Palestine: “The earthquake in Gaza is unnatural, it's called Israel”

Gaza's bloggers describe welcoming in 2009 with the sound of F16s and “special fireworks”, and a foreign activist explains why she has no intention of leaving.

Adham Khalil from Jabaliya Camp, who blogs at Free Free Palestine, posts a text message he received with special greetings:

Ibrahim a friend sent me a message on my mobile said : look outside .. F16 warplanes are smiling for you, missiles are dancing for you, “Zanannaa” the discovery planes are singing for you, because I have requested them all wishing you “Happy New Year”

Mohammed Ali, who works for Oxfam UK, writes on the Oxfam blog from his home in Gaza City:

Around midnight, Israeli jets hit the Palestinian Legislative Council building, 1km away from my home. Needless to say, we were not celebrating this entry into the New Year. I received calls from friends in Europe telling me that in solidarity with Gazans, they were not going to celebrate. I pleaded with them to go out, and to enjoy themselves because they could. My friend in France called to say that she was thinking about my family, in the background I could hear the sounds of fireworks exploding, people laughing and celebrating. At the same moment, the sounds of explosions shook my home and my children cried out. I felt both happy and sad. Happy because I knew that there were people outside of Gaza who had not forgotten about us, sad thinking of all the Gazans who would be spending this New Year shaking from fear in their homes, mourning their loved ones. I asked myself, do we not deserve to be happy and enjoy the New Year as much as any other human?

Natalie Abou Shakra is a Lebanese activist who posts at the group blog Moments of Gaza. She writes:

The first day of the New Year… our gift…? since 11p.m. of the last day of 2008 till around 6 a.m. of the early hours of 2009, the Israelis sent us special fire works made in the US (not all though!)… they circumscribed our house with those very special fireworks… of course, like the rest of the world, we were not asleep.. we were awake…

Prof. Said Abdelwahed, who teaches English at Al-Azhar University, also posts at Moments in Gaza:

It's totally dark. More than 80% of the Gaza city is covered by utter darkness. One cannot see his finger in the dark! Meantime, outside, there are drones buzzing overhead, choppers roaming in the sky. Inside again, children are unwilling to go to bed despite their bed time! They are fearful of nightmares, bad dreams, bombing, explosions, and what not! The routine sounds of the air craft has been going on for more than six days and nights. And when it suddenly disappears… BANG … continuous bangs! … series of explosions. … other horrible explosions. … blasts … flames in the distance. … children jump up from their beds. Scared … frightened. … anxious … they do not know what to do! They want to hide anywhere, but there is nowhere to go too? It sounds like the bang was under their mattresses. What to do again? Just nothing but wait! How can you convince your child to wait? And to wait for what? Next, one hears ambulances sirens and fire brigades. Thus, one comes back to himself to realize that he is in Gaza and he is operating a small generator to write this message to the world in the new year 2009.

Vittorio Arrigoni is an Italian activist blogging at Guerrilla Radio:

Il nuovo anno è subentrato a quello vecchio con gli stessi auspici di morte e desolazione, elevati alla massima potenza distruttiva. Mai viste così tante bombe crollare attorno a casa mia, dinnanzi al porto. Un’ esplosione a meno di 100 metri , ha scosso violentemente i 7 piani del mio palazzo, facendolo oscillare come un pendolo impazzito. Per un momento abbiamo temuto venisse giù, i vetri delle finestre sono scoppiati tutti. Momenti di panico, ho pregato iddio che il nostro edificio fosse stato costruito con criteri antisismici, ben conscio della mia effimera illusione, Gaza poggia su di una striscia di terra che non trema. Il terremoto qui è innaturale, si chiama Israele.

The new year has succeeded the old one with the same auspices of death and desolation, elevated to maximum destructive power. I haven't seen this many bombs land around my house by the port before. An explosion less than 100 metres away violently shook the seven floors of my building, making it swing like a crazy pendulum. For a moment we feared it would come down; all the window panes shattered. There were moments of panic, and I prayed to God that our building had been built earthquake-proof, well aware of my momentary illusion. Gaza sits on a strip of land that does not have tremors. The earthquake here is unnatural, it's called Israel.

