Connect with us

World News

Gaza Refugees Still Dream Of Return




This story originally appeared in Mondoweiss on May 12, 2023. It is shared here with permission.

Farah Ejlah, 22, sits in her small crafts shop in Gaza City, where she sells handmade accessories and trinkets. Most of Ejlah’s crafts are related to a place called Beer al-Sabe’ (Beersheba), in the Naqab desert, 41 kilometers north of Gaza. 

Farah was born and raised in Gaza and has never left the small coastal enclave. But when she dreams, she dreams of Beer al-Sabe’. For Farah, Gaza is where she lives, but it is not home. When she daydreams of home, she imagines her family’s home in Beer al-Sabe’, her neighbors’ houses, the trees that line the sides of the roads, and her family’s farms full of different kinds of fruits — all real places, but for Farah, they are just figments of her imagination.

Farah and young people her age are part of an extended generation of the 800,000 Palestinians forced to leave their homes during the Nakba in 1948. She is among the many generations of Gaza’s immense refugee population, who account for 70% of Gazans. 

The refugees like Farah, born in Gaza, still dream about their villages and can describe them clearly, without ever having been there. She could give all the details about her Beersheba home but has never been there.

After 75 years of the Nakba, many generations were born in Gaza, so their stories, memories, and feelings about the Nakba differ from those who lived it.  Those generations imagine the view from their grandparents’ stories and sometimes from history and documentary shows. They can imagine their grandparents’ exit and can also imagine themselves living in their own homes and lands. “Life would be much easier and better, I imagine myself in Beersheba, I can freely go to Hebron to study at the finest universities, I can go to Jaffa’s or Gaza’s beach on vacations, and this kind of freedom is reflected on our mind,” Farah said. 

Farah’s thoughts about the Nakba come from her mother and grandmother. Since her grandmother fled in 1948, she has become the source of all the family’s Nakba stories. “The story of their expulsion is painful,” Farah said. “They came to Gaza after leaving their beautiful homes and lands. Here, they were given a tent, they had nothing, and their future was uncertain. No homes, no belongings, no money or gold — they left everything to survive.” 

The family was eventually given a place to stay after living in Jabaliya refugee camp, but the house was small and did not fit the family. They ended up struggling for several years until they could move again. 

When Farah’s grandmother tells stories about the Nakba to her family of 34 people, she recounts how she forgot her son when she fled under the force of fire and the killing by the Zionist forces. 

“Sometimes I find myself wondering about the kind of fear that would push a mother to run away and forget about her son, but when I witness the Israeli wars in Gaza, I can understand,” Farah told Mondoweiss. “It’s not only about devastating people and pushing them to a new place with nothing. It’s about taking away people’s inner peace. I can now feel how hard it is to run barefoot and leave everything behind.”


Different life and future

It’s a quite different world since 1948, and nowadays, Farah and young people around her age live. The Nakba impacts for them is a daily ring in their heads whenever they see any photos of Palestine. 

For Farah and other young refugees in Gaza, the Nakba is the worst date in the year, a reminder of the day that they were stripped of their homes and lands and kicked out into the unknown. About 79,947 people arrived in Gaza in 1948, most of them from coastal villages or areas that were close to Gaza, like Beersheba, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Majdal By the year 2000, the population of refugees in Gaza had grown to about half a million, and by 2022 that population grew to become 1.4 million, spread across eight refugee camps in the Gaza Strip. 

Compared to Gaza’s original towns, the refugee camps are densely populated, with tiny and tightly packed homes. Every home in those camps has a different story and countless memories of their inhabitants’ original villages. They have maps, old keys for their former homes, traditional dresses, and even old farming tools that they took with them. Walking into any refugee home, it becomes apparent that while they physically left their old villages, they also left their hearts there. 

In the camps’ alleyways, graffiti about return adorns the walls, reminding the younger generation never to forget, and hardly any have — even children, when asked where they are from, will recite the name of a village they’ve never seen except in their imagination. When students say their names in schools and universities, teachers always ask about their original villages, and often people are given nicknames related to their original village — for instance, “Majdalawi” for people from al-Majdal, who live in northern Gaza in Jabaliya and Beit Lahiya refugee camps. 

