Monthly Archives: September 2013

French Press Agency Posts Info-Graphic With False & Defamatory Claims About Palestine

Agence France-Presse has recently posted a info-graphic on discrimination against women.
The info-graphic caption: In 15 countries, women can’t get a job without their husband’s permission.
Wow- how horrible is it that a woman must get her husband’s permission to work! Included in the 15 countries is West Bank and Gaza (which AFP refuses to acknowledge as Palestine). As a married woman in Gaza I have never heard of such a law and was taken aback when I looked at the post by AFP. Could it be true?
Here is the false accusation:click here for link to direct page.:

Source: @AFP

Source: @AFP

I quickly made a few phone calls to legal experts here and was given this startling answer: NO SUCH LAW EXISTS.
Could AFP really have posted such a blatant lie? Not content with the answers I was given by the experts I decided to do a little research myself. The following is what I learned:
An excerpt from the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Labor Section 7 on women’s rights in the workplace gives no hint of such a requirement. In fact in is pretty much the opposite!

PA Labor Law

PA Labor Law

Take a closer look at the actual law from the Palestinian Labor Ministry

Chapter Two
General Provisions and Principles
Article 2
Work is a right for every citizen who is able to do so.
The Palestinian Authority
works toward providing it on the basis of equal opportunities and without any kind
of discrimination.

Interesting: it says every citizen has the right to work. No mention of married women needing permission from husbands.

Both Articles 9 and 25 of the Palestine Basic Law affirms equality for everyone.

Palestine Basic Law- our Constitution

Palestine Basic Law- our Constitution

Could AFP really have gotten it so wrong? A little more research brought me to the UN page.
In September of 2011 the United Nations Development Programme released a study on women’s rights in Palestine entitled A Review of Palestinian Legislation from a Women’s Rights Perspective.
Nowhere in the 37 pages is reference to the ‘law’ Agence France-Presse and John Saeki claims to exist. I find it odd that a full report on women’s rights and legislation would fail to confront this so-called law. A full section on labor laws for women including general recommendations by the UNDP doesn’t even HINT at the supposed discrimination suggested by AFP and John Saeki. Here are the recommendations:

General recommendations by the UN.

General recommendations by the UN.

Am I saying the treatment of women here are 100% equal to that of men? Absolutely not! Find me a country where it is though. I have lived and worked in the US and have experienced gender based discrimination personally.

I find it offensive AFP and John Saeki make false claims against Palestine and urge them to look into the matter and offer a retraction and apology. One can only wonder as to what their true motive really was.

A big thank you to @Yasmeena_Hedaya and @leomonte63 who brought this info-graphic to my attention!

Rainy Streets in Gaza

We had a wonderful rain shower this morning. rain

Gaza Sunset

Amazing yellow Gaza sunset

Amazing yellow Gaza sunset

September 21, 2013: Gaza Beach

Breathtaking sunsets are a Gaza trademark

Breathtaking sunsets are a Gaza trademark

Selling fire grilled sweet potatoes on Gaza beach

Selling fire grilled sweet potatoes on Gaza beach

Fiery sunset September 21, 2013

Fiery sunset September 21, 2013

Horses on the nearly deserted beach

Horses on the nearly deserted beach

beach sept 21 upload

Life Depends On Water But My Tap Is Dry: Life In Gaza Without Water

The refreshing water of the Eastern Mediterranean Ocean.

The refreshing water of the Eastern Mediterranean Ocean.


