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Palestine: “How many deaths in Gaza is enough?”

As the Israeli attacks on Gaza continue, in this roundup of Gaza's blogs we hear about food shortages, the frustration of being stuck at home, the humour of medical workers – and a question from a young boy: “Mama – why don't the Israeli soldiers think before they shoot people?”

Palestinian photojournalist Sameh Habeeb blogs at Gaza Strip, The Untold Story:

I have got three calls from anonymous persons stop blogging or I would be killed. Yet, I would keep on this track.

Laila El-Haddad blogs at Raising Yousuf and Noor, and she speaks to her parents in Gaza every day:

For the first time in weeks, they have a few hours of precious electricity today. And things felt “normal” for a while, as they basked in bulb-light and their fridge hummed to life. They took the opportunity to chat with me on Skype. They wanted to talk to me hour after hour, all morning my time, about nothing in particular, before they were immersed in the dark and terror once again. After speaking to his grandfather, Yousuf looked at me and asked in the inquisitive, matter-of-fact way that he usually inquires about all things small and big in this world, “Mama – why don't the Israeli soldiers think before they shoot people?”

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

Today, I left my neighbourhood for the first time since this waking nightmare started. As my wife and I said goodbye, I knew that we were both thinking the same thing, that this could be the last time we ever see one another. As I closed the door behind me, I heard my child sobbing uncontrollably. Just as I headed out, I heard that the Israeli government had announced a three-hour lull in fighting. I wondered what they thought we could do in three hours; banks are closed and the Israeli government is restricting money coming into Gaza, shops are shut or their shelves empty, people now have to queue for up to six hours just for a loaf of bread…or nothing… markets have very little, people cannot afford increased prices, water systems are not working, people are scared to leave their homes, roads are blocked…what real difference to people’s lives will these three hours make? […] What can we do in three hours? Bury dead bodies? No one will ever be able to bring back the lives lost during this conflict but there is still time to give those who are still living a chance for a decent life.

Prof. Said Abdelwahed, who teaches English at Al-Azhar University, writes at Moments of Gaza:

In Gaza, last night was so horrible with more than 60 air raids, added to non-stop tanks and artillery shelling to different places everywhere! No place is safe at any moment in Gaza! Words stand short from describing the horrors we have been through those days.

Canadian activist Eva Bartlett blogs at In Gaza:

After finishing a shift with the PRCS [Palestine Red Crescent Society] yesterday morning, we went to the Fakoura school, to see and to listen to the voices. Prayers were happening in the street in front of the school. I’d seen prayers in open, outdoor places in Palestine, in Egypt. But these days, when I see a mass of people praying, in front of Shifa hospital, in the streets of Jabliya, I think of the mosques that have been bombed, the loss of lives and sanctuaries. And yesterday I thought of the loss of a safe-haven. The grief was very evident, as was the indignation: “Where are we supposed to stay,” one man demanded. “How many deaths is enough? How many?” It’s the question that has resounded in my mind since the attacks on December 27th. […] Nidal, a PRCS medic, told how he was at the Fakoura school when it was shelled. His aunt and uncle living nearby, he’d been visiting friends at the school. “I was there, talking with friends, only a little away from where 2 of the missiles hit. The people standing between me and the missiles were like a shield. They were shredded. About twenty of them,” he said.

Natalie Abou Shakra, a Lebanese activist, blogs at Moments of Gaza:

Dr. As’ad just came in saying there is no bread. We officially have no bread.
Sitt [Mrs] Wafaa told me she put nail polish on. She said she was shy about it, and did it just to feel better. I tell her not to worry, and that from now on, both of us will look our best each day. I told her I shall put on my kohl in solidarity with the nail polish. […] I am fed up of this! We are in a holocaust, mass killing, devastation and destruction of human kind, death and massacring… I am running out of words in the dictionary of death and terror that the Israelis arranged for us: Lebanese and Palestinians!
They sent us bread today… it was rotten. Dr. As'ad told me that Dr. Haidar is eating rotten bread. “He said that mold is used for making penicillin. So, it must be okay.” He joked. So, we are going to heat the bread on the stove and eat, so that the moldy taste is diminished.

