Gazans Celebrate Eid With Sorrow

A Palestinian woman mourns next to the grave of her son on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr at a cemetery in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 30, 2011.

By Saleh Jadallah | Bernama | Aug 31, 2011

GAZA STRIP, Aug 31 (Bernama) — As Muslims worldwide joyfully celebrate Eid Al-Fitr, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip regard it as a reminder of sorrow despite their adamant steadfastness.

Mohammed Bashala would usually buy clothes and sweets for his children before the Eid, but since 2007, when Israel imposed its blockade in the Gaza Strip, he can barely make a living to satisfy his family’s needs.

The impoverished fisherman used to catch fish in wider permitted fishing zones to secure a little of the requirements of his family which compromises four sons and three daughters.

As a result of the Israeli embargo, the 43-year-old had to work in a tight zone and his economic situation deteriorated.

“I have no money to give to my children (for Eid). We are relying on alms from benevolent people,” Mohammed told Bernama in a recent interview.

“I usually get 25 NIS (USD7) per day when I fish. That amount is insufficient to buy basic food.”

Ahmed, a government employee in the agriculture ministry, has yet to receive his salary which has been delayed for two months — as a result of the salary crises in the two divided Palestinian governments of Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank.

Stricken by the hard-hitting financial crisis, employees in the Palestinian territories complain about the salary crises which sometimes make them receive only half their monthly payments.

Besides the deteriorating economy, the social life in Gaza Strip is overwhelmed by grief.

Families of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails wish to share the joy of Eid with their jailed sons and relatives.

Leen, whose father was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment in 2002, is very eager to see him free to join them during the Eid celebrations.

“To me, Eid would be nothing without my father. The real Eid is when my father is freed from his cell. We always pray for him,” the girl said in a sad tone.

Jihan Abu Khalaf has been married to a Gazan since 1998.

She has not met her family in Hebron City in the West Bank — geographically separated from Gaza by Israel — for nine years due to the Israeli restriction on the movement between the remaining parts of the Palestinian territory.

Jihan, whose father died while she was stranded in the Gaza Strip, is greatly disappointed that she cannot meet her mother during the Eid Al-Fitr.

“The first thing Muslims do during the Eid is kiss the hands of their mothers. I have been deprived of meeting my mother for nine years. I yearn very much to joining in the Eid with her and my brothers,” she said.

In a usual scene after performing Eid Prayers, Palestinians head for cemeteries to visit the graves of their relatives killed in a continuous conflict with Israel.

Showing remarkable solidarity, people console each other by visiting families of the dead and prisoners in an attempt to mitigate their affliction.

Mohammed Nabeel Abu Selmeya, who lost nine of his family members, including his parents, in an Israeli air strike that destroyed their house in 2006, tried hard to rejoice in the Islamic feast with his friends.

Yet, the painful memories are still etched in his mind.

Mohammed and his brother, Awad, are the only survivors in their family after they were evacuated from under the rubble of their house.

“I try my best to get rid of that misery, but it is hard to celebrate Eid while all your brothers, sisters and parents are martyred,” he said.

— BERNAMA

via BERNAMA – Gazans Celebrate Eid With Sorrow.

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