Using generators for power when necessary, a number of Palestinians and foreign activists are still managing to send out reports on what is happening in the Gaza Strip. Here are some of the blog posts of the last 24 hours.
Prof. Said Abdelwahed, who teaches English at Al-Azhar University, writes at Moments of Gaza:
Today was a ground offensive. […] Many civilians died in the bombing of areas at the edges of Gaza city. Electricity and water are still major problems for all Gazans. I am still operating a generator to be able to write those messages in minutes! Mobile phones are paralyzed and land telephones are static or distorted and other times, it is clear! An air raid nearby minutes back; we do not know where it was but it was so frightening. They hit a nearby building! Its three building away from me; there are casualties! Israeli aircrafts are throwing down lighting bombs or perhaps it they are lights for military purposes. Israel intercepted Al-Aqsa satellite channel several times. They broadcasted anti-Hamas material. I will be back if could!
Natalie Abou Shakra, a Lebanese activist, also blogs at Moments of Gaza:
they're using new weaponry … very frightening… as it goes through the air… you hear it very close to you… it's going to come, it's going to kill me, now now now… that's what you think of… it's terrifying… i admit not to care… i have gotten used to the old weaponry… now i have to get used to this one too… i cannot describe in words to you the extent of its terror… like a rocket being projected onto you… and the sound… the sound of a plane in the air coming towards you… magnifying its sound the closer it gets… then it passes above our heads… we are all on the floor
Laila El-Haddad, whose parents are in Gaza, blogs at Raising Yousuf and Noor:
We've heard about the flyers the Israeli army is littering Gaza with – telling people Hamas is to blame for their woes, not their f-16s and cluster bombs. Now, they have taken to robo-calling the citizens of Gaza a la Hilary Clinton, at all times of the night and day. My father has received a number of calls – including one as we finished another CNN interview, and we were on skype. He tried to put the phone on speaker for me. The rough translations: “urgent message: warning to the citizens of Gaza. Hamas is using you as human shields. Do not listen to them. Hamas has abandoned you and are hiding in their shelters. Give up now…”
He hung up in disgust, not wanting to hear the rest. The army has also been calling people to let them know their houses will be targeted. People have stopped answering their phones now, and do not take calls from unknown numbers from fear.
Sharon is an activist who blogs at Tales to Tell, and like many of the international activists in Gaza, is doing what she can to assist ambulance workers:
7.30: Ambulances called out. We are unable to pass a huge crater in the road into which a car has already nosedived. Taking the long way round, we collect a man in traditional dress, in his 60s, from what seems to be his family farm. He is bleeding from the face and very frightened. On the way to Karmel Adwan hospital a particularly close explosion rocks the van. I mustn’t have jumped enough, because the driver mimes “did you hear that?” to me. I am beginning to realise Palestinians are fond of rhetorical questions, such as “how do you find Gaza at the moment?”
10.55: We leave Al Shifa to head back to the Jabalia Centre. There is coffee. Mo makes a coffee sandwich, which is just weird. There is a pause in the calls. Hassan asks me about my book, “Nature Cure”; I explain it is about an ecologist’s route out of depression. “People get depressed in the West?” he asks in surprise. Understanding how implausible that must sound right now, I say that many people get caught up in a life that mainly holds work and buying stuff, and without some sort of meaning – religion, or the dream of your land being free, or something like that, people can get very lost.
“Actually Israel is trying to force us into a meaningless life like this,” he says. “Like, sometimes I feel that all that really matters to me right now is a kilo of gas. I built a stove for my family and I feel like I did something amazing.”
In another post she tells us:
We asked the Jabalia Red Crescent admin person how much of the emergency calls Israel is not letting them go to. These are in areas where co-ordination must be made with the invading forces via the Red Cross to enter. He said they are not being allowed to attend to about 80% of the calls from the north, covering the Beit Lahia, Beit Hanoun, and Jabalia area. Shall I repeat that? 80%. Eight of ten people calling for help are being prevented from receiving it.
