the dead are still being counted. when i woke up at 9:30 am there were 279 dead and 900 wounded by israeli terrorist forces (itf) with the aid of american military materiel. this is a time when i thank god i am no longer an american taxpayer. when i feel, in all my impotence, that this is one small thing that gives me some peace of mind. but of course my little salary and what was extracted from it is a drop in the bucket. a couple of hours later at 11:47 am there were 282 dead as the itf bombed gaza city and rafah. the images on al jazeera are harrowing. at yet i’ve seen it before. in gaza. in nahr el bared refugee camp. in south lebanon. in jenin refugee camp. all last night as i tried to sleep–a luxury given the fact that there is not aerial bombardment in nablus–i did hear the itf making a few overflights. the bombing in gaza went on until 2 am in gaza and then began promptly this morning at daybreak. the fuel terminal has been bombed in gaza. on the egyptian side of the rafah border i saw a slew of egyptian ambulances lined up waiting to take in palestinian patients. but the egyptians have not opened the border for medical patients all claims to the contrary. civilians are not only being killed they are being targeted. just watch ayman mohyeldin’s crucial reporting from al shifa hospital in gaza late last night:
just now unrwa spokesperson christopher gunness was interviewed on al jazeera. in a nutshell he said (my attempt at quick transcription):
our 18 health clinics are open, but in a dire situation due to the strangulation of hospitals of essential hospital supplies for months now. we are overwhelmed. we hope that 10 trucks of medical supplies are on their way; 5 for unrwa; 5 for the ministry of health. this is all in response to a terrible situation in which civilians are being killed. yesterday 7 unrwa students were killed instantaneously by shrapnel and 20 others were injured. the hospitals are overwhelmed. we welcome an investigation of civilian casualties. the facts must be out there; they must speak for themselves. although israelis are disputing civilian casualties, the explosion took place right outside unrwa headquarters, so whatever was targeted was very near the students. it is inevitable that civilians will be killed if you have an onslaught of these proportions, if you have a population as densely populated as gaza. it is absurd to think otherwise; it is a certainty with civilians killed with these sorts of attacks. there should be some degree of accountability.
i went downtown an hour ago as friends had organized what was supposed to be a 3 hour sit-in at martyrs square. but by the time i arrived–only 1 hour into it–they were gone even though friends called me while i was on my way. apparently there were speeches after prayer and then they marched to the hospital in rafidiya to donate blood. although how this blood could reach gaza i don’t quite know. but a sit-in, a march, blood donation, even my writing all, to a certain extent, are things we do because we feel impotent. on the one hand we want to show our solidarity with the people of gaza. on the other hand, we cannot go there. we cannot help from here. so we do something because it is better than nothing. because it makes us, somehow, feel less impotent. not really. the city is quiet. 3 days of mourning has been called for. all shops, other than pharmacies and bakeries are closed. a few people were selling fruit and vegetables on carts. nablus is quiet. not even the usual horn honking.
last night sami told me that there were demonstrations in the old city of al quds until 11 pm. those throwing stones were arrested later into the night. today there are protests planned elsewhere in palestine and all over the world. even palestinian political prisoners are now on hunger strike. i woke up to an onslaught of emails about these protests from various friends, organizations, and facebook groups. in spite of all these protests–all targeting various sorts of sites of power, those to blame–it is just too overwhelming to deal with who is to blame. last night yassin told me he’s writing a new rap song dealing with all the parties involved: the zionist entity, the united states, hamas, fatah, the palestinian authority, egypt, jordan, saudi arabia, the gulf states, the european union, the united nations, the media. how do the people take back their power? rania reminds us, importantly, of the core idea of palestinian liberation, which has somehow gotten lost along the race for arab regimes to normalize with the zionist state and the united states:
psychotic, delusional, deceitful, murderous zionist leaders say that they continue to claim that they are using “restraint” and that they are not killing civilians: they are not only saying that they are not targeting civilians. they are also lying and saying no civilians have died (note: watch the above al jazeera video NOW). moreover, they are continuing with their deadly propaganda, to accompany their deadly american-made missiles, trying to deceive the world that they are not the ones who began this war (note only 1 zionist settler died in the last 24 hours of massacring palestinians); here is shimon peres:
Hamas is to blame for the current situation in Gaza, President Shimon Peres said Sunday, responding to “Operation Cast Lead” whose aerial strike left 270 people dead – mostly Hamas operatives – and destroyed Hamas infrastructure heavily. “In all of Israel’s history, I don’t remember a war more useless or irrational than the one that Hamas is waging against us,” he said.
in contradistinction like the numerous past wars of aggression on those the zionist entity colonizes and its neighbors, this war has been planned for 6 months as you can see from this ha’aretz article:
Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public – all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces “Cast Lead” operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning.
