Thousands of Palestinians have been fleeing from Gaza City as IDF troops have entered residential areas. A number of the foreign activists in Gaza were helping at Al Quds hospital when it came under attack, and managed to disseminate reports of what was going on. We hear from them and other bloggers in this roundup of Gaza blogs during the last 24 hours.
Laila El-Haddad, whose parents are in Gaza, blogs at Raising Yousuf and Noor:
I was unable to speak with my parents all day, and so I rang [my father] just after midnight my time. He sounded wrecked and suffocated, not his usual collected self. “I'm so tired… I'm just so tired. I didn't sleep all night, the bombs are tearing through my head. I really have no idea what's going on outside, nobody has any idea what's going on…Aljazeera in Qatar called to ask me if I knew what was going on…and what this is about anymore. I can't even here anything on the radio anymore, everyone is just praying. I really just want to go now dear, I'm sorry. Goodbye.” he ended abruptly.
“Seedo [grandfather]?” piped in Yousuf. “Just remember- the only one who has the power to stop this is God.”
Vittorio Arrigoni is an Italian activist blogging at Guerrilla Radio:
La personalissima Jihad israeliana contro i luoghi sacri dell'islam lungo la Striscia continua, contando la moschea di Kherbat al-‘Adas, sono 20 le moschee rase al suolo.Fortunamente nessu “razzo” qassam ha ancora sfiorato le pareti di una sinagoga. Siamo certi che altrimenti avremmo giustamente avvertito levarsi al cielo grida di sdegno da ogni angolo del mondo, mentre non ci meravigliamo più se nessuno protesta contro questa massiccia campagna antislamica. Dio deve pagare il dazio di ricevere preghiere dai palestinesi.
Abu el Sharif writes at Shajar El Ba6a6a:
و اللي بدو دمو يتحرق و يتبخر…يسمع راديو إسرائيل…يا حبيبي على الوقاحة…اليهود من يومهم عندهم قدرة عالية إنو يحكو و يبررو و يغيروا الوقائع لدرجة إنو إنتا اللي جوا الحدث بتشك…و اللي بحبو كمان لما يحكو عن “المصابين” بحالات “الهلع”…يا عليي أنا على الهلعان…عنا مليون و نص الو اسبوعين مهلوعين انهلاع منهلع…و ما حد سائل !!
Those looking for their blood to boil, evaporate even, they should listen to Radio Israel… They're so brazen… The [Israelis] have always had a high capacity to talk and justify and twist the facts to the extent that we who are living the incidents start to doubt… I also like it when they talk about those who are “suffering”, cases of “trauma”…Dear me…We have a million and a half people who have been traumatised for two weeks…and no one seems to care!!
Nader Houella manages the group blog Moments of Gaza from Lebanon; he posted a message early on January 15 as Israeli troops were moving into central areas of Gaza City:
As you have followed through the news, Israeli occupation troops are going deeper into Gaza's narrow, heavily populated neighborhoods. One of those neighborhoods that has been targeted ever since last night is the one where [Lebanese activist] Natalie [Abou Shakra] resides in.
I have tried to get in touch with her by phone but I could not get through. I was able to know through some friends that she is currently assisting patients and doctors in one of Gaza's hospitals.
Let us hope that she and the rest of the residents of Gaza will not be hurt. In the meantime, I will be posting any news, email, memoir or diary I receive from any Gaza resident. Please stay tuned, and continue your precious support.
Then at 8 p.m. he published an email by her (though it is not specified at what time it was sent):
Nader…it is disgusting… forgive me, but please do not call me today, i am far from my palestinian family, i have no idea what happened to them… […] i am trying to laugh, else i will break down…i am just now at the ramattan [news agency building], they bombed extensively with their disgusting ugly tanks around us…i want to go down home… but, i cannot, no one is entering where i live… i want to go to al quds hospital… but the israelis are shooting with their snipers…
i am angry, sad, frustrated… this is disgusting
Canadian activist, Eva Bartlett, blogs at In Gaza:
now that people have streamed out of homes in all the perimeter regions of Gaza, they are streaming out of homes in central Gaza. […] people are running, and the small space that is the gaza strip has become a pinpoint, with people crammed into centres and still not feeling safe.
Leila in al Quds hospital at 8:59 am: “So al Quds now has army outside. snipers next door, 50 hits near us during night and 4 hits to us. fire in apartments behind, wounded kids near who we can’t collect…”
And aside from reports on the targeting of key infrastructure here, let me just repeat, people are panicking, given that Gaza City is a central place, the hub of Gaza and where those already having fled Israeli army attacks from eastern and northern regions had hoped for safety. As we’ve said from the first day of Israel’s phenomenally brutal attacks on civilians, there still is not anywhere anyone can feel safe.
Australian activist Sharyn Lock writes at Tales to Tell, and was at Al Quds hospital in Gaza City when it was attacked by Israeli troops; she has been communicating by text message and phone calls at intervals:
7:26 am GMT/9:26 Gaza time [15th January]:
Al-Quds hospital now has army outside, snipers next door, 50 hits near us during the night and 4 hits to us. Fire in apartments behind. Wounded kids near who we can’t collect though would like to ask if I can help with this. […] Israeli snipers are shooting at families attempting to get to the hospital. They are frightened and have no where to go. At least two families have been shot at now, children have been wounded.
