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.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Aftermath - Jabalia

Ground Zero - Earlier this week, following the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip, residents returned to some of the areas which had become no-go zones during the attacks, such as Jabalia just outside Gaza City.

On Tuesday 20th January, Gaza Strip volunteers joined a university professor as he visited his house in the east of Jabalia. We were shown from room to room around the bombed-out shell of what had once been a beautiful home. When asked if he and his family would continue to live there, he replied calmly that it was their right to and that they would never leave their land.

As we made our way up the hill through the orange grove beyond the professor's house, we encountered evidence of where tanks had been positioned - churned up ground, tank tracks, uprooted olive trees. At the top of the hill, from where the Green Line was clearly visible, we began to see homes which had been totally destroyed, several stories concertinaed. Families sat together on the rubble of their homes. Children collected firewood from the dismembered limbs of fruit trees.

At first it seemed as though it was 'just' a cluster of ten or fifteen destroyed houses, which would have been bad enough in its own right. However, as we continued walking it became apparent that the devastation extended into the next street and the next, more and more destroyed and damaged homes following one another. This entire neighbourhood on this easternmost edge of Jabalia had been virtually wiped off the face of the earth. It resembled the site of some massive natural disaster. However this ground zero was entirely man-made.

The gouged-out windows of some of the homes still standing were filled with dark green sand bags. This was a sign these houses had been used by the Israelis as sniper positions. One could barely imagine how the situation must have been in this neighbourhood when it was under attack.

We met a blind woman who had been held prisoner for 11 days in one room of her home, along with a paralysed man, whilst Israeli soldiers used it as a base. Terrified and expecting to be killed at any time, they were given water twice during their ordeal. When the Red Crescent evacuated them, the woman said she could finally breathe for the first time since the soldiers arrived. The walls had been daubed with Hebrew graffiti, empty plastic food trays were strewn around and the stairway stank of urine.

In the wake of a Gazan holocaust, thousands of people are finding themselves in truly desperate situations. A traumatized but resilient population is somehow beginning to pick up the pieces.

Merely continuing to exist is a form of resistance.

Footage from Jabalia (part 1) (part 2) (part 3)

Aftermath - Beit Lahiya

2 - Beit Lahiya, originally uploaded by rafahkid.

Beit Lahiya in the far north of the Gaza Strip was badly hit during the Israeli attacks. These images show some of the aftermath in residential areas. More here:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Counting the cost...

15 year-old Ayman al-Najar is sitting up in his hospital bed at the Al-Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. His back is covered with thick dressings. His doctor explains that he is suffering from severe chemical burns. Ayman is from Khoza'a, the rural community east of Khan Younis which endured a brutal incursion by Israeli ground forces on 13th January. He and his sister were sitting together under the stairs when a missile struck. Their grandfather was in the garden. His body was severed into two parts.

His sister, Alaa', 16, had been playing a game on her mobile phone. A third of her face was blown off, leaving part of her mouth, jaw and cheekbone missing. A massive part of her waist and pelvic area was destroyed with tissue loss exposing the bone. She was also badly burned. Medical staff at the Al-Nasser Hospital battled to save her and she pulled through 10 hours of surgery. She regained consciousness after the operation and wept when she heard about the death of her grandfather. However, five hours later she died suddenly.

It is time for Ayman's dressing to be changed. He cries out as the bandages are removed. A scarlet red wad of gauze is teased out of a deep hole in his back which it is filling in order to stem the bleeding. Five days after the attack, his wounds are still bleeding profusely. These are not normal burns. The wounds cover his upper back and right arm and his ankle has a deep wound down to the bone. He will need extensive plastic surgery. Shrapnel which entered Ayman's back penetrated one of his lungs and he has undergone surgery to repair several tears. He screams as iodine solution is applied. It is unbearable to watch his suffering.

Ayman is a civilian, a minor. He was at home with his family when they were attacked. Israel claims its bloody war has been on Hamas. Ayman, Alaa' and their grandfather were not Hamas operatives, neither were the thousands of other civilians killed and injured. Israel would call them "collateral damage". However, the atrocities committed against them amount to war crimes, especially if weapons have been used illegally. What exactly is the substance which has inflicted such wounds – not on Ayman alone but countless others also? Israel won't admit to the nature or composition of some of the less conventional weapons its military has been using on the population of Gaza.

Last night Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire. Following the ceasefire announcement, internally displaced people throughout the Gaza Strip went back to their neighbourhoods and homes to survey the damage. This was no different in Ayman's village, Khoza'a. Maher Abu Rejila, 22, a local farmer had gone to check on his home and his greenhouses. He was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers on the Green Line and his body was brought to the Al-Nasser Hospital today.

