siegefire

fellow blogger laila el haddad has been trapped in the egyptian airport for over 16 hours now. it should have been a simple passage: land in cairo, get a hotel for the night, find transportation to rafah, and go see her family in gaza city. instead, she has been told she is a “political and security risk” and she is trapped there. they are threatening to deport her and send her back to the united states, where she has been living with her two small children and husband. she has been updating people via twitter as there is wifi at the airport.

it’s not that she wants to go through egypt, she said sarcastically today that she would prefer a parachute if that were possible, but when zionist colonists occupy your land and control your borders, you need to go through neighboring country. unfortunately, her neighboring country, egypt, is controlled by an american puppet who does the bidding of the zionists and americans in the region. never anything for his own people, millions of whom go hungry every night.

my friend sameh habeeb wrote an article today coining a brilliant new phrase: he says palestinians in gaza don’t have a ceasefire they have a siegefire:

The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, (ECESG) calls upon all International Organization working on the Gaza Strip to intervene immediately. The siege is not only suffocating the people of Gaza and depriving them of basic necessities, it is also breaking international law. In the wake of the siege, which shows no sign of abating after three years, numerous international condemnations and desperate pleas have been shamelessly rejected by the Israeli authorities.

Action urgently required as borders are severely restricted…

Patients still dying and death toll 313 as no exit, no enough medicines…
Tens of thousands displaced…
Re construction not allowed…
Extreme poverty and unemployment paralyzing life…
Freedom of Movement is a taboo…

Crossings operate with low capacity while thousands of basic commodities are still denied entry into Gaza. Many promises have been made to improve the living conditions, which thus far, have not materialized.

and, of course, mubarak is a big part of this siege. at least 50% of it. and his american/zionist partners in crime. here is a perfect example of the malek mubarak (yes, malek because he is in power forever and grooming his son to take over afterwards) and the way he bends over backwards to shamefully lick the ground the israeli and american terrorists walk on even when they s*&^ all over egyptians not to mention arabs and muslims more generally:

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday for an official visit to the Egyptian Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheik for talks.

Mubarak extended the invitation during a phone conversation with Netanyahu, in which he congratulated the prime minister on the formation of his new government.

The pair stressed the amicable relations between their countries and said they would continue, and even strengthen in the future. No date was set for the Sharm el-Sheik visit.

Netanyahu’s bureau said the premier told Mubarak that, “There is supreme importance to peace between the two countries.” He added that both states had an interest in strengthening that peace in order to counter threats to it.

A statement from the official Egyptian news agency on the conversation did not mention an invitation. It said Netanyahu called Mubarak and pledged to work for peace despite premeditated impressions, a reference to the new Israeli leader’s past opposition to concessions to the Palestinians.

The invitation came after heightened diplomatic tensions between the neighboring states after Egypt’s ambassador to Israel recently threatened to boycott a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the Israel-Egypt peace accord. He threatened to do so to protest the pending appointment to foreign minister of Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman.

Egypt has said it will boycott Lieberman, who is now foreign minister, unless he issues an official apology for past remarks, including telling Mubarak to “go to hell.”

that’s not the only problem with egypt. the government is now unleashing a campaign of harassing and arresting palestinians in egypt: such clear evidence of the mubarak regime doing the dirty work of the zionists:

Egyptian sources reported that the Egyptian police arrested 40 Lebanese, Egyptian and Palestinian nationals, including Arab residents of Israel, accused of aiding Hezbollah and of gathering financial support for Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The arrests were conducted in utmost secrecy nearly six months ago, and relatives of the detained nationals hired Egyptian attorney, Montaser Al Zayyat, to represent them.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Al Zayyat said that he was contacted by the family of a Lebanese national, identified as Hani Sami Shihab, who informed him that their son was detained and that they do not know the reason behind the arrest.

Al Zayyat added that seven Palestinians and a number of Egyptians were also arrested, and the Egyptian intelligence started interrogating them last Saturday.

The lawyer was unable to meet the detained nationals but was informed that the interrogation is currently focused on the role of Hezbollah in the issue at hand.

Seven of the detained nationals are Arab residents of Israel, the rest are Lebanese and Egyptians.

It is worth mentioning that several news agencies reported that Egyptian security forces chased a vehicle in the streets of Cairo and arrested its passengers. All of the arrestees are members of Hamas; nearly 7 million dollars were found with them.

The detained members said that the money was meant to be sent to Gaza to help the some of the residents who lost their homes during the latest Israeli war on Gaza.

The arrests came as Egypt boosted its security measures to stop arms smuggling into Gaza. Egyptian border police already located and demolished dozens of arms smuggling tunnels.

meanwhile israeli terrorists are busy trying to recruit palestinian fisherman as collaborators:

A Palestinian security source revealed that the Israeli intelligence started recently a campaign of arrest and interrogation against Gaza fishermen with the aim of recruiting the largest number of spies in the Strip after Israel lost contact with many of its informers in the last war on Gaza.

The source told Al-Majd website that the last of these arrests took place at dawn Tuesday where the Israeli military navy kidnapped a number of fishermen at sea and took them to an unknown destination.

The source added Israeli Shabak officers interrogate the kidnapped fishermen about the situation in Gaza in general and the Palestinian resistance in particular and threaten them to target them at sea if they do not cooperate.

Al-Majad website, which raises the security awareness among the Palestinian people, met with a number of Gaza fishermen who said that they refused to collaborate with the Israeli intelligence despite its threats.

while palestinian fisherman resist such collaboration in gaza, in ramallah it seems that some palestinians are all too willing to collaborate with their neocolonial american masters:

The United States has been training senior Palestinian security officials in an advanced officers course in Ramallah for top-brass, Haaretz has learned.

The new course, entitled “senior leaders’ course,” is a two-month long program conducted in Ramallah with the assistance and supervision of the U.S., and is part of the project overseen by the U.S. security coordinator in the territories, Gen. Keith Dayton.

So far, the program has produced 80 graduates divided into two 40-student classes. A third class, made up of commanders from the Palestinian National Security – the largest security force with 15,000 members, tasked with policing borders, providing military intelligence, military police services and presidential security – is currently being trained in Jordan.

That class is undergoing special training by Jordanian instructors under American auspices. Most students so far have been army lieutenant colonels and colonels, but the course also accepted commanders from the civilian police, the general intelligence service, the preventative security force and the civilian defense authority.

i’ll leave you on a positive note. lina al sharif, they young blogger in gaza, is also an artist. here is one of her new pieces. you can see the rest on her blog. but i love the message: never forgive, never forget. aiwa, bizabt!

Laila Al Sharif
Lina Al Sharif

gaza in ruins. still.

democracy now! showed a film yesterday produced by anjali kamat on the economy of gaza called “land in ruins: a special report on gaza’s economy.” it is an amazing film as so many produced by big noise films are and i encourage you to watch the whole thing, but here are some highlights of their words–voices from palestinians and people who work in gaza who are on the ground to give you an inkling about what people there face and what they want–but the film footage gives you the powerful images to go with it:

NAHEELA SAMMOUNI: [translated] All of this is farmland. We used to grow chard, lettuce, turnips, radish, all from here. We’d sell it in the market and get some money to feed our children. Now our land is spoiled. Everything is destroyed. What can we do? We used to have sweet, tart pomegranates behind our home, so many plums, apricots, all right behind our house. Now, the olives, figs, everything is gone. We tended to our plants like our own children, so they would grow and we could eat from them. Now see what they did to us. What did we do wrong?

JOHN GING: There’s going to be no reconstruction in Gaza until the crossing points open. There isn’t a bag of cement coming into Gaza at the moment. We have had to, you know, reopen our schools without conducting the repairs, because there is nothing—there’s no glass to fix the windows or do the basic repairs that are needed. We just have to make safe the area that is damaged and get on.

TUNNEL WORKER: [translated] This work is very difficult. But we have no choice. We have to work in order to eat. If the crossings were open and the goods and cement were coming in, there’s no way I would be doing this. If we work, we eat; if not, we go hungry. This is our only means, our only livelihood. As long as the crossings are closed, there’s no alternative to the tunnels.

ABU OMAR: [translated] We don’t want to beg the world for money. We just want to take those who destroyed our houses to court. If we are really criminals and our houses are terrorist houses, then OK, this is what you get. But if our houses are innocent and our factories are innocent, then the Israelis need to account for what they destroyed. They are the ones who should give us the reparations. Why do we need to rely on the sympathy of the world? We don’t want that. We want the world to stand by our rights. We don’t want their charity, little bits of money and food. We’re full, thank God. We are just asking for our rights, nothing else.

my friend sameh habeeb has a new photo exhibit in vancouver, canada right now called “victims’ victims” with images of gaza that he took during the savagery brought on gaza by israeli terrorists and their american allies. you can see the images by clicking this link. the shots are really powerful: close up, crisp. you should also visit his new newspaper based in gaza, the palestine telegraph. here is one of his moving photographs:

sameh habeeb photo of chickens bombed in gaza
sameh habeeb photo of chickens bombed in gaza

sameh has a blog post on the chickens being bombed entitled “were the chickens firing rockets?” that he wrote during the massacres in gaza that explains the above image.

in the democracy now! report above they did not specifically address the issue of water, but it is a problem in gaza and people do not have access to this either just as they do not have access to food, books, cement, glass, or any basic necessities. irin news has a report on this today:

Over 150,000 Palestinians in Gaza (around 10 percent of the population) are struggling without tap water as a result of the damage caused to wells, pipes and waste water facilities during the recent 23-day Israeli offensive which ended on 18 January.

“Our requests via the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to the Israeli military during the conflict to allow shipments of construction materials and spare parts to repair wells and facilities damaged during the war were denied,” Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) director-general Monther Shoblak told IRIN.

Shoblak estimates that 50,000 people lack tap water after losing their homes, while a further 100,000 have dry taps because of damage to the water supply network.

Eleven of Gaza’s 150 wells, the only source of drinking water for Gaza’s 1.4 million people (apart from expensive bottled water and water trucked in by aid agencies), are not functioning. Six were completely destroyed, according to CMWU.

and imran garda’s “focus on gaza” for al jazeera’s first half was finally posted today. i posted the second half the other day, but here we can see sherine tadros reporting on the situation in beit lahiya as well as the education sector more generally.

on a side note: i saw a tweet from sherine tadros today announcing gerry adams arrival in gaza tomorrow. a couple of hours later this was posted on the zionist entity’s jerusalem post website:

Northern Ireland political leader Gerry Adams will not be allowed to enter Gaza this week because he plans to meet Hamas officials, Israel said Tuesday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israel “would not help Adams meet with Hamas terror leaders.”

A spokesman for Adams, Ted Howell, said Adams and his delegation planned to visit Gaza on Wednesday. He said, “we will meet with whoever wants to meet us.”

action alert: call for the release of san francisco youth

i have been remiss because there is so much to write about and so many people send me things they want me to post and i feel particularly awful for not having announced that my friend sameh habeeb has done something quite remarkable. he has created an online newspaper, based in gaza city, palestine. he started working towards this goal during the savagery that israeli terrorists unleashed on gaza. it is called the palestine telegraph. he has asked for writers to contribute, so if you write you should check out their website and submit items to them for publication.

coincidentally, sameh posted a news article today that my friend josie alerted me to as well as she knows the people involved. here is the email i received from josie that i was asked to share with others who can help, especially those in the bay area:

Lily, Nadeen, Mohammad, and 5 youth were arrested earlier today during the demonstrations and are calling for broad community support. Police appear to have targeted youth, Lily and Nadeen tried to unarrest them; they’re being charged with resisting arrest, and bail was set at $53,000 each.

Right now, they’re asking for people to be on call for this Monday and Tuesday to show up and support them at the arraignment proceedings.

They’ve also asked anyone who can loan a large chunk of money ($500+) for bail to contact Vanessa Huang (510-508-9106). The ideal is to raise the entirety of the bail money so that it will be refunded (partial bail is not).

We believe it’s important in the wake of the attacks on Gaza, and our local responses, to recall that Palestinians and Arabs are generally those who are the first to be targeted by the police, violent zionists, and the media. Now, more than ever, we need to stand in solidarity with our comrades in strategic defense.

Details to follow.

Thanks,
The Coordinating Team

here is the report in the palestine telegraph with details about what happened to these youth in san francisco:

What started off as a peaceful demonstration on March 21st, 2009 ended in severe police brutality and arrests of innocent young Arab Americans in the streets of San Francisco. Young Arab Americans turned out in record numbers this year compared to the last 6 years of demonstrations against the war on Iraq. They marched along with the International League of People’s Struggles Contingent at the end of the demonstration and filled in the civic center.

When an 8 year old Arab boy was grabbed by San Francisco police for allegedly carrying rocks in his backpack, young members of the Arab community intervened by first attempting to speak with police and retrieve the boy. After the police expressed an immense distaste for negotiating or discussing anything with the Arab American teenagers, a young Palestinian woman wrapped her arms around the boy to console him as he cried and to protect him from being taken by police.

The police agreed to allow the boy to go and the young woman and boy walked down the street. As I stared at the police, the young woman and the boy to ensure their security, I then saw a team of officers snatch the boy out of the young woman’s arms dropping her and another young woman immediately to the floor using batons and excessive force. As the crowd of young Arab Americans stared on an immediate sense of shock and urgency emerged in which members of the crowd tried to cross the barrier to pick up the two women off the floor and protect the young screaming child. As I ran in shock toward the child a police officer slammed the barrier with his baton about an inch away from my elbow. I then stared shocked and put my hands up as he jammed his baton across my mid section dropping me to the ground. From the ground I looked up only to find another officer slamming his baton onto the the previously broken arm of an Arab American boy.

The Police were swinging batons excessively knocking down only who appeared to be of Arab descent to the ground. About ten Arab American youth were brutally attacked by police as they screamed “back up” while they surrounded the crowd of activist by a mob of officers turning the screaming, angry and fearful crowd into an enclave of police brutality. The police officers pushed the barriers hard and fast jamming them into the stomachs of the youth at the front lines. Police arrested three and about an hour later sealed the entrances of the Civic Center Bart Station detaining six young Arab American men lining them up against a wall and later arresting them. Several youth went home injured or to the hospital in ambulances.

