the gaza graveyard

nidal el khairy
nidal el khairy

3 days. 345 dead. over 1,450 injured. the death toll continues to rise. and it will. medicine is running out quickly. rania posted this morning a message from the free gaza movement:

The Free Gaza movement is reporting: “Dr Khaled from the Shifa hospital ICU in Gaza City told us on Saturday that the majority of cases are critical shrapnel wounds from Israeli gunboats and helicopters, with an approximate 80% who will not survive.”

more recently there are reports that are even more devastating–and notice egypt’s complicity here, behaving just like zionists do by allowing just a trickle of medicine to barely help for a few hours:

According to Dr Hassunin hospitals in Gaza are operating without medical supplies of any kind, while three of the main hospitals have been badly damaged. The ambulance services are now operating at 50% capacity due to a lack of medical and personnel resources. The entire area is now being serviced by 5 ambulances and 3 fire brigades.

The small amount of medicine that Egypt allowed into Gaza lasted just a few hours.

last night watching sayyed hassan nasrallah i kept thinking about his statement comparing the july war of 2006 with the current war on gaza:

“What is happening today is a Palestinian copy of the July war,” Nasrallah said, drawing a comparison between the Israel Defense Forces offensive in the Gaza Strip and the 2006 Second Lebanon War, which Hezbollah waged against Israel in southern Lebanon.

“This is exactly what happened with us. The possibilities and the same possibilities, the conspiracy is the same, the battle is the same battle, and the result, Allah willing, will be the same result,” the Hezbollah leader told the crowd.

of course the images i see on tv look just like what i saw in south lebanon. in nahr el bared. but as rania beat me to the punch: it is not an exact copy; it is worse. during the july war people had places where they could flee: ships from foreign countries came to take lebanese (and foreigners) away, lebanese fled to syria, lebanese fled to other parts of the country (though there too nowhere was necessarily safe). but here we have people captured in a concentration camp of sorts. they cannot leave. the mediterranean sea is blocked by israeli terrorist naval ships. the egyptian army is shooting at palestinians fleeing in that direction. they are surrounded. in gaza. the gaza that has become a graveyard.

but it is the same in the sense that the zionist terrorists planned this war at least 6 months before they began it (see earlier post for link on this). but it is the same as the july war in the sense that the united states, surrounding arab regimes, the european union, the united nations, the media are all allowing this to continue. they blame hamas just as they blamed hezbollah in 2006. i’ve seen far too many motherf*&^%$# israeli terrorists on television the last three days reciting their mantra–which, of course, the palestinian authority and the egyptian government now recite in tandem–that it’s all about hamas. there were rockets fired today, again, from gaza. but who fired them? well, first the democratic front for the liberation of palestine (dflp), which is a leftist resistance organization fired rockets:

The National Resistance Brigades, the militant wing affiliated to the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), fired four homemade projectiles at the Israeli towns of Kfar Azza and Ashkelon on Monday morning.

The group said in a statement that the shellings were “retaliation for Israeli atrocities in the Gaza Strip that have so far killed 300 and injured 1000.”

and yet the word hamas gets reiterated again and again. on the news. it is really like a mantra. i’m being subjected to tzipi livni again now on al jazeera. she is repeating the lies. mahmoud abbas repeats the lies. hosni mubarak repeats the lies. gaza is not hamas just as lebanon is not hezbollah. but in way both places the people have a right to resist foreign occupation and aggression from the zionist entity. egypt hit a new low this morning confirming that the mubarak regime is in deep collusion with the zionists:

The Egyptian Authorities officially barred a Libyan plane carrying aid to Gaza from landing in the al-Arish Airport in Egypt, in preparation to transfer humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

Hannibal Al Gaddafi, the son of the Libyan President, Moammar Al Gaddafi, said in a phone interview with the Qatar-based aL-Jazeera, that Egypt is taking part in the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip by barring humanitarian aid from being transferred to Gaza via its border with the Gaza Strip.

He added that Egypt previously took part in barring an aid ship from reaching Gaza, which comes, according to Hannibal, in conspiracy with the Israeli occupation.

