Gazans produce fish and vegetables in tiny rooftop spaces

 Abu Ahmed looks out over a sea of grey, empty Gaza rooftops, and smiles as he looks back at the lush greenery sprouting in tubs and pipes on top of his apartment building.

He is part of a United Nations agency project to introduce cutting-edge urban agriculture to Gaza City, teaching Palestinians to farm without soil in the space available to them in one of the world’s most densely populated places.

 Most of his rooftop is given over to an aquaponic system, which produces food by linking fish tanks of tilapia with gravel-filled planters.

 The integrated system feeds the water from the fish tanks into the plant beds, where Abu Ahmed’s crops – lettuce, peppers, broccoli, celery and herbs — are fertilised by waste produced by the tilapia.

 As the water trickles through the gravel, the plants absorb nutrients from the fish waste, cleaning the water, which then replenishes the tanks.

“The idea really was to help the poorest people in Gaza be able to grow some of their own food, and healthy food, grown without pesticides,” explains Mohammed El Shatali, the project’s deputy manager.

 For Abu Ahmed, the project has been a major success.

 In Gaza’s main towns and cities, empty land is being eaten up by the construction of multi-storey apartment buildings, leaving little space for agriculture.

 The challenges prompted the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to look for new ways to maximise crop production in tiny spaces.

 In Gaza City’s Zeitun neighbourhood, 34-year-old Eman Nofal tends crops in a small yard next to her apartment. Peppers have been her biggest success this year, and both sweet and spicy red peppers dot the greenery in her planters.

 The project has faced setbacks, including the Gaza-specific challenge of power cuts of up to 12 hours a day, which shut down the pumps that transfer water between the fish tanks and plant beds.

 “Electricity has been one of the most difficult challenges,” says Chris Somerville, an urban agriculture consultant with the FAO.

 “At 30 degrees centigrade (86 Fahrenheit), the capacity of the water to hold oxygen reduces, and during the summer many of the beneficiaries had fish die.”

 New participants will receive a battery-powered pump to tide them over during power cuts, and the FAO is experimenting with fibres that could be used in hydroponic systems to retain moisture when power cuts stop the water flow.

 Initially, the project also had to overcome a certain level of scepticism, Somerville says.

 “To tell agrarian societies that you’re going to grow plants without soil can sometimes be a bit of a jump,” he laughs.

 But the project has been so successful that the next cycle will expand from 15 aquaponic participants to around 80, with another 80 homes operating hydroponic systems.

 It will be the first time the FAO has implemented aquaponics on this scale, and the agency is now looking at implementing the project elsewhere in the world.

 To be able to take this Gaza model and bring it to other countries would really be a massive achievement,” Somerville says,according to Gaza news.

 

 

 

MP Galloway: Syria under President Bashar Al-Assad Is to Be Victorious

 

 

 

BEIRUT, (ST)_ George Galloway, the British renowned MP, asserted that the world war launched against Syria is similar to the aggression launched against Egypt in 1956, voicing confidence that Syria under the leadership of President Bashar Al-Assad is to be victorious as was the case with the victory of the late President Jamal Abdul Nasser.

In press statements in Beirut Tuesday, published by SANA, MP Galloway reiterated that the Syrian Leadership would never be defeated.

MP Galloway pointed out that the Iraqi scenario would deter the US today from any military adventure or invasion of any country, asserting that Washington and along with Tel Aviv can bombard from air, but they are unable to control land; asserting that the US force is on a backtrack with defined lines which Washington can't surpass.

M.A. Al-Ibrahim

 

 

 

Palestinian Intellectuals : We Stand with Syria in the Battle of Destiny

DAMASCUS,(ST)_ "The escalation of the vicious attack against  Syria's land , people and the state under an uncovered and blatant  Arab, regional and international conspiracy is , but  a revenge  for Syria 's national stand and a service for the colonialist projects in the Arab region." said a statement , issued by 70 Palestinian poets, writers and intellectuals .