“We’re exhausted from the difficulty of life in Gaza,” Farah says. “And every time I see Beersheba or Jerusalem or Bethlehem, I imagine how life would be easier if we lived there.”   

Farah often imagines what life would be like in her grandfather’s old home in Beer al-Sabe’ — a vast area surrounded by trees and neighbors, a simple livelihood based on the harvest from the land, and she would have enjoyed her freedom.

In contrast, Farah’s reality is filled with drudgery and hardship. Moving from one place to another seems like a feat, and all the while she feels like she is in a foreign place, although she was born in it.

“Gaza does not look like me,” she says without blinking. “We in Gaza didn’t choose our fate. This is the ongoing impact of the Nakba. Living under a blockade removes our freedom of choice.”

Farah’s works represent pieces related to Palestine. A light necklace is shaped into the map of Palestine, hanging by a metal string; an earring made from the same steel is adorned with the word “revolution” in Arabic; and rings carry the names of Palestinian towns and villages, including her own.  

The fact that all of Farah’s production revolves around the parts of Palestine that have been lost betrays her conviction that this situation will not last forever. Perhaps it won’t be her generation that will return to their original lands, but the next generations will.  

“We are connected to Palestine, to our lands, homes, and streets that we never walked in. But we will. These memories of a place I’ve never seen motivate me to engrave the word ‘revolution’ on this earring,” she said. “Because for us, Palestine is our lost paradise.”

Memories of places never seen

As most families who arrived in Gaza after 1948 were farmers who worked their lands, the young generation still imagines that their now-occupied homelands remain as they were — small homes surrounded by ample lands. 

Rana Harb, 25, lives 61.3 km away from her original town of al-Ramleh. “My visions [of al-Ramleh] are of trees and old buildings surrounded by green lands. I imagined Palestinian farmers and traders passing by and saluting each other,” she told Mondoweiss

After a tortuous series of circumstances, Rana was able to obtain a permit from Israel to enter occupied Palestinian territory — not the “Occupied Territories” that serve as a shorthand for the West Bank, but the territories occupied in 1948, the same territories that Israel regards as within its borders, but which Palestinians call 1948-occupied Palestine. 

When Rana received her permit in 2021, she headed straight for al-Ramleh, carrying her grandparents’ stories with her.

“I realized while I was walking there that something was missing. Every time I passed a settler or a soldier, I would remember my grandparents’ stories, but everything was different,” she said. 

“I can tell that it’s our land, but everything has changed,” she continued. “The style of the homes, the people, the green lands, the simple life, none of that was reflected in Palestinians anymore. It’s like the place was stolen, and the thief changed it completely.” 

Yet despite her feelings of alienation in her own ancestral home, Rana the dreamer could feel that at least the land recognized her. Even when the Israeli occupier changed the landmarks and erased the trees, she said, the stones remained to bear witness. And the stones remember, knowing who the land’s true owners are. 


Most Palestinian refugees in Gaza are not as lucky as Rana. Khawla Z’ayter, a mother of six, is originally from Iraq Suwaydan, a Palestinian village in al-Majdal, 35 km east of Gaza. Iraq Suwaydan was destroyed by Israel in 1948. Khawla’s grandparents fled the destruction and settled in Gaza. Khawla has never left Gaza. She struggles to tell her children about their original village that she has never visited. Nothing of the village now remains, and the Israeli settlement of Yad Natan was built on top of its ruins. 

“I would tell my kids about our roots, but I struggle to do so because our village no longer exists, and I’ve never been there,” Khawla said. “How can I tell stories about something I’ve never seen or visited? I don’t even have a picture of it.”

She still tells her children about al-Majdal and Iraq Suwaydan, one of the over 531 villages Israel wiped out during the Nakba. She explores footage that is available online and shows her kids, and they ask more about it. The most challenging question Khawla gets is why they aren’t on their land. 


“The reality that we’re not allowed to return is what motivates us to teach our children how to take it back,” Khawla said. “I tell them how Israel killed Palestinians in 1948 and took their homes and lands, and how our grandparents survived by leaving everything behind.”