In another post, Natalie writes:

As Dr. As'ad comes in the house after leaving to bring in some groceries. He tells us that there are no vegetables and no cheese, no milk and no bread near us… so, we decide to write down a schedule of the quantity and quality of food to be eaten per day… […] I went out to the veranda. It was the first time since the massacring began that I had gone out on the veranda. […] The sky was clear with no clouds and the sun shined, to me, like never before… the sun became so precious, and realized I never appreciated it as much as I do now… it made my cold body warm. Abdel Aziz hugged his mother as she laid her shoulder on the wall. We looked at the sun shining on all the destruction. I wished at that moment that the whole world was with us, looking. We stayed outside for around thirty minutes, after which they bombed close in Hay [neighbourhood of] el Zaytoun (tanks are shooting extensively as I am typing). We saw the Apache as it came closer after it bombed. (Where is my bazooka?). I was wearing my pink pajamas, and was afraid that the Israelis might mistake me for Hamas. (Remember? Israelis targeting children in pajamas on the donkeys… I am staying away from donkeys, as there are many now in Gaza since there is no petrol… and the donkey proves its efficiency again in history! The donkeys in Gaza are so courageous. Now, donkeys are martyrs in Gaza). My pajamas are pink. Are there any pink Qassam rockets? Please assure me so that I stop wearing pink pajamas. I cannot jeopardize my “family's” (surrogate family?) safety.

Australian activist Sharyn Lock writes at Tales to Tell, and has been helping out at at Al Quds hospital:

There is a collective strength to these people that dumbfounds me. Medical folks are quite a comic crew; one of them last night was carefully explaining to me that he didn’t have to worry about dying of lung disease, because he was careful not to buy the brand of cigarettes that had the man dying of lung disease on the front. Later on one of the ambulance crew had thrown us all out of the operations centre and was washing the floor. It was chilly outside, so we were all lurking at the door wanting to come back in, but he was shouting the Arabic equivalent of “Keep your filthy shoes off my nice clean floor!” Finally he installed the widest paramedic to function as a guard; who took up his position outside the door with folded arms, doing an excellent imitation of a nightclub bouncer. I suggested that when the Israelis got here (the tanks are shelling from 2 km away now) we give him the task of keeping them out of the operations room. He assured us he was up to the job. These people have lost friends and family in the last days, and face the risk of death each day. But Palestinians have a sort of collective unspoken agreement – everyone has to keep going for everyone else. I don’t know what it does to their mental health; but then again I don’t know what choice they have.

Abu el Sharif writes at Shajar El Ba6a6a:

إيش ممكن أحكي…جد ؟
الحمدلله على كل إشي، أسبوعين الواحد قاعد بالبيت…علقليل أهل الكهف كانو نايمين..بس إحنا صاحيين و شايفين مع إنو تعمى قمارنا
What can I say, seriously?
Thank God for everything, two weeks sitting at home…At least the People of the Cave were sleeping…But we're awake and watching, even if the world's become dark around us.

Louisa Waugh writes at New Internationalist's Gaza Blog:

It took me ages to get through to Adham at his home in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. The phone lines are down most of the time, and even when they are working, they're usually jammed by Palestinians desperately trying to contact family and friends inside Gaza. After two days I finally manage to get hold of Adham on his landline at home, and ask him if he and his family are OK.
‘We are still alive,’ he says. ‘But you would not believe what we are going through. I have never seen or heard anything like this.’
[…] When, after eight days of bombing the entire Gaza Strip, the Israeli military invaded northern Gaza on 4 January, they drove tanks and snipers into Jabaliya, and began shelling, and shooting to kill. Adham and his family remain trapped inside their home in the middle of the camp. ‘We’ve been locked inside our house for 12 days now,’ he says. ‘We can’t leave – it's too dangerous.’ He tells me he has been no further than 100 metres down his street since 27 December. […] Adham just hopes he will live to see the end of this hell.
‘In my worst moments, I wonder if I care whether I die,’ he says. ‘Because at least then I will not have to face whatever is going to happen to us next.’

