Monday, December 28, 2009

Om Mohammed

Om Mohammed said: “They say that they don't attack civilians, but they attack children. Why do they do that? They care so much about Palestinian rockets hitting them. Don't they realize how much their air strikes hurt us?”

“We fold our arms and they attack us. Then they say to the world that Arabs attack them. Do you see? Did we hit them? Israel is a liar. Israel is a liar. They do anything and they don't listen to the international community. This is medicine for the children. There's no medicine. No drinks, no water, no gas. We are suffering from hunger. They attack us. What does Israel want? Can it be worse than this? I don't think so. Would they accept this for themselves?”

“Look at the children. What are they guilty of? They were sleeping at 7:00 am. All the night they didn't sleep. This child was traumatized during the attack. Do they have rockets to attack with?”

“They [Israeli forces] attack everywhere. They became crazy. The Gaza Strip is just going to die…it's going to die. We were sleeping. We were just asleep. Suddenly we heard a bomb. We woke up and we didn't know where to go. We couldn't see through the dust. The dust filled the house. We didn't know where to go. We called to each other. We thought our house had been hit, not the street. What can I say? You saw it with your own eyes. What is our guilt? What are we going to say? Are we terrorists? I don't carry a gun, neither does my girl.”

Also on December 28th an Israeli F16 attacked a mosque in Jabalya. That increased the number of mosques attacked to five, and today they attacked one more in Gaza City. When they attacked the mosque in Jabalya, one of the houses nearby was totally destroyed. But the house is not the problem.

The problem is the family who lives there, five sisters were killed and their mother seriously injured. The first question the surviving daughter asked was, are my dad and mum okay? She was between the two dead bodies of her sisters. How will she forget that? No treatment in the world can erase that image from her mind. It’s not the education that Palestinians give their children, it’s the experience that the children live.

blood fall like rain

Israel’s military operation makes Palestinian blood fall like rain

There is no solution in sight .The Israeli government and their army commit inhuman acts against civilians. For the last five days the Israeli missiles killed 394 Palestinians and injured more than 1800. Do you know my dear reader how many Israelis were killed by Palestinians resistance rockets? Four were killed and 12 injured. I wrote these numbers to say this is not equal, and it’s unfair for the world to keep silent.

On December 28th, we woke up at 7am after an Israeli F16 attack. Our house was shaking. We all tried to imagine what had happened, but we wanted to at least know where the attack was. It was really scary. We tried to open the main door to our flat, but it was stuck shut after the attack.

Two friends and I climbed out the window to leave the house. It was a shock when I found our neighbor’s pharmacy was the target. It was just 60 meters from our house. They targeted a pharmacy. I still don’t believe it and can’t imagine it. I filmed and asked some people who were really close to the pharmacy about what happened and their thoughts,

64 year-old Saed said, “At almost 6:30 am three missiles were fired by Israeli fighter jets. They hit the pharmacy in our neighborhood and the surrounding shops. They're just civilian buildings. And as you can see, the street is damaged. All of the buildings are damaged. The Palestinian people elected Hamas in a democratic election, and all the world witnessed the election. And we are punished because of Palestinian democracy. If it were Israeli democracy the world would welcome it. I'm 64 years old and I never saw a sweet day in all my life. Since I was born in 1945 we’ve been in a conflict with the Israelis.”

Sunday, December 27, 2009

December 27 Update

We just received a phone call on our land line. It was the Israeli Defense Ministry, and they said that any house that has guns or weapons will be targeted next, without warning and without any announcement. Just to let you know, we don’t have any weapons in our house. If we die please defend my family.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

IOF fires on civilians and Human Rights Workers in Beit Hannoun

(from a email received this before three day from internantionals in Gaza)

Manwa Tarabeen and rubble of house

Israeli armed forces opened fire on a group of Human Rights Workers (HRWs) and civilians in the Beit Hannoun area of the Gaza Strip on Thursday 29th January. International HRWs were accompanying residents of Beit Hannoun, in the far north of the Gaza Strip, to their homes, in order to salvage belongings from the rubble, after the homes were bulldozed by Israeli forces during the Israeli war on Gaza.

One Palestinian family, the Tarrabin family, were anxious to try to retrieve important items, such as identity cards; cash; and clothes, that Israeli soldiers prevented them from taking with them when they were evicted moments before their home was destroyed. Residents had been further prevented from returning to their homes, which lie in close proximity to the Green Line, by Israeli military firing upon them whenever they attempted to enter the area. Families were advised by soldiers, upon being evicted from their homes, that the area had been declared a “Closed Military Zone”.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Al-Samouni Family

On 6th January nearly 30 members of the Al-Samouni family were killed when a house was attacked by Israeli forces in the Hai Al-Zaytoun district of Gaza City. The area was inaccessible until Israeli troops withdrew about 2 weeks later, when rescue teams were able to recover the bodies and the full extent of the atrocity was revealed (see Al-Haq report:

Footage below contains an interview with 10 year-old Mona Al-Samouni, survivor of the massacre who lost both her parents in the attack and 13 year-old Shaima Al-Samouni. Photos show children from the Al-Samouni family and a destroyed chicken farm next to their home.

