Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Best reads of January

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Gaza gets 180 minute respite to shop, bury the dead – “For 180 precious minutes, Israeli warplanes and tanks held their fire, giving 1.5 million shell-shocked residents of the coastal enclave a chance to check on family members, shop for essentials and bury their dead.”

Spain’s jobless lose homes, tensions mount - “‘One day this place is going to explode,’ said unemployed waiter Miguel Roa, a Spaniard. Since December, he has lost his job and his home as well as seeing his family split as economic crisis ended 14 years of growth in Spain.

Stoic Gaza claws back to what passes for normal - “For 1.5 million Palestinians trapped in Gaza, the westward sea is like the fourth wall of a crumbling prison bounded to the north, east and south by an Israeli-led blockade, and now smashed in key places by a three-week Israeli military assault.”

Morocco tackles painful role in Spain’s past - “Slimane Betmaki smiles at the memory of the terror he inflicted on Spanish villagers on behalf of former dictator Francisco Franco.”

Gaza damage more than even the ‘fixer’ can fix

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I first met Raed al-Athamna when he was driving a journalist friend of mine around Gaza in his yellow, stretch-Mercedes taxi during the tense and violent days after Gaza militants captured Gilad Shalit, a young Israeli soldier, in the summer of 2006.

Raed seemed to be a good ‘fixer’ – attentive, sensible and with far-from-perfect but perfectly understandable English.

Talking about talking to Hamas

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Should Israel and/or its allies talk to men like these, the Palestinian Islamists of Hamas, who run the Gaza Strip?

That’s a question that has been revived this week following the end of Israel’s 22-day war in Gaza, which left Hamas rule apparently intact and 1.5 million people in desperate need, and the arrival in the White House of President Barack Obama, who has indicated he might be willing to talk to people his predecessor George W. Bush had shunned.

Politics and pop culture mesh in Gaza conflict

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Israel’s offensive against Hamas in Gaza has made headlines around the world.

But beyond the raw realities of war — more than 1,100 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead — the three-week conflict has also created a peculiar intersection with music, literature and cinema, in the surreal way that wars sometimes do.

Two weeks under fire in Gaza

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By Nidal al-Mughrabi

Voices get loud and excited over the radio Reuters news crews use in Gaza to call in the latest information. Some people complain there are no “Western reporters” inside. But we all work for Reuters, a global agency that sets the international standard.

After two full weeks of bombardment we are all worried about our families but we work and work the story. We hope it will stop.

Samson in Gaza

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Gaza was the place where, in Biblical times, the Jewish hero Samson took up with a harlot. That was before he met Delilah and, succumbing at last to her charms and tricks, revealed the secret of his strength. Shorn of his curly locks while he slept, Samson lost his superhuman strength. He was taken to Gaza and blinded by the Philistines with a white-hot poker. But his hair, and his strength, gradually grew back unnoticed, and at last Samson pushed over a pillar in their temple and brought the building down upon them, killing many. Or so the Bible story goes.

After 38 years of military occupation, Israel handed Gaza back to the Palestinians in 2005. But it has not led to peace. Hamas Islamist militants opposed to the Jewish state in 2007 ousted those Palestinians disposed to make peace with Israel, and have fired crude but potentially lethal rockets into the land lying to the east for months, in a constant skirmish with the Israelis. Israel struck hard with an aerial offensive a week ago.

Gaza breakfast turns to horror

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Saturday is my day off from being Reuters correspondent in Gaza and I usually sleep until noon.  This Saturday things didn’t go to plan.

My 7-year-old son Abdel-Rahman and his sister Dalia, who is 12, came home early from school, as they have been doing their mid-term exams, to wake me up and ask me to take them for breakfast at a seafront restaurant not far from Gaza’s port.

Israel’s “Jewish Division”: Northen Ireland redux?

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By Dan Williams

A Reuters investigation into how the Israeli domestic intelligence service Shin Bet is tackling threats from Jewish ultranationalists has raised intriguing parallels with Britain’s handling of the sectarian “troubles” in Northern Ireland.

Radical Jewish settlers who might turn to violence in a bid to wreck Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking are, increasingly, the quarry of the Shin Bet’s shadowy “Jewish Division”, whose operatives draw on a range of spying and interrogation tactics.

Journalists make news over Gaza

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Once again access to the Gaza Strip is in the news. This time, perhaps a little self-servingly, because foreign journalists are being denied access to Gaza by Israeli authorities.

The Foreign Press Association, which represents the collective interests of the international media covering the news in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, has filed a law suit with the Supreme Court demanding Israel lifts its ban on journalists entering Gaza. It has been in force for nearly three weeks, since violence flared with Israeli army raids and air strikes and Palestinian “Kassam” rocket fire from the coastal enclave.

Can Obama erode built up hostility in the Middle East?

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 The last time I stayed up all night was in Baghdad when U.S. warplanes bombed the city in an overnight raid that announced the start of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Last night I was up all night by choice.  I wasn’t covering the U.S. presidential elections but I joined the millions of people across the world who were anxious to know who will be taking charge of America — and whether they really would presage change. For anyone from and involved in the Middle East this is no small question.

The Americans have cast their vote for change all right; they have voted clearly for a new America, for a change of direction. People across the Middle East have been eager to see change in America, not just a change of personality but a real change of policy and vision.

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