This is the true face of Israel's ceasefire. Now, under the shadow of Israeli troops on the border, F-16's still in the sky and gunboats still in the sea, Khoza'a, along with the rest of the Gaza Strip, is reeling from the Israeli onslaught. So many homes have been destroyed, leaving thousands with nowhere to go.

So many breadwinners killed or injured so badly they'll never work again. How will people survive? How will they re-build their lives?

Footage from Al-Nasser Hospital on 18th Jan

Photos from Al-Nasser Hospital on 18th Jan

(Warning: the above links contain graphic images)

Footage of unidentified incendiary substance found in Khoza'a

This footage was filmed in Khoza'a on 14th January. It shows an unidentified incendiary substance found on the ground next to a burnt-out home. It was still flaming from the previous day's incursion. It had to be buried to be extinguished, yet instantly re-ignited when it was uncovered again. These characteristics are consistent with those of white phosphorous.

PNN - Palestine News Network - Ten more people found in rubble, thousands in mourning

PNN - Palestine News Network - Ten more people found in rubble, thousands in mourning: "Gaza / PNN - It is the second day of the “ceasefire” which has Israeli forces still inside the Gaza Strip. The year and a half siege is still in place, as is the closure. Troops line the boundaries.

Israeli warplanes still fly overhead with reconnaissance aircraft circling. A warship fired a missile, but no one was injured."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

the Batran family

Hi...sorry but this is copied from email that was sent from one of the few internationals here and I wanted to share

"While there, heard shouting, went up stairs to see medic S covered in blood, he had just carried a little girl in from the street who snipers had shot in face and abdomen. We saw her father fall on the hospitalstairs, having been shot in the leg. Mother was panicking, shouting therewas another girl left behind.

S, I and other medics went out to get her,found her not far away, S took her on his shoulders into the hospital. Theother medics and I realised they were just the beginning of a stream ofdesperate people fleeing their buildings, many of which were on fire.

This was the Batran family. Faddel al Batran, 54, was shot in the leg. Yasmine, 12, was the girl we went to bring in. Haneen, 9, was the oneshot in the face and abdomen: I knew she had been taken straight into surgery at Al-Quds. today I found out that she was transferred toAl-Shifa and died shortly afterwards. Last night they bombed another UNRWA school in which homeless people hadtaken refuge in Beit Lahia. There are 36 wounded, including 14 children.

Two boys aged 3 and 8 are dead. John Ging of UNRWA was on the TV beingcoldly furious."

And for those who say this is propganda we say this quote we saw this week sums it "better to hear both sides of the propganda".

When a Ceasefire is not

Not wanting to upset anyone but before today there is two ceasefires.

Israeli Ceasefire: We have bombed to pieces the democratically elected government of a stateless people we dispossessed 60++ years ago and are re-occupying their small piece of land while being caught out left right and centre committing crimes (see the UK Observer) and laughing that no one can stop us.

Palestinian Ceasefire: We are going to stop resisting your unlawful occupation and invasion while we dig out the bodies of our families from the rubble and bury our dead.

Fida Qishta's article on Khoza'a atrocities in today's Observer

Fida from in Rafah has had her writings on the front paper of England newspaper

White flags ignored and houses bulldozed with families inside, claim residents

When Rawhiya al-Najar, aged 50, stepped out of her house waving a white flag, so that the rest of the family could leave the house, she was allegedly shot by Israeli soldiers nearby.

The second alleged incident was on Tuesday afternoon, when Israeli troops ordered 30 residents to leave their homes and walk to a school in the village centre. After travelling 20 metres, troops fired on the group, allegedly killing three.


"By 6am the tanks and bulldozers had reached our house," Iman recalled. "We went on the roofs and tried to show we were civilians with white flags. Everyone was carrying a white flag. We told them we are civilians. We don't have any weapons. The soldiers started to destroy the houses even if the people were in them."

but please feel free to call us all terrorists if it helps you ignore this.

Devastation in the village of Khoza'a

(please if you can upload this to to youube and share as this is just the raw fotage)

This video accompanies the report sent yesterday about the Israeli ground incursion on Tuesday 13th January into Khoza'a, a small rural community east of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip. This attack followed heavy missile strikes on Khoza'a over the course of the last week.

Local resident, Iman Al Najar, describes her experiences on 13th January and how events unfolded, including the destruction of her family's home. She indicates to the devastation in her neighbourhood around her.

Then her neighbour, pictured in the wreckage of his burnt-out home, explains how it was attacked by a strange type of missile, possibly containing white phosphorous.

This is followed by the testimony of a woman whose home was so badly damaged she had to evacuate it. During the incursion she was imprisoned by Israeli soldiers in a nearby building, along with Iman's younger brother. Scenes of destroyed homes are also shown.

