Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Atrocities in Gaza

Photo: In Solidarity at the Peace March

There is a solidarity protest rally scheduled in Calgary on Wednesday, December 31, 2008, at noon, in front of Calgary City Hall (800 Macleod Trail SE).

The following is a report from a source I personally trust within Palestine. I’ve omitted a few personal details to avoid identifying specific individuals to minimize chances of them being targeted for reprisal.

Over 287 people dead in Gaza. The massacre started on Shabbat, most stores are closed in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, no one driving, ya know its a holy Jewish day. I guess the Israeli Army is exempt from that and no day like Shabat to start murdering civilians.

287 dead, 700 + injured, and that’s just the people they have found. An international observer is reporting that the military is targeting first responders — they bomb a place and then re-bomb it 20 minutes later while folks like medics and other by-standers are trying to help the wounded and dig out bodies from the rubble, often they don’t last that much longer. The Israeli army is now amassing tanks at the Gaza border — why? This is a full scale invasion, this is not a defence attack — they are bombing the shit out of the cities and towns in Gaza, bombing the tunnels which were being used to smuggle in supplies during the Israeli blockade of the borders, they bombed a mosque earlier and the blast blew out all the windows in the neighbouring hospital. Reports have been coming in from the few remaining international observers that they are targeting houses and medical centre as well. In the testimony of one eye witness:
“I was woken by an incredibly loud explosion that felt like it was on top of us. We ran for the door, but the blast had welded it shut. The windows had been blown in so we crawled out through them. As we came on to the street, everyone was out. The medical centre next-door had been hit. Medical equipment was strewn over the road. Equipment here is so low anyway due to the Israeli siege, to see it wasted on the street was heartbreaking”
Jenny Linnel (Britain) International Solidarity Movement speaking from Rafah.
The bombings started yesterday, just as kids were coming home from school. There are so few hospitals, they are lacking equipment and medical supplies. There are not enough doctors, not enough beds, 35% of the injured in the hospitals are women and children. Several medical and pharmaceutical centres treating civilians were hit by Israeli missiles throughout the night, including Al-Shifa hospital and the pharmacy in Hi Alijnina, Rafah.

Last night thousands of Palestinian residents of Gaza were subjected to calls from the Israeli Ministry of Defence saying that “any house that has guns or weapons will be targeted next without further warning or any announcement.”

And the media is showing Israeli politicians saying they have no choice and Israeli civilians saying its about time that Israel “wipes out the terrorists, wipe them off the face of the earth”. Not necessarily the types of things you would expect to hear from the Jewish people, a people who once someone else thought would be a good idea to have wiped off the face of the earth. They are painting a picture that it is all Hamas’ fault, the Israeli government is pulling some fucked up shit by saying that “sorry people of Gaza, we don’t mean to hurt you, but you understand that really Hamas is hurting you, we are your friends, you brought this on yourself, oh bad bad Hamas” — Are you fucking kidding me?

Israel speaks of Hamas not wanting to renew the cease fire — why would they? Israel never really stopped the shut down of Gaza, so why would Gazans hold up their end of the bargain? Food and medicine supplies blocked, borders shut. They’ve been relegated to an open air prison, stuck between sea and a hostile military, how does peace grow in that climate? The lies coming out of the Israeli government and military is sickening to anyone living here or who has been here long enough to see the bullshit, baiting and injustice of it all. And at the end of the day, the Israeli government is talking combat and freaking out its people with warnings of Hamas retaliation, but actions speak louder than words and at the end of the day, you still have 287 dead and 700 wounded in Gaza, as well as some casualties from demonstrator clashes in the West Bank, and 1 Israeli is dead and 6 injured.

My friend gets a text message from her friend in Gaza, a 23 year old Palestinian girl. The text message reads: “There are shelz everywhere. So many dead. I dont know where my family is. The bombs won’t stop. Its horrible here.”

The Palestinian Authority is for shit — Abbas has shown over and over again that he and the PA aren’t willing to stand up for the people and seem to be taking some pretty serious direction from Israel — they don’t even have the courage to speak out against Israel as they murder their own people. Abbas is a puppet, put in power to inoculate the Palestinian resistance, that’s what I’m hearing here from a lot of people in the West Bank. The PA in the West Bank has been slowly extinguishing resistance here, arresting fighters, disarming the populace, which normally I’d be for, but when it’s just to make them easier targets for the Israeli Army, that’s just insane and shows they’ve full on sold out and forsaken their people in the interest of power.

