay.

Organizers are hoping to attract around 5,000 protesters to the port on Saturday. The number of participants is key — without the robust presence of a large number of people, it is difficult to be seen as sufficiently disruptive to call off work.

ILWU-10 are currently in negotiations for a new contract, but that has not affected union members from working with the Arab Resource and Organizing Committee and other organizing groups.

Second shutdown

This is not the first time activists have attempted to shut down the Oakland port to an Israeli vessel. In summer of 2010, in response to Israel’s lethal attack on the Mavi Marmara — the Turkish-led humanitarian aid flotilla to Gaza, in which ten activists were killed by Israeli navy commandos — Bay Area activists successfully prevented the Zim line from unloading

It was the first time in US history that activists had stopped an Israeli cargo ship from unloading. The action was seen as a significant victory for US labour and Palestinian solidarity activists and their Palestinian counterparts, who issued a warm response of appreciation that was read to the crowd of participants. Activists had been marching for nearly twelve hours to make sure the ship was not allowed to complete its business at the port.

In addition to respecting the picket line in 2010, members of ILWU had issued a resolution denouncing the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara, supporting union protests of Israel’s repression of Palestinians and demanding an end to the Israeli siege on Gaza and US military aid to Israel.

In a testament to the success of that action, representatives of the Israeli consulate and the Israel advocacy group StandWithUs requested to meet with ILWU to urge the workers to withdraw their solidarity with Palestine. However, heeding the calls of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, ILWU rejected the group’s request.

The ILWU has a long history of leveraging their union power to support global human rights struggles. In 1984, for example, they refused to unload cargo from apartheid South Africa.

International calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions have grown louder and more urgent amidst Israel’s brutal assault on the Gaza Strip and its refusal to grant basic demands put forth by Palestinian civil society: to give Gaza access to their own borders and to the outside world through land and sea.

Under Israel’s ongoing siege, Gaza’s fishermen are prevented from sailing more than three nautical miles off the coast, and, even then, risk being arrested or subjected to lethal fire by Israeli naval forces.

It is fitting, activists say, for Israel’s largest cargo shipping company to meet a firmly-locked door at US ports.


Related Topics:

Bolivia Revokes Visa Agreement with Israel*

Christian leaders Urge Youth to ‘tear up’ Israeli Army Enlistment Forms*

Protesters Shut-down Israeli Arms Factory in U.K.*

Consumer Activism Forces Google to Withdraw ‘Bomb Gaza’ Game app…*

Boycott Israeli Products App Gets 350,000 Supporters*

Boycott Successful: Israel’s SodaStream Closes*

Barclays Closed due to Investment in Israel*

Irish Shops Urged to Remove Produce from Israel*

Sainsbury’s Forced to Close due to Gaza*

Global #GazaDayofRage as Israel Resumes Destruction of Gaza*

Evidence Immaterial: Netanyahu’s wants to be Added to the Bush-Blair Club of War Criminals*

The Surrogate Baby Industry in Thailand*

The Surrogate Baby Industry in Thailand*

An Australian same-sex couple, and two American couples have not been permitted to take surrogate babies home. Following a series of highly-publicized scandals highlighting failures in Thailand’s “surrogacy industry,” they were not permitted to leave Bangkok’s international airport with their surrogate babies, Australian media reported Friday.

The same-sex couples were prevented from returning home Thursday afternoon with the children born to Thai surrogate mothers, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which was told that immigration had been instructed not to allow surrogate babies to leave the country without a court order.

The report added that within the 24 hours prior, two American couples were also not permitted to depart from Thailand.

The Thai junta has given preliminary approval to a draft law that would ban commercial surrogacy in Thailand, with a junta spokeswoman telling reporters Wednesday, “We will punish through criminal law those who practice and are involved in commercial surrogacy.”

“Those who hire surrogate mothers will be violating criminal law,” she added.

The legislation — which remains to be passed by the National Legislative Assembly, a 200 member-body fully appointed by the junta July 31 — follows an international outcry over accusations that an Australian couple abandoned a baby born to a Thai surrogate mother.

The parents are reported to have taken home his healthy twin sister, but left the boy — affected with Down Syndrome — in Thailand.

During an interview with Australian TV on August 10, the Australian couple affirmed they actually wanted to take home both babies, but were prevented from doing so by the surrogate mother who threatened to report them to police.

In another case, a young Japanese man has been accused of fathering at least 15 babies through Thai surrogate mothers.

He fled Thailand soon after news emerged August 5, having taken four of the children home with him on earlier trips. It is not known what happened to the other children.

