Dear Scoop Independent News readers, subscribers and guests,
I am delighted this day to announce the launch of a project which is dear to my heart and true to the founding spirit of Scoop – Gaza.scoop.ps.
Scoop correspondent Julie Webb-Pullman has been in Gaza for most of the past 12 months giving Scoop’s readers a very rare view inside a city which is generally regarded as among the most dangerous places in the planet. Julie’s path to Gaza was a long one and she spent most of the Arab spring in Jordan and Egypt waiting patiently for an opportunity to get across the Rafah crossing from Egypt to Gaza.
In February after briefly returning home for the New Year she returned to Gaza and began preparations for the launch of Gaza.Scoop.ps – the first phase of what we hope in time will become a comprehensive English and Arabic original news source – Scoop Palestine.
The intention of this public interest media project is to shine a light on the reality of living in a besieged city which is continuously under attack from the air.
This project is at the core of Scoop’s reason to be. From Scoop.co.nz’s mission statement:
Scoop believes in the power of information to transform lives. It believes in the power of the internet to resolve conflict. And it believes in the power of compelling ideas to propel themselves into political consciousness if they are able to get exposure and be debated. Scoop is, necessarily, a forum that is neither censored through its own prejudices nor controlled by a multinational media conglomerate.
Therefore Scoop’s mission is: “To be an agent of positive change.”
And this is what we hope to be in Gaza.
Like Scoop.co.nz, Gaza.scoop.ps will combine original news reporting, pictures and video – supervised by Julie Webb-Pullman on the ground in Gaza – with aggregated original source reports (press releases/reports/statements/speeches/video and images) from other organisations and individuals in Gaza. We will source content from agencies of the Gaza Government, civil society and NGOs with a presence in the city. Gaza.scoop.ps will also seek out , research and link to other news sources located in Gaza.
Through this project we hope to help people understand that this is not a city of 1.7 Million terrorists, but rather a city of 1.7 Million ordinary people who wish dearly to be allowed to live in peace.
By enabling the world to see inside this city – in near real time in the English Language – it is our intention to honour and celebrate the humanity of the citizens of Gaza through their own words.
This is not a commercial project. However we do hope it will grow to be self-sustaining over time. This will take time.
For this project to succeed Scoop will need assistance from donors – people who, like us, believe this project is worth a crack.
The initial fundraising budget for the project will go entirely towards covering Julie Webb-Pullman’s living costs in Gaza. Until now Julie has self-financed her presence in Gaza. She has now reached the end of her personal savings.
A modest minimum of around $1000 USD is needed for this purpose.
The overhead of publishing and maintaining the website will be carried by the Scoop team based in our office in Wellington New Zealand working with volunteers.
Our fundraising efforts via advertising on the Scoop website will be assisted on the ground in New Zealand by the Wellington Palestine Group. We would welcome assistance in the fundraising for the this project from anywhere in the world.
We would also be very interested to hear any feedback you have on this new project . To send us feedback, suggestions of sites we should link to, and submissions of press releases related to Gaza for publication please email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Editor Scoop Independent News – Scoop.co.nz
HOW TO DONATE TO GAZA.SCOOP.PS – VIA PAYPAL OR GIVE A LITTLE
The Gaza.scoop.ps project needs a minimum of USD$1000 a month to proceed. All donations will be used to cover Julie Webb-Pullman’s living costs in Gaza City.
Support Our Woman In Gaza Via Paypal:
Donate towards covering Julie Web-Pullman’s Costs In April 2012
Dear Scoop Independent News Readers/Subscribers,
Gaza has been under Israeli blockade since the first intifada in the early 1990’s. The blockade has been eased and squeezed ever since.
Following the defeat by Hamas of the western-backed Fatah government in democratic elections in 2006 – and the subsequent withdrawal of foreign aid – the blockade intensified. The bloody split between Fatah and Hamas in 2006, when a planned Fatah coup in Gaza was prevented and the Hamas government retained control, saw this intensification become a stranglehold.
Operation Cast Lead, the brutal Israeli offensive of December 2008-January 2009, left Gaza decimated – infrastructure such as electricity plants, water supplies, drainage and sewage systems, roads, schools, and most government buildings were destroyed along with thousands of homes, businesses, 1500 people died, and thousands more were injured.
The situation following Operation Cast Lead has been dire – Israel has refused to permit the entry of materials essential for the reconstruction of homes and other buildings. Essential medicines and medical equipment are not allowed in. Schools are overcrowded and ill-equipped. People are still living in tents, shacks, and other unsuitable housing subject to flooding, cold, and without sanitary facilities.
Palestinians and most foreigners have not been permitted to freely enter or leave, whether to work, study, for medical treatment, or merely to visit relatives or business partners. Electricity is cut for up to 18 hours a day, and recently, for 36 hours on end during the coldest period of the year.
Throughout this period, Israel has subjected the entrapped population to ongoing attacks from air, sea and land.
Despite claims to the contrary, the siege has not been materially eased by Israel since Operation Cast Lead. While the revolution in Egypt has seen increased entry and exit through the Rafah crossing, it is restricted to women, and men under 18 or over 40 years of age.
Gazans still depend for their survival on tunnels – tunnels that enable some essentials to be brought into the coastal enclave of more than one and half million people.
These tunnels that are a death sentence for many of those building and working them. Tunnels are regularly bombed by Israel, or shut down by Egyptian authorities, even since the fall of Mubarak.
Gazans depend for their survival on the goodwill of the international community, in the form of humanitarian aid convoys bringing essential medicines and suchlike through the blockade.
Gazans depend for their survival on the international community being aware of what is going on in Gaza, such that they can do something about it, in the name of justice and humanity.
Gazans depend for their survival on the international media – a media noticeable in Gaza primarily by its absence. One Al Jazeera journalist and one PRESS TV correspondent are permanently stationed inside this territory – the rest of the reportage from Gaza live in the land of the occupier, crossing the border at the Erez crossing usually after something has happened, to then report on events from yesterday, the day before, or even the week or month before.
Scoop.gaza.ps intends to be on the ground, informing the world day in and day out, good news and bad, of what is happening in Gaza, not through the lens of jaded western journalists with an agenda, but through the words of Gazans themselves.
I am currently in Gaza setting up this project, to make this happen. But it can only happen with your support. In the initial phases of this project the costs will be relatively minimal thanks to the free hosting and publication support being provided by Scoop.co.nz.
However to survive and prosper this project will need ongoing support.
So please donate. And if you know of anyone else who ought to know about this project – then please let them know also.
Julie Webb Pullman
Scoop Gaza Correspondent – Gaza.scoop.ps
P.S. A short overview of the history of the Gaza blockade can be found here