Interview with Mona Al-Samouni on 25th January

Interview with Shaima Al-Samouni on 25th January

PS More:

Interview with Shaima Al-Samouni's younger sister on 25th January

The BBC's Jeremy Bowen follows Mona Al-Samouni on her first day back to school

Ceasfire, what ceasfire ?(II)

In the nearby village of Khaza'a, Maher Abu Arjila, a 22 year old farmer was killed by Israeli soldiers shooting from behind the Green Line on 18th January, just hours after the ceasefire was supposed to come into effect. Another resident, Nabil an Najar, was injured when rubble fell on top of him as a result of soldiers shooting the building he was standing under.

On the evening of Sunday 25th January, Subhe Kdah, was also injured as Israeli soldiers shot into the village; and on Monday 26th January, residents report soldiers firing in the area of the United Nations school.

On the other side of the Gaza strip, Palestinian fishermen are also reportedly coming under fire on a daily basis, with one fishing boat captain, Ala al Habil, hospitalized with a gunshot wound to his lower leg, when he was shot at by an Israeli navy boat on the evening of Monday 26th. Another fishing-boat captain, Iyad al Hissi, was shot at repeatedly whilst in the wheel-house of a fishing boat that was less than one nautical mile from Gaza shore on Tuesday 27th. Witnesses say he managed to escape from the wheel-house without injury. In both cases, fishermen report that the Israeli navy boats were shooting to kill the captains.

Whilst gunfire on Palestinian fishing boats was a daily occurance throughout the last so-called Israeli ceasefire, human rights workers who were accompanying fishermen during that period suggest that the situation now is even worse. "During the last ceasefire, the fishermen were getting shot at every day, but now it's happening much closer to shore - within 1 or 2 miles of the shore", remarked one international human rights worker.

These recent violations come in addition to the shelling of Gaza's port area that continued for five days after the announcement of the ceasefire - which resulted in a number of casualties; as well as the shooting of 7 year old Ahmed Hassanian in the head; and the bombing of Amal area, east of Beit Hannoun,- killing one, wounding another - making a mockery of any claims to an Israeli cessation of fire.

"Where is the ceasefire?" Arwan's elderly mother demanded angrily. "They said there was a ceasefire, but there is nothing!"

Interviews with fishermen on 27th January:

On the morning of 27th January 2009, a Palestinian fishing boat left Gaza City port in one of the first attempts to work after the recent onslaught on Gaza, and the following ceasefire announced by Israel. While fishing in Palestinian territorial waters, about 1 mile off the northern Gaza Strip shore, it was attacked by an Israeli gunboat. The fishing boat was sprayed with bullets of different types. As it can be seen in the images taken by volunteers, upon the return of the fishing boat to the Gaza port, Israeli soldiers were mostly targeting the wheelhouse. Fortunately the captain managed to survive, nobody was injured but the boat suffered serious damages.

26th January 2009 - Gazan territorial waters: Despite a ceasefire, and despite the fact that their target was a civilian vessel, the Israeli navy opened fire on a Palestinian fishing boat causing a serious leg injury to a fisherman, Alaa Al-Habil.

Ceasfire, what ceasefire?

A young farm-worker, Arwan al Ibrim was murdered by Israeli military forces at approximately 9:45 am on Tuesday 27th January, in the village of Al Farahin, east of Khan Younis.

27 year old Arwan was working picking parsely and spinach in the village agricultural lands, approximately 700 m from the Green Line, when Israeli jeeps opened fire with machine guns from behind the Green Line – shooting more than 30 bullets in quick succession, eyewitnesses report. Many of the seven farmers working in the area scattered, taking shelter from the shower of bullets. Arwan, however, was shot in the neck, dying instantly.

Arwan had only recently returned to his job as an agricultural worker, after 6 months, as the area was considered to be too dangerous following the large-scale Israeli army invasion that took place there on 1st May 2008, and then the recent Israeli war on Gaza. Even though the area is still considered extremely dangerous, Arwan decided to return to work there in order to help buy medicine for his elderly, paralysed father. He was being paid just 20 shekels (approximately $6) a day to work there.

His mother laments that she and his father had begged him to stay home for breakfast, but Arwan refused, saying there was a lot of work to do, and that he wanted to get started before the Israeli army arrived and started shooting. Just two hours later, the family found out from the television that Arwan had been killed.

Later on the same day, in the city of Khan Younis itself, a young man riding a motorcycle was critically injured when he was fired upon from an Israeli drone. Hayan As Ser was taken to Nasser hospital where his condition reportedly remains critical.

These attacks came after one Israeli soldier was killed and three more injured when their jeep drove across a buried explosive near the Green Line, reportedly planted by Palestinian resistance fighters. However, despite claiming to have implemented a ceasefire from 2am on Sunday 18th January, Israeli forces have continued to shoot at civilians in villages close to the Green Line, including Al Farahin, on a daily basis.