more of the same: in gaza, iraq, afghanistan, pakistan … (where next?)

i listened to a democracy now! podcast on my way home from ramallah this afternoon. it was an episode that my friend jen had emailed me about the other day. here was her email:

This time last week, I saw an email in my inbox with the horrifying subject line:

“Help me save my dad’s life.”

It was from Amer Shurrab, who I’ve known for ten years, from Seeds of Peace. Amer is from Khan Younes, Gaza, but had recently graduated from Middlebury College and had just moved to Washington DC.

With dread, I opened the email. Amer wrote:

“my father’s car was bombed today, he was in it with two of my brothers. my older brother 27 was killed while my dad 64 and my little brother 17 have been bleeding for over 14 hours and israeli troops blocking ambulances access. they are in front of supermarket Abu Zidane El-Najjar, El-Fukhary, Khan Younis, Gaza Strip. please contact any media outlets, your congressmen, senators, any international organizations and try to get them help.”

Several hours later, I got another email from Amer with an update. His father and brothers had been driving during the daily three hour humanitarian “ceasefire” when their car came under a hail of bullets. His older brother Kassab was struck in the chest and died immediately. His father was hit in the arm and his younger brother Ibrahim was hit in the leg, below the knee. It was over 20 hours later (and only after great pressure from media and human rights groups that Amer’s father managed to contact by his cell phone) before the Israeli army permitted medical care to reach Amer’s wounded father and younger brother. By then it was too late for Amer’s brother. Ibrahim had already bled to death.

I have very few words that I can muster right now. I am beyond sad, and long past outrage.

Instead, I offer you Amer’s words, in a brave and deeply moving interview he did with Democracy Now! yesterday. Amer’s interview can be viewed at:

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/22/part_ii_palestinian_us_college_grad

there was actually a previous interview with amer the previous day on democracy now!, which i have not found on youtube, but you may watch it on democracy now!’s website. here is the interview on democracy now! that jen mentioned which i implore you to watch (the final episode includes phyllis bennis discussing the gross violations of human rights and international law with this attack and the u.s. role in this and every other murder in palestine):

although amy goodman rarely seems to understand evil nature of israeli terrorists–made clear by her ignorant questions in this interview–she manages to reveal the intended maliciousness of the israeli terrorists in spite of herself:

AMY GOODMAN: Now, were any of these soldiers who were there—did your dad know any of them? Did he see any of them? Where were they shooting from?

AMER SHURRAB: They were shooting from a house that was about thirty or forty yards away from the car. He doesn’t know any one of them in person.

But the soldiers took a group of the residents and other citizens. They took them as hostages or human shields in that house. And some of these hostages actually understood Hebrew. They spoke and understood Hebrew, and they overheard the conversation between the soldiers. The soldiers told the officer, when they saw the car, that this car, they know the car, and they know that the passengers are civilians, but the officer ordered them to shoot and shoot to kill.

Later on, as part of this unit, there were two army medics, two army doctors, who asked the officer for permission to go help the victims, to go help the injured, but the officer refused, because he knew they were civilians, and he didn’t want to get exposed. He didn’t want the story to get out, because he thought he might get in trouble for that.

after several hours of amer’s brother ibrahim’s suffering al jazeera managed to get his father on air live. i have not been able to locate this footage on line either. if you watch the interview and if you read jen’s email you will know that not only is this family not hamas–not that this would make one shred of a difference with respect to the nazi behavior of the israeli terrorists–but amer was a member of seeds of peace. seeds of peace is a normalizing american organization, run by jewish americans. it puts palestinian and israeli terrorist teenagers together and thinks that it is creating “peace.” clearly israeli terrorists do not distinguish between such families and hamas resistance fighters. thus i ask once again: what is the point of normalization? i really wish that palestinians would learn the lesson of lebanon and halt all normalization, make a law, enforce it.

i’ve thought so much about this over the past few years. in fact, when i first same to palestine my research for my book was entirely different in perspective and content. seeds of peace was one of the organizations i was researching. at the time i had the impression that this organization was doing good work. that normalization would be the key to creating some sort of just solution for palestinians. and at the time i gave a s*&^ about israelis because i had not been subjected day in and day out to their terrorism yet. i spent a part of that first summer here observing palestinian and israeli terrorist youth in a local summer program at a church in al quds. i also spent a great deal of time reading the writings of the youth in this program and watching documentary films about the program in which these youth are interviewed. what i came away with was the start of my consciousness raising as i observed in person, in writing, and on film that this entire program was a way for israeli terrorist youth to force palestinian youth into further submission. in almost every situation these israeli terrorists would subject palestinians to stories of the nazi holocaust ad nauseam and whenever a palestinian youth tried to tell stories of their current subjugation to nazi policies by israeli terrorists–both by colonists and soldiers alike–or stories of an nakba they were interrupted or screamed at or silenced. or all of the above. thus what was supposed to be the main subject of my book became a chapter which is entitled “against coexistence.” it is a critique of these sorts of organizations.

