No safe haven: Civilians under attack in the Gaza Strip

Israel/Palestine
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Salem Waqef (Photo: Lydia De Leeuw)

Gaza City, 16 November 2012

The Israeli attacks across the Gaza Strip have entered their third day. We write this report amid the sounds of incessant bombings, which have continued all day yesterday and throughout the night.

The military escalation carried out by the Israeli Army continues all over the Gaza Strip. From Gaza City, we hear incessant noise of drones and F-16 fighter jets crashing through the sky above our heads. Bombs repeatedly fall in our surroundings, in densely populated civilians areas. At this point, Israeli air forces have conducted nearly 200 airstrikes, bringing the death toll to 19. Among the casualties are ten civilians, including six children and one woman. More than 180 people have been injured by the attacks, the vast majority civilians. The areas targeted included Beit Hanoun, Jabalia refugee camp, Sheikh Radwan and al-Nasser neighbourhoods in Gaza City, Maghazi, Deir El Balah, Khan Younis, and the tunnel area in Rafah.

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Haneen Tafesh (Photo: Gisela Schmidt-Martin)

Yesterday we visited Al Shifa hospital, where most of the injured are brought to. There we spoke with doctors, patients, their relatives, and witnesses about what they are going through in the current escalation in the Gaza Strip. We wish to share some of the stories of the people we met.

Salem Waqef, a 40 year old man, was severely injured when his home was destroyed in an attack during the early morning of 15 November. His doctors say Salem suffered a brain injury when he was deprived of oxygen. He was brought into the International Care Unit of Al Shifa hospital at 5am where he was placed on a ventilator. He remains in a coma and the doctors said he was in a serious condition.

At approximately 1.10pm, as we were leaving the ICU, a 10 month old girl, Haneen Tafesh, was brought into the ward. She was unconscious and her tiny body was grey. She had suffered a skull fracture and brain haemorrhage, which resulted from an attack that took place at around 11am yesterday in Gaza’s Sabra neighbourhood. She was in a coma and on mechanical ventilation. Later in the afternoon, we checked how Haneen was doing and doctors said her condition had deteriorated. After returning home in the evening, we learned that she had died.

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Ahmed Durghmush (Photo: Lydia De Leeuw)

Ahmed Durghmush is in his early twenties and was brought to Al Shifa ICU at around 9pm Wednesday night, 14 November, after he was injured by an airstrike carried out on the Tel al Hawa neighbourhood in Gaza City. He had suffered a severe brain trauma, caused by shrapnel from an explosion. Dr Fauzi Nablusia, a doctor in the ICU, explained that, when Ahmed arrived, some of his brain matter was protruding from his head wound. He suffered a brain haemorrhage and was operated on. When we asked doctors about Ahmed’s condition later today, they said it had deteriorated. A relative was standing over Ahmed’s bed, expressing his feelings of powerlessness and fear for Ahmed’s fate.

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Basma Mahmoud el Tourouq (Photo: Lydia De Leeuw)

The emergency room was dealing with spikes in victim arrivals throughout the day. One of those brought in was 5 year old Basma Mahmoud el Tourouq from Rimal neighbourhood, Gaza City. She was injured in an airstrike near her home around 2.30pm today. The shockwave of the explosion threw her across her bedroom, causing her lower arm to be fractured as she fell on the floor.

We later listened to the stories of some of the injured children, women and men and their relatives who had been moved up to the different wards of Al Shifa hospital.

Mohammed Abu Amsha, a two and half year old boy, was injured while he was sitting in front of his grandfather’s house in Beit Hanoun. An F16 fired a missile nearby, and scattering rubble struck him in the head. As we were about to leave, Mohammed’s father mentioned that Mohammed’s uncle had also been injured.

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Mohammed Abu Amsha (Photo: Gisela Schmidt-Martin)

Zuhdiye Samour, a mother and grandmother from Beach refugee camp in western Gaza City, was still visibly shaken by what had happened when she shared her story: “We were sitting together in our house. It was around 8.30 in the evening and we were watching TV, playing films so that the children would be less afraid. Then, we heard the sound of 12 shells being fired from gunboats in the sea.” Zuhdiye and three other civilians were injured as shells dropped in her neighbourhood, a residential area in the north of Gaza City.