Laila El-Haddad, who blogs at Raising Yousuf and Noor, is in touch with her parents in Gaza every day:

When the bombs are dropped around them, they send me a quick note to inform me of what happened before running to safety. I am still not sure where “safety” is; and neither, I think, do they. It is perhaps more a mental state and place than a physical one. In any other situations, people flee to where they perceive are safer locations. In Gaza, there is no “safe”. And there is nowhere to flee to, with the borders closed, the sky and sea under siege.

Safa Joudeh has posted at the group blog Lamentations-Gaza:

I've had a lot of time to contemplate, the last few days, and looking at my siblings, I wonder how the rest of the world envisions the people who occupy the most despondent and unruly military zones in the world. My younger brothers spend their free time out with their friends, or playing basketball and soccer at youth clubs. They are passionate about sports, play station, and music. They play the guitar and are exceptional students. My brother who's in college is obsessed with computers and gadgets, he's an engineering student who comes up with the most ingenious projects for his classes. He listens to music and plays the guitar and prays regularly. He's an honor student who has big goals and big dreams. So please understand why I am infuriated when I see how we are portrayed on television. Hordes of bearded, teeth-gnashing, stone throwing blood thirsty savages in rags and tatters. […] I wonder if people would as easily accept the unsubstantiated claims that the engineering faculty building of the Islamic university, which has been flattened during the attacks, was a workshop that produced qassams, if they had seen my brother's reaction. When he came back from a walk to the university building the next day, his face was white as a sheet and he had tears in his eyes. “It's all gone he said, even the project (electric car) we've been working on all semester.” We'd seen pictures, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Did he seriously have any hope that the car had survived?

Fida Qishta, who blogs at Sunshine, is a freelance journalist, filmmaker and activist who lives in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip:

For the last year and a half the Israeli government has intensified the economic blockade of Gaza by closing all the border crossings that allow aid and essential supplies to reach Palestinians in Gaza. This forced Palestinians to dig tunnels to Egypt to survive. Israel continued talking about a military operation in the Gaza Strip, until the madness of war became inevitable for the both sides. And since it began, hundreds of Gazans have been killed. I don’t know how other people around the globe think. Did you think to be honest with yourself once to understand the truth? A handmade Palestinian rocket jeopardizes Israeli security, but the Israel’s scary F16 rockets, missiles, and the tanks don’t jeopardize Palestinian security! Israel’s military operation makes Palestinian blood fall like rain.

Canadian activist, Eva Bartlett, blogs at In Gaza, and is not planning to leave:

Approximately 435 internationals [non-Palestinians] are said to have left, from what journalists have told me, but I have no intention of doing so, we have no intention of doing so. Here are some reasons why we stay: Israel not only controls who is unable to leave Gaza, but who is unable to enter Gaza. Since November 4, Israel has banned foreign journalists from entering Gaza, making a minor exception for a few days in early December. At present, with the over 420 dead, over 2,100 injured and the many civilian homes and buildings destroyed, there is an urgent need for foreign journalists. […] 1.5 million Palestinians throughout the Gaza Strip are unable to run from, escape from, these illegal attacks. My life, internationals’ lives, are no more important than Palestinians’ lives. We will stay on during their suffering, in solidarity and to document the illegal acts Israel is doing, the war crimes Israel clearly does not want the world to see, to understand, and is preventing journalists from reporting. To see, to understand, means to stop Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, its contravention of international humanitarian law and international law.


  • Donald Parsons

    I am:agnostic, white, 61 yrs old, married, 3 sons, against war of almost all kinds, Vietnam Vet. medic, and nurse. I believe the holocaust is real, I believe Hamas and other Muslim factions hate and want to see the Jewish state wiped off the face of the earth. I believe that the majority of Palestiniens are normal hard working people, who want only to raise their families and enjoy peace again. The american press only says that Israel only responds because of the Hamas rockets. No one seems to question whether Israel is doing anything to provoke these attacks. My question is , is the american press reporting the truth, what they know as the truth or is it propaganda. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Jews have every right to defend themselves, especially since they are surrounded by potential enemies. However, are they doing hedious things behind the scenes, and if so , are the things justified?

