They may be losing popularity in Gaza, but Hamas are a force to be reckoned with – even by Israel. Louisa Waugh reports.
Articles by Louisa Waugh
My time in Gaza has come to an end. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, or both.
- April 22, 2009
My work here in Gaza is coming to an end, and soon I will be catapulted out of the Strip into the world beyond.
- April 15, 2009
Normality doesn't exist in Gaza - and the situation inside the world's largest prison is getting slowly worse.
- March 30, 2009
Israel's hatred of the Palestinians is poisoning its own people, who have been unnerved by recent testimonies from soldiers who have been in Gaza.
- March 26, 2009
Homeless Gazans have been left trying to salvage something from the lives they used to have before the Israeli military invaded, and changed their lives forever.
- March 20, 2009
From Code Pink to George Galloway, they're all popping in - but is it just self-serving political propaganda?
- March 16, 2009
A visit to Gaza City's only Turkish bath-house offers the chance to switch off from reality, just for a while.
- February 24, 2009
The State of Israel is claiming that two-thirds of Palestinians killed in Gaza were members of terror organizations. Louisa Waugh begs to differ.
- February 18, 2009
Local Palestinians are being tormented day and night by air strikes and drones.
- February 16, 2009
A few days ago rumours of more Israeli air strikes began to cause panic across Gaza.
- February 9, 2009
It was the hacks who got here first: even before Israel announced its ‘unilateral’ ceasefire in the Gaza Strip on 18 January, they were queuing up at the Egyptian border post in Rafah, waiting to cross over into Gaza and file their war stories.
- February 3, 2009
People in the Gaza Strip are desperate for the ceasefire to continue - they have seen enough blood spilt.
- January 26, 2009
Medical personnel like Mohammed are still doggedly trying to treat those with the worst injuries and digging out partly decomposed bodies from the rubble of Gaza.
- January 22, 2009
'We have lost everything... But tell them, tell the world, we do not want food or money - we just want our life back, and we want our freedom.'
- January 19, 2009
Gazans are fleeing for their lives, but there is no escape from the shelling
- January 15, 2009
Every time I speak to them, my friends in Gaza tell me how scared they are
- January 12, 2009
'This is not like the previous invasions - this time they mean to kill us. There is no escape.'
- January 9, 2009
Although Gazan Christians remain tentative about their future, they say are not living in fear.
- December 22, 2008
Israel may have 'partially reopened' the Erez border crossing, but 95 per cent of Palestinians are still imprisoned inside the Strip.
- December 10, 2008
Israel's full-scale closure of the Strip has lasted 28 days, with no sign of a let-up, and life inside Gaza gets grimmer by the day.
- December 4, 2008
Twenty days on and the Gaza Strip is still closed. Everyone who lives in Gaza is either locked in, or out.
- November 28, 2008
Israel is responsible for a hell of a lot of the misery and human rights violations in the Gaza Strip: but Hamas is also harassing, interrogating and mistreating civilians. Between them, Israel and Hamas are choking the life out of the people trapped inside Gaza.
- November 21, 2008
The international media has devoured the story of Palestinian and international human rights activists, doctors, academics, parliamentarians and lawyers sailing through Israeli gunboat-infested waters to reach the besieged Gaza Strip. But inside Gaza, the reaction has been decidedly mixed.
- November 4, 2008
As a consequence of the illegal siege, many Gazans are literally going underground to circumvent the border controls that keep them imprisoned.
- October 28, 2008
I am stranded and can’t get home. I left Gaza early Friday morning, before the border at Erez closed, and thought I would be back at home by Sunday afternoon: but this is turning into a bit of an epic.
- October 15, 2008
The festival of Eid al-Fitr ended a couple of days ago, and most of us in Gaza have just dragged ourselves back to work. After the sluggish month of Ramadan – when most people fasted, followed by a week of almost solid eating, drinking and visiting friends and relatives – it’s actually a bit of relief to get back to being busy every morning.
- October 7, 2008
Resistance to the Israeli occupation of Palestine comes in many forms: every Friday, Israeli, Palestinian and international activists gather in the village of Nil’in, near Ramallah, in the Palestinian West Bank, to protest peacefully at the construction of a new slab of Israel’s so-called ‘Barrier Wall’ that will slice through Nil’in and separate the villagers from their land. And every Friday the activists are teargassed by Israeli soldiers, and sprayed with a foul-smelling liquid: they are often shot with rubber-coated bullets too.
- September 29, 2008
As she scanned my overgrown eyebrows, tweezers in hand, the beautician
berated me for my laziness. ‘You should have come back here weeks ago.
You’ve left it too long, and now it’s going to hurt.’
- September 20, 2008
The month of Ramadan began about ten days ago. Most of my colleagues are fasting, as are most of my friends, though – as you may already have guessed – I am not. Abstaining from food from sunrise to sunset would be OK, because the weather is still hot and I don’t feel like eating very much – but going without water is really more than I could bear. So I eat and drink discreetly, and observe Ramadan from a subtle distance.
