JERUSALEM (RNS) In Beit ‘Anan, a small Arab village in the West Bank, Haya Dawod, and her extended family sit around a large round table in her parents’ dining room for the celebratory Eid meal.

Members of the Dawod family, from left, cousins Haya, 21, Taleen, 4, Dema, 18 months and Noor, 19, soak up the sun on their balcony during their family's Eid al-Fitr celebration, which marks the end of the monthlong fast of Ramadan. The Dawods celebrate Eid with a feast of laffa, or roasted lamb, hummus and locally grown vegetables.

Members of the Dawod family, from left, cousins Haya, 21, Taleen, 4, Dema, 18 months, and Noor, 19, soak up the sun on their balcony during their family’s Eid al-Fitr celebration, which marks the end of the monthlong fast of Ramadan. The Dawods celebrate Eid with a feast of roasted lamb, hummus and locally grown vegetables. RNS photo by Rachel Delia Benaim

Monday (July 28) marked the first day of Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that concludes the monthlong fast of Ramadan. Eid is usually a time of celebration — three days of celebration, to be exact.

But this year, the holiday mood in the Palestinian territories is distinctly less joyous and it shows in the Dawod’s buffet. The spread included roasted lamb, “maamoul,” a sweet flaky dessert filled with honey and nuts, and “fawakih,” a fruit platter with grapes, apples, and mangos.

“We usually have more food,” said Dawod, 21, “and more music and games, but because of what’s happening in Gaza we have less.”

This year, the television in the background brings news from Gaza — most recently, of the death of at least eight children as a result of the bombing of Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital.

“This Eid is not Eid because of the situation in Gaza,” said Maher Abu Mayaleh, a shopkeeper in the Arab “souk,” or bazaar, in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. “We are not happy. We do not want to celebrate anything. Our people are dying.”

The Dawod family's Eid al-Fitr feast isn't as bountiful as in years past due to the violence in Gaza, Haya Dawod said.

The Dawod family’s Eid al-Fitr feast isn’t as bountiful as in years past due to the violence in Gaza, Haya Dawod said. RNS photo by Rachel Delia Benaim

Eid is traditionally a time when people shop for new clothes, and buy the best meats, sweets, and vegetables for their holiday meals. Families travel to see uncles, cousins, and siblings.

But this year, instead of sweets, people are drinking black coffee without sugar, a sign of mourning in Palestinian culture. Instead of new clothes, people are sending their alms to Gaza. Instead of going on vacation, people stay home, glued to the TV set.

Family is important during Eid and the somber mood affects children and teens alike.

Hamed Hamam’s 7-year-old son, Abed Alkareem, said he is excited to see his family from Ramallah and looks forward to playing with his cousins. But in solidarity with the people of Gaza, the boy said he didn’t want presents or new toys this year.

“Give them to Gaza,” said the boy who lives in Ramallah, a Palestinian city in the West Bank.

Others are trying their best to lend a hand, or an arm.

“I gave blood yesterday to go help the people on Gaza,” said Ahmed Imam, a 16-year-old resident of East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. “That’s what I did in honor of Eid. It is how I celebrate this year — helping my brothers.”

Surrounded by her female cousins, Dawod said there’s a point “where I even feel guilty when I laugh. My brothers and sisters are suffering.”

But there is still hope for peace and tranquility, she said.

“I saw pictures this morning of people making the cookies, the maamoul, in Gaza and I thought: Wow these people are strong. They gave me hope.”

YS/AMB END BENAIM

17 Comments

  1. Is it antisemitic to point out that hamas has an infinitely better track record regarding soldier kills to civilian kill ratios than israel does?

    Is it further antisemitic to disbelieve any of israels claims of “self defense” because the actual math does not support such an idea?

    If anything, the one who needs to be defending their civilians is hamas..as israel is obviously killing with no discretion.

      • I’m just heading it off. Antisemitism is a shield used too frequently. Any criticism of israel is always followed by claims from the jewish crowd that it antisemitic, in an obvious attempt to end the criticism. Why? Because the criticism is valid.

        Its past time to stop hiding.

        • You still don’t get it, even after the editors of this service had to explain it to you. Even Atheist Max had to dumb it down for you. Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic. I criticize Israel all the time. What you do – blaming the “zio jews” for all the world’s problems, defending attacks in Europe against synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses as responses to Israeli actions – goes beyond the bounds of legitimate discourse. Perhaps you’d be more comfortable on CNN’s Belief Blog.

          • Garson,

            Indeed, Lles is simply sending a scourge on all Jews everywhere. Racist nonsense.