Khalid Hamad, the Director of Public Information for the Ministry of Justice, was one of the other civilians injured in the indiscriminate attack of the residential area. He was at home with his family in Nabarat, Northern Gaza City, when they heard the sound of shelling, targeting a neighbour’s home. A number of people in the neighbourhood rushed outside to help and were targeted by a series of six additional shells. Hamad’s teenage nephew was lightly injured,and another man received shrapnel wounds. “They targeted civilians deliberately”, he said. “The Israeli forces don’t make mistakes.”

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Duaa Hejazi (Photo: Lydia De Leeuw)

A 13 year old girl, Duaa Hejazi, was coming back to her home in Gaza’s Sabra neighbourhood, after a walk with her mother and siblings, when an Israeli missile fired on the road in front of their home around 8 o’clock at night. “I was bleeding a lot. My brother was injured too, in his hand. The neighbours brought me to the hospital” Duaa sustained shrapnel injuries throughout her upper body, with some pieces still imbedded in her chest. She would like to pass on a message to other children, living outside of Gaza:

“I say, we are children. There is nothing that is our fault to have to face this. 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.”

During our time al Shifa we also met with Dr Mithad Abbas, the Director General of the hospital. When we asked him about the ways in which Shifa hospital is coping with the incoming patients, he said, “When those cases arrive at our hospital, it is not under normal circumstances. They come on top of the siege, the blockade, which has resulted in a lack of vital medicines and required medical supplies.” The hospital lacks essential basic medicines and supplies, such as antibiotics, IV fluid, anesthesia, gloves, catheters, external fixators, Heparin, sutures, detergents and spare parts for medical equipment.

The hospital also relies on a store of fuel, which provides power during the daily electricity cuts. If power cuts reach the level of more than 12 hours per day, Dr Abbas estimates that the hospital only has enough fuel in storage to run for approximately one week.

Hospital staff are encountering chaotic and emotional scenes, as hallways and rooms become overcrowded with people trying to ascertain whether their relatives or friends have been hurt. “People enter the emergency room in panic, looking for their relatives. It is very difficult to deal with,” says Abbas.

No one knows where the next missile will hit, no one knows where they can be safe. Parents are unable to keep their children safe, let alone provide them a sense of safety.

These are the names of the martyrs killed in the attacks:

1- Walid Abadlah, 2 1/2 years

2- Marwan Abu Al-Qumsan, 52 years

3- Ramai Hamamd

4- Khalid Abu Al-Nasser

5- Habes Mesbeh, 30 years

6- Wael Al-Ghalban

7- Hisham Al-Ghalban

8- Ahmed Al-Jaabari, 52 years

9- Mohammed Al-Hams

10- Ranan Arafat, 3 years

11- Essam Abu El-Mazzah, 20 years

12- Hani Al-Kaseeh, 18 years

13- Ahmed Al-Masharawi, 11 months

14- Hiba Al-Masharawi, 19 years, pregnant woman

15- Mahmud Sawaween, 65 years old

16- Hanin Tafish, 10 months

17- Tareq Jamal Naser, 16 years

18- Oday Jamal Nasser, 14 years

19- Fares al-Bassiouni

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -

For further information, please contact:

Adie Mormech (British) +972 (0) 592280943

Adriana (Italian, Spanish) +972 (0) 597241318

Gisela Schmidt Martin (Irish) +972 (0) 592778020 blipfoto.com/GiselaClaire

Joe Catron (United States) +972 (0) 595594326 twitter.com/jncatron

Lydia de Leeuw (Dutch) +972 (0) 597478455 asecondglance.wordpress.com

Meri (Italian) +972(0)598563299

We are a group of internationals living in the Gaza Strip, working in the fields of journalism, human rights, education, and agriculture. We seek to defend and advocate for the rights of Palestinians in the context of the Israeli occupation and military operations. Besides being eyewitnesses ourselves, we gather our information from our personal networks across the Gaza Strip, from local media reports, medical staff, and local and international NGOs in Gaza.

We verify the information we send out and hope our reports will contribute to accurate media coverage of the situation in Gaza.

53 Responses

  1. German Lefty
    November 16, 2012, 6:28 am

    Thanks for the report.

    The German chancellor blames Hamas for the violence. She said that there’s no justification for firing rockets into Israel. What a nutjob!
    link to cnbc.com

    • mondonut
      November 16, 2012, 1:15 pm

      Nutjob?