Hannibal added that Libya will send more ships even if his means that the ships “will be on a suicidal mission” as they will be most likely subjected to Israeli shelling.

today libya is stepping up to the plate. nasrallah stepped up to it last night. who will be next? who will do something to break the siege? to retaliate? who will stop zionist terrorism once and for all? hasn’t 60 years of this aggression been enough for everyone?

here is video footage of a pharmacy bombed in rafah yesterday compounding the effects of the devastation in gaza with respect to medical supplies:

as i went to sleep i watched the islamic university in gaza being bombed. as i woke up i watched a family destroyed in jabalia refugee camp:

Palestinian medical sources reported that the Israeli Army shelled the house of Anwar Ba’lousha, in the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, killing five sisters, all children, while the rest of their family remain under the rubble, others were hospitalized.

The sources added that the daughters of Anwar Ba’lousha “are now at the morgue and under the rubble”.

Rescue teams and medics managed to locate the bodies of Sama, 4, and Samar, 24 months, and later on located the bodies of the three other sisters who remained unidentified until the time of this report.

you can see this family on al jazeera as well as the damage done to the islamic university as well as the conditions in the hospitals as well as livni getting yet more air time on al jazeera in spite of her protests to the contrary:

i thought about them as i rode in a service today to balata refugee camp. i happened to be going there at the same time that children were walking home from school. i saw little kids–around age 5 or 6–walking joyfully home, arm in arm, holding hands. i kept thinking about the various stories from the last few days of israeli terrorists striking schools right at the precise moment that children were walking home. while i was in balata we were, of course, watching the news. watching the devastation that continued throughout the day. we also watched a fight break out in the zionist colonialist knesset during which muhammad baraka, a palestinian in 1948 palestine, to be removed after being subjected to racist rhetoric from the mouths of bloodthirsty racist zionist leaders:

Tempers flared at Israel’s parliament building in Jerusalem on Monday as rightist members of the Knesset one after another made inciting statements against Palestinians.

In response, one of the few Palestinian members of the Knesset, Muhammad Baraka, began a heated argument with several of the rightists in the room, causing the parliament’s speaker to expel Baraka from the session.

Opposition leader Benjamin Natenyahu was the first to offend moderate elements in the room through his vocal support for an aggressive and “bloody” operation against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, applauding atrocities committed by the Israeli army there.

Baraka, unable to restrain himself, told Netanyahu to “shut up and stop dancing over shed blood.”

Immediately, another member Netanyahu’s Likud Party, Gilad Arden, told Baraka to “go to Gaza,” causing the latter to answer, “Of course I would go to show solidarity with my people.”

Another rightist member of the Knesset, Avigdor Liberman, said to Baraka, “Go there and don’t come back.” Baraka fired back, “I and my people will remain a thorn in your and your likes’ throat.”

Following that comment, Knesset Speaker Dalia Itsik ordered Baraka out of the session. On his way out, an extreme rightist Member of Knesset Ardan said to Baraka, “You are a racist.” Baraka replied, “you are a shoe.”

Following that comment, Knesset Member Auri Ariel told Baraka in a challenging manner, “Hit him with your shoe.” Baraka apparently started to oblige, removing his shoe, before Israeli Knesset security removed him from the building.

meanwhile the partner in crime to the zionist government, my government, the american government, which is as much responsible for these war crimes as is the egyptian government, is enabling this through its generous military donations as quiqui reported on kabobfest:

The Israel Air Force used a new bunker-buster missile that it received recently from the United States in strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, The Jerusalem Post learned on Sunday.

the american government’s complicity here is not just because of its substantive military support for the zionist terrorist entity. it is also because of its silence with respect to calling for an end to this massacre NOW. instead bush continues to support zionist terrorism and barack obama says “no comment.” those who know audre lorde know her famous statement about the relationship between violence and silence. and as act-up (the aids coalition to unleash power) famously says, silence = death. joshua frank has a piece about obama’s silence on dissident voice:

