Gaza, Now

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A View on a street and surrounding buildings devastated by an Israeli military airstrike which occurred on 14 November in the neighborhood of Tal el Hawa, city of Gaza, seen on
November 16, 2012. (Photo: Anne Paq/Activestills)

I’m writing this from near the Gaza seaport from where I can see smoke rising around me from the bombs that fall down on the Gaza Strip from the Israeli planes above. Words fail me. Despite the limits to life from Israel’s five-year siege on Gaza some kind of normality is attempted in Gaza. How could it be any other way when the majority of the population are children? Do families have any other option?

Yet this civilian population, most now holed out in the dense, tight refugee camp buildings and urban centres of Gaza are facing the wrath of some of the most powerful aerial warfare available to humankind. As I write the constant bombardments consume my senses and shake the entirety of my surroundings. For the over 300 people injured or killed so far by the Israeli F16s, drones and gunboat shellings the loss for them and their families will never relent.

I can barely write a sentence and more news — “six injuries from a bombing in Sheikh Radwan, children among them, including a 4-year old child who was playing in the street,” “Elderly man just killed in Zaytoun neighbourhood, with 4 injuries.” Friends have received text messages from the Israeli Occupation Forces saying in arabic, “Stay away from Hamas the second phase is coming.”

Twelve-year-old Abdullah Samouni, who I teach English to in Zeitoun camp called me a little while ago. “We’re really scared”, he said. “We moved to get away to Zeitoun and went to our grandmother’s house. Take care of yourself, there are so many bombs.” Abdullah lost his father, and his four-year-old brother was shot, when Israeli soldiers entered their house in the land offensive of Israel’s Cast Lead attacks on Gaza over the new year of 2009. In three days, Abdullah was injured and lost 29 members of his extended family. His mother Zeinat has moved her seven remaining children to a town further north, but bombs are raining down all over the Gaza Strip.

“We moved everyone out but bombing is so bad here. All of the kids are screaming. Whenever an attack happens they come and hold me. The children remembered what happened before, they think only the worst.” said Zeinat who like so many has had to put aside her own fears and tragedy to show strength for her children.

Seeing Western media continue to distort the picture of what is happening here, just as they did during the massacres that took place during Israel’s Cast Lead attacks, and any other offensive described as “retaliation” made my call with Abdullah all the more angry. This year from January 1st until November 6th this year 71 Palestinians were killed and 291 injured in Gaza, while no Israelis were killed and 19 were injured according to the United Nations. How many Western media outlets offer proportionate time to Palestinian victims as to Israeli victims? [1]

Just as the Israeli forces initiated the pretence for the Cast Lead attacks, this time the Israeli army’s initial attack took place on Thursday November 8th with an Israeli incursion into Gaza, in Abassan village. They opened fire indiscriminately and leveled areas of Palestinian land. The shooting from Israeli military vehicles seriously wounded 13-year-old Ahmed Younis Khader Abu Daqqa while he was playing football with friends, and he died the next day of his injuries.

On the 10th November, Palestinian resistance fighters attacked an Israeli army jeep patrolling the border with Gaza, injuring 4 Israeli occupation soldiers.

Israeli forces then targeted civilian areas, killing two more teenagers playing football, then bombed the gathering that was mourning their deaths, killing two more. Five civilians were killed and two resistance fighters, including three children. Fifty-two others, including six women and twelve children were wounded. For Gaza to be under such attack, could anyone doubt that resistance forces would fire back? Once Israeli forces had carried out further bombardments, one of which was the extra-judicial killing of the Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari, the circle was complete. [2]

Since then during the last three days 29 Palestinians have been killed and three Israelis. The majority of Palestinian victims were civilians of which six were children. More than 270 have been injured of whom 134 are children and women. The vast majority are civilians. The number is rapidly rising.

Even this comparison is detached from the context that Gaza is under Israeli military occupation, illegal according to United Nations Resolutions and a five-year blockade, deemed collective punishment by all major human rights organisations, violating article 33 of the Geneva Conventions. The right to resist enforced military occupation by a foreign force is also enshrined in international law, a right that should be self-evident.

Which explained the jubilance from Palestinians in Gaza when rumours spread that one of the rockets which usually hit open land, this time brought down an Israeli F16 fighter jet, the likes of which had carried out over 600 airstrikes all over the Gaza Strip these last three days.

Indeed, our visits to hospitals didn’t take long to convince us that these Israeli aerial attacks and shelling from gunships have hit many civilian areas.

At the main Al-Shifa hospital, Gaza City, every ten minutes more people arrived in ambulances; an elderly man, a young man, a child, two more children. Once leaving the injured, the stretcher gets a new towel and is sprinted back out for the courageous paramedics of the Palestinian Red Crescent to go back out into the danger zones, to find the latest victims of attacks.

There weren’t many beds free in the intensive care unit where some had brain injuries from embedded shrapnel. While we were there, rushing in came a tiny child, ten month old girl, Haneen Tafesh. She had very little colour or life in her and was rolled on to the hospital bed. She had suffered a brain haemorrhage and a fractured skull. Later that evening we learned that she hadn’t survived.

