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MADA MASR
Mada Masr is an independent Egyptian online newspaper, founded in June 2013, with content in Arabic and English.
Settlers, Prisoners, Resistance: How Israeli Occupation Ties Gaza To The West Bank
FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War
Riham Al Maqdama

Settlers, Prisoners, Resistance: How Israeli Occupation Ties Gaza To The West Bank

The fate of the West Bank is inevitably linked to the conflict in Gaza; and indeed Israeli crackdowns and settler expansion and violence in the West Bank is a sign of an explicit strategy.

-Analysis-

CAIRO — Since “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood” began on October 7, the question has been asked: What will happen in the West Bank?

A review of Israel’s positions and rhetoric since 1967 has always referred to the Gaza Strip as a “problem,” while the West Bank was the “opportunity,” so that former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s decision to withdraw Israeli settlements from Gaza in 2005 was even referred to as an attempt to invest state resources in Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank.

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This separation between Gaza and the West Bank in the military and political doctrine of the occupation creates major challenges, repercussions of which have intensified over the last three years.

Settlement expansion in the West Bank and the continued restrictions of the occupation there constitute the “land” and Gaza is the “siege” of the challenge Palestinians face. The opposition to the West Bank expansion is inseparable from the resistance in Gaza, including those who are in Israeli prisons, and some who have turned to take up arms through new resistance groups.

“What happened in Gaza is never separated from the West Bank, but is related to it in cause and effect,” said Ahmed Azem, professor of international relations at Qatar University. “The name of the October 7 operation is the Al-Aqsa Flood, referring to what is happening in Jerusalem, which is part of the West Bank.”

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Bombs, "Humanitarian" Pause, More Bombs: Journey With Gazans Uprooted By Israel's War
Israel
Beesan Kassab, Noor Swirki and Omar Mousa

Bombs, "Humanitarian" Pause, More Bombs: Journey With Gazans Uprooted By Israel's War

After last Thursday's announcement of daily, four-hour humanitarian pauses in the northern part of Gaza, masses of Palestinians fled southward. But the journey is anything but safe and easy.

KHAN YOUNIS — “The road is difficult. We suffered a lot. It’s all walking and hardships,” says a 60-year-old woman describing her recent journey from northern Gaza to Khan Younis in the south of the strip.

The woman, who is suffering from kidney disease, says that she and her children, along with others who have been displaced by Israel’s relentless bombing of civilians in Gaza, were shelled four times as they moved south. “We started running. What else could we do?” she says.

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But not everyone was able to outrun the Occupation’s strikes. Several people were killed and injured during the journey southward, she tells Mada Masr.

The woman and many others moved from northern Gaza after the White House announced on Thursday a daily, four-hour humanitarian pause in the northern part of the strip, to which Israel had pledged to uphold.

The Israeli occupation spokesperson Avichay Adraee, announced yesterday through his account on X that the Israeli military will allow the displaced to move to the south via the Salah al-Din road east of Gaza between 10 am and 4 pm.

However, the people of northern Gaza who moved within that time period tell Mada Masr they continued to face shelling along the supposed “humanitarian corridors” and in the south, which Israel has said will be a civilian refuge for those who leave “Hamas strongholds” in the north.

Palestinian Photographic Society Photojournalist Mohamed Abu al-Subh who, like other journalists and photographers, staying at the Shifa Hospital, tells Mada Masr: “The Occupation informed us to evacuate to the south, and we chose not to, but as fate would have it, we were forced [to move] by the shelling on Shifa Hospital Thursday and Friday.”

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Photo of a doctor riding his bicycle past debris in Al-Bureij camp in central Gaza
FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War
Mostafa Hosny

How The War Has All But Destroyed Gaza's Ailing Healthcare System

The health situation in Gaza is becoming more and more dire as Israel continues to bomb the enclave. Egyptian media Mada Masr takes a look at the history of the Palestinian health care system.

Mosaab is 16 years old and is a leukemia patient, one of 13,000 cancer patients in the Gaza Strip who have been left without access to medical care since Israel began bombing the strip and cutting off access to water, fuel and other vital supplies. The carnage from Israel’s relentless bombing of Gaza has led to severe overcrowding in the few hospitals that are still operational, with thousands of wounded arriving daily.

“The situation is very bad. There is no medicine, no treatment, no hospitals, and we are unable to leave the house to treat my son. His condition is deteriorating, especially since he is a cancer patient and requires special care. We can’t find all of Mosaab’s medications for his lungs and stomach, antibiotics, and his chemotherapy drugs,” Mosaab’s mother tells Mada Masr. “Everything is cut off. There are no hospitals, no power transformers, no electricity, and we can’t treat him in Gaza or go to Haifa to continue his treatment.”

Before the recent attacks on Gaza, Mosaab was receiving treatment at the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital, which was bombed by the Occupation’s fighter jets. As a result of the airstrikes, the second and third floors of the building were destroyed in airstrikes. Then the hospital halted its operation as it ran out of fuel, the director of the foreign relations department of the Gaza Health Ministry, Mahmoud Radwan, tells Mada Masr.

Mosaab’s mother discovered her son’s illness seven years ago, which set her off on what has been a long journey to try to treat him outside of Gaza, one that thousands of other patients in the strip undertake due to the severe shortage of medical equipment and healthcare workers even before the current attack, which exacerbated the collapse of the health sector.

After Hamas won the 2006 legislative elections, Israel and Egypt imposed an air, land, and sea blockade on Gaza in 2007, restricting the movement in and out of the strip and imposing restrictions on the health sector, as many essential medical supplies suddenly became unavailable.

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Photo of Palestinians waiting in line to collect clean water
FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War
Noor Swirki and Sara Seif Eddin

Gaza's Water Crisis: From Lever Of Occupation To Weapon Of War

Shortages of water, which have ultimately long been controlled by Israel, have long been a brutal reality for the Palestinians of Gaza. Now with the ongoing bombing and siege campaign, the daily search for water has become central to the struggle to survive.

KHAN YOUNIS — Firas, a young Palestinian man from the Gaza Strip, was displaced from eastern Khan Younis to a shelter in the governorate’s center due to the ongoing Israeli bombing. Each day, he carries several empty bottles and makes his way to the Nasser Medical Complex in the south of Gaza, hoping to fill them there.

This water is impotable, but he drinks it anyway. The only other option for him and his family is to stand in line for hours to buy 10 bottles for 12 shekels ($3.08), which is 50% higher than pre-war prices. The water may run out before his turn comes. With the continuing bombing, Firas, like all those displaced to shelter centers, only has the chance to shower every two or three days, depending on the availability of water.

Firas is not alone. Falastin, a displaced woman in her thirties, carries a plastic bag filled with her clothes for half a kilometer to reach a public bathroom in a hospital to take a shower. On her way back, she carries a gallon of water to bring home to her three daughters so they can also shower and wash their clothes. “Imagine walking all this distance and carrying all this weight on my back,” Falastin says.

Ahmad faces a slightly better situation than Firas and Falastin. He hasn’t been displaced yet, but he shares in the daily strip-wide struggle to get water. Ahmad is in charge of the water supply for his family of nine. He walks to a tank at a nearby mosque three times a day while carrying a gallon bottle and fetches 16 liters of water after waiting in line for at least half an hour.

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Photo of relatives carry the bodies of Palestinian journalists killed during an airstrike
Ideas
Noor Swirki

What It Means To Be A Journalist In Gaza

Journalist Noor Swirki writes about what its like for Palestinian journalists working from Gaza, with everything on the line, every night and day.

KHAN YOUNIS — On the morning of the 20th day of war, I received a call from my husband, Salem, a journalist who has been covering this war since its very first moments. He asked me to delay coming to our makeshift workplace; we are both reporters, and we have been camping at the Nasser Medical Complex. An Israeli air strike had targeted the area behind the medical complex, causing massive destruction, claiming lives and injuring many.

Two hours later, he showed up in his press vest, stricken, barely able to speak, and sticky with sweat and debris. He described to me how the place had been crawling with ambulances and civilian cars transporting the injured, while others still carried dead bodies and the remains of their children and family members wrapped in blankets. “I’m tired. We saw the rockets come towards us. We counted them. When will this end?”

Salem and I are but two among many. In the press tent, dozens of journalists converge to perform their duties. Salem spends the night there, while I make a daily trek to our workplace at noon. Before the sun has set, we depart towards the safe house, where I will spend the night with our two children.

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Inside Israel's Plans To Transfer Palestinians From Gaza To Egypt's Sinai
The Endless War
Lina Attalah

Inside Israel's Plans To Transfer Palestinians From Gaza To Egypt's Sinai

Dubbed by some as the 'Eiland plan,' after a retired Israel general, Egypt is vehemently opposed to any attempt to transfer Palestinian refugees from Gaza, which could turn Sinai into a launch pad for operations against Israel, and ultimately redraw the map of the Middle East again.

-Analysis-

CAIRO — On October 24, a document leaked from Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel detailed that a durable post-war solution for Gaza has to include the transfer of Palestinians to Sinai, Egypt. According to the document obtained by the Israeli Calcalist news website, the move would include three steps: Establishing tent cities in Sinai, creating a humanitarian corridor, and constructing cities in North Sinai for the new refugees. In addition, “a sterile zone” several kilometers wide would be established in Egypt south of the border with Israel to prevent Palestinians from returning.

The ministry, according to observers, doesn’t have a strong weight in government, with intelligence apparatuses operating outside its framework. “The existence of the document and the formal idea is not a surprise. But that it is leaked and the proof it is out there, is interesting,” says Daniel Levy, president of the London-based Middle East Project and former peace negotiator with Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Yitzhak Rabin.

