Gaza still suffers from Israel’s 22-day war Cast Lead – video


Gaza Under Attack Timeline | In pictures Aug-Sept 2011 | Oct-Nov 2011 | Dec 2011


Ashraf Shannon, Press TV, Gaza

Almost three years have passed since Israel waged an all out war against the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Although the onslaught has faded from the headlines, its victims continue to suffer physically and psychologically.

In a three-week invasion, which started on December 27, 2008, nearly 1400 Gazans were killed and thousands of others injured.

About 21 thousand homes were destroyed by Israeli tanks and fighter jets. Israel claimed it went to war to stop the rocket fire from Gaza.

International activists had this to say about the situation in Gaza…..

Experts say children in particular suffered greatly from anxiety and depression after the Gaza War, known as Operation Cast Lead.

Human rights groups have often accused Israel of violating every single international convention governing the rules of war and the treatment of civilians.

Almost three years after Israel waged a war on Gaza victims say they are still traumatized by what Israeli forces put them through during 22 days of war.

Source and more at Gaza TV News




More info about the war can be found at Never Cast Lead Again

For who does not understand the need or concept of resistance of Palestine, recommended read: History of Resistance | The Eagle of Palestine


Israel is not looking for Peace


History of Israeli Genocide


Essential Read: The Promised Land ~ by Jad KhairAllah



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ஜ۩۞۩ஜ

Martyred By Israeli Occupation Attacks

انّا للہ و انّا الیه راجعون

May Allah Subhana wa Ta’ ala grant the Shuhada Jannatul Firdaus, and ease it for their families, loved ones and anyone around them. Allahumma Ameen ya Rabbil Alameen. ‘ Inna Lillahi wa ‘ Inna ‘ Ilayhi Raji’un, Allahu Akbar

ஜ۩۞۩ஜ



* The list of shuhada does not display, the numerous victims of the zionist occupation which are undocumented by media. Nor it displays the victims of the “silent onslaught” due to restrictions of movement, ability to go to hospitals for treatment or life saving surgery, due to lack of medication because of the blockades and so on. For example: The Slow Motion Genocide by the Siege on Gaza only, killed 600 patients since Gaza got under Israeli Siege.

For an overview of All Israeli Massacres Palestinians go here

Neither does this list, display the avoidable mortality. A clear and statistical factual evidence, about the number of deaths due to indecent ruling by occupation forces. For even an occupier has obligations under International Laws, Geneva Convention and the Hague regulations, which it is neglecting. These circumstances, together with deliberate policies of the occupier to neglect and even deny every basic human right, severes avoidable mortality which is totally silenced by media or reporting organisations. While in the Holocaust, 1 on 6 Jewish people directly died of deliberate neglect, so if we believe the facts over 1 million due to avoidable mortality, neither should these same circumstances be ignores which are ongoing in Palestine. For this report displays a avoidable morality of at least 0,5 million Palestinians.

How many more dead corpses of Palestinians does the international community need to see in order to act? How many more cruelties and violations of Human Rights, Regulations and International Law will be needed to intervene so this ongoing warcrime is being stopped once and for all.





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WHITE WASH WATCH | Goldstone’s Reconciderations on the Gaza Cast Lead Report

SPECIAL TOPIC

Current hasbara influenced media and kept backwards media outside the occupied terrritories almost are vomiting their propaganda for the next whitewash of Israel’s genocide on Gaza. Below this post continuous updates of (unbiased) news will be published.

Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.
~Adolph Hitler

Hasbara
Israel is using it’s hasbara (again) to make us and media believe, no warcrimes were committed during Operation “Cast Lead” on Gaza which took place from 27 December 2008 until 18 January 2009. The current status quo since Judge Goldstone reconsidered his earlier “findings” in the self investigation of Israel’s acts during the war on Gaza is the reason IOA recently even had the courage to call on the United Nations to withdraw the whole report.

With utmost shameless courage Israels Foreign Minister Lieberman from Moldavia, like Goldstone zionist himself stated it was no surprise for him Goldstone retracted his earlier statements, as for even Bibi and himself had exerted great efforts to achieve the same before… (even without us noticing of course)

Here the Hitler quote falls in place: “Make the Lie big, make it simple, keep saying it and eventually they will believe it.”

In one line, the most catching description for the propaganda (in hebrew called Hasbara) of IOA, whitewashing every crime they commit or ever have been committing before. If this “tactic” does not work, everyone falls in state of denial again but never ever it has lead to a conviction of the zionist entity or the people ordering and forfilling the ongoing massacres on Palestinian people. The Nakba. 63 Year ethnic cleansing and IOA’s hasbara keeps the world stupid and backwards.

As soon as reports like Goldstone’s hit the media, and his remarks of “never mind…” hit some journalists using their own minds and opinion, IOA is twisting it’s behind like never before. Eternally victimized by their Holocaust, it seems it gives them the right to get away with every crime, oppression, assassination, expulsions, