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
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.
Source: UN News Centre
The United Nations Human Rights Council announced today the appointment of three members to its independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate purported violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and particularly in the Gaza Strip since the conflict began on 13 June.
In a statement released this afternoon, the Council’s President, Ambassador Baudelaire Ndong Ella (Gabon), announced that the human rights body appointed Amal Alamuddin (United Kingdom), Doudou Diène (Senegal) and William Schabas (Canada) to serve as members on the international Commission. Mr. Schabas will also serve as the Commission’s Chair.
The Commission aims to establish the facts and circumstances of violations and crimes perpetrated and to identify those responsible. It will also make recommendations, in particular on accountability measures, all with a view to avoiding and ending impunity and ensuring that those responsible are held accountable, and on ways to protect civilians against any further assaults. (more…)
Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights
Geneva 10th Aug, 2014
The Israeli military uses Palestinian civilians as human shields, a new report from the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights soon will reveal. An investigative team from the non-governmental organization, based in both Geneva and the Gaza Strip, has obtained first-person testimony from several families in various locations describing their capture and use as “shields” for Israeli soldiers for hours at a time. (more…)
Palestinian resistance and Israeli delegations in Cairo have agreed to a new 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza, slated to begin at midnight.
An official announcement for the timing of the start of the ceasefire is expected soon.
The ceasefire will provide an opportunity for further discussion, including with the Arab League, who will convene in Cairo on Monday to discuss the situation in Gaza.
Ministry of Health Gaza
August 06, 2014
The Ministry of Health Gaza insists that any ceasefire agreement must guarantee the human rights of our people, most importantly, the right to health.
We therefore stress that any agreement arising out of the talks in Cairo must be based on international law, not self-interest.
We emphasise that international law is something that is applied without fear or favour, not negotiated.(more…)
The Ministry of Health in Gaza reports the following statistics as at 2000 hours on Monday August 04, 2014.
Deaths: 1,865 – 429 children, 243 women 18-60 years, 79 persons over 60 years
Injuries: 9,536 – 2,877 children, 1,853 women 18-60 years, 347 over 60 years.
ICU: 153 patients
Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine
August 02, 2014
The Ministry of Health Gaza makes an urgent appeal to hospitals outside of Gaza to take 50 cases ready to be referred immediately. Gaza’s hospitals are overloaded, and just cannot cope with the huge number of casualties resulting from the latest continuous Israeli bombardment, this time in the Rafah governate.
More than 85 people have been killed in the last 24 hours in Rafah, and over 350 have been injured, many seriously. The entire Al Janina area of Rafah has been decimated. (more…)
The Ministry of Health in Gaza reports the following statistics as at 1900 hours on Thursday July 31, 2014.
Deaths: 1,418 – 324 children, 166 women 18-60 years, 60 persons over 60 years
Injuries: 8,265 – 2,502 children, 1,626 women 18-60 years, 303 over 60 years.
ICU: 140 patients
The Ministry of Health in Gaza reports the following statistics as at 2400 hours on Wednesday July 30, 2014.
Deaths: 1,357 – 315 children, 166 women 18-60 years, 58 persons over 60 years
Injuries: 7.677 – 2,164 children, 1,314 women 18-60 years, 282 over 60 years.
ICU: 140 patients
The Ministry of Health in Gaza reports the following statistics as at 2100 hours on Tuesday July 29, 2014.
Deaths: 1,210 – 287 children, 130 women 18-60 years, 57 persons over 60 years
Injuries: 6,896 – 2,164 children, 1,314 women 18-60 years, 282 over 60 years.
ICU: 121 patients
Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine
July 29, 2014
Eid al fitr. The end of Ramadan, the end of the fast. New clothes, lots of sweets, family visits. Celebrations of life and love.
Not in Gaza.
Instead, Israelis delivered a hefty dose of death and destruction in al-Shati Camp, splitting families and bodies alike.
Two adults and eight children killed as they rode the Ferris wheel or in a TukTuk in the park, over 40 injured, one of whom has since died.
This barbaric and deliberate attack on children in a public place on one of the two most significant Muslim holy days seals the Israeli reputation as one of the most perverse war criminals imaginable.
Many considered the calculated murder of the four children playing football on the beach on July 16, 2014 to be an atrocity and a clear war crime – nine more dead children in al-Shati’s park is an even more gross excess. (more…)
The International Community Must End Israel’s Collective Punishment of the Civilian Population in the Gaza Strip
As international and criminal law scholars, human rights defenders, legal experts and individuals who firmly believe in the rule of law and in the necessity for its respect in times of peace and more so in times of war, we feel the intellectual and moral duty to denounce the grave violations, mystification and disrespect of the most basic principles of the laws of armed conflict and of the fundamental human rights of the entire Palestinian population committed during the ongoing Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. (more…)
by Julie Webb-Pullman
Mahar Hamid Sheikh-Khalil is seven years old. She used to have a mother and father, three sisters and a brother, grandparents, aunts and uncles.
