- Global Voices - https://globalvoices.org -

Palestine: The people of Gaza “trapped, traumatized, terrorized”

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Israel, Palestine, Breaking News, Humanitarian Response, International Relations, Refugees, War & Conflict

Israeli ground troops have moved further into the Gaza Strip, and naval, air and land bombardment has continued [1]. These are some of the blog posts that have come out of Gaza in the last 24 hours.

Prof. Said Abdelwahed, who teaches English at Al-Azhar University, writes at Moments in Gaza [2]:

Husain al-Aiedy is a Palestinian (58 years of age) lives to the east of Gaza city. He has been living in the same place for more than 25 years. His house is located in the middle of green fields. He is an UNRWA [3] employee. He is now in one room with 20 others of his family, and families of two of his brothers. They are packed in one small room without electricity, water, food or telephone! just nothing around him except a battlefield. Last night at 10:30p.m. Mr Al-Aiedy was caught in the middle of the fight and a shell landed in his house to injure five of his family! He has been appealing to have an ambulance to evacuate the injured but in vain. All appeals to send him an ambulance to evacuate the injured and if possible, the rest of the family, have failed so far! At a circle of more than one and half kilometers the Israeli army is in total control, thus no one can reach Mr Al-Aiedy except the Israelis! This situation needs an urgent humanitarian action by human rights organizations from anywhere! There is no electricity, water and a little food in Gaza. I am still taking the advantage of a generator that I operate by diesel to contact the world. Bombs fall like shower on us. Unfortunately, Mr Al-Aiedy is in the heart of the battle!

Dr. Mona El-Farra, currently out of Gaza, posts a message from Mohammed Fares El Majdalawi in Jabaliya, north of Gaza City [4]:

I want to write about suffering of my people and my family in these days. In my house we can't get basic needs such as, No foods, No bread, and Natural gas. Yesterday, my father went to bakery from 5 AM he waited 5 hours even to get one bundle of bread. This bread not can't enough for my family because consist of 11 members. But today I go to all bakeries. I can't find any loaf of bread due to be closed. We and my family cannot communicate with our relatives and friends because of the lack of the connecting network also every hour we have a martyr or even more because of the raining missiles on our homes, mosques and even hospitals. There is no safe place we can go to.

Canadian activist, Eva Bartlett, blogs at In Gaza [5]:

From the news office in central Gaza, I cannot believe the sounds of bombing, though they are targeting the area from which I’ve just come, as they did throughout the night. From here it sounds like…like a massive sledgehammer smashing this land, smashing to pieces. And from what I saw last night, and the wreckage today, it could’ve been. Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. The louder thuds rattle this building, as if being hit by a battering ram, though it is just the impact of the shockwaves from some kilometers away. Try to imagine how it is to actually be hundreds of metres from those blasts. […] What strikes me more now, more than the dismembered and burned corpses I saw two nights ago, more than the intensity of the missiles hitting all around us last night and the feeling that at any moment, Israeli special forces soldiers could enter shooting… was the panic on residents faces. Panic fleeing, panic trying to flag an ambulance for the wounded, the dead, panic even in the ambulance drivers and teams. They’ve seen a lot, many have done this work for a decade or more, but this is far, far worse than any have seen, or imagined, they tell me. In the morning light, as our ambulance tries to reach another wounded, I see new streams of women, children and men, carrying some few possessions. Two 8 or 9 year old children in one family clutch bags of bread. […] Osama, an EMT [6], calls to see where I am. We worked together two nights ago [7]. I’d thought I wouldn’t be there last night, was going to write instead. But the urgency prevailed and we went out. Osama asks where I am and I tell him, I’m writing, I have to tell people, they need to hear this, see this. If only you could hear this, smell this, feel the vibrations, taste the terror.

In another post she reports [8]:

I got a call 30 minutes ago, on a poor phone line, saying that Arafat is dead, killed while working by Israeli fire. He was one of the emergency medics I met two nights ago [7], compassionate, emotionally strong, and with an unabashedly wacky sense of humour. I’m more saddened by his death than I can express.

