Selfie with the greatest threat to Israel. pic.twitter.com/kJXtNrmdB1
— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) January 5, 2015
On this year’s first episode of Unauthorized Disclosure Kevin Gosztola and I speak with journalist Dan Cohen about his experience reporting from the besieged and devastated Gaza Strip following Israel’s summertime assault, which killed over 2,200 people, including more than 500 children, and damaged and destroyed over 100,000 homes. (Download the episode here or subscribe for free on iTunes here).
A deadly winter storm recently hit the Middle East and impacted tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, who are still homeless as a result of Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” which destroyed thousands of homes.
Al-Arabiya News reported that snowstorm “Huda” had Palestinians scurrying for heaters as well as bread, water and diapers. Power is still on “only six hours a day.” As one taxi cab driver in Gaza City put it, “No electricity, no drinkable water, no reconstruction, and now a storm. Our people need the help of the entire world.”
Following the storm, Palestinian families faced flooding, and those who had homes had to evacuate. At least four children, three infants, have frozen to death.
Dan Cohen, a journalist and Mondoweiss contributor, appears on “Unauthorized Disclosure” this week to discuss this latest humanitarian disaster. He describes what he witnessed as Palestinians struggle to stay warm and survive each day. Cohen, who is Jewish, also shares some of his experiences reporting in Israel and Palestine, including how Israelis react to him when they find out he visits and reports from Gaza.
During the discussion portion of the show, Rania Khalek and I talk about Guantanamo Bay being designated a “battle lab” for developing and testing torture techniques, the violent Islamophobic backlash after attacks in Paris and the arrest of a young Ohio Muslim, who was targeted in an FBI sting operation and allegedly plotted an ISIS-inspired attack against the US capitol.
This is the first episode of Season 2.
“The Gaza Strip is in ruins after Israel obliterated it this summer,” Cohen explains. “There’s been really no reconstruction that’s go on.”
He arrived a day before the winter storm hit. The temperature was decent, and then the following day the temperature dropped. There was heavy wind and hail. People had no way to deal with this.
Palestinians, for the most part, have no “central heating.” The best many can do is load up on blankets. Many are in bombed-out homes where they cannot shield their rooms from cold winds.
There are makeshift structures, like shipping container, where people are huddling around fires.
While he was there, Cohen noticed that it was so cold and rainy that people would actually start fires outside and then, when it rained, they would bring the fire inside to the shipping container to stay warm.
The main reason why this is happening is because Israel is not allowing construction materials enter Gaza. This is the best Palestinians can do in these conditions.
Speaking about a selfie he took with Palestinian children a day before the storm, he said he intended to call attention to the fact that Israel and others around the world talk about them as a “demographic threat.” Referring to them in this manner, Cohen adds, is “really a threat on their lives. It is a threat on them.”
And the reason that 500 children were killed during Israel’s latest attack on Gaza is because they are regarded in this way by Israel. Similarly, Israel perpetuates a siege, permitting children to die in the severe cold of winter.