I wake up every morning and look out my window at the sparkling Mediterranean Ocean. Sometimes it’s azure other times it’s grey- but no matter the colour it always gives me a sense of renewal. Seeking to embody that feeling of renewal I head to the bathroom for a shower. Grabbing a towel and saying a silent prayer I turn the tap…drip…drip…driiiiippppp…then nothing. Great, another day without water.
Coming from the Western world I had experienced power and water outages a few times before-mainly as a result of a storm. Normally things would be back on in a few hours. In Gaza it is different- sometimes we go days without water and this is the way we must live. I remember the first time I woke up to no water. I was perplexed and wondered what was going on but figured it would be back on soon. I waited 12 hours and the faucet was still dry.
The system here was a bit confusing to me at first. I couldn’t understand WHY we just didn’t have any water. Let me explain how it works (or doesn’t work). Most homes in Gaza have huge plastic reservoir tanks for 2000 litres on the roof depending on the size of your family and size of your home. These tanks supply water when the municipal supply is not working. When the municipal supply and electricity are BOTH on at the same time- the tanks are refilled. A small electric motor pump engages and pushes the water up to these tanks. This is a great backup system however it is not fail safe.
Water tanks dot the skyline in Gaza.

Water tanks dot the skyline in Gaza.

water tanks2Sometimes it seems the stars have to align before we can have water.
If the electricity is off at the pumping station- and this happens often as there are fuel shortages and generators cannot be fueled- then there is no water.
If the electricity is on at the pumping station but off at your home-water cannot be pumped up to the tanks on the roof.
If it is not our day to have water from the municipal system- which is every 2 days only- and there is no water in the tanks on the roof because of no electricity-then there is no water.
Of course the water that does come out of the taps when it is available is undrinkable. High levels of nitrates and salt make it unfit for consumption. When I first came to Gaza my hair started to fall out and I developed a rash and itchy skin because of the contaminants. Even now if I stay in the shower too long my skin becomes irritated and forget about getting water in your eyes- they will be red and burn for days. The water even makes kitchen utensils and anything it touches rust in a few months. Our water heater has to be serviced every 3 months because the salt accumulates inside of it and breaks the heater. Clothes wear out after a few washes in the harsh water.
We also must pay to have ‘clean’ water delivered to our home for cooking purposes. 500 litres costs about 20 shekels or $6USD. Nearly everyone has a separate tank for this water and it is delivered by trucks every few days. I only use this water after boiling because I don’t completely trust its cleanliness. The trucks that patrol the neighbourhoods always play a song on their loud speaker so we know they are coming. Some play “Jingle Bells”, Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” or “It’s a Small World”.
Water truck making its rounds.

Water truck making its rounds.


For drinking water we purchase sealed 1.5liter bottles brought in from the West Bank that cost 2 shekels each. It is the only water I feel safe drinking. The cost probably doesn’t seem like much to you but over time it adds up.
So here I am-still waiting for the water to come on and am subsisting on the few bottles I had filled from the tap for emergencies.
Things like running water I took for granted for so many years but now I treasure every sacred drop.

Nuseirat Refugee Camp

Water tanks on roof tops to hols water because municipal supply comes only a few times a week .

Water tanks on roof tops to hols water because municipal supply comes only a few times a week .

Gaza Beach

Beautiful beach in Central Gaza.

Beautiful beach in Central Gaza.

In Photos: The Children of Gaza

Children cooling off in the Mediterranean on a hot day

Children cooling off in the Mediterranean on a hot day

Children walking home after martial arts class.

Children walking home after martial arts class.

Children playing on the beach as the man who sells sweets on his donkey passes by.

Children playing on the beach as the man who sells sweets on his donkey passes by.

Children waiting outside for the electricity and water to come on.

Children waiting outside for the electricity and water to come on.

Children ride a camel for a few shekels.

Children ride a camel for a few shekels.

Children playing as the sun sets.

Children playing as the sun sets.

A Look at Israeli Military Orders: From the Draconian to the Absurd

The first Israeli military order was issued on June 7, 1967. Military Proclamation 1 announced that Israel had occupied and assumed administrative control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip ‘in the interests of security and public order’. Today there are over 2500 military orders and countless amendments. It wasn’t until the 80’s that a compilation of the orders were put together so the general public could have access to the Occupation’s ‘laws’. Even today it is hard to find the exact details of some of the early orders and texts. I will share a small selection of these orders that control all facets of Palestinian life and apply to only Palestinians- not illegal Israeli settlers.

