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  • Author: Ilana Feldman
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: This essay explores the possible negative consequences of identifying the current situation in Gaza primarily as a humanitarian problem. Scholarship on the complicated effects of humanitarian action in general, the early history of humanitarian intervention in the lives of Palestinians, and the current politics of aid in Gaza all underscore these problems. The essay reflects on several aspects of what can be called the "humanitarianism problem" in Gaza by considering both how humanitarianism is sometimes deployed as a strategy for frustrating Palestinian aspirations and the often unintended political effects of the most well-intentioned humanitarian interventions.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Palestine, Gaza
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: 16 FEBRUARY: As the quarter opened, Israeli and Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiating teams created at the 11/07 Annapolis summit were holding regular meetings to discuss final status (see Quarterly Update for details). Israel, meanwhile, maintained an extremely tight seal on Gaza following Hamas's 1/23-2/3 breach of the Gaza-Egypt border (see Quarterly Update in JPS 147); no exports were permitted and only very limited humanitarian imports were allowed. During the day, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) makes a ground incursion into Rafah, clashing with local gunmen, killing 1 Hamas mbr., wounding 7 Palestinians (including 1 bystander). In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in `Ayn al-Sultan refugee camp (r.c.) nr. Jericho, nr. Nablus. A Palestinian resistance mbr. wounded during a 2/11 IDF raid on Wadi al-Silqa dies. An Islamic Jihad mbr. dies of injuries sustained on 2/15 when a mortar he was preparing exploded prematurely. (WP 2/17; OCHA 2/20; PCHR 2/21; OCHA 3/4) 17 FEBRUARY: The IDF makes a predawn incursion into al-Shuka in s. Gaza, exchanging fire with local Palestinians, leaving 3 Hamas mbrs. and 1 mbr. of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRCs) dead, more than 20 Palestinians wounded (including "several" gunmen), 1 IDF soldier seriously injured; at least 80 Palestinians are detained for questioning before the IDF withdraws in the afternoon. The IDF also sends armored vehicles, bulldozers into areas n. of Bayt Lahiya in n. Gaza to level land. After a Palestinian rocket hits a home in Sederot later in the day (causing no injuries), Israeli PM Ehud Olmert gives the IDF a "free hand" to operate against militants in Gaza, stating that Gazans would "not be allowed to live normal lives" as long as Israelis are targeted by rocket fire. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Tulkarm town and r.c., in Abu Dis nr. East Jerusalem and Nablus, nr. Jenin; fences off farmlands along a settler-only bypass road nr. Azun nr. Nablus to prevent Palestinian youths fr. stoning passing Jewish settler vehicles. Nr. Hebron, a Palestinian boy is injured when he accidentally triggers unexploded ordnance (UXO) left by the IDF. (NYT, WP 2/18; OCHA 2/20; PCHR 2/21) 18 FEBRUARY: The IDF sends armored vehicles, bulldozers into the Erez industrial zone to level land. Palestinians fire at least 15 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, causing damage but no injuries. Egypt sends 334 Gazans it has rounded up since the border was reclosed on 2/3 back to the Strip through the Rafah crossing; another 150 Gazans are being held at a youth hostel in al-Arish. A Palestinian dies of injuries sustained during the 2/17 IDF raid on al-Shuka. (WT 2/19; OCHA 2/20; PCHR 2/21) 19 FEBRUARY: The IDF sends troops to Dayr al-Balah and Wadi al-Silqa in central (c.) Gaza, exchanging fire with local Palestinians, killing an 11-yr.-old Palestinian boy; fatally shoots a Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) mbr. planting a roadside bomb nr. the Gaza border fence. In n. Gaza, 3 Palestinians are injured when a rocket fired toward Israel lands inside the Strip. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Tulkarm and in Hebron, Jenin (raiding a Hamas-affiliated charity, confiscating computers and files). (NYT, OCHA, WP 2/20; PCHR 2/21) 20 FEBRUARY: In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units in a car with Palestinian license plates into Tulkarm to raid a cafĂ©, detaining 13 Palestinians, releasing most (including a 14-yr.