Israeli Racism is OK if its in Hebrew.

Israel’s largest bus company runs ad: “The non-Jew doesn’t want a thing, he waits to be told what the Jew wants!” pic.twitter.com/UZfLg114Mz

Israel’s largest bus company runs ad: “The non-Jew doesn’t want a thing, he waits to be told what the Jew wants!” pic.twitter.com/UZfLg114Mz

THE SIGN ON THE BACK OF THIS ISRAELI BUS READS:

THE NON-JEW DOESN’T WANT A THING, HE WAITS TO BE TOLD WHAT THE JEW WANTS!

On a previous post containing a reblog on the ‘Tel Aviv Stabbings’ I mentioned I had recently heard an interview on radio with a Palestinian busdriver about the brief driver’s strike following a colleague being stabbed to death by ‘settlers’, (I prefer to call them ‘unsettlers’ and that’s when I’m being generous). He spoke of having to go back to work to feed his family and of being spat on and abused on a daily basis by these doyens of civilised diplomacy in Jerusalem.

I wonder how he feels having to drive around a bus promoting the advert above. This is not only racist, its surely inciting violence against Palestinians including the bus drivers in the Occupied Territories where settlers literally get away theft and murder. A recent report states Israeli forces have failed to probe 83% of settler violence cases  (see full article here)

I’d like to know if being racist in a reinvented language makes it OK?

I’d also like to know how Zionists can openly source $100,000 crowdfunding to produce architectural plans that include destruction of the  Al Aqsa in Jerusalem (See original article by Sarah Irving for electronic intifada here )

“In the past three months, Indiegogo has permitted two separate campaigns which clearly violate its terms of use to raise money through its website. Between them, the projects of the Temple Institute and fashion label MTKL promote racism, ethnic cleansing, open sexism, misogyny and rampant militarism — but Indiegogo seems determined to look the other way.”

I wake up each day wondering what further injustices Israel can perpetrate on Palestinians and how much more they will do alongside US silence, complicity, and approval (We in Australia of course continue to behave as the faithful dog, after all we spawned Rupert Murdoch)

 

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Dear Syria: From One Refugee to Another – Ramzy Baroud repost from Dissident Voice

Ramzy Baroud often touches a nerve for me, his writing is thoughtful and always shows connectedness to his subject.

I have wanted to post on recent issues relating to the Australian Counter Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014 and its capacity for thoughtless personal impact through poor policy interpretation of an overly zealous law initiated under the cloud of ‘Terror Threats’ to Australia trumpeted by our government. The implementation of Policy in Australia means the fact that you are Palestinian, will never be forgotten (even if you become a citizen of this country and carry her passport) by security forces of Customs and Border etc and the various Police entities involved in working under this Act.

Double whammy if you are a Palestinian from Syria.

Triple whammy if your birthplace as a part of the diaspora post 1948 was Libya.

Quadruple whammy if you were once an asylum seeker to these shores.

Quintuple if you had to return to Syria for any valid reason over the past few years.

I am still debating whether it is timely to post my piece or if I should do further research and wait for the right moment to be more in tune with the universe and less fucking angry. (Takfiri outsiders in Al Yarmouk killed by multiple poorly aimed gunshots at least 3 men in recent street ‘court assassinations’ for swearing as I just did- Fuck them and their proxy war trainers, suppliers, financiers and supporters)

I want to THANK you Ramzy for this piece, for the 7 reminders and warnings and particularly for the reminder that some people really do understand why you think of your mother when you hear the word ‘refugee’ and why you say, “Dear Syria”……………….

Dear Syria: From One Refugee to Another

Whenever the word ‘refugee’ is uttered, I think of my mother. When Zionist militias began their systematic onslaught and ‘cleansing’ of the Palestinian Arab population of historic Palestine in 1948, she, along with her family, ran away from the once peaceful village of Beit Daras.

Back then, Zarefah was six. Her father died in a refugee camp in a tent provided by the Quakers soon after he had been separated from his land. She collected scrap metal to survive.