      So what is the justification for massive, indiscriminate attacks on a civilian population?

      • Woody Tanaka
        November 16, 2012, 3:05 pm

        “So what is the justification for massive, indiscriminate attacks on a civilian population?”

        Boil down all the reasons the israelis have given over the last 70 years for the oppression they’ve committed against Palestinian civilians (or, hell, just use whatever nonsensical reasons they spout for inflicting the illegal blockade on the civilians in Gaza) and just swap around the proper nouns. If it’s good for the goose…

      • thankgodimatheist
        November 16, 2012, 10:21 pm

        “So what is the justification for massive, indiscriminate attacks on a civilian population?”
        I don’t know. Ask Netanyahoo or Barak..

      • Hostage
        November 16, 2012, 3:20 pm

        So what is the justification for massive, indiscriminate attacks on a civilian population?

        I dunno, I’d guess that the Gazans are just recycling all of that Raphael Industries Israel scrap that’s littering their landscape. After all, the IDF doesn’t want them to stockpile too much of that dual use material.

  2. douglasreed
    November 16, 2012, 6:46 am

    President Obama should take the initiative and set aside 20,000 sq km of land

    As a Palestinian child is burned alive by Israeli aircraft bombers and Netanyahu endangers not only 1.7 million in Gaza but also 4 million of his own people, in an act of war designed to help his own re-election, it would appear that he has made a potentially catastrophic error of judgement.

    The time has now arrived for serious consideration to be given for the whole of the Israeli state to be moved, lock, stock and barrel, out of the ancient land of Palestine and completely away from the Muslim Middle East, in order to avoid a disastrous global, nuclear war.

    President Obama should take the initiative and set aside 20,000 sq km of land, (equal to the present area of Israel) in a low density state such as North or South Dakota. Compensation should be paid in full to all Israeli citizens in respect of their property assets and all removal expenses. Upon the land being vacated, all nuclear weapon installations to be dismantled and all stocks of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction to be neutralised.

    This is the only alternative now to an escalating conflict that could see Israel deploying her nuclear weapons in an attempt to regain its military superiority and which will soon engulf the whole region and then spread its lethal radiation over Europe.

    The UN, the EU and the US must now take decisive action against this latest warmongering. Time is of the essence if global markets are not to be seriously affected and million of lives put in danger. The situation is extremely serious, the danger is palpable and the time to act is now.

    • pabelmont
      November 16, 2012, 9:25 am

      douglasreed: I don’t see why “global markets” should take note (any more than they took note of Hurricane Sandy or claimate change more generally).

      But I really like the idea that IF they “are seriously affected” THEN the USA and EU will take note. There must be a path to the “hearts” of the rich and powerful and, I guess, that path is (only) through their wallets.

    • tokyobk
      November 16, 2012, 5:46 pm

      The Middle East is not Muslim by total numbers or by essence.
      Other people live there and have the right there. In peace. As equal, no more no less.
      This is no brief for Zionism and certainly not for war, especially this kind of war.
      As long as you are imagining the solution for Jews to disappear or “go back” somewhere you are contributing to the problem by increasing Israeli fears and that of Jewish supporters as well as buying into a notion of liberation through religious conquest.

      • seafoid
        November 16, 2012, 6:24 pm

        The Middle East has been destroyed by war and sectarianism. But it is not too late to change the dynamic.

        Palestine is right at the heart of this.

      • Mooser
        November 16, 2012, 7:05 pm

        “But it is not too late to change the dynamic.”

        Absolutely, Seafoid. Anytime Israel wants to take actions which will reduce intransigence and tend toward peace, it can. If it wanted to.

      • seafoid
        November 17, 2012, 2:04 am

        This is an interesting view

        link to guardian.co.uk

        “And at the election that followed (the Rabin assassination) , it was Netanyahu, under the campaign banner “making a safe peace”, that emerged as prime minister. A succession of Hamas suicide bombings scared the public into a vote for hawkish military security. Netanyahu’s uncompromising steadfastness felt like a stand of principle.
        Not, of course, that hawkishness has delivered the safe peace Netanyahu promised.
        Hamas still fire their rockets, now falling closer to Tel Aviv itself. And Israel’s military response serves only to transform the little boys of Gaza into the next generation of “martyrs”. The hawkish idea that peace is established by the big stick fails to understand that violence is mimetic, one act of violence sowing the seeds for the next. We are in another of these cycles now: bombs, fear and elections. Little has changed”

        Actually Netanyahu moulded an intransigent population who thought they had delivered “peace” via Dov Weisglass’ fomaldehyde magic.