            Though I would not censor him, I have found he is not susceptible to considering that he may be wrong. Conspiracy theories are an additional drawback to his arguments.

            Nothing diminishes the value of a conversation more than the introduction of an “evidence-free zone” set of assertions.

            On a news site where Assertion and Claims are already being questioned, conspiracy theories are an especially obnoxious sort of white noise..

          • Well lets see.

            Israel is currently bombing the hell out of an entire populace that’s only defense is a homemade rocket. Taking out power plants on purpose, and blockading means for survival. Killing thousands, injuring multiple thousands, and ruining the lives of even more. The mighty IDF is doing a crap job of actually killing militants, and militant targets. So that is “the problem”.

            And who is in charge? Zio jews. Zio jews are the cause of all this slaughter and immoral action.

            Now…..to the conditioned, stupid, typical american animal…is all this “antisemitic”? If yes, we are just as sick a society as the display is in israel right now. If no, then I guess I wrote us off too soon.

            But what israel is showing the world right now is horrid and disgusting. They should be made to pay for all the killing and rebuild the lives in gaza.

          • Your conspiracies about the Jews running America are all absent now.
            Did you decide to throw them all away temporarily now that you know they are considered ridiculous by the rest of us?

            Israel has done this disgusting over-the-top response to Hamas before and it is beyond sickening – it is not Anti-Semitic to say so. The Palestinians are the victims of a horrible Israeli policy that neglects Palestinian lives in the first place and refuses to take responsibility for where it is all leading in the second place.

            But Hamas knew all of this would happen when they fired the rockets; the dead children, the destroyed rocket launchers in the schools and hospitals – the Palestinians are victims and they don’t mind letting the world know it. It is all part of the strategy by Hamas – and why not? They are incapable of solving it for themselves without help from somebody.

            But who can help the Palestinians? Every time the Israelis have tried to make a move foreword the ‘Parties of God’ have blown it up! The majority of Palestinians who just want a solution, suffer even more.

            Nothing will repair the lives of the Palestinians who have been killed and injured. Israel is being murderous. And Hamas knew this would happen, which complicates the morass further.

            It is disgusting – but how many times can we repeat it? The state of Israel has practiced apartheid for too long and that is the fundamental problem. The boiling point just keeps going up.

            Just as the SUNNI ISIS sweeps across Iraq killing moving out the Shia population, a similar sweep has happened in the “Holy Land” as the Israelis push the Palestinians into this inhuman corner.

            Want to help the world avoid this in the future?
            Then Help people leave religion: Islam, Judaism and Christianity in particular. None of it is based on a shred of anything real.

            Faith in god is what started this mess by handing the same land to the Islamic Caliphate that was given to the followers of Yahweh.

            All of it is based on nothing. But now there are scores to settle and both sides feel God is on their side.
            Nothing more can be said about this sad situation.

    • Yes, it is anti-semitic, because you do not take the whole situation into account. For years, Israel has been more than ready to make peace, but the other side keeps wanting to kill Jews more than they want their children to grow up and prosper.

      • By your own logic then, your assertion is anti Palestinian. But your statement is in fact nonsensical since Jews, both Israelis and others, make the same arguments against the Israeli government.

        Israel has been so keen for peace that it has enforced a 7 year siege on all Gazans, and a 47 year brutal military occupation on the West Bank which has also been subject to frequent incursions, missile strikes and mass arbitrary arrests. This is the environment in which Palestinian children are supposedly meant to “grow and prosper”.

        “You know, the term `peace process’ is a bundle of concepts and commitments. The peace process is the establishment of a Palestinian state with all the security risks that entails. The peace process is the evacuation of settlements, it’s the return of refugees, it’s the partition of Jerusalem. And all that has now been frozen… what I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that part of the settlements would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns. That is the significance of what we did.” – October 2004, Dov Weinglass, senior advisor to Ariel Sharon, speaking after disengaging with the peace process.

        http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/top-pm-aide-gaza-plan-aims-to-freeze-the-peace-process-1.136686

        • So you absolve the Palestinians of all blame or responsibility for trying to ensure peaceful existence? Excuse truly pointless counterproductive (and foreign sponsored) attacks?

          If the Palestinian leadership wasn’t so beholden to countries which have zero interest in seeing the region at peace, that blockade, the settlements, the wall would all be coming down as we speak. Instead we have riots, missiles and raids. There would be negotiations, there would more likely than not be huge concessions by Israel. Like they did when negotiating peace with neighboring nations.

