FILE - In this April 20, 2018 file photo, Palestinian protesters fly a kite with a burning rag dangling from its tail during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel. Israeli border towns are coping with incendiary kites and balloons that have not been lethal but have devastated their farmlands and nature reserves. Since March 30 near-weekly Palestinian border protests have torched some 7,000 acres (2,800 hectares) of Israeli land and caused some $2 million in damages, while Israeli forces have killed more than 120 Palestinians and wounded over 3,800. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File)
Palestinian protesters fly a kite with a burning rag dangling from its tail during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel. Khalil Hamra / AP

Young protesters are defying Israel's blockade with scraps of paper and plastic



First Israel built a sophisticated missile interception system named Iron Dome to neutralise the threat of homemade rockets fired out of Gaza.

Next it created technology that could detect and destroy tunnels Palestinians had cut through the parched earth deep under the fences Israel erected to imprison Gaza on all sides.

Israel’s priority was to keep Gaza locked down with a blockade and its two million inhabitants invisible.

Now Israel is facing a new and apparently even tougher challenge: how to stop Palestinian resistance from Gaza using flaming kites, which have set fire to lands close by in Israel. F-16 fighter jets are equipped to take on many foes but not the humble kite.

For Israelis, these various innovations by Palestinians are widely seen as part of the same relentless campaign by Hamas to destroy their country.

But from inside Gaza, things look very different. These initiatives are driven by a mix of recognisably human emotions: a refusal to bow before crushing oppression; a fear of becoming complicit through silence and inaction in being erased and forgotten; and a compelling need to take back control of one’s life.

Palestinians encaged in Gaza, denied entry and exit by Israel via land, sea and air for more than a decade, know that life there is rapidly becoming unsustainable. Most young people are unemployed, much of the infrastructure and housing irreparably damaged, polluted water sources are near-unpotable.

After waves of military attacks, Gaza’s children are traumatised with mental scars that might never heal.

This catastrophe was carefully engineered by Israel – and it renews and enforces it daily.

The kites have long served as a potent symbol of freedom in Gaza. Children have flown them from the few spots in the tiny, congested enclave where people can still breathe – from rooftops or on Gaza's beaches.

Five years ago, the film Flying Paper documented the successful efforts of Gaza's children to set a new world record for mass kite-flying. The children defied Israel's blockade, which prevents entry of most goods, by making kites from sticks, newspapers and scraps of plastic.

The children’s ambition was – if only briefly – to retake Gaza’s skies, which Israel dominates with its unseen, death-dealing drones that buzz interminably overhead and with missiles that can flatten a building in seconds.

A young girl observed of the kite’s lure: “When we fly the kite, we know that freedom exists”. A message scrawled on one read: “I have the right to pride, education, justice, equality and life”.

But the world record attempt was not only about the children’s dreams and their defiance. It was intended to highlight Gaza’s confinement and to issue a reminder that Palestinians too are human.

That same generation of children have grown into the youths being picked off weekly by Israeli snipers at unarmed protests at the perimeter fence – the most visible feature of Israel’s infrastructure of imprisonment.

A few have taken up kite-flying again. If they have refused to put away childish things, this time they have discarded their childish idealism. Their world record did not win them freedom, nor even much notice.

After the snipers began maiming thousands of the demonstrators, including children, medics and journalists, for the impudence of imagining they had a right to liberty, the enclave’s youths reinvented the kite’s role.

If it failed to serve as a reminder of Palestinians’ humanity, it could at least remind Israel and the outside world of their presence, of the cost of leaving two million human beings to rot.

So the kites were set on fire, flaming emissaries that brought a new kind of reckoning for Israel when they landed on the other side of the fence.

Gaza’s inhabitants can still see the lands from which many of them were expelled during the mass dispossession of the Palestinian people in 1948 – under western colonial sponsorship – to create a Jewish state.

Not only were those lands taken from them but the Jewish farming communities that replaced them now irrigate their crops using water seized from aquifers under the Palestinian West Bank.

The kites have rained fire down on this idyll created by Israel at the expense of Gaza’s inhabitants. No one has been hurt but Israel claims extinguishing the fires has already cost some $2 million and 7,000 acres of farmland have been damaged.

