Julie Webb-Pullman reports

Deaths

Wondering when the war will start….

Dead bodies stacked on the floor (400 x 266)

Dead bodies stacked in a refrigerated truck in 2014

This morning I woke to news that three Palestinians had been killed at Aqsa Mosque after allegedly shooting two Israeli police officers dead.

The Israeli occupation immediately locked down the Mosque, preventing worshippers from praying the Jumah prayer there, blocked all entrances, and set up checkpoints at the entrance to the Old City.

Closing the mosque, which is supposedly under the protection of Jordanian King Abdullah, is a blatant provocation, unheard of since 1967.

The closure, that is – provocations are a daily occurrence.

It brings to mind June 2014, when the discovery of the bodies of three Israeli settlers led to a widespread and violent crackdown in the West Bank, escalating in severity until Palestinians eventually responded. The 50 days of military horror that followed in Gaza killed hundreds of women and children, in an extended series of war crimes and crimes against humanity that remain unpunished to this day.

It is hard to see what worse the Israeli occupation could subject Palestinians to – administrative detention that sees hundreds of  women and kids jailed with no charge, along with members of parliament, youth – in fact, anyone who happens to be Palestinian… Beating of Palestinians daily, under any pretext, or none…. Shooting of peaceful demonstrators…. Demolition of the homes of family-members of ‘convicted killers’ (while the families of convicted Israeli killer settlers suffer no such retribution) or anyone whose house an Israeli wants…. Burning of babies, like Ali Dawabsheh…Burning of teenagers like Mohammed Abu Khdeir… Torturing to death innocent detainees, like Arafat Jaradat – and scores more just like him….

But I am sure they will find something even more horrific to visit upon the true owners of Palestine – they always do.

The only questions  we in Gaza are asking today are “What next?” and “When?”

 


Remembering 2014

As we have reached the third anniversary of the most horrific months of my life, I am re-posting a record of a day in Gaza in July 2014

Noor

Noor Abu Jarad, survived but 8 of her family were killed

The scenes as I go to work each day are harrowing – I must walk past the morgue of Al Shifa Hospital. For the first few days I didn’t even realise it was the morgue – a few cars parked outside, small groups of people clustered against the walls, some obviously grieving – in the hospital grounds during a war, not an uncommon sight. But each day the numbers of cars, and of people grew, and one morning the stark reality of what it was hit me. As I walked a car drove past me and stopped, and a man approached it cradling a bright white tightly swaddled body in his arms, that of a very small child. I went around the car to let him through, and met men running with a stretcher with a covered body on it – or so I thought.

As they ran past, a bloodied limb fell onto the ground in front of me. It was not a body on the stretcher, but a collection of body parts – the horrific evidence of the type of weapons being used by Israel, some prohibited, others so new they are still in the testing stages – on Gaza civilians. Norwegian surgeons Mads Gilbert and Eric Fosse who are working in the hospital say they have never seen some of the injuries before, in 30 years of work in war zones.

I carry on, past the young men sitting sobbing against the wall, heads on knees. I can barely restrain my own tears.

The numbers outside the morgue swell, and subside, but the numbers inside continue to grow. Some days I can’t even get through, some days ambulances or cars arrive and bodies are removed in front of my eyes, while relatives scream, faint, or numbly watch as yet another family member is taken from them. The misery, the grief, the sheer human pain is overwhelming. And I walk on past, and go upstairs to report the dead and injured in facts and figures, my heart bursting, my soul shaken, and desperately trying to cling to that thing called humanity when there is so little evidence of it in what I have just seen.

I go upstairs and see the exhausted doctors and surgeons, who two weeks ago were healthy, vibrant human beings now reduced to haggard, pale ghosts of themselves, struggling to keep going, to provide care and save lives when there is so little care to provide, no medicines, no supplies, no equipment, and where lives that might be saved are lost to the sheer numbers demanding their attention. Doctors who must decide on the spot which patients live and which die, not because clinically they couldn’t all be saved, but because there are only resources enough for one.

Doctors, nurses and hospital staff who all now know that even in the hospitals they are not safe, because Israel is now deliberately attacking them.  Three hospitals have had to be evacuated since Thursday, seven hospital staff have already been killed or injured. Ambulance drivers and paramedics who know that when they go to retrieve the injured, they may not return – 12 ambulances have been destroyed, one driver killed and five ambulance officers injured. All in a day’s work – and these people have not been paid for months, they are doing this out of their own sense of compassion and duty.

I go to the wards to interview survivors and their families. One might think that this would be less traumatic – at least they are alive, there is hope. It is not – babies whose bodies are blasted with shrapnel so they look more like a pepper steak than a human baby, unconscious children with tubes going in and out crying for mothers and fathers who will never comfort them because they are dead, mothers sharing a room with several of their children, all sliced, diced, minced or shredded by Israeli arms made in or funded by the US, not knowing if or which of them will get out of there, and if and when they do, will they be able to walk, talk, feed themselves, study, work or have any semblance of the normal future she hoped for them. Fathers collapsed into themselves, wracked with guilt that they did not, could not, protect their family.