        Now the age of Bibi is over.

        “I keep dreaming that I had it all it all ”

      • Mooser
        November 16, 2012, 6:57 pm

        “This is no brief for Zionism and certainly not for war, especially this kind of war.
        As long as you are imagining the solution for Jews to disappear or “go back” somewhere you are contributing to the problem by increasing Israeli fears and that of Jewish supporters as well as buying into a notion of liberation through religious conquest.”

        Shorter tokyobk:
        1) Israel can make war on anybody, but nobdy can make war on Israel, not even with words. Or even with your goddammed imagination! We can’t even conceive of dismantling Zionism.
        2) Israel, and its supporters are all powerful, to challenge them, or even make them nervous, is to suffer and be obliterated, you’ve been warned.
        3) The liberation movement of the Palestinians is basically a movement of “religious conquest”. Gosh, what does that make anti-Zionism?

        Oh well, he’s gonna keep on trying and trying and trying, to make Zionism into not-a-Zionism, might as well get used to it.

      • Mooser
        November 16, 2012, 7:17 pm

        “The Middle East is not Muslim by total numbers or by essence.”

        Why tokyobk? Is JVP saying that it is? Is Mondoweiss? I don’t think “douglasreed” said that either.

        You wanna know what I think, tokyobk? What I think in my heart of hearts? Glad you’re interested! I think that even if Palestine had been almost completely populated with Jews when the Zionists got there, the Zionists would be in the exact same spot they are today! That is, they would be attacking , and trying to steal from the resident population, no matter what their religion happened to be. The rationals and excuses might be different but the actions would be pretty much the same, against those who resist their domination.

      • Stephen Shenfield
        November 16, 2012, 9:00 pm

        Many Israeli Jews HAVE “gone back (or forward?) somewhere” and many others have made plans to do so if things get bad enough. While it can’t be THE solution, it might be of some help if it could be made easier to get out for those who would like to but lack the necessary resources and connections. A bigger stream of emigrants would help weaken Israel in a number of ways.

      • Mooser
        November 16, 2012, 9:48 pm

        “While it can’t be THE solution, it might be of some help if it could be made easier to get out for those who would like to but lack the necessary resources and connections”

        As long as their whereabouts are known to the ICC, if they were in the IDF or worked for GOI.

      • RoHa
        November 16, 2012, 11:19 pm

        “Other people live there and have the right there. In peace. As equal, no more no less.”

        But the big problem is that the Israelis will not accept that idea. As far as they are concerned, only they have the right to live there, and as overlords, not equals.

  3. Citizen
    November 16, 2012, 7:10 am

    Impressions of Gaza, by Noam Chomsky. His trip to Gaza was 2 weeks ago. This is a must read: link to chomsky.info
    Makes me ashamed of being an American.
    Imagine it now.
    Imagine if Chomsky was on O’ Reilly or Matthews show now, giving context to Dick and Jane about what’s happening in Gaza.
    America’s mainstream media has produced no journalists in a long, long time.

  4. Obsidian
    November 16, 2012, 8:18 am

    Your headline screams, ‘Civilians under attack’, but only Israeli citizens are being attacked, as civilians.

    • eljay
      November 16, 2012, 9:18 am

      >> Your headline screams, ‘Civilians under attack’, but only Israeli citizens are being attacked, as civilians.

      I guess the Palestinian civilians in Gaza are being attacked as cockroaches. Or fish in a barrel.

    • seafoid
      November 16, 2012, 9:28 am

      Palestinians cannot of course be citizens since citizens have rights and are free to use the roads.

    • marc b.
      November 16, 2012, 2:25 pm

      right, obsidian. that explains the single artillery shell lobbed into the home of the BBC cameraman killing his child. i’m sure the GOI spokesperson’s claims that israel only targets terrorists and militants is of great comfort. i’m sure the parents of the children shown injured in the pictures above also find comfort in that claim. israel’s past confirmed targeting of civilian infrastructure, use of white phospherous on civilians, assassinations of civilians waiving white flags, its intentional seeding of s. lebanon with unexploded cluster bombs, its proven use of civilians as ‘human shields’, extrajudicial detention and torture of children ‘guilty’ of throwing rocks, etc. notwithstanding.