Talking to the Director General of Al-Shifa, Dr Mithad Abbas he asked, “We know Israel has the most precision and advanced weaponry. So why are all these children coming in?” He stated that if casualties increased there would be a severe lack basic medicines and supplies, such as antibiotics, IV fluid, anaesthesia, gloves, catheters, external fixators, Heparin, sutures, detergents and spare parts for medical equipment. What’s more electricity blackouts would hit hard, without enough finance for suitable fuel for generators.

Once again as I write five huge blasts from nearby shake our building and our senses. The bombings have progressively escalated, especially once night falls. Jabaliya refugee camp, Shejaiya, Rafah and Meghazi I learned had been under a continuous barrage. One blast came down during an interview with a Canadian radio station which helped the audience to understand more than I could.

A 13-year-old girl, Duaa Hejazi was hit in Sabra neighbourhood as she walked back home with family. Shrapnel was embedded all over her upper body. “I say, we are children. There is nothing that is our fault to have to face this.” She told us. “They are occupying us and I will say, as Abu Omar said, ‘If you’re a mountain, the wind won’t shake you.’ We’re not afraid, we’ll stay strong.”

And so the night goes on. The near future of Gaza is uncertain. The fates of everyone here is uncertain. Which people now preparing to go to their beds, will have their lives turned upside down by the loss of a loved one these next few days. I know some of the warmest people here that I feel strongly attached to, that you would instantly care for if you met them. The complete madness of this violence makes me wonder what we have done to ourselves, how do we allow humanity to manifest itself in this way.

Outside you can make a difference. I’m asking you, because the Israeli army will not empathise with the people they are looking down on through their cockpit windows. Nor will their politicians. But you can empathise and you can act. The normal ways but multiplied by ten. Small and big efforts to create massive international mobilisation are the only way to reduce the extent of the horror and loss facing the Palestinians of Gaza.

The Israeli cabinet has approved the call-up of 75,000 reservists compared to the 10,000 reservists called up for the massacres during Israel’s air and land offensive in Cast Lead. There is not much time.

For further information from Gaza, please contact:

Adie Mormech (British)



About Adie Mormech

Adie Mormech is a human rights advocate based in the Gaza Strip.

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11 Responses

  1. seafoid
    November 17, 2012, 1:45 am

    The picture reminded me of this view of the Warsaw Ghetto by Robert Capa, who was a Zionist . Gaza and Warsaw are just separated by time really.

    I think Capa wanted to show the pointlessness and the tragedy of war. But the Zionists still don’t get it. It’s almost like the parasite of WW2 is alive and well in the Levant.

  2. jewishgoyim
    November 17, 2012, 2:09 am

    I’m in France. The media here are shameful. It is cast lead all over again but if I remember well, at the time, it was pretty clear to everybody that Israel’s actions were unacceptable even though we heard all the hasbarah narratives about “retaliations to Palestinian rockets”, “you don’t know what it’s like to live in Sderot”, “they had it coming” etc…

    I think the media commentary and the atmosphere is different this time. First, there is overall less commentary and almost no outrage anymore. Then when it is reported, it is really like a sports game where two opponents are on a leveled playing field (with of course a much more dramatic undertone). The idea of Israeli aggression has disappeared. (The US is much more squarely with the Israelis too it seems to me, no shame at all this time)

    I am, for one, still at a loss really understanding what is exactly going on here and I would truly appreciate if someone could explain to me what the Israelis think they are gaining by leading these actions every four year (if it follows the same pattern as last time). I remember an Israeli military or politician using the expression “mowing the lawn” but I don’t understand it. And also, why are the Palestinians replying or shooting rockets to Israel? Don’t they see how being only victims would further their cause? Do they get any tangible political advantage by applying this constant (albeit weak) pressure on Israel? It would not be a stretch for me to blame squarely Israel for everything that’s happening here but the fact is I don’t understand the dynamics. It just does not make sense. What is Israel gaining? Why do Palestinians fight back at all? And shoot rockets here and there from time to time? What do the Palestinians gain by blurring even just a bit their quite obvious victim status? Is it possible that some of these Palestinians attacks (in my view useless and so damaging to them) are manipulated by Israel? Why give Israel even a preposterous pretext if they gain nothing from it?

    On media in France, I would add, that this is all part of a very scary and shameful evolution “from Chirac to Hollande” where ultra right-wing neoconism in general went from “actively fought against” in France to “totally complied with” without any admission of its very existence all along. This all made possible by stronger and stronger relent of islamophobia bordering more and more on sheer racism, all sanctioned by the mainstream media. The very fabric of the French (and seemingly European) resistance to the AIPAC line has been destabilized, further isolating and alienating our significant Muslim minorities which could previously often find some relief in the useless but still symbolically empathetic governments’ line towards Palestinians.