There are currently no laws governing surrogacy in Thailand, which makes the kingdom a favoured destination for those who cannot have children naturally and are looking for surrogate mothers.

Regulations by the Medical Council of Thailand restrict surrogacy within a same family, requesting that the surrogate mother be a relative of one of the two commissioning parents.

According to the Department of Health Service Support, a division of the Thai health ministry, the country’s “commercial surrogacy industry” is worth $125 million each year.

There are around 20 surrogacy agencies, mostly owned by foreigners, in Thailand, the sector expanding after India adopted stricter surrogacy laws in late 2012. On average, a Thai surrogate mother’s cut of the fee paid by commissioning parents is $14,000, the largest share going to the agency.


Related Topics:

‘Phantom’ Pregnancy or a Stolen Baby!?*

Ex CIA Operative, Victim of Child Trafficking, and Political Prisoner in U.S.*

Australia Still Stealing Indigenous Children*

Childhood for Sale

Israel to Detain Migrant Children*

Fathers Also Biologically Attune to their Children

Giving Birth to a Child Artificially

Disappearing Children Behind a Wall of Secrecy

Eugenics: A Child with Four Biological Parents

Child Sacrifice and Trafficking in Holland, and Abroad: An Eyewitness Comes Forward and Names her Torturers – An Exclusive Breaking News Report from ITCCS Central Office and its Dutch Affiliates

UN’s Heterophobic Agenda*

Christians Open Church Doors to Displaced Palestinians in Gaza*

Christians Open Church Doors to Displaced Palestinians in Gaza*

By Alex Shams

The first day the bombs began to fall on Gaza, Refqa al-Hamallawy called a meeting in her office at the al-Najd Developmental Forum where she is president to formulate a plan of action.

As the windows of the Gaza City office were rocked by thuds both near and far from the explosions of Israeli airstrikes, the employees and volunteers of the community organization made a decision that they would stay at their posts for as long as the Israeli assault continued.

Whatever happened, they promised, the organization would keep its doors open to all affected by the crisis.

Thirty-eight days later, al-Hamallawy and the workers at al-Najd are still working overtime, like thousands of others in the Gaza Strip who have dropped everything to help their fellow Palestinians in their time of need.

Even as international organizations have expanded operations to address the unprecedented humanitarian crisis, it is the work of ordinary Gazans likes al-Hamallawy that has made a world of difference to the hundreds of thousands of needy and displaced across the still-besieged coastal enclave.

“At the beginning of the war, a lot of the help we were giving was basic stuff,” al-Hamallawy told Ma’an via telephone.

“We were making sure people had access to their medical needs and getting toys for children.”

But as the war dragged on and the Israeli aerial assault turned into a full-scale ground invasion less than two weeks in, the scale of the crisis escalated dramatically.

By August 3, the number of displaced in Gaza had skyrocketed to nearly 485,000, of whom just over half found shelter at UN-designated sites.

“There were people wandering all throughout the streets,” al-Hamallawy recounted.

“What could we do?”

The organization promptly invited dozens of families to move into their headquarters in a relatively safe area in central Gaza, opening their arms to scores who had fled their homes in the eastern neighborhoods on foot, taking only what they could carry.

As the numbers grew, volunteers at the organization began taking families into their own homes as well, crowding as many as possible to help shelter those with nowhere to go.

“It was very difficult but we had to endure it, because no one else was able to do anything or help people,” al-Hamallawy told Ma’an.

“Maybe the UNRWA and Red Cross were trying as well, but even they couldn’t do enough under the conditions.”

“They were taking in people but look what was happening to them,” she added.

“Israel bombed schools and hospitals as well.”

Nearly one-third of Gaza’s population were given orders by Israeli forces to leave their homes over the course of the assault. If they stayed, Israel warned, the military would consider them combatants and not hesitate to kill them.

Since all the borders remained closed, however, a deluge of hundreds of thousands poured out of the eastern and northern areas to seek shelter in any nook or cranny they could find closer to the coast.

At the height of the displacement crisis at the beginning of August, however, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that only just over half of all the displaced were in UN shelters. The shelters, meant to hold around 500 people each, were stretched far beyond capacity and were holding an average of 2,800.

It was up to ordinary Gazans to deal with the overflow, and dozens of organizations like al-Najd as well as religious institutions and ordinary people worked overtime to provide for the displaced as much as possible.

