Gaza teenager self-immolates

2012-09-03 20:23

Gaza - A young man has died after setting himself on fire in the Gaza Strip, apparently in protest at economic hardship in the Palestinian enclave, the man's family and police said on Monday.

Ehab Abu Nada, 18, left his home on Thursday after an argument with his father, who had urged him to find work to help feed his poor family.

Frustrated in his job hunt, Abu Nada doused himself in petrol and set himself alight inside Gaza's main Shifa hospital.

His neighbours suggested he might have chosen to immolate himself at the hospital because he had wanted to make a gesture rather than kill himself, but medics there could not save him.

He was pronounced dead on Sunday.

"He left to seek work and he did not come back. My heart was shattered," his weeping father told a local radio station.

"We live in a miserable condition. We live in a rented house and I hardly can afford the rent," he added.

A police official from the Islamist Hamas movement, which rules Gaza, said an investigation was under way into Abu Nada's death, citing unemployment as his possible motive.

Abu Nada's suicide was another sign of frustration over the lack of work in the coastal territory, where a Gazan man set himself ablaze last year in despair but survived.

80% get aid

The teenager's death is reminiscent of the self-immolation of impoverished Tunisian fruit-seller Mohamed Bouazizi in December 2010, which sparked an uprising that toppled Tunisia's president and ignited protests across the Arab world.

Two suicides-by-fire in neighbouring Israel this year have coincided with lingering social justice protests.

But few Gazans anticipate any broad unrest as a result of the case in the desperately poor but heavily-policed Strip, which has endured an Israeli economic blockade for years.

A UN report published last week said poverty stood at 40% among Gaza's 1.6 million people, of whom 80% depended on outside aid. It said nearly 30% were jobless.

It was unclear how Abu Nada's death would affect the policies of Gaza's Hamas rulers, who took over Gaza in 2007 after a brief civil war with forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement, which holds sway in the West Bank.

Palestinians claim both territories, including East Jerusalem, for a future state, an aspiration hampered by the Fatah-Hamas rift, as well as by Israel's claim to all of Jerusalem and its occupation of the West Bank.

Many Gaza and West Bank residents blame the political division for tearing apart Palestinians' social fabric, dimming hopes for statehood and hamstringing the economy.

  • fort.horseman.7 - 2012-09-03 21:07

    This is a stark reminder of the misery,tragedy and dispair brought about by poverty,and the desperate lengths people will go to ,to escape it.The poor father!!

      jaba.kov - 2012-09-04 08:14

      2 steps to stop this: 1) the democratically voted for majority party in Gaza (Hamas) needs to change its objective from terror ie firing missiles at Israel, to realising they should make peace with Israel and recognise that Israel is not going anywhere. 2) Once Hamas declares its objective is peace and the missiles that rain on Southern Israel daily cease, then Israel will normalise relations with Gaza and open the door to trade and an eventual viable and fair peace treaty for both Palestinians & Israelis – however I must stress this point: The Violence must first stop and this request is not negotiable! The world is waiting for Hamas to renounce terror... The economic hardships in Gaza has only on cause - Hamas's violent behaviour towards Israel, nothing more nothing less. The only reason there is an embargo on Gaza is because they have declared a war they can not win, while the stronger side in the conflict just wants peace.

      JohanCduToit - 2012-09-04 08:36

      Actually, it is Israel that must first stop with their systematic oppression the people of Palestine. When Israel does that there will be no need for people to blow themselves up in desperation.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-09-04 09:27

      Johan, actually it will not be Israel that will stop first, because Israel did not start this war. So it will continue to defend itself and its citizens. So there is only one solution and you need to accept it, even though it will hurt your little ego.

      JohanCduToit - 2012-09-04 09:41

      Larry, it is pointless arguing about "who started it" - it only depends on how far you are willing to go back. The point is that Israel has now been viciously oppressing these people for several decades. The people of Palestine are NEVER going to stop fighting for their freedom.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-09-04 09:57

      Point is, the Pestinians don't need to fight for their freedom. All they need to do is accept Israel and be decent about it. They will attain their freedom this way, and no amount of 'fighting' will gain them anything short of continued oppression and hiding after hiding. This is the reality they they and you need to accomodate in your collective thinking.