Water Apartheid
Military Order #92 and #158 (8/15/67) gives control of all water resources in West Bank and Gaza Strip to Israeli Military (Article 5). Gives Military power to appoint and direct the organization and directors of any “water entity” in the region (Article 5). Regulations that follow then requires a license from the Israeli Military to install or continue to own or operate any type of water control device (pump, well, irrigation equipment, etc.) which the Military can withdraw at any time. Public Notice of decisions in local newspapers no longer required, only posting within offices of the Israeli Military Authority.

Educational & Political Oppression
Israel Attempts to block ALL forms of resistance and attempts to erase our history.
Military Order #854 (7/6/80) puts Israeli Military in control of acceptance and entrance of students, and faculty and staff employment at West Bank Universities. Israeli Military controls licensing of teachers. Students without I.D. Cards must register with the Israeli Military.
Military Order #107 publishes a list of 60 prohibited school textbooks.Publications banned include works on Arabic grammar, histories of the Crusades and works on Arab nationalism.
Military Order #1079 (amends M.O.107) prohibits video and audio work of a political nature. Publishes new list of over 1000 items including all United Nations Resolutions pertaining to Palestine, poetry, novels, etc.
Military Order #101 forbids a gathering of more than 10 people unless the Israeli military receives advance notice with names of all participants.
Military Order #284 (7/26/68) prohibits training or contact with any “hostile organization” which includes any organization with aims to endanger the security of the public, or the IDF, or public order in Israel, or other areas under control of the Israeli Military
Under #284 it is also prohibited to listen to patriotic music and to have flags of any political faction. Oh and ‘hostile organization’ is ANY that rejects the Occupation.

The Absurd
The most absurd orders impacting a large section of the Palestinian population are the regulations levied at farmers.
Military Order #818 establishes how Palestinians can plant decorative flowers.
Military Order #1147 (amendment) requires Palestinians to get permission from the Israeli military to grow onions.
Military Order #1015 (8/27/82) requires Palestinians to get Israeli military permission to plant and grow fruit trees. Permits expire in one year or each June 15th.
Military Order #96 forbids transport or purchase of goods on a donkey.
Military Order #1002 requiring license issued by Israeli Military-appointed authorities to sell seedlings and operate a nursery.
Military Order #134 prohibits Palestinians from operating tractors or other farm machinery made in Israel or imported from any other country.
Military Order #47 (7/9/67) farmers need permission from Israeli Military appointee to transport agricultural goods.

Blatant Apartheid
Military Order #297 establishes I.D. Card system which are required by authorities for all business transactions. Gives Israeli Military right to confiscate I.D. Cards for any reason. Israeli Military not required to give receipt when confiscating I.D. Cards.
Military Order #1080 (10/3/83) (amends M.O.180) allows Israeli Military-appointed Village Leagues to carry guns and assume many police duties. (but not Palestinians)

Land Theft Laws
Military Order #811 and #847 allows Jews to purchase land from unwilling non-Jewish (Palestinian) sellers by using a ‘power of attorney.’
Military Order #25 forbids public inspection of land transactions.
Military Order #58 makes land transactions immune to review so long as the transaction was carried out by an Israeli ‘acting in good faith.’
Military Order #58, Article 5 says any land transaction will not be voided even if proven to be invalid.
Military Order #847 declares only Israeli notaries can authenticate signatures.
Military Order #1101(amends M.O.271) in order to apply to the Israeli Military Objections Committee for compensation for damages caused by Israeli Military, person must first get certificate from Area Commander that the Military personnel causing the damage were involved in a “security” operation at the time.
Military Order #25 (6/18/67) requires Israeli Military issued permit for all transactions involving immoveable property.