Sadly, given the profound sense of entitlement that afflicts many Israelis, a small dent in their material wellbeing has not pricked consciences about the incomparably greater suffering only a few kilometres away in Gaza.

Instead, Israel’s public security minister Gilad Erdan called last week for anyone flying a kite, even young children, to be shot. He and other ministers have argued that another large-scale military assault on Gaza is necessary to create what Mr Erdan has termed “durable deterrence”.

That moment seems to be moving inexorably closer. The last few days have seen Israel launch punitive air strikes to stop the kites and Palestinian factions retaliate by firing significant numbers of rockets out of Gaza for the first time in years.

The Trump administration is no longer pretending to mediate. It has publicly thrown in its hand in with Israel. It withdrew last week from the United Nations Human Rights Council, accusing it of being a “cesspool of political bias” after the council criticised Israel for executing Gaza’s unarmed demonstrators.

On a visit to the region last week, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, urged ordinary Palestinians to rebel against their leaders’ refusal to accept a long-awaited US peace plan that all evidence suggests will further undermine Palestinian hopes of a viable state.

Mr Kushner is apparently unaware that the Palestinian public is expressing its will, for liberation, by protesting at the Gaza fence – and risking execution by Israel for doing so.

Meanwhile, Prince William is due in Israel tomorrow, the first British royal to make an official visit since the mandate ended 70 years ago. His Middle Eastern tour includes visits to Jordan and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

While Kensington Palace has stressed that the trip is non-political, Prince William will meet both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in an itinerary that has already been claimed by both sides as a victory.

From the vantage point of the Mount of Olives, from which he will view Jerusalem's Old City, the prince may not quite manage to see the kite battles in Gaza's skies that underscore who is Goliath and who is David. But he should see enough in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem to understand that western leaders have decisively chosen the side of Goliath.

Jonathan Cook is a freelance journalist based in Nazareth

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

How to avoid getting scammed
  • Never click on links provided via app or SMS, even if they seem to come from authorised senders at first glance
  • Always double-check the authenticity of websites
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all your working and personal services
  • Only use official links published by the respective entity
  • Double-check the web addresses to reduce exposure to fake sites created with domain names containing spelling errors
Results

6.30pm: Madjani Stakes Group 2 (PA) Dh97,500 (Dirt) 1,900m, Winner: RB Frynchh Dude, Pat Cosgrave (jockey), Helal Al Alawi (trainer)

7.05pm: Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (D) 1,400m, Winner: Mnasek, Dane O’Neill, Doug Watson.

7.40pm: Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (D) 1,600m, Winner: Grand Dubai, Sandro Paiva, Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

8.15pm: Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (D) 2,200m, Winner: Meqdam, Sam Hitchcock, Doug Watson.

8.50pm: Dubai Creek Mile Listed (TB) Dh132,500 (D) 1,600m, Winner: Thegreatcollection, Pat Cosgrave, Doug Watson.

9.25pm: Conditions (TB) Dh120,000 (D) 1,900m, Winner: Sanad Libya, Richard Mullen, Satish Seemar.

10pm: Handicap (TB) Dh92,500 (D) 1,400m, Winner: Madkhal, Adrie de Vries, Fawzi Nass.

CREW

Director: Rajesh A Krishnan

Starring: Tabu, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kriti Sanon

Rating: 3.5/5

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Fixtures

Friday Leganes v Alaves, 10.15pm; Valencia v Las Palmas, 12.15am

Saturday Celta Vigo v Real Sociedad, 8.15pm; Girona v Atletico Madrid, 10.15pm; Sevilla v Espanyol, 12.15am

Sunday Athletic Bilbao v Getafe, 8.15am; Barcelona v Real Betis, 10.15pm; Deportivo v Real Madrid, 12.15am

Monday Levante v Villarreal, 10.15pm; Malaga v Eibar, midnight

Charlotte Gainsbourg

Rest

(Because Music)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

CHELSEA'S NEXT FIVE GAMES

Mar 10: Norwich(A)

Mar 13: Newcastle(H)

Mar 16: Lille(A)

Mar 19: Middlesbrough(A)

Apr 2: Brentford(H)

