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Palestine: “In Gaza our future is almost destroyed”

In this roundup of blogposts from Gaza we hear from a teenager who just lost her friend and is scared for her own life, about a medical worker who was killed as he went to save someone, and from a man who asserts his lack of political affiliation: “I'm not Fatah, not Hamas. I like vodka.”

Two days ago, Australian activist Sharyn Lock mentioned the death of a particular teenager:

Our local colleague Mo told us of a teenager from his youth group who died yesterday. 16-year-old Christian girl, Christine Wade'a al Turk, died of a heart attack brought on by a severe asthma attack, resulting from the stress of the ongoing strikes.

Now on Lamentations-Gaza we hear from Nour Kharma, a ninth-grade student, and friend of Christine:

Today is the eighth day of this horrible war. To me yesterday was the worst day of all. When I woke up in the morning one of my friends called, his voice was very weird and when I asked how
was he. He was like “fine, but have you got any news about some of your friends?” I was really scared, and asked him what's wrong? He told me Christine died. I was in a big shock, and till now I don't
believe it. I threw the phone and started crying. I called some of my friends to make sure, and all of them were sad about her. She has been my friend for almost four years and we used to go to school and to the YMCA together. I'm sad, afraid, and worried at the same time, because she could've been my sister. I feel very sorry for her and her family.
Her parents did the best they can do, but it wasn't enough so the result was dying. What if my parents couldn't protect me and give me the support I need…will I die too?
What I can say now is that my future is almost destroyed. An Israeli rocket hit my school this morning, and the school was destroyed completely. I really can't imagine how come they're bombing religious and educational places such as mosques, schools, and universities (etc…) […] HELP US BECAUSE WE'RE ALL HUMAN BEINGS!!

Dina Hazem posts at the group blog Moments of Gaza:

I have just got back from the hospital. I can only wish that I did not go there…i cannot describe to you what kind of scene it was: the wounded were everywhere…some are even being treated on the floor..in the corridors…it is way over capacity…and every minute another wounded comes in…and another and another…and the worst part is that most of them are children. The cries of children do not stop throughout the hospital not for one minute. And the wounds are not just any wounds…hands chopped, faces covered with blood and victims bleeding from different places. Around me were 3 mothers crying out loud at the loss of their sons and daughters…finding no one to ask for help but God and only God himself…the looks of their helpless but angry eyes…weak but traumatized faces…make me wonder what kind of life they will be living for the next days or months or
years…if they ever get to live. No one is being spared in Gaza.
Everyone and I mean everyone is a target. It is not a daily trauma. It is a trauma by the hours..and the minutes. The scene alone made me feel hopeless and desperate enough to wish to die, rather than live in constant frustration and trauma.

In his latest report, Palestinian photojournalist Sameh Habeeb says:

Note: I might stop reporting either if I die or I flee my home. Shells rain down beside my house now. Pray for me…Pray for Me….

Canadian activist Eva Bartlett describes the killing of an emergency medical worker:

A good, brave, and very funny man was killed yesterday as he loaded the body of a civilian twice-killed into an ambulance. Emergency medical workers, Arafa Hani Abd al Dayem, 35, and Alaa Ossama Sarhan, 21, had answered the call to retrieve Thaer Abed Hammad, 19, and his dead friend Ali, 19, who had been fleeing the shelling, when they were themselves hit by an Israeli tank's shell. […] A science teacher by profession, Arafa had volunteered as an emergency medic for 8 years.
He was delightful, warm, had a nice singing voice, and was not at all shy about being silly. I remember him stomping ridiculously around the now-vacated Jabaliya PRCS office (Israeli soldiers have taken over the area) saying he was hungry, very hungry, and chomping down on the bread and cheese that we had for a meal. I had the privilege of working one night with Arafa, of seeing his professionalism and his
humanity. “He wanted to die like that, helping our people,” Osama, a fellow medic told me. Not a martyr complex, so engineered by living with death, occupation, invasions, humiliation, and injustice for so
long, but a dedication to his work, to people. His killing has since been followed by those of 3 more emergency medics.

And in another post she tells
us
:

S. asks me the question every Palestinian is asking: “Why are they bombing us?” He adds the bit that many add: “I'm not Fatah, not Hamas. I like vodka.” He tells me he'll show me sometime, in the future. “If I have a future,” he adds with a grin.

