Det danske Fredsakademi
Kronologi over fredssagen og international politik 27. december
2008 / Time Line December 27, 2008
26. December 2008, 28. December 2008
Operation Cast Lead / Operation Støbt Bly eller Gaza massakren,
Sarah Roy, a longtime expert analyst of economic and political
developments in the Gaza Strip identifies two objectives to
Israel's current military campaign. Neither of them is an attempt,
officially claimed by Israel to be the goal of this attack, of
stopping Hamas shelling of Israeli towns and villages. Israel, says
Roy, aims "to ensure that the Palestinians there are seen merely as
a humanitarian problem, beggars who have no political identity and
therefore can have no political claims." And it furthermore wants
"to foist Gaza onto Egypt" thereby finalizing the political and
territorial breakup of a Palestinian political entity.
In imagining the daily details of life under Israel's
ever-tightening criminal siege, a recent resource was provided by
the Israeli group, Physicans for Human Rights, following their
dispatch of a research and aid delegation to Gaza. The PHR report,
attached below noted, for instance, "a sharp increase of 300% in
burns cases admitted to the burns department at Shifaa hospital in
Gaza ... over the past month. This is a result of the ongoing
shortages in electricity, cooking gas and heating gas. These, along
with the arrival of the cold winter months, have led the population
of Gaza to light wood fires, resulting in dangerous conditions.
Many of the burns cases reported to us have been of
Racheli Gai adds: The third piece we're sending is by Ali Abunimah.
In addition to exposing the hollowness of the claim that the
bombing is in retaliation for the firing of rockets from the Gaza
Strip, he reminds us that we must find ways to show our solidarity
with the Palestinians, and to oppose Israel's criminal activities.
Protests are being organized everywhere, even as I'm typing these
words. But after the protests take place, then what?? Abunimah
closes his article by saying:
"Palestinians everywhere are asking for solidarity, real
solidarity, in the form of sustained, determined political action.
The Gaza-based One Democratic State Group reaffirmed this today as
it "called upon all civil society organizations and freedom loving
people to act immediately in any possible way to put pressure on
their governments to end diplomatic ties with Apartheid Israel and
institute sanctions against it.
The global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement for Palestine
(http://www.bdsmovement.net/) provides the framework for this. Now
is the time to channel our raw emotions into a long-term commitment
to make sure we do not wake up to "another Gaza" ever again."
We end with a graphic description of some of the carnage in Gaza,
sent by Rebecca Vilkomerson.
If Gaza falls . . .
London Review of Books
Israel's siege of Gaza began on 5 November, the day after an
Israeli attack inside the strip, no doubt designed finally to
undermine the truce between Israel and Hamas established last June.
Although both sides had violated the agreement before, this
incursion was on a different scale. Hamas responded by firing
rockets into Israel and the violence has not abated since then.
Israel's siege has two fundamental goals. One is to ensure that the
Palestinians there are seen merely as a humanitarian problem,
beggars who have no political identity and therefore can have no
political claims. The second is to foist Gaza onto Egypt. That is
why the Israelis tolerate the hundreds of tunnels between Gaza and
Egypt around which an informal but increasingly regulated
commercial sector has begun to form. The overwhelming majority of
Gazans are impoverished and officially 49.1 per cent are
unemployed. In fact the prospect of steady employment is rapidly
disappearing for the majority of the population.
On 5 November the Israeli government sealed all the ways into and
out of Gaza. Food, medicine, fuel, parts for water and sanitation
systems, fertiliser, plastic sheeting, phones, paper, glue, shoes
and even teacups are no longer getting through in sufficient
quantities or at all. According to Oxfam only 137 trucks of food
were allowed into Gaza in November. This means that an average of
4.6 trucks per day entered the strip compared to an average of 123
in October this year and 564 in December 2005. The two main food
providers in Gaza are the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine
Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the World Food Programme
(WFP). UNRWA alone feeds approximately 750,000 people in Gaza, and
requires 15 trucks of food daily to do so. Between 5 November and
30 November, only 23 trucks arrived, around 6 per cent of the total
needed; during the week of 30 November it received 12 trucks, or 11
per cent of what was required. There were three days in November
when UNRWA ran out of food, with the result that on each of these
days 20,000 people were unable to receive their scheduled supply.