      JohanCduToit - 2012-09-04 10:00

      Never say never Lary. There are many people in the world who are prepared defend the defenceless.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-09-04 10:37

      johan, there are just as many in the world who support the continued and successful existence of Israel. These many can be counted upon as being of influence and power, whereas your many are sufferring the same victim mentality as the Palestinians. The fact remains, is that Israel is too strong and supported by Western nations and will continue to exist and grow in power and influence.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-09-04 10:38

      Vox, for peace, Pestinians and the arab/Muslim world must accept a Jewish state in their midst. NON NEGOTIABLE.

      JohanCduToit - 2012-09-04 10:47

      Yea, we all know about your big friend the once mighty USA. But have you seen how they have been doing lately? So good luck to you two.

      rick.kabose - 2012-09-04 12:16

      Vox , the arabs came pouring out of the peninsula with the birth of islam. You think the maronites in Lebanon,Coptic Egyptians ,Kurds,Assyrians,Syrians,Jews,Babylonians welcomed the arabs with open arms,you are deluded. Now arabs are the majority there due to islamic oppression(taxed extra if you not a muslim and other penaltys).

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-09-05 06:10

      VOX, to use your analogy. Jews have always lived as tenants in their own back yard, and one day take ownership and permanency by building a solid home. They required no permission, but it was granted anyway by the landlord and the world governing body, the UN. The Arabs, who saw themselves as the sole and rightful owners of the back yard, took umbrage and opposed this granting of ownership, and started throwing rocks upon the new house of Jews and continue to do so to this day. The Jews placed their guards within the back yards of their Arab neighbours in order to better defend their home from harm, and will continue to do so until the Arabs come to accept and accept the permanency of the Jewish house.

  • juannepierre - 2012-09-04 05:07

    They fought, Palestine lost. It's that simple. It's not oppression, it's called loosing. If Palestine had won there wouldn't even be an Israel. I am yet to see Palestinians do something for Palestine other than try kill Israelis.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-09-04 13:45

      Germany paid the price for losing, twice. Germany remained germany because they surrendered and accepted the terms of surrender, which was massive reparations which they are still paying for by treaty to this day. The Palestinians, along with neighboring arab countries, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, attacked israel on several fronts in 1967 and they lost the war and israel gained territory in the process. Egypt lost the Sinai (regained only a decade later after a peace accord with Israel was struck), Israel still controls the Syrian Golan Heights, Lebanon lost the Shatilla farms territory (now returned), and the territories of Gaza and west Bank was occupied by Israel, for which return is yet to be negotiated - on Israel's terms only.

  • JohanCduToit - 2012-09-04 08:12

    Just another casualty of Israel's apartheid system.

      hayley.coleman.3979 - 2012-09-04 08:23

      @Johan, Gaza is independant. It has it's own elected government which spends more on rockets than social development. Nice try though.

      JohanCduToit - 2012-09-04 08:28

      Living under an "economic blockade" is not being independent. You may want to educate yourself about Israel's apartheid system:

      hayley.coleman.3979 - 2012-09-04 08:38

      Fool, the blockade is to prevent money being used to buy rockets. Have you not seen the truckloads of food and supplies that the Israelis send in? When the rockets stop falling, the blockade will end - guaranteed. But that will never happen, cos then the lazy Hamas will have to get real jobs and won't have anybody to blame.

      boaz.yarmarkov - 2012-09-04 08:47

      There is no apartheid in Israel. It’s called self defence… and Israeli self defence is not a crime. Israel wants reconciliation but the fundamentalists in Gaza want some crazy holy war.

      JohanCduToit - 2012-09-04 08:47

      Hayley, people don't kill themselves because "they are lazy". They do it because they are desperate and see no other way out. They are THAT desperate to escape Israel's oppression. And please stop it with the "fool" comments. Personal attacks are usually the last resort of those losing an argument.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-09-04 08:50

      Actually what everyone is calling for is an apartheid solution , seperate nation states that are autonomous and have seperate development. If the Isreal/Palestinian problem was about territory and governance then it would have been resolved by now. The problem is that each side believes they have a divine right to the land.