Then towards the end of the day:
10:10 pm GMT/00:10 Gaza time [15th January]:
The army shelled our hospital again, and we’re now evacuating everyone. We’re shifting base to a Red Cross building it seems. We’re taking people in beds, who can’t walk, and into dark streets where people were shot at earlier by snipers. 40-50 people were still sheltering in the basement, because they thought it safer than their own houses. By the time we left, bits of the ceiling were falling in on fire. Everyone is OK at the moment. There are explosions in the area still.
At the time of writing the last report was the following:
12:35 am GMT/02:35 Gaza time 16th January:
She has gone back to the hospital, as some of it is still left. There’s still lots of resources (medicines and the like there), and it feels like it’s important not to abandon it altogether, so five medics will stay the night there. The wards all seem to be destroyed, but it’s not clear about other areas.
Two teams, the Red Crescent Medics and the Red Crescent Disaster Management Team have already evacuated from own original building, and had been at the hospital for a few weeks now – it’s not clear where they will go or how they will function at this stage. The evacuation was to Al-Shifa hospital, though there’s no room for more patients or staff.
As the smoke clears and the military reports from Gaza start flowing in, the biggest surprise of this operation is that Hamas did not put up a real fight when the Israeli troops entered Gaza, the most dangerous place in the world, on foot. To bewilderment of most Israelis, including to a certain extent the Israeli military intelligence, the 25,000 strong, well organized and armed to the teeth Hamas army of terror has proven itself to be a bunch of cowards when it came to face to face combat.
Two years ago Israel had a war with Nasralla’s Hizbolla terrorists in Lebanon after they kindnapped Israeli soldiers. Part of Lebanese infrastructure was demolished, Hizbolla lost its grip of South Lebanon (now held by 12,000 UNIFL soldiers and Lebanese army), tens of thousands af Hizballa rocket caches were blown up, and Nasralla has been hiding in a bunker ever since and had since let it slip in a TV interview that had he estimated the strength of the Israeli response, he would not have kindnapped the soldiers. However, there has been no doubt that the fanatical Hizbolla fought bravely in clashes with the Israeli ground forces. This was not the case with Hamas.
Gaza is loaded with weapons and explosives to such an extent that the prospect of entering this densely populated area, with roads and houses booby-trapped by Hamas for years in preparation for Israeli retaliation, has been frightening for Israelis. When Israeli government decided to expand the military operation by sending in the ground forces, it was with heavy heart. Most Israelis were against sending our troops and advocated limiting the operation to surgical air strikes – insufficient as they may be. I expected heavy losses as our soldiers move on foot in the narrow streets of Gaza townships with deadly file showered at them form the roofs, remote-controlled booby-traps exploding under their feet, and fanatical suicide bombers jumping at them from doors and windows shouting Alla Akbar.
In such a situation the attacking ground forces, brave as they may be, are at a huge disadvantage and can expect heavy losses as promised by Hamas many times. Shoulder rockets fired at armed personnel carriers from unseen opponents hiding at higher floors of tall buildings or behind bushes and hills; deadly fire of invisible snipers well hidden, safe and relaxed in taking aim at the exposed soldiers; booby-trapped roads, houses, trees; well prepared ambushes with fanatical fighters surprising the advancing ground forces and sawing death.
The reports from Gaza show that very little of his frightening scenario has materialized. Yes, many houses and roads were booby-trapped – but not with remote controls, as Hamas fighters fled and were not around to activate them at close range. There has been very little face to face contact – again, Hamas militants fled, and in most cases when our ground forces were fired at, it was at an inefficient long range. An absolutely enormous amount of underground tunnels were found – but they were empty except for rockets and other weapons left behind, having served as escape channels for the Hamas terrorists as they ran for their life instead of using them for ambushes. As a result, losses of the Israeli ground forces have been minimal so far.
In the relatively few cases when Hamas did put up an inept face to face fight, they were killed without Israelis incurring heavy losses, and Hamas losses mounted. Then the Hamas started defecting and refusing orders of their bunker-protected superiors to creep out of the tunnels and fight. The head of the Hamas’ awesome rocket-firing division that sowed terror in the Israeli towns for years, had to get out of the bunker and operate a rocket himself when his fighters refused to do so – and was killed. The Israeli ground forces had to change the tactics and started to try to provoke Hamas to get out of their hiding places and fight – in most cases unsuccessfully. The Israeli ground forces are now in the suburbs of Gaza weeks earlier than planned, having encountered little fight from the Hamas “Resistance”.
It turns out that Hamas are brave mainly when it comes terrorizing their civilian population and forcing it to serve as human shields; torturing and shooting their Palestinian political rivals; firing rockets at civilian population from a safe range; keeping the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit totally isolated in an underground dungeon for years and terrorizing his family by reports that he is ill, and most of all – tough “resistance” rhetorics. When it comes to a real fight, they show themselves for what they rally are cowardly thugs.
goodbuy palastine it seems like we muslims are too stupid to stand up and fight with you guys we never helped afghanistan or iraq its unlikely will help you guys from being blown up by isrealis may allah help us as surely whatever allah wills will happen