According to John Ging, the director of UNRWA in Gaza, most of the
people who get food aid are entirely dependent on it. On 18
December UNRWA suspended all food distribution for both emergency
and regular programmes because of the blockade.
The WFP has had similar problems, sending only 35 trucks out of the
190 it had scheduled to cover Gazans' needs until the start of
February (six more were allowed in between 30 November and 6
December). Not only that: the WFP has to pay to store food that
isn't being sent to Gaza. This cost $215,000 in November alone. If
the siege continues, the WFP will have to pay an extra $150,000 for
storage in December, money that will be used not to support
Palestinians but to benefit Israeli business.
The majority of commercial bakeries in Gaza - 30 out of 47 - have
had to close because they have run out of cooking gas. People are
using any fuel they can find to cook with. As the UN Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has made clear, cooking-gas
canisters are necessary for generating the warmth to incubate
broiler chicks. Shortages of gas and animal feed have forced
commercial producers to smother hundreds of thousands of chicks. By
April, according to the FAO, there will be no poultry there at all:
70 per cent of Gazans rely on chicken as a major source of
Banks, suffering from Israeli restrictions on the transfer of
banknotes into the territory were forced to close on 4 December. A
sign on the door of one read: 'Due to the decision of the
Palestinian Finance Authority, the bank will be closed today
Thursday, 4.12.2008, because of the unavailability of cash money,
and the bank will be reopened once the cash money is
The World Bank has warned that Gaza's banking system could collapse
if these restrictions continue. All cash for work programmes has
been stopped and on 19 November UNRWA suspended its cash assistance
programme to the most needy. It also ceased production of textbooks
because there is no paper, ink or glue in Gaza. This will affect
200,000 students returning to school in the new year. On 11
December, the Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, sent $25
million following an appeal from the Palestinian prime minister,
Salaam Fayad, the first infusion of its kind since October. It
won't even cover a month's salary for Gaza's 77,000 civil
On 13 November production at Gaza's only power station was
suspended and the turbines shut down because it had run out of
industrial diesel. This in turn caused the two turbine batteries to
run down, and they failed to start up again when fuel was received
some ten days later. About a hundred spare parts ordered for the
turbines have been sitting in the port of Ashdod in Israel for the
last eight months, waiting for the Israeli authorities to let them
through customs. Now Israel has started to auction these parts
because they have been in customs for more than 45 days. The
proceeds are being held in Israeli accounts.
During the week of 30 November, 394,000 litres of industrial diesel
were allowed in for the power plant: approximately 18 per cent of
the weekly minimum that Israel is legally obliged to allow in. It
was enough for one turbine to run for two days before the plant was
shut down again. The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company said
that most of the Gaza Strip will be without electricity for between
four and 12 hours a day. At any given time during these outages,
over 65,000 people have no electricity.
No other diesel fuel (for standby generators and transport) was
delivered during that week, no petrol (which has been kept out
since early November) or cooking gas. Gaza's hospitals are
apparently relying on diesel and gas smuggled from Egypt via the
tunnels; these supplies are said to be administered and taxed by
Hamas. Even so, two of Gaza's hospitals have been out of cooking
gas since the week of 23 November.
Adding to the problems caused by the siege are those created by the
political divisions between the Palestinian Authority in the West
Bank and the Hamas Authority in Gaza. For example, Gaza's Coastal
Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU), which is not controlled by
Hamas, is supposed to receive funds from the World Bank via the
Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) in Ramallah to pay for fuel to
run the pumps for Gaza's sewage system. Since June, the PWA has
refused to hand over those funds, perhaps because it feels that a
functioning sewage system would benefit Hamas. I don't know whether
the World Bank has attempted to intervene, but meanwhile UNRWA is
providing the fuel, although they have no budget for it. The CMWU
has also asked Israel's permission to import 200 tons of chlorine,
but by the end of November it had received only 18 tons - enough
for one week of chlorinated water. By mid-December Gaza City and
the north of Gaza had access to water only six hours every three
According to the World Health Organisation, the political divisions
between Gaza and the West Bank are also having a serious impact on
drug stocks in Gaza. The West Bank Ministry of Health (MOH) is
responsible for procuring and delivering most of the
pharmaceuticals and medical disposables used in Gaza. But stocks
are at dangerously low levels. Throughout November the MOH West
Bank was turning shipments away because it had no warehouse space,
yet it wasn't sending supplies on to Gaza in adequate quantities.