Shortly before that, on October 18, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi delivered an improvised speech about the ongoing Israeli military assault against the Gaza Strip that followed Hamas’ incursion into Israel nearly two weeks earlier.

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“Transferring [Palestinian] refugees from the Gaza Strip to Sinai would simply amount to relocating their resistance… turning Sinai into a launch pad for operations against Israel and granting Israel the right to defend itself and its national security by conducting strikes on Egyptian land in retaliation.”

Sisi’s vehement rejection of a “second nakba,” especially after U.S.-led diplomatic efforts to pressure Egypt to create a humanitarian corridor, was turned into a quest to elicit public support for his government. With less than a month to go before a presidential election that was hastily announced amid a crippling economic crisis, Sisi then called for popular demonstrations to support his position. His appeal resulted in a few thousand people turning out for protests on October 20, primarily in Cairo.

Sisi’s position is also consistent with a stance long held by previous Egyptian rulers who have historically rejected any Israeli attempts to displace Palestinians into Sinai. Whether or not Israel’s current military campaign against Gaza succeeds in making the relocation plan a fait accompli is yet to be determined.

Against this backdrop, Egyptian media outlets, owned by security apparatuses close to Sisi, have been publishing and airing detailed reports about an earlier Israeli blueprint to relocate Palestinians from Gaza to the Sinai Peninsula. Most of them claim to have revealed what they call the “Eiland plan,” named after a retired major general, Giora Eiland, who served as the head of the Israeli National Security Council between 2004 and 2006. State-aligned media have made sure to highlight Sisi’s uncompromising opposition to the plan, even if it includes offers for debt relief or financial aid packages from the Joe Biden administration.

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Photograph of Palestinian women, children and men sitting on a truck as they flee Gaza City.
Geopolitics
Omar Mousa

Palestinians Fleeing To Gaza's South Find Promises Of Safety Are A Deadly Lie

Residents of Gaza City and other northern localities are discovering that the occupation’s order to evacuate the north is not a guarantee of the lives, but a form of psychological warfare intended to displace them.

RAFAH — The Badawi family arrived at Mahmoud Barhoum’s house in the Palestinian city of Rafah on Saturday after deciding to move from their house in the northern half of Gaza to the south to escape Israel’s pummeling bombing campaign on civilian homes.

But the supposed safety of the south was an illusion. Hours after the family arrived at the Barhoum home, the house was hit by an Israeli airstrike. Fourteen people were killed in the blast, including Mahmoud’s wife and daughter. The other 12 were all members of the Badawi family.

“The family that was supposed to take shelter in my house was killed. Only a little girl, eight years old, survived this massacre,” Barhoum tells Mada Masr.

What happened to the Badawi family was not an isolated incident. According to testimonies that Mada Masr collected from Gaza, occupation forces have killed dozens of Palestinians who were attempting to reach the south of Gaza — a displacement directive that Israel issued to nearly 1.1 million people living in the northern half of the strip last week — or moving within the southern half of Gaza.

“People like the [Badawi family] heard the occupation say, ‘Go to the south for safety.’ Well, where is the safety?” Barhoum asks.

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Photo of people waiting at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt
The Endless War
Mada Masr

Sinai Limbo: Why Some Palestinians Are Desperate To Go Back Inside Besieged Gaza

Dozens of families from Gaza are now stranded in Egypt's North Sinai, after they tried to cross into Egypt through the Rafah crossing. They tell Mada Masr about watching Israel's brutal siege for afar — and their wish to go back home, in spite of the risks.

NORTH SINAI — Ahmed Mukhaimer arrived at the Rafah border crossing last Tuesday, returning from Turkey to be with his wife and children in Gaza in the early days of what has turned into a 10-day war that does not look to be ending any time soon.

But the family reunion was roadblocked by unprecedented events at the crossing, as Israel bombed the crossing three times in 24 hours, with airstrikes hitting the Palestinian side of the crossing on the evening of October 9 and twice more the following day.

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After the airstrikes, the crossing was closed indefinitely, and Mukhaimer had to seek temporary shelter. So, he made his way to Sheikh Zuwayed, about 15 km from the border with Gaza, in the hopes that the crossing would open and he would be able to return to Gaza.

When he arrived in Sheikh Zuwayed, he found a number of other families from Gaza stranded in the city. They make up dozens of families stranded in North Sinai.

By the end of the week, the situation was escalating. Israel dropped leaflets and used its social media arms to call on nearly half of Palestinians in Gaza and aid workers to move from the northern half of the strip to the southern in a span of 24 hours. To decide what to do, Mukhaimer called his wife. They agreed in the call that they would not leave the family home, even if it cost them their lives, because death would be easier than what they would face if displaced.

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