Lebanese activist Natalie Abou Shakra writes at Moments of Gaza:

I, the war expert now, discover that they are using new weaponry… yes, so…They (-Bomb!) are using another more destructive and penetrative type of shelling now… also, exceptionally deadly… and destructive (to the houses around it… so, people -(-bomb!) around the area of bombing… might fall dead to the bombing itself too…)(-Bomb! Damn it!) … so, all kinds of bombings are being used… I assure the US and the EU… and Egypt and KSA and Jordan and… and.. and.. oh, they haven't used stink bombs yet… (-Bomb!)… they already stink anyway… they stink of death and terror… Sitt Dalal told me stories of women who boiled oil and (-bomb!) water and threw them on the Zionists’ heads during previous invasions… (that is a great idea of-(bomb!)(-Bomb!) civil resistance… ) (by the way, the “Bomb!” idea is new… so, you might not see it in previous posts of mine…)(-Bomb!) (isn't this vexing… so, now you know how we feel?) I speak in an interview on(-Bomb!) on al mana-(-Bomb!-Bomb!)r….and Imad tells me that they want a report on us… I feel happy to have allowed for our message to break through screens… especially to the Arab world… (-bomb!)

Elena Qleibo works for Oxfam in Gaza, and posts at the Oxfam blog:

Fifteen minutes ago Israeli helicopters dropped leaflets saying we should move to the centre of the city as they are going to start bombing the edge. They said they don't want to create an
inconvenience. That's a joke after the bombardment we have had in the last week. They have done this before, in the north and east of Gaza, to frighten people. Nobody in my building is moving.[…] Today I saw UN trucks coming from the Karni crossing. The problem is people are terrified of going out to the distribution point because the bombardment is so erratic. Also the trucks can't reach the areas where
the fighting is. […] I've been speaking to people in the refugee camps inside Gaza where the fighting has been heaviest and they are catatonic. They're paralysed. They don't know what's happening to them
and are just sitting waiting to see what's going to happen. It's all been very sudden and because it's so massive everybody is very shocked. Children are having a lot of problems – they are crying and
wetting the bed and not sleeping.

We end with a video from RafahKid, who says:

after the bombs…video from Rafah but sorry no English subtitles but video speaks for itself. hard now to get video uploaded because of electricity. that is intentional perhaps.

The video, by YouTube user Adampal2008, is here:

The video, by the International Solidarity Movement, features children rummaging through the rubble of what was once their house – along with testimonials from children and their parents on the horrors of experiencing the Israeli air strikes.

33 comments

  • […] Global Voices Online » Palestine: “In Gaza our future is almost … In this roundup of blogposts from Gaza we hear from a teenager who just lost her friend and is scared for her own life, about a medical worker who was killed as he went to save someone, and from a man who asserts his lack of political … […]

  • Lawrence of Arabia

    The history is muted. The Jews of europe were persecuted from the times of caesars to the time of czars and their successors. A belief was created that would be the dream of persecuted Jews. A return to the lands promised to them in their bibles.

    Those lands were occupied well before this belief was created by Arab Muslims. I say Arab Muslims to define that before the Prophet(PBUH) Arabs had long lived in the region (Check out a few biblical movies non history buffs). THe Prophet(PBUH) was well aware of the people of the book (jews and christians) and taught to treat them with respect. Jews existed in Iran, Iraq, Ethiopia, Somalia, Egypt, and elsewhere in the Middle East long after they were purged from European lands.

    The Jews of Europe dreamed of a better place where they could be free to be who they were. For years before WWI Jews had emigrated in small numbers to Palestine. But the fear of renewed pogroms against them in Europe kept them looking for greener pastures. In America Jews were persecuted as well. But a Jew who looks like a European could easily hide their difference. Arabs, Persians, Indians, North Africans, Africans, Chinese, Japanese etc were all persecuted.

    Like all things an opportunity availed itself when the Turks lost in WWI. European parties behind the backs of those that gained them the upperhand (Arabs) made agreements to divide the Arab world like much of the rest of the world at that time. In american history there was too a time when European parties made arbitrary lines as if the native peoples didn’t exist.

    The Arabs had suffered under Turkish domination and had fought with the belief that a promise of an Arab nation would be provided. That never happened as we can see today. Jews who had obtained voting rights and some priviledge as business leaders convinced the powers that be in their country of Britain to back an agreement known as Balfour. The French and the British at the end of WWI decided to divide the region under Sykes-Picot. The Arabs began to fight for who would lead. Warlords of might and majesty would conquer and rename whole areas. Such as the house of Saud. Others would try to carve kingdoms such as Faisal of Hashemite fame.

    All this was because of lies. Warlords with designs not truly democratic in principle. Great princes looking to relive the historic period of Arab Civilization when Europeans were struggling in the dark age as their priests refused them access to their libraries of knowledge. As Black slaves were carried across the oceans to new destinations in their own greater holocaust.

    This world is a joke.

    Then the great powers gave Jews the right to return home but with rules. They were not allowed to use their vast resources to buy up all the land. They had to move slowly to allow Palestinians to adjust to new found “freedom”. Consideration of the actual people like the rest of the world was ignored.