It was the single deadliest attack on Gaza in over 20 years and Obama’s initial reaction on what could be his first real test as president was “no comment”. Meanwhile, Israel has readied itself for a land invasion, amassing tanks along the border and calling up 6,500 reserve troops.

i, like rania, am so grateful that i did not vote for that khara. the woman i did vote for, cynthia mckinney, is on a boat right now that left from cyprus today for gaza. this is a courageous, moral woman (hence she didn’t get elected). here is the press release from the free gaza movement today:

There is a time when silence is complicity and inaction is unacceptable. On Saturday, December 27, Israel began Operation “Cast Lead,” a military onslaught against the civilian population of the Gaza Strip that has – so far – massacred more than three-hundred men, women, and children, and seriously injured over a thousand.

In response to Israeli butchery, the Free Gaza ship, the DIGNITY, will depart Larnaca Port at approximately 5pm (UTC), on Monday, December 29, bound for besieged Gaza. The ship is on an emergency mission carrying in physicians, human rights workers and over three tons of desperately needed medical supplies donated by the people of Cyprus. Coordinating with the
Gaza Ministry of Health, the doctors will be immediately posted to overburdened hospitals and clinics upon their arrival.

We are not asking Israel for “permission” to go, and we will not stop until the DIGNITY lands in Gaza. We are answering urgent calls from hospitals and health care workers in Gaza by taking in three physicians who will stay and work in Gaza for several weeks. We will hold Israel responsible for the safety of our passengers and our cargo of emergency medicine….

The passengers on this Free Gaza emergency delegation include:

* International humanitarian and human rights workers from Cyprus, Australia, Ireland, Great Britain, Tunisia, and the United States.

* Doctors going to Gaza to volunteer in local hospitals, including Dr. Elena Theoharous, surgeon and Member of Parliament from Cyprus.

* Journalists going to Gaza to report on the massacre, including Al-Jazeera reporter Sami al-Haj, a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay.

* The Hon. Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate.

the media complicity in all of this is also compounding the situation. by repeating zionist terrorist propaganda, giving them space, repeating their rhetoric. thankfully we have eyewitness accounts online to get some accurate account of what is actually happening. here is a new report from safa joudeh on electronic intifada:

About an hour ago they bombed the Islamic University, destroying the laboratory building. As I mentioned in an earlier account, my home is close to the university. We heard the first explosion, the windows shook, the walls shook and my heart felt like it would literally jump out of my mouth. My parents, siblings and cousins, who have been staying with us since their home was damaged the first day of the air raids, had been trying to get some sleep. We all rushed to the side of the house that was farthest from the bombing. Hala, my 11-year-old sister stood motionless and had to be dragged to the other room. I still have marks on my shoulder from when Aya, my 13-year-old cousin held on to me during the next four explosions, each one as violent and heart-stopping as the next. Looking out of the window moments later the night sky had turned to a dirty navy-gray from the smoke.

Israeli warships rocketed Gaza’s only sea port only moments ago; 15 missiles exploded, destroying boats and parts of the ports. These are just initial reports over the radio. We don’t know what the extent of the damage is. We do know that the fishing industry that thousands of families depend on either directly or indirectly didn’t pose a threat on Israeli security. The radio reporter started counting the explosions; I think he lost count after six. At this moment we heard three more blasts. “I’m mostly scared of the whoosh,” I told my sister, referring to the sound a missile makes before it hits. Those moments of wondering where it’s going to fall are agonizing. Once the whooshes and hits were over the radio reporter announced that the fish market (vacant, of course) had been bombed.

mohammad on kabobfest, who is from gaza but living in ramallah, writes harrowingly about how terrorism feels when your family and your people are subjected to it but you are living far away, when you are not allowed to return to be with them:

I called my uncles in Gaza at around midnight. By this time, I was still horrified, still enraged, but I’d begun to view the massacre exclusively through the lenses of news stations. The following three conversations destroyed any sense of distance I had felt. Through them, I experienced the indescribable terror I started this article with. I was left shaking, fearing for their lives. And I am 50 miles away.

