this week saw more savage attacks on gaza by israeli terrorist forces:
Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that several residents were wounded in a series of Israeli air strikes carried out by the Israeli Air Force after midnight targeting several neighborhoods in Gaza City, Jabalia and Rafah.
The Palestine News and Information Agency (WAFA) reported that F-16 fighter-jets shelled an area near the cars market, at the Salah Ed Deen Street, east of Gaza’s Al Zeitoun neighborhood. Two residents were wounded and were moved to a local hospital.
The air force also shelled a blacksmith workshop in Al Zeitoun neighborhood, completely leveling it and causing damage to a number of nearby homes.
Shortly afterwards, the air force shelled another blacksmith shop on Yaffa street, north east of Gaza City; one resident was wounded and several homes and structures were damaged.
Furthermore, the Israeli Air Force shelled a number of areas in the town of Jabalia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Navy opened automatic fire and fired several shells at areas across the Gaza shore.
The air force also shelled a chicken farm in Rafah completely damaging it.
On Tuesday night, the air force shelled the “Tunnels Area” in Rafah, wounding one woman and one child. Both were moved to Abu Yousef Al Najjar Hospital.
The shelling came shortly after the Air Force shelled an area close to Al Barazil neighborhood, south of Rafah.
It is worth mentioning that the Israeli Navy fired several shells at areas across the coasts of Gaza and Khan Younis.
this time, however, the egyptian army joined forces to intensify the damage against palestinians, sealing their fate that this egyptian regime is every bit as zionist as the one occupying palestine:
Sources in Gaza reported that the six workers sustained moderate wounds and were moved to a hospital in Rafah city for treatment. Since Israel sealed-off the coastal strip in June 2007, the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt have become the main sources of supplies to Gaza.
no comment tv has footage of some of the damage done to gaza from these new assaults:
this newest assault comes at a time when the twenty-three day savagery has been unable to recover given the ongoing zionist-egyptian siege imposed on palestinians in gaza. anera has a short video of the damage done to a palestinian ice cream factory and its inability to recoup its losses:
eva bartlett’s article in electronic intifada yesterday illustrates how the ongoing savagery and siege continue to plague palestinians, particularly farmers:
On the morning of 4 May 2009, Israeli troops set fire to Palestinian crops along Gaza’s eastern border with Israel. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reported that 200,000 square meters of crops were destroyed, including wheat and barley ready for harvest, as well as vegetables, olive and pomegranate trees.
Local farmers report that the blaze carried over a four-kilometer stretch on the Palestinian side of the eastern border land. Ibrahim Hassan Safadi, 49, from one of the farming families whose crops were destroyed by the blaze, said that the fires were smoldering until early evening, despite efforts by the fire brigades to extinguish them.
Safadi says he was present when Israeli soldiers fired small bombs into his field, which soon after caught ablaze. He explained that “The Israeli soldiers fired from their jeeps, causing a fire to break out on the land. They burned the wheat, burned the pomegranate trees … The fire spread across the valley. We called the fire brigades. They came to the area and put out the fire. But in some places the fire started again.” According to Safadi, he lost 30,000 square meters to the blaze, including 300 pomegranate trees, 150 olive trees, and wheat.
In the border areas it has long since become nearly impossible to work on the land due to almost daily shooting from the Israeli soldiers. The crops that were burned on 4 May were dried and ready to harvest, meaning that they were extremely flammable.
“It took only three minutes for the fire to destroy 65,000 square meters,” said Nahed Jaber Abu Said, whose farmland lies a few kilometers down the road from Safadi. He added that “It was nearly 9am. I was here when the Israeli jeeps came. An Israeli soldier at the fence shot an explosive into our field of wheat. It went up in flames immediately.”
Safadi said that the arson attack was the third major time his farm has suffered from an Israeli attack. In previous attacks over the last decade, he explained, Israeli soldiers bulldozed his land, razing his lemon, olive and clementine trees as well as demolishing greenhouses.
“We’ve suffered great losses. The Israeli soldiers have destroyed so much of our land, trees and equipment. They’ve cost us a lot of money,” he said, citing cumulative losses of $330,000 since 2000 when the heightened invasions began. In the last attack, Safadi said that $130,000 worth of crops, trees and irrigation piping was destroyed.
and the losses are multiple and varied and all encompassing. due to the siege, this week, yet another child was murdered in gaza:
Ribhi Jindiyeh suffered from lymphoma, and underwent chemotherapy last year. In March, however, his condition worsened, and, because of the lack of medical supplies in Gaza due to the Israeli closure, his parents consulted with a doctor in Israel to get the needed medical treatment.