    The rise of Hitler came the last pogrom the Jews of Europe would take. They fled around the world. But in particular the fled to Palestine. The Arabs of the region protested. Jews and Arabs attacked one another in mutual terrorism under the watchful eye of the better armed British Army. The British gave up handing the problem over to the UN. Which mandated that there should be two states and allocated land to both parties with Jerusalem as neutral and overseen by the UN. (resolution 181 (II))

    This never happened. Israel is in violation of UN Resolution. When Saddam was in violation we sent an international force. Israel was outgunned and outnumbered. Without the aid of the US (who had no Arab Voters at the time) there would be no Israel. If we follow timelines… Israel must in order to honor ANY truce return to the borders as set under (resolution 181 (II)). Jerusalem will be demilitarized and placed under UN Mandate. Any land taken from Palestinians shall be reimbursed or returned. Palestinians and Israelis who fall on either side of the border shall be considered citizens of the other side.

    Now do you think that will happen? Nope. That my friends is why this war will never end. Part of it is colonialism. Part of it is fear of discrimation. Part of it is Religious. Part of it is influence. Peace has NEVER been a part of it. Israel is in violation. Palestine needs to back off it’s all or nothing premise espoused by those it elects such as Hamas or Hezbollah.

    What is right is simple… Abide by the terms set by the UN or default your membership Israel. Palestine ask for no more than what was granted in the UN. That is the best your are both gonna get. Otherwise this world will become divided and perish because we are still infants who should have been paddled and told to make nice a long time ago.

    Children of Sarah and Hagar give the world a break. Let your children grow up in a world without violence and learn to love one another and coexist.

    Shalom and Salaam.

  • Please check this video on youtube; http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=-Cyk7zH6DeE&feature=related

    It’s absolutely sickens me as to how low Israel have stooped.

    The US are bullying middle east etc one by one, why can’t they just leave people alone? first Afghanistan, then Iraq, now this? THEY ARE THE BIGGEST TERRORISTS, THEY HAVE ALOT OF BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS NOW.

  • Dörte

    Lawrence, I am a little bit more optimistic than you. I still believe a peace is possible, but it must be achieved very soon. It might be a good beginning, if people on both sides started to get information and , more important, an understanding and empathy for the trauma of the other side. Every Iraeli must know what a Palestinian means and feels when he talks about the naqba. Every Palestinian must do the same about the holocaust. There can’t be an attitude of “not my problem”. It’s the problem of the people you want (or must have) peace with.
    And although Israel is in the wrong, so are Palestinians. BOTH sides tried to concquer all the country for themselves, and I don’t like the Palestinians’ methods of war either. But after all these years of war only a very great idiot can believe that either side can win. That’s why I still think a peace is possible.

  • max

    In all fairness, Britian is so pro palistine that knowone can really have say and for it to be respected. Israel gave $200 000 000 worht of aid into gaza, and this extremist group called HAMAS, which were elected by the palistinian people, which was an undemocratic decsion was this money was spemt on weapons to detsroy Israel. Now the majority of people supporting palistine are complaining that there is no food for the people in gaza to survive, well whos fault is that?
    Finally, im still finding it hard to believe that Israel that Israel are being blamed for killing innocent civilians, firstly Hamas should not be hinding behind civilians in order for protection and should be distinguished. Also the school that was bombed, if there was signal on the israeli GPS radar that HAMAS were targeting ashkelon and other places with bombs from the school, with all your respect the Israels are patently obvlivious to children being present and being used as sheilds and witnessing this being done.

  • Dörte

    Max,
    don’t be too naive, please. Britain (and other countries) never sent money, they sent goods, for instance the ambulances that are now being shot at.

    Can you imagine yourself as a hostage of for instance a bank robber? In case a policeman shoots you then, just to get at the robber, you can comfort yourself: it’s the bank robber’s fault, not the policeman’s. I’m sure that thought would make you very happy then.
    By the way, are you believing everything Israel’s military says? I don’t believe either side, the truth is somewhere in between. It’s obvious that the Israelis’ motto in this war is “shoot first, look later”. That’s how they manage to have so few casualities and on the other hand, that’s why they shot at some of their own soldiers or anyone else who moves or not. But I still call it a war crime: there is NO excuse for the killing of civilians, no matter how many Hamas fighters are hiding behind them or not.
    Don’t forget to go to your bank tomorrow!

  • Lawrence of Arabia

    Dorte,

    We can be assured both sides want it all. However, European powers who won WWI made decisions unilaterally without the native people in Palestine at the time. The only mandate for Jews in Israel is on couched in European colonialism. Dropping a people who is not wanted (for whatever reason) into a country that cannot resist you is the fact we often miss. I am not saying Israel @ this juncture must cease to exist like Ahmedinejad requires. What I am saying is the Israel has to stop acting like it has some right in equal portion to have decided who immigrates and who doesn’t in Palestine in 1917.