I first called my uncle Jasim in Khan Younis. He was speaking more than yesterday, but his voice was very quiet. He was telling me about some of the those he knew who had been killed; a friend, a police officer, a former neighbor who had just lost his mother the week before. He told me about others, asking me to tell my dad about them because he knew them too. Earlier in the day, he said, he’d gone to the Rahma Mosque nearby to pray over their bodies as his dead friends were laid out in a line.

He said it was cold, there was no electricity and the strikes were ongoing and everywhere. Every other minute he’d pause, telling me another had just hit. He said everyone is more than afraid, there is an unspeakable terror. Nothing is sacred he said, there is nowhere you can feel safe. He told me people were too scared to even go pray in the mosques now. So far the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Beit Lahiya, the Shifa Mosque in Gaza City, the Qassam Mosque in Bani Suheila and the Imad Akel Mosque in Jabalya had been leveled by jets fired from F-16 jets, with people inside.

That last statement is what began to drag me into their terror; even places of worship were being deliberately targeted for destruction. In such an environment, how can anybody feel safe?

He told me the streets had been empty since sundown, but that the Qassam Brigades had imposed a curfew at 12. ‘They’re setting up, they know its coming’.

I next called my Uncle Mahmoud, who had lost his brother-in-law yesterday. I asked him if his wife was at her family’s house. He told me she was with him, as were her brothers. He told me it was too dangerous for their family to be in their home, as it is near the eastern border. Last year, Mahmoud’s wife had lost her uncle in that home when he was shot in the head by an Israeli force carrying out an incursion in the area. With everyone expecting a ground invasion soon, sitting in their home seemed suicidal.

He told me the Israeli army had been calling thousands of people with recorded messages warning them that their houses were targeted for destruction. He said it was psychological warfare and that he would not be leaving the house. Nevertheless, I am terrified the Israeli army will carry out its threat. I asked him how his kids were. He told me they had been grabbing on to him all day, screaming whenever he left the house. Mahmoud is probably the one who has suffered the most in our family at the hand of the Israelis, but this was the first time I had ever sensed fear from him. His voice was hollow, monotonous. He said everyone is sitting at home, waiting to die.

I told him I couldn’t think of a thing to say to him. What do you say to a father sitting amongst his young children, next to his wife and brothers in law mourning their brother, waiting for death?

My final call was to my uncle Mohammad, in Gaza City. After the first two calls, I could barely say anything, nothing I could think of seemed enough. I asked him how his wife’s family were. They’re okay, he said, same as everyone else. His kids were asleep; they’re absolutely terrified. Again, he had kept the windows fully open in his apartment despite the cold, fearing they would be blown out by an airstrike. His situation was, if possible, a little more difficult than my uncles in Khan Younis. Gaza City is unbelievably overcrowded, and more than any other town in the Gaza Strip it contains a high number of buildings and offices used by local authorities and civil society institutions. In other words, prime targets — and the residents of Gaza City — have borne the brunt of the attacks.

I asked him what he had done today. He told me he’d walked around, seeing some of the bombed sites. He said the scene in Al-Shifa Hospital was beyond belief; the wounded lying in the hallways, the doctors unable to keep up with the steady flow of bodies. The hospital has reserved all its units to treating what it can of the wounded. Every other unit had been cleared; even pregnant women were being turned back. As Jasim had done earlier, Mohammad directed his anger at Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.

As we were talking, three huge booms interrupted us. Over the phone, I felt the fear they caused. I could tell they were very near his apartment. You could hear the window panes rattling. Their loudness shocked me; I’d heard how loud and how destructive an F-16 missile was, but this was the first time I’d heard one and it was terrifying, even over the phone. You could sense, from the way it shattered the quiet, how much destruction and death would be wrought by each missile. As the fourth missile hit 10 seconds later, I heard his children wake up screaming. He rushed to their room. ‘Its okay, its just another missile. Go to sleep Baba, its okay.’ I could hear the children-Nada, 13, Adham, 11, Haya, 4, and Dina, 3-whimpering as their dad tried to calm them down. ‘Its okay, go back to sleep, nothings going to happen to us, go back to sleep.’

