band annie's Weblog

I have a parallel blog in French at


December 2008

Gaza : Let them eat grass

AS a convoy of blue-and-white United Nations trucks loaded with food waited last night for Israeli permission to enter Gaza, Jindiya Abu Amra and her 12-year-old daughter went scrounging for the wild grass their family now lives on.

“We had one meal today – khobbeizeh,” said Abu Amra, 43, showing the leaves of a plant that grows along the streets of Gaza. “Every day, I wake up and start looking for wood and plastic to burn for fuel and I beg. When I find nothing, we eat this grass.”

Abu Amra and her unemployed husband have seven daughters and a son. Their tiny breeze-block house has had no furniture since they burnt the last cupboard for heat.

“I can’t remember seeing a fruit,” said Rabab, 12, who goes with her mother most mornings to scavenge. She is dressed in a tracksuit top and holed jeans, and her feet are bare.

Conditions for most of the 1.5m Gazans have deteriorated dramatically in the past month, since a truce between Israel and Hamas, the ruling Islamist party, broke down.

Israel says it will open the borders again when Hamas stops launching rockets at southern Israel. Hamas says it will crack down on the rocket launchers when Israel opens the borders.

The fragile truce technically ends this Thursday, and there have been few signs it will be renewed. Nobody knows how to resolve the stalemate. Secret talks are under way through Egyptian intermediaries, although both sides deny any contact.

Israel controls the borders and allows in humanitarian supplies only sporadically. Families had electricity for six hours a day last week. Cooking gas was available only through the illegal tunnels that run into Egypt, and by last week had jumped in price from 80 shekels per canister (£14) to 380 shekels (£66).

The UN, which has responsibility for 1m refugees in Gaza, is in despair. “The economy has been crushed and there are no imports or exports,” said John Ging, director of its relief and works agency.

“Two weeks ago, for the first time in 60 years, we ran out of food,” he said. “We used to get 70 to 80 trucks per day, now we are getting 15 trucks a day, and only when the border opens. We’re living hand to mouth.”

He has four days of food in stock for distribution to the most desperate – and no idea whether Israel will reopen the border. The Abu Amra family may have to eat wild grass for the foreseeable future.

Bush and the size 10 shoes



Muntazir Az-Zaydi

The man who would tear down ‘scaffolding’ of Zionism

From Tuesday’s Globe and Mail

NATAF, ISRAEL — Asked to name the forces that led to the state of Israel, almost every Israeli would say Zionism and the Holocaust.

If those same people were asked just a few years ago which Israeli was likely to become prime minister, the name most often given would have been Avraham Burg — son of a prominent rabbi and founder of the country’s National Religious Party, former paratrooper, leading member of the Labour Party, speaker of the Knesset and head of the powerful Jewish Agency.

For more than 20 years, Avrum Burg, as he likes to be known, was a pillar of the Israeli establishment.

However, four years ago Mr. Burg turned his back on all that and wrote a powerful book, an indictment of how Zionism and the Holocaust have been used.

In The Holocaust is Over; We Must Rise from its Ashes, Mr. Burg slams what he calls the “omnipresence of the Shoah,” in Israeli society and urges his countrymen to move beyond Zionism. He goes even further and says that Zionism has become an excuse for racism. The statement is not far removed from the infamous 1975 UN “Zionism is racism” resolution to which Israel, Canada and many other countries strenuously objected, and had rescinded in 1991.


Fourth blockade-defying boat docks in Gaza port.wmv

Blog at

Up ↑