“They came to Gaza for us and to keep the dream of return alive,” she said. 

World News

Australian National Review – Putin’s Response To WSJ’s Ann Simmons When Asked If He Wants To Rule The World





Putin’s Response to WSJ’s Ann Simmons When Asked If He Wants to Rule the World

By BRICSTether

PutinDirect is also on:
Would you want to be on Putin’s side or be like Joe Biden?
The Currency wars are heating up, and we back the BRICS plus nations, as, although they are not perfect, they support a multipolar world. A world that respects national sovereignty. The Globalists and the puppets they install in their Western regimes, like Joe Biden, want a Unipolar world. Better known as a One World Government with a One World Central Bank Digital Coin backed by nothing, other than insolvent Governments. A coin that will enslave humanity by tracking and tracing you and controlling everything you buy.

BRICSTether is about preventing humanity from being enslaved by deceptive Globalists.

Click Here To Play the Video


Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference


The President’s news conference was broadcast live by Rossiya 1, Rossiya 24, Channel One and NTV, as well as Mayak, Vesti FM and Radio Rossii radio stations.

Television channel Public Television of Russia (OTR) and its site ( provided live sign language interpretation of the news conference.

The host broadcaster of the event is the National State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK).

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, friends.

Let us begin our traditional end-of-year meeting that we call a news conference.

As always, I will spend just a few brief seconds to sum up the results of the outgoing year. A lot has been said already, but I have the latest data reflecting the most recent results, some just a couple of days old.

Before the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference.

In the first nine months of 2018, GDP increased by 1.7 percent, while the Economic Development Ministry expects the annual increase to total 1.8 percent. Industrial output was growing at a faster pace, totalling 2.9 percent in the first ten months of 2018, with the annual results expected at 3 percent, up from a 2.1 percent growth in 2017. In addition, processing industries have been growing at a somewhat faster pace of 3.2 percent.

In the first three quarters fixed capital investment increased by 4.1 percent. Cargo shipments and retail trade are on the rise, having increased by 2.6 percent. Consumer demand growth has been apparent. This is a positive factor. After a lengthy interval, the population’s real income has shown some, albeit very moderate, growth. According to the latest statistics, real incomes will increase by 0.5 percent. I hope that this momentum will be maintained, since real pay levels are on the rise, having grown by 7.4 percent in the first nine months, which is expected to give us 6.9 or 7 percent by the end of the year.

Inflation remains at an acceptable level, although it has increased a little in the past week, by 0.5 percent, I think. Therefore, we will be able to reach the Central Bank’s reference rate of 4 percent and will have an inflation rate of 4.1 percent to 4.2 percent – somewhere just over 4 percent.

The unemployment rate is going down, which is good news. If last year it hit a historical low of 5.2 percent, this year it will be even lower – 4.8 percent.

The trade balance surplus is growing. In 2017, if you remember, it was around $115 billion. Over the three quarters of this year we already achieved $157 million. As of the end of the year, we expect it to reach $190 billion.

Our finances are growing stronger. Our gold and foreign currency reserves have grown by over 7 percent. In the early 2018, they amounted to $432 billion while now they stand at almost $464 billion.

For the first time since 2011, we will have a budget surplus. We are about to reach the federal budget surplus of 2.1 percent of the GDP. The National Welfare Fund has grown by around 22 percent.

The average annual insurance component of the retirement pension stood at 13,677 rubles in 2017. By the end of this year, it will be 14,163 rubles.

Life expectancy has also increased slightly compared to 2017, from 72.7 to 72.9 years.

These are the general results that I wanted to mention in the beginning. Let’s not waste our time and proceed to your questions and my attempts to answer them.

Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov: Let us begin by giving some priority to the Kremlin pool. Its members worked with us throughout the year, following the President both in Russia and abroad.

ITAR-TASS, the state news agency.

Veronika Romanenkova: Thank you.

The year 2018 arguably went by under the sign of new national projects that you launched with the May Executive Order. They are expected to cost an enormous amount of money. However, some experts, members of the State Council, as was mentioned in Yalta only recently, have questioned the feasibility of these national projects and whether they are needed. How well thought out are the performance assessment criteria for the national projects? For example, the Accounts Chamber Chairman said that there is no way to assess their effectiveness. What can you say to counter this?