During the week of 30 November, one truck carrying drugs and
medical supplies from the MOH in Ramallah entered Gaza, the first
delivery since early September.
The breakdown of an entire society is happening in front of us, but
there is little international response beyond UN warnings which are
ignored. The European Union announced recently that it wanted to
strengthen its relationship with Israel while the Israeli
leadership openly calls for a large-scale invasion of the Gaza
Strip and continues its economic stranglehold over the territory
with, it appears, the not-so-tacit support of the Palestinian
Authority in Ramallah - which has been co-operating with Israel on
a number of measures. On 19 December Hamas officially ended its
truce with Israel, which Israel said it wanted to renew, because of
Israel's failure to ease the blockade.
How can keeping food and medicine from the people of Gaza protect
the people of Israel? How can the impoverishment and suffering of
Gaza's children - more than 50 per cent of the population - benefit
anyone? International law as well as human decency demands their
protection. If Gaza falls, the West Bank will be next.
Sara Roy teaches at Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies and
is the author of Failing Peace: Gaza and the Palestinian-Israeli
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel Update 22.12.2008
· PHR-Israel delegation to the Gaza Strip, 18-19 December,
· Gaza siege results in 300% increase in burn cases in the
burns department at Shifaa' hospital in the Gaza Strip
· Denial of access to healthcare continues
· PHR-Israel and the Palestinian Medical Relief Society
(PMRS) issue a joint protest following the expulsion of UN Special
18-19 December, 2008-12-22
The visit was held in order to learn about the current condition of
the health system, to provide medical services in Gaza hospitals,
and to plan for future delegations on the basis of medical
Medical assistance and meetings:
The delegation brought with it medical equipment to a value of 25
thousand US dollars, including prosthetic limbs, and transferred
them to the European Hospital in Khan Younis.
Dr. Mustafa Yassin, an expert orthopedic oncologist from Rabin
Medical Center (Hasharon Campus) in Israel, examined 25 patients at
the European Hospital. Several of these were recommended for a knee
replacement, which will be carried out by Dr. Yassin on his next
visit to Gaza. The delegation met with representatives of the local
Ministry of Health and heard an update on the current situation, as
well as a review of 2008, whose main contents follow:
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza,
155,478 patients were admitted to the 14 hospitals and medical
centers operating within the Gaza Strip. Some 49,000 surgical
procedures were held, and 35,276 hospital births were recorded.
According to statistics prepared by the "Institute for Palestinian
Studies" for 2008, birthrates increased by 2.6% in comparison to
2007. The total budget of the Ministry of Health allocated to
medical treatments for 2008 was 21 million US dollars.
The most common conditions treated in medical centers of the MoH in
Gaza in 2008 were oncology diseases, liver and kidney conditions,
joint diseases and arteriosclerosis.
According to Gaza MoH statistics for 2008, the number of cancer
cases diagnosed this year was 520, of whom 91 were children. Breast
cancer and cancer of the brain and other nervous systems were the
most common types of cancer. 620 cardiac cases were registered, of
whom 99 were children. 342 kidney patients are currently treated by
hemodialysis. 3,199 cases of Hepatitis A were recorded, 496 of
Hepatitis B, and 196 of Hepatitis C.
A shortage of 105 types of medicines, or one quarter of the
medications ordered by the MoH in Gaza has characterized the
majority of 2008. 30 of these are for lifesaving treatments, 21 for
cancer, kidney and liver conditions. In addition, a total of 220
parts and equipment items defined as necessary for surgical
procedures and for maintenance of Intensive Care Units are lacking.