      JohanCduToit - 2012-09-04 08:54

      Boaz, it makes no difference what you call it, "self defence", "Israel's god given right", or whatever. The fact remains that it is similar to how the apartheid system was in SA, and in almost every way. Just much, much worse.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-09-04 09:32

      Johan, you are a fool and hear my argument. There is no similarity to apartheid South Africa. In apartheid SA, one group of citizens oppressed another group of citizens, WHO WERE ALL SA CITIZENS. Whereas Palestinians in Gaza and West Bank ARE NOT CITIZENS OF ISRAEL. Can you see the distinction fool. No, I suppose you will not let yourself, because your limited thinking is governed by your fragile ego.

      JohanCduToit - 2012-09-04 09:50

      No Larry, semantics won't change anything. If the apartheid government in SA denied blacks citizenship, would that have made apartheid go away? Obviously not. You may want to read the Wikipedia link I posted about apartheid in Israel to learn about Israel's citizenship law. And there really is no need for personal attacks.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-09-04 10:01

      Round and round the Mulberry bush we go. In apartheid SA, black were fully fledged citizens, but denied the rights of citizens. In Israel, all citizens are equal before the law, they share social services and vote for their political party of their choice. Let me reiterate, Gaza'ns and West Bank Pestinians are not citizens of Israel and neither do they want to be.

      JohanCduToit - 2012-09-04 10:07

      Who said they don't want to be? Do you think they enjoy being oppressed by Israel and having no say about it? Sorry but that is a weak argument, to put it mildly.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-09-04 10:42

      The only reason that Pestinians might accept that Israel annexed all of the West Bank into a larger Israel, and made the Pestinians Israeli citizens, is with the intention of outbreeding the Jews and changing the Jewish majority and character of Israel into a Muslim state. Israel cannot allow this, and therefore the only option is a two state solution under Israel's terms. Simple reality. Try it.

      JohanCduToit - 2012-09-04 11:06

      Ah Quirky, more personal insults. And talk about own goals... The whites in SA also thought that they could just take all the land, and that the blacks would be happy to live in small "homelands" like Bophuthatswana, one of several nominally independent black "homelands" established by the Afrikaner government under apartheid. Apartheid is wrong. The people who lived in these "homelands" certainly had a right to equality in SA, just like the people in Palestine today has a right to equality.

      valkyriaza - 2012-09-04 11:21

      I am still trying to decide if you are anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli. One thing is clear, your comments show you as a man of few words and little sense. Then again, it is clear you;ve never been to Israel.

      JohanCduToit - 2012-09-04 11:30

      " with the intention of outbreeding the Jews and changing the Jewish majority and character of Israel into a Muslim state" Well Larry, at least you are being honest. When apartheid ended in SA the character of SA did change. And many of the problems (that used to be invisible to whites) are still with us. But overall, SA is moving forward. Maintaining the apartheid system in Israel will only make things worse, and make reconciliation more difficult. Time to accept the reality.

      JohanCduToit - 2012-09-04 11:35

      Valkyriaza, I am not anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli, just anti-Apartheid. And yes, I have been to Israel, albeit many years ago.

      JohanCduToit - 2012-09-04 11:50

      Quirky, you seem to be stuck on this "destruction of Israel" thing. Nobody wants to destroy Israel. The only people who would say that are the Israeli politicians who want to justify their apartheid system. (The politicians in SA used to use similar scare tactics.) There might be a few individuals in Palestine who say that too, but that is understandable considering decades of oppression. The truth is most people just want to live in peace with equal rights and opportunities.

      JohanCduToit - 2012-09-04 12:17

      I would have said the same thing after being oppressed for decades. You may want to get up to date: "...the Hamas charter was "drawn up by a Hamas-linked imam some [twenty] years ago and has never been adopted since Hamas was elected as the Palestinian government in 2006" "It's a tract meant to mobilize support and it should be amended... It projects anger, not vision."