The Arab American community in the Bay Area is deeply saddened by this incident and is steadfast on holding those accountable for police brutality against innocent civilians. However before we can embark on this pursuit of justice, it is our responsibility to protect the civil rights of our youth and make them feel supported and understand the value of community power.

The youth are in jail right now and we need to post $250,000 to release them. The money will be put up as a bond so can therefore be returned to you. We are asking for every Arab American in the San Francisco Bay Area community to contribute at least what they would for their own children. As we chanted in the demonstration today “aint no power like the power of the youth because of the power of the youth don’t stop” We are asking for you to believe in your community and support our youth in a much needed time.

To loan these youth some money please contact Tev at 774-240-3403. We are trying to release them from jail this evening or tomorrow at the latest.

BY Loubna Qutami

here is a second email i received today about what you can do to help:

Below is a call for support, asking folks to call the SFPD, etc, asking for the release of the folks arrested on Saturday and the dropping of the insanely high bails being requested.

IMMEDIATE ACTION ALERT

Hi my name is ____________________________

I am calling about the arrests of:

Mustafa Albouyha

Elizabeth Haskell

Mohammed Ibrahim

Nadeen Elshorafa

These individuals were wrongfully arrested while participating in a legal, peaceful march yesterday. We are demanding that the charges be dropped immediately and that they be released to their families.

Make your call immediately to all of the following

SFPD Public Affairs

(415) 553-1651 (ph)

(415) 553-9229 (fax)

sfpd.online [at] sfgov.org

SF District Attorney

Bureau of Investigation: (415) 553-1030

Public Inquiries:

Erica Terry Derryck (415) 553-1167

Connie Chang (415) 553-9108

Mayor

(415) 554-6141

gavin.newsom [at] sfgov.org

witnesses/witnessing gaza

al jazeera english’ program “witness” has been running some great short documentaries over the past few weeks, some old, some new, that help to tell many stories about gaza before the latest onslaught of aggression from israeli terrorists. here is one of those documentaries. broken dreams of gaza is a film shot between 2005-2009 by miriam shahin and focuses on a variety of different palestinians in gaza, including a female rowing team.

but in gaza it is not just dreams that have been broken. israeli terrorists work very hard to break people, too, as when they torture palestinian political prisoners:

This morning seven Israeli human rights organizations appealed to the Military Judge Advocate General, Brigadier General Avichai Mandelblit, and to Attorney General Meni Mazuz concerning the appalling conditions in which Palestinians arrested during the fighting in Gaza were held, and the humiliating and inhuman treatment to which they were subjected from the time of their arrest until their transfer to the custody of the Israel Prison Service.

The complaint, written by Attorneys Bana Shoughry-Badarne, from the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Lila Margalit, from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Abeer Jubran-Dakuar, from Hamoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, was submitted on behalf of those organizations and on behalf of Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, B’Tselem, Yesh Din and Adalah. It is based on statements collected from detainees by lawyers from the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, as well as on testimony given to Hamoked: the Center for the Defense of the Individual.

The evidence described in the letter provides a shocking portrayal of the harsh, inhuman and degrading conditions in which Palestinian prisoners were held during the initial days of their incarceration. The reports indicate, among other things, that many detainees — minors as well as adults — were held for many hours — sometimes for days — in pits dug in the ground, exposed to bitter cold and harsh weather, handcuffed and blindfolded. These pits lacked basic sanitary facilities which would have allowed the detainees appropriate toilet facilities, while food and shelter, when provided, were limited, and the detainees went hungry. More seriously, some of the detainees were held near tanks and in combat areas, in gross violation of international humanitarian law which prohibits holding prisoners and captives in areas exposed to danger.

or the continued assault on gaza that is raising the toll of the dead and wounded palestinians:

Nine Palestinians, most of them children were wounded when an Israeli warplane fired a missile aimed at two Palestinian fighters in the city of Khan Younis, in Southern Gaza on Thursday morning.

Witnesses said that the strike was aimed at two An-Nasser Brigades gunmen who were on a motorcycle in front of the Nasser Hospital. Eight young students were injured and were taken inside the hospital for treatment. Medics said some of the eight are seriously injured, and others moderately. The Israeli military has not yet confirmed the report.

The attacks, along with an overnight airstrike, are the most severe Israeli actions in Gaza since a unilateral ceasefire was declared nearly two weeks ago.

Also on Thursday a Health Ministry official said that the corpse of a woman from the Abu Sultan family returned from Egypt after doctors failed to save her life. Muawiya Hassanein, the director of Ambulance and Emergency services in the Palestinian Health Ministry said that the overall death toll from Israel’s war on Gaza has climbed to 1,355.

and it is not just people, but animals too, animals that are part of palestinians’ livelihood in gaza as sameh habeeb reports:

On 5 January, many Israeli tanks, troops and bulldozers advanced into the al-Zeitoun neighborhood south east of Gaza City. In this area, called al-Samouni, Israel killed 49 members of the Samouni family, after soldiers ordered them to gather into a single home, which was shelled several hours later.

A number of chicken farms are located only a few meters away from the Samouni house. These farms came under fire by Israeli forces and were totally bulldozed. Thousands of chickens were caught in their sheds, as the bulldozing destroyed their cages. Some died immediately, others slowly without food or water for four days.

Abu Ahmed al-Sawafari, an owner of a chicken farms owners, was sitting amidst the rubble of his destroyed farm. He explained that “I have been working on that profession for long years. I have been growing my business by all efforts. Israelis came then left causing an earthquake in the area. They have killed these chickens, they are equal to human souls. They were suffocated and died due to hunger. I wonder why the Israelis killed these chickens? Were they firing rockets into Israel?”

eva bartlett who has been detailing the lives of so many palestinians in gaza has a powerful, long article on electronic intifada sharing many people’s stories of living under terror. she shares some of the stories and photographs of what people found when they returned to their homes, including this assessment from amnesty international:

Amnesty International sent a fact-finding team to Gaza following the Israeli attacks. Chris Cobb-Smith, also a military expert and an officer in the British army for almost 20 years, said “Gazans have had their houses looted, vandalized and desecrated. As well, the Israeli soldiers have left behind not only mounds of litter and excrement but ammunition and other military equipment. It’s not the behavior one would expect from a professional army.”

And that was just one family’s story.

amnesty international has a petition on their site that you can sign to call for an impartial (read: one not done by israeli terrorists who committed the crimes) investigation:

Given the recent ceasefire by both Israel and Hamas, the level of devastation experienced by the civilians in Gaza is becoming apparent with evidence that there have been both war crimes and crimes against humanity. Amnesty International is calling for an impartial international investigation into offenses by all parties to the conflict and urges the US to support this measure so that those responsible might be held accountable.

and there is much work to be done by impartial investigators, including further research on israeli terrorists’ using palestinians as human shields:

After yet another fierce, 45-minute gun battle, Majdi Abed Rabbo was ordered once again to negotiate his perilous way across the already badly-damaged roof of his house, through the jagged gap in the wall and slowly down the stairs towards the first-floor apartment in the rubble-strewn house next door. Not knowing if the men were dead or alive, he shouted for the second time that day: “I’m Majdi. Don’t be afraid.”

All three men – with Kalashnikov AK-47 rifles, wearing camouflage and headbands bearing the insignia of the Izzedine el Qassam brigades – were still alive, though one was badly injured and persuaded Mr Abed Rabbo to tighten the improvised bandage round his right arm. The youngest – perhaps 21 – was taking cover behind fallen masonry from where he could see the Israeli troops who had sent the visitor. Nervously, Mr Abed Rabbo told them: “They sent me back so I can take your weapons. They told me you are dead.” It was the youngest who replied defiantly: “Tell the officer, ‘If you’re a man come up here’.”

When the soldiers had arrived at about 10am, Mr Abed Rabbo, 40, had no inkling that over the next 24 hours he would make four heart-stopping trips, shuttling across increasingly dangerous terrain between the Israeli forces and the three besieged but determined Hamas militants who had become his unwelcome next-door neighbours. He would recall every detail of an episode which, in the telling, resembles the more melodramatic kind of war movie, but which was all too real for a man who by the end had lost his house and thought (wrongly) that his wife and children were dead. He had also witnessed at too close quarters the last stand of the men from the Qassam brigades in the face of relentless Israeli ground attacks and Apache helicopter fire.

these are just some of the more recent narratives from the survivors. there will be more. and what stories get told, how they get told, if they get told, and what language is used to tell them is all political. (if you’re in the u.s. it’s all relatively nonexistent). mark steel’s excellent op ed in the independent the other day shows how political it is and indeed how partial media outlets like the bbc and sky news are:

THE BBC is right. If they broadcast that appeal for aid to be sent to Gaza it would be taking sides. The Israeli Defence force could legitimately say “We’ve gone to enormous lengths to kill people, then you go and help keep them alive. How do you square that with your remit to be neutral?”

So the BBC needs to look at other areas in which its ‘impartiality’ could be called into question. To start with they’ll have to scrap Crimewatch, which clearly takes the side of the murdered against the murderers. Maybe they could get round this by having a new balanced Crimewatch, in which the police plea for witnesses to a crime, but then the presenter says, “Next tonight – have you seen this man? Because Big Teddy and his gang are desperate to track him down and do him in for ringing us up earlier. So if you have any information please call us, where Nobby the Knife is ready to talk to you in complete confidence.”

It’s impossible to be entirely neutral about anything, especially an appeal for money. Appeals are made for injured veterans of World War II, but I don’t suppose they’d take them off air if they got a letter saying, “Dear BBC, I’m a Nazi war criminal but I pay my liscence fee just like everyone else, and as such I was appalled by the biased images of the Battle of Normandy used to promote your financial appeal. There are two sides to every story, and I thought you had a promise to be impartial. So come on BBC, us Kommandants watch tv as well!”

Appeals have been made for victims of wars in the Congo, Darfur and Bosnia, keeping people alive and thereby undermining the efforts of the armies who tried to wipe them out. But if the current stance carries on, if anyone feels their block of flats collapsing they’ll think, “I hope this is an earthquake and not an invading army or we won’t get a penny via the BBC.”

reflecting on the bbc’s immoral decision as well, robert fisk offers us parallel contexts in afghanistan and iraq to consider:

Then there was Afghanistan and all that “collateral damage” and whole villages wiped out and then there was Iraq in 2003 and the tens of thousands – or half a million or a million – Iraqi civilians killed. Once more, at the very start, we were back to our old tricks, bombing bridges and radio stations and at least one civilian estate in Baghdad where “we” believed Saddam was hiding. We knew it was packed with civilians (Christians, by chance) but the Americans called it a “high risk” operation – meaning that they risked not hitting Saddam – and 22 civilians were killed. I saw the last body, that of a baby, dug from the rubble.

And we don’t seem to care. We fight in Iraq and now we’re going back to fight in Afghanistan again and all the human rights and protections appear to have vanished once more. We will destroy villages and we will find that the Afghans hate us and we will form more criminal militias – as we did in Iraq – to fight for us. The Israelis organised a similar militia in their occupation zone in southern Lebanon, run by a crackpot Lebanese army major. But now their own troops “go wild”. And the BBC is worried about its “impartiality”?

it is not just impartiality that we should be concerned about. it is also a complete fabrication of reality due to the fact that lazy journalists continue to merely take israeli terrorist propaganda as fact and don’t bother to investigate for themselves. the tunnels in rafah, for example, is a perfect example. these are almost always characterized as tunnels for smuggling weapons in the west. while i’m sure they are used for that, too, and hope that this will continue, these tunnels are also used to bring in much needed items for palestinians basic living needs. al jazeera’s mike kirsch went down into the tunnels to report on them and show what they look like and how they are used:

nathalie abou shakra who has been writing really compelling reports from gaza added an important addendum to her writing about the language that gets used to describe the kind of work she does, which i think is crucial:

I extremely despise it when someone categorizes me as a journalist, or as a “humanitarian activist”… I am neither. My activism is political and social… radical. Please do not call me humanitarian. We live in the midst of the era of human rights production and matters of the sort. We witness humanitarian international law being broken daily… do you think we want to be labeled as “humanitarian”? No! My role, our role, is greater than that… much greater than that… we are a revolution, we support an armed struggle and an armed resistance for liberation… Fanonians par excellence… Hasta la Victoria Siempre! Free Palestine! Down with totalitarian Arab regimes, down with colonialism, imperialism, occupation and oppression! No negotiations are allowed after massacres, genocides and schemes of ethnic cleansing… the vocabulary and diction used in such times are extremely important…

it is political and it is global as abou shakra makes clear. just look at the connections fidel castro drew in his speech yesterday:

Fidel Castro, the former Cuban president, has attacked Barack Obama, the US president, accusing him of supporting “Israeli genocide” against the Palestinians.

Castro, who had recently praised Obama as “honest” and “noble”, said in a column posted on a government website that Obama was continuing the policies of George Bush, his predecessor, by supporting Israel.

The former Cuban leader, who was succeeded by his brother Raul as president in February, accused the US of having enabled Israel to become an “important nuclear power”.

He also accused the US of giving Israel military aid with which it “threatens extreme violence against the population of all the Muslim countries”.

Castro highlighted statements made by the Obama administration that reiterated its strong support for Israel, which recently carried out a 22-day assault on Gaza in which more than 1,300 Palestinians were killed.

Obama has repeatedly reiterated his strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks by Palestinian fighters.

Fidel Castro also criticised Obama for suggesting Cuba would have to make concessions before it considers returning the territory of the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay.