Several milk sterilization instruments in pediatric departments
have stopped functioning.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza operates 58 emergency vehicles for
medical evacuation. Half of these were put out of service due to
lack of spare parts (engine oil, batteries, internal seats and
upholstery, electrical and medical equipment). As a result the MoH
purchased 64 substandard alternative vehicles, which were used for
patient transfer. Many ambulances are currently still out of
service and some patients are transferred in private vehicles.
In emergencies, the evacuation services suffer from substandard
communications due to the collapse of the two cellular systems in
Gaza: Jawwal and Mirs. As a result, ambulance drivers meet
difficulties in communicating with headquarters, with hospitals,
with each other and with the patients' families. This can lead to
severe delays and even to loss of lives. The proposed solution is
an internal communications system for the evacuation system in
Gaza, estimated costs of which are 170,000 US dollars, a sum
currently unavailable to the Gaza MoH.
There is a severe shortage of several types of gases that are
necessary for the functioning of the health system (e.g., Carbon
Oxygen Type 2, Ethylene Oxide, dry and liquid Nitrogen, medical
Nitrous and cooking gas). There is also a chronic shortage of fuel
for the hospitals in Gaza, leading to a depletion of stores in a
manner that will not enable maintenance of full activities in case
of further fuel cuts.
Gaza siege results in 300% increase in burn cases in the burns
department at Shifaa' hospital in the Gaza Strip
In December 2008, PHR-Israel recorded an increase in patients
suffering from burns applying to the organization for assistance.
Further investigation revealed that a sharp increase of 300% in
burns cases admitted to the burns department at Shifaa hospital in
Gaza has been recorded over the past month. This is a result of the
ongoing shortages in electricity, cooking gas and heating gas.
These, along with the arrival of the cold winter months, have led
the population of Gaza to light wood fires, resulting in dangerous
conditions. Many of the burns cases reported to us have been of
children playing with fire while attempting to light fires for
heating or cooking, or lighting candles for light at home.
According to Dr. Nafez Abu Sha'ban, director of the burns
department in Shifaa hospital in Gaza, the department is overloaded
and is treating 16 patients, the vast majority of whom are
children. This is despite the fact that the department is actually
capable of providing adequate treatment to only 5 patients at a
time. According to Dr. Abu Sha'ban, the Israeli siege on Gaza has
caused not only a severe shortage of water, electricity and other
basic goods, but also in gas and fuel for cooking, heating and
baking. As a result, many are now using Primus stoves or open fires
for cooking and heating.
Due to the case overload in the burns department, and the current
lack of basic and advanced medical equipment (e.g., resuscitation
equipment for children and spare parts for existing equipment), the
department cannot give immediate and appropriate response to the
large number of patients. As a result of this, as well as of the
high degree of severity and complexity of the cases, Palestinian
doctors are referring some of the children to advanced medical
centers in Israel. However, many children, some of them in
life-threatening conditions, remain in Gaza without proper care,
despite these referrals, due to a shortage in beds in children's
ICU and in children's burns departments in the four medical centers
in Israel that are able to treat children's burns: Hadassah Ein
Karem in Jerusalem, Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Rambam in
Haifa, and Soroka in Beer-Sheva.
A written appointment letter for hospitalization from a hospital is
a precondition set by the Israeli security apparatus for
Palestinians who need to be transferred to medical care that is
unavailable in Gaza. Without it, they cannot apply for a permit to
exit Gaza. In urgent and lifesaving cases, the wait for an
appointment and the permit application process impair the chances
of recovery and can even endanger lives. Israeli children, who are
admitted to hospital immediately, must also wait for a bed, but are
not further delayed by bureaucratic hurdles once they have a
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel has received four applications
from families whose children sustained medium to severe burns over
the past week, and who are referred urgently to medical care in
Israel, but have not managed to get appointments for
hospitalization. All these patients already have financial
undertakings from the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah,
to cover the costs of the care, and the invitation letter from the
hospital is the only obstacle to their exit. One of these cases
ended in death, and it joins two other child deaths from the past
week in Gaza.