A minute later the house phone and then his wife’s cell phone rang. Neighbors, wondering what was hit. I asked him if he could see anything, he said he couldn’t but the only thing around them that could need 4 missiles was the university [the Islamic University in Gaza]. As he said that another two deafening explosions were heard, shaking the entire building and shaking me to my core. The children began screaming again and as their dad rushed back to try and console them, I went to see the TV. It was as he’d thought: after attacking mosques, police stations, homes, factories, schools, medical depots, municipalities and prisons, Israel had destroyed part of the largest university in the Palestinian territories. Truly, nothing was sacred any more. In the 1980’s, Israel had closed down every single school and university in the occupied territories. In 2008, it is destroying them.

Hearing Jasim talk of his dead friends was horrific; hearing Mahmoud waiting for death made me feel lifeless in my helplessness; but hearing the explosions, the world shaking, the children waking up screaming, hearing the source of all this fear and death and carnage and destruction, the source of all this pure terror, left me shaking, left me angry beyond rage, left me scared for my family beyond fear.

It has been three hours since that conversation and I have been glued to the TV. For about an hour, the warplanes did not leave the skies and you could hear them through the live feed, hear them before they launched another missile that shook the city then lit it up for a second. The airstrikes are continuous, they do not stop. Since that conversation, another mosque was destroyed in Jabalya, the debris killing four young sisters as they slept in an adjacent house. For the past half hour local TV has been replaying the images of the girls being pulled out, limp and gray faced from under several feet of rubble.

Israeli warships have attacked Gaza City’s fishermen’s port, the one where the Free Gaza boats dock. Boats are burning in the water, while a home and a fire station were amongst the targets also hit.

It is almost 4AM and in Ramallah I can’t sleep. I’m not sure how anybody is sleeping in Gaza. This will not end soon. The sheer numbers of dead, the sheer variety of targets, the intention to instill terror into every single person inside Gaza indicates that Israel is planning to only escalate until it destroys the population and any sign of Palestinian nationalism.

and so we wait, we stay up late, we watch the news, we talk to our friends, we write. and we watch more of the same. stunned by the horror. and yet not. both as’ad and rami seem to be unmoved by nasrallah’s speech last night. maybe it is just more words, more rhetoric. but it contains words not heard elsewhere. words that at the very least gave people here hope. hope that sayyed hassan nasrallah would do something. or hope that egyptians would follow his requests. but rania feels otherwise and shows exactly why nasrallah’s speech is important (albeit she isn’t talking about it here) but with respect to the normalization of arab regimes with the zionist entity and it affecting the impotence here:

I don’t understand

I don’t understand any request for an Arab League summit. Let’s put our efforts elsewhere.

I don’t understand the Arab League itself. I don’t understand the Egyptian government that is openly collaborating with the Israeli Zionist government.

Or The Jordanan government. The Qatari. The Saudi. Any of the Arab governments that have economic and/or diplomatic relations with Israel.

I never expected humanity from Israel. But I hadn’t ever expected such open collaboration between Arab governments — particularly the Egyptian government — and Israel.

The border between besieged Gaza and collaborating Egypt is still closed. Closed by Mubarak. Closed by all the men who follow his orders and not their conscience.

There is no need for such collaboration. Even for a draconian, corrupt, dictatorial regime like Mubarak’s, there is no reason for such collaboration.

There is only shame.

unfortunately there is far too much shame to go around. shame on everyone and anyone. there is a gaza graveyard. one massive prison has become one massive graveyard. and it is on all of us who sit back and do nothing, especially every motherf(*&^%$ government on the planet right now which has done nothing but demonstrate its complicity through its support of zionist terrorism and/or its silence.

i ask you: if gaza were a graveyard of jews do you really think that the world would be so silent?


One thought on “the gaza graveyard

  1. Somewhat surprisingly, Morocco spoke out today.

    Mohammad’s K-fest account broke my heart.

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