“Maintaining a military base in Cuba against the will of the people violates the most elemental principles of international law,” Castro said.

indeed. imperialism emanating from the united states runs far and wide. and here is yet another analysis of the closing of guantánamo and what it really represents by ian thompson:

Closing Guantánamo is designed to rehabilitate the global image of the U.S. government, which has become synonymous with torture and extreme racism. Obama went out of his way to avoid looking like he was challenging the military that ran the prison. At the announcement ceremony, he surrounded himself with 16 retired generals and admirals who have pushed for the closure of Guantánamo prison on the premise that it impedes the prosecution of the “War on Terror”—a slogan masking the true goals of the war drive in the Middle East and Central Asia. The new administration could close Guantánamo today if it wanted. As it stands, the closure of Guantánamo will do little to reverse to reverse Bush’s “War on Terror” policies. A prison that once held over 600 “enemy combatants,” mostly from the Middle East, now only holds 245. These remaining prisoners likely will be sent somewhere else for detention. The vast majority have no charges pending against them.

The same is true about the Democratic administration’s superficial engagement with the Middle East. On his first full day in the Oval Office, Obama called U.S.-puppet leaders King Abdullah in Jordan and President Mubarak in Egypt, along with pro-imperialist Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The new White House team did this to show their commitment to “peace” in the region.

Yet, the White House did not call the leaders of Hamas in Palestine, or the leaders of Iran or Hezbollah in Lebanon. Why contact leaders either guilty of or complicit with the commission of heinous war crimes and not the victims and their allies?

The engagement with pro-imperialist leaders in the Middle East is a way to show U.S. support for their corrupt regimes in the wake of Israel’s war of aggression on the Palestinians in Gaza. Abdullah and Mubarak, both deeply unpopular throughout the Arab world for their collusion with U.S./Israeli war crimes, are shaky and fear being overthrown. Abbas has lost the little credibility he once had. And Olmert heads the Israeli state, which is fully funded and backed by the U.S. capitalist class. For Washington, “peace” in the Middle East means supplication to U.S. domination.

it is this sort of global, anti-imperialist analysis that must be at the forefront of any liberation movement regardless where it is located. students in canada, and it seems now in the united states, are planning israeli apartheid week 2009. here is a video from last year’s campaign in canada and i hope many american students will mobilize to spread this around. here is a video from last year’s talks in canada that shows the global nature of this campaign. listen to salim vally, a south african professor, ward churchill, an indgenous american professor, who make it clear how this struggle for palestinian liberation is connected to global struggles between the rulers and the ruled:

on gaza withdrawal and other ramblings

israeli terrorists in hamra, palestine
israeli terrorists in hamra, palestine

i finally arrived back home in nablus yesterday, but jawal and palnet have been having tons of problems so my access to the internet has been minimal. both were down all day yesterday and today just palnet has been down. it’s finally back up again. as usual i am amazed that i was able to get back in. when rania took me to the airport in beirut she was complaining about how heavy my bags were because i had so many books. i didn’t need all those books during the break, but i always pack a lot so i have some work i can do in case i don’t get back in. and, as usual, it is my books that are the problem when i enter. i used the sheikh hussein bridge in the north again because it’s closer to my house and it’s easier to use. but it’s also scarier because it’s relatively empty. this time i crossed with two palestinians. we waited together for an hour on the jordanian side and then they sailed right through after we crossed. i got my luggage searched and questioned again. i was worried about the t-shirts i brought back from beirut as gifts, all of which were packed turned inside out so they couldn’t see hanzala with a gun saying “الله معك يا غزة كلنا معك يا غزة.” but they didn’t do a thorough search of my clothes. actually, they didn’t do a thorough search of anything other than my books. again i had a series of questions about why i have so many books. clearly they couldn’t read arabic because they would have noticed that a huge stack of the books came from lebanon. and they were especially interested in my book war on lebanon about the 2006 invasion. it seemed like they were reading it, and especially focusing on the notes i’d written in the margins. matthew had told me i should leave my second passport in amman, but i realized i can’t because it is the one i use to arrive in jordan and therefore i cannot leave the country without it. but they never seem to find my other passport, my lebanese money or sim card when searching through my things. and during the questioning what was especially interesting is that the usual list of countries they want to know if you’ve traveled to has been expanded. normally they just ask if you’ve been to syria, lebanon, or iran (a.k.a: israeli terrorists’ axis of evil). but yesterday they also asked me about afghanistan, pakistan, iraq, and yemen.

han2

i made it through and my taxi from nasra was waiting to take me to my taxi from nablus at the checkpoint near the “green line.” as we drove through bisan an israeli terrorist military plane was flying ahead–not an f-16, but one that carries their terrorists on board. it was heading towards jordan, flying low. abu nidal, the driver, told me that this happens a lot because they collaborate with the jordanian military. we finally arrived at my second taxi; zuheir was waiting for me with a palestinian farmer by the side of the road drinking tea. abu nidal and i joined them for a bit before saying goodbye. and then zuheir and i were on our way. normally the drive back to nablus is beautiful and scenic. but i noticed something different as i reached closer to nablus. there is a village called hamra where there is an israeli terrorist military base. of course i have seen this base before but i didn’t notice how the farmland changed around it. for miles and miles around it. i noticed it yesterday because i saw a bunch of israeli terrorist tents put up with their terrorist flag on top. apparently they were running training camps on this palestinian farmland. or what used to be this farmland. i wasn’t quick enough with my camera so i didn’t get a picture, but a few more miles down the road i did manage to catch a shot of israeli terrorists terrorizing a shepherd and his sheep. apparently not only is planting food forbidden on this palestinian land, but so is walking with your flock. ahlan was ahlan.

i came home and had to get my syllabi together and organize things for school today. i spent all night writing syllabi and did so with a different emphasis. i’ve framed them this time with much greater emphasis on education as a tool of resistance and many of the films and literary texts i’m using will emphasize that theme. i’m hoping that it will inspire them to organize. sharif reminded me of the need for doing this, and especially for unlearning internalized colonialism. i’ll be teaching writers like ngũgĩ wa thiong’o, steven biko, and frantz fanon to help with that process. i’m quite happy with the syllabi i’ve produced, though i wish i could teach more texts; the weak language skills mean i have to teach about 1/8 of what i normally do in a literature class.

i took a break to meet up with a friend for lunch in the cafeteria. there are very few students on campus now because it is add/drop week. so it was relatively empty. my friend, who is also a colleague, filled me in on what i’d missed over the last week or so. how the palestinian authority (pa) has been brutal, especially with respect to arresting palestinians protesting, arresting hamas. we were trying to figure out how to plan the next stage of the boycott campaign and connect it to gaza. apparently, in the last few weeks various women’s groups in nablus have picked up on our campaign and have been very active in spreading the word. this, of course, is good. but he also remarked that if this were the first intifada things would be totally different. we would be able to go into shops and force people to stop selling israeli terrorist products. but now that the pa is doing the bidding for the israeli terrorists we can’t. it is really sad how the young men who work for the pa police are recruited in a way that they think they are serving their people; if it were the first intifada they would be in the streets with the people, not against them.

buttonwarcriminals

of course being the token american around here friends who work in the cafeteria today were asking about obama. they still think that he will bring hope and change all the way to palestine. they were asking me about his middle name being “hussein.” somehow they think that because his father was a muslim that he will treat muslims better. and i asked them: does king abdullah (take your pick saudi or jordanian) or mubarak treat muslims well? of course not–especially if they are palestinian. but it is so sad that people here are looking for any little glimpse of hope. i so wish people felt untied and empowered enough to see that the white man (even if he appears to be black) will never liberate anyone. liberation always is taken by those who seek to be liberated. it is never the other way around. it is hard for people to understand that the entirety of the u.s. government is the same on most issues, but especially on palestine i wish that those who write about the reality of what obama is all about wrote in arabic language newspapers. glen ford is one of those writers who is always a voice of conscience. his article in the black agenda report this week on the singular lack of conscience among the congressional black caucus is an important article to read:

Could it be that Los Angeles Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Milwaukee’s Gwen Moore are the only Black Caucus members who remember that Israel was racist South Africa’s closest ally, the apartheid regime’s hi-tech weapons quartermaster and godfather to its nuclear bomb project? Do the seven members that voted “present” – Donna Edwards (MD), Keith Ellison (MN), Hank Johnson (GA), Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI), Barbara Lee (CA), Donald Payne (NJ), Diane Watson (CA) – believe that by refusing to take a position on Israeli crimes against humanity in Gaza, they somehow salvage the Caucus’s claim to be the “conscience of the Congress?”

Where has John Conyers’ conscience disappeared to? In July of 2006, when the House passed an equally noxious Resolution in support of Israel’s systematic destruction of Lebanon’s infrastructure, killing over 1,000 people and displacing one million, Conyers and fellow Detroiter Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick were the solitary CBC members to vote “Nay.” (Oakland’s Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters voted “present.”) Then came the Democratic victory in the midterm congressional elections and Conyers’ chance to become chairman of the Judiciary Committee – at Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s pleasure. Conyers picked a fight with Jimmy Carter over the former president’s book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Conyers objected to Carter’s use of the term “apartheid” in the book’s title, saying it “does not serve the cause of peace, and the use of it against the Jewish people in particular, who have been victims of the worst kind of discrimination, discrimination resulting in death, is offensive and wrong.” Translation: Not just Israel, but Jews are off limits to criticism.

qui qui on kabobfest, who has been on a roll lately with brilliantly sarcastic and smart pieces of late posted ford’s article and wonders:

When you’re Black and a politician, you’re probably no longer Black

ford’s article is in the context of martin luther king, jr.’s birthday this week and he noted the shameful way in which these members of congress do not honor his legacy with their voting behavior. here is an example of the sort of massacre they are supporting with those votes: the kind that is deliberate as with the man, khaled, in the al jazeera clip below in which sherene tadros interviews this man who fled his home, upon being ordered to do so by israeli terrorists, only to then have his children shot on their way out. (we’ve seen this before. this is all too common in palestine.)

the congressional black caucus, like the rest of congress, also voted for complete and utter destruction as mike hanna reports for al jazeera. here, too, we see fields that look like hamra in the photograph i took above. these are fields that used to have food: oranges. and also a cemetery. all of this was leveled in the last 24 hours as the israeli terrorists withdrew:

i use the word “withdrew,” but it is not really accurate. supposedly the israeli terrorists withdrew from gaza today. and perhaps they did technically. but as ayman mohyeldin reported on al jazeera their presence is still quite pronounced:

But Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Gaza City, said: “We can still see Israeli naval vessels still very much in territorial waters, and [they] have been heard firing through the course of the morning.”

“It’s important to remember that it is difficult for eyewitnesses to confirm [the withdrawal],” Mohyeldin said.

“There is a 600-metre buffer zone which the Israeli army uses as a no-go, meaning that anyone who owns farmland in the area and tries to access it is often fired upon to try to deter them from approaching any closer.”

said abdulwahed confirms that the withdrawal was not really a withdrawal:

It was an irony; they said the invasion was over; the Israeli tanks pulled back from their positions. I said, the invasion is not over yet. The invaders are still inside Gaza Strip. Redeployment does not mean withdrawal! Three summits followed to decide! Decide on what? I am not talking politics in this context, rather I am talking humanitarian! My major concern is the civilian casualties and human loses! Unfortunately, no one king, president, emir, or sultan, or country’s delegation dared mentioning Israel’s violation of human rights; their use of white phosphorous bombs indiscriminately against civilians and residential buildings was “not seen”!

and mustafa barghouti aptly described what this “withdrawal” really means for palestinians living in gaza:

“It is not a withdrawal” said the Doctor from his office in Ramallah, “It is simply the redeployment of soldiers. They maintain control of the land, sea and air of the Gaza Strip and are still continuing the policy of siege and starvation as a collective punishment upon the tortured civilians of Gaza.”

“Their drones are still flying over head, their tanks are still sealing our border crossings, and their warships sit off of our coast preventing vital aid from reaching the crisis and Palestinian fishermen from trying to get food of their own. Israel’s ’withdrawal’ is similar to the ploy of ’disengagement’ in 2005. They will remain the occupier and use these staged events as a means of prolonging the occupation of the Palestinian Territories.”

and while the israeli terrorists may or may not have “withdrawn,” their wrath continues to affect palestinians in gaza as the death toll continues to rise:

Gaza’s death toll rose to 1,323 on Wednesday as three wounded Palestinians succumbed to their wounds, the de facto Health Ministry said.

According to Mu’awiya Hassanein, the director of the ministry’s Ambulance and Emergency Services Department, the number of injured exceeds 5,450.

Additionally, the corpses of two elderly women were identified as 90-year-old Kamila Al-Attar and 62-year-old Halima Siyam. Their bodies were found under rubble in Gaza City late Tuesday night.

The three Palestinians who died of complications from injuries sustained in the assault were identified as Muhammad Abu Sweirih, who died at an Egyptian hospital, Imad Miqdad, who died at Khan Younis Hospital, and Muhammad Madi, who died at Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Earlier on Tuesday, Palestinian medical sources announced that a farmer, 20-year-old Nasr Salih Nasr, was shot dead by Israeli gunfire.

Before that, two Palestinian children were killed by explosives left behind by Israeli forces in Gaza. They were identified as 10-year-old Abdullah Hassanain and his sister, 11-year-old Shurouq.

but as the israeli terrorists shift from one kind of terrorism–all out visible war that can be seen live on television–to the more quiet kind of daily siege accompanied by drones flying overhead and ships shooting from the seashore, palestinians and witnesses, who have finally been allowed inside, are beginning to get a sense of the scale of the massacre. omar sent me an email with photographs the other day from the white phosphorous that destroyed one of the unrwa schools where palestinians were seeking refuge. here are some of the photographs, the rest can be viewed at electronic intifada:

On 17 January 2009, Israeli forces bombed a school run by the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip. Around 1,600 Palestinians from the northern Gaza Strip, mostly families including young children, sought refuge at the school to escape Israeli air strikes that were targeting homes in densely populated areas. At least two children were killed in the attack and another dozen wounded by the white phosphorus bombs fired at the school.

The bombing was not an isolated incident of Israel targeting UN institutions and personnel since it launched a military siege against the Gaza Strip on 27 December 2008. At least 43 civilians were massacred on 6 January as they took shelter at the al-Fakhoura school in Jabaliya refugee camp. UN personnel have been shot and killed as they attempted to conduct relief operations in the Gaza Strip. Tons of desperately needed aid were destroyed on 15 January when Israeli forces shelled the UNRWA warehouse in Gaza City with what is suspected to be white phosphorous.