Rahaf, three and a half, has third-degree burns on 55% of her body,
and she is currently hospitalized in lifethreatening condition in
the burns department at Shifaa hospital in Gaza. Her body heat has
been 35 degrees Celsius for the past three days, and she is
artificially ventilated. Rahaf was seriously injured on December 17
at 3pm after trying to light a stove in the kitchen of her home. On
the same day she already had all the necessary medical documents
and a financial undertaking from the Ministry of Health to cover
all costs of care, but from then until this afternoon, the family
could not find a hospital able to admit her. This afternoon (22
December), after numerous calls made by PHR-Israel to hospital
departments in Israel, Rahaf finally received an appointment for
Rambam medical center in Haifa, for tomorrow morning. We hope for
her speedy recovery.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel requests that the demand to
present an appointment to a specific department before applying for
a permit be waived in cases of children in need of urgent transfer
of this type, in order to minimize delays as far as possible and
ensure speedy transfer at the first opportunity.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel vehemently opposes the
collective measures imposed on the civilian population of Gaza, and
points to these burns cases as one more example of the disastrous
results of the siege policy.
Denial of access to healthcare continues
Since the renewal of Israeli military operations and Palestinian
Qassam rockets on the south of Israel on November 3rd, declared
restrictions on exit of patients from the Gaza Strip have
increased. In the past two months, the Israeli authorities at Erez
Crossing rejected 11 new appeals we sent to them, following
rejection of their applications for medical exit permits. Four of
these patients need orthopedic care, three have kidney disease, two
are cancer patients, one is in need of neurosurgical intervention
and the last needs ophthalmology care. All these patients have
already had their requests rejected in the past and have been
waiting for weeks or even months for medical care. The GSS rejected
PHR-Israel's appeals on their behalf, despite the submission of
expert opinions by specialist doctors, which clarified that denial
of care could cause irrevocable damage. Nine further recent
requests by PHR-Israel have not yet received any response from the
GSS, which is delaying its responses increasingly in recent weeks.
The delayed cases include a haemophiliac, a cancer patient and a
five-year-old girl with heart disease, whose mother has died but
her father is not allowed to accompany her.
Rafah crossing into Egypt remains closed, and last time it was
opened was on September 20.
At unpredictable intervals since November 3rd, the Israeli
government has ordered the total closure of Erez Crossing to all
but the "most urgent, lifesaving, humanitarian" cases. In practice,
such a closure makes the exit of even very serious and urgent cases
close to impossible. In the opinion of PHR-Israel, the
prioritization of exit according to medical severity/urgency is
unethical, as the rest of the patients will stay behind without
care. This constitutes an improper use of medical criteria for
non-medical, political purposes.
PHR-Israel and the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) issue
a joint protest following the expulsion of UN Special Rapporteur
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and the Palestinian Medical
Relief Society (PMRS) vehemently protest the expulsion from Israel
of UN Special Rapporteur Prof. Richard Falk, on December 17.
PHR-Israel had been invited to participate in a meeting with the
Rapporteur and to provide evidence regarding violations of the
right to health in the OPT, access to healthcare and rights of
prisoners and detainees. The expulsion of Prof. Falk is also
injurious to the ongoing work of PHR-Israel.
PHR-Israel and PMRS have issued a letter of protest to Israeli
government ministries on this issue. Please see this to read the
For further details please contact Miri Weingarten, email@example.com
, +972 546995199, or Ran Yaron, firstname.lastname@example.org , +972
 For more on the ethical ramifications of such prioritisation,
see PHR-Israel's medical-ethical position paper, August 2007.
PHR-Israel delegation to the Gaza Strip, On the 18th of December, a
PHR-Israel delegation entered Gaza for a two-day visit, the eighth
since the start of 2008. The delegation followed a period of three
months during which the Israeli security apparatus had denied
PHR-Israel access to the Gaza Strip, for various reasons.
