Gaza: Israel's Soweto

by Joan Mandell
published in MER136

Gaza is Israel’s Soweto. Each has its own lexicon but similar reference points. The “township” becomes here the refugee camp. Military occupation, like apartheid, means segregation in residence, employment, politics, education and law. In Gaza, the pass card is known as an identity card. Here “removal” becomes “deportation.” In other respects, the vocabulary is identical: labor reserve, arrest, detention, imprisonment, demolition.

The Mind of the Censor

published in MER138

Gaza Ghetto, a documentary film about a Palestinian family in the occupied Gaza Strip by MERIP editor Joan Mandell and Swedish filmmakers Pea Holmquist and Pierre Bjorklund, premiered in Stockholm in November 1984. In January 1985, a Palestinian theater company in Jerusalem, El-Hakawati, purchased a copy and screened it for the press. The theater then presented Gaza Ghetto to the Israeli Council for Censorship of Films and Plays, as required of all films before public screening. On February 6, 1985, the council for censorship banned the film in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Israeli lawyer Avigdor Feldman appealed the ban on behalf of El-Hakawati on April 15, but a lower court upheld the decision.

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Gaza Ghetto

by Taline Voskeritchian
published in MER146

Pea Holmquist, Joan Mandell and Pierre Bjorklund, Gaza Ghetto: Portrait of a Palestinian Family, 1948-1984 (Icarus Films, 1984).

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Pulp This Book

published in MER153

I would appreciate your publishing in Middle East Report the information that Zed Books has agreed to withdraw from circulation and pulp all remaining copies of Bantustan Gaza by Richard Locke and Anthony Stewart. This action has been taken at my request on the grounds that substantial portions of the book were plagiarized from my two-part monograph The Gaza Strip: Heading Toward a Dead End. Zed Books has also agreed to pay the cost that I incurred by engaging a solicitor.


Ann M. Lesch
Villanova, PA

Cossali and Robson, Stateless in Gaza

by Rania Atalla
published in MER157

Paul Cossali and Clive Robson, Stateless in Gaza (London: Zed Press, 1986).

Stateless in Gaza comprises interviews with 60 Gazans -- from women activists to housewives, from resistance writers to laborers in Israel -- who talk about life in the occupied strip. Cossali, a teacher and solidarity activist, and Robson, a development worker, allow Gazans to tell their stories directly, bringing into focus the major issues that confront those who live in this “forgotten corner of Palestine.”

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Uprising in Gaza

by Anita Vitullo Khoury
published in MER152

One year before the Palestinian mass uprising began, the writing was on the grey cement walls of refugee camp houses in Gaza, where you could read the anguish of Gaza camp residents at the spectacle of the Amal militia bombarding Palestinians in the camps in Lebanon. These attacks forged a real unity among Palestinian factions there and carried Palestinians here into street demonstrations -- as much against Amal’s assault as against Israel’s “iron fist.”

Israeli military authorities must have sensed that resistance was about to escalate; when demonstrations became irritatingly frequent, they increased punitive measures and violence against Gaza Strip residents, particularly against boys between 13 and 20 years old.

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Gaza Diary

by Melissa Baumann
published in MER152

February 7, 1988, Morning

“Welcome to Gaza,” the sign reads, but the streets are not inviting. The long road into town is nearly deserted, its shops and shanties locked shut; only a few men gather sporadically for coffee or a cigarette. Beyond, the camps stretch toward the sea like a giant junkyard, people and goods cast off on this spit of land.

It is the start of a two-day general strike, and unwise to be on the street. Soldiers are everywhere, visible and not.

"What Elections? When?"

published in MER164

At the southernmost tip of the Gaza Strip, 35 kilometers south of Gaza City, lies the city of Rafah and its refugee camps. Of the total population of 110,000, 78,000 are refugees. A Rafah resident, ‘Isam Younis, interviewed a 28-year old worker from Rafah’s Shabura refugee camp.

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Gaza's Tunnel Complex

by Nicolas Pelham
published in MER261

For an informal smuggling route, the tunnel complex underneath Gaza’s border with Egypt is remarkably formal. A security cordon of chicken-wire fencing surrounds the Gazan side of the site, barring entrance from Rafah town a few hundred meters away. At each exit a squad in military fatigues monitors the round-the-clock traffic for blacklisted goods. At one checkpoint, Hamas security men frisked a youth in jeans and a baggy T-shirt, discovering a colored paper bag taped to his waist. Inside were 16 packets of tramadol, an opioid painkiller that can be purchased over the counter in Egypt but is sold by the pill in Gaza. The young man’s stash would have fetched 6,000 shekels (over $1,600) on the streets.

Rabin's Gaza "Goodwill Gesture"

published in MER182

Gazans stand in the wreckage of their home, destroyed by Israeli anti-tank missiles and dynamite. Some 20 families in the al-Amal quarter of Khan Yunis were made homeless on February 11 when more than 200 Israeli soldiers and border police carried out a 13-hour military assault in search of “terrorists.”

The troops ordered the families to evacuate their homes before dawn. The Palestinian men between ages 15 and 50 were herded into a nearby garage, bound and blindfolded. Troops fired anti-tank rockets and heavy shells into the houses, and then set dynamite charges inside the wreckage.

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