The disinformation effort, according to defense officials, took Hamas by surprise and served to significantly increase the number of its casualties in the strike.
Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas. According to the sources, Barak maintained that although the lull would allow Hamas to prepare for a showdown with Israel, the Israeli army needed time to prepare, as well.
Barak gave orders to carry out a comprehensive intelligence-gathering drive which sought to map out Hamas’ security infrastructure, along with that of other militant organizations operating in the Strip.
you can see the clear deception from piece above. and yet al jazeera keeps giving a platform to zionist murderers. i keep wondering why al jazeera continues to allow zionist terrorists to speak on its programs? why do they allow them to come on and continue–until this very moment–motherf(*&^%$ zionist army representatives, who are terrorizing the people of gaza, to claim that there are still no civilians who have been murdered, massacred. these people do not deserve a platform. they deserve retaliation.
i wonder, too, why the united nations lets itself be impotent. are any members of the un security council going to honestly tell us that if the same situation in reverse–a massacre of this size, of this disproportionate nature–in any one of their countries or in the colonized land of plaestine where zionists live that there wouldn’t be a binding un security council resolution? instead, here is the khara they come up with:
Neven Jurica, Croatia’s ambassador to the UN and president of the council, read out a non-binding statement on behalf of the 15-member body that called on the parties involved in the conflict “to stop immediately all military activities”. The statement, however, did not mention either Israel or Hamas by name.
what i want to know is why can’t the united nations security council write a document of substance such as the one that palestinian human rights organizations are calling for?:
The number of deaths resulting from these attacks indicates a willful targeting of the civilian police forces in these locations and a clear violation of the prohibition against willful killings. Willful killings are a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention under Article 147 and therefore, a war crime. Both the time and location of these attacks also indicate a malicious intent to inflict as many casualties as possible with many of the police stations located in civilian population centers and the time of the attacks coinciding with the end of the school day resulting in the deaths of numerous children.
The ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip has left medical facilities in the Strip incapable of meeting the needs of the hundreds more who have been injured which will likely lead to an increase in the number of deaths. According to Israeli officials, these attacks are only the beginning of an open military campaign in Gaza. It is therefore imperative that the international community not stand in silence while Israel moves forward with impunity.
Despite repeated calls from the Palestinian human rights community with regard to Gaza, the international community has failed to act. We are now on the brink of an explosion of violence as result of this failure and are pushed once again to call for action.
In light of the above, Palestinian human rights organizations urge:
* The UN Security Council to call an emergency session and adopt concrete measures, including the imposition of sanctions, in order to ensure Israel’s fulfillment of its obligations under international humanitarian law.
* The High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligation under common Article 1 to ensure respect for the provisions of the Conventions, taking appropriate measures to compel Israel to abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular placing pivotal importance on the respect and protection of civilians from the effects of the hostilities.
* The High Contracting Parties to fulfill their legal obligation under Article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention to prosecute those responsible for grave breaches of the Convention.
* EU institutions and member states to make effective use of the European Union Guidelines on promoting compliance with international humanitarian law (2005/C 327/04) to ensure Israel complies with international humanitarian law under paragraph 16 (b), (c) and (d) of these guidelines, including the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions, as well as cessation of all upgrade dialogue with Israel.
likewise those in the boycott campaign are calling for boycott, divestment, and sanctions NOW given the history of massacres that gave birth to zionist occupation of palestine 60 years ago and has continued unabated since then:
Israel seems intent to mark the end of its 60th year of existence the same way it has established itself — perpetrating massacres against the Palestinian people. In 1948, the majority of the indigenous Palestinian people were ethnically cleansed from their homes and land, partly through massacres like Deir Yassin; today, the Palestinians in Gaza, most of whom are refugees, do not even have the choice to seek refuge elsewhere. Incarcerated behind ghetto walls and brought to the brink of starvation by the siege, they are easy targets for Israel’s indiscriminate bombing….