26 comments

  • Hamdane

    “..How many deaths are enough?..” That was the question of the title.

    I will tell you how much. It would be enough until Hamas come to its senses and accept the conditions Israel has put forth which is the cessation of the stupid “war of liberation” they are waging for nothing by throwing rockets at the vast area of Israel proper.

    How difficult is it to understand this simple condition? If you cannot win a war, stop playing heroes and avoid civilians been killed for your twisted resistance. If you ask for war, what do you expect the other party would do? just offer you tea. why is impossible to admit.

    Although I understand why people are so upset about the civilians being killed. It seems to me that the killing matters only when Israel is in the midst. Does anybody knows how many Afghans civilians were killed by the Taliban and their war lords when they took over the country in 1990’s. More than 40,000 ethnic Haraza people were DELIBERATLY killed. Why was this not a problem? Aren’t the Haraza muslim afterall? Why wasn’t Darfu genicide an issue among the self-righteous muslims? Is it because Darfur was predominatly Muslim but African tribal area?

    I think poeple can pick whatever issue they want to pick on and they pick only the ones that suit them best.

  • Stan R

    To Palestinian Friends:

    I am reading blogs from people who came into Gaza to “help” you. I am sure they have the best on their minds. Same how they had when they went to Africa and destroyed it. They destroyed the farming because for people was easier to get it “free” then work for it. Now they are leaving those people to fend for themself,which by the independent studies willtake at least 10 years and lots of starvation. Heck, you guys are more interesting. I watch the PressTV (Iran) Aljazeera and there is lots of food. Just tell Hamas not to steal it and also tell them you want peace, stop rackets!

  • NY Yankee

    To Hamas, there will never be enough Palestinian deaths, or deaths of anyone else that do not share their warped views. Israel is just a convenient excuse for the existence of Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. Even if Israel ceased to exist, these lunatics would find someone else to attack.
    Unfortunately, the only method of dealing with Hamas, Hezbollah and the rest of Islamic terrorists is to exterminate them. Just like you cannot reason with rabid dogs, you cannot reason with these people. They must be utterly and completely destroyed, as well as the mardrases (phonetic spelling), which are funded by petro-dollars, courtesy of that grand, parasitic country, Saudi Arabia.
    Nora, I would advise you to OPEN YOUR EYES!!! What group of people attacked New York? I’ll give you a hint; it wasn’t the British, it wasn’t Mexico, it wasn’t Canada, it was ARAB TERRORISTS!! What group of people employ suicide bombers to carry out acts of terrorism? Another hint: they are not Americans, though most of the world could care less about us, they are not French, Spanish, Italian, or Swiss. Once again, it is your friendly ARABS!! All what Israel is doing is defending itself, just like the British vs the I.R.A.

  • Nora, London

    NY Yankee, I know you may think Arabs are the cause of terrorism but they are not. It is actually people from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and also Iraq.
    Arab people from Saudia Arabia and such have been said to be terrorists because those terrorists are Muslims but the true Muslims will never cause pain towards others even if they really want to.
    Terrorists are people with no life, no future and no conscience.
    I am really not with or against anyone when it comes to wars and conflict but this time I must say George Bush and the Israeli government have gone too far. The lives that have been lost can never be replaced, just think about those children that have not caused a single bit of harm to the world but had to lose their lives because some people are selfishly thinking about themselves.