Gaza massacres must spur us to action
By Ali Abunimah
The Electronic Intifada
27 December 2008
"I will play music and celebrate what the Israeli air force is
doing." Those were the words, spoken on Al Jazeera today by Ofer
Shmerling, an Israeli civil defense official in the Sderot area
adjacent to Gaza, as images of Israel's latest massacres were
broadcast around the world.
A short time earlier, US-supplied Israeli F-16 warplanes and Apache
helicopters dropped over 100 bombs on dozens of locations in the
Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip killing at least 195 persons and
injuring hundreds more. Many of these locations were police
stations located, like police stations the world over, in the
middle of civilian areas.
The US government was one of the first to offer its support for
Israel's attacks, and others will follow.
Reports said that many of the dead were Palestinian police
officers. Among those Israel labels "terrorists" were more than a
dozen traffic police officers undergoing training.
An as yet unknown number of civilians were killed and injured; Al
Jazeera showed images of several dead children, and the Israeli
attacks came at the time thousands of Palestinian children were in
the streets on their way home from school.
Shmerling's joy has been echoed by Israelis and their supporters
around the world; their violence is righteous violence. It is
"self-defense" against "terrorists" and therefore justified.
Israeli bombing -- like American and NATO bombing in Iraq and
Afghanistan -- is bombing for freedom, peace and democracy.
The rationalization for Israel's massacres, already being
faithfully transmitted by the English-language media, is that
Israel is acting in "retaliation" for Palestinian rockets fired
with increasing intensity ever since the six-month truce expired on
19 December (until today, no Israeli had been killed or injured by
these recent rockets attacks).
But today's horrific attacks mark only a change in Israel's method
of killing Palestinians recently. In recent months they died mostly
silent deaths, the elderly and sick especially, deprived of food
and necessary medicine by the two year-old Israeli blockade
calculated and intended to cause suffering and deprivation to 1.5
million Palestinians, the vast majority refugees and children,
caged into the Gaza Strip. In Gaza, Palestinians died silently, for
want of basic medications: insulin, cancer treatment, products for
dialysis prohibited from reaching them by Israel.
What the media never question is Israel's idea of a truce. It is
very simple. Under an Israeli-style truce, Palestinians have the
right to remain silent while Israel starves them, kills them and
continues to violently colonize their land. Israel has not only
banned food and medicine to sustain Palestinian bodies in Gaza but
it is also intent on starving minds: due to the blockade, there is
not even ink, paper and glue to print textbooks for
As John Ging, the head of operations of the United Nations agency
for Palestine refugees (UNRWA), told The Electronic Intifada in
November: "there was five months of a ceasefire in the last couple
of months, where the people of Gaza did not benefit; they did not
have any restoration of a dignified existence. We in fact at the
UN, our supplies were also restricted during the period of the
ceasefire, to the point where we were left in a very vulnerable and
precarious position and with a few days of closure we ran out of
That is an Israeli truce. Any response to Israeli attacks --
whether peaceful protests against the apartheid wall in Bilin and
Nilin in the West Bank is met with bullets and bombs. There are no
rockets launched at Israel from the West Bank, and yet Israel's
attacks, killings, land theft, settler pogroms and kidnappings
never ceased for one single day during the truce. The Palestinian
Authority in Ramallah has acceded to all of Israel's demands, even
assembling "security forces" to fight the resistance on Israel's
behalf. None of that has spared a single Palestinian or her
property or livelihood from Israel's relentless violent
colonization. It did not save, for instance, the al-Kurd family
from seeing their home of 50 years in occupied East Jerusalem
demolished on 9 November, so the land it sits on could be taken by
Once again we are watching massacres in Gaza, as we did last March
when 110 Palestinians, including dozens of children, were killed by
Israel in just a few days. Once again people everywhere feel rage,
anger and despair that this outlaw state carries out such crimes
But all over the Arab media and internet today the rage being
expressed is not directed solely at Israel. Notably, it is directed
more sharply than ever at Arab states. The images that stick are of
Israel's foreign minister Tzipi Livni in Cairo on Christmas day.
