Friday, January 16, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Adham Khalil writing from Jabaliya refugee camp, the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 13 January 2009
It is very horrible here. Today was the worst. There were lots of F-16s above us and white phosphorous falling from the sky.
I didn't sleep last night. The sound of shelling in the north and east kept us all awake.
Most of the time we don't have any electricity in my house. So when the power comes for an hour or two the whole family is busy. We charge our mobiles, pump water, bake bread. But I have seen so many horrible things on TV that sometimes I wish we could stay without power.
So far, my own family is okay but I feel shy to speak about my family. I don't think like that. Everyone in Gaza is my family. We are suffering collectively as we are being punished and forgotten collectively, and we are dying.
It is very dangerous here and everywhere in Gaza. By 5pm the streets are empty. Not even one person goes out of their homes in my area. But even in our homes, we are not safe. I swear sometimes I can smell death around us.
It is not true to say this is a war between Hamas and Israel. I am an eyewitness in Gaza and though you may think that Gaza is a country and Hamas is a great and powerful army, these are lies. The Palestinian factions do not own tanks, warplanes, or warships. They have homemade rockets, simple weapons. They cannot do anything against Israel's great and powerful army.
We are living under complete siege with daily killings and our houses destroyed. Hamas and other Palestinian factions are trying to defend Palestinians from the continuing massacres, invasions and air strikes. The Israeli occupation and actions in Gaza are terrorist actions, as are many of their actions and policies dating back to their ethnic cleansing campaign in 1948.
But I think this, right now, is the worst catastrophe I will see in my life.
I don't have any guns or weapons. I struggle by simply telling the truth. Many people have asked me if there is a way to send money or food. But what we really need is our freedom and an end to the fire.
Don't keep silent about the Israeli massacres and Holocaust against Palestinians. The demand for an end to this siege must be louder than the bombs that rain down upon us.
Adham Khalil is a resident of Jabaliya refugee camp and a youth leader at the al-Assria Children's Library. His blog, Free Free Palestine, is at http://nagyelali.blogspot.com.
This report was compiled from Adham's text messages and phone calls, and was adapted for publication by staff at Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA) due to the difficulties imposed on Gazans to communicate freely with the outside world. To help MECA send more medical aid to Gaza for thousands of sick and injured people living under siege, visit www.mecaforpeace.org.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Date: 13 / 01 / 2009 Time: 12:23
Gaza – Ma’an – Everything was on fire; houses, sheds, trees.
Bombs, too, were everywhere, and with them came the white clouds. White phosphorous, the doctors are now saying, but that's disputed in Israel.
But for sure it was a night of terror. We were terrified. We thought we were going to burn to death.
Bombs were everywhere. That's what 27-year-old Fadia Al-Najjar kept saying. She's from Khaza'a; she was telling us what kind of horrific night she and her family had just gone through.
While explaining what had happened, Fadia stood next to her paramedic husband Ghanem, now surrounded by other medics, desperately struggling to save his life after he was caught in an airstrike unlike he had ever seen before.
Ghanem was incapacitated while on duty trying to bring injured Palestinians to the hospital. There had been calls reporting mysterious white smoke in the latest airstrike, and Ghanem was dispatched to attend to the wounded. He was on duty when he inhaled some of the smoke.
"The shelling with phosphorous bombs started in Khaza'a. Two of the bombs hit the area around our house,” Fadia explained. She recalled how the fire spread quickly throughout the home, and white smoke billowed out the windows.
"Neighbors were screaming, asking for help; the fire was changing," she remembers. "I woke up my kids, got them to my parents’ house, hoping to find a safer place."
"But the real catastrophe was two hours after we had moved to my parents’ house; bombs hit their home too and the fire spread everywhere. The top floor was burnt completely.”
It's not just her husband Fadia keeps watch over. In fact, the young mother has to split her time among the hospital's many wards. Her children have also been hospitalized.