The below images were taken by UNRWA photographer Iyad El-Baba.

MIDEAST-ISRAEL-GAZA-CONFLICT-UN

MIDEAST-ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN-CONFLICT-GAZA

AK00000001

MIDEAST-ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN-CONFLICT-GAZA

sameh habeeb wrote a beautiful piece on electronic intifada in which he first wonders about which ware crime he should write about; there are too many and it is overwhelming. he wrote about the story of louay whose brother was murdered and who was blinded when his father’s car was bombed:

About a week ago Louay and his family fled their house in Beit Lahiya town in northern Gaza. They were under heavy Israeli artillery fire as the Israeli army invaded the area at the outset of Israeli ground military operation. Sorrowfully, Louay started to narrate what he witnessed:

“Israeli shells started to rain down beside my house in northern Gaza. Rockets started to get closer to my house and many people were killed. My house got some shrapnel and part of rockets. Then, my grandmother and my family fled to Jabaliya where we sheltered in one of the [Untied Nations] schools. We stayed for three days where it was very very cold. When we fled our house in the night we didn’t bring any luggage or clothes or food. My father, brother and other family members decided to go back to our house in the north to bring some clothes and food. We went early in the morning by car then all of a sudden people beside our car started to run left and right. I heard explosions and I felt as if I were flying in the sky. And I found myself in the hospital.”

The Israeli bombing of Louay’s father’s car killed one of his brothers and injured others. The shocking fact is that Louay still doesn’t know is that he lost his eyesight completely. He will never be able to see the light again! His grandmother was beside him trying to make him feel better. He still doesn’t know that his brother was killed.

louay
louay

and because israeli terrorists seem to thrive on pouring salt into wounds those families who have been able to return to homes that are not completely destroyed, they found racist graffiti on the walls:

They left behind their own unique detritus: bullet casings, roasted peanuts in tins with Hebrew script, a plastic bag containing a “High Quality Body Warmer”, dozens of olive-green waste disposal bags, some empty, some stinking full – the troops’ portable toilets.

But most disturbing of all was the graffiti they daubed on the walls of the ground floor. Some was in Hebrew, but much was naively written in English: “Arabs need 2 die”, “Die you all”, “Make war not peace”, “1 is down, 999,999 to go”, and scrawled on an image of a gravestone the words: “Arabs 1948-2009”.

There were several sketches of the Star of David flag. “Gaza here we are,” it said in English next to one.

and of course the siege wages on in other ways in the form of kidnapping palestinians and warehousing them in israeli terrorist jails:

At least 250 Gazans were detained by Israeli troops during the Gaza invasion, said member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Issa Karake on Tuesday.

The men are being held in the Negev prison, living in tents and being constantly beaten and attacked, said Karake. Several need hospital treatment, which they are being denied and many are also being used by the Israeli intelligence units as information sources and are interrogated for hours.

The Gazans have been isolated and not permitted to interact with prisoners from the West Bank or East Jerusalem. Karake called on the Red Cross to visit the detainees and verify his story, then put pressure on Israel to release the men immediately.

The men are very worried about their families, Karake said, adding that they would like to go home and make sure their loved ones are alright.

for all of these reasons, and so many more, amnesty international has released a report detailing israeli terrorist war crimes. one of the members of the amnesty team investigating had this to say about what gaza looks like now:

In a post on Amnesty International’s Livewire blog, the team described how “previously busy neighbourhoods have been flattened into moonscapes,” and “how there is no camera lens wide enough to embrace the sheer dimensions of the devastation.

and there is now movement afoot trying to get an international war crimes tribunal to try those israeli terrorist leaders for the role in this brutal massacre.

amira hass reporting on the devastation affecting a particular family notes that whether or not a weapon is legal doesn’t make the murder acceptable, which is one problem i have with some of these movements to stop particular weapons of mass destruction while allowing others. you can see this in the campaigns already focusing on white phosphorous. while this is horrendous it is no less horrendous than the rest of the mass murder the israeli terrorists inflicted upon the palestinians of gaza, but she also makes this important point:

Soldiers do not act in a void. They have commanders and there is esprit de corps, which enabled this, just as it enabled IDF mortars to land on UNRWA schools. The IDF is the people’s army. The people, an overwhelming majority of it, drank in the argumentations for these acts eagerly and supported them. Israel is a democracy. So Kassab and Ibrahim were killed legally.

there is so much more i want to say, so many more war crimes i want people to know about, but i must sleep for a few hours before running off to school. please sign the petition above demanding a war crimes tribunal. we need change, but that change will only come from us taking that change back.

it’s not rocket science: stop the f*&#$)@ bombing of gaza

carlos latuff
carlos latuff

i think that it is a miracle that people in lebanon and palestine are not entirely psychotic having to deal with the deja-vu of israeli terrorist aggression again and again and again. i’m reading, watching july war 2006 all over again. once again the world–with far louder cries and screams from the streets now compared to then–demands that israeli terrorists stop their aggression. the united nations general assembly passed a meaningless resolution–except that it express the will of the world–and the motherf*&#^@! israeli terrorists whine and complain that the world is ganging up on them. yes, and your problem with that is? as well they should. but no one can do anything but express themselves through language, documents. and then no change. and once again they ignore united nations resolutions. once again they massacre with impunity, without any care for international law. okay, you say, that is normal this is how israeli terrorists behave, this is the very definition of the racist ideology of zionism.

but still: why am i having to hear on the news again and again and again about israeli terrorists meeting to decide on a “unilateral cease-fire.” what does that even mean?: “unilateral cease-fire”? here’s a novel idea: STOP THE F*&#$)@ BOMBING. that is how you create a cease-fire. the details don’t matter. we know that israeli terrorists will continue to invade and bomb at their will so whatever the document says does not really matter. just look at tzipi livni and condoleeza rice today in washington signing away agreements about the rafah border and palestinians’ access to weapons. i have news for you: palestinians working to liberate palestine will always find a way to get weapons. and thank god for that. but still the bombing rages on. i just saw sameh on al jazeera and he made it very clear that they are not stopping: they are increasing the bombing (anyone recall how israeli terrorists littered south lebanon with cluster bombs in the last 72 hours of its war on lebanon? okay, now it is white phosphorous, but same difference. same trauma.

naming gaza’s martyrs, counting israeli terrorist war crimes one-by-one

exhaustion is too intense for me to write much, but i cannot go to sleep without saying something about gaza today. gaza–the palestinians living in gaza, whom i was thinking about all day. much to say about that in the morning so i can think clearly and type accurately. but for now just a quick update on the latest news:

Since midnight on Saturday morning Israeli fire killed 33 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on the 15th day of the Israeli offensive in Gaza. Most were civilians killed in or near their homes.

According to Mu’awiyah Hassanain, the director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Palestinian Health Ministry, another 18 corpses were recovered in various locations of the Gaza Strip, raising the overall death toll to 854.

The vast majority of deaths from Saturday were in the northern areas of the Gaza Strip, in the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City and Jabaliya to the north.

In southern Gaza Israeli strikes targeted factories and industrial buildings, while homes were left relatively safe.

Medical officials put the overall toll in Gaza at 821 killed and more than 3500 injured.

sameh habeeb has his daily update posted from gaza city where you can get a play-by-play of what happened today, but also here is an overview:

Most of the Gaza Strip plunges into deep darkness since the start of this war. I find several hardships to send out this report due to power problem. Today, a rocket targeted my uncle’s house. My house got several splinters and rocket shrapnel. Thanks to God, we all safe but I don’t know what will happen next. I live east of Gaza, Toffah area, were artillery shells rained down every single moment.

This is a new report for the 15th day of Gaza War and the outcomes of Israeli invasion. For more reporting, breaking news, interviews and accounts in Gaza, you could reach me on my contact info below. Please try both numbers below because there is a big problem in communication resulted in Israeli power cuts.

090109-el-haddad

in electronic intifada laila el haddad wrote about the new leaflets israeli terrorists dropped all across the gaza strip today indicating that the bombing and siege is about to be escalated:

My father today said more flyers were dropped in a bid to intimidate and terrorize an already bludgeoned, starved, and terrified population.

“To residents of the area,” read the flyer, which my father scanned and emailed me.

“Due to the terrorist activity that terrorist elements are carrying out from your residential area against the State of Israel, the Israel Defense Force has been forced to respond immediately and operate in your residential area … you are ordered to leave the area immediately.”

Taghreed received a copy too, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood occupying army.

“They are dropping them everywhere — and everyone thinks it’s their area being targeted, but in reality, no one knows. And even if they were to leave, where do they go to? To another area where flyers were dropped and where bombs are falling? It’s a tactic to induce terror and intimidation,” my father told me.

meanwhile children continue to be the most besieged population not only because israeli terrorists are targeting children (230 out of 854 palestinians murdered by israeli terrorists are children), but also due to the repercussions related to the mass murder orphaning palestinian children:

here is the most recent report from al mezan about israeli terrorist crimes, including more names of the martyrs, which continue to go unpunished by the world, but not by the resistance:

The following sections provide accounts of the consequences of IOF’s attacks on the Gaza Strip’s five districts between 1pm on 8 January 2009 and 2:30pm today, 10 January 2009.

1. North Gaza District:

The IOF fired at several targets during the unilaterally declared ceasefire. At 2:35pm on Thursday 8 January 2009 Israeli troops opened machine gun fire at houses in the al-Bora neighborhood, east of Beit Hanoun, killing a civilian inside his house. He was identified as 42-year-old Jamal Ahmed Nashwan. Earlier, at 1:40pm on the same day, Israeli troops opened fire at a convoy encompassing two UN armored vehicles and an ambulance. The convoy was on its way to recover the body of a maintenance worker for UNRWA [the UN agency for Palestine refugees], whom the IOF had killed inside his house four days ago. The convoy, which had international staff in it, could not recover the victim, who was identified as Samir Rashid Mohammed.

At approximately 3:40pm on Thursday 8 January 2009 medical teams recovered the bodies of four civilians who had been killed in Israeli shelling of the al-Atatra neighborhood, southwestern Beit Lahia. Medical sources said that the victims had been killed many days ago and their bodies had started to decompose. Three of them, all children, were identified as:

* One-and-a-half-year-old girl Shahd Abu Halemeh (her body was completely burnt);
* 17-year-old Mohammed Hekmat Abu Halemeh; and
* 17-year-old Matar Sadallah Abu Halemeh.

At approximately 3:45pm, during the ceasefire it had announced, IOF fired an artillery shell that landed near homes in eastern Jabaliya. No injuries or casualties were reported.

At approximately 5:15pm, also Thursday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Yousef al-Qarra in Ezbet Abed-Rabu, eastern Jabaliya, and destroyed it completely. No casualties or injuries were reported.

At approximately 9:05pm Thursday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Msallam Abu Selah, which is located in Jabaliya refugee camp, destroying it and three neighboring houses completely. Ten minutes later, IOF fired artillery shells towards homes in eastern Jabaliya.

At approximately 9:40pm Thursday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Ahmad al-Batsh, located near Jabaliya’s eastern cemetery, destroying the three-story house completely, causing damage to three neighboring houses and injuring three people.

At approximately 10:10pm Thursday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Ziyad al-Masri, located to the west of Beit Lahia’s cemetery, destroying it. An Israeli drone had fired a warning missile at the house a few minutes earlier.
At approximately 10:30pm Thursday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Salih al-Batsh in the middle of Jabaliya town, destroying the two-story house, damaging three other houses and injuring two people.

At approximately 11pm, also Thursday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Abdul-Rahman Ahmad, which is located near Beit Lahia’s police station. The house was completely destroyed and two neighboring houses were damaged.

At approximately 6:20pm, also Thursday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Ahmad Abu Hasannein in Block Two of Jabaliya refugee camp. The house was completely destroyed and burnt. This was the second time IOF bombarded this house.

Ten minutes after this attack, IOF fired artillery towards house in Tel al-Zatar neighborhood in Jabaliya. A shell hit the house of Dr. Ahmad al-Hawajri, causing severe damage to it.

At approximately 12:10am on Friday, 9 January 2009, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Ghazi Ilyan, east of Beit Lahia cemetery, destroying it and damaging three neighboring houses.

At approximately 3:30am on Friday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Fayiz Salha with a heavy missile. An IOF drone had fired a warning missile two minutes earlier. The inhabitants did not manage to leave the house before the major bombardment, therefore, six of its residents were killed, including four children and two women. They were identified as:

* One-year-old girl Rola Fayiz Salha;
* Four-and-a-half-year-old boy Baha Fayiz Salha;
* 12-year-old girl Rana Fayiz Salha; and
* 14-year-old boy Dyia Fayiz Salha;
* 22-year-old Fatima al-Haw;
* 33-year-old Randa Fayiz Salha.

Twenty-two-year-old Fatima had come to her sister’s house seeking safety after IOF bombardment of her neighborhood. The house was completely destroyed and four neighboring homes were damaged in this attack.

At approximately 8:30am Friday, Israeli aircrafts fired missiles onto an open field near houses in the Faluja neighborhood of Jabaliya. Two women were killed in this attack: Fatima Saeed Saad and Sumaya Saad. A girl child was also injured in the same house.

Half an hour later, IOF fired artillery shells that released white smoke onto the neighborhood of Tel al-Zatar in Jabaliya. Al Mezan’s field worker reported that the shells exploded in the air before they landed, and released thick white smoke. Many people suffered from difficulty breathing as a result. The Center has not been able to identify the ammunition used in this attack.

In Beit Hanoun, IOF tanks fired machine gun fire towards homes in the vicinity of the Agricultural School, injuring one woman.

At approximately 9:50am Friday, IOF fired artillery towards houses in the al-Nour Street in Jabaliya town, killing a 12-year-old girl. She was identified as Alaa Fathi Jaber. Eight other civilians were injured, including three children and two women.