Financial Subjugation
Military Order #33 (6/26/67) gives Israeli Military control over bank deposits.
Military Order #45 (7/9/67) transfers control of Jordanian Banks, and applications for new banks, over to Israeli-appointed position of “Inspector of Banks”
Military Order #26 (6/18/67) gives Israeli Military control over currency transactions, bills of exchange, Gold transactions.
Military Order #998 requires Palestinians to get Israeli military permission to make a withdrawal from their bank accounts.
Military Order #952 (1/20/82) prohibits residents of West Bank from buying foreign currencies except for importing good and services, or for transfer to a dependent relative living outside the West Bank (not to exceed $3000). Also, residents of the West Bank cannot take more than $3000 with them when they travel outside the West Bank, and no more than $500 of that total can be in cash. Requires all residents who have bank accounts to inform the Israeli Military authorities of the account and it’s balance. Residents who own immoveable property outside the West Bank are required to inform the Israeli Military authorities about the details of that ownership.
Military Order #973 (9/6/82) prohibits all money transfers by individuals unless permission has been obtained from the Israeli Military authorities.

Complete Control of Commerce & Business
Military Order #93 and amendment gives all Palestinian insurance business to the Israeli Insurance Syndicate.
Military Order #128 gives the Israeli military the right to take over any Palestinian business which does not open during regular business hours.
Military Order #363 requires Palestinian mechanics to report to the Israeli military the particulars of any and all cars they repair.

Apartheid Legal Systems

Apartheid is defined by International Criminal Court (ICC), which also lists apartheid as a crime against humanity, as inhumane acts “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups… with the intention of maintaining that regime.”
Palestinians live under military law and are tried by military tribunals. Illegal settlers are tried under Israeli civilian law and by ‘religious councils’.

Military Order #378 (4/20/70) empowers Military Area Commanders to establish military courts (Article 3) with prosecutors (Article 8), officials and judges(Article 4) all appointed by same Area Commanders. In addition, these courts can diverge from rules of evidence (Article 9) and regular procedures (Article 10), or hold hearings in secret (Article 11) when needed. Anyone disobeying or resisting the court may be immediately sentenced and jailed for up to 2 years (Article 17). If the Area Commander does not approve of the results of a trial, he has the right to cancel its proceedings and call for a new trial in front of a new judge (Article 42.4), or change the sentence (Articles 44 & 50.C.5.b). Allows the court to order the detention of a person for 6 month periods without trial (using an “arrest warrant”). The person can then be kept in jail longer with issuance of a new arrest warrant. Detention without trial is called, “administrative detention” (Articles 78.F & 87). States that the Military Area Commander has the right to restrict any movements and activities of any persons (Article 85) including confinement to a specific area including his home (Article 86). In addition, Area Commanders have the right to restrict or control the use of any vehicle for any purpose (Article 88), have the right to impose curfews on any area (Article 89), and have the right to close off any area or building or business or institution to any person prohibiting either entrance or exit (Article 90 & 91). In addition, the burden of proof is on the defendant to prove his innocence (Article 94).
Military Order #1229 authorizes Israel to hold Palestinians in administrative detention for up to six months without charge or trial. Six-month detentions can be renewed indefinitely.
Military Order #783 (3/25/79) establishes 5 regional “religious councils” in the West Bank to cover all Israeli-controlled lands in the West Bank. Establishes special Settlement Courts in the Israeli Settlements to try criminal cases (replaced by M.O.892, and relevant amendments also in M.O.1058).
Military Order #892 (3/1/80) established additional “Religious Councils” and Municipal Courts for specific Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and states that all are constituted and operated according to regulations issued by the Area Military Commander (Article 2).
Military Order #29 (6/23/67) concerns operations of prisons. Establishes registration system for tracking prisoners while they are in the prison system. Rules that prisoners can be denied access to a lawyer at any time at the discretion of the Israeli Military Commander.

Extending their control ad infinitum
Military Order #224 (1967) declares that the Emergency Regulations installed by the British Mandate Authorities in 1945 are in affect in the West Bank until specifically declared invalid by name. These Regulations gave the Military powers to violate civil rights and international laws because a security emergency had been declared in the West Bank.I will post more military orders at a later date as I think most people can only stomach a few at a time.
Peace and love,
Sally