She used to play with her brother and sisters and their cousins, scampering about the yard or on the roof, sometimes in the street with the neighbours’ kids. She used to walk, and skip and jump. She used to run up the stairs from her grandmother’s on the ground floor to her family’s apartment on the top floor. The same stairs that on July 20 crushed her family, along with their hopes and dreams. (more…)
The Ministry of Health in Gaza reports the following statistics as at 1900 hours on Sunday July 27, 2014.
Deaths: 1,031 – 236 children, 93 women 18-60 years, 47 persons over 60 years
Injuries: 6,233 – 1,949 children, 1,169 women 18-60 years, 257 over 60 years.
ICU: 115 patients
Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine
Stop Israeli attacks, pay health staff
Last night Beit Hanoun Hospital came under heavy Israeli shelling while 80 people, including medical staff, three patients, two International Solidarity Movement volunteers, and many civilians were trapped terrified inside. One Swedish activist received cuts to the head, and another person received minor injuries, although the hospital was severely damaged.
Numerous calls for help throughout the afternoon and evening by the Deputy Minister of Health Gaza to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were fruitless. Intervention by the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry eventually achieved an undertaking by Israeli military after midnight not to fire directly upon the hospital. All those inside were finally evacuated to safety this morning under the aegis of the Ministry of Health after the commencement of the 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire.
Beit Hanoun is the second Gazan hospital to have been evacuated and completely closed down in 48 hours due to damage from Israeli strikes, the other being Al Durrah paediatric Hospital in Gaza City, where a toddler in the intensive care unit was killed on Thursday night.
The ceasefire also allowed the retrieval of bodies from beneath the rubble of buildings destroyed overnight during the heavy bombardment of Beit Hanoun; 32 bodies have been found at this time. (more…)
At 19:00 Beit Hanoun Hospital was hit by an Israeli tank shell. Inside the hospital are 61 medical staff, civilians, three patients and two ISM volunteers Charlie Andreasson and Fred Ekblad from Sweden, who are all trapped inside.
Israeli soldiers are in the area, approximately 150 meters behind the hospital. Gunfire can be heard in the area. (more…)
The Ministry of Health in Gaza reports the following statistics as at 1900 hours on Friday July 25, 2014.
Deaths: 848 – 208 children, 82 women 18-60 years, 40 persons over 60 years
Injuries: 5,694 – 1,779 children, 1,112 women 18-60 years, 203 over 60 years.
ICU: 112 patients
The Ministry of Health in Gaza reports the following statistics as at 1900 hours on Wednesday July 23, 2014.
Deaths: 681 – 166 children, 67 women 18-60 years, 37 persons over 60 years
Injuries: 4,519 – 1,375 children, 788 women 18-60 years, 182 over 60 years.
ICU: 104 patients
Geneva, 23 July 2014
Human Rights Council 21st Special Session:
Human Rights Situation in the
Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem
Distinguished Members of the Human Rights Council,
The situation in the occupied Gaza Strip is critical for the civilians living there and requires your urgent attention. Since Israel announced its military operation “Protective Edge” on 7 July, Gaza has been subjected to daily intensive bombardment from the air, land and sea, employing well over 2,100 air strikes alone. The hostilities have resulted in the deaths of more than 600 Palestinians, including at least 147 children and 74 women.
This is the third serious escalation of hostilities in my six years as High Commissioner. As we saw during the two previous crises in 2009 and 2012, it is innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip, including children, women, the elderly and persons with disabilities, who are suffering the most. Read more HERE
The Ministry of Health in Gaza reports the following statistics as at 1900 hours on Tuesday July 22, 2014.
Deaths: 622 – 160 children, 66 women 18-60 years, 35 persons over 60 years
Injuries: 3,993 – 1,213 children, 698 women 18-60 years, 161 over 60 years.
ICU: 104 patients (more…)
The following list contains the name, age, place and date of death of the 453 people killed in Gaza to date. (more…)
The Ministry of Health in Gaza reports the following statistics as at 1800 hours on Saturday July 19, 2014.
Deaths: 338 – 83 children, 24 women 18-60 years, 18 persons over 60 years
Injuries: 2,556 – 755 children, 463 women 18-60 years, 107 over 60 years.
ICU: 23 patients
Read more HERE
Ministry of Health Gaza
We ask all international donors to provide emergency medical assistance for the Gaza crisis DIRECTLY to Gaza, to ensure the needed drugs & equipment are promptly received by those for whom they are intended – the Gazan victims of the criminal Israeli offensive. Transparent and accountable systems are in place for this to occur. Read more HERE