While the US government has consistently sponsored, bankrolled and protected from international censure Israel’s apartheid and colonial policies against the indigenous people of Palestine, the EU was able in the past to advocate a semblance of respect for international law and universal human rights. That distinction effectively ended on 9 December, when the EU Council decided unanimously to reward Israel’s criminal disregard of international law by upgrading the EU-Israel Association Agreement. Israel clearly understood from this decision that the EU condones its actions against the Palestinians under its occupation. Palestinian civil society also got the message: the EU governments have become no less complicit in Israel’s war crimes than their US counterpart.
The large majority of world governments, particularly in the global south, share part of the blame, as well. By continuing business as usual with Israel, in trade agreements, arms deals, academic and cultural ties, diplomatic openings, they have provided the necessary background for the complicity of world powers and, consequentially, for Israel’s impunity. Furthermore, their inaction within the United Nations is inexcusable.
Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockman, President of the UN General Assembly prescribed in a recent address before the Assembly the only moral way forward for the world’s nations in dealing with Israel:
“More than 20 years ago we in the United Nations took the lead from civil society when we agreed that sanctions were required to provide a nonviolent means of pressuring South Africa to end its violations. Today, perhaps we in the United Nations should consider following the lead of a new generation of civil society, who are calling for a similar nonviolent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel to end its violations.”
Now, more than ever, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, BNC, calls upon international civil society not just to protest and condemn in diverse forms Israel’s massacre in Gaza, but also to join and intensify the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel to end its impunity and to hold it accountable for its persistent violation of international law and Palestinian rights. Without sustained, effective pressure by people of conscience the world over, Israel will continue with its gradual, rolling acts of genocide against the Palestinians, burying any prospects for a just peace under the blood and rubble of Gaza, Nablus and Jerusalem.
notice that in the above two documents created by human rights workers and organizers we see very specific language with a plan of action. meanwhile in the united nations’ document the language is vapid. hamas is not named by the united nations in the above quote about the resolution–nor is the zionist entity–in this bulls*&^ document that ostensibly allows the bloodshed to continue (deja vu anyone? lebanon 2006?) clearly we all know who is being talked about. and in the endless parade of zionist terrorists on al jazeera we see them continuing to blame hamas. but who was the first to resist and retaliate this morning?: the democratic front for the liberation of palestine (dflp): they are leftists. they are not hamas. and fatah’s al aqsa martyr’s brigades share the sentiment and the right to resist with both dflp and hamas:
Fatah’s military wing announced that it will resume bombing operations inside Israeli cities and has threatened to hit and destroy the Israeli military and security entities. They also called a state of alert in order to retaliate for Israeli attacks in Gaza. “The Israelis can choose either to depart or to die on this holy land,” a Sunday statement by the Al-Aqsa Brigades said.
this is not about hamas vs. the zionist colonizing terrorist regime any more than it was when they said their war was against hezbollah; it wasn’t: it was against lebanon in general. likewise the harassing phone calls people in gaza are receiving and the loudspeakers telling them to evacuate from their homes is reminiscent of the zionists’ recent wars against gaza and lebanon:
As the Abu Sultan family in the Jabalia refugee camp prepared their belongings Israeli fire rained down on their home killing several family members and injuring others.
Witnesses of the massacres on Saturday decided to challenge the Israeli order to evacuate and gathered in areas under attack to sit on roofs with families whose homes face imminent destruction.
likewise those who live in gaza certainly are not experiencing the massive bombings as a so-called “targeting” of hamas as safa joudeh explains:
What did Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert mean when he stated that we the people of Gaza weren’t the enemy, that it was Hamas and Islamic Jihad which were being targeted? Was that statement made to infuriate us out of out our state of shock, to pacify any feelings of rage and revenge? To mock us? Were the scores of children on their way home from school and who are now among the dead and the injured, Hamas militants? A little further down my street about half an hour after the first strike, three schoolgirls happened to be passing by one of the locations when a missile struck the Preventative Security Headquarters building. The girls’ bodies were torn into pieces and covered the street from one side to the other.
a number of other eyewitness accounts and reports have been published on websites like palestine chronicle and electronic intifada. here are some of the reports over the last 24 hours. the ever-eloquent ali abunimah sums up the situation especially with respect to the complicity of the united states:
“I will play music and celebrate what the Israeli air force is doing.” Those were the words, spoken on Al Jazeera today by Ofer Shmerling, an Israeli civil defense official in the Sderot area adjacent to Gaza, as images of Israel’s latest massacres were broadcast around the world.