- September 9, 2008
When two small fishing vessels sailed into Gaza Port on 23 August with their renegade crews of international solidarity activists, thousands of Gazans came to greet them. It was a glorious sunny afternoon, and the 46 activists on board the boats had done something amazing: after sailing more than 30 hours from Cyprus, they’d broken the siege of Gaza. Few of us who live here thought they’d make it, and we were delighted to be proved wrong.
- September 3, 2008
Four months ago, on April 16, the Israeli military carried out two separate attacks against groups of civilians in Juhor al-dik, a village in the middle area of the Gaza Strip. In the first attack, Israeli troops fired two missiles from a helicopter into a crowd of adults and children who had gathered together during an Israeli incursion into Juhor al-dik. The first missile killed two children, and when the crowd ran screaming, the soldiers fired a second missile that landed inside in the garden of Mahmoud Ahmed Mohammed. He was killed instantly, as was his brother, and four other children.
- August 22, 2008
I got back to Gaza a couple of days ago. One afternoon I was standing in a central London supermarket, trying to decide what brand of chocolate to buy for my Palestinian friends – and the next morning I found myself standing outside Erez Crossing, the border crossing into the Gaza Strip, feeling very hot and slightly dazed. My brain does not travel at the speed of an airplane. Anyway, I had no problems at Erez, and less than an hour later I was at home in Gaza city, unpacking my suitcase.
- August 15, 2008
I was starving after work today, so I went straight to the Al-Deira Hotel for a sandwich and a cold glass of melon juice. The Al-Deira is on the seafront, next to the old Gaza harbour: it is an elegant old hotel with swish rooms and a huge terrace overlooking the sea, and the local hang-out for delegates and journalists who come to Gaza. Now that it’s midsummer, the Al-Deira is packed from dusk onwards, but the customers are mostly local.
- July 22, 2008
As we plunge into summer, I expect many of you are thinking about having holidays, either in your own country or abroad. After six months in the Gaza Strip, with its lush Mediterranean climate and conservative Islamic culture, I’m looking forward to going back to England for my holiday. But in Gaza people do not go on holiday, because the overwhelming majority of Gazans can’t leave the Strip, and there is nowhere to take a vacation inside these walls. Khalil Shaheen is a well known local human rights activist and I’ve been talking to him about freedom of movement.
- July 18, 2008
It’s 8.30pm, and I have just returned from lunch. I was at Hannah’s house; she is a friend and colleague, and she invited eight of us over for lunch after work today. Gazans love their food, and so they should; it’s a wonderfully succulent and sensual diet of vegetables, meat, fragrant rice, salads and fruit, laced with garlic, lemon and olive oil, and served on enormous, tempting platters. Hannah cooked enough to feed about 30 of us.
- July 10, 2008
Ten days into the Tahdiya, or ‘Calm’ between Hamas and Israel,
we haven’t seen anything change here inside Gaza. In fact the only real
difference I’ve noticed is that over the last couple of weeks the power
cuts have been worse than ever. Like many other people, I have power
cuts at home for eight hours at a time now. So the food in my fridge
gets ruined and wasted.
Please tell me how that contributes to security in Israel.
- July 1, 2008
The Arabic word tahdiya means ‘calming’ or ‘quieting.’ Hamas and the Government of Israel agreed to a six month tahdiya a few days ago, just after the first anniversary of the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip. Hostilities on both sides would cease, and the Israeli siege of Gaza would gradually ease. The Tahdiya started at 6:00am on June 19. I was startled out of sleep about fifteen minutes beforehand by a familiar sound– the pounding of bombs. Israel was bombing the northern Gaza Strip, just a few miles away from where I live. At six o’clock exactly, the bombing stopped. But it didn’t bode well.
- June 23, 2008
During the six months I’ve been in Gaza, there have been three separate threats to kidnap foreigners who work here. I hear about these threats via a daily online security bulletin.
- June 20, 2008
This week marks a year since Hamas bludgeoned their way to power in Gaza. It has been a hell of a year here, with Israel sealing the entire Gaza Strip and imposing a crippling siege on 1.5 million people, whilst the so-called ‘International Community’ shamelessly continues to look the other way. It’s easy to forget that, before they took over Gaza, Hamas was democratically voted into office because the previous Palestinian Fatah Government was rotten with corruption, and Palestinians wanted a new political era.
- June 11, 2008
Most of the bad news you hear about Gaza is true. There are chronic fuel shortages here: this week I’ve seen hundreds of men queuing to refill their empty canisters of cooking gas, so they can cook at home, and hundreds of drivers queuing outside one gas station in Gaza city, desperately hoping they can refuel their cars. There are constant shortages of electricity, fresh drinking water (because the electric water pumps keep shutting down), fresh milk, medicines and hearing aids - which the Government of Israel won’t allow into Gaza for ‘security’ reasons. Israel has also banned construction materials, which is why a lot of the Gaza Strip literally looks like a bomb site.
- June 3, 2008
From Moldova and Nigeria, survivors tell their stories to Louisa Waugh.
- September 1, 2007