Ribhi’s father applied to the Augusta Victoria hospital in Jerusalem for treatment. According to the Associated Press, a staff member at the hospital told their reporter that a fax machine at the hospital may have been broken, and the request was not answered for weeks. Finally, the child was accepted into a treatment program in the Israeli hospital, but the Israeli government refused to issue the boy the permit needed to cross the closed border into Israel.
Palestinian medical sources report that over 300 patients have died since June 2007, when the elected Hamas government began its administration in Gaza, and the Israeli government implemented a full closure on the Strip. Virtually no one has been able to enter or leave the besieged coastal Strip, and supplies of needed medicines and equipment are dwindling to near nothing in Gaza’s hospitals and clinics.
Israeli authorities say the siege is a way to “choke” the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority in Gaza, to try to force the elected government out of power. But human rights groups from around the world have called the siege collective punishment of an entire population, which is a violation of international law and of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory.
A recent report found that Israeli forces have routinely tried to force patients to work for the Israeli intelligence services as informants in order to leave Gaza to receive needed medical care.
the siege is not just about who and what are trapped inside gaza, but also who and what is forbidden from entering gaza. amira hass’ article this week in ha’aretz detailed some of the forbidden items:
Gaza merchants are forbidden to import canned goods, plastic sheeting, toys and books, although the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and other aid organizations are permitted to bring them into the strip.
The few items merchants are allowed to trade in are divided into three categories: food, medicine and detergent. Everything else is forbidden – including building materials (which are necessary to rehabilitate Gaza’s ruins and rebuild its infrastructure), electric appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines, spare machine and car parts, fabrics, threads, needles, light bulbs, candles, matches, books, musical instruments, crayons, clothing, shoes, mattresses, sheets, blankets, cutlery, crockery, cups, glasses and animals. Many of the banned products are imported through the tunnels and can be found in Gaza’s markets.
Pasta, which had been forbidden in the past, is now allowed, after U.S. Senator John Kerry expressed his astonishment at the ban during a visit to Gaza in February. But tea, coffee, sausages, semolina, milk products in large packages and most baking products are forbidden. So are industrial commodities for manufacturing food products, chocolate, sesame seeds and nuts. Israel does allow importing fruit, milk products in small packages and frozen food products as well as limited amounts of industrial fuel.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that during the first week of May, 2.2 million liters of industrial fuel – some 70 percent of the weekly supply required to operate the power station – was allowed into Gaza. UNRWA receives petrol and diesel supplies separately. A daily 270-300 tons of cooking gas – 54 percent of the required amount – is allowed.
Petrol and diesel for private cars and public transportation have not been imported from Israel since November 2, 2008, except for a small amount for UNRWA. The union of Gaza’s gas station owners estimates that some 100,000 liters of diesel and 70,000 liters of petrol are brought through the tunnels daily.
Egypt, which in the past two months has been restricting the trade movement through the tunnels, does not limit the supply of gas and fuel. But since Egyptian fuel is heavier than Israeli fuel, it damages the newer cars in Gaza and causes malfunctions.
In the past, Israel allowed wood for home furnishings to be brought into Gaza for some time, but not wood for windows and doors. Now Israel has resumed the ban on wood for furniture.
The ban on toilet paper, diapers and sanitary napkins was lifted three months ago. A little more than a month ago, following a long ban, Israel permitted the import of detergents and soaps into Gaza. Even shampoo was allowed. But one merchant discovered that the bottles of shampoo he had ordered were sent back because they included conditioner, which was not on the list.
Five weeks ago Israel allowed margarine, salt and artificial sweetener to be brought into Gaza. Legumes have been allowed for the past two months and yeast for the past two weeks. Contrary to rumors, Israel has not banned sugar.
in addition to these bans on various material items that are banned, there are other daily reminders of the ongoing siege and the massacres that palestinians in gaza have to live with every day. eman mohammed’s article in electronic intifada this week highlights one family who is literally living among the dead:
The scene of Mahmoud Jilu, four years old, rolling his ball with friends doesn’t seem weird at all until you see where he is playing. Mahmoud runs after the ball into a backyard full of graves forming the cemetery where his family has lived since they can remember.