I walk outside, and the sky is blue, the sun is shining. Birds are even singing. I want to scream at them “Don’t you know what is happening?” I walk home beneath the ever-present drones, the sound of explosions almost keeping pace with my footsteps. I go back past the morgue, now shut up, and deserted – on the outside at least. A group of children run past carrying bottles of water, giggling and falling over, helping each other up. I pass the maternity ward, see a man in the street calling to his wife, who appears in a window and holds up their new-born baby for him to see.

I wonder, was this deliberate, the siting of the maternity unit next to the morgue? So that as one leaves, the affirmation of life is what remains?

After all, this is Gaza, where mere existence is resistance.


Har Nof Synagogue attack: Israel’s chickens come home to roost

by Julie Webb-Pullman
Source: Gaza SCOOP

A body being removed from the Har Nof synagogue (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

A body being removed from the Har Nof synagogue (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

Israel’s chickens are coming home to roost, along with those of the UN and the international community. How can anyone be surprised?

You cannot subject a people to 50 years of illegal occupation and expect no response. To illegal demolition of their houses, arbitrary detention, torture and inhumane prison conditions and expect no response. You cannot subject a people to ongoing theft of their land for the construction of illegal settlements, to living behind an illegal apartheid wall and expect no response. You cannot subject a people to an illegal siege and expect no response.

The international community has sat on its hands while the Israeli rogue state rode roughshod over the few rights left to Palestinians, with total impunity.

The UN has not enforced international law even ONCE in response to at least 80 breaches of UN Security Council Resolutions. The US has vetoed many more.

Endless negotiations with dishonest brokers have yielded less than nothing for Palestinians – less land, less water, less natural resources, less houses, less jobs, less opportunities, less travel. It is nothing less than scandalous that this has all taken place under the watch of the Useless Nations. (more…)


Mass Murder in the Mediterranean: Mohammed’s Story

by the Al Rantisi Family
Source: Middle East Monitor

Mohammed Al Rantisi (right) with his friend and business partner Sajed (left). Their business was destroyed by five missiles from Israeli F16s.

Mohammed Al Rantisi (right) with his friend and business partner Sajed (left). Their business was destroyed by five missiles from Israeli F16s.

Over 400 asylum seekers, including 100 children, were drowned in international waters on their way to Italy after the boat they were travelling on was rammed on 10 September, 2014 by people-smugglers angry because the migrants refused to transfer to a smaller boat.

As a report into the mass murder by human rights organisation EuroMid says, the travellers from the Gaza Strip, Syria, Egypt and Sudan had been promised a safe journey to Europe on a secure and comfortable ship.

One of them was our son and brother, Mohammed Al Rantisi, a 23 year old Management and Technology graduate heading to Europe in search of a brighter future. His favourite song was a message of farewell. (more…)


Palestinian MOH-Gaza Update as at 1900 hrs 25/08/2014

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza reports the following statistics as at 1900 hours on Monday August 25, 2014.

Total number of victims:13,196 (2,130 Martyrs; 11,066 Injured)
Distributed As
Deaths: 2,130 – 577 children, 263 women, 102 persons over 60 years
Injuries: 11,066 – 3,374 children, 2,088 women, 410 persons over 60 years

Fatima was at her front door when a drone struck, killing her niece and grand-daughter, and injuring her two sons and a grandson. She has shrapnel embedded in her head, face, neck and all over her body.

Fatima was at her front door when a drone struck, killing her niece and grand-daughter, and injuring her two sons and a grandson. She has shrapnel embedded in her head, face, neck and all over her body.

(more…)


MOH Gaza Update as at 1900 hrs on 21/08/2014

Israeli Aggression against Palestinians in Gaza Strip from 06-07-2014

Date of report:
21/08/2014 at 1900 hrs
Total number of victims:12,565 (2,083 Martyrs; 10,482 Injured)

Distributed As

Deaths: 2,083 – 561 children, 255 women, 98 over 60 years
Injuries: 10,482 – 3,189 children, 1,994 women, 388 over 60 years

Thousands farewell the three assassinated Qassam leaders at their funerals in Rafah today

Thousands farewell the three assassinated Qassam leaders at their funerals in Rafah today

(more…)


Gone

by Enas F Ghannam

She closes her eyes, holding his photo between her hands, his voice and laugh in her memory. She falls asleep hoping to dream of him alive coming to visit her with a gift in his hands, saying “I chose it for you.” Or preparing for their impending wedding with her. If he wanted something that she didn’t like he would change his mind, and say “I didn’t like it anyway.” He might have bought her something she had admired, without telling her. He might have done something he knows will irritate her just to tease her and see her angry. Or he might yell loudly at her to go and change her clothes into full Hejab, and after she nervously obeys he takes her to a beautiful place and says or does silly things until she finds herself laughing, forgetting that she was mad at him. She knows that this is his way of saying sorry as well as she knows that he screamed at her from jealousy. (more…)