Gaza images on display in France show resilience

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In this Aug. 11, 2014 file photo, a Palestinian boy holds an umbrella as he rests in front of the damaged Nada Towers residential neighborhood in the town of Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip. (File/AP/Khalil Hamra)
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In this Aug. 8, 2014 file photo, Palestinians pray beneath the fallen minaret of the Soussi mosque that was hit by Israeli strikes in Gaza City. (File/AP/Khalil Hamra)
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In this April 20, 2018 file photo, a Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel. (File/AP/Khalil Hamra)
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In this June 20, 2016 file photo, a Palestinian girl plays in a barrel as her mother bakes bread for a Ramadan dinner at their house in el-Zohor slum, on the outskirts of Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip. (File/AP/Khalil Hamra)
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In this July 31, 2016 photo, Palestinian groom Saed Abu Aser, and his bride, Falasteen, walk into the wedding hall, in Gaza City. (File/AP/Khalil Hamra)
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In this July 8, 2014 file photo, Palestinians try to salvage what they can of their belongings from the rubble of a house destroyed by an overnight Israeli airstrike in Gaza City. (File/AP/Khalil Hamra)
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In this July 29, 2014 file photo, Israeli forces' flares light up the night sky of Gaza City. (File/AP/Khalil Hamra)
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In this July 26, 2014 file photo, Palestinians salvage what little of their belongings they could from their homes during a 12-hour cease-fire in Gaza City's Shijaiyah neighborhood. (File/AP/Khalil Hamra)
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In this Jan. 15, 2017 file photo, a Palestinian family warm themselves with a fire outside their makeshift house during a power cut in a poor neighborhood in Khan Younis, the southern Gaza Strip. (File/AP/Khalil Hamra)
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In this June 20, 2016 file photo, a Palestinian girl plays in a barrel as her mother bakes bread for a Ramadan dinner at their house in el-Zohor slum, on the outskirts of Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip. (File/AP/Khalil Hamra)
Updated 15 September 2018
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Gaza images on display in France show resilience

CAIRO: Khalil Hamra, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer for The Associated Press, is exhibiting his work in a show titled “Why Gaza?” at the 30th annual Visa Pour L’Image photojournalism festival in Perpignan, France. The exhibition runs through Sept. 16.
In 30 photos on display, Hamra shows the resilience of people in his native Gaza, a sliver of land on the Mediterranean Sea that measures just 360 square kilometers (140 square miles).
Gaza’s 2 million residents have endured 11 years of border blockade, imposed by neighboring Israel and Egypt after the takeover of the territory by the Islamic militant group Hamas in 2007. Hardships have worsened with each year of the blockade, including power cuts for most of the day, soaring unemployment and a health system on the brink of collapse.
The festival highlights photojournalism from around the world in exhibits, screenings, lectures and workshops. The event, held in the Mediterranean town of Perpignan near Spain, draws photographers, editors and industry celebrities.
Hamra won the Robert Capa Gold Medal Award in 2009. He shared the 2013 Pulitzer Prize with three Associated Press photographers for his work in Syria.
“Khalil Hamra’s work shines a light on the human condition in places most of us will never have the chance to visit,” said Maya Alleruzzo, the AP’s Middle East regional photo editor. “He often does so at great personal risk.”
Hamra joined AP in 2002. He has covered the Arab Spring in Egypt, civil war in Syria and the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Here is a selection of his photos from Gaza.


Google Doodle serves up falafel in quirky animation

Updated 18 June 2019
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Google Doodle serves up falafel in quirky animation

  • It is believed falafels originated in Egypt, where they were called ta’ameya and made of fava beans
  • The popularity of falafel then moved towards the Levant area, where the use of chickpea became a staple

DUBAI: One of the Middle East’s favorite dishes has been featured in a Google Doodle as the site apparently took a break from the Women’s World Cup.

Google had been running a series of doodles about the major sporting event, but on Tuesday – apparently randomly - focused on what the search giant described as the “best thing that ever happened to chickpeas.”

We don’t know why they chose Tuesday to run the Doodle – June 12 having been International Falafel Day.  

But the Middle East’s claim to these mouthwatering balls of chickpeas, onions, herbs and spices is undeniable.

Here's a simple step-by-step guide to making falafels, posted by food blog Food Wishes:

It is believed falafels originated in Egypt, where they were called ta’ameya and made of fava beans, about a thousand years ago, by Coptic Christians who ate them during lent as a meat substitute.

Another version of the story suggests that it goes further back to Pharaonic times – traces of fava beans were said to be found in the tombs of the Pharaohs, according to website Egyptian Streets, and that there were paintings from ancient Egypt showing people making the food.

The popularity of falafel then moved towards the Levant area, where the use of chickpea became a staple.

Over the years, many variations of falafel were invented, with global fast food chain McDonalds joining in the falafel craze with its McFalafel.

Popular Iraqi-American comedian Remy Munasifi, attracted more than 1.5 million views for a song about falafels he posted on his YouTube account “GoRemy.’