    Thanks in advance, I am looking forward to any reponses. Don Parsons

    • Steve Wilks

      The “Jews” as you put it are actually Zionist Jews, they are fighting for the “Jewish cause” which came about in the last century. The link is to a video providing some history.

      After you watch it you will understand why Arabs should hate Zionist Israeli Jews, and why we all should dislike this fact that they are allowed to do such genocide and get away with it.

      To a Muslim, life is a test for every human being. I wonder when see all these atrocities why am I allowed to live safe and sound while others have to suffer so harshly. What have they done to deserve such a harsh test of life.

      There a lots of videos linking Israel to many things to do with war, violence, hate towards Arabs. Googlevideo has a lot of free material exposing truth against these Israeli Zionists, Youtube has loads. Type in google: Anti-Neocons. It shud be the 1st link. Tpye in google video Freedom to fascism. The 1 I most envy is – This is I appreciated most because I was led to believe that Al-Quaeda actually did it by the Zionist controlled Media.

      4% of US population are Zionist Jews (or Israeli Lobbyists) That 4% Influence the other 96% that war without justification is OK through the use of Media and governmental positions in which they hold. American moneymakers are Jewish. I used to wonder where they get their funding from, now I know its through that 4% that Israel gets aid for the “Jewish Cause” and the same 4% rule most of the Government positions. The American High supreme (the very top) court is also Jewish (Zionist)

      I say Zionist because there are money Jews against the ideas of a Zionist, but these Jews are silenced by the media. In Israel, people who drop out from the Army (they have the highest rate) are tortured, locked up and called traitors.

      Thanks for not looking to TV news media for your guidance.

      Steve Wilks

  • […] Palestine: “The earthquake in Gaza is unnatural, it’s called Israel” Global Voices Online – Cambridge,MA,USA by Ayesha Saldanha Gaza’s bloggers describe welcoming in 2009 with the sound of F16s and “special fireworks”, and a foreign activist explains why she has no … […]

  • Nathan

    I hate to tell you it’s propaganda. Bush wants us to hate Muslims like Hitler to jewish people. I don’t trust Bush until he leaves.

  • […] January 3, 2009 by Intern in Israel Israel & Palestine II Damnation, Indeed “The earthquake in Gaza is unnatural, it’s called Israel.” Following Gaza from Afar “We are all Hamas” Israel’s New Year Gift Former Hamas […]

  • Manus

    To say that Hamas broke the ceasefire is simply an outright lie and a flagrant distortion of the truth. Many months ago there was a debate about the Israeli blockade of Gaza on “Global Voices” and our friends from Israel were nowhere to be seen.
    Israel is a nuclear power and the military super-power in the region. Also, Israel is the 6th undeclared permanent member of the United Nations. The Israeli use of sophisticated weapons against occupied civilian highly populated urban concentrations is nothing but a war crime. After the strangulation of the Palestinian population for many years, and starving them, these glorified fireworks were a scream for help. The cynical Israeli response was to open the crosses for 2 days then unleash these coward barbaric attacks on people that cannot respond with anything but these very inaccurate primitive home-made fire-crackers. Whereas western media reports these events as a response to Palestinian rocket attacks, they fail to highlight the plight of the Palestinian people and represent the sequence of events leading to these desperate rocket attacks. Also, the use of words like “missiles” is not only misleading but seems to me a misrepresentation of the inexistent treat they truly represent. This is propaganda at its best. The situation is created by Israel not just responding to it and if the Israelis wanted peace as they claim the solution is very simple. The destruction of Gaza has nothing to do with Hamas. Israel will accept no authority in the Palestinian territories that it does not ultimately control. Any individual, leader, faction or movement that fails to accede to Israel’s demands or that seeks genuine sovereignty and the equality of all nations in the region; any government or popular movement that demands the applicability of international humanitarian law and of the universal declaration of human rights for its own people will be unacceptable for the Jewish State. It is that simple. This Israeli ethnocratic theocracy with Universal Suffrage will stop at nothing to realise their biblical aspirations of full land judaisation dreams and the total inhalation of any real Palestinian authority. The question that remains is what will Israel deem necessary to eradicate a militarily inexistent treat?!!