  • Ray

    I’m finding it rather funny that Israel can’t seem to fight its own fights, on its own land. It fought Hizbollah on Lebanese soil, and now Hamas in Palestine, killing thousands of innocent civillians with the pathetic, pathetic excuse that “Hamas militants were firing from civillian homes and UN-managed school”. I mean, really. NY Yankee, I urge you to open your own eyes and uncloud them from media influence (which is all controlled by Zionists, anyhoo) and see for yourself the Holocaust in Gaza. Personally I think it’s all part of a plot. Israel will slowly massacre the peoples of any Muslim country. They really should come out and admit it. It’s becoming more and more obvious to the Western world. Even here in Australia, people are condemning the Israeli overreaction. They were simply waiting for a reason to attack Palestine again in their perpetual war on Muslims.

  • Stan R

    #15 beautiful anti-jewish nonsense. To kidnap torture and kill jewish soldiers by Hizbollah …. “well, that just dirty jews” but when they response, you get “shocked, and become peace loving pacifist”. Let me tell you. Nazzrallah or what ever his name is, 3 years later is still hiding underground like rat. Lebanon, not Israel is looking for way to finish him.
    Now to Hamas. Well 6000 rackets against Israeli civilian population? Thats in your bigoted eyes just little inconvenience. But “god” help if the Jews respond.
    The tribal religious islamists with help of anti semitic bigots like you who are really massacring Arabs!

  • Nora, London

    It doesn’t really matter what we say anymore. Its actually what we do…
    Even though protesting didn’t get us far with this war its alright because this major conflict is over.
    Thanks to Barack Obama, even though he didn’t stop the war all he did was become the 44th President of The United States of America, it still helped.
    As from Israel itself they figured out that by Obama becoming President he would have cut all the incomes they were getting so they were actually smart enough to stop the war themselves.
    Which is good. but I cant help but say the people in Gaza were truly unfortunate, there houses ruined, family members lost.
    God bless all those who died in Gaza.

  • Stan R

    Unfortunately, this is not over. Until Hamas changes it’s ways from terror to really help Palestinian people, it will go on. Also can some one (not an anti-semite) explain me why progressive (left) people would support 7th century religious freaks who advocate and practice mutilation, cutting hands, crucification, suicide (martyrdom), pedophilia (sex with 10 years old is OK), anti-gay, support rape (woman get stoned if raped), anti woman laws, kidnappings and more. Even if Israel had not been attacked by 6000 rackets over 8 years, I thought there should have been demonstration over the world by progressive people to force Israel to clean up the mess as being next to it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPwjirZm40A
    Please watch this

  • Stan R

    This is my second try to post on this blog. I believe I had been black listed because I don’t spew the usual anti zionist (anti-jewish) lies.

    Well I try again. Truth has to be told. I have a question. Why so called progressive people defend an organization which advocates and does mutilations, killings of it’s political opponents, crucification, stoning women who were raped, pedophilia (to have sex with 10 years old girl is OK), kidnappings, anti-gay, anti-women, anti-freedom? The organization who spent millions of dollars, given for betterment of it’s citizens, on arms to kill. Who keeps the population dependent on world and Israeli charity while destroying GAZA factories and farms. I can go much longer! I thought, even if Israel had not been attacked by rackets 6000 times over past 8 years, children and women were not blown by “martyrs”, soldiers were not kidnapped, would be on the streets all over world, demonstrating and demanding that Israel as an only democracy in Middle East, clean up that mess.

  • Jason Belkin

    I wounder how many Palestinians would died if Israel did not got it weapons from USA or EU but Chine or some other third world countries. Number Palestinians death much higher but how much higher I wounder. I known Amrican made radors allows Israel avoid some cilivtion deaths. I also know some Amrican made weapons much more better at avioding hit civilition death then Isreal made conterparts.
    As for the complaining about Israel using force. Hamas no busness firing rocket into Israel to being with. That like yell blood muder when some thow rock at bear in the park then going to ranger when they got tear to shirds . Human when threats are one most dangers animals around no matter what country your from. Israel show Palestinian more mercy then most countries would have speacil in the Middle East.

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