A short time earlier, US-supplied Israeli F-16 warplanes and Apache helicopters dropped over 100 bombs on dozens of locations in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip killing at least 195 persons and injuring hundreds more. Many of these locations were police stations located, like police stations the world over, in the middle of civilian areas. The US government was one of the first to offer its support for Israel’s attacks, and others will follow.
Reports said that many of the dead were Palestinian police officers. Among those Israel labels “terrorists” were more than a dozen traffic police officers undergoing training. An as yet unknown number of civilians were killed and injured; Al Jazeera showed images of several dead children, and the Israeli attacks came at the time thousands of Palestinian children were in the streets on their way home from school.
Shmerling’s joy has been echoed by Israelis and their supporters around the world; their violence is righteous violence. It is “self-defense” against “terrorists” and therefore justified. Israeli bombing — like American and NATO bombing in Iraq and Afghanistan — is bombing for freedom, peace and democracy.
The rationalization for Israel’s massacres, already being faithfully transmitted by the English-language media, is that Israel is acting in “retaliation” for Palestinian rockets fired with increasing intensity ever since the six-month truce expired on 19 December (until today, no Israeli had been killed or injured by these recent rocket attacks).
But today’s horrific attacks mark only a change in Israel’s method of killing Palestinians recently. In recent months they died mostly silent deaths, the elderly and sick especially, deprived of food and necessary medicine by the two year-old Israeli blockade calculated and intended to cause suffering and deprivation to 1.5 million Palestinians, the vast majority refugees and children, caged into the Gaza Strip. In Gaza, Palestinians died silently, for want of basic medications: insulin, cancer treatment, products for dialysis prohibited from reaching them by Israel.
What the media never question is Israel’s idea of a truce. It is very simple. Under an Israeli-style truce, Palestinians have the right to remain silent while Israel starves them, kills them and continues to violently colonize their land. Israel has not only banned food and medicine to sustain Palestinian bodies in Gaza but it is also intent on starving minds: due to the blockade, there is not even ink, paper and glue to print textbooks for schoolchildren.
blogger laila el haddad, who is from gaza city, who is currently in the u.s., wrote about calling her family at home to check on the situation:
“We were in the market when the strikes began. I saw the missiles falling and prayed; the earth shook; the smoke rose; the ambulances screamed,” he said, the sirens audible in the background.
My parents live in the the Gaza City center, and the Israeli war planes attacked people and locations all around their house, walking distance in fact. More than 50 “targets” by 60 warplanes. And nearly 200 Palestinians. Like a game, if you say it enough times, it does not sound real anymore. Fifty targets, 60 warplanes, 200 people. Very sanitary.
“There is a funeral passing every minute. The bodies are piling up.”
Gaza’s air is saturated with the acrid smell of burning human flesh. There is panic, as one would imagine dogs would panic in an overcrowded cell when several of their own are violently, abruptly killed. But that would create an outcry.
The rains of death continue in Gaza.
yes, it is raining death in gaza, though as abunimah points out, so crucially above, it is just more blatant now. it is more obvious. it is great seeing so many people take to the streets in all their rage, but where have they been over the course of the last year when the death was quieter? less visible? a strong statement from various human rights organizations
in london’s the independent newspaper today sami abdel-shafi in gaza city writes of a scene that is at once unimaginable, and yet quite imaginable for those familiar with all of the previous, continuous massacring that zionist history is replete with:
I am safe, and yet I feel like a walking dead person. Everything around me shows it. It is hard to write something of any coherence while exposed to cold winter air and to the smell that lingers after the detonation of Israeli bombs. They must have been massive. During the bombing I opened all the windows around my apartment to avoid them imploding as a result of the vacuum shocks sweeping through Gaza City after each enormous bang. While the bombing continued, I jumped down two flights of stairs to my father’s house, to make sure he was OK. Should I open up all his windows too? That would expose the old man to the risk of illness. We have no medical care or medication. However, the risk from shattering glass was greater, so I opened them all.