Iman's older brother talks about how he sustained a head injury as he tried to help neighbours who were wounded after the Israeli army fired a flaming material at them, again, believed to be white phosphorous. The young teenager seen with him is the brother who was detained and forced at gunpoint to dance and sing when Israeli forces shot a local woman in the street.

A father and his son show the viewer around their demolished home, where the basement is the only room of the house still intact, at least partially. The family gathered in the basement as the rest of the house was being destroyed above them. They escaped through the cave-like hole shown in the film.

An old lady sitting on her front steps gives passionate account of how her daughters' homes were destroyed. She highlights the plight of the Palestinian people.

Friday, January 16, 2009

And just for being clear

With last of electricity for a little while pause on this thought.

We are not a sovereign state. My Grandads house in Gaza was destroed and my fathers and my house. But we had a house before and we had trees and business but when Israel was carved out of the land we had to leave and we had to be locked up like chickens in Gaza. We were told we could go back but 65 years later we have endured nothing but being prisoners and recently in these times Hamas has become strong and tho not everyone lies them they want to stand up but when they strike out at the land of the people who have imprisoned them THE WORLD CONDEMNS THEM AS TERRORISTS??

You are either hiding from the truth or you support Israel right or wrong. I would rather argue against that person as at least he is honest.

Is not "the Jews" is not "Israel" is not "Zionism" it is the Occupation.

End the Occupation. Compensate the people who lost their lands. Grant us a Sovereign state. Allow us to provide our own services, electricity, water and our own airports and army and allow us to trade with the world our produce and resources and then AND ONLY THEN may you complain at us for anyhting that happens in this forsaken place.

As follow up from PCHR

Is it White Phosphporous? We don't know how are you supposed to tell we didn't have this in our chemistry lesson (well maybe when it got blown up hahah)

PCHR Condemns IOF Use of Unidentified Incinerating

Bombs Against Civilians, Causing Horrific Burns

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) utterly condemns the mass killing of civilians by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) during its ongoing military operation in the Gaza Strip. The current death toll stands at 983, including at least 673 civilians, of whom approximately 225 are children. In addition to the rising civilian death toll, the Centre is also gravely concerned about IOF use of unidentified incinerating bombs that are causing horrific burns to civilians across the Gaza Strip, and forcing doctors to perform amputations on some civilian victims. The Centre is demanding an immediate investigation into IOF use of these weapons by international health experts.

What is this weapons???

Missiles believed to contain white phosphor were deployed by the Israeli military during this attack. International volunteers photographed a fist-sized lump of flaming material found on the ground next to a burnt-out home. It was still burning from the previous day.

The only way to extinguish it was to bury it, but it would instantly re-ignite if uncovered. It was giving off a thick grey smoke with a foul stench. Doctors at the Al Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, which received 50 casualties that day from Khoza'a, described serious chemical burns and victims being covered in a white powder which continued to burn them. Many people were also suffering from serious breathing difficulties after inhaling smoke emitted by this weapon.

Dr. Ahmed Almi, a member of the delegation of Egyptian doctors who finally gained entry to the strip to support Gazan hospitals during the crisis, outlined some of the most serious cases. Four of them died in the hospital after doctors battled to save them. He commented that some of the injuries were so horrific they must have been inflicted by abnormal munitions. He gave the example of a man who had been shot and sustained a small entry wound but massive exit wound, 40-50 cm wide. 13 people were killed overall during this incursion according to medical sources.

Before the Israeli war on Gaza began, volunteers here had been working with the farming community in Khoza'a, accompanying local farmers as they succeeded to access their land to plant winter wheat. The IOF had prevented them from reaching their fields, in some cases for over five years. Israeli soldiers shot at them, even during the ceasefire. The same ceasefire which Israel claims was broken by Palestinians.

Photos beig uploaded to

"It was the hardest day of our lives"

Update for Wednesday 14th January, 2009

In an escalation of the ground offensive in the south of the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces terrorised the population of Khoza'a, a small rural community east of Khan Younis. They entered the area at about 3.00am on the morning of Tuesday 13th January in an incursion lasting until Tuesday evening. This follows heavy missile strikes on Khoza'a in recent days, notably on Saturday 10th January.

According to a local municipality official, approximately 50 homes were bulldozed along with farmland, olive and citrus groves. The scent of lemons could faintly be determined whilst navigating the wreckage, emanating from so many mangled trees. A family explained how their home was demolished with them inside it. They sheltered in the basement as the upper storeys were destroyed. Later they realised the basement itself was being attacked and narrowly missed being crushed to death by escaping through a small hole in the debris.

