Hi everybody. Nadim Baba will be on in a bit to answer questions! He's stationed in Gaza City right now and is reporting on the current conflict.

Here is proof.

Nadim spent five years working in the newsroom at EuroNews in France, commenting live on events like the 9/11 attacks, the 2003 invasion of Iraq and Yasser Arafat's funeral. He joined Al Jazeera in Doha in 2006. He's currently based in London covering Europe and also the Middle East - including reporting from Gaza, and from Bahrain during the 2011 "Arab uprising".

Ask away, and Nadim will answer your questions starting at 19:00 GMT. (That's 2PM East Coast time.)

You can watch Al Jazeera's live feed here.

UPDATE: The Internet is very slow where Nadim is at the moment. There are also many massive blasts going off near him, he says.

UPDATE 2: Looks like that's all for tonight. Thanks for all the great questions!

UPDATE 2: I'm back on for a very short time before heading out!

Comments: 2239 • Responses: 10  • Date: 

jifatal268 karma

How does the Gaza population react to IDF messages and warnings with regards to staying away from Hamas? Is it even possible? We hear reports of Hamas using civilians as "human shields" - are these accurate to any extent?

NadimBabaAJE318 karma

I think the population is sceptical about any such warnings. It is very hard not to be "near Hamas". Hamas is the government. It runs the social services, the police, the schools, the refuse collection, etc., etc.. So staying away from Hamas does not mean much. Having said that, people are wary of being near certain sites such as the Prime Minister's office, which has now been bombed. But if you happen to live near such sites, your options are not great. If you have relatives elsewhere you could stay with them but once again space is limited as Palestinians typically have large immediate family, lots of children. Remember the Gaza Strip is maybe just 45 kilometres long so very densely populated. .

jifatal66 karma

Thank you for the answer. However, you have not referred to the "human shield" part of my question - can you testify for or against Hamas using religious sites and residential buildings as launch sites or protected housing?

NadimBabaAJE58 karma

The rockets are generally being fired from open ground, but often near residential buildings. I think the "human shield" argument is a red herring. As pointed out above, civilians are not being forced by fighters into the line of fire. However it is known that weapons or explosives are sometimes stored in residential areas. In the past I witnessed a huge accidental explosion when such material was being transported- the blast damaged a mosque.

j2k3k168 karma

Do you think there is any bias to Al Jazeera reporting?

NadimBabaAJE415 karma

I don't think the right word is bias. I think it's a style or a tone. All channels have them. I think Al Jazeera (English, since that's who I'm working for) leans towards stories about people who are struggling, who are at the bottom when it comes to wealth, opportunities or rights. But then I would say that, I'm biased.

GuantanaMo166 karma

Could you describe the atmosphere in Gaza? What are people's fears and do they expect to be attacked on ground? How strong is the trust in Hamas and other groups, do people still trust in them?

NadimBabaAJE254 karma

The atmosphere is very tense. The streets are usually busy with traffic pretty much all the time- now they are very very quiet (that goes for the sound of street vendors too). In many parts of Gaza people have found it impossible to sleep because of the huge blasts (airstrikes) and families are sleeping together in one room. Palestinian families in Gaza tend to have many children. The young ones don't understand the bombardment but some have memories of the 2008-2009 Israeli "Operation Cast Lead" which traumatised many children in Gaza. So, with all the talk of Israel calling up reservists and so on some people are truly worried about what will happen. Not all expect a ground attack, some say it's too big a gamble for Israel's army. Anyway, support for Hamas is hard to truly measure but since the assassination of Ahmed Jabari I think Hamas has gained kudos among the armed factions for taking immediate action, launching rockets towards Israel etc. It had been under increasing criticism for its internal performance, and this episode of violence has allowed it to appear strong and take the reigns of the "resistance".

The_Fragrant_Fart142 karma

Hi Nadim, I have two questions:

  1. What are some of the things that has gone unreported or underemphasized in mainstream media?

  2. What are some misconceptions you think the public has about the conflict going on there, and what can you share with us to dispel them?

Thank you for doing this and stay safe!

NadimBabaAJE188 karma

hi, 1: How politically aware and internationally-minded young Gazans (or Palestinians of Gaza if you prefer) are. It really saddens me to see how hard, if not impossible, it is for most to take advantage of chances to travel abroad to study or just to see the world. There is a high level of education here and given the poor chances of a well-paid job, it must be extremely frustrating to put it mildly. It must be hard to accept or understand. Maybe things will change if Egypt eases travel restrictions through Rafah but I'm not making predictions here.

3oddsocks99 karma

What do you think is the likelihood of a ground invasion?

Thank you.

NadimBabaAJE152 karma

I really want to answer this question but I honestly find it hard to guage. Clearly Israel could launch one if it wanted (I'm talking war-readiness). But not everybody in Israel wants a ground invasion. And leading politicians accept it will be hard to keep such an operation short and painless for the Israeli military.

lordhadri84 karma

Does the aftermath of the "Arab Spring" change the calculus of how countries are responding to the most recent crisis? Especially regarding Egypt's change of government?

NadimBabaAJE128 karma

Massively. I mean the Egyptian PM driving into Gaza the other day- that's the last thing Hosni Mubarak's government would have done. Does it mean a sudden change in dealing with Israel? Not sure. It does mean the new governments are being pushed to act by popular pressure. And starting to react. Personally I think any financial help from these states is what people would welcome here in the first instance, along with diplomatic efforts to lift the embargo on Gaza.

Singer1350 karma

How do the general populace, the average family who are affected and fear to leave their homes, get food and other necessities?

NadimBabaAJE97 karma

People are going out but generally only in the day. They have also been buying food in larger quantities than usual, like queuing up for bread, to last them for a while. I know many people rely on paying for deliveries of potable water rather than use what comes through the pipes. Today I heard a report of a water tanker (vehicle) being hit in an airstrike. I haven't had time to follow that up, but if such services were affected, that would be a big problem for ordinary families.

jimoverton45 karma

Hi Nadim, what are the material conditions where you are and how many people are in Aljazeera team? How safe are you at work and during rest periods? Is it difficult to get around, to find something to eat? you are all doing amazing job, stay safe...

NadimBabaAJE94 karma

Hi, we're very well off regarding our conditions compared to most people in Gaza. We have a large office full with good internet connection etc. The Al Jazeera English team at the moment is small, maybe ten people including people like myself not normally based in Gaza. I felt fairly safe at work until Sunday morning's bombing of two media buildings not far away. However, those buildings did house local Palestinian television/radio channels which seem to have be part of the Israeli military's justification for targetting them. This is from a "summary of events" that we got from the IDF: "the IDF targeted Hamas' operational communication infrastructures in the northern Gaza Strip, which are used for issuing orders to operatives as well as the spreading of propaganda. Getting food- so far so delicious. Thanks for the encouragement.

impreciseliving37 karma

How do you cope with the threat of death in a war zone?

NadimBabaAJE77 karma

We listen to our local colleagues, and we also have a security adviser. We avoid risks. We try to spend as little time in potentially dangerous situations as possible. So you know, filming quickly the other day in a bombed out factory then moving on. As for threat of death, I feel very lucky to be staying at a clearly marked hotel and not an anonymous appartment block.