Mobile phones did not work, because of electricity outages and the flood of attempted calls. I flipped the electricity generator on so that we could watch the news. We wanted to understand what was going on in our own neighbourhood. However, this was impossible. Israeli surveillance drones flew overhead, scrambling the reception. All I could do was step outside, where I found crowds of frantic people, lines of rising smoke and the smell of charred buildings and bodies that lay around targeted sites nearby. Somebody said the bombs had been launched in parallel raids over the entire Gaza Strip. What was the target here? Perhaps a police station about 200 metres away. Other bombs annihilated blocks less than a kilometre away, where one of the main police training centres stood. When the strikes began, a graduation ceremony for more than 100 recruits in a civil law enforcement programme was under way. These were the young men trained to organise traffic, instil civil safety and maintain law and order. Many of them were killed, it is said, in addition to the Gaza Strip’s police chief.
News came by word of mouth. There had been more than 150 deaths and more than 200 people were injured or missing under rubble after the first two hours of bombing. Israel had said it would continue the offensive and deepen it if necessary. Likewise, it was said that Hamas had launched more rockets at southern Israeli towns, causing one death and four injuries. Gaza had never seen anything like the numbers of dead bodies lying on its streets. Hospital morgues were already full. The dead were piled on top of each other outside.
Bombs targeting a Hamas security force building badly damaged an adjacent school, and several children were injured. We heard of many other targets around the Gaza Strip. It reminds me of the “shock and awe” campaign the Allies launched over Baghdad in 2003. But shock and awe did not bring stability or peace.
These bombs were launched by Israel, as we had known they would be. The world watched the situation simmer then boil over, but did nothing. There are some who believe that hell is divided into different classes. The ordinary people of Gaza have long been caught in the tormenting underworld. Now, if the world does not heed what has happened here, our situation will worsen. We will be trapped in the first class of hell.
mohammed on kabobfest, who is from gaza, but who is living in ramallah writes about the slaughter of his people:
Back home, the TV was never off, and the full scale of the horror still hadn’t settled in. The news broadcast continuous images of severed limbs, headless bodies, piles of dead bodies, children, women, men. More than 70 of the bodies arrived at the hospitals torn apart. 15 bodies were so disfigured they still have not been identified. The hospitals, already out of hundreds of necessary medicines, were running out of blood even as hundreds rushed to donate. I managed to call my uncles again. Mohammad’s voice was hollow, scratching, like he was forcing the words out. He told me his kids had finally gone to sleep, but in the late December cold he had opened all the windows in his apartment. With the airstrikes hitting everywhere and anywhere, everybody risked having their windows blown out. As he noted, if they were to get blown out, there is no glass in Gaza as a result of the siege to replace them. He told me everything seemed to be a target; there were no police stations left in the entire Strip. Even the apartment building housing the offices of a civil society institution working for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails had been completely leveled. I asked him if anybody he knew had been wounded or killed. He paused for a bit before telling me he had lost 20 friends. He said he wanted to go down to Khan Younis tomorrow to pay his respects in the funeral processions, because some of them had been buried today without ceremony. There is no space in the hospitals to hold the dead, so they were buried en masse.
i could go on and on. i have been writing for hours now. reading for hours. every time i write, a new report. bombings continue. protests continue. when will israeli embassies be closed and ambassadors kicked out as azzam tamimi just called for on al jazeera? when will they be sanctioned. when will they be kicked out of the united nations? when? when? when? all day long i have heard zionist terrorists in the skies above doing their sonic boom in order to terrorize palestinians in the west bank. and apparently they are going into lebanon’s airspace today as well. meanwhile resistance in nil’in, near ramallah, leaves one palestinian dead and 6 injured:
In Ni’lin, weekly Friday protests continued into Saturday and Sunday, when clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli soldiers. The clashes saw one killed and six others injured. The injured, including Mohammad Al-Khawaja who was shot in the head, were transferred to a Ramallah hospital and the slain man was identified as A’raft Al-Khwaja.
those who are unfamiliar with what a massacre looks like on the ground here is some important footage you must watch:
when will people act to stop this onslaught of death? i know my posts are long, but i hope people will read. i hope people will click on links and read further. i hope that people will take to the streets. i hope that people will unleash ALL forms of resistance NOW. i hope people will stop normalization with the zionist entity NOW. i hope that people will extend that to the united states who enables all of this bloodshed. there is a petition in the united states you can sign from the u.s. campaign to end the israeli occupation; it’s not much, but it is a start. but it is not enough. my dear friend baha’a who is from yaffa, who has been protesting in the streets of beirut for the last couple of days says that the lebanese threw tear gas canisters at protesters in beirut. this has got to stop. somebody do something. anything. NOW. NOW as the zionists are preparing for a ground invasion.