          You have to bear in mind, the closest time they came to peace, the Oslo Accords, were nixed due to a nascent civil war between Hamas and Fatah. One that is still playing out, but almost entirely ignored by Pro-Palestinian boosters.

          Even if all the settlements are removed, as they were in Gaza, without some notion of peaceful co-existence with Israel, statehood will never be viable for Palestinians. The West Bank is landlocked. It has a hostile border with Jordan (an attempted overthrow of the government tends to sour relations). Without Israel, it will have no economy to speak of. Gaza would be a busy port (with possible oil platforms off its coast) if Hamas wasn’t so hell bent on continuing a destructive Iran sponsored conflict.

          So no, putting all the emphasis on Israeli actions means nothing. Palestinian leadership has to do its part to create the peace. What we need is a Palestinian Gerry Adams or six.

          • “I gave the land to you Muslims” – Allah
            “I gave the land to you Jewish people” – Yahweh

            god will fuel each side until someone shuts him off.
            And then god will vanish.
            And peace will happen.

          • “So you absolve the Palestinians of all blame or responsibility for trying to ensure peaceful existence?”

            Not at all. But I do make a distinction which appears to me to be missing in much of the public and media discourse. There seems to be this need to qualify each statement to portray a balance that doesn’t exist. From my point of view, Israel’s position is as an occupier and besieger. The Palestinians are the occupied and besieged. This fact alone illustrates the immense power imbalance which exists, and it follows, as Thomas C. Hansard stated in 1817, “that the possession of great power necessarily implies great responsibility”.

            Israel, backed by the US, is the dominant protagonist militarily, economically and existentially – in terms of its ability to immediately and forcefully reshape the reality of lives on the other side. If Palestinians, relatively, begin to gain greater rights and a greater power of self determination, so too should their responsibilities and our expectations of them increase.

            The limitation of their choice between the corrupt ineptness of the PA versus the perceived absence of this in Hamas, as well as Hamas’s ability to provide effective social services, was what led them to eventually choose the latter in Gaza. And why should the ordinary Palestinian be blamed for this? Stuck between a rock and a hard place, they chose the hard place. Prior to their election, rejecting Hamas did not lead to an end to the military occupation. Rejecting Hamas did not prevent military incursions. Rejecting Hamas did not prevent the theft of land and resources or the building of settlements.

            The idea that Palestinians should forego previous and current tactics of unjustifiable acts of violence against Israeli civilians (suicide bombing, rockets etc.) does of course unquestionably have merit. It’s a course which I, in principal, support because I don’t believe that meaningful long term resolutions can be achieved through violence by either side. But the suggestion that Palestinians forego such violence as a prerequisite to the ‘possibility’ of opening up negotiation about the ongoing violence inflicted by occupation, military incursions and air strikes, mass arbitrary arrests and denial of free movement etc., is to essentially say, ‘stop your violence and we’ll see about starting the negotiations to stop ours’.

            The second, and perhaps more subtle imbalance in the way this conflict is talked about, is the way in which Palestinians are both collectively defined as well as collectively held to account by the choices of their leadership. The current spike of conflict is invariably described as ‘Israel versus Hamas’, rather than Israel versus Palestine or the Palestinians. The distinction is important because the former conflates all Palestinians with the actions and ideology of one ruling group amongst them whilst marginalising all others. It also reinforces the standard Israeli narrative that seeks to wholly define the conflict as simply being between terrorists seeking nothing less than their complete destruction versus themselves as peace loving victims adopting a defensive posture. The equivalent language of bias, which is completely absent, would be to define the conflict as Palestinians versus the extremists of Likud.

            “If the Palestinian leadership wasn’t so beholden to countries which have zero interest in seeing the region at peace, that blockade, the settlements, the wall would all be coming down as we speak..”

            I’m just not as optimistic or trusting as you are Larry. The quote I posted from Dov Weisglass (not Weinglass – oops) has the senior advisor to Sharon admitting that Israel’s successful strategy was to scuttle the peace process to avoid facing any obligations to make concessions to the Palestinians. Some assume Israel would readily trade land, defined borders, settlement of refugees, self determination and sovereign autonomy, all of this for the possibility of keeping their border with the territories quiet. I make no such assumption. I assume that those who hold the resources, power and influence in the region, will not give it up unless they are absolutely compelled to. So it was the case in the last round of US sponsored peace talks:

            “The negotiations had to start with a decision to freeze settlement construction. We thought that we couldn’t achieve that because of the current makeup of the Israeli government, so we gave up. We didn’t realize Netanyahu was using the announcements of tenders for settlement construction as a way to ensure the survival of his own government. We didn’t realize continuing construction allowed ministers in his government to very effectively sabotage the success of the talks.