-old boy) later in the day; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Hebron, nr. Nablus. Unidentified gunmen fire on the home of a senior Hamas mbr. in Gaza City, causing no injuries. (PCHR 2/21; OCHA 2/27; PCHR 2/28) 21 FEBRUARY: Gaza's Health Min. and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Rafah report that most of their ambulances have stopped running for lack of fuel. The IDF makes a late-night air strike on a group of Palestinians nr. the Gaza border e. of al-Maghazi, killing 2 armed Palestinians. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols in, fires on residential areas of Tulkarm, causing no injuries; conducts arrest raids, house searches nr. Bethlehem. (PCHR 2/21; OCHA 2/27; PCHR 2/28) 22 FEBRUARY: IDF troops on the Gaza border e. of Gaza City fire a missile at a group of armed Palestinians nr. the border, wounding 1 armed Palestinian, 1 Palestinian teenager outside his home nearby. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in `Ayn Bayt al-Ma' r.c. nr. Nablus (arresting senior Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP] mbr. Majdi Mabruk) and nr. Bethlehem, Hebron, Tulkarm; breaks the windows of several Palestinian cars parked nr. a Hebron building occupied by Jewish settlers for the past yr., stating the vehicles posed a threat to the settlers; fires rubber-coated steel bullets, percussion grenades, tear gas at Palestinian, Israeli, international activists taking part in the weekly nonviolent demonstration against the separation wall in Bil`in nr. Ramallah (injuring 6). Hamas-affiliated imam Majid Barghouti (age 44), who was among 8 Palestinians arrested by the PA in a raid nr. Ramallah on 2/14, dies in PA General Intelligence custody in Ramallah of apparent torture; PA Pres. Mahmud Abbas puts West Bank security forces on high alert, orders an investigation. (JP 2/23; WP 2/24; al-Akhbar [Cairo] 2/26; OCHA 2/27; PCHR 2/28) 23 FEBRUARY: The IDF shells a suspected rocket-launching site nr. Bayt Hanun in n. Gaza, killing 3 Palestinian civilians sitting outside a house. Palestinians fire 4 mortars fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF patrols, conducts random ID checks in Anabta nr. Tulkarm; conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Nablus, and in Hebron, Qabatya nr. Jenin. (NYT, WP 2/24; OCHA 2/27; PCHR 2/28) 24 FEBRUARY:The IDF makes an incursion into al-Shuka in s. Gaza, raiding and searching homes, clashing with local gunmen, killing 1 armed Palestinian, detaining 50 Palestinians for questioning, arresting 3 and transporting them to Israel. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Bethlehem, Nablus, and nr. Jenin, Tulkarm. In Dayr al-Balah, Hamas-affiliated police raid the Prisoners' Association building, confiscate documents and furniture. (NYT 2/25; OCHA 2/27; PCHR 2/28) 25 FEBRUARY: Overnight, the IDF makes air strikes on suspected rocket-launching sites in n. Gaza, killing 2 Hamas mbrs., 1 unidentified armed Palestinian, 2 bystanders. Across Gaza, several thousand Palestinians take part in a nonviolent march to the border with Israel to urge an end to the siege; Hamas-affiliated security forces block demonstrators fr. reaching the Erez crossing. After the rally, some Palestinian youths gather at Erez and throw stones toward IDF positions, burn tires; the IDF fires on them, wounding 2. Palestinians fire 11 rockets fr. Gaza into Israel, seriously injuring a 10-yr.-old Israeli boy in Sederot. In the West Bank, the IDF sends undercover units into Nablus in a truck with Palestinian license plates, raiding a shop, firing on those inside wounding 2 Palestinians, arresting 6 (including a 16-yr.-old boy); conducts rare arrest raids, house searches in Jericho. (IFM, JP, NYT 2/25; NYT, WT 2/26; OCHA 2/27; PCHR 2/28) 26 FEBRUARY: Overnight, the IDF sends troops into Hebron to search the offices of several schools, youth centers, and orphanages (housing some 1,000 children) owned by the Islamic Charitable Association (ICA), issuing an order declaring the ICA an illegal organization affiliated with Hamas, demanding that the buildings be vacated and turned over to the IDF for a 3-yr. period by 4/8, and stating that anyone remaining in the buildings will be considered to be admitting membership in Hamas and thereby subject to 5-yr. imprisonment; soldiers immediately confiscate 2 buses, a car, computers, appliances, furniture, documents; the ICA, a major philanthropic group founded in 1962 that runs many schools, nurseries, bakeries, and other services for the poor across the West Bank, denies Hamas affiliation. During the day, the IDF conducts arrest raids, house searches in and around Jenin town and r.c., Ramallah. In East Jerusalem, the IDF demolishes a Palestinian home. Meanwhile, in s. Gaza, the IDF sends troops into al-Qarara, firing on residential areas, killing 1 Palestinian civilian. (OCHA, WP 2/27; PCHR 2/28; al-Ahram Weekly [Cairo] 4/18)
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Egypt