My grandmother Mariam, would venture out to the ‘death zone’ that bordered the separated and newly established state of Israel from Gaza’s refugee camps to collect figs and oranges. She faced death every day. Her children were all refugees, living in shatat – the Diaspora.

My mother lived to be 42. Her life was tremendously difficult. She married a refugee, my dad, and together they brought seven refugees into this world – my brothers, my sister and myself. One died as a toddler, for there was no medicine in the refugee camp’s clinic.

No matter where we are, in time and place, we carry our refugee ID cards, our undefinable nationalities, our precious status, our parents’ burden, our ancestors’ pain.

In fact, we have a name for it. It is called waja’ – ‘aching’ – a character that unifies millions of Palestinian refugees all across the globe. With our refugee population now dominated by second, third or even fourth generation refugees, it seems that our waja’ is what we hold in common most. Our geographies may differ, our languages, our political allegiances, our cultures, but ultimately, we meet around the painful experiences that we have internalized throughout generations.

My mother used to say – ihna yalfalastinieen damitna qaribeh – tears for us Palestinians are always close by. But our readiness to shed tears is not a sign of weakness, far from it. It is because throughout the years we managed to internalize our own exile, and its many ramifications, along with the exiles of everyone else’s. The emotional burden is just too great.

We mask the unbearable aching somehow, but it is always close to the surface. If we hear a single melody by Marcel Khalifeh or Sheikh Imam, or a few verses by Mahmoud Darwish, the wound is as fresh as ever.

Most of us no longer live in tents, but we are reminded of our refugee status every single day, by the Israeli occupation, by the Gaza siege and the internally-displaced Palestinians in Israel, by the Iraq war and the displacement of the already displaced Palestinians there, by the despicable living conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, and throughout the Middle East.

But for us, Syria has been our greatest waja’ in years. Aside from the fact that most of Syria’s half a million Palestinian refugees are on the run again, living the pain of displacement and loss for the second, third, or even fourth time. Nine million Syrian refugees are now duplicating the Palestinian tragedy, charting the early course of the Palestinian Nakba, the catastrophe of 1948.

Watching the destitution of the Syrian refugees is like rewinding the past, in all of its awful details. And watching Arab states clamor to aid the refugees with ample words and little action feels as if we are living Arab betrayal all over again.

I watched my grandparents die, followed by my parents and many of my peers. All of them died refugees, carrying the same status and the same lost hope of return. The most they ever received from the ‘international community’ was a few sacks of rice and cheap cooking oil. And, of course, numerous tents.

With time our refugee status morphed from being a ‘problem’ to an integral part of our identities. Being a ‘refugee’ at this stage means insisting on the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees as enshrined in international law. That status is no longer just a mere reference to physical displacement but also to a political, even a national identity.

Political division may, at times, dominate Palestinian society, but we will always be united by the fact that we are refugees with a common cause: going home. While for the Palestinians of Yarmouk near Damascus, being a refugee is a matter of life and death – often by starvation – for the larger Palestinian collective, the meaning of the word has become more involved: it has been etched onto our skin forever.

But what can one say by way of advice to the relatively new refugees of Syria, considering that we are yet to liberate ourselves from a status that we never sought?

There can be only reminders and a few warnings:

First, may your displacement end soon. May you never live the waja’ of displacement to the extent that you embrace it as a part of your identity, and pass it on from one generation to another. May it be a kind of fleeting pain or passing nightmare, but never a pervasive every day reality.

Second, you must be prepared for the worst. My grandparents left their new blankets in their village before they fled to the refugee camps because they feared they would have been ruined by the dust of the journey. Alas, the camps became home, and the blankets were confiscated as the rest of Palestine was. Please remain hopeful, but realistic.

Third, don’t believe the ‘international community’ when they make promises. They never deliver, and when they do, it is always for ulterior motives that might bring you more harm than good. In fact, the term itself is illusory, mostly used in reference to western countries which have wronged you as they have us.