    It feels like the conflict of civilization is now completely ingrained in our Western European psyche. And contrary to the US where neoconism has met some resistance due to the Iraq war, it seems like Europe is all the more vulnerable to it that nobody really has identified or understood the threat as such. The threat of the conflict of civilization narrative much greater in Europe because “Eurabia” (as neocons coined it) has no choice but to respect its huge Muslim minorities as human beings. We cannot go the American/Israeli of dehumanizing and counting “these people” for nothing.

    So it is really scary to see Europe becoming more pro Israel than the US on some levels (think I’m pushing it? Think about Iran sanctions, think about Sarkozy’s diplomats in league with US neocons to pressure the Obama administration into taking a harder stance on Iran – Europe is still more balanced ont the Israelo-Palestinian conflict but it is changing fast).

    Note: an interesting tidbit is that our 2nd car manufacturer Peugeot here is going through huge difficulties. It seems like a huge chunk of them is due to leaving the Iranian market altogether in February (500000 cars a year built in France and assembled in Iran) and it has been absolutely ignored by the media. Peugeot’s troubles are all over the media but the Iranian angle has been completely cleansed from the discourse. (The longer story is that this drop of the Iranian market is linked to a deal with GM so was probably engineered in Washington DC but this cannot explain the media silence.)

    • NickJOCW
      November 17, 2012, 12:10 pm

      Thank you for this sensitive comment. Europeans are being torn apart by practical, day to day, hour to hour, economic problems. I live in Southern Spain where in the last weeks three middle aged, middle class citizens, two men and a woman, facing eviction, have opened their windows, climbed on the ledge and jumped to death. There are only so many issues the mind can encompass. Concern for distant injustice is, I’m afraid, something of a luxury. Europe’s leaders simply follow the US administration like dogs wagging their tails while sniffing at their owners’ pants.

      Mankind has always been aware of the existence of evil and that evil is destructive and contaminating, all religions underline it. That is the world we live in. Israelis embody a great deal of evil. BDS at a personal level is one practical step we can all take, not to penalise Israelis but to protect ourselves. Ask of anything you are buying, Does this come from Israel? Let those around you hear you ask. If it does, obviously, don’t buy it, but even if it doesn’t you will have made a point. Think of it like being in some place where you need to ask, Is this water drinkable?

  3. douglasreed
    November 17, 2012, 2:32 am

    Maybe the world doesn’t yet appreciate the true import of the appalling situation now developing. If there are missiles that can reach Tel Aviv then they can also reach the secret nuclear weapons facility and reactor at Dimona in the Negev. If that happens then Israel could go up in smoke and deadly radiation could envelop the entire Gulf with horrific consequences for not only the region but the world.

    The US has been incredibly short-sighted and naive by allowing Israel to develop this secret nuclear facility over the past decades that has been concealed from the UN’s IAEA inspectorate. Maybe criminally negligent might be a more appropriate description of American collusion in this respect as it endangers all of us wherever we live. The current conflict and the assassinations by Israel of leading politicians in Gaza is probably the greatest political error since 1948.

  4. yourstruly
    November 17, 2012, 5:04 am

    it’s a reprise of the warsaw ghetto uprising,
    with palestinians filling in for the jewish resistance that held off the Nazis for one month. how long can the palestinian resistance hold off the nazis (er, israeli jews)?

    with the world once again standing by

    doing nothing?

  5. tear-stained uzi
    November 17, 2012, 10:08 am

    I am so upset right now that words fail. Some of you may have already seen the following video of a horrifically burned and dying baby girl from Gaza. WARNING: IT IS TRULY AWFUL. DON’T CLICK unless you are willing to face the raw consequences of the world’s indifference to the plight of Palestine. YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO UN-SEE IT.

    ‘Savage’ baby after ‘Civilized’ Israeli airstrike

    In a related video, here’s the vile sociopath Robert Gibbs, incoherently attempting to justify the Obama administration’s killing of 16 y.o. American citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki (skip to 1:57 for money quote).

    Obama won’t dare stop Netanyahu, so this is on him. I voted for Obama, so this is on me. I am NOT OK with this. Israel must be stopped!

  6. Bumblebye
    November 17, 2012, 2:50 pm

    I heard Adie interviewed the other night. He was very assertive, and insisted on his pov being heard – well done! However, it was after 1am. But, the presenter has a fair following.

    • Bumblebye
      November 17, 2012, 8:22 pm

      And on again right now as I tap the keys, from Jabbaliya. Al Quds cameraman has lost a leg.

  7. Mooser
    November 18, 2012, 3:04 pm

    I think this might be an apropriate place to put this since this was the article which sealed the deal for me. And the thought that the Mondo coverage of this is going to be something very special, is at least one positive thought in the situation:

    “11.18.2012 — 09:45 AM
    News on Israel-Palestine
    Today at TPMPrime we’re discussing this: what do you consider the most accurate, most balanced sources of information on the present conflict in Israel-Palestine and the issue in general?”

    I’m pretty sure it’s here, and I hope other people (I’m not a TPM Prime member) tell them the same. I think they will.
    Heck, it’s where the hasbara trolls come for their information!

    • seafoid
      November 18, 2012, 3:54 pm

      For me the most balanced source of information on the conflict would have to be the King’s Torah.

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