"They wanted to burn us alive inside the house. There were 40 of us in there. Men, women, children,” she recalls of the second bombing. "We could hear their bodies burning."
"We didn't know where to go. Our house, my parents' house, my in-laws' house? All were burnt, damaged, destroyed. But where can we go in this weather? It's very cold."
Another relative, 51-year-old Zakaya, said she struggled to make sense of the chaos and confusion of trying to find her injured family members at Naser Hospital in the northwest of Gaza City.
Zakaya told Ma'an that she barely remembers what happened, "but at about 10:00pm we heard explosions in several areas of Khaza'a, coming closer and closer."
"We live so close to the border wall (targeted by Israel), so we were just so afraid; our fear reached a maximum level."
"The children were asleep, so I tried to wake some of them because I felt our home was no longer safe," she says. "And all of the sudden bombs fell all over our two-story house."
"White smoke filled the house, and suddenly fires were spreading inside," Zakaya explained while checking on her children at the hospital's intensive care unit.
"We started screaming; we were so scared. I started to get the kids outside but the bombing went on and six more bombs fell on our house."
After the sixth bomb hit the home Zakaya and those her family was able to get out of the home were forced to abandon those left in the building. The fire was too hot and the smoke too intense and no one could get back inside.
"The smoke was spreading so fast; we couldn't see through it. We couldn't see, but we could hear.” From the windows of the burning home the cries of her children and cousins filled the streets. “The cries were not just from my home, but from the neighbors' house too."
Paramedics arrived and evacuated some of the last who were rescued from the building. They braved the smoke and were able to rescue a few others before the entire building was engulfed in flames.
According to 48-year-old Adel Kdeih, the night was calm before the bombs hit. Now that he knows what it was, that it was phosphorous, "it just makes the situation that more horrible."
Kdeih came hurrying to the hospital to check up on his children injured by the phosphorous, but he also remembers how tired he was. He was in great shock, numb, when he told Ma'an how the "dozens of incendiary bombs fell on civilian houses."
"We could hear women and children screaming in fear," he says.
Many of the bombs fell on the courtyard of his house. "I hurried inside the house to wake up my twelve children. I was able to evacuate the house with the help of paramedics and others from the [Hamas-run] civil-defense team."
"When I was evacuating the house I saw a lot of houses and fields being burnt, too,” he recalls.
Dr Yousef Abu Ar-Reesh, the medical director at Nasser Medical Center, said more than 90 patients were brought in for burn treatments Sunday night.
"Most of them were skin burns, lacerations and deep wounds. A lot of them came in choking, unable to breathe," he explains.
He explained that as far as he can tell the Israeli army is using two kinds of bombs,"The first causes severe skin burns and leads to death, as with 41-year-old Hanan Al-Najjar here, and others."
"The second kind leads to suffocation, congestion, the inability to breathe.”
Dr Ar-Reesh said that he cannot confirm that the bombs are white phosphorus, since there are no specialized laboratories in Gaza. The eyewitness reports and the type of injuries he has seen in the hospital, however, worry him.
"What is certain” he said, “is that the Israeli government is using a new kind of bomb and explosives that Palestinian medics have never even heard of."
"Not even the Arab medical teams who just arrived can give us any support," he says.
The doctor pointed out that the wounds and burns are "terrible and horrific."
"And they can lead to death, as with Hanan Al-Najjar, who burned to death when a shell directly hit her body.”
When asked if Israel is deliberately using weapons that are illegal under international law for use against civilians, Dr Ar-Reesh chooses his words carefully: "I can't rule that out."
Monday, January 12, 2009
Date: 12 / 01 / 2009 Time: 21:30
Bethlehem – Ma’an – For the first time since Israel launched its massive air, sea and ground assault on the Gaza Strip, at least ten soldiers have opted for prison terms rather than going through with their deployment.
On "conscience’s grounds," the Israeli troops refused orders to head to the Gaza Strip, preferring a 14-day prison stint and rounding criticism from fellow soldiers and society at large.
