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Last Updated: Friday, 3 August 2007, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
Gaza voices
Three Palestinians - a musician, a private sector employee and a journalist - describe life in Gaza.


There have been some minor clashes between Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Rafah, but today all of Gaza is busy with the secondary school exam results, which have just come out.

The border between Egypt and Gaza near the Rafah crossing
The Egyptian and Gaza border near the Rafah crossing

The girl with the best results in all of the Gaza Strip is here in Rafah; she's one of my neighbours.

But with the economic situation, I doubt she can do much. The Hamas government has said it will sponsor 10 students through university.

Life under Hamas is OK. I am the only one working in my family, I have six younger brothers at school. Basically, I'm supporting the family.

My father spent 12 years in Israeli jails. He's out now, but he's not getting any money because he's a Palestinian Authority employee.

I have a friend who has been stuck at el-Arish airport in Egypt for 55 days. He cannot get back into Gaza because Israel has closed the Rafah crossing.

He was returning from a conference in France. He has no transit visa, so they've put him in a room at the airport with 93 other Palestinians. It's disgusting and very dirty - I spoke to him last week.

His wife is expecting their first child in the next few days - and he's not going to be there.


I work for the Palestinian telecommunications company, Paltel. Because I am in the private sector I have been paid as normal.

Israel decrees how much electricity we need - they want to make us suffer

Hamas coming into power did affect work indirectly; if Palestinian residents don't have the money to pay their 'phone bills, our budget drops.

But as a Gaza resident I didn't feel much difference when Hamas took over. For those who belonged to Fatah and did very well out of it, it's different.

The Western media try to paint Hamas as the source of all evil. But Hamas are Palestinians as well. They are not strangers from another planet.

A friend of mine had his wedding party a few days ago. It was mixed male and female, not a traditional wedding. It went ahead as normal, so our way of life has not changed.

However, since the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped [last year] we have had less electricity. We only get between 12 and 14 hours a day.

We get it from an Israeli company and Israel decrees how much electricity we need - they want to make us suffer.

The current closures are not affecting me because I have given up trying to leave Gaza.

I tried to go abroad three times last year - I had my visas and airline tickets all ready. I failed each time because the occupying Israeli forces had closed the crossings.


I lead a group of 26 musicians - we play traditional Palestinian music. But for the last two months we haven't been able to work.

Hamas have already beaten one of my singers for singing for Fatah

This group, Hamas, believe they are the leaders of Islam. The violin, piano, flute, all these instruments are banned. Only the drum is allowed. They say any other instrument is not mentioned in the Koran.

I did get some salary last month; I work for the PA on the staff of a TV station, so we were paid through banks in Gaza.

Electricity is a problem. For the past two years, the Ramallah government has paid the electricity bill charged by the Israelis.

Now, Hamas is going from house to house asking people to pay for their own electricity. One thousand shekels to get the electricity back on. And people cannot afford it.

We have only five hours of electricity a day for domestic use in my part of town. We have five children.

Hamas have already beaten one of my singers for singing for Fatah. He was attacked at the wedding where he went to perform.

We had to send him to Israel for hospital treatment.

We have to keep our traditional music because it is Palestinian. People without traditions are not civilised, they are nothing.

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