Canadian activist, Eva Bartlett, blogs at In Gaza:
The numbers slaughtered and injured are so high now – 521 and 3,000 as of this morning, Gaza time — that sitting next to a dead or dying person is becoming normal. The stain of blood on the ambulance stretcher pools next to my coat, the medic warning me my coat may be dirtied. What does it matter? The stain doesn’t revolt me as it would have, did, one week ago. Death fills the air, the streets in Gaza, and I cannot stress that this is no exaggeration. Back in Gaza city briefly, after a day and night again with the medics, I’ll try to summarize, though there is too much to tell, too much incoming news, and it’s too hard to reach people, even those just a kilometer away. Before dropping me off, the medics had gone to different gas stations, searching for gas for the ambulances. Two stations, no luck. Some at a final source fills their tanks. The absence of gas is critical. So is the absence of bread, which goes on, the lines longer than ever yet. A text tells me (at this point I have to rely on news from phone and text messages, when reception is available) that the UN says 13,000 have been displaced since these attacks, that 20% of the dead are women and children, 70 % are without drinking water. There are many more facts to sober one drunk on apathy, but I can’t source or share them now.
Safa Joudeh writes at Lamentations-Gaza:
Israel has come into our homes, is fighting us in our streets and is expressing its brutality against us in full force. How do we react? All Palestinian factions have united and are out facing the enemy, using all the military capabilities that they collectively have. Although these capabilities are incomparable to the military strength exerted by Israel, yet it has made us more certain than ever that Palestinians will fight to the very end to protect their own. It has shown us that resistance, courage and love are an integral part of the Palestinian identity that will never change despite all the hardships we endure. It has given us a moral boost, which comes at a time when we need it most. […] It's hard even to remember a time when basic necessities such as food, water, warmth and daylight weren't a luxury. At this point, bare human instinct is at work, the need to protect your loved ones, the need to ensure shelter and the instinct of fight or flight. We have fled for too long, Gaza is our last refuge and our home after we were displaced from what is now called Israel. All this happened but 60 years ago. What more could they want? We have nowhere left to go. Now is a time when all forms of resistance are legitimate. They have disregarded every single international law there is. So now is the time to fight.
RafahKid makes a plea:
Please…before everyone in Gaza is dead…perhaps try to understand that Hamas is a symptom….not a cause….the Occupation is the cause….the lack of a settlement for the forcible removal of people from their land….this is the cause…Hamas is a symptom….and the US doesn't like governments it doesn't choose. No electricity…no outgoing calls. Darkness and it's raining fire. The children are screaming.
Mutasharrid (‘homeless person’ or ‘vagrant’) is in Khan Younis, and is angry:
غزة لا تبحث عن إسبرين لجرحها الراعف يا أصدقاء ، غزة لا تبحث عن ضمادة بالية لنزيفها المستمر ، ما يؤلم غزة بل يقتلها أكثر من الصواريخ هو أصواتهم ، أصوات كل شخص يرتدي بدلة رسمية وربطة عنق ويتحدث عن غزة ، تودّ لو تصرخ بوجههم قبل الطائرات : توقفوا .. صوتكم جارح وألعن حِدّة من صمتكم ، فإصمتوا .. رحمة بنا ، إصمتوا قليلا ..
Gaza is not searching for an aspirin for its bloody wound, my friends, Gaza is not searching for a bandage for its continuous bleeding. What hurts Gaza, indeed kills it more than rockets, are their voices: the voice of every person wearing a suit and tie speaking about Gaza. You wish you could scream in their faces, before the aircraft, “Stop! Your voice is wounding and is damned sharper than your silence, so stay silent… Have mercy on us, stay silent a little while…”
Exiled (المنفي) says simply:
I am off till the end of this Massacre
Pray 4 us
A blog called Harm to civilians during the fighting in Gaza and Southern Israel has been set up by Israeli human rights groups to document events that are not being covered by the media.