 The statement  which was released in a meeting for  the Committee in  Solidarity with the Syrian people, held  in Haifa in the occupied Palestinian territories of  1948 under the title  " One thousand  greetings of pride for the Syrian Arab Army ,  the Protector  of Syria  and the compeller  of its enemies,  emphasized :" Our words and voice should be heard, because the outcome of this battle will leave its impact for generations to come, and therefore the Arab nation must win over  its enemies, whatever the sacrifices,   large or expensive. "
The Palestinian writers and men of letters voiced support for  the Syrian people and national leadership . They deplored all external interferences in  the Syrian  internal affairs ,  so that the Syrians " will  achieve their aspirations to live free and choose what they deem appropriate within the  course of their national principles."
  They expressed full confidence that the Syrian people  will overcome this ordeal  and got out of it  stronger  in spite of  haters and conspirators.
"Syria 's victory  will be  for the benefit of the Arab nation . All Arab forces from the Ocean to the Gulf should stand by Syria in the Arab  battle for destiny ,  because the ongoing battle is not only against Syria but also hit the future of all Arabs", the statement noted, adding,  that " in confirmation of these meanings,  we issue this statement as a document for  truth and history ".
" The statement conveys  two messages: The first is that a large  part of the intellectuals of our people inside Palestine  support the reform process in Syria and stand against the aggression , while the second message conveys the gratitude Palestinians in the occupied territories of  1948 for Syria 's  stand concerning  Palestinian cause", Palestinian writer Saed Nafaa told the Syrian TV.
Events taking place  in Syria confirm that there is a global conspiracy and a terrorist onslaught  to  destroy  this country , said another Palestinian writer Issam Makhoul .

For his part, Palestinian intellectual  Aleef al-Sabbagh said that enemies of Syria  are using all ways and means to partition  the Arab World." They partitioned Iraq and now they  want to fragment  Syria," he added, noting  "but, the Arab people will confront the  US-led conspiracy against the Arab world."

 

 

T. Fateh

 

Seyed Ali Khamenei: We support the Syrian people and are opposed to every kind of incitement and intervention in that country

 The following is the full text of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei to the Hajj pilgrims in 2012:

In the name of Allah, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful.

All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. May Allah's blessings and salutations be to the supreme and trustworthy Apostle, and the pure and chosen ones of his family and his worthy companions.

The Hajj season, charged with Divine mercy and blessings, has arrived once again to offer the gift of Divine grace to the felicitous who have the honor to be present at this radiant tryst. Here, both place and time invite you, Hajj pilgrims, to spiritual edification and material uplift. Here, Muslim men and women, with their hearts and tongues, respond positively to the Divine summons to rectitude and salvation. Here everyone finds the opportunity to drill the lessons of brotherhood, equality and piety. Here is the great camp for teaching and training. It showcases the unity, diversity and splendor of the Islamic Ummah and is a battlefront for struggle against Satan and false deities (taaghoot). The wise and omnipotent Lord has made this a place where the faithful shall witness their own interests. Should we see with the eyes of wisdom and summon the will to learn from experience, this heavenly promise will embrace our entire individual and collective lives in its expanse.

The Hajj rites signify the embrace between worldly existence and afterlife and the union of individual and society. The plain and majestic Ka'bah; the bodies and the hearts circling an immovable and eternal center; the unceasing and orderly effort (s'ay) and quest under taken between an origin and end; the en masse migration to the resurrectional fields of 'Arafat and the Mash'ar; the passion and presence occasioned by this great gathering, which burnish and refresh the hearts; the collective surge to attack the symbols of Satan; and then a harmonious stream of people, from all places, of all colors and hues, throughout these symbolic rites rich with meaning and hints of guidance-these are the unique characteristics of this sacred rite loaded with meaning and content.

Such are the rites which infuse the hearts with God's remembrance and brighten the core of human heart with the lights of piety and faith, liberating the individual from the confines of egoism and submerging him in the diverse collectivity of the Islamic Ummah. They cover him with the armor of piety, which protects his soul from the poisonous arrows of sin and imbue him with a combative spirit against devils and false deities

More Palestinians Martyred in Israeli Raids

 

A Zionist air strike on the Gaza Strip killed a Palestinian early Wednesday, bringing to three the number of people martyred in overnight raids as the Emir of Qatar Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani is on a visit to Gaza, al-Manar TV said.

 The latest air strike, on Rafah in the south, targeted members of the Popular Resistance Committees, a medic said, adding that another resistance fighter was wounded in the raid.

  Two Zionist air strikes on northern Gaza Strip late on Tuesday killed two Palestinians and wounded seven more, said a health ministry spokesman.

  A statement from Hamas said those martyred were members of its military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.

 

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