Iman Al-Najar was with her family in their home when military D-9 bulldozers began to demolish it. They managed to escape and Iman then encouraged some of her neighbours to try to leave the vicinity. The group of women were instructed by Israeli soldiers to leave by a particular street. They had children with them and carried white flags, yet when they reached the street Israeli special forces concealed in a building opened fire on them and shot 50 year-old Rowhiya Al-Najar. The other women desperately tried to rescue her but the gunfire was too heavy and they had to flee for their lives. An ambulance was also prevented from reaching her and she bled to death in the street.

Meanwhile Iman and about 200 other residents whose homes had been destroyed had gathered near her uncle's house which was protecting them to some degree from the shooting. However, this area in turn was also attacked. Iman described how the bulldozers began piling debris up around them, effectively creating a giant hole that they were standing in. They were literally about to be buried alive. By some miracle they managed to also escape from this situation by crawling on their hands and knees for about 150 metres. It was extremely difficult for them to move, especially with the injured and the elderly.

The terrified residents then sought sanctuary at a local UNRWA school. But when they got there missiles were being fired around it and they had to retreat. Finally they managed to leave the area entirely and walked several kilometres to where friends were able to pick them up. Iman's 14 year-old brother Mohammed was missing for 12 hours and she feared he was dead. He had been detained by soldiers in a house along with a neighbour who had begged to be let out to find her children but was not allowed to do so. When the soldiers had shot Rowhiya Al-Najar, Mohammed said they had been singing and dancing and forced him to do the same. When he refused, they threatened to shoot him too.

"It was the hardest day of our lives," repeated Iman over and over again. She had nothing left in the world but the clothes she was standing up in, but under the circumstances she was lucky to escape with her life. As in so many other parts of the Gaza Strip, the atrocities committed against civilians in Khoza'a amount to war crimes.

Photos beig uploaded to

Our Rafah School (they destroyed the other)

Does it surprise people you think that we go to school? You know the academic pass rate is very high here and the girls have the best degrees of all the Arab countries. We'd maybe do better if the IOF did not bomb our schools and our Universities but this they must do because if we stay strong and take control of our land and our resources they cannot survive. We continue as prisoners to be abused and yet told we are the abuser.

And this is our old school for orphans (we have quite lots of these):

This bombed school looks a lot like my mosque:

Now we just have to pray outside and pray to allah it does not rain.

More photos of our Rafah B prep school (which we now have many many living in) and the destruction around us:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Footage from Rafah + Abu Jamil

(sorry no ways for subtitles for english)

This footage includes an interview with Abu Jamil in what remains of Abu Jamil Street which was very badly hit. Of course he doesn't live there anymore, not since his house was destroyed in 2004, but he'd gone to the neighbourhood yesterday to see the situation and help relatives evacuate.

Song for Gaza (thnx)

"You, me, nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it ’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. ..." Rocky Balboa

The US House of Representatives has voted to endorse a resolution backing Israel in its offensive in Gaza, in which at least 780 Palestinians have been killed.

The body passed Friday's resolution "recognising Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza"


Is anyone else looking at this and thinking the world has gone mad? here is the deal. The current invasion has nothing to do with Israel's right to defend itself from Hamas. The Occupation of Palestine pre dates Hamas as an organisation. This problem was here BEFORE HAMAS EXISTED.

The problem is that for Israel to remain Jewish this cannot be one country (we'd be happy for that but Israel has to be majority Jewish so no can do).

So...why not two countries (oh, yeah, did I menion we are not a sovereign nation just a collection of refugees awaiting a final outcome (I would have said final solution but that's bad taste).

And here is the rub. For Israel to survive with or without the massive US backing it needs to continue its exports and businesses which are almost TOTALY reliant on resources found in the West Bank (and apparently some here like gas).

That's right....they got most of the land but we got all of the resources. So...for them to survive we can't. And they bigger and badder so it does not look so good.

I accept that. In battle there is winner and loser....but please just tell the truth. You destroy us because you need to in order to survive. Tell the world that and stop hiding behind the lies and portraying yourselves as the victims. Historically yes and we cry for your past but are the afraid are you of being wiped out you ignore your pain and inflict suffering on us to survive.

65 year of this shit is enough please so you might as well kill us all. The world will believe your lies that you just wiped out a 'den of terrorists' not a prison full of families but beware....history may judge you differently and the world anger may make your fears a self fulflling prophecy.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Citizens of Rafah (you are doomed)

This footage includes an interview with Abu Jamil in what remains of Abu Jamil Street which was very badly hit. Of course he doesn't live there anymore, not since his house was destroyed in 2004, but he'd gone to the neighbourhood yesterday to see the situation and help relatives evacuate.