  • Manus_By By TED HONDERICH:

    @Donald Parsons

    It is said truth is the first casualty of war. It is rather the first casualty of inhumanity. You have to lie, maybe to yourself as well, when your are engaged in inhumanity. You wouldn’t have to lie about a war that really was right.

    By Zionism I mean the founding and actually necessary defence of the state of Israel in roughly its 1948 boundaries. It was justified by the Holocaust in the past and is justified by the existence of a Jewish homeland now. By neo-Zionism I mean the taking from the suffering Palestinians, the only indigenous people of historic Palestine, at least their autonomy in the last fifth of their homeland.

    A decent humanity, the Principle of Humanity, ultimately justifies Zionism. It condemns neo-Zionism absolutely. There aren’t two sides to the story of a real rape.

    The neo-Zionist government of Israel says that in attacking the democracy of Gaza it is doing no more than engaging in self-defence. It is saving lives of its own citizens from rocket attacks.

    That is not its aim. If that were its aim, Israel would achieve it immediately by embracing the solution to the Palestinian problem, in no way complex. It would give up neo-Zionism. It would withdraw, without negotiation, from the remaining homeland of another people.

    The preponderant aim of neo-Zionism in Gaza now is neo-Zionism. It is that vicious selfishness. It is that semitism on a level with anti-semitism and now beginning to be comparable in effects. The state of Israel has no moral right to pursue its preponderant aim in Gaza.

    That is not quite all. In its neo-Zionism, Israel has no moral right to defend itself against the rockets used against it. Whatever the instincts of human nature, it has no more right to defend itself against them than Hitler Germany had a right to defend itself and its death camps.

    What Israel is engaged in is not even war. For a war, in the connotation of the term that is necessary, including necessary for propaganda, you need two sides comparable in power. What is happening in Gaza now is something else.

    It is the Palestinians who have had, and now have, a moral right to their terrorism, their justified self-defence against neo-Zionism, in all of historic Palestine. The argument for that proposition, partly on the basis of the Principle of Humanity, is now easier.

  • Janice

    To say that Palestine broke the ceasefire is a lie because cmon, whose the one that caused the blockade. What Isreal is doing right now is not against hammas, but rather against palestine because if it were in fact against hammas, why is it that so many civilians are now dead?

  • Janet

    Palestine is not at fault.
    The media is wack.
    How do you expect innocent ppl to react when theyre seiged?
    Even w out fancy weapons, Isreal has always caused for Palestinians to die and suffer.

    Hammas is not a terrorist group. Just like Isreal claims theyre defending their ppl, well Palestine isint only defending their ppl but trying to get their land back.
    The land they once had, before 1948 when Isreal came into the picture.

    They have just been violating international laws, and massacring Palestinians. For you to say that Palestinians want Isreal to get wiped off the map isint entirely true. They just dont want them in that specific part of the map, cause thats where Palestine belongs.

    If you are smart you will understand that Palestinians just want their land back. For ex; when Isreal left Gaza in 2005, that was a start they were happy. But damn, Isreal keeps on occupying. Causing blockades, allowing nothing in or out. Thats flat out wrong. and this is what ppl dont understand. The second they closed the borders, (borders there are not suppose to be controlling) thats when the ceasefire ended right there.

    How else do you expect the Palestinians to react. You are controlling their lives.
    They deserve freedom, rights, food water electricity.

    This is terrible, when ppl even try to defend Isreal’s actions; it outrages me because how can you? Theres no exuse. Oh “Hammas”? Spare me. Spare me. Spare me. Maybe the americans and Isreal believe that and fall for it, but hundreds of thousands of ppl, white, black, arab and even jew, are protesting.

    Free Palestine once and for all, dont listen to the mediam they love to remix facts.


    Israel veut la guerre et elle la trouve, mais demain que trouvera elle??? I LOVE PALESTINE MY FRIEND AND VIVA PALESTINIA !

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