      JohanCduToit - 2012-09-04 13:41

      You can't expect to see "compassion" or "reconciliation" while you keep up the oppression. Surely you can understand that?

      JohanCduToit - 2012-09-04 14:18

      Then carry on losing friends and creating more and more enemies, and see how long that will go on.

  • tracy.theron.33 - 2012-09-04 08:58

    This comment is most likely going to earn me some major thumbs down, but tough luck. What is heart breaking here is that an 18 year child was so down trodden and desperate and he doused himself him petrol and set himself alight, I don't care what colour, creed or religion who are - but to be forced into such a situation screams for help. Facts... Paletine did lose a war - but what the hell so have many countries including Germany & Italy and you don't see them occupied today. There is definitely an apartheid system in Israel against Palestinians. Yes, the Hamas faction is totally wrong to deny the right of Israel to exist. Israel has gotten away horrific human right abuses within Gaza and the Western Bank, and committed crimes that no where else in the world would any other country get away with it. I am totally against the suicide bombers from Palestine terrorist groups, but at the end of the day, what the hell are they suppose to do?? The have been occupied for over 40 years, children are arrested and tortured, they have no freedom of movement, denied medical care, live in poverty, and have to rely on outside aid continuously just to feed their kids and the rest of the world just seems to forget about them..... I for one will not forget the armed conflict in Gaza in December 2008, nor the most horrifying images are children in Gaza playing with phosphorous in the streets from white phosphorus shells fired from Israel which is a war crime.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-09-04 09:39

      Oh my bleeding heart. Go find an orphan doggie or something and give yourself a cuddle. Your thought process is typically an emotional one and superficial to the complexity of the issues at hand. Israel does not have any apartheid policies in its law statutes, and gaza and West Bank are not part of Israel. GET IT. The occupation of the West Bank and the embargo on Gaza are legal ramifications of the unresolved 1967 war. The Pestinians will be treated with decency when basic decency is extended by the arab world upon Israel. Until then, burn and suffer.

      rick.kabose - 2012-09-04 09:55

      While you at it,try remember and picture in your mind..... Hamas troops throwing Fatah officials from roof tops, Hamas thugs cutting the head off an Israeli with a wooden door, Hitler dining with the grand mufti of Jerusalem joking about the pogroms where they randomly killed jews living in the area before Israel was created. Picture young Israeli's in 1947/8 defending themselves with rifles in bakkies against arab tanks. Palestinians are brainwashed by their religion which is intolerant of all other faiths,they are blood thirsty vermin at best

      JohanCduToit - 2012-09-04 10:02

      I wondered how long it will be before someone bring up the holocaust. Sorry, two wrongs does not make a right.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-09-04 10:55

      Have a read on anti-jewish pogroms and massacres , its startling and all based on religous and divinely ordained racism and genocide, from antiquity all the way to now .Reality is they (authors and arichects of abrahmic religions) saw the threat and need to denounce the original Abrahamic religion to vindicate their own and of course 'Blasphemer's and 'Hypocrites' used to justiphy this and their rejection of the new faiths.(go and read the texts). A litany of holy wars , desecrations , genocides and theocratic empires followed.

  • tracy.theron.33 - 2012-09-04 11:23

    "The State of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians has been compared by United Nations investigators, human rights groups and critics of Israeli policy to South Africa's treatment of non-whites during its apartheid era. Israel has also been accused of committing the crime of apartheid. Critics of Israeli policy say that "a system of control" in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, including Jewish-only settlements, separate roads, military checkpoints, discriminatory marriage law, the West Bank barrier, use of Palestinians as cheap labour, Palestinian West Bank enclaves, inequities in infrastructure, legal rights, and access to land and resources between Palestinians and Israeli residents in the Israeli-occupied territories resembles some aspects of the South African apartheid regime, and that elements of Israel's occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law. Some commentators extend the analogy, or accusation, to include Arab citizens of Israel, describing their citizenship status as second-class." This shouts apartheid to me

      JohanCduToit - 2012-09-04 13:54

      Neighbour?!? Sorry, but you cannot oppress people and expect them to like you. The only thing you can expect is more and bigger rockets. Hope you enjoy living like that...

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