Footage taken in Rafah on 7th January (link expires after 14 days): (its raw footage in WMV file)

Following one of the heaviest air strikes on Rafah so far, many homes were destroyed or severely damaged yesterday, especially in the neighbourhoods along the border with Egypt. Residents reported mass leaflet drops in these neighbourhoods by Israeli 'planes yesterday afternoon ordering thousands of people to leave their homes. This resulted in a mass evacuation. Below is a translation of the leaflet dropped yesterday:
"Citizens of Rafah

Due to Hamas using your houses to smuggle and store ammunition, the Israeli Defence Force will attack your homes from Sea Street to the Egyptian border. To the people who live in these areas: Block O, Al Brazil camp, Al Shora area and Qishta area, all homes beyond Sea Street must be evacuated. You have from the time you receive this leaflet until 7.00am the following morning. For you and your children's safety follow what this leaflet says.

The leadership of the Israeli Defence Force"

And how do people beleive this is true that all the famiilies houses are Hamas houses....the lies are crazy but not as crazy as those who beleive them.

Tabula Gaza

the building i was in was just bombed. from the 10th floor news studio where i’d had an interview, a series of strikes against the building, housing numerous TV stations, threatened to bring down the walls, bring down the building. the journalists i was with say it was 7 hits, suspect it was shelling from tanks east of Gaza, it’s hard to say really because it happened very quickly, very suddenly.

as the theme goes: no where is safe from Israeli strikes.

and as the Palestinians say, hek idinya: that’s life.

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.

POW Camps now in Gaza

From PNN

The Israeli military imposed four detention camps in the Gaza Strip where they are holding at least 500 Palestinians.

At the site of the former settlement of Netzarim is one camp, with a second in the north’s Beit Hanoun, another in Bani Suheila in the south and a four near the Karni Crossing.

Some Palestinian security prisoners were deported to the Israeli intelligence service to be investigated as part of the “wanted lists of the occupation authorities” for belonging to Hamas.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Rafah Exodus: 7th January 2009

Shortly before midnight last night missiles began raining down on Rafah in one of the heaviest Israeli air strikes since the current atrocities began. Continuous sorties pounded the southern Gaza city for over 12 hours. Many homes were destroyed or severely damaged, especially in the neighbourhoods along the border with Egypt.

Aftermath 3

Residents reported mass leaflet drops in these neighbourhoods by Israeli 'planes this afternoon. The papers ordered them to leave their homes in the areas stretching from the borderline all the way back to Sea Street, the main street running through the heart of Rafah, parallel to the border. This area is hundreds of metres deep and the site of thousands of homes. Most of these areas are refugee camps, where residents are being made refugees yet again, some for the third or fourth time following the mass home demolitions of 2003 and 2004 by Israeli military D-9 bulldozers.

Exodus 2

A three hour respite was announced in the local media and residents saw this as the last possible opportunity to salvage some of their belongings despite F-16 fighter jets remaining in the skies over Rafah during this time. There were scenes of people picking through the rubble, children carrying bundles, donkey carts piled with bedding and trucks loaded with furniture.

Exodus 6

Where will these families go? They are afraid to seek sanctuary in local UNRWA schools following yesterday's massacres in Jabaliya. They are being temporarily absorbed by the rest of Rafah's population – friends, neighbours, relatives. We have a friend in Yibna, directly on the border, who refuses to leave his home. We spoke to one woman in Al Barazil who has a family of 12 and simply doesn't know where to go and another woman in Block J who is literally in the street tonight. Her father is in his nineties.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day 11 of the Israeli War On Gaza

whats to say? would you believe back in October we had our first Opera in Gaza. Life is hard when you are kept prisoner your whole life even though you are acknowledged as the victim. But we try hard to live a life and we study very hard. Even to say Hamas is the cause of this is to blame the rape victim for what she was wearing.

Sooo...Day 11 of the Israeli War On Gaza. Palestinians flee their homes but Israeli missiles kill them in UN schools.

The Israeli military ground operation began 3 days ago. Below is a new report for the 11th day of the Gaza offensive and the outcomes of the Israeli invasion.
Figures taken from an article by Sameh A. Habeeb, photojournalist, humanitarian and peace activist in the Gaza Strip. (Some figures updated since time of writing.)
*660 Palestinians killed and 2950 injured, most of them civilians


Monday, January 5, 2009

video: rafah kids pick up the pieces

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

feels like we should add #gaza here as on twitter

Palestine <> Hamas but even so...

because of everything and before several days now there has been no electricity most of our updates are on twitter but one thing stood out article in UK 'The Times' which normally favours Israel (not that we have aproble with Israel you know just the Occupation and the lack of any sort of meaningful settlement (say it again Hamas is symptom, not cause)) and here is some quotes..