At least ten are awaiting trial for violations of orders, saying they cannot go through with them.
No'em Levna, a first lieutenant in Israel's army, refused to serve in Gaza, saying, "We killed 900 Palestinians in 17 days, including hundreds of children."
"If violence must be used, it should be used minimally, and that isn't what’s happening," he added. "Killing innocent civilians cannot be justified. Nothing justifies this kind of killing. It’s devilish."
"It is Israeli arrogance based on logic. It’s saying, 'if we hit more, everything will be okay,'" he said. "But the hatred and anger we are planting in Gaza will rebound on us."
Friday, January 09, 2009
Date: 08 / 01 / 2009 Time: 14:16
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Teams from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) discovered “shocking” scenes, including four small children next to their dead mothers, when rescue workers gained access to the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza on Wendesday.
The Zaytoun area has been heavily shelled by the Israeli military since Saturday. Until Wednesday the Israeli military had made it impossible for medics to reach the area, ICRC said.
The ICRC, in an unusually harsh statement, is accusing the Israeli army of failing to fulfill its obligations to protect civilians in war.
When they finally gained access to the Zaytoun neighborhood, ICRC found another man alive, too weak to stand up. In all there were at least 12 corpses lying on mattresses.
In another house, the ICRC rescue teams found 15 other survivors of this attack including several wounded. In yet another house, they found an additional three corpses. Israeli soldiers posted at a military position some 80 meters away from this house ordered the rescue team to leave the area which they refused to do. There were several other positions of Israeli soldiers nearby as well as two tanks.
"This is a shocking incident," said Pierre Wettach, the ICRC's head of delegation for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. "The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded. Neither did they make it possible for us or the Palestine Red Crescent to assist the wounded."
Large earth walls erected by the Israeli army had made it impossible to bring ambulances into the neighborhood. Therefore, the children and the wounded had to be taken to the ambulances on a donkey cart. In total, the ICRC rescue team evacuated 18 wounded and 12 others who were extremely exhausted. Two corpses were also evacuated.
The ICRC was informed that there are more wounded sheltering in other destroyed houses in this neighborhood The ICRC said it would recover the remaining corpses on Thursday.
Friday, January 02, 2009
Dear all ,
It is not true to say " war between Hamas and Israel , It is Israeli terrorist occupation that have invaded and occupied Palestine since 1948 . I am eyewitness from Gaza , you may think that Hamas is a country has powerfull and great army , It is lies , Hamas and othere factions are trying to defend palestinians from the continuing masacres ,invasions,airstrikes.... Hey , Palestinian factions do not own tanks,warplanes ,warships and rockets ... They have homemade missiles , minds and simple weapons , they cannot do anything against Israeli great powerfull army , I think it is away to act our reaction to Israeli agressions and masacres against Palestinian civilians.
What are u waiting from Palestinians who live under complete siege , dailly killed and their houses destroyed .Are you waiting them to smile and thank Israelis ?!
Human who keeps sillent of Israeli masacres and Holocaust against Palestinian is main part of it .
UN: Israel committing "wanton aggression" in the Gaza Strip
New York - Ma'an/UN - The behavior by Israel in bombarding Gaza is simply the commission of wanton aggression by a very powerful state against a territory that it illegally occupies.
Time has come to take firm action if the United Nations does not want to be rightly accused of complicity by omission.
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 a university.
I remind all member states of the United Nations that the UN continues to be bound to an independent obligation to protect any civilian population facing massive violations of international humanitarian law - regardless of what country may be responsible for those violations.
I call on all member states, as well as officials and every relevant organ of the United Nations system, to move expeditiously not only to condemn Israel's serious violations, but to develop new approaches to providing real protection for the Palestinian people.
***H.E. Mr. Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann is president of the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. He issued this statement at UN Headquarters in New York on 27 December 2008.