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Sav
Started: 2021
Founder: Purvi Munot
Based: Dubai
Industry: FinTech
Funding: $750,000 as of March 2023
Investors: Angel investors

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

The Written World: How Literature Shaped History
Martin Puchner
Granta

U19 WORLD CUP, WEST INDIES

UAE group fixtures (all in St Kitts)
Saturday 15 January: v Canada
Thursday 20 January: v England
Saturday 22 January: v Bangladesh

UAE squad
Alishan Sharafu (captain), Shival Bawa, Jash Giyanani, Sailles Jaishankar, Nilansh Keswani, Aayan Khan, Punya Mehra, Ali Naseer, Ronak Panoly, Dhruv Parashar, Vinayak Raghavan, Soorya Sathish, Aryansh Sharma, Adithya Shetty, Kai Smith

Abramovich London

A Kensington Palace Gardens house with 15 bedrooms is valued at more than £150 million.

A three-storey penthouse at Chelsea Waterfront bought for £22 million.

Steel company Evraz drops more than 10 per cent in trading after UK officials said it was potentially supplying the Russian military.

Sale of Chelsea Football Club is now impossible.

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Company profile

Name: Cashew
Started: 2020
Founders: Ibtissam Ouassif and Ammar Afif
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: FinTech
Funding size: $10m
Investors: Mashreq, others

Vikram Vedha

Directors: Gayatri, Pushkar

Stars: Hrithik Roshan, Saif Ali Khan, Radhika Apte

Rating: 3.5/5

SUCCESSION SEASON 4 EPISODE 1

Created by: Jesse Armstrong

Stars: Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, Nicholas Braun

Rating: 4/5

Mubalada World Tennis Championship 2018 schedule

Thursday December 27

Men's quarter-finals

Kevin Anderson v Hyeon Chung 4pm

Dominic Thiem v Karen Khachanov 6pm

Women's exhibition

Serena Williams v Venus Williams 8pm

Friday December 28

5th place play-off 3pm

Men's semi-finals

Rafael Nadal v Anderson/Chung 5pm

Novak Djokovic v Thiem/Khachanov 7pm

Saturday December 29

3rd place play-off 5pm

Men's final 7pm

The Details

Article 15
Produced by: Carnival Cinemas, Zee Studios
Directed by: Anubhav Sinha
Starring: Ayushmann Khurrana, Kumud Mishra, Manoj Pahwa, Sayani Gupta, Zeeshan Ayyub
Our rating: 4/5 

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

Florence and the Machine – High as Hope
Three stars

Moving Out 2

Developer: SMG Studio
Publisher: Team17
Consoles: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox One
Rating: 4/5

Indika

Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Publisher: Odd Meter
Console: PlayStation 5, PC and Xbox series X/S
Rating: 4/5

Apple Mac through the years

1984 - Apple unveiled the Macintosh on January 24
1985 - Steve Jobs departed from Apple and established NeXT
1986 - Apple introduced the Macintosh Plus, featuring enhanced memory
1987 - Apple launched the Macintosh II, equipped with colour capabilities
1989 - The widely acclaimed Macintosh SE/30 made its debut
1994 - Apple presented the Power Macintosh
1996 - The Macintosh System Software OS underwent a rebranding as Mac OS
2001 - Apple introduced Mac OS X, marrying Unix stability with a user-friendly interface
2006 - Apple adopted Intel processors in MacBook Pro laptops
2008 - Apple introduced the MacBook Air, a lightweight laptop
2012 - Apple launched the MacBook Pro with a retina display
2016 - The Mac operating system underwent rebranding as macOS
2020 - Apple introduced the M1 chip for Macs, combining high performance and energy efficiency
2022 - The M2 chip was announced
2023 -The M3 line-up of chip was announced to improve performance and add new capabilities for Mac.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Sideup
Started: 2019
Founder: Waleed Rashed
Based: Cairo, Egypt
Industry: technology, e-commerce
Funds raised so far: $1.2 million
Investors: Launch Africa VC, 500 Global, Riyadh Angels, Alex Angels, Al Tuwaijri Fund and Saudi angel investor Faisal Al Abdulsalam

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now