Palestine: “In Gaza it's 9/11 every hour, every minute, everywhere”

In this post, a Gazan blogger far from home, seeing the death and destruction taking place there, asks, “Who was born in bloodied Gaza today?” And an Italian human rights activist describes a woman searching for her husband in the morgue, who recognised the wedding ring on his hand – all that was left of him.

Laila El-Haddad, who blogs at Raising Yousuf and Noor, reports what her parents are going through in Gaza:

“There is a complete black out in Gaza now. The streets are still as death.”
I am speaking to my father, Moussa El-Haddad, a retired physician who lives in Gaza City, on Skype, from Durham, North Carolina in the United States, where I have been since mid 2006 – the month Gaza’s borders were hermetically sealed by Israel, and the blockade of the occupied territory further enforced. […] Explosions are audible in the background. They sound distant and dull over my laptop’s speakers, but linger like an echo in death’s valley. They evoke terrifying memories of my nights in Gaza only 2 years ago. Nights that till this day haunt my 4 year old son – who refuses to sleep on his own.
“Can you hear them? Our house is shaking. We are shaking from the inside out.”
“Laila – your mother, she is terrified” he adds.
She comes to the phone. “Hello, hello dear,” she mutters, her voice trembling. “I had to go to the bathroom. But I’m afraid to go alone. I wanted to perform wudu’ before prayer but I was scared. Remember days when we would go to the bathroom together because you were too afraid to go alone?” she laughs at the thought – it seems amusing to her now, that I was scared to find my death in a place of relief; that she is now terrified of the same seemingly ridiculous scenario.

Then Laila thinks of her baby daughter:

It is Noor’s one year old birthday January 1. She will turn one. I cannot help but think – who was born in bloodied Gaza today?

Egyptian-German Philip Rizk, who blogs at Tabula Gaza, has posted a conversation he had on Skype with a friend in Gaza, where he used to work:

All around us is death, death, no one is driving, in my life I have never seen anything lie this. I could not have imagined anything like this
The media can only cover 10 or 15 locations, but its everywhere, while you are sleeping the ground is shaking like in an earthquake.
everything has finished in the country..we have enough flour for 4 or 5 days.. others don't have any
you can wait 8 or 9 hours to get one bag of bread at the bakery.. when they do open
Gaza doesnt have anything in it, only death, that is the only thing that is left, any moment you await death, they started calling people , if they target your neighbors, a car passes by you, you are gone, its a war.
last time I left the house was last wednesday
i hear attacks in the background
half of our neighborhood is funerals
death will reach everyone, you won't find a house where death has not entered in gaza
till now they have not killed hamas leaders, or military,
maybe this is the last time we talk, you may find us dead next time, it is likely in 5 minutes the electricity will cut.

Canadian human rights activist Eva Bartlett, blogs at In Gaza:

From on the ground here, and from hearing the accounts from 1st-hand witnesses, I would disagree that Israel is “targeting Hamas targets”. […] Let me give you some personal examples of mass-bombing, indiscriminate bombing, and the targeting of civilians: 8 men, including a father (age 55), 6 of his sons (ages 15 to mid-20s), and one friend (age 15) who were targeted by a missile from an Israeli drone yesterday at 5 pm while they attempted to return scrap metal to a metal workshop. This attack came one hour after an Israeli F-16 targeted the shop but hit the house next door, alleging the shop had missiles in it (it held oxygen tanks, for the work involved in a metal shop). The 8 dead were torn to pieces by the missile which targeted them. Yesterday also, 3 children were collecting firewood for cooking, as they have no cooking gas (because of Israel’s siege on Gaza, cooking gas being among the many banned materials which also include medicines, replacement parts for hospital equipment, building cement, and a very extensive list which I don’t have time to write at present but which is very well documented by the UN and other “objective” sources). The youths, ages 13 and 14, were in a small patch of olive trees collecting wood when a missile from a drone targeted them, killing one and seriously injuring the other two who are now in critical condition. It was between 11 am and noon. […] I am not sitting in a comfortable hotel room, I am visiting the sites, talking with the affected people. I am not cushioned from this, my ears also ring from the explosions, and I haven’t slept well in three nights. The explosions are extremely loud (that doesn’t suffice to describe it), and the drones and Apache helicopters and F-16s continue to circle over all areas of the Gaza Strip. I’d invite anyone who doubts the severity and seriousness of these ongoing attacks on Gaza to come here to witness this for yourself, to write your own balanced account, but of course that is impossible, because Gaza is under siege, all crossings are closed, and even the Free Gaza boat which brought me here was attacked this morning, rammed by Israeli naval vessels, and prevented from delivering needed medical supplies and bringing journalists to Gaza to report on the situation. I strongly disagree, and will never agree, that Israel is taking precautions to limit the number of civilian casualties.

Vittorio Arrigoni is an Italian human rights activist in Gaza who blogs at Guerrilla Radio:

Pare che non trovando più obbiettivi “sensibili”, l'aviazione e la marina militare si diletti nel bersagliare luoghi sacri, scuole e ospedali.
E’ un 11 settembre ad ogni ora, ogni minuto, da queste parti, e il domani è sempre una nuovo giorno di lutto, sempre uguale. Si avvertono gli elicotteri e gli aerei costantemente in volo, quando vedi il lampo, sei già spacciato, è troppo tardi per mettersi in salvo.
Non ci sono bunker antibombe in tutta la Striscia, nessun posto è al sicuro.
Non riesco a contattare più amici a Rafah, neanche quelli che abitano a Nord di Gaza city, spero perchè le linee sono intasate. Ci spero. Sono 60 ore che non chiudo occhio, come me, tutti i gazawi.

It seems that, not finding more “sensitive” targets, the air force and navy delight in targeting holy places, schools and hospitals.
It is September 11 every hour, every minute, everywhere, and tomorrow is always a new day of mourning, always the same. There are helicopters and aircraft constantly flying; when you see their lightning, you are already doomed, it is too late to get to safety.
There are no bunkers anywhere in the Strip, no place is safe.
I can no longer contact my friends in Rafah, not even those who live in the north of Gaza city, I hope because the lines are congested. I hope so. It is now 60 hours that Gazans’ eyes, like mine, haven't closed for some sleep.

Decine sono i dispersi, negli ospedali donne disperate cercano i mariti, i figli, da due giorni, spesso invano. E’ uno spettacolo macabro all'obitorio. Un infermiere mi ha detto che una donna palestinese dopo ore di ricerca fra i pezzi di cadaveri all'obitorio, ha riconosciuto suo marito da una mano amputata. Tutto quello che di suo marito è rimasto, e la fede ancora al dito dell'amore eterno che si erano ripromessi.

Dozens are missing, in the hospitals there are desperate women looking for their husbands, their sons, for two days, often in vain. It's a macabre sight at the morgue.
A nurse told me that after hours of searching amongst the pieces of the bodies at the morgue, a Palestinian woman recognised her husband from an amputated hand. That's all that remained of her husband, with his wedding ring still on as a token of the eternal love they swore to each other.


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