    Palestine had very few Jews in comparison to other ethnic groups. The Palestinian is pissed @ the world for ignoring their right to choosing whether or not to allow any group in. So she is angry @ this world. As well the Palestinian is angry @ Israel because she used these foreign powers to gain a foothold. With that foothold we have Israel in 1948. Since, Israel wants to be venerated in the world community it MUST return to that land arrangement. To not do that is to spit in the face of those that gave it a foothold. It also binds those Western powers to what they created and we have to deal with the carnage in Gaza today.

    If I want to be relieved of as much responsibility as possible then we must back this up to UN resolution and stop Israel from dismissing it when it suits them. Back then it was take ten miles and create a buffer zone. Take ten buffer. Both sides as of this date need to stop playing the world. They are starting too look bad. But right now like the Jews back then the underdog is getting all the press and emotion. Israel is wearing thin the loyalties of the West. But the West has to do what it stated long ago. Commit on the ground like the US did in Iraq a force to maintain the UN resolution. So we can get back to feeding the poor, healing the sick, making fair trade a reality not an exploitation, and removing racial and cultural divisions.

    Israel and Ishmael need to be curbed and taught to play nice. The West needs to share the blame. The US needs to stop acting like it doesn’t know what we did. All around need to compromise. This affair is like Ukraine vs Russia over gas today.

  • @Lawrence of Arabia
    What are you rambling about???!! And going on a tangent again to deceive and deflect the attention of what is really happening in that part of the world, and the Israeli war crimes. I rather find your “Conspiracy Theory” amusing. Neo-Zionists come with all kind of historical revisionism and myths to justify the unjustifiable.
    Cease the sophism, the rhetoric and the propaganda as I have a lot of sympathy for your desperate moral predicament that is if a Neo-Zionist has any morals. This type of discourse will maybe succeed if addressed to the “American Common man” with the intellectual ability of an amoeba, or a Foxnews television viewer. “I write here what I think is true, for the stories of the Greeks are numerous and in my opinion ridiculous”
    (Hecateus of Miletus, as quoted by Herodotus.

  • Here we go again with “The politics of Anti-Semitism” and bogus historical revisionism Neo-Zionists resort to every time they commit war crimes.. The fact stays and remains that the Ideology of “Redeemed” land is so engraved in the ‘Jewish Ideology’ that the feasibility of a Palestinian state is nearly impossible . Israel has an ideologically motivated pursuit of territorial expansion and the inevitable series of wars resulting from this aim. A number of discrepant versions of Biblical borders of the Land of Israel, which rabbinical authorities interpret as ideally belonging to the Jewish state, are in circulation since the inception of Israel. What we see today is just what Golda Meir and Menuhin Begin promised many decades ago. In other words, Israel aims at imposing hegemony on other Middle Eastern states, by protecting the stability of some Arab regimes and guaranteeing the stability of the Middle East.
    However, unbeknownst to most Americans and as described brilliantly by Robert Weitzel:

    “According to a recent Amnesty International report, “In the first six months of 2008 Israel has expanded settlements in the West Bank/East Jerusalem at a faster rate than in the previous seven years.”
    Unbeknownst to most Americans, Israel’s westernmost settlement is not located in Palestine-Israel, but is 6000 miles away on the high ground overlooking Foggy Bottom in Washington D.C.
    This Capital Hill settlement of pro-Israel lobbies and think tanks strategically controls the high ground overlooking the United States’ Middle East policy landscape by having made kibbutzniks of most members of the executive and legislative branches of the government—including President-elect Obama, Vice President-elect Biden (a wannabe Zionist), and future Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (a born Zionist).

    While Israel’s hilltop settlements in the occupied territories—violating over 30 UN Security Council resolutions since 1968—are “facts on the ground” that make the two state peace solution unlikely, their hilltop settlement in the centre of the world’s only superpower makes it equally unlikely that Israel’s right-wing government will feel compelled to end their “self defensive” brutalization of the Palestinian people, which has been condemned by the international community (UN, EU) as crimes against humanity.”

    This evil Hegelian dialectic will be defeated eventually, when the American people will wake-up and realise that the first victims of this evil ideology will be themselves.

    “Machiavelli at least apologised for the methods which he thought necessary in politics. He regretted the necessity of force and fraud and did not call them by any other name. But Plato and More sanctified them, provided that they were used to sustain their own Utopian republics” (by Hugh Trevor-Roper on Sir Thomas More and Utopia)

  • Dörte

    Manus, how nice that YOU are complaining about rambling.
    Lawrence, I’m not sure how much the US support of Israel’s ideas of an ideal Palestine (= a few Bantustans) is changing. Perhaps it is. But we’ve got a financial crisis on, and the US have already two wars to pay for. Possibly they won’t spend too much money on Israel’s wars in future. Luckily wars are expensive.

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