            There are a lot of reasons for the peace effort’s failure, but people in Israel shouldn’t ignore the bitter truth – the primary sabotage came from the settlements. The Palestinians don’t believe that Israel really intends to let them found a state when, at the same time, it is building settlements on the territory meant for that state. We’re talking about the announcement of 14,000 housing units, no less. Only now, after talks blew up, did we learn that this is also about expropriating land on a large scale. That does not reconcile with the agreement.” – Senior US Official involved in peace talks, 5th February 2014.
            http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4515821,00.html

            There is no question that Palestinians have been used and let down in equal measure by neighbouring Arab States and Iran. A large portion of blame for this must unfortunately go to United States foreign policy. They alone have the greatest ability to influence those involved. They have the ability to precondition or even withdraw the billions in aid and military funding they give to Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Unfortunately though the geopolitics of keeping Iran in check, keeping Israel as a friendly nuclear armed counter balance to potential hostile interests, and keeping the flow of oil uninterrupted, supersedes any forced obligation that states in the region act with justice. This includes not just justice for the Palestinians, but in the case of Arab States, justice for their own populations.

            “You have to bear in mind, the closest time they came to peace, the Oslo Accords, were nixed due to a nascent civil war between Hamas and Fatah. One that is still playing out, but almost entirely ignored by Pro-Palestinian boosters”

            And it should also be remembered that the Israeli Prime Minister of the time, Yitzhak Rabin, was murdered by a Jewish extremist following widespread condemnation and rallies against making any concessions to the Palestinians. Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud were at the forefront of these protests and Netanyahu was famously snubbed by Rabin’s widow, who held him partly responsible, when he went to pay his condolences.

            Secular Fatah and Hamas are opposed politically, and these differences have led to violence and murder, but I think calling it a “civil war” is to overstate it. When it comes to their opposition to occupation and besiegement, they are obviously united. It will be interesting to see how their newly formed unity government will hold up to existing internal disagreements as well as the obvious external pressures.

            “What we need is a Palestinian Gerry Adams or six.”

            I’m praying for a Gandhi. But I’d settle for a Gerry.

          • “And why should the ordinary Palestinian be blamed for this? Stuck between a rock and a hard place, they chose the hard place. ”

            I don’t think the ordinary Palestinian had ANY control or any say in their leadership nor in the course of how they have handled the situation from the outset. They have always been led by people who really don’t hold them in any regard. Always being used as pawns for neighboring states. They are currently being used as a way for Iran and Saudi Arabia to play out their long simmering feuds which began in 1979.

            “The idea that Palestinians should forego previous and current tactics of unjustifiable acts of violence against Israeli civilians (suicide bombing, rockets etc.) does of course unquestionably have merit.”

            If it happened, it would make your view a heck of a lot less questionable. It would also probably lead to greater support by the US and allies for a 2-3 state solution. Without the “violent struggle” and the use of the Palestinians as proxy soldiers by outside parties, there is no way to justify the occupation to the outside world or even Israelis. Palestine would end up like South Africa. A political solution would happen due to pressure from sources Israel has to take seriously. But until it happens, its very very easy to dismiss the Palestinians and their cause.

            “I don’t believe that meaningful long term resolutions can be achieved through violence by either side.”

            We are on the same page here. I am saying that it can never help the Palestinians. If people were serious about a Palestinian state, they have to start by renouncing violence and actively seeking political solutions.

            “I’m praying for a Gandhi. But I’d settle for a Gerry.”

            You and me both.

  2. ..drinking coffee with sugar and in a somber mood?..I ask how well this current situation is working out for you..granted i am a peace seeker and against war but it can be justified when you are faced with evil..if only the israelites had done what god commanded and wiped every one of them out we would not be faced with this problem today..oh well..the reset is here now

    • Sick.

      Your no christian. Further, you openly take advantage of a double standard that should not exist in our society but does. That double standard is related to anything having to do with jews. See, you can openly write for a wipe out of israels enemies. But I cannot openly write for a wipeout of palestines enemies. Or at least the jewish admins a RNS will have internal conflict about it for a few moments.

      I guess what I’d rather call for is an open wipe out of the american congress…which is isreali occupied territory these days too.

  1. […] Gaza violence casts a pall on Eid celebrationsReligion News Service, on Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:36:14 -0700“This Eid is not Eid because of the situation in Gaza,” said Maher Abu Mayaleh, a shopkeeper in the Arab “souk,” or bazaar, in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City. “We are not happy. We do not want to celebrate anything. Our people are dying.”. […]

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