The St. Porphyrios Orthodox Church in Gaza’s Old City was another crucial place of refuge for thousands of Gazans. The church provided refuge for more than 3,000 people during the worst days of the Israeli bombardment, hosting 800 in the church itself and 2,500 in shops and homes in the surrounding community.

The director of religious relations at the church said that hundreds of families streamed toward the church fleeing intense shelling in the nearby neighborhood of Shujaiyya as well as Beit Hanoun.

“When we began to feel that people were in danger and the people started coming, we opened or doors to them to allow them to stay in this safe place,” the director, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Ma’an via telephone.

Although the church is a center of community life for Gaza’s more than 1,500 Christian Palestinians, it employs only three people full-time.

The director told Ma’an, however, that the church became a center for other organizations working to aid the displaced, and despite the continued shelling community members from nearby also gathered there to do their part to help.

Hundreds crowded into the Sunday school rooms as well as church offices to sleep at night, and when the shelling outside was too heavy to leave, church officials and volunteers slept there beside them.

Despite the fear, however, there were moments of joy, the director recalled.

“When Eid al-Fitr came,” he said, “we celebrated together and brought toys and sweets for the children,” noting that during the Ramadhan month of fasting, church officials served the evening iftar meal and the displaced said their prayers in the church’s outer sanctuary.

Both the church official as well as al-Hamallawy from al-Najd association said that the majority of the hundreds of people they hosted returned to their neighborhoods only to find their homes destroyed and their possessions scattered in the rubble.

“They can’t go home, they have nothing there anymore,” al-Hamallawy told Ma’an.

“What are they supposed to do?”

OCHA estimates that at least 65,000 Gazans no longer have livable homes to return to. With concrete and the vast majority of building supplies still heavily restricted by the Israeli blockade, however, it is unclear how rebuilding will happen.

“If there is a ceasefire, this could help people,” al-Hamallawy said.

“But our primary demand is the lifting of the siege. This would help all of our issues — unemployment, reconstruction, everything.”

“This is the demand of the people, not the government. It is the people who are deprived by this siege, not Hamas,” she added.

The director at St. Porphyrios also noted that although the church was ready and prepared to continue helping people find new apartments, the future was still uncertain.

“The poor people here feel so much misery and defeat,” he said, sighing.

“But hopefully God will look upon us and end the war. And God willing, bring peace to all of the Middle East.”


Israel Didn’t Quite Destroy Love…

On the third day of a 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza, a Palestinian couple is getting married in a UN shelter in Gaza City Wednesday, the groom told Ma’an.

The homes of Omar Saleh Abu al-Nimr and his bride Heba Fayyad were destroyed by Israeli attacks during the month-long offensive, and like hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians, the two were forced to take shelter in schools of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

Though the atmosphere is grim in Gaza as Palestinians mourn their dead and medics treat thousands of injured, the couple hoped the wedding would “make room for a bit of happiness” amid the relentless pain felt in the Strip.

The two will be married in UNRWA al-Shati Girls School in al-Shati refugee camp in western Gaza City at 7:00 p.m.

The school has been decorated with colorful balloons and Palestinian flags.

“We wanted to bring joy into our hearts and people’s hearts. Despite the siege and the war we will still be joyful,” Abu al-Nimr said.

Yahiya Zaqqut, the manager of the UN shelter Yahiya Zaqqut said UNRWA staff has provided Omar and Heba with all their “logistical needs,” including food, clothes and a place to sleep.

“This event assures that despite the pain, attacks, and suffering, Palestinians always insist on resisting,” Zaqqut said.

After the wedding, the couple will spend two nights at the Movenpick Hotel in Gaza “for a honeymoon,” Abu al-Nimr said.

The two will then return to the UNRWA shelter.

Over 400,000 Palestinians, around a quarter of Palestinians in Gaza, have been forced from their homes throughout Israel’s offensive.


Related Topics:

From Gaza: I’m a Human Being, Not a Human Shield*

Former Israeli Foreign Minister, Livni, Reveals Israel – Egypt Pact to Strangle Hamas*

Evidence Immaterial: Netanyahu’s wants to be Added to the Bush-Blair Club of War Criminals*

Operation Protective Edge: The Dead Have Names*

Israel’s ‘Eid Gift to Palestinians*

Death Ray Unleased on Gaza*

Mother Ashkenazi, Father Muslim – Dahlia Wasfi Argues Against Illegal Occupation

Global #GazaDayofRage as Israel Resumes Destruction of Gaza*

The Root Cause of the Never-Ending Conflict in Palestine; and How to Fix It*

Boycott Israeli Products App Gets 350,000 Supporters*