    • Elisabeth
      November 17, 2012, 5:46 am

      “only Israeli citizens are being attacked, as civilians”

      This made me think of the sad but in some ways hilarious report on CNN: They tried to compare to people as being in an ‘equal position'; an Israeli who lived withing range of the rockets from Gaza, and a Palestinian in Gaza. The Palestinian was just shown sitting in a cramped room. The Israeli was introduced by means of pictures of his family, his five lovely children and his spaceous home. The Palestinian talked about the fear for his live he had felt that day on the streets. The Israeli complained that his children (the youngest only 1 year old) had had to run to the safe room all day and his poor parents did not even have a safe room. He got all teary eyed and only seemed to consider the attacks on Israeli’s as relevant because they were intentional. The fears of the Palestinian man did not register as Israel never intended to hurt civilians. The fact that in reality Israel does so on a massive scale made no difference: Only the lofty intentions of the Israeli’s compared to the base instincts of the Palestinians counted.
      So far it went all well, but then explosions started to interrupt the interview with the Palestinian man. He tried to continue, saying: Let’s get this game of, ‘who is the victim and who is the victimizer’ out of the way so we can talk about more substantial issues. At that moment more explosions made him fall from his chair and the skype connection was interrupted. All the time the Israeli man’s pouting face remained completely indifferent to what was happening to the man in Gaza. That is the power of the meme: “only Israeli citizens are being attacked, as civilians”.

  5. W.Jones
    November 16, 2012, 10:15 am

    It’s ironic that the report says that in Gaza civilians are targeted, because this morning NPR had on an Israeli spokesman who said that Hamas targeted Tel Aviv and that the difference is that unlike Hamas forces, Israeli rockets target military people but not civilians. The NPR interviewer didn’t challenge the truth of this claim about targeting.

    Is it a counterargument to say that Israelis in general are conscripted into the military? Or that unlike the Israelis, Hamas doesn’t have the technology to determine where military personnel are?

  6. Woody Tanaka
    November 16, 2012, 10:53 am

    “an Israeli spokesman… said that… Israeli rockets target military people but not civilians.”

    Yeah, right. So everytime attacks happen, the israelis JUUUUSSSTT so happen to burn up a bunch of Palestinian babies. By accident. Right.

  7. piotr
    November 16, 2012, 11:50 am

    “NPR interviewer didn’t challenge the truth of this claim about targeting.”

    Wow! Even NPR interviewer didn’t challenge that!

    One should inspect somewhat closer how does IDF assure that this is “military” that is targeted. One method is to deploy a large stuff of writers who produce stories how military the targets are. For example, if Beirut neighborhood of Dahiya is bombed, then there are stories that Hezbollah command resides in the basements in that neighborhood . In actuality, Hezbollah are very good in not letting IDF know where they are.

    When a hospital or a school was bombed in Gaza, the basement narrative was deployed again. I think that because writers are a well organized military unit they use themes in a disciplined fashion. When Islamic University was bombed, no one had to bother with the basement theme, the name “Islamic” was ominous enough.

    Theme number two are “metal workshops” and “weapon factories”. I strongly suspect that any location of a plumber of motorbike repairman would do.

    Using Israeli standards, it would be OK to target the power station in Tel Aviv or the apartment complex where Ehud Barak lives. At least, if Israeli standards were amenable to “role switching”, which they are not. Instead, “role switching” is a variety of though crime called “moral equivalency”. No role switching is justified! If Israeli troops are hurt, killed or taken prisoners they are “innocent victims”. No one can take an Israeli troop prisoner, they are “kidnapped”. Nothing raise Israeli anger more than hurting the most innocent victims of them all, the soldiers. This is actually how the current escalation started.

    I can tell that W. Jones is not an Israeli, because he mentioned “military targets”. There are no military targets in Gaza! No Israeli newspaper mentions something like that. Military is a pure institution, embodiment of innocence and virtue. Targets in Gaza are “terrorist”. And indeed, IDF has a huge array of ways to assure that only terrorist targets are targeted. Method number one is an exclusion zone near the border fence where no civilian is allowed to enter, hence everybody spotted inside is a terrorist. This class of terrorist targets is the most frequent type of fatality, and indeed one member of this class was duly killed at the beginning of this escalation, and “Pallywood” claims that he was a mentally disturbed civilian. Even if he was, he was properly targeted and it is sole responsibility of Hamas that he was allowed to wander without control, thus becoming a legitimate target.

