In spite of the continued attacks on Gaza, and the loss of electricity in many places, there are Gazan bloggers who are managing to write about what is going on. In addition, there are a number of foreign human rights activists in the Gaza Strip who are providing eyewitness accounts.
We start with a Gazan blogger who is actually in the United States at the moment. Laila El-Haddad, who blogs at Raising Yousuf and Noor, writes about what her parents are experiencing:
My parents live in the the city center, and the Israeli war planes attacked people and locations all around them. Over 50 “targets” by 60 warplanes, read the headlines in Haaretz. And over 220 killed – in broad daylight; in the after-school rush.
Like a movie tagline. Or a game. If you say it enough times, it does not sound real anymore: 50 targets, 60 warplanes, 200 people, 1 day.
All very sanitary. Very sleek. Neatly packaged: war in a gift-box.
“There is a funeral passing every minute. The bodies are piling up.” Gaza's air is saturated with the smell of burning human flesh. There is panic, as one would imagine dogs would panic in an overcrowded cell when several of their own are violently, abruptly killed. But dead dogs – in a cage, no less, would create an outcry.
Among the civilians killed, the mother of my good friends in Jabaliya. Every loss is atrocious, but it is more poignant when you see it or know the dead. […] Another international human rights activist and I spent last night with the family, not sleeping, crowded into a cold basement room made colder by opened windows, in hopes they would not shatter when the inevitable shelling re-commenced. Indeed, the front window, closest to the street and site of shelling hours later, did shatter.
The family worried that Israeli ground-troops might invade and occupy their home, as they did in March 2008, and so we stayed with them, in support, though they certainly are strong and have weathered many past terrible days alone. Mostly women and children, we rested fitfully, calling and texting those in other areas of Gaza with each new explosion, as the blasts continued from 11 pm on through the night. Apache helicopters circled above throughout the night, and the buzz of an Israeli drone could constantly be heard.
At 10:10 pm, a text from another international [activist], in Rafah: “Israelis just phoned on the land-line to say that every house with weapons is a target.” How Israel knows which houses have ‘weapons’ is one question, and what gives Israel the right to blanket bomb civilian areas is the greater question. In our house, 13 women, 3 men (including one elderly man), and 6 children under the age of 3, one more girl 14 years old. Should Israel decide to know the house has weapons, that’s 23 more civilians lost. […] I will update more when time and electricity allow. For now, I want to go to the home of my friends whose mother was killed, I want to pay my respects and to cry with them, for she was as gentle a woman as my own mother.
In another post, Eva Bartlett has written about the situation at Shifa hospital in Gaza City (please be aware that many of the images are disturbing).
Sameh A. Habeeb, who is a blogger and journalist in Gaza City, has also described the situation in hospitals:
Gaza hospitals announced inability of receiving the wounded due to lack of medical equipment and tools. Corpses of Palestinians were thrown on the corridors, rooms and units of hospitals. Meanwhile 2-3 wounded victims shared one bed due to lack of medical equipment, a result of the Israeli siege imposed 2 years ago. Basim Nai'm, Health Minster in Gaza said that Gaza medical sector needs tens of kinds of medical equipment and tools. A number of 70 wounded were referred to an Egyptian hospital.
Fida Qishta, who blogs at Sunshine, is a Palestinian ISM activist in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip:
Shortly before 7:00am local time, yet another Israeli missile strike hit the residential neighbourhood of Hi Alijnina in the southern Gaza town of Rafah. This time a pharmacy was targeted, totally destroying the building and causing severe damage to surrounding homes. Electricity lines were torn down during the blast and the street was littered with medicines. … Shocked residents poured into the streets, some still wearing pyjamas.
There are human rights activists from Lebanon, the UK, Poland, Canada, Spain, Italy and Australia currently in Gaza; many of them arrived with the Free Gaza movement's boats. Not all have blogs, but you can read their eyewitness accounts of events in Gaza at the Free Gaza website, and at the International Solidarity Movement website. There are photos of the aftermath of the attacks on Rafah at Rafah Today (once again, please be aware that the images are disturbing).