There she sat smiling with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Then
there are the pictures of Livni and Egypt's foreign minister
smiling and slapping their palms together.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported today that last wednesday
the Israeli "cabinet authorized the prime minister, the defense
minister, and the foreign minister to determine the timing and the
method" of Israel's attacks on Gaza. Everywhere people ask, what
did Livni tell the Egyptians and more importantly what did they
tell her? Did Israel get a green light to turn Gaza's streets red
once again? Few are ready to give Egypt the benefit of the doubt
after it has helped Israel besiege Gaza by keeping the Rafah border
crossing closed for more than a year.
On top of the intense anger and sadness so many people feel at
Israel's renewed mass killings in Gaza is a sense of frustration
that there seem to be so few ways to channel it into a political
response that can change the course of events, end the suffering,
and bring justice.
But there are ways, and this is a moment to focus on them. Already
I have received notices of demonstrations and solidarity actions
being planned in cities all over the world. That is important. But
what will happen after the demonstrations disperse and the anger
dies down? Will we continue to let Palestinians in Gaza die in
Palestinians everywhere are asking for solidarity, real solidarity,
in the form of sustained, determined political action. The
Gaza-based One Democratic State Group reaffirmed this today as it
"called upon all civil society organizations and freedom loving
people to act immediately in any possible way to put pressure on
their governments to end diplomatic ties with Apartheid Israel and
institute sanctions against it."
The global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement for
provides the framework for this. Now is the time to channel our raw
emotions into a long-term commitment to make sure we do not wake up
to "another Gaza" ever again.
Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah is author of
One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse
(Metropolitan Books, 2006).
From: "Safa Joudeh"
Date: Sat, 27 Dec 2008 09:31:03 -0600
Subject: Today in Gaza
I've never seen anything like this. It all happened so fast but the
amount of death and destruction is inconceivable, even to me and
I'm in the middle of it and a few hours have already passed. I
think 15 locations were hit during the air raid on Gaza. The images
are probably not broadcast in US media. There are piles and piles
of bodies in the locations that were hit. As you look at them you
can see that a few of the young men are still alive, someone lifts
a hand here, and another raise his head there. They probably died
within moments because their bodies are burned, most have lost
limbs, some have their guts hanging out and they're all lying in
pools of blood. Outside my home, (which is close to the
universities) a bomb fell on a large group of young men, university
students, they'd been warned not to stand in groups, it makes them
an easy target, but they were waiting for buses to take them home.
This was about 3 hours ago 7 were killed, 4 students and 3 of our
neighbors kids, teenagers who were from the same family (Rayes) and
were best friends. As I'm writing this I heard a funeral procession
go by outside, I looked out the window and it was the 3 Rayes boys,
They spent all their time together when they were alive, and now
their sharing the same funeral together. Nothing could stop my 14
year old brother from rushing out to see the bodies of his friends
laying in the street after they were killed. He hasn't spoken a
A little further down the street about an hour earlier 3 girls
happened to be passing by one of the locations when a bomb fell.
The girls bodies were torn into pieces and covered the street from
one side to the other.
These are just a couple of images that i've witnessed. In all the
locations people are going through the dead terrified of
recognizing a family member among them. The city is in a state of
alarm, panic and confusion, cell phones aren't working, hospitals
and morgues are backed up and some of the dead are still lying in
the streets with their families gathered around them, kissing their
faces, holding on to them. Outside the destroyed buildings old men
are kneeling on the floor weeping. Their slim hopes of finding
their sons still alive vanished after taking one look at what had
become of their office buildings.
160 people dead in today's air raid. That means 160 funeral
processions, a few today, most of them tomorrow probably. To think
that yesterday these families were worried about food and heat and
electricity. At this point I think they -actually all of us- would
gladly have Hamas sign off every last basic right we've been
calling for the last few months forever if it could have stopped
this from ever having happened.
The bombing was very close to my home. Most of my extended family
live in the area. My family is ok, but 2 of my uncles' homes were
damaged, another relative was injured.
I don't know why I'm sending this email. It doesn't even begin to
tell the story on any level. Just flashes of thing that happened
today that are going through my head.
Jewish Peace News editors:
Sarah Anne Minkin
Jewish Peace News archive and blog:
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