Fourth, don’t trust Arab regimes. They lie. They feel not your pain. They hear not your pleas, nor do they care. They have invested so much in destroying your countries, and so little in redeeming their sins. They speak of aid that rarely arrives and political initiatives that constitute mostly press releases. But they will take every opportunity to remind you of their virtues. In fact, your victimhood becomes a platform for their greatness. They thrive at your expense, thus will invest to further your misery.

Fifth, preserve your dignity. I know, it is never easy to maintain your pride when you sleep in a barren street covered in cardboard boxes. A mother would do whatever she can to help her children pass into safety. No matter, you must never allow the wolves awaiting you at every border to exploit your desperation. You must never allow the Emir, or his children or some rich businessman or sympathetic celebrity to use you as a photo-op. Do not ever kneel. Don’t ever kiss a hand. Don’t give anyone the satisfaction to exploit your pain.

Sixth, remain united. There is strength in unity when one is a refugee. Don’t allow political squabbles to distract you from the greater battle at hand: surviving until the day you return home, and you will.

Seventh, love Syria. Yours is an unparalleled civilization. Your history is rife with triumphs that were ultimately of your own making. Even if you must leave to distant lands, keep Syria in your hearts. This too shall pass, and Syria shall redeem its glory, once the brutes vanquish. Only the spirit of the people shall survive. It is not wishful thinking. It is history.

Dear Syrian refugee, it has been 66 years and counting since my people’s dispossession began. We are yet to return, but that is a battle for my children, and their children to fight. I hope yours ends soon. Until then, please remember the tent is just a tent, and the gusts of cold wind are but of a passing storm.

And until you return home to Syria, don’t let the refugee become who you are, as you are so much more.

Ramzy Baroud is an author and a journalist. His latest volume is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press, London). He can be reached at ramzybaroud@hotmail.com. Read other articles by Ramzy.

Israel’s youngest Palestinian female prisoner – this occupation regime calls itself civilised?

 

Yesterday, Al Manaar, a Lebanese online news agency reported on 14 year old Malak al-Khatab ‘detained’ on her way home from school in Occupied Ramallah by the IOF on December 31st 2014. See here.

The report is also on WAFA the Palestinian News Agency here

“A 14-year-old Palestinian girl has become the youngest prisoner in Israeli jails after an Israeli court sentenced her to two months in jail and a fine of 6,000 Israeli shekels (roughly $1,500), a Palestinian NGO said Sunday.”

The Ramallah-based Ahrar Centre for Prisoners’ Studies and Human Rights reportedly advised Al-Manar news that  Malak was “the youngest of around 280 Palestinian children in Israeli jails.” (Al-Manar)

Her crime?

On Wednesday 21st Jan she was convicted, her father Ali  said of “throwing stones at occupation forces, blocking a main road in the West Bank and possessing a knife.” He said Malak was “brought to the court with her hands and feet in handcuffs” and “when the judge read out the verdict, I looked at Malak and she was wiping off her tears as she shivered from cold,”.

Malak’s detention was extended several times and she spent around 23 days awaiting her ruling. At the time, the lawyer defending her was trying to reduce the fine, Malak’s father earlier told WAFA. …. She is now serving her sentence in Hasharon detention centre with another three female prisoners who are, according to her father, taking care of Malak and emotionally supporting her.

Her prison?  Hasharon……

A human rights organization warned of the “catastrophic and unbearable” situation of Palestinian female prisoners in the Israeli Hasharon detention center. The Prisoners’ Center for Studies said the Israeli prison administration has been abusing the Palestinian female captives held in Hasharon. (see here )

For a look at the prison and Press TV video (October 2014) on treatment of female prisoners see here.

The ‘Civilised’ Israeli Occupation, detention of children and International law

1. Detention a last resort for minors

Lawyer Ayed Abu Qutesh – even though the International law allows the detention of minors, it should be always the last decision that any court or state takes. All concerned parties should try to find other alternatives to the detention and actual imprisonment of children, such as fines and suspended imprisonment.

