One week after an August 26 ceasefire halting an Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip, tens of thousands of Palestinians remained displaced, sheltered in United Nations schools and other facilities. On September 1, 58,071 people still lived in 36 UN schools across the coastal enclave, according to Chris Gunness, spokesperson for UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees. Israel’s 51-day onslaught damaged 15,670 houses, including 2276 completely destroyed, and up to 500,000 Palestinians were displaced.
The summer sun beat down on August 21 as thousands of Palestinians set out on a silent march in al-Rama, a Palestinian town in the northern Galilee region of present-day Israel, honouring the recently deceased poet and activist Samih al-Qasim. The 76-year-old al-Qasim, who battled cancer for three years, died late on August 19. Placards bearing verses of al-Qasim’s poetry and Palestinian flags bobbed above the marching crowd, which eventually arrived at the town’s main amphitheater. Al-Qasim’s relatives, prominent religious figures and politicians all spoke.
Palestinians in Gaza took to the streets on August 26 in celebration. After 51 days of merciless bombardment by the Israeli military, an open-ended ceasefire between Palestinian resistance groups and Israel was announced that appears likely to last for at least the immediate future. During the assault, homes, hospitals, shops, agricultural infrastructure and schools were pulverised. About 2100 Gazans were killed. An estimated 80% of these were civilians, including more than 500 children.
Palestinian officials have recognised that Latin American countries were the first to condemn the Israeli onslaught against Gaza. The Palestinian National Council (PNC), the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, thanked Latin America on August 27 for its solidarity with the people of Gaza and its condemnation of the seven-week Israeli massacre in the enclave. During a PNC meeting, the Palestinian leaders said the solidarity of Latin America with Palestinians “is an inheritance of patriots like Jose Marti and Simon Bolivar”.
Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets as celebration broke over a long-term truce agreement was reached on August 26. As news spread that the seven-week Israeli assault on Gaza may have ended with a long term cease-fire agreement, the population of the battered strip flooded to the streets to celebrate. The deal calls for an indefinite halt to hostilities, immediately opening Gaza’s blockaded crossings with Israel and Egypt and extending the fishing zone for Gaza's fisherfolk.
The morning after Lailat al-Qadr, the death toll in Gaza was approaching its first 1000. Al-Qadr ― the night before the last Friday in the holy month of Ramadan ― is believed to be the night when the Quran was revealed to the prophet Muhammad. I spent this special night with friends in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah after taking part in the “48K March” for Gaza. The march began in Ramallah and went to Qalandiya checkpoint.
As a Palestinian political activist living in present-day Israel, Tareq Yassin, 23, has grown accustomed to racist intimidation and threats of violence. Yassin, secretary of the left-wing Hadash political party’s student wing at the University of Haifa, has been repeatedly targeted for his activism. Yet last month was the first time he was subjected to vigilante violence by right-wing Israelis.
Venezuelan ambassador to Egypt, Juan Antonio Hernandez, said on August 20 that an Israeli aircraft attacked the Venezuelan humanitarian delegation in Rafah along the border post between Egypt and Palestine, Venezuela Analysis said the next day. The delegation was delivering 12 tons of aid to the Palestinian people. No one was injured during the attack.
The Venezuelan government has released images of the “Hugo Chavez” shelter, where incoming Palestinian child refugees of the Israeli assault of the Gaza Strip will be housed, Venezuela Analysis said on August 16. President Nicolas Maduro made the pledge last month to shelter Palestinian children who were orphaned and wounded as a result of the conflict, Venezuela Analysis said on August 16. Israel's ongoing assault has killed more than 2000 Palestinians, mostly civilians.
In an action that has reverberated around the world and inspired pro-Palestinian activists, five days of pickets by activists prevented a ship from the Israeli shipping company Zim Integrated Shipping Services from unloading almost any of its cargo at the port of Oakland. The blockade was organised as part of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign targetting Israel called for by dozens of Palestinian civil society groups. It was the longest blockade yet of an Israeli ship anywhere in the world.