Gaza is a secular society where people listen to pop music, watch TV and many women walk the streets unveiled.

Last week I was in Gaza. While I was there I met a group of 20 or so police officers who were undergoing a course in conflict management...Less than a week later all of these men were dead, killed by an Israeli rocket at a graduation ceremony. Were they “dangerous Hamas militant gunmen”? No, they were unarmed police officers, public servants killed not in a “militant training camp” but in the same police station in the middle of Gaza City that had been used by the British, the Israelis and Fatah during their periods of rule there.

In the five years that I have been visiting Gaza and the West Bank, I have met hundreds of Hamas politicians and supporters. None of them has professed the goal of Islamising Palestinian society, Taleban-style. Hamas relies on secular voters too much to do that. People still listen to pop music, watch television and women still choose whether to wear the veil or not.

The political leadership of Hamas is probably the most highly qualified in the world. Boasting more than 500 PhDs in its ranks, the majority are middle-class professionals - doctors, dentists, scientists and engineers. Most of its leadership have been educated in our universities and harbour no ideological hatred towards the West. It is a grievance-based movement, dedicated to addressing the injustice done to its people. It has consistently offered a ten-year ceasefire to give breathing space to resolve a conflict that has continued for more than 60 years.

read it all and then tell me again that Hamas is the cause...the Occupation is the cause...Hamas is a symtpom and you all being lied to.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Is the Real Target Hamas Rule?

News Analysis - Is the Real Target Hamas Rule? - "is the real aim of the operation to remove Hamas entirely, no matter the cost?"

I mean, it's only the democratically elected government of a people with no official country or infrastructure except that provided by the Occupier.

Please...before everyone in Gaza is dead...perhaps try to understnad that Hamas is a symptom....not a cause....the Occupation is the cause....the lack of a settlement for the forcible removal of people from their land....this is the cause...Hamas is a symptom....and the US doesn't like governments it doesn't choose.

No outgoing calls. Darkness and it's raining fire. The children are screaming.

(and we didn't actually vote for Hamas...and Palestine contains Palestinians...some of whom supported Hamas because they were an employer and the PLO were corrupt Palestine <> Hamas.)


Friday, January 2, 2009


New photos is at:

29 - Shop, originally uploaded by rafahkid.

This material was taken on the morning of Thursday 1st January, following an attack on the Shabora refugee camp of Rafah, close to the city centre.

This civilian neighbourhood (one of the most densely populated places in the Gaza Strip) was hit during an Israeli air strike shortly before midnight on Wednesday. The missile struck a small park without warning, destroying large numbers of surrounding homes and shops.

Israeli air strike hits childrens' park in Rafah

Please download links for original unedited footage and photos. Permission given for it to be used by media. Links expire in 14 days.

Footage part 1

Footage part 2


This material was taken on the morning of Thursday 1st January, following an attack on the Shabora refugee camp of Rafah, close to the city centre. This civilian neighbourhood (one of the most densely populated places in the Gaza Strip) was hit during an Israeli air strike shortly before midnight on Wednesday. The missile struck a small park without warning, destroying large numbers of surrounding homes and shops.

A 33 year-old woman and a 22 year-old man were killed and nearly 60 people were injured, 18 of them woman and 16 of them children. Several elderly people were also injured, a couple of them seriously.

Witnessing the attack from Hi Alijnina, hundreds of metres away, an F-16 fighter jet was heard in the sky followed by a massive explosion. The wall of our house facing the direction of the attack shook and it seemed as though the windows were about to blow in. The wail of multiple ambulances was heard for a long time afterwards.


Below are some interviews I conducted this morning.

Interview 1:
We heard the explosions and went to the scene. People were shouting. Some of the schoolchildren were afraid. There was damage throughout the whole neighborhood. Until this time we don't know the exact number of martyrs. But people have been killed and many have been injured. There are martyrs under the wreckage…as you see.

Interview 2: Naama, 13 years old
I was sitting with my friends when the attack happened. We were scared and we ran out of our school. Our headmaster asked us to go home. We saw fire. We were told to leave the area by another street.

Interview 3: Policeman, 39 years old
We were at the police station. The Israeli planes came and suddenly the building collapsed on us. I saw four dead bodies near me. They were in pieces. Outside I saw the same thing. Everyone was shouting. I lost consciousness and then found myself in hospital.

Interview 4:
We were in a meeting in Rafah. I was with Abu Odeh, the manager of the traffic police, and with Rafah’s manager. We were preparing to release impounded motorbikes before the Israeli attack. We received an order to evacuate the police station, and as we were leaving the attack happened.