The Israeli Foreign Minister says Israel has tried everything to calm the region...I guess when “everything” which means blockading Gaza and keeping people from freedom of movement, food, family and terrorizing them fails to achieve “peace” (or maybe surrender?) then you move on to full on bombing them to shit? The saddest thing is folks in Gaza have nowhere to go, nowhere to fucking flee — the Israelis have the border locked down, the Egyptians are letting only the injured through, and the tanks are rolling in and the fighter planes keep coming.

And the whole world keeps condemning Hamas and justifying Israeli action — justifying a massacre on a people and country that had already been terrorized and fucked with far too much. They don’t seem to understand that all their talk of hitting hard at terrorists misses the obvious point that terrorism is the collective punishment of a people for its government, and that is what Israel, and all countries that stand with Israel and do nothing to stop the killing, do. Oh yeah, and big change YES WE CAN Barack Obama who speaks of peace and change is golfing in Hawaii as the folks in Gaza are being blown to shit, holding back his comments, not so outspoken when it counts, but we know where he stands from past statements of how the USA will find better ways to export military equipment to Israel and to continue to support Israel’s right to “defend itself”.

In the West Bank, shit is strange. Yesterday, there were some clashes as demonstrators marched to the major checkpoints. Burnt tires, some injuries. In Hebron and Nilin, things have been the worst — live ammunition has been used in both places in clashes between army and protesters. In some cases, like in Hebron, the Palestian Authority fired on its own people,shooting 2 men. A friend of mine gets a text message from another International Solidarity Movement volunteer in Hebron, in the West Bank, where shit is getting fierce between Palestinians protesting in solidarity. The Palestinian Authority opens fire, with live ammunition on the protesters, on their own fucking people — shows where their loyalty is or who is owning their ass. He writes of seeing the two men shot, one right next to him, and of then being pushed around by Palestinian Authority Police as they take his camera away. In Nilin, the village where there have been some strong protests against the Israeli Separation Wall, 2 people were shot, 1 is now dead and 1 remains in critical condition.

In Nablus, things have been eerily quiet, especially for since it’s known as a fighter city. There have been some demonstrations, but no one is confronting the soldiers, no stone throwing, nothing fierce. Today there was a demo, which ended as people marched to a local hospital to give blood, hoping it would somehow make its way to Gaza although many not sure it would. There have been some clashes in the nearby villages of Azzun and Jayous, the young men (the Shabab) throwing stones, the Israeli military closing off the villages.

Sitting in a relatively peaceful place while good people are being killed feels like a hole being punched in my chest, especially every time the phone rings and new news comes in. …

In the end, with the world leaders, including the full on lame that is the Arab League, holding the rink and Israel proudly declaring that “this is only the beginning”, there is only despair, anger, frustration, shock and horror here in Palestine, as well as in the hearts of Israeli people who are standing in solidarity with the people of Gaza. In Tel Aviv last night there was a demonstration called immediately after the bombings started where 500 people turned out. It’s also hopeful to see people standing in solidarity with the people of Gaza from all over the world, and standing fierce, cuz candlelight vigils aren’t going to cut it on this one. It brings a lot of hope to people here that people are getting feisty and furious in London, Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen, Iran and Iraq (and elsewhere I hope).

If you are wondering what you can do, organize solidarity demonstrations in your cities and towns, attend ones that are already happening, help the truth get out there and refuse to buy the full on lies coming from the media (unless its Al Jazeera cuz they are actually doing some pretty fine reporting on this one), boycott all Israeli goods, and call your Prime Minister or President and demand they take action to stop the Israeli invasion and massacre in Gaza immediately.

If you are interested in some good sources of what’s happening on the ground...
In the 20 minutes it took me to write this, the death toll in Gaza went up to 292 people, and by the time you receive it, it probably will have risen a lot more.

Thanks for reading (sorry if it was too long)

DECEMBER 29th morning — Death Toll up to more than 300 people with now over 1400 wounded!

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