Sameh Habeeb, blogging at Gaza Strip, The Untold Story, reports [9]:

Medicine students are being called to the local hospitals to deal with the number of victims which is dramatically going up. In opposition of Israeli key target of thing hamas militants, most of victims are civilians and this is so obvious in Gaza hospitals. Around 10 militants [were] killed today and all the rest are normal people who have nothing to do with firing rockets and militants.

You can follow Sameh Habeeb on Twitter: twitter.com/Sameh_Habeeb [10]

Laila El-Haddad, who is currently in the United States, and blogs at Raising Yousuf and Noor, writes a post entitled “Trapped, Traumatized, Terrorized [11]“:

My father and I made simultaneous back to back appearances on CNN domestic and CNN international last night. My father spoke calmly, eloquently, in the pitch dark of besieged Gaza, with only the fire of Israeli bombs illuminating his world. His hands were trembling he confessed, as they lay on the floor of their home, where they moved their mattress far away from the windows, thunderous explosions ripping through the black sky all around them, lighting it up in enormous clouds of fire. […] My father last night tried to communicate a single message: We keep hearing that Israel is after Hamas; but WE are the targets here; Civilians are the targets here, not Hamas.
An entire refugee family in one fell swoop was killed this morning as they took cover in their home from Israeli fire. Their deaths do not make Israeli more secure. Their deaths will not stop rocket fire. 3 paramedics were also killed as they tried to rescue wounded Palestinians in northern Gaza. And now, AP reports that the Gaza phone network is on the brink of collapse. I do not know how much longer I will be able to communicate with my parents.

Egyptian-German Philip Rizk, who blogs at Tabula Gaza, has posted a text message he has received from his friend S. in Gaza [12]:

“I have decided not leave our house even if I die. All the people have decided this, we won't resettle again.”

Vittorio Arrigoni is an Italian activist blogging at Guerrilla Radio [13]:

Livni [14] dichiara al mondo che non esiste un’emergenza umanitaria a Gaza: evidentemente il negazionismo non va di moda solo dalle parti di Ahmadinejad. I palestinesi su una cosa sono d’accordo con la Livni, ex serial killer al soldo del Mossad, (come mi dice Joseph, autista di ambulanze): più beni alimentari stanno davvero filtrando all’interno della striscia, semplicemente perché a dicembre non è passato pressoché nulla, oltre la cortina di filo spinato teso da Israele. Ma che senso realmente ha servire pane appena sfornato all’interno di un cimitero? L’emergenza è fermare subito le bombe, prima ancora dei rifornimenti di viveri. I cadaveri non mangiano, vanno solo a concimare la terra, che qui a Gaza non è mai stata così fertile di decomposizione. I corpi smembrati dei bimbi negli obitori invece dovrebbero nutrire i sensi di colpa, negli indifferenti, verso chi avrebbe potuto fare qualche cosa. Le immagini di un Obama sorridente che gioca a golf sono passate su tutte le televisioni satellitari arabe, ma da queste parti nessuno si illude che basti il pigmento della pelle a marcare radicalmente la politica estera statunitense.

Livni declares to the world that there is no humanitarian emergency in Gaza; obviously denial is in fashion not only in Ahmadinejad's country. On one thing the Palestinians are in agreement with Livni, the ex-serial killer in the pay of the Mossad [15] (as Joseph, an ambulance driver, tells me): more food goods are really coming into the Strip, simply because in December almost nothing got in, beyond the curtain of barbed wire stretched by Israel. But realistically, what is the sense of serving freshly baked bread in a graveyard? The urgent need is to immediately stop the bombs, even before restocking with food. Corpses do not eat, they just fertilise the land, which here in Gaza has never been so fertile with decomposition. The dismembered bodies of children in morgues should instead nourish a sense of guilt in those who are indifferent, in those who could have done something. The images of a smiling Obama playing golf have been shown on all the Arab satellite stations, but here no one has the illusion that only skin colour will be able to radically affect U.S. foreign policy.