We managed to reach the door of the police station. The explosion was strong and I fell down. I looked around and saw my colleagues and they were in pieces. The situation was desperate, so I said the Shahada prayer until I was rescued and taken to the hospital.

Interview 5:
We heard the attack. It was far away in Tel Al Sultan [northern Rafah] and we were in the city centre. We ran away from the police station. I was injured by shrapnel as I was leaving the main gate of the police station. We didn't have a chance to get an overview of the scene because debris was flying everywhere.

To fish...

From the thousands of stories about life in Gaza and the suffering of the people here, I was amazed by one story of Gaza’s fishermen that I heard when I was out on a fishing boat. To write a story like this you need to wake up at 5:30 am and prepare yourself to leave Rafah at 6am to be on time for the fishing trip.

The trip from Rafah to Gaza City is an hour by taxi. Normally, we share the taxi with six other people. We don’t know one another, but the strange thing is that we talk to each other as friends who see each other every day. And in that way you can hear six stories about life, about a father or a son, a mother or a daughter, a lover or a friend, about their days, or about the questions in their minds that need answers. We share the taxi to share the costs, but at the same time to share the happiness and the sadness. This is one of the things we have that people in Europe don’t.

At 7 am on my first day fishing, I wanted to be on one of the trawlers. I didn’t think it would be easy or that I would be safe, but it was worth trying, in order to see something different and a window on the world that is almost closed.

I arrived at Gaza port with one of my friends, got on the boat and started the trip, after the fishermen had prepared themselves. On the boat I realized how open the fishermen were, how much they wanted to talk about their experiences. They just needed somebody to listen, somebody to make them feel better.

While we were all chatting about different things, Ahmed, who is 20 years old, started to talk. He said, my brother was shot in the head while he was working on this boat. I remember that day very well. All of us on the boat were working, and things were going alright until an Israeli gunboat showed up and started to shoot at us. You are going to ask me, for no reason? Yes, for no reason, unless they aim to make us suffer on land and in the sea. The gunboat started to shoot directly at our boat. Ibrahim was shot in the head. Some of us were scared, and some tried to deal with Ibrahim’s wound. They were really strong to be able to deal with his injury and see all of the blood. For a while I thought he had died. But when we arrived to the port, and took him to the hospital, he was in very bad condition according to the doctors. He stayed in the emergency room for ten days, and after that it was God’s will that he survived. Since then he has not come back to fish because the accident affected him.

I asked myself since hearing this story, what is the mistake that we have made to face this fate? The Israelis always say that they fight us because we are armed. Are the nets that we use for fishing a prohibited thing, are they a weapon? If so, international law should inform us of this.

For your information, according to the Oslo Agreements, Gaza’s fishermen have the right to fish 20 miles from the shore, and according to international law we can fish 12 miles out, with or without an occupation. Then why does the Israeli Navy force these fishermen to fish no more than six miles from shore? Is this part of their siege, or another of their security reasons which have no end?

I asked another fisherman named Hassan who is 35 years old, is it really dangerous to fish? He answered, the Israelis have left me with no alternative but to die.

In the stories that I write I never try to remember the date or the time, but for some people it makes a difference to know when something happened. But for Gazans it doesn’t make any difference. It amazes me how people here survive. Maybe as we say in Arabic, a person who sees others’ miseries finds that his misery looks smaller than he imagined.


Our experiences here reveal much more than what is in the news. Here in Palestine, the death penalty was ordered after a summary trial before a military court for people caught with Palestinian passports. Why?

While the world celebrates Christmas and people wish each other a happy New Year, it shocks me how many people in the world live below the poverty line, and how many children die every year because of bad food or water. And where I live in the Gaza Strip, sickness and poverty are increasing. Gaza is the only prison in the world which has no limit on the number of prisoners or on prisoners’ age.

The prison here has no image that you can imagine, and no description that writing can describe. And the prisoners here range from a day old to over a hundred years old.

In Gaza you might be confused to see many shops full of things to buy. With so many things that to buy, you might ask, are these people really under siege? Yes the shops are full of things that Gazans need to survive, but can’t buy. How they can buy something they don’t have they money for. You can find chocolate in the markets but you can’t find bread. You can go to the hospital but you can’t find the necessary treatment.


This morning I went with some friends to visit the Block O neighborhood in the city of Rafah in the South of the Gaza Strip. While we were in one of the houses that we planned to visit, my phone rang. It was a friend from Gaza City. He was asking about something. Suddenly I heard the sound of an explosion at his side. At the same time I heard an explosion in Rafah too. He said, Fida they are attacking nearby, and I said they attacking here too. It seems that they attacked all of the Gaza Strip at the same time, all the cities at once. We hung up.