At approximately 10am on Friday, Israeli aircraft raided two houses owned by the brother Ezadin and Nahidh Abu al-Hasaneh, both located in the Gaza-Jabaliya Street in Jabaliya town. As a result, a 15-year-old Mohammed Atif Abu al-Hasaneh was killed. The two houses were completely destroyed and several other houses were damaged.

At approximately 11am on Friday, IOF fired artillery shells at houses in the same street. A shell hit a house and killed Hisham Mahmoud Mansour inside his house.

Later, IOF fired six artillery shells that exploded close to the Beit Lahia Treatment Plant. Two shells hit the rubble embankment that keeps sewage water from homes in Beit Lahia. If these walls collapse, the entire town of Beit Lahia could be drowned by over 60 million cubic meters of sewage.

At approximately 12pm on Friday, an Israeli F-16 aircraft fired a heavy missile at a house owned by Mousa Rida Hamad, which is located near al-Ajami Mosque in Beit Hanoun town. The house was completely destroyed and three neighboring houses were damaged.

At approximately 12:20pm on Friday, an Israeli F-16 aircraft raided the house of Ammar al-Zaaneen in Beit Hanoun, destroying it completely and causing damage to two neighboring houses. No injuries or casualties were reported.

Ten minutes after this raid, an Israeli F-16 aircraft raided the house of Hussein al-Zaaneen, destroying it completely and causing damage to four neighboring houses. No injuries or casualties were reported.

At approximately 12:45pm on Friday, Israeli aircrafts raided the area near the Directorate of Education in Beit Lahia, killing a civilian, 60-year-old Mohammed Mubarak Salih, and injuring his wife, 59-year-old Halima Salih.

At approximately 1:40pm, also on Friday, Israeli aircrafts raided the Hawouz Hill in Northern Beit Hanoun, killing 17-year-old child Ahmad Abu Ikleek, who was near his house in nearby Ezbet Beit Hanoun neighborhood. Later, the body of Ibrahim Rayhan was received at Kamal Udwan Hospital in Beit Lahia. He died from wounds at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on that same day.

At approximately 1:09pm on Friday, Israeli troops fired artillery shells at houses in Ezbet Abed-Rabu, eastern Jabaliya. No injuries or casualties were reported in this attack, which occurred during the unilaterally declared ceasefire announced by the IOF.

At approximately 5:45pm on Friday, Israeli aircraft fired missiles at the house Juma al-Najjar in Jabaliya town, destroying it and damaging several neighboring houses. Later, at 6:57, aircrafts raided the house of Mohammed Rayyan in Tel al-Zaatar neighborhood in Jabaliya, destroying it completely, and causing damage to three houses.

Later, also on Friday, Israeli troops fired artillery shells at houses in the east of Jabaliya. Fire started in four houses and 10 civilians were injured, most of whom were women and children. IOF opened fire at the fire brigade as it tried to reach the area, forcing it to return without fighting the fire.

At approximately 11:05pm on Friday, Israeli aircraft fired missiles at the house of Abdul-Karim Abu Matar in Jabaliya refugee camp, destroying the house and causing damage to many other houses.

At approximately 5pm Friday, medical sources announced the death of 25-year-old Ahmad al-Makadma, who was injured in an IOF attack in Beit Lahia.

Later, at 11:30pm, IOF troops fired artillery shells at the al-Salatin neighborhood in Beit Lahia, killing 30-year-old Usama Juma. At approximately the same time, medical sources announced the death of a six-year-old girl, Baraah Iyad Shalha, and a 20-year-old man, Usama Badr. Both were injured on the previous day as the IOF bombarded the house of Abu al-Jidyan in Beit Lahia.

Later, Israeli aircraft raided two houses in Jabaliya and destroyed them completely. Many other houses were damaged. At 3:30am Saturday, 10 January 2009, Israeli aircraft raided the Beit Lahia market, causing damage to about 30 shops.

At approximately 4pm on Saturday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Zuhdi Abu Amsha, injuring 18 people. Later, at 7:40pm, aircraft raided the house of Ibrahim Abu Ihmidan in Tel al-Zaatar neighborhood in Jabaliya, killing three people, who were identified as:

* 37-year-old Dawoud Asalyia;
* 40-year-old Ibrahum Asalyia; and
* 60-year-old Ibrahim Abu Ihmidan.

At 9am on Saturday, medical teams found the body of a 16-year-old child, Mohammed Jaber Iliyan, under the rubble of his house, which IOF had bombarded on Friday.

At 11:54am on Saturday, IOF troops fired artillery shells at houses on Abed-Rabu Street in eastern Jabaliya. Shells hit the house of Judeh Abed-Rabu, killing seven people from the same family. They were identified as:

* 17-year-old Hamid Mahfouz Abed-Rabu;
* 16-year-old Yusri Mahmoud Abed-Rabu;
* 18-year-old Mohammed Ribhi Abed-Rabu;
* 38-year-old Ramiz Jamal Abed-Rabu;
* 25-year-old Sami Mohammed Abed-Rabu;
* 47-year-old Sufyan Abdul-Hay Abed-Rabu; and
* 45-year-old woman Randa Jamal Abed-Rabu.

Another person from the same family was also critically injured in this same attack. Later at noon on Saturday, medical sources announced the death of an 11-year-old girl, Ghanima Sultan Halawa, who was injured from IOF bombardment earlier in Jabaliya-Gaza Street in Jabaliya town.

At 12:10pm on Saturday, IOF troops fired artillery shells at houses in eastern Beit Lahia. A shell hit the house of Mohammed Baba and killed a 30-year-old woman, Anaam Abed Baba. Three other inhabitants were also injured.

At approximately 4pm Saturday, Israeli snipers opened fire at a 15-year-old boy, Wisam Ibrahim Nabhan, killing him in the al-Isra neighborhood east of Beit Lahia.

2. Gaza City District:

At approximately 4pm, on Thursday 8 January 2009, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Majid Adnan Dadar, which is located in al-Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City, destroying it and injuring six women and children.

At approximately 6pm on Thursday, Israeli aircrafts raided the apartment of former ambassador Jaber Abu al-Naja, which is located on the seventh floor of an apartment compound in Tel al-Hawa neighborhood in Gaza City. As a result, a journalist, 34-year-old Ihab al-Whidi, who works for the Palestine TV, and the ambassador’s wife, 54-year-old Roqayya Abu al-Naja were killed. Three civilians were also injured, including Abu al-Naja’s daughter, who is also al-Whidi’s wife.

At approximately 12:15am on Friday 9 January 2009, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of the deputy of the Police Director, Jamal Abdullah, in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza City. The house was completely destroyed. Nevertheless, aircraft raided the house again 30 minutes later.

In the evening hours of Friday, Israeli aircrafts raided two houses and the Arafat Police Academy in Gaza City. The two houses were completely destroyed. Twenty-two-year-old Shaaban Mushtaha was killed in the attack on the Police Academy.

At approximately 7pm Friday, Israeli aircraft fired a missile at the al-Jawhara Tower in Gaza City. Fifteen journalists were on the tower’s roof, reporting on the situation in Gaza. One journalist, 26-year-old Manar Shalola, was injured from shrapnel to his head.

At approximately 8:30pm Friday, Israeli aircrafts raided the apartment of Mohammed Abu al-Soud, which is located in al-Susi tower in Gaza City. The owner was lightly injured and the apartment severely damaged.

At approximately the same time, IOF troops fired artillery shells at houses in the al-Zeitoun neighborhood. A shell hit the house of a journalist, 26-year-old Ala Murtaja, killing him and causing critical injuries to his wife.

3. Central Gaza District:

In the early morning hours on Thursday, 8 January 2009, Israeli naval vessels fired missiles at the village of al-Zawayda, killing 7 and injuring 23, including four children and five women. Those who were killed were:

* 60-year-old Mohammed Ibrahim al-Quran;
* 25-year-old Dawoud Mohammed al-Quran;
* 26-year-old Ryiad Mohammed al-Quran;
* 21-year-old Mohammed Hussein al-Quran;
* 27-year-old Iyad Saber Nassar; and
* 22-year-old Basil Ibrahim Nassar.

At approximately 7am on Friday 9 January 2009, Israeli aircraft fired three missiles that hit the vicinity of the Abu Qwidir family, killing a civilian, 23-year-old Ibrahim Rashid Abu Qwidir, and injuring six civilians, two of whom were children and one was a woman.

Earlier, at approximately 8am on Thursday 8 January 2009, Israeli aircraft fired missiles that exploded in the al-Jadid camp in an-Nuseirat refugee camp. Missiles landed into a crowd, killing 20-year-old Omar Nassar and injuring four other people.

Later, at 2:30pm, also Thursday, the corpse of a 10-year-old child Amer Balousha, from al-Zahra town, south of Gaza City, was found. He was injured by a live bullet to his head. Later that night, medical sources announced the death of eight-year-old Aref Baraka, who was wounded on 4 January 2009. It was also announced that 22-year-old Fawzi Abu al-Arraj, who is from the Wadi al-Salqa village, died from wounds he had sustained. Moreover, an IOF artillery attack killed 20-year-old Omar Abu Mghisib.

4. Khan Younis District:

At approximately 2:30pm on Thursday 8 January 2009, IOF fired artillery from batteries positioned in Israel east of Abassan town, east of Khan Younis. At the same time, IOF drones fired missiles at the town. As a result, two children were killed as they were in their family’s field, close to the al-Farahin Club. The children were identified as:

* 14-year-old Mohammed Akram Abu Dakka; and
* 12-year-old Ibrahim Akram Abu Dakka.

Fifty-year-old Ibrahim Mohammed Abu Teer was also injured in the attack. He died later, at 10pm, at a hospital.

At 4:40pm that same day, Israeli aircraft fired missiles at open fields in Abassan town. No casualties or injuries were reported.

At 4:50pm also Thursday, Israeli aircraft fired missiles at the house of Noor Barakeh, a member of Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades in the town of Bani Suhaila, east to Khan Younis. At first, a small missile was fired. Then, a few minutes later, it was followed by a heavy missile from an F-16 aircraft, which destroyed the house completely and injured 54 civilians living in the neighboring houses.

At approximately 7:45pm, also on Thursday, Israeli aircraft raided a house owned by al-Astal family in the city of Khan Younis. The house was destroyed and an unidentified people were killed under its rubble. The Civil Defense was able to take the bodies of two men:

* 27-year-old Ahmad Mohammed al-Astal; and
* 28-year-old Salman Fahmi al-Astal.

At approximately 8:35pm on Thursday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Arafat Madi, who is a member of the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades in Khan Younis, destroying the house and causing damage to many other houses near it.

At approximately 9pm on Thursday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Zaki al-Dirdisi, who is also a member of the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades in Bani Suhaila town, destroying the house.

At approximately 9:15pm on Thursday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Ismail al-Astal, who is a member of the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades in Khan Younis, destroying the house and causing damage to many other houses near it.

At approximately 2am on Friday, 9 January 2009, Israeli aircrafts raided an Islamic Jihad office in the town of Abassan, destroying it and causing damage to many other houses near it.

At approximately 8am on Friday, Israeli aircraft fired missiles at an open field in Khzaa town causing damage top several houses.

At approximately 8:30am on Saturday, 10 January 2009, Israeli aircrafts fired missiles at the western wall of the Gaza European Hospital in the south of Khan Younis. The raid destroyed part of the wall and damaged the water network at the hospital.

Later, the body of 22-year-old Jamal al-Smiri was received at the hospital. He was killed in an Israeli air raid in al-Qarara town, northeast of Khan Younis, at the dawn hours on Saturday.

5. Rafah District:

At approximately 3pm on Thursday 8 January 2009, Israeli aircrafts targeted four staff members of the maintenance and water department in the municipality of al-Nasir village while they were trying to fix water pipelines in the village, north of Rafah town. As a result, the four and a police officer were injured. The policeman was reported to have sustained serious injuries, according to the Gaza European Hospital.

Furthermore, between 5pm and 10:20pm on the same day, Israeli air raids continued to target the southern borderline as well as the western parts of al-Shaboura refugee camp in Rafah.

At approximately 9:05pm on the same day, Israeli aircrafts bombarded the house of Ziyad al-Kadash, which is located on al-Quds Street in Tel al-Sultan neighborhood, west of Rafah town. The attack destroyed the house completely and caused partial damages to some neighboring houses.

At approximately 2:53am on Friday, 9 January 2009, IOF aircraft fired a missile that landed on an area to the north of Rafah Crossing.

At approximately 1:48am, aircraft raided the Security and Protection building, which is located close to the Rafah Municipality’s Library, in central Rafah town. The raid destroyed the building completely, but no injuries were reported. At approximately 11pm on the same day, aircraft resumed attacks on the western parts of al-Shaboura camp, targeting three open areas. Earlier, at approximately 7:55pm that same day, the IOF shelled al-Madakha Street in al-Jneina neighborhood in Rafah town.

At approximately, 4:45pm on the same day, Israeli aircrafts raided the five-story house of Said al-Shair, which was inhabited by five families. The attack destroyed the house totally, but no injuries were reported.

At approximately 1:20am, on Saturday 10 January 2009, Israeli aircraft fired a missile that landed on an area to the north Rafah Crossing.

At approximately 12:12am, on the same day, IOF aircrafts shelled the house Said Abu Jlidan, in al-Salam neighborhood in Rafah town, close to the borderline with Egypt.

At approximately 8:20am on the same day, IOF aircrafts bombarded the house of Abdul-Rahim Ferwana, close to Ibn Taymia Mosque in al-Salam neighborhood. The house was completely destroyed as a result.