Before the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference.

Vladimir Putin: I will have to begin by saying a few words on whether these projects are needed, since you said that some question this.

I have said it on numerous occasions, and I will repeat it today. We need a breakthrough. We need to transition to a new technological paradigm. Without it, the country has no future. This is a matter of principle, and we have to be clear on this.

How can this be done? We need to focus the available resources, find and channel them to the essential development initiatives. How can these efforts be organised? By simply distributing money, and that’s it?

First, we had to find this money. It took us the entire year 2017 to articulate the objectives and find the resources. Both the Government and the Presidential Executive Office contributed to this effort. By the way, when some call for more changes within the Cabinet, we have to understand that it was the Government’s financial and economic block that developed the national development programme to 2024. For this reason, they are the ones who must take responsibility for the plans they made. There is no way around it.

So how should this effort be organised? By simply distributing money? After all, as much as 20.8 trillion rubles are expected to go into the national projects alone, and another 6.5 trillion will be invested in a separate infrastructure development plan. Of course, the allocation of these resources has to be set forth in documents of some kind on achieving breakthroughs. You can refer to these development plans any way you wish. We call them national projects. After all, it makes it clear that there are goals that have to be achieved. If there are no objectives, you will never achieve the final outcome, no matter how you manage these investments. It is for this reason that the 12 national projects were developed alongside an infrastructure development plan. Let me remind you of the main vectors.

Healthcare, education, research and human capital come first, since without them there is no way a breakthrough can be achieved. The second vector deals with manufacturing and the economy. Of course, everything is related to the economy, including the first part. But the second part is directly linked to the economy, since it deals with the digital economy, robotics, etc. I have already mentioned infrastructure.

Why did we have this meeting in Yalta, Crimea, to discuss with our colleagues from the Government and the regions how we will proceed in these efforts? Because there are questions on how to assess performance under these projects. We need effective controls, while making sure that all efforts by the federal centre to monitor what is happening in the regions are effective. It is true that there are challenges in this regard, but we are working on them. So what is the tricky part? The tricky part is that funding mostly comes from the federal centre, and this applies to all programmes, while most of the efforts are undertaken in the regions. The regions must be ready to work constructively. Instead of simply hiking up prices in response to an increase in the available funds, they must focus on achieving concrete results that will be clearly visible. This is the first point I wanted to make.

Second, we need to understand whether they will be able to succeed. This is a real question. Some argue that this would be impossible. But this is what we hear from those who must deliver. Instead of having these thoughts they need to work on delivering on these objectives, and if they feel that they are unable to do so, they have to clear the way for those who are positive about their ability to deliver and are ready to work. To tell you the truth, I have not seen anyone who did not want to do it or said that it was impossible. These messages come from outside observers.

Without ambitious goals we will never achieve anything. For this reason, I do hope that the federal centre and the regions will be able to work together in a consolidated and positive manner. Yes, some indicators have to be adjusted. Our colleagues from the regions have submitted their proposals to this effect, and I have high hopes that the Government will take them into consideration and adjust specific indicators so that we can move forward effectively…

Before the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference.

Pavel Zarubin: Rossiya TV channel.

I would like to expand on a topic that has already been raised. Many economics experts, including Alexei Kudrin, assert that in reality, the Russian economy has been growing just by one percent on average over the past ten years, and if so, this is essentially marking time, or stagnation. You set the goal of making a breakthrough, a leap, but for this, even if we take the lowest estimate, the growth rate should be at least four to five times higher. The Government promises to achieve the goal, but that same Government acknowledges that in the next few years, GDP growth rates will not exceed even 2 percent. In this regard, here are my questions: what does the Government rely on in its forecasts, in the planning of its work? Is a breakthrough possible at all, in this context, or will the economy continue operating like this: we make some money on oil surplus, put it aside, then spend it when there is a need for it? In general, are you satisfied with the Medvedev team?

Dmitry Peskov: Friends, I would ask you please to respect each other – ask only one question each.