Lawyer Jawad Bolous  – “the Israeli occupation’s policy of arresting minors contradicts with all international laws regarding minors. It starts at the very moment of arrest where soldiers forget that they are arresting a minor, treating the children in a very barbaric way. The minors go through detention until the ruling, while Israel ignores the grave consequences of this detention on their lives.”

2. Family Visitation

Malak’s family wasn’t able to visit her at the detention center, and only saw her at the court on January 11 for the first time after her arrest (on the 31st Dec) . Her father said then that she looked distressed and scared. This lack of access in Israeli gaols is commonplace, many detainees are illegally shipped outside the Occupied areas to prisons to prevent this access.

3. Standards of due process

According to the Defence for Children International Palestine (DCI-Palestine), “Israel is the only state to automatically and systematically prosecute children in military courts that lack basic standards of due process.”

It said in a report on the arrest of minors by Israel that “Around 500 – 700 Palestinian children, some as young as 12, are arrested, detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military detention system each year. The majority of Palestinian child detainees are charged with throwing stones.’

While Palestinian children endure such conduct, no Israeli children come into contact with the military court system, proving the amount of discrimination in the Israeli system.

4. Institutionalised ill-treatment

WAFA quotes a UNICEF report that concludes- ill treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears ‘widespread, systematic and institutionalized’. “On average 700 Palestinian children a year, appear before Israel’s military court,” According to the report, children detainees are treated harshly in most cases. It mentions binding hands and eyes, signing documents in Hebrew, physical and verbal abuse, night arrests, threats, strip searches and solitary confinement to name a few.

5. Not harsh enough says Israeli cabinet

Israel’s cabinet’s recent decision to back a law change allowing harsher sentences of up to 20 years for stone throwers after the recent tensions in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Ahmed Melhelm wrote for Al Monitor last year (see here) on Israeli torture of child prisoners…. he raised the following;

  • The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah)- request to Israel’s Attorney General to halt the physical and psychological abuse practiced against Palestinian children during arrest and interrogation, documenting dozens of cases of torture inside prisons.
  • Defense for Children International (DCI)- “The occupation forces arrest and try about 700 children annually. The monthly average of Palestinian children held in Israeli military detention during 2013 was 199.”
  • Salah al-Hammouri, researcher with the Conscience Foundation for Human Rights in Jerusalem – “The psychological effects of the interrogation are clearly visible on the children that come out of prison, and this is reflected by the fact that they appear older than their true age. They react in unexpected ways — sometimes violently — and many of them refuse to go back to school.”
  • Khodr Rasras, clinical psychologist, Center for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture, “There are immediate effects that are apparent on a child who has been detained, such as a sense of loneliness and isolation from his peers. [The child] seems older than his true age, and has a personality resembling that of an adult, in addition to fear and sadness inside the prison, because he is far from his parents. This creates a psychological state of unease and distress that accompanies [the child] for some time.”…A very small group [of these prisoners] are afflicted with mental illnesses such as depression.” and  “Erasing the psychological and physical effects of torture that appear on children after their release requires effort and time for psychological rehabilitation.”

In December 2014 Al Akhbar reported

“According to a report by The Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, dozens of video recorded testimonies of children arrested during the first months of 2014, pointing out that 75 percent of the detained children are subjected to physical torture and 25 percent faced military trials.

Israeli forces detained at least four Palestinian children, aged 13 to 16, last month for allegedly throwing stones at Israeli cars, and attempted to detain two Palestinian children, a two-year-old and a nine-year old, on suspicion of throwing stones.”

We know this is wrong, numerous reports and representations fall on deaf ears, Israel continues to put on the mask of the civilised. Guess what Israel and your bastions of caring sensitive hasbara supporters………………WE DON”T BELIEVE YOU! boycott

 

 

The Tel Aviv stabbings: What the media left out

Repost from the site ‘If American’s Knew’

They introduce the post as a “response to the slanted media coverage on the recent Tel Aviv stabbings that contains statistics and facts that we think you may wish to share with others.” I heard an interview with a Palestinian busdriver who was talking about the brief strike they had after a colleague was stabbed to death by ‘settlers’, I prefer to call them ‘unsettlers’ (and that’s when I’m being generous). He spoke of having to work to feed his family and being spat on and abused daily by these doyens of diplomacy in Jerusalem.