The six-member Jilu family are all jammed together in a tiny house with one bedroom and a small space for the kitchen with a tomb next to it. For Afaf Jilu, 30 years old, the mother of three boys and one girl, it’s not the surrounding view of graves that upsets her the most but the cramped environment that forces her to live in one room with her husband and four kids.
“Not having privacy is what makes this life unbearable,” Afaf said. “When I try to sleep, my children want to watch TV and they are only kids. I can’t make it worse for them by denying them what they want to.”
Afaf added, “I keep reminding myself that we’ll get our own house once the economic situation in the country is better and then I can plant lots of trees around the house instead of having a cemetery strangle us from all around. We all hang on our small dreams that we have in mind to achieve. That’s the best thing we learned from living here; the more we see people dying, leaving their dreams behind, the more we hold on to ours. It’s the only way to break through!”
For 13-year-old Muhammad, the equation is different since he never brings any of his friends over to play or study, because of his feeling of being the “odd one out” since he lives in a cemetery. “My friends aren’t familiar with the idea of living between dead people. It can be used to make a silly joke and not just a reality of life. Sometimes I feel ashamed of this place,” he said.
and there are other reminders as well. the village of khuzaa, which experienced a ground invasion during the savagery of israeli terrorism is still dealing with the trauma of the war crimes that were committed there as erin cunningham writes in electronic intifada:
Four months later, international human rights organizations are accusing Israel of committing war crimes in Khuzaa. Its residents continue to live with frequent military incursions and the daily threat of gunfire from Israeli watchtowers on the border.
“This assault was the worst thing to ever happen to us,” says Khuzaa’s mayor, Abu Ayman. “It is worse than when the village was divided in 1948.”
Khuzaa saw little fighting in the first two weeks of the attacks. But on 10 January, a barrage of white phosphorus shells landed deep into residential areas, locals and a March report by Human Rights Watch say.
The next two days saw an onslaught of rockets and missiles fired from fighter jets, unmanned drones and Apache helicopters — a precursor to a ground invasion of tanks, bulldozers and soldiers at midnight 13 January.
The men and boys of the village were blindfolded and detained in a massive hole dug by Israeli bulldozers, locals say. Terrified residents whose homes were bulldozed or occupied by the Israeli military fled to the safety of an open courtyard at Khuzaa’s center.
“Many of the villagers who were taking refuge in the courtyard had moved there from the outer parts of Khuzaa because of the previous attacks,” Amnesty International’s head researcher for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Donatella Rovera, told IPS on telephone from London.
“These attacks happened where they thought they would be safe,” Rovera said.
When the courtyard where villagers had taken refuge also came under attack — an Israeli bulldozer began to demolish one of the courtyard walls, locals say — Rawhiyya al-Najjar, a female resident of Khuzaa, decided they had no choice but to evacuate.
Carrying a white flag, Rawhiyya led a group of women and children out of the compound and into the village in the early hours of 13 January, according to residents and human rights groups.
She was shot in the head with a single bullet, independent testimonies confirm, and took 12 hours to die after a medic who tried to reach her also came under fire from Israeli forces.
Rovera says that Rawhiyya’s murder, the reckless use of white phosphorus, and systematic destruction of homes by the Israeli military in Khuzaa constitute war crimes.
“The patterns of attacks as they happened in Khuzaa are consistent with the broader patterns throughout the war, which constitute grave breaches of international law, including war crimes,” Rovera told IPS.
so far spain has been one of the few bright spots with respect to investigating, and hopefully, prosecuting israeli terrorists for their war crimes. but it seems that zionists have been interfering with spanish politics and this potential may soon be negated:
Spanish lawmakers almost unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday which could end the right of Spanish judges to investigate serious crimes like genocide anywhere in the world in cases where courts in the affected country do not act.
Spain’s Socialist government said earlier this year it would change the law after protests from Israel over the High Court’s decision in January to launch a war crimes probe into seven Israelis including former defense minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer for a 2002 attack in the Gaza Strip that killed 14 civilians and a Hamas leader.
If translated into a law, the resolution would restrict Spain, which had been praised by international campaigners, to only investigating cases in which the accused is in Spain or Spaniards are victims.
for those in the united states who want to help break this siege and ongoing savagery, my dear friend fatima mohammadi is working with the american viva palestina convoy headed for gaza on july 4th. you can listen to her interview with my other dear friend naji ali with this link. to donate to their convoy please click on the above link, where you can also learn about other ways you can help.