    To summarize, thanks for nice effort, W. Jones. Either you are an American amateur, or highly sophisticated participant in Hasbarah effort who can mask his true identity (that would be actually impressive). Nevertheless, the argument that if EVEN NPR cannot challenge a certain IDF narrative then it is very solid sounds rather hilarious over here.

    • Hostage
      November 16, 2012, 12:14 pm

      To summarize, thanks for nice effort, W. Jones. Either you are an American amateur, or highly sophisticated participant in Hasbarah effort who can mask his true identity (that would be actually impressive).

      It’s much more likely that he was being sarcastic about the supposed differences between the motives and the effects of an Israeli versus a Hamas attack and the technological differences that could account for such flawless Israeli targeting. At least that’s the way his remarks sounded to me.

      • Mooser
        November 16, 2012, 12:51 pm

        “It’s much more likely that he was being sarcastic about the supposed differences between the motives”

        Ah yes, W. Jones, master of sarcasm. That’s exactly what I think every time I read his comments. But, you can hardly blame someone if an ever increasing understanding of the conflict doesn’t cause them to lapse into sarcasm occasionally. And as you can tell, his understanding has grown apace.

      • W.Jones
        November 16, 2012, 7:35 pm

        Hostage,

        Actually, I was being serious when I wrote:

        Is it a counterargument to say that Israelis in general are conscripted into the military?

        If Gaza’s government has a military, isn’t that Hamas? Israel labels practically anyone who has been in Hamas as a “militant”. Basically, anyone in Gaza’s military gets targeted by the Israeli army using the justification that the person is a “militant.”

        Meanwhile, practically everyone in Israeli society serves or has served in the Israeli army (with some exceptions). So if the Israeli government justifies their strikes as targeting military personnel, doesn’t that actually open the Israelis up even more, since their own society is made of “military personnel”?

      • Mooser
        November 16, 2012, 9:55 pm

        “Meanwhile, practically everyone in Israeli society serves or has served in the Israeli army (with some exceptions). So if the Israeli government justifies their strikes as targeting military personnel, doesn’t that actually open the Israelis up even more, since their own society is made of “military personnel”?

        Whoa, this man is getting radicalised! Good for you, W.Jones!

      • Hostage
        November 17, 2012, 5:20 am

        Actually, I was being serious when I wrote:

        Is it a counterargument to say that Israelis in general are conscripted into the military?

        Yes I meant the part about:Israeli rockets target military people but not civilians.

        I spent 21 years in the USAF and it still has to make decisions and offer alibis about “proportionality” and “unavoidable collateral damage”. The more you know about the subject, the more you come to see that it’s pointless to talk about “war crimes”. War itself is a crime. Believe me, no one has magic rockets that do not target civilians. If you place a high enough value on a target or objective, then professionals can rationalize killing any number of innocents as being “proportionate” to the military advantage that’s derived.

    • W.Jones
      November 16, 2012, 7:25 pm

      Piotr,

      Good point that the IDF attacks hospitals etc and then claims that it was a terrorist site. In fact the broad justification for civilian attacks as military targets includes the way home demolitions are justified. One of the official justifications is that the houses could be used as a place for militants. Well, that can be used to justify practically any house demolition, since obviously someone could use a normal house for militant purposes.

      Regards.

      • piotr
        November 16, 2012, 10:33 pm

        Sorry for not fully recognizing the gist of your post. At least I have noticed that it could not be “original hasbarah”.

        But again, the core of Israeli argument is that no role switching is justified. The targets are not military but “terrorist”. And nothing is more “terrorist” than attacking military. Americans use similar arguments. The number 1 argument that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization is that (allegedly) they attacked American Marines killing more than 80. Which is very sad indeed, but however innocent, they were military unit in a war zone.

        Similarly, an Afghan boy was captured in Afghanistan and tried for a terrorist act of throwing a grenade at American soldiers, who were very much in a war zone.