through my research i became good friends with one palestinian who worked for seeds of peace. he–like all the palestinians who worked for that organization before they were all summarily fired a couple of summers ago when they closed down the al quds office on occupied french hill–was treated horribly by the jewish americans who ran the organization. and he wrote a book about this, which i just found out today found a publisher so all of this will be laid bare in the not too distant future.

i say all this now because the death of amer’s family reminds me once again that normalization leads to death of palestinians, in this instance quite literally. amer’s story is also important because it shows how calculating and cold blooded israeli terrorists are. this, like all the stories of gaza that i’ve been posting, is normal. it is every day whether it is on television or not.

amer’s brothers were murdered during a so-called “ceasefire” last friday. but that “ceasefire” like the current one is a complete and total fabrication. eva bartlett, for instance, describes the “ceasefire” as one that does not exist on the beach or in one’s home:

On the 5th morning after Israel declared a ‘ceasefire’, Israeli gunboats began shelling, as they had on several mornings since halting the 22 day air and land bombardment of Gaza. The shelling, which began just after 7:30 am off Gaza city’s coast, injured at least 6, including one boy with shrapnel in his head.

Yasser Abed, 15, came out from his home in Gaza’s Beach camp, on the coast, to see where the shelling was occurring. A shard of shrapnel lodged in his forehead.

Nisreen al Quqa, 11, was out earlier, before the navy began to fire towards Palestinian fishermen. She and her brother were walking on the beach when the firing started. A piece of shrapnel lodged in her right calf muscle.

Other injuries included a 14 year old male who was hit in the thigh by one of the shrapnel fragments, a 35 year old male also with a shrapnel injury, and a 4 year old girl with a head wound from flying shrapnel.

To the east of Gaza city, in the Sheyjaiee district close to the eastern border, also on the same day, 7 year old Ahmed Hassanian was outside his house with friends around 9:45 am. He lies now in critical condition in Shifa hospital’s ICU, a bullet still lodged in his brain and with such brain hemorrhaging and damage that he is expected to die shortly.

Mu’awiyah Hassanain, the director of Ambulance and Emergency Services, reports shelling in the northwestern coastal area of As Sudaniya on the same morning, saying five fishermen were injured in the attacks.

and when there isn’t active firing upon palestinians by israeli terrorists, palestinians in gaza are having to deal with unexploded weapons while they shift through the rubble of what was once their homes:

At first the 44 children that live in the Zani family home in Beit Hanoun were wary of the unexploded F-16 rocket whose tail has protruded menacingly from their garden since it landed in the first week of the Israeli assault on Gaza. Now, they have grown used it – playing excitedly near it and even building fires next to it, a relative says.

just as israeli terrorists distort the truth and twist it in sick ways to achieve their political goals using the blood of palestinians to do so, barack obama has shown that his political career is all about same and not change. the most disgusting move yet by his administration is to block the call for an investigation of some of the war crimes perpetrated by israeli terrorists that i’ve documented again and again on this blog. here is what went down at the united nations:

Returning voiceless from the Gaza Strip and Israel, the UN’s Ban Ki-moon sat Wednesday afternoon in the Security Council chamber, listening as his American chief of Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe read out his call for an investigation of Israel’s bombings of UN facilities, in the first instance by Israel itself, and for humanitarian aid and reconstruction. While the shift to self-investigation became the focus of the press corps waiting impatiently at the stakeout, inside the consultations room the negotiation of a Council press statement took a surprising turn.

Libya proposed, and most members agreed to, a paragraph mirroring Ban’s muted investigation call. But the United States, represented for now by civil servant Alejandro Wolff, was having none of it. Inner City Press is told by sources in the meeting that the US would not agree to any reference to investigations. These sources marveled that, even with Obama now in power, this would be the US position. They contrasted it to the Council’s reaction to an Israeli bombing in Lebanon during the 2006 war, or to an immediate denunciation of a Sudanese attack on a convoy, which after denying, Sudan apologized for.

and while i’m at it here are more ways obama is more of the same:

The Iraqi government will reopen the notorious Abu Ghraib prison next month under the name of Baghdad Central Prison, a senior justice official has said.

note: for those who click on the above link and see no mention of obama you should know that puppet governments like the one in baghdad cannot and do not do one thing without the approval of their occupying masters.

At least 19 people have been killed in two missile attacks by suspected US drones flying over northwest Pakistan.

In the first assault, three missiles were launched on a house in North Waziristan close to Afghanistan, intelligence officials and witnesses said on Friday.

A claim by US forces in Afghanistan that they killed 15 Taliban fighters in the eastern province of Laghman, has been disputed by village elders.

A US statement said on Saturday that soldiers killed the fighters after coming under fire from opposition fighters.

But the elders say all those who died were civilians.

so obama is keeping the bush legacy alive and well by murdering pakistanis and afghans. great way to welcome in change, obama. did you think no one would notice just because you signed orders to close guantanamo? i wonder what he’ll say to this message from zardari:

Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani president, has called on Barack Obama, his US counterpart, to end American missile attacks in South Asian nation’s tribal border regions with Afghanistan.

Zardari’s comments were reported in the local media on Saturday, a day after the first US attacks in Pakistan since Obama’s inauguration.

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