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18 January 2005

Development DEPARTING HEAD OF UN REFUGEE AGENCY DECRIES CONDITIONS IN GAZA AS HORRENDOUS Genevieve Cora Fraser, The Electronic Intifada, 18 January 2005

Peter Hansen, the departing Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNWRA), spoke out about the conditions in Gaza at a recent conference sponsored by the Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace held in East Jerusalem. According to Hansen, the situation in Gaza is so horrendous that without the help of bulldozers you couldn’t get through the debris and sand barriers thrown up to block traffic. “If you wanted to go into Gaza today you wouldn’t be able to because there are tanks along all along the main road to Gaza. All along the road you will see houses that have been bulldozed. As you move down through Gaza the situation gets even worse,” Hansen stated.


Human Rights RAFAH CROSSING CLOSURE TAKES TRAGIC TOLL Laila El-Haddad and Khalid Amayreh, Al Jazeera 18 January 2005

At least seven Palestinian refugees stranded at the Egypt-Rafah border crossing closed by Israel for the past six weeks have succumbed to various illnesses. The dead men were part of 7000 people stranded somewhere between Cairo and the Rafah border crossing – the only crossing they can use to travel in and out of Gaza – since an explosion in a tunnel beneath the border killed six Israeli occupation soldiers on 12 December. Medical sources in Gaza and security sources in Egypt have spoken of families waiting to bury their dead in their hometown of Gaza, but forced to resort to the Egyptian border town of al-Arish after being turned back at the crossing.


Diaries BACK TO ‘NORMAL’ IN BALATA Ray Smith, Live from Palestine, 17 January 2005

Nablus, 15 January 2005 — Lately the Israeli army has been showing up regularly at night, but after some quiet days following the elections, military activity is becoming “normal” again. This morning two jeeps destroyed a few market stands at the main entrance of Balata camp and provoked the kids in the street, who responded with stones. The jeeps kept driving into the camp for about two hours, but they finally left after the bigger jeep’s front window was hit by white and blue paint, leaving the driver unable to see anything through it.


Art, Music & Culture EAST JERUSALEM’S CHEHADE BROTHERS NOMINATED FOR MUSIC AWARD Amal Awad, The Electronic Intifada, 18 January 2005

Among this year’s nominees for a BBC Radio 3 Award for World Music is Palestinian group the Chehade Brothers. Rami and Farid Chehade, in their 20s, are originally from East Jerusalem. They have recently enjoyed success with their improvised approach to tarab (a musical style fusing various cultural elements), which they term “light popular tarab”. The result is a modern, smooth and gentle approach to a popular style of music. The Chehade Brothers have been nominated in for the Award for World Music in the “Middle East & North Africa” category. The other nominees in this category are Khaled from Algeria, Mercan Dede from Turkey and Souad Massi from Algeria.


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