Vladimir Putin: Look, economic growth has been one percent per year for a certain period of time. But, first of all, it was while Mr Kudrin was Deputy Prime Minister, so you must not blame the mirror for showing a crooked face, as they say. This is the first point.

The second is, one should not just count mechanically. I have great respect for Mr Kudrin, he is my friend and a good professional, and as a rule, I listen to his recommendations. He is a reliable specialist, a good one. But look, from 2008 to 2018, the economy grew by about 7.4 percent. In simple maths – yes, it equals one percent, a little more. However, let us not forget how the economy developed. There were higher growth rates, alternating with recessions associated with the global crisis. In 2009, after the crisis in the global economy, not in ours – Russia was not the cause of the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, it came to us from the outside – the decline was about 7.8 percent. Then little by little, we were crawling out of it for many years.

Then, in 2014–2015, another meltdown occurred – a collapse in the oil prices, our main exports. That is why I am saying we should not simply count mechanically.

However, of course, the country’s GDP, the GDP growth rate is one of the main indicators. But we will not be able to achieve the GDP growth rates necessary for this breakthrough unless the structure of the economy is changed. This is what the national projects are aimed at, and why such enormous funds will be invested, which I have already said – to change the structure and build an innovation-based economy. The Government is counting on this, because if this happens, and we should all work towards this, then the growth rates will increase and there will be other opportunities for development.

By the way, you mentioned the projected 2 percent growth for the next two years. Yes, in the next years, 2019–2020, two percent each, but from 2021, the Government is already planning 3 percent, and then more. Therefore, I strongly hope that we will manage to do all this. Some fluctuations are probably possible, but, I repeat, the most important thing is that we need… Do you see what we need to do? We need to join another league of economies, and not only in terms of volumes. I think that taking the fifth place in terms of volume is quite possible. We used to rank fifth in terms of the economy, in purchasing power parity, and we will do it again, I think. However, we need to ascend to another league in terms of the quality of the economy. This is what our national projects are aimed at.

Pavel Zarubin: Are you satisfied with the Medvedev team?

Vladimir Putin: Overall, yes.

Question: Good afternoon.

Mr President, in my city of Volgograd we had a wonderful year. We celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad. You made it a federal holiday and we really appreciate it. You also paid us a visit.

Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference.

We successfully hosted the World Cup and our region indeed began to breathe and develop.

There is a lot that still needs to be done. I think the economy will be extensively discussed. But Volgograd residents have a big wish and a great favour to ask. In 1998, the Kacha Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots, which had a very long history, was shut down.

It was established at the Tsar’s decree in 1910 and we were truly proud of it and want to be proud of it further. We want the military traditions to live on. Please consider re-opening it.

Vladimir Putin: In which year was it shut down?

Remark: In 1998, unfortunately. It had the Order of the Red Banner and a long history.

Vladimir Putin: You see, it is already 2018. It happened 20 years ago and I do not quite know what is left of this legendary school.

You are right, it was indeed a legendary school. But the Russian Defence Ministry plans personnel training resources based on whether there is a demand for specific types of personnel in the Armed Forces.

Therefore, we need to look at what can be done not only to remember it but perhaps to preserve the remaining traditions. I will make sure to look into this and consult with the Defence Ministry.

Maria Balyuk: Mr President, good afternoon. My name is Maria Balyuk, I represent the Prime news agency.

Mr President, the budget in the current year and the next year will have a surplus. However, starting January 1, a number of decisions are coming into effect that may cause a significant increase in prices of a wide range of goods and services.

For example, the VAT will increase to 20 percent, which has already triggered a two-stage increase in the housing and utilities rates next year. There is also the new tax for self-employed persons in pilot regions. Please tell us how these measures agree with the state’s economic policy.

Vladimir Putin: Housing and utilities rates in two stages, and what else?

Maria Balyuk: And, for example, a tax on self-employed people in pilot regions.

Isn’t this amount of new measures too much of a burden on Russians and the economy?

Vladimir Putin: You said about the surplus.

Yes, this is indeed a good indicator of the Government’s economic block performance. As I said in my opening remarks, for the first time since 2011 we will have a budget surplus of 2.1 percent. And this is good.