My friends and I in Rafah ran into the street, and in the street everybody was running, children and other people who wanted to see their relatives and friends. It was the time for schoolchildren to go to school, and for the second school shift to start. To explain more, because of the number of students here, which is increasing daily, schools in Rafah work in two shifts. The first shift starts at 7 am and finishes at 11:30 am, and the second shift for a different group of students starts at 12 pm and finishes at 4:30 pm. The attack happened at 11:30am, the time when schools change shifts, just as the first shift was coming back from school, and the second shift was to go to school.

So anyway, when we went to the area it was full of children and people looking at the wreckage. It was scary for many people to come and look because the Israeli attack wasn’t over, and from where we were we saw an Israeli airplane attack another police station. Some people could say they are police and that gives the Israelis the right to attack them. What about all the civilians who were walking or driving nearby? What about the children who were in this street? It’s impossible that the world sees just part of the truth and denies the important part. Even if it’s a police station, this government was elected and democratically chosen.

Most the people who were killed were people walking nearby or children going or coming back from school. I can’t believe what this world thinks.

About my daily life in Gaza Strip, Rafah.

Fida Qishta lives in the city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, Palestine. She is a freelance journalist, filmmaker and blogger, and the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) coordinator for the Gaza Strip.

[from] December 31

For the last year and a half the Israeli government has intensified the economic blockade of Gaza by closing all the border crossings that allow aid and essential supplies to reach Palestinians in Gaza. This forced Palestinians to dig tunnels to Egypt to survive. Israel continued talking about a military operation in the Gaza Strip, until the madness of war became inevitable for the both sides. And since it began, hundreds of Gazans have been killed,

I don’t know how other people around the globe think. Did you think to be honest with yourself once to understand the truth? A handmade Palestinian rocket jeopardizes Israeli security, but the Israeli’s scary F16 rockets, missiles, and the tanks don’t jeopardize Palestinians security!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Video from Rafah border following Israeli air-strikes


Last night was a hectic scramble to get to our Jabalia house soon after dark; the further into the night, the greater the danger. On Sunday night, other commitments had delayed us, and then over the phone the family said any car on the road late would for sure be hit and they couldn't bear any more loss, even new friends like us. 

So we arrived at about 6 yesterday evening, and F told us they hadn't spent more than brief moments up from the basement that day, since heavy bombing had begun at 5am. 

The night was manageable; an Apache helicopter seemed perched above the house for a lot of it, but that meant it was firing rockets away from us. Nearer to morning we had some hours of it being the other way round and the explosions being pretty loud. During the night, the Islamic University was bombed for a second time, and the port continued to recieve attacks - as did pretty much all Gaza. 

they even kill the chickens

In the Akram Al Kanwa's family of 10 children, 7 were injured; 2 remain in hospital. An acrid aroma was in the air from the resulting chemical fire which had taken 13 hours to put out.

We were then taken to a chicken farm, which was simply a ground area underneath a building, open to the outside, with sawdust laid down, quite a nice place for chickens under normal circumstances, but that was no longer what they had. 

Either from shock or a physical effect of a nearby explosion 3 days ago, 11,000 were dead. The remaining 1,000 wandered about among the bodies, which the farmer was raking up and putting into bags to remove. Vegans look away - that's 11,000 less dinners for Gaza families, not even counting the eggs. 


“It's 3am here. Just witnessed an Apache helicopter attack. Makes a change from F-16 fighter jets. Off to grab some sleep now...inshallah.”

photos from Shifa ICU Rafah

photos from Shifa ICU Rafah, originally uploaded by rafahkid.

Dr Khaled from Shifa hospital ICU said that the majority of cases in the ICU are critical, with an approx 80% who will not survive. At that time, the 24 beds in the ICU (twice is many as normally capable of holding, extra beds and extra rooms made into ICU care) were the 4th shift of critically injured, the former 3 having died from their injuries.

more photos they on flickr

not a terrororists house part 2

These photos were taken on Tuesday 30th December in a residential neighbourhood of Rafah called Hi Alijnina, following an Israeli air strike at approximately 5.00am local time. One house was totally destroyed and adjacent homes were severely damaged. A teenager was injured when his bedroom wall collapsed on him as he lay sleeping. Other civilians were also injured.

not a terrorists house part 1

These photos were taken on Tuesday 30th December in a residential neighbourhood of Rafah called Hi Alijnina, following an Israeli air strike at approximately 5.00am local time. One house was totally destroyed and adjacent homes were severely damaged. A teenager was injured when his bedroom wall collapsed on him as he lay sleeping. Other civilians were also injured.