I must be getting lazy again I was in the middle of posting and found this in my inbox so will work on something else, also just wondering why Americans are so America-centric, it’s certainly not just Americans who need to know this.

The Tel Aviv stabbings: What the media left out.

My next post is a repost of the recent Jonathon Cook article which addresses the complete madness confronted everyday by Palestinians under occupation…stay tuned.

3dflagsdotcom_isrpa_2fawl

VIDEO: “Israeli Control of Congress”, American intelligence team [FIRST TIME IN HISTORY!] gave a military briefing at ‘Damascus Terror Conference’, to an audience of key military leaders of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Russia

sedwith:

Must see video: Gordon Duff speaks in Damascus on US Policy links to organised crime and Israeli control of policy, John McCain and his Da’ash IS gangs and Chuck Hegals role in preventing US bombing of Syria over ‘gas attacks’.

 

Originally posted on the real SyrianFreePress Network:

Israeli Control of Congress Cited in Terrorism Keynote

Russian and US delegations chiefs with Barakat of Syria reading findings-750

Damascus Terror Conference Gets a Taste of “AIPAC’s” Criminal Ties

By Gordon Duff, Veteran Today Senior Editor

Two days of meetings were brought to a screeching halt when Gordon Duff spoke at the Damascus conference.

Seated on his right, and speaking next, was Colonel James Hanke, US Army Special Forces (ret). On his left, the Syrian Minister of Justice Najm al Ahmad and Mike Harris. Handling the camera on this short video is Jim W. Dean.

.

.

This may well have been the first time in history an American intelligence team of “non-activists” gave a military briefing to an audience of this type, including key military leaders of diverse tribal forces throughout Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, a Russian delegation and others from around the world.

VT_s Colonel Jim Hanke, former Attache to Israel VT’s Colonel Jim Hanke…

View original 245 more words

the real Syrian Free Press

Israeli Control of Congress Cited in Terrorism Keynote

Russian and US delegations chiefs with Barakat of Syria reading findings-750Russian and US delegations chiefs with Barakat of Syria reading findings

Damascus Terror Conference Gets a Taste of “AIPAC’s” Criminal Ties

By Gordon Duff, Veteran Today Senior Editor

Two days of meetings were brought to a screeching halt when Gordon Duff spoke at the Damascus conference.

Seated on his right, and speaking next, was Colonel James Hanke, US Army Special Forces (ret). On his left, the Syrian Minister of Justice Najm al Ahmad and Mike Harris. Handling the camera on this short video is Jim W. Dean.

.

.

This may well have been the first time in history an American intelligence team of “non-activists” gave a military briefing to an audience of this type, including key military leaders of diverse tribal forces throughout Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, a Russian delegation and others from around the world.

VT_s Colonel Jim Hanke, former Attache to IsraelVT’s Colonel Jim Hanke, former…

View original post 243 more words

Israeli Naval attacks on Palestinian Fisherman

Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza coastline. Israel has an imposed 6 nautical mile limit to the distance they can fish from the shore. Image by MEMO Photographer Mohammed Asad.

Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza coastline. Israel has an imposed 6 nautical mile limit from the Gaza shore on the distance they can fish . Image by MEMO Photographer Mohammed Asad.

This is a daily harassment of people’s rights to harvest food and has a direct link to the monetary gain for Israel in the gas fields off the Gaza shore.
Ask yourself, what does this have to do with Israeli security?
What right does Israel have to impose a 6 nautical mile sea limit?
 Sedwith, 10.12.2014
A direct report below from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights…….

Israeli Naval Forces Escalate Attacks against Palestinian Fishermen in Gaza Sea; 12 Fishermen Arrested, 5 Fishing Boats Confiscated and Fishing Equipment Damaged.