Let us not forget that as an oil producing country and a country that derives much of its revenue from selling oil and gas, we also have what is called a non-oil-and-gas deficit. This is what the country earns from selling products and services other than oil and gas.

Let me remind you that this non-oil-and-gas deficit was 13 percent in 2009, which is a lot. In the early 2000s, it was at about 3 percent, but the global economic crisis forced us to use our oil revenues to meet our social commitments and finance the Armed Forces, so we had to tap into the oil revenues.

Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference before the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference.

In this situation, the non-oil-and-gas deficit surged into the double digits almost reaching13 percent, I believe. This was a very serious challenge for the Russian economy. We have now reduced it to 6.6 percent, and next year it is expected to decline to 6 percent and remain at this level for the next few years.

This is a very important indicator of economic resilience for the Russian Federation. Therefore, the increase in the VAT rate, among other things, is due to the need to maintain the non-oil-and-gas deficit at a certain level.

Second, in many countries VAT is 20 percent or even higher. It used to be higher in Russia as well, but we reduced it at a certain point. Now we have returned to a 20-percent tax rate.

However, the effective VAT rate for the overall economy will be below 20 percent since almost all benefits remain in place: for pharmaceuticals, children’s goods, and so on, including for IT companies. Many benefits have been preserved. With this in mind, the effective rate will be actually lower.

Finally, I do hope that the rate hike will be only a one-off measure with a possible slight increase in prices and inflation in the beginning of the year, after which the inflation will go down.

The Central Bank also seeks to prevent inflation from picking up. Only recently, the interest rate was increased by 0.25 percentage points.

While there are definitely both benefits and disadvantages to this decision, all this is done in order to prevent inflation and prices from growing. For this reason, I believe that the overall decision was correct and balanced, creating additional budget revenue and the possibility to deliver on our development plans as part of the national projects.

As for increases in housing and utilities tariffs, over the past years they grew by about 4 percent per year. It is true that next year there will be two hikes: the first one will be at about 1.7 percent, and the second one I think will be about 2.4 percent, but in total this still makes up 4.1 percent.

Why will the increase be spread out in two stages? The reason is that with a higher VAT, prices of some goods and services are expected to increase, and we need to make sure that the utilities sector does not come under stress.

For this reason, in order to shield companies in this sector from these developments and ultimately in the interests of the people, we decided to proceed in two stages. That said, the overall increase should not exceed 4.1 percent.

In some regions, where the utilities infrastructure requires major upgrades and bigger hikes are required, this can be done as an exception, and subject to federal Government approval.

Yekaterina Gagarina: Good afternoon, Mr President. My name is Yekaterina Gagarina. I represent the Rossiya TV channel in Novosibirsk.

The importance of the Akademgorodok 2.0 [Academic Town] project that you supported during your visit to Novosibirsk is obvious not only to Siberian scientists. This project is unique for the entire country.

But behind the technological component of this project there are a number of tasks of a similarly large scale. They include building housing, roads, kindergartens and schools. My question is what if our scientific ambitions crash at daily living problems? Will the scientists have somewhere to live?

Vladimir Putin: I would not want them to crash.

I understand that it is a very important part of the entire process. Of course, we will be working on this with the regional officials. When I visited Novosibirsk, I also spoke about this with my colleagues.

The first objective of the federal government is to honour its obligations related to the facilities which trigger the development of Akademgorodok – which, by the way, is the opportunity to earn money on these high technologies. The social component will definitely be carried out after this.

But if any additional action is required to resolve the scientists’ social issues, of course, we will try to do it. By the way, the mortgage sector has been growing lately. We will support it as well. It is growing very fast for everybody. The growth of the mortgage sector stands at over 20 per cent.

Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference before the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference.

Full transcript 


Continue Reading

World News

Why Governments Love Private Consultants And Their ‘billables’





Multinational consultancies claim to offer expertise, but often it’s a confidence trick. The victim? Taxpayers.

Continue Reading

World News

Serbia’s Vucic Calls For Withdrawal Of Mayors In North Kosovo





Serbia’s leader suggests ‘the most powerful move’ to resolve the flare-up of the ethnic tensions in northern Kosovo.

Continue Reading