      • W.Jones
        November 17, 2012, 1:11 pm

        You are making good points again Piotr, that the IDF and US army labels attacks on its military in war zones as terrorism, but attacks on Palestinians and Afghans in noncombat areas are labeled as OK.

        What I had originally meant was:

        It’s ironic that the report called “No Safe Haven for Civilians” says that in Gaza civilians are targeted. It’s ironic because just this morning NPR had on an Israeli spokesman who claimed: (A) that Hamas targeted Tel Aviv and (B) that the difference is that unlike Hamas forces, Israeli rockets target military people (who he would label “militants” or “terrorists”) but not civilians.

        The NPR interviewer didn’t challenge the supposed truth of the spokesperson’s claim about the difference in targeting.

        To me at first glance, the spokesperson’s claim sounded OK. But I thought of the counterargument that practically everyone in Israeli society has served in its military, so in reality this difference in targeting military vs nonmilitary may not exist. Another counterargument, which I didn’t mention was that the Goldstone Report found Israeli targeting of civilians.

  8. Annie Robbins
    November 16, 2012, 12:03 pm

    “I say, we are children. There is nothing that is our fault to have to face this. 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.”

    13 year old girl, Duaa Hejazi

  9. piotr
    November 16, 2012, 12:25 pm

    Wikipedia is invaluable. From the entry on “free-fire zone”, an excerpt from a Congressional hearing:

    SEIBERLING: Did you ever hear of the expression “turkey shoots”?

    JOHNSON: I have heard the free-fire zone referred to by the pilots and other people as “Indian Country.”

    SEIBERLING: But you are not familiar with the expression “turkey shoots”?

    JOHNSON: I am familiar with it, but where I was operating I didn’t hear anyone personally use that term. We used the term “Indian Country.”

    SEIBERLING: What did “Indian Country” refer to?

    JOHNSON: I guess it means different things to different people. It is like there are savages out there, there are gooks out there. In the same way we slaughtered the Indian’s buffalo, we would slaughter the water buffalo in Vietnam.

    Final comment: “side with the civilized man”.

  10. Klaus Bloemker
    November 16, 2012, 1:40 pm

    “These are the names of the martyrs killed in the attacks: … ”
    —————
    I do not say this out of a lack of sympathy, but I think it’s wrong to call the victims of Israel’s attack “martyrs”. – It’s as wrong as calling those who fight Israel’s occupation and military rule “terrorists”.

    • eljay
      November 16, 2012, 2:17 pm

      >> I do not say this out of a lack of sympathy, but I think it’s wrong to call the victims of Israel’s attack “martyrs”.

      I agree.

    • seafoid
      November 16, 2012, 2:44 pm

      That is the culture of the region. Kul shaheed habib Allah.

      I think it’s wrong to call the Kardashians talented. But I accept that others see things differently.

      • Shlomo
        November 17, 2012, 1:05 am

        Agreed. I don’t like the “chosen people” designation, either, but it’s still in use.

        It’s like when blacks call each other “niggaz.” In the speakers’ culture it means one thing. To listeners, another. To non-blacks using the term, still another.

        Ditto Palestinians using “incursion” rather than “invasion.” To them it may mean one thing. To Westerners it makes the act seem a lesser thing… an annoyance rather than something to get worked-up over.

        Still, what can one do? People have various ways of communicating and coping.

        The solution, methinks, is for Palestinians to find more Western-savvy spokespeople, ones who know what resonates with Kansas farmers.

    • Dutch
      November 16, 2012, 8:52 pm

      ‘… it’s wrong to call the victims of Israel’s attack “martyrs”.’

      As wrong as calling the perpetrators ‘Israeli Defence Force’?

      • Mooser
        November 16, 2012, 10:02 pm

        Dutch, rabbits tremble whenever Klaus comes around. There’s nothing he likes better than splitting a hare.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        November 16, 2012, 10:49 pm

        “As wrong as calling the perpetrators ‘Israeli Defence Force’?” – Dutch
        ————-
        Exactly – since when does a burglar has a ‘right to defend himself’ when
        he is chased off the property of the rightful owner?

  11. Avi_G.
    November 16, 2012, 1:57 pm

    Allison Deger yesterday repeatedly used the phrase:

    The targets are specific and they are constant.

    I was both surprised and confused when I read that.
    I wanted to write something but decided to let it go.

    But in light of todays reports it would be prudent if Allison could explain what she meant by that phrase.