Report

from Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Published on 07 Dec 2014

 

Israeli gunboats stationed in the Gaza Sea chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within the limit allowed for fishing and opened fire at them. They arrested 12 fishermen, confiscated 5 boats off al-Waha shore in Beit Lahia town in the Northern Gaza Strip and damaged fishing equipment. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the continued Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip and is concerned over the continued targeting of fishermen and their livelihoods.

Economic and social rights of fishermen have been violated by the illegal naval blockade imposed by Israeli authorities on the Gaza Sea.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 18:30 on Saturday, 06 December 2014, Israeli gunboats stationed off northwest of al-Waha shore, northwest of Beit Lahia town in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 2-3 miles and then surrounded 5 fishing boats boarded by 12 Palestinian fishermen. Israeli forces arrested all fishermen and took them to an unknown destination. They also confiscated the five boats and fishing nets. The fishermen, who are so far under arrest, were identified as:

· Safwat ‘Abdel Malek Hasan al-Sultan (30) and Sa’ed Ziyad Mahmoud Zayed (32); both from al-Salatin neighborhood, who were on a boat belonging to Fahmi Mahmoud Mohammed Zayed. Israeli forces confiscated their boat and fishing nets.

· Mahmoud Mohammed Mohammed Zayed (29) and his brother Ahmed (30), from al-Salatin neighborhood, who were both on a boat belonging to their father. The boat was confiscated and fishing nets were cut and confiscated.

· Mohammed Amin Rushdi Abu Wardeh (22) and his brother Yousif (19); from al-Salatin neighborhood, who were both on the board of a boat belonging to their father. The boat was confiscated and fishing nets were cut and confiscated.

· Belal Abu ‘Odah (23), Mahmoud Naser Mahfouz (23), Sofian Mahfouz (25), Yaser ‘Othman Meqdad (26), his brother Adham (27), and Bahaa’ al-Deen al-Najjar (22); all of them from al-Shati’ refugee camo, west of Gaza City. They were on the board of two boats that were confiscated with fishing nets.

PCHR condemns the continued Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, and:

  1. Calls for immediately stopping the policy of chasing and arresting Palestinian fishermen, and allowing them to sail and fish freely;
  2. Calls upon Israeli forces to release the detained fishermen and compensate them for the material damage that might have incurred to them; and
  3. Calls upon the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, to immediately intervene to stop the Israeli violations against the Palestinian fishermen and allow them to sail and fish freely in the Gaza Sea.

Necessity the mother of innovation in Gaza

I have reposted the Al Monitor Gaza contributor Mohammed Othman’s post in full. Posted December 4, 2014

As a muddy builder who has built an octagonal home, this post struck a chord and made me happy.  The devastation in Shajaiya by Israeli warmongers was soul destroying and the shekel control of goods to rebuild the Gaza Strip is yet more testament to the Zionist push to rid Palestinians completely from their invaded homeland.

The ‘product’ still costs and I wonder why they can’t just make muddies and air dry them? Perhaps I should investigate further, unless readers can offer some more information.


Houses under construction by Imad al-Khalidi’s company Ammar Heritage are seen in the northern Gaza Strip, Nov. 15, 2014. (photo by Ammar Heritage)

Gaza engineer develops new technology to replace cement

Author: Mohammed Othman, Translator:Joelle El-Khoury

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Salameh Bihar, 56, who was displaced after Israel destroyed his house in Gaza’s Shajaiya neighborhood in the recent war, is still waiting to rebuild his three-story house. But he is not optimistic about succeeding.

Engineer Imad al-Khalidi has developed a replacement for cement to help the Gaza Strip deal with its housing crisis, after the Israeli war left many homes damaged or destroyed and in the face of Israel continuing to prevent the entry of construction materials.

He explained to Al-Monitor that materials are expensive and difficult to obtain. “The way construction materials are entering Gaza is unfair. For instance, a cement unit is worth 27 shekels [$6.70] for affected citizens, but how are they supposed to afford its price when their homes are destroyed? Moreover, the unit cost exceeds 150 shekels [$37.50] for average citizens [not affected by the war], which raises the price of construction operations,” he explained.

Gazans who had their homes destroyed in the war have been complaining about the slow reconstruction process and the lack of entry of building materials.

The pressing needs of Gazans has inspired innovators to develop solutions through available tools. Three successive Israeli wars in the last six years have devastated the Gaza Strip, most recently the war in July that destroyed or damaged more than 84,000 houses.

Engineer Imad al-Khalidi may have found a temporary solution to help alleviate the lack of construction materials, prevented by Israel from entering the Gaza Strip. In 2008, he started to conduct experiments on natural materials to be used in construction instead of cement, and succeeded in creating a new technique.

Khalidi, a soil expert in organic architecture, said that the search for alternatives was based on materials found in Gaza. “We wanted to use local materials as an alternative, to save ourselves and provide the displaced with shelters, as nearly 5,000 housing units were destroyed in the 2008-2009 war. We examined various types of soil in Gaza, and found a suitable type rich in natural welding materials, such as potassium carbonate, magnesium, metal oxides, limestone and sand,” he explained.

He pointed out that the natural materials he found act like cement in its different stages, but they are more solid and can last hundreds of years.

Khalidi explained the process: “We compose a homogeneous mixture by conducting a soil treatment through pressure, to which we add welding natural materials such as potassium carbonate, ground limestone powder and a small quantity of gypsum, to form an initial coherent product in the brick production. Yet, the strong cohesion begins after it is used and continues to solidify for hundreds of years, and to harden dozens of times more than its initial form. This means that the brick increasingly hardens with time, and has its own characteristics.”

Khalidi established in 2009 his own private factory to produce local bricks in different sizes. At first, he designed machinery operated manually, then he created hydraulic machinery. “We have evolved, and we are now only relying on automated pressure systems. As some donor institutions demanded services to accommodate those affected by the wars, the work has increased in our factory with a production capacity reaching up to 50,000 bricks per day,” he said.

Khalidi said that after he developed his new product, he started working in small workshops, as there was a lack of oil and electricity. But today, he owns another factory. “We have developed a technique to be able to produce bricks without the need for any kind of power, by using the same materials and introducing some improvements so that we can overcome the power crisis,” he added.

Although the material from which the brick is produced is solid, Khalidi believes that it does not consist of a substitute for traditional materials. The long blockade has prevented the reconstruction of destroyed homes, not to mention the natural population increase in the Gaza Strip, which, according to Khalidi, requires 80,000 housing units to be built over the next five years.

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A near completed housing project by Ammar Heritage, northern Gaza Strip, Nov. 15, 2014. (Photo by: Ammar Heritage)

“The significant devastation in Gaza is accompanied by a new and great challenge, namely the provision of shelters. There would be at least 3,000 trucks loaded with construction materials in the Gaza Strip per day, in case there is a serious will to rebuild. For this reason, we are currently using this new technique only to help provide shelters,” Khalidi said.

Khalidi has kept the price the same as cement for locals looking to build homes, while upping the price for commercial projects. “The price per square meter ranges between $350 and $400 for ready-to-move-in private construction projects, and between $150 and $160 per square meter for shelter projects. As for the ordinary citizens who did not suffer any damages [to their homes] and would like to build their own home, it will cost them $220 [per square meter], which is the same price as cement.”

Safwat Mushtaha, chairman of Mushtaha and Hassouna Co., a construction company in Gaza, said that modern technology can help in light of the shortage of traditional construction materials because of the Israeli blockade.

Mushtaha told Al-Monitor that by using the new product, “the owners of destroyed homes will save 25% of the original cost of the building process with traditional materials.”

While Khalidi’s product is yet another example of Gazans exploring innovative solutions to help cope with the crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade, it is no replacement for the need to end the siege.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/12/palestine-gaza-reconstruction–siege-new-technology.html#ixzz3LLg700WK