854 dead. this is only a partial list. write down their names. do not forget. continue the fight. support their resistance.

another day, another day of war crimes in gaza…

israeli terrorists are cutting gaza into cantons. cutting off people from each other, and most importantly for the moment, cutting off ambulances and medical workers from hospitals and seeking urgent care. last night i watched the horrifying fighting in gaza city. now i’m watching israeli terrorist tanks take over khan younis.

here is a report from last night from al jazeera:

the latest figures on al jazeera: there are 548 martyrs killed by israeli terrorists. islam online has now posted a website it is calling the “gaza holocaust museum” and it is naming and depicting the martyrs in gaza. there are 2,700 injured, many of them critically so. and increasingly those injured will die because of a lack of medical resources, medical supplies, surgeons, ambulances. and because israeli terrorists target ambulances and hospitals. one medical relief worker who has been waiting for days at the rafah border to get in to help, on the phone with al jazeera just now, said that egypt and israeli terrorists will still not let these doctors and supplies in. plus, there is still a list of banned medical supplies, which are necessary, such as oxygen and antiseptic. (there is a new report from ocha on relief web you can download about the relief situation) plus, when/if the border is open to let in a trickle of relief, it will never be enough. and some other things that are needed like blankets won’t be allowed through rafah. only medical supplies. only those not banned (recall israeli terrorists maintain bans on drugs like chemotherapy). here is one report on al jazeera about those waiting to treat the wounded:

and just to be crystal f*&$)#$ clear about who is helping maintain this border closure to ensure that palestinians are not only massacred, but also suffer in hospitals without proper treatment?: the united states:

NBC anchorwoman and chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell said Sunday that US military officers from the Corps of Engineers had been stationed on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing in order to prevent “arms smuggling from illegal tunnels” by Palestinian fighters.

“And there are US Army Corps of Engineer personnel on the ground right now on the Egypt side looking at the tunnels to see how Egypt could be reassured that there won’t be continued smuggling through on that,” she said on Meet the Press.

while this article is not specifically about hindering the passage of medical and relief supplies, i assure you we will later find out that they were not only preventing arms from going into gaza to let palestinians resist israeli terrorism, but also medicine and other essential goods. make no mistake about it: the united states is complicit in every possible way.

meanwhile palestinian internally displaced refugees, who are now made to be refugees again (see my posts on nahr el bared refugee camp in lebanon for the gymnastics one has to do with language to grasp the layers, upon layers of forced displacement at the hands of zionist terrorism over the last sixty years) are desperately seeking shelter in a place where there is no safety:

and for those who flee, as well as those who can’t or don’t, this is their fate:

A Palestinian woman, her four children, were killed in a recent Israeli air strike in Gaza, and more Palestinian civilians are being killed by the hour as the Israeli army continues its air strikes and ground offensive against the residents of Gaza. At least 550 Palestinians, including women and children, have been killed and more than 2700 were wounded.

Medical sources in Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, reported that an Israeli missile struck a Palestinian home in Al Zeitoun neighborhood east of Gaza City killing a woman and her children.

The sources said that seven members of Al Sammouni family, including four children, were killed when the army shelled their home while invading the area. Other members of the family said that the army also shelled a nearby home inflicting more casualties among the civilians as the shelled house was overcrowded.

An Eyewitness reported that at least twenty residents were in the shelled home. The eyewitness added that on Sunday, the army ordered the residents to gather in the house of Arafat Al Sammouni, and on Monday the soldiers shelled the crowded property.

Also, the army shelled a mourning house filled with civilians and killed four. Several similar attacks were reported in Gaza.

Furthermore, paramedics said on Monday that they located three bodies in Al Atatra area, west of Beit Lahia, and that several residents are believed to be under the rubble of shelled homes.

Sources at Al Shifa hospital in Gaza reported that the bodies of seven members of Abu Aisha family were severely mutilated after the army shelled their home in Al Mashtal area, west of Al Shaty’ refugee camp, in Gaza.

The sources added that the casualties are father, mother and five of their children. They were killed on Sunday at night after the Israeli Navy fired missiles at their home and a number of nearby homes.

The army also shelled dozens of homes in Al Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City killing a five-year old child and her grandfather. Her mother was seriously wounded.

On Sunday night after midnight, the army shelled five homes that belong to Hamas political leaders, and one home that belong to Jamil Mzhir, a political leader of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The army also shelled a college in Al Shaty’s refugee camp causing two injuries.

Hasan Khalaf of the Palestinian Ministry of Health, said that the number of Palestinians killed due to the ongoing Israeli offensive is now over 577 residents, including 70 who were killed in the ground offensive. Among the casualties were 107 children and 36 women; at least 2,530 residents were wounded.

The ground offensive was launched on Sunday evening, so far over 70 residents, including 21 children and 11 women were killed and over 371 were wounded.

mads gilbert seems to be making the rounds in the u.s. media, astonishingly enough. he was on cbs news discussing the war crimes committed by israeli terrorists:

i did not hear him talking about depleted uranium again, though, which i wish he’d do on american television. when i talked to sameh yesterday he said he thinks the israeli terrorists are using depleted uranium. i talked to him this morning too, and he said gaza city is surrounded now by israeli terrorists. they have little electricity; i was fortunately able to reach him on his land line. and they are trying to seek refuge in a room in their house, which is obviously not safe from israeli terrorism (anyone remembering what happened with palestinians murdered by israeli terrorists in europe in the 1970s and 70s knows what i’m talking about and there are too many other incidents to name). sameh was on flashpoints quite a bit last week and you should hear his reports–you can hear israeli terrorists bombing when you listen to his reporting. (btw: flashpoints’ website is not being updated as regularly as it could be; i recommend just subscribing to their podcasts as that is updated quickly, but if you prefer listening online you can also find it archived on kpfa’s website.) and he was also on democracy now! yesterday.

there are a number of bloggers that are posting what they can, while they can, when they have a moment of electricity from gaza, like sameh. today i read what dina hazem wrote about being in a hospital in gaza:

I have just got back from the hospital. I can only wish that I did not go there…i cannot describe to you what kind of scene it was: the wounded were everywhere…some are even being treated on the floor..in the corridors…it is way over capacity…and every minute another wounded comes in…and another and another…and the worst part is that most of them are children. The cries of children do not stop throughout the hospital not for one minute. And the wounds are not just any wounds…hands chopped, faces covered with blood and victims bleeding from different places. Around me were 3 mothers crying out loud at the loss of their sons and daughters…finding no one to ask for help but God and only God himself…the looks of their helpless but angry eyes…weak but traumatized faces…make me wonder what kind of life they will be living for the next days or months or years…if they ever get to live.

No one is being spared in Gaza. Everyone and I mean everyone is a target. It is not a daily trauma. It is a trauma by the hours..and the minutes. The scene alone made me feel hopeless and desperate enough to wish to die, rather than live in constant frustration and trauma.

rafah kid who is doing some great tweeting on twitter posted an important video in arabic that shows the utter chaos and destruction created by israeli terrorists with american-made weapons and planes and tanks.

meanwhile in an article by hazem balousha and rory mccarthy in the guardian (which has video footage you should watch as well), wael samouni reports how it is that israeli terrorists operate on the ground, how they deviously carry out their genocidal plans:

The Samouni family woke on Sunday morning to find themselves surrounded by camouflaged Israeli troops and dozens of tanks, who had set up a position in the rubble of what was once the large Jewish settlement of Netzarim. As dawn broke, the soldiers seized control of the highest buildings in the district and ordered several of the neighbours into the Samouni family home and there a dozen of them waited, without food and without water.

“All day Sunday there was shooting and bombing. We didn’t have anything to eat, we didn’t have water to drink – our water tanks had been damaged in the fighting,” said Wael Samouni, 32, who on a normal day would be manning his stall at the vegetable market. “We couldn’t sleep.”

He stepped out of the house briefly and saw a man shooting an M16 assault rifle. He mistook him for a Palestinian militant. Samouni shouted at him: “Please don’t come here. They’ll kill us. Go away.” But as the gunman turned round, it became clear he was an Israeli soldier. The soldier shouted back in Arabic: “Bring me your ID.” Samouni disappeared back into his house and decided not to venture out again.

They passed another night under the bombing and artillery strikes, grateful to have made it through to morning. Samouni remembered sitting in the crowded living room yesterday, surrounded by his neighbours, wondering how much longer they had to endure. It was 6.30am.

“We were sitting and suddenly there was bombing on our house and everyone started to run. There were three rockets. I have no idea where they came from,” said Samouni. The rockets, believed now to be tank shells, hit the building and brought it crashing down. “I looked to my side, took hold of my boy Mohammad and I started to run. As I ran I looked back and saw on the floor my mother, two cousins and three of my children. All dead,” he said. Samouni and the others ran from the house, some raised white cloths as flags and they made it to a patch of safe ground where they were taken to hospital by car.

Yesterday, as three of his children were laid out dead on the hospital floor, Samouni was in a bed upstairs in the Shifa hospital, recovering from wounds to his legs and shoulder and comforting his son Mohammad, five, who had suffered a broken arm in the shelling and had just woken after his operation. He was still unsure exactly how many of his 10 children had died.

“It’s a massacre,” Samouni said. “I’m 32 years old and I’ve never seen such things as this. I couldn’t help myself or any of those around me. We just want to live in peace.”

you won’t see or read or hear any of what i am reporting on american media. there is still a media blackout. journalists are still banned from entering gaza, which was the case for some months before this invasion and utter destruction of the strip. the associated press reported today:

Israel scrapped arrangements Monday to allow the first foreign reporters into the Gaza Strip since the military launched its offensive against Palestinian militants, adding to mounting media frustration at being locked out of the war zone.

The ban on foreign media, which has been appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court, drew criticism from journalists that Israel is trying to manage the story.

meanwhile in iraq, which is besieged by american terrorism, journalists staged a sit in to protest the massacre in gaza:

Branches of the Journalists’ Syndicate throughout Iraq on Monday staged a sit in to show solidarity with the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, which has been under continued Israeli attacks for ten days.

In Thi-Qar, journalists and media men staged a sit-in in front of the syndicate in al-Nile street in central Nassiriya, during which workers from different media institutions took part.

“This sit-in aims to show solidarity with the Palestinian people who are being targeted by the Israeli aggression,” the president of the syndicate told Aswat al-Iraq news agency, noting that the Thi-Qar journalists proved they support the Palestinian people and with the Gazans.

meanwhile, israeli terrorists have now targeted media buildings (so maybe israeli terrorists were being kind when they decided to prevent journalists from entering–they knew they would attack media outlets and wanted to prevent their deaths):

10pm, 5th January 2009, Gaza City: A high-story building housing international media outlets in Gaza City has been targeted by the Israeli military. Seven rounds were fired from an apache helicopter into the building in which international media which houses international media outlets such as Reuters.

“It felt like the building was about to collapse. The attack felt like it would not end. Israel has denied the international media access to Gaza, now they are targeting those who are attempting to tell the world what is happening here. Israel does not want the world to see it’s crimes.” Eva Bartlett – International Solidarity Movement

and for those of us in the twittersphere, blogosphere, youtube sphere using alternative outlets for media reporting, jillian blogged today about the ways in which israeli terrorists are attacking these attempts to get the truth out. you see, israeli terrorists never want you to know, see, hear what is really happening. that would be the demise of the zionist entity, something that cannot happen soon enough if you ask me.

the latest, in a series, of nakbas

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500 martyrs. 2,500 injured. gazans besieged from land, air, and sea. here is the latest report of the situation in gaza from ma’an news:

12:15pm Israeli artillery hit a market area killing at least three out getting food and injuring more than 20.

12:00pm An Israeli reconnaissance plane fired a missile at the home of DFLP Muhammad Abid Barbakh killing him and four others. They were identified as his father Abid, his two brothers Mahdi and Yousif and his nephew Mousa.

11:45am Israeli missiles targeted the Palestinian ministry of endowment and religious affairs in Gaza City, several passersby were injured in the blast.

11:30am Israeli warplanes fired missiles at Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Ambulances were seen speeding up towards the area.

11:15am DFLP’s military wing, the National Resistance Brigades announced that one of their top activists was killed in Israeli shelling on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

11:00am An-Nassar Salah Ad-Din activist dies of wounds in Saudi Arabia hospital

here is the latest video footage from al jazeera. if you look at the bombs being launched from above it seems that israeli terrorists are continuing to drop cluster bombs, yet another war crime in violation of the u.s. arms export control act, because, of course, these american-made weapons are part of america’s complicity in this terrorism on the people living in gaza. you will also see israeli terrorist avital leibovitch telling you that “she’s a civilian” (really? a member of the army is a civilian: since when?) and that neither she nor her neighbors keep rockets in their homes. though, they do have plenty of weapons as they are all soldiers (remember: all those thousands of reservists being called up for duty now in the terrorist state of israel? this is another reminder that there is no such thing as an israeli civilian. also: i wonder how many of these reservists are university professors…yet one more reason for the academic boycott of the israeli terrorist regime). but they don’t need to keep rockets in their houses as they have the most powerful, most terrorizing army in the region if not the world (second only to their partner in crime the united states).

on al jazeera’s latest report ayman mohyeldin reports that the psychological terror is intense and that now people’s homes have become the front lines of this war. israeli terrorists have also captured al aqsa television and are broadcasting messages in arabic from it according to al jazeera’s gaza twitter tweet (i think that is what it is called–i’m still getting used to the new technology and its relevant terms…). al jazeera also is reporting that israeli terrorists have now cut gaza in two:

Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Gaza City said: “Perhaps the most significant military development on the ground is that Gaza has now actually been split into two.

“A column of Israeli tanks and artillery, and armoured personnel vehicles has made its way through from the eastern part of Gaza, reaching as far as the Mediterrannean sea on the Western part, essentially splitting Gaza.

“That area, mostly in the former settlement of Nitzerim, it was an open area after Israel withdrew the settlement, so they were able to make strong advances all the way across Gaza, essentially cutting off the northern part from the southern part.”

Witnesses in eastern Gaza tell Al Jazeera that soldiers have begun house to house operations, moving from building to building. They have also taken positions on top of many of the rooftops in that area.

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sameh habeeb took the above photograph of the leaflet israeli terrorists are using to torment palestinians. it says:

“People of the Strip/ Hamas will lead you to destruction/ The streets of Gaza December 2008.”

saed abdelwahed writes about the added terror of the tanks shelling:

Every minutes we hear a blast or two or three. This has been continuous for more that 15 hours so far. Tanks, artillery, warships. Hussain Odah al-Aiedi (58 years old), a UNRWA employee, is stuck in the center of the fight. The Israeli tanks move in a circle of more than one kilometers around his house. He was shelled at 10:30 p.m. last night. Five of his family members have been injured and in bad condition. No one except the Israeli tanks can reach him. There is no electricity, water or food in his house. His family, mother and the families of two brothers of his are packed in one room. They are more than twenty people. Hussain needs urgent aid and evacuation of the injured.

dr. mona el farra posted a message from mohammed magdalawi, who lives in jablia on her blog:

There are holocaust and killing four hundred martyrs and about two thousand injured by Israeli air raids. I want to write about suffering of my people and my family in these days In my house we can’t get basic needs such as, No foods, No bread, and Natural gas. Yesterday, my father went to bakery from 5 AM he waited 5 hours even get one a bundle of bread. This bread not can’t enough for my family because consist of 11 members. But today I go to all bakeries. I can’t find any loaf of bread due to be closed. We and my family cannot communicate with our relatives and friends because of the lack of the connecting network also every hour we have a martyr or even more because of the raining missiles on our homes, mosques and even hospitals. There is no safe place we can go to. In the day our life concentrated in burial of the martyrs who were thousands in hospitals after a short farewell or even without a final look because of the time shortage those martyrs are graved in groups imagine that a group of martyrs graved in one grave.At night our camp like ghosts city no sound but the sound of the various military aircrafts in every attack our heats and the children hearts is shaking. There is a horror in every minute and it is clear especially on the children, for example, there was four sisters in one family killed from the Israeli occupation,when stay in their home, and there is children in the south of Rafah. Also, a woman was going to the bakery to buy bread for her family when she was walking in the street killed the Israeli occupation. I have two message to the world. My message to the lovers of peace and freedom in the world. The first message: Imagine your life is no electricity, destroyed homes, voice missiles of the day and night, and no food. Imagine your children and your family tell you we are afraid of the missiles cannot sleep from the Voice of the aircraft. Imagine you and keep the commentary. The second message: Make to end the siege and stop the killings and demolition of houses for our children and to provide assistance to the people through rallies, sit-ins. Finally, I invite you to come to Gaza and see the Holocaust.

there are continuing protests, of course, which continue to see have no tangible effect. though it is uplifting to watch these tremendous protests this afternoon in rabat, morocco, beirut, lebanon, istanbul, turkey. electronic intifada posted more photographs of these protests. there have been continuing, large protests in 1948 palestine, including this most recent one in the galilee as well. yes, some world leaders are beginning to speak out, to promise aid: but to what effect? this is always what they do. they let israeli terrorists bomb civilians back to the stone age and then they come in with aid and expect us all to be grateful. well: f(*$ them. f()# them all. we don’t need their aid, what we need is for them to halt all forms of normalized relations with the israeli terrorist regime, all forms of aid to them, military and otherwise. that would be something effective. and the only leader, as one may expect, who has the cajones to say something like that is ken livingstone:

As a first step, European ambassadors should be recalled from Israel until the military offensive stops. And Britain should lead by example. Second, the European Union/Israel trade agreement should be suspended, as its human rights provisions have clearly been violated.

Third, if these measures do not bring rapid results, further and stronger action will be required. Europe is a critical trade partner for Israel. We have the economic leverage to end this conflict. We should use it.

eva bartlett writes about her night working with ambulance workers to give but one of many examples of why the european union should act on livingstone’s demand NOW:

Last night, on one of the mad scrambles in the ambulance, we rushed, then inched, towards an injured person. In the northwest, in an area Israeli tanks were shelling particularly hard, the ambulance was wary. They’d already had missiles launched at them on a previous run in the area. This is the region where so many phone calls were coming from, so many desperate people, trying to get out.

The driver turns up a dirt road, blares the horn, blares it more: a warning, ambulance coming, and a call, where are the bodies, the injured? Locals, including children around 10 years old, wave us on, give directions on how to avoid the army’s shelling. As we crawl further up the track, the driver gets agitated, though he is competent and experienced. Further on and no injured, no people, we turn back.

A man looking more panicked than I could imagine ran at the ambulance, waving at the hill to his left. “They’re up there, three dead,” he tells the driver. “There’re soldiers up there also.” There is no way to retrieve the bodies, and the man has to return to his heavily-shelled neighbourhood.

Alberto points to a school 20 metres down the road. “There’s a massive hole in the side of it; direct hit,” he says. He’d been in an ambulance earlier which had retrieved two injured young men, family members, who’d been delivered by cart and donkey. “I tried to help. The medics picked up one guy, and another medic started to pick up the second. I tried to grasp his shoulders, to help. My hand went inside him.” The medics explained the man’s shoulder was torn open. Alberto adds: “I could see his chest open, from the neck to his ribcage. I could see his lung. And two ribs. His right arm had completely fallen off.” The dead was 25 years old. The other, unknown age, “had an eye out” and severe head injuries.

It’s more than gruesome here.

As daybreak came, the smoke from the missiles continued to hang in a thick, thick haze. The drones still loud, tanks still shooting, Apaches still chopping above. And what seemed like the loudest F-16 missile, I don’t know how it got louder than the previous blasts.

The dispatcher announces more casualties who cannot be reached, again in the northwestern area, beyond that blasted school, where a man with a gunshot in the leg, and another with an amputated leg, wait for some sort of aid.

Back in the Gaza city media office, I’m updated: 473 dead. No, wait, 20 more from a new strike in the north, 5 more from a strike on a shopping area in Gaza city. Over 2300 injured.

Osama, an EMT, calls to see where I am. We worked together two nights ago. I’d thought I wouldn’t be there last night, was going to write instead. But the urgency prevailed and we went out. Osama asks where I am and I tell him, I’m writing, I have to tell people, they need to hear this, see this. If only you could hear this, smell this, feel the vibrations, taste the terror.

just now sherene tadros, at al shifa hospital, which she says is operating like a make-shift clinic in a war zone rather than one of gaza’s largest hospitals, interviewed a norweigan aid doctor, eric fosse. here is a rough transcript of what he said:

we have been under siege for one week at the hospital. we have run out of vital drugs for a long time. last night when invasion started the whole thing escalated. so this hospital has been filled with patients. they bombed fruit market this morning and there were a large number of casualties. we operated on people in the corridors. people were lying around the corridors waiting for surgery, dying before we could get to them. yesterday two boys who were not allowed to play in the street because of the danger. so they played on the roof of their home. they were hit by shrapnel; one died due to enormous injuries to the chest, the other lost a leg and has a serious head injury. ambulances are inundated and people bring in the injured in civilian cars. [in re: whether or not the casualties are hamas]: this is completely false–the majority of patients we see here are civilian. 28% are children, the youngest 8 months i operated on here. also a large number of women.
the hamas soldier are a minority of patients that come to the hospital.

if you want to see what this looks like check out the video that youtube censored which is on kabobfest. this is what massacre looks like. this is what israeli terrorism looks like.

gaza. gaza. gaza. gaza. gaza. gaza. gaza. gaza. gaza. gaza. gaza. gaza.

gazamorgue1229

i just got off the phone with sameh habeeb. we were talking about his upcoming interview on cnn at 3 am local time. our conversation was cut short because of the bombs raining on gaza city where he lives. though this is par for the course. every time we talk this happens. i can hear very loud explosions going on around him. it seems that the foreign ministry and an internal security building were the “targets.” there were over 75 bombs dropped today. sameh never showed up on cnn. i watched for an hour. now he is not answering his phone. i am worried that something has happened. the bombs just keep falling. they don’t stop.

we are entering day four now. i decided to turn on cnn. they seem to be showing the bombing. they seem to be very close to the bombs as they are loud and you can see it in the distance even in the night. i haven’t watched any western media in months. the language they use makes my skin crawl.

my blood continues to boil. i cannot take it anymore and i am so far away. a dear friend is now on her way to gaza on the free gaza boat. she is returning on her second trip to gaza since they began to break the siege. but this time could be different. the israeli terrorists are attacking gaza by sea as well and they could be attacked when they arrive in a few hours. part of me is worried; part of me wonders if they were attacked maybe then the united nations, the european union, the united states would do something? because of course those entities never care about palestinian lives. but these are largely europeans and americans on board. cynthia mckinney, who i voted for in the u.s. presidential election, is on board. and i love what she says she is going to gaza to do:

One passenger, American Cynthia McKinney, said she wanted to highlight what she said was a trail of devastation left by US weapons sold to Israel.

“There is a need for the people of the United States to understand that every piece of rubble that is on that strip of land is caused by US weapons,” said McKinney, a former US Congresswoman and presidential candidate for the Green Party in the 2008 US presidential election.

i’m wondering where human rights watch and amnesty international are in this?

richard falk was supposed to be here documenting israeli terrorist war crimes, but of course he was denied entry and deported. here is what he has to say about the besieged gaza:

The Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war.

Those violations include:

• Collective punishment: The entire 1.5 million people who live in the crowded Gaza Strip are being punished for the actions of a few militants.

• Targeting civilians: The airstrikes were aimed at civilian areas in one of the most crowded stretches of land in the world, certainly the most densely populated area of the Middle East.

• Disproportionate military response: The airstrikes have not only destroyed every police and security office of Gaza’s elected government, but have killed and injured hundreds of civilians; at least one strike reportedly hit groups of students attempting to find transportation home from the university.

Earlier Israeli actions, specifically the complete sealing off of entry and exit to and from the Gaza Strip, have led to severe shortages of medicine and fuel (as well as food), resulting in the inability of ambulances to respond to the injured, the inability of hospitals to adequately provide medicine or necessary equipment for the injured, and the inability of Gaza’s besieged doctors and other medical workers to sufficiently treat the victims.

ron paul, who also ran for president in the united states, but did not make it to the final stages of the election, had this to say about the zionist terrorist entity:

Press TV: There has been a lot of speculation that Israel may act on its own and conduct an independent air strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Do you think that’s possible?

Paul: I don’t think there is such a thing as an independent Israel doing anything, because I think no matter what they do its our money, its our weapons, and their not going to do it without us approving it and if they get into trouble we’re going to bail them out, so there is no separation between the two.

yes, americans are 100% complicit in this war. i hear the american f16s flying overhead on their way to gaza or doing test runs or flying into lebanese airspace to terrorize lebanese people too. jennifer lowenstein makes the point of how the f16 is used as a terrorist weapon itself because it is tied to so many people’s numerous, past experiences with israeli terrorism:

The sound of F-16s flying overhead dropping bombs is not a sound one ever forgets. In other words, 750,000 children –or half the population of Gaza—have it ingrained in their memories for the rest of their lives. Another equally unacceptable percentage of this group will have had images burned into their minds’ eyes of the devastation and death wrought by these sounds as well, a factor that partially explains why more than 50 per cent of Gaza’s three-quarters of a million children suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: it isn’t easy to see piles of the dead or their blown apart body parts without some kind of reaction. Violent, action-packed Hollywood war and terror films may provide us with virtual reality, but when the severed jaw of a woman is lying at your feet only a few inches away from her bloody and disfigured head, or when the bare leg of a man is lying by itself in a room, the rest of the body blown outside the house, the illusory atmosphere of the virtual world is quickly replaced by the raw, heavy emotions that accompany real world sequences. This is when paralyzing fright grips you so firmly that your legs forget how to move; how to flee the gruesome nightmare scenarios. You can’t run away.

In the course of a few short hours American-made, Israeli-flown fighter jets had successfully blotted out the lives of more than 230 people and by the end of the weekend over 300, the rough equivalence of two fully packed IMAX theaters. At least 70 of the victims were civilians, a number of them young children. A mother in Rafah bent over the corpses of her three dead children screaming, unable to stop, horrified eye witness T., who wrote up the day’s events as if the formal documentation of an overpowering human event could serve as a form of catharsis.

yet the united states continues to promote terrorist logic, because of course the united states is also a state that practices terrorism, when speaking about gaza:

The White House blamed Hamas for the upsurge in violence in Gaza, denouncing the organisation for breaching a six-month ceasefire agreement and relaunching rocket attacks on Israel.

After being briefed on the security situation in the Middle East yesterday, President George Bush said that Hamas must end its attacks if there is to be a “durable” end to the violence.

The group had “shown its true colours as a terrorist organisation”, Mr Bush’s spokesman, Gordon Johndroe, told reporters in Crawford, Texas, where the president is on vacation. “The United States understands that Israel needs to take actions to defend itself.”

all that we can glean from the above statement is that the u.s. is complicit. the u.s. is equally responsible for these terrorist attacks on gaza because of bush’s stupidity, ignorance, and his desire to further perpetuate the fiction that the zionist terrorist entity is peddling around the world. so much of this propaganda has been about the zionist terrorists disproportionate response to the rocket attacks which have killed maybe 15 israeli terrorists since 2004. in 3 + days they have “retalitated” to use the terrorists language by massacring over 360 palestinians and injuring 1,650 many of whom will die as a result of those wounds that cannot be treated because of the blockade. tonight on al jazeera’s “inside story” some mofo asked robert fisk what should be done in “response” to the rocket attacks. fisk asked us to remember how the english responded to the irish. this is a useful lesson:

Not a whimper from Tony Blair, the peace envoy to the Middle East who’s never been to Gaza in his current incarnation. Not a bloody word.

We hear the usual Israeli line. General Yaakov Amidror, the former head of the Israeli army’s “research and assessment division” announced that “no country in the world would allow its citizens to be made the target of rocket attacks without taking vigorous steps to defend them”. Quite so. But when the IRA were firing mortars over the border into Northern Ireland, when their guerrillas were crossing from the Republic to attack police stations and Protestants, did Britain unleash the RAF on the Irish Republic? Did the RAF bomb churches and tankers and police stations and zap 300 civilians to teach the Irish a lesson? No, it did not. Because the world would have seen it as criminal behaviour. We didn’t want to lower ourselves to the IRA’s level.

of course, while england is also complicit here, fisk’s point is importnat. and yet check this out: “hamas is looking for children to kill. we are different. we do not kill civilians.”–this is what tzipi livni just said on cnn. it really is shocking to hear such flagrant lies when you look at images of the dead babies like the ba’alousha family in jabaliya refugee camp who lost their five children this morning (see my earlier post)? really? the israeli terrorists don’t “target” children? don’t look for children to kill? how do you explain bombing schools? homes? read eman mohammed’s words from electronic intifada and you will see how it looks on the ground:

Where else but in Gaza are students killed in air strikes on their classrooms? Where else does a humanitarian disaster unfold not because an earthquake, a volcano, or any other kind of natural disaster struck, but because of governmental policy, and the cooperation of world powers?

From my desk in my university classroom we could see the smoke from Israel’s bombing and hear the most terrifying sound of non-stop explosions. Girls around me screamed in horror and I thought about my camera which I left back at home for fear that rain would damage it. It ended up being a sunny day and I regretted losing the opportunity to take photos, not for fame or for money, but to document what was happening to prove to people outside of Gaza that they are wrong to think we are the terrorists.

Some of my classmates ran out of the university, fearing their lives, but were killed by Israeli missiles as they fled.

When I called my friends abroad to ask them to make sense of what was going on in Gaza, after we were cut off electricity just as the raids began, none of them could give me logical answers.

Meanwhile, the madness continued. Children ran hysterically in the streets as all of Gaza was on fire — literally.

yes gaza is on fire. and at the same time if you listen to this ridiculous drivel from american and israeli terrorist propaganda you would think that it is somehow appropriate to blame the victims. they like to keep repeating that hamas broke the truce. as if saying it again and again will make it true (sort of like how they keep saying they are not targeting civilians all the while they do). here are the facts about this so you can see that it was the israeli terrorists who broke the truce:

June 19, 2008: Hamas and Israel agree to six month truce …

Nov. 2: Israeli forces kill 4 Gazans in missile strike and incursion, blocking ambulances from wounded

Nov. 4 2008: Israel carries out various incursions in Gaza supported by missile strikes, killing one and wounding three, plus razing land; Israeli forces also kill six and wound five Hamas members, breaking “truce”;

and this war was not spontaneous either. this has been planned for months as i wrote earlier in a post below. here are other details about this:

Unlike the confused and improvised Israeli response as the war against Hizbullah in Lebanon unfolded in 2006, Operation Cast Lead appears to have been carefully prepared over a long period.

Israeli media reports, by usually well-informed correspondents and analysts, alluded yesterday to six months of intelligence-gathering to pinpoint Hamas targets including bases, weapon silos, training camps and the homes of senior officials. The cabinet spent five hours discussing the plan in detail on December 19 and left the timing up to Ehud Olmert, the caretaker prime minister, and his defence minister Ehud Barak. Preparations involved disinformation and deception which kept Israel’s media in the dark. According to Ha’aretz, that also lulled Hamas into a sense of false security and allowed the initial aerial onslaught to achieve tactical surprise – and kill many of the 290 victims counted so far.

Friday’s decision to allow food, fuel and humanitarian supplies into besieged Gaza – ostensibly a gesture in the face of international pressure to relieve the ongoing blockade – was part of this. So was Thursday’s visit to Cairo by Tzipi Livni, Israel’s foreign minister, to brief Egyptian officials. The final decision was reportedly made on Friday morning.

in other words this is pre-meditated murder. if you want to understand this conflict in a more contextualized way you should read nir rosen’s piece in the guardian today:

Normative rules are determined by power relations. Those with power determine what is legal and illegal. They besiege the weak in legal prohibitions to prevent the weak from resisting. For the weak to resist is illegal by definition. Concepts like terrorism are invented and used normatively as if a neutral court had produced them, instead of the oppressors. The danger in this excessive use of legality actually undermines legality, diminishing the credibility of international institutions such as the United Nations. It becomes apparent that the powerful, those who make the rules, insist on legality merely to preserve the power relations that serve them or to maintain their occupation and colonialism.

Attacking civilians is the last, most desperate and basic method of resistance when confronting overwhelming odds and imminent eradication. The Palestinians do not attack Israeli civilians with the expectation that they will destroy Israel. The land of Palestine is being stolen day after day; the Palestinian people is being eradicated day after day. As a result, they respond in whatever way they can to apply pressure on Israel. Colonial powers use civilians strategically, settling them to claim land and dispossess the native population, be they Indians in North America or Palestinians in what is now Israel and the Occupied Territories. When the native population sees that there is an irreversible dynamic that is taking away their land and identity with the support of an overwhelming power, then they are forced to resort to whatever methods of resistance they can.

Not long ago, 19-year-old Qassem al-Mughrabi, a Palestinian man from Jerusalem drove his car into a group of soldiers at an intersection. “The terrorist”, as the Israeli newspaper Haaretz called him, was shot and killed. In two separate incidents last July, Palestinians from Jerusalem also used vehicles to attack Israelis. The attackers were not part of an organisation. Although those Palestinian men were also killed, senior Israeli officials called for their homes to be demolished. In a separate incident, Haaretz reported that a Palestinian woman blinded an Israeli soldier in one eye when she threw acid n his face. “The terrorist was arrested by security forces,” the paper said. An occupied citizen attacks an occupying soldier, and she is the terrorist?

In September, Bush spoke at the United Nations. No cause could justify the deliberate taking of human life, he said. Yet the US has killed thousands of civilians in airstrikes on populated areas. When you drop bombs on populated areas knowing there will be some “collateral” civilian damage, but accepting it as worth it, then it is deliberate. When you impose sanctions, as the US did on Saddam era Iraq, that kill hundreds of thousands, and then say their deaths were worth it, as secretary of state Albright did, then you are deliberately killing people for a political goal. When you seek to “shock and awe”, as president Bush did, when he bombed Iraq, you are engaging in terrorism.

Just as the traditional American cowboy film presented white Americans under siege, with Indians as the aggressors, which was the opposite of reality, so, too, have Palestinians become the aggressors and not the victims. Beginning in 1948, 750,000 Palestinians were deliberately cleansed and expelled from their homes, and hundreds of their villages were destroyed, and their land was settled by colonists, who went on to deny their very existence and wage a 60-year war against the remaining natives and the national liberation movements the Palestinians established around the world. Every day, more of Palestine is stolen, more Palestinians are killed. To call oneself an Israeli Zionist is to engage in the dispossession of entire people. It is not that, qua Palestinians, they have the right to use any means necessary, it is because they are weak. The weak have much less power than the strong, and can do much less damage. The Palestinians would not have ever bombed cafes or used home-made missiles if they had tanks and airplanes. It is only in the current context that their actions are justified, and there are obvious limits.

It is impossible to make a universal ethical claim or establish a Kantian principle justifying any act to resist colonialism or domination by overwhelming power. And there are other questions I have trouble answering. Can an Iraqi be justified in attacking the United States? After all, his country was attacked without provocation, and destroyed, with millions of refugees created, hundreds of thousands of dead. And this, after 12 years of bombings and sanctions, which killed many and destroyed the lives of many others.

I could argue that all Americans are benefiting from their country’s exploits without having to pay the price, and that, in today’s world, the imperial machine is not merely the military but a military-civilian network. And I could also say that Americans elected the Bush administration twice and elected representatives who did nothing to stop the war, and the American people themselves did nothing. From the perspective of an American, or an Israeli, or other powerful aggressors, if you are strong, everything you do is justifiable, and nothing the weak do is legitimate. It’s merely a question of what side you choose: the side of the strong or the side of the weak.

Israel and its allies in the west and in Arab regimes such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have managed to corrupt the PLO leadership, to suborn them with the promise of power at the expense of liberty for their people, creating a first – a liberation movement that collaborated with the occupier. Israeli elections are coming up and, as usual, these elections are accompanied by war to bolster the candidates. You cannot be prime minister of Israel without enough Arab blood on your hands. An Israeli general has threatened to set Gaza back decades, just as they threatened to set Lebanon back decades in 2006. As if strangling Gaza and denying its people fuel, power or food had not set it back decades already.

The democratically elected Hamas government was targeted for destruction from the day it won the elections in 2006. The world told the Palestinians that they cannot have democracy, as if the goal was to radicalise them further and as if that would not have a consequence. Israel claims it is targeting Hamas’s military forces. This is not true. It is targeting Palestinian police forces and killing them, including some such as the chief of police, Tawfiq Jaber, who was actually a former Fatah official who stayed on in his post after Hamas took control of Gaza. What will happen to a society with no security forces? What do the Israelis expect to happen when forces more radical than Hamas gain power?

A Zionist Israel is not a viable long-term project and Israeli settlements, land expropriation and separation barriers have long since made a two state solution impossible. There can be only one state in historic Palestine. In coming decades, Israelis will be confronted with two options. Will they peacefully transition towards an equal society, where Palestinians are given the same rights, à la post-apartheid South Africa? Or will they continue to view democracy as a threat? If so, one of the peoples will be forced to leave. Colonialism has only worked when most of the natives have been exterminated. But often, as in occupied Algeria, it is the settlers who flee. Eventually, the Palestinians will not be willing to compromise and seek one state for both people. Does the world want to further radicalise them?

Do not be deceived: the persistence of the Palestine problem is the main motive for every anti-American militant in the Arab world and beyond. But now the Bush administration has added Iraq and Afghanistan as additional grievances. America has lost its influence on the Arab masses, even if it can still apply pressure on Arab regimes. But reformists and elites in the Arab world want nothing to do with America.

A failed American administration departs, the promise of a Palestinian state a lie, as more Palestinians are murdered. A new president comes to power, but the people of the Middle East have too much bitter experience of US administrations to have any hope for change. President-elect Obama, Vice President-elect Biden and incoming secretary of state Hillary Clinton have not demonstrated that their view of the Middle East is at all different from previous administrations. As the world prepares to celebrate a new year, how long before it is once again made to feel the pain of those whose oppression it either ignores or supports?

so what to do? people keep emailing me, chatting with me asking what to do. we all feel impotent in the midst of such military superpowers who terrorize the rest of us. i say write, for one thing. write and speak and spend every moment of every day telling people about what is really happening in gaza. defeat this zionist propaganda, which is one of the mechanisms of its terrorist infrastructure. here are some specific actions you can take:

1. Write Bush, Congress Now to Save Lives in Gaza Urge Immediate Ceasefire, End of Blockade

Please join us in writing to President Bush and Members of Congress, urging them to support an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas and an end to the economic blockade of Gaza by using the form below.

2. GAZA: STOP THE BLOODSHED, TIME FOR PEACE

With already 300 dead and continued shelling of civilians in southern Israel, now is the time to issue a demand to world leaders that the spiralling violence that has characterized the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must come to an end.

Sign the petition below calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza – and for peace to be achieved between Israel and Palestine in 2009.

Petition to the UN Security Council, the European Union, the Arab League and the USA:

We urge you to act immediately to ensure a comprehensive ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, to protect civilians on all sides, and to address the growing humanitarian crisis. Only through robust international action and oversight can the bloodshed be stopped, the Gaza crossings safely re-opened and real progress made toward a wider peace in 2009.

3. Join WRITE for Justice, Human Rights and International Law in Palestine’s mailing list so you can be updated whenever an American newspaper has a story that needs to be debunked by writing response editorials and letters to the editor.

At WRITE!, our vision of success is a U.S. media that provides complete, honest, objective, balanced and responsible reporting on the Middle East on a consistent basis.

We believe that such a change will have a positive effect on official U.S. policy in the Middle East, and can ultimately result in the establishment of Peace and Justice for all the peoples of the Middle East. More about WRITE!

4. Join U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation in its plan to fight this American complicity and indifference:

Make no mistake about it-Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip would not be possible without the jets, helicopters, ships, missiles, and fuel provided by the United States.

Ali Abunimah, of The Electronic Intifada, wrote, “Palestinians everywhere are asking for solidarity, real solidarity, in the form of sustained, determined political action.” In light of our country’s enabling role in Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip, it is the least we can do. Here’s how:

1. Attend a protest or vigil. We’ve compiled a list of more than 60 emergency protests taking place in 25 states and the District of Columbia, many of which are taking place today or tomorrow. Find one near you and bring as many people to it as you can. If you know of a protest that isn’t listed on our website, please send us all the logistical details and contact information by clicking here. More events are being posted all the time-check back frequently for the latest updates.

2. Contact the White House, the State Department, your Representative and Senators, and the Obama Transition Team to protest Israel’s war on Gaza and demand an immediate cease-fire.

White House: 202-456-1111 or comments@whitehouse.gov
State Department: 202-647-6575 or send an email by clicking here
Congress: 202-224-3121 or find contact info by clicking here
Obama Transition Team: send an email by clicking here

3. Make your voice heard in the media. Contact your local media by phoning into a talk show or writing a letter to the editor. To find contact info for your local media, click here.

4. Tell President-Elect Barack Obama that “We Need a Change in Israel/Palestine Policy.” Join more than 200 organizations in 38 states plus Washington, DC and abroad and thousands of individuals by endorsing this letter which will be published as a full-page ad on Inauguration Day. Let all your friends know by copying and pasting the graphic below into your email signature, blog, or website and by joining our Facebook group.

5. Sign up to organize people in your community to end U.S. military aid to Israel. We’ll send you an organizing packet complete with our brand new postcards featuring the icon below. If we’re going to change U.S. policy, we’ve got to go beyond agreeing among ourselves and educate and organize others as well. Sign up today and we’ll send you a package tomorrow by clicking here.

6. Join us in Washington, DC for Inauguration Day on January 20. Upwards of 4 million people are expected in Washington, DC for President-Elect Obama’s inauguration. This is a perfect time for us to reach out to and educate our fellow citizens about U.S. policy toward Palestine/Israel. If you plan to be in Washington for the inauguration and would like to help us distribute information and get signatures on postcards calling for a cut off of arms transfers to Israel, please click here.

7. Join us again in Washington, DC for a Grassroots Advocacy Training and Lobby Day on February 1-2. Interfaith Peace-Builders and the US Campaign are organizing this exciting two-day event, featuring interactive, skills-building workshops and the chance to meet with your Representative and Senators to discuss U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine. Spaces are filling up fast. For more details, and to register, please click here.

8. Forward this email to everyone you know and ask them to take action.