    As of now it looks as though she was repeating Israeli hasbara that the Israeli army does not target civilians.

    • Danaa
      November 16, 2012, 3:28 pm

      Avi_G – keep telling it like it is.

      To interject on behalf of Allison (not that she needs or asked for it), chances are she consorts mostly with the ‘better’ israelis, the ‘ones who care’ and/or the ones who want to see sense made out of nonsense, ie, the ‘good guys’. That provides her – just like Phil and any other well-meaning American in Israel, especially ones who don’t speak the language fluently – with a kind of a shield. Though she – acting as journalist – may make an effort to hear other parts of Israel’s society, in all likelihood, she would not be getting the full brunt of the true ‘Israel-speak”. It will always be packaged into something a bit more – shall we say – digestible? For that ‘full’ beauty of that special israeli experience one has to be really immersed – something I cannot recommend for fear of one’s soul. I honestly believe that well-meaning, kindly, humanitarian and sensible (and even some who are none of those things) people of the world outside cannot ever be fully prepared for the raw, unadorned truth of the “Being Israeli” meme.

      So take it easy on her… she may not yet be fully sensitized to the “Speaking in code” part of life there, and the ‘specific and targeted’ may go straight through when the proper filters are not installed and de-bugged. And for her sake i actually hope she never becomes fully sensitized – and may never need to put those filters in place – because to know is to be ‘scratched’, a condition to which there is no cure, as some may know.

    • Shlomo
      November 17, 2012, 1:12 am

      Germans claimed they never targeted innocent humans, just Jews.

      And a few other sub-species.

  12. gingershot
    November 16, 2012, 2:56 pm

    In the current NYTimes article up on their site Jodi Rudoren is writing with a byline of Gaza City

  13. DICKERSON3870
    November 16, 2012, 3:49 pm

    I am feeling so darn good about having voted for Jill Stein of the Green Party rather than “O’bomber” who obviously authorized Israel’s current “Pillar of Cloud” assault on Gaza! I guess I should thank my lucky stars that I don’t live in a “swing state” where I might have felt compelled to vote for Obama/O’bomber as the (not very) “lesser evil”!

    ● Jill Stein – link to jillstein.org

    ● The Green Party of the United States (GPUS) – link to gp.org

    • W.Jones
      November 16, 2012, 8:53 pm

      Me too, except I wouldnt care if I was in a so called swing state. I say swing for the stars!

  14. Kathleen
    November 16, 2012, 4:14 pm

    These individual stories are so important. So insane so so sad through tears. Little Haneen. We live in a brutal world and yet the possibility of peace is something to always work for.

    Have always felt the Iraqi people need to make a monumental list of those individuals who have died and been injured as a direct result of the the Bush administrations invasion. The list would go on for hundreds of pages. People need to come face to face with the brutal reality of our foreign policy

    • LanceThruster
      November 16, 2012, 7:27 pm

      Imagine a somber reading of victims names, much like the 9/11 anniversary readings and bells chimed at each name. Instead of a single date, it would be done daily with days with no casualties or delayed deaths from injuries received being few and far between (if not non-existent entirely). With the casualties in the hundreds-of-thousands by the most conservative estimates, there would be days where the list would be agonizingly long. Names of the wounded, their ages, their injuries, what they were doing when the technology of death and destruction shattered their lives, the family associations…this would be agonized testimony of the immense pain we caused in our supposed quest to help the people of Iraq.

      The consequences of war needs to be brought home to those most often willing to wage it (with someone else’s child) in a way that makes them face the horror they unleash on such a massive scale in a manner that does not allow them to turn away as they dismiss it with a wave of the hand.

  15. Kathleen
    November 16, 2012, 4:15 pm

    Stay safe folks…Israel is not beyond targeting you. You are brave brave people. Thank you for your eyewitness accounts

    • Mooser
      November 16, 2012, 9:32 pm

      “Stay safe folks…Israel is not beyond targeting you. You are brave brave people. Thank you for your eyewitness accounts”

      As terrible as the occasion is, and as awful as the challenge is, Mondo’s coverage is more than rising to it. It could provide a model for a lot of the media, if they wished to present a more fact-based, less Zionism-centric view of the events, in a way which should still be acceptable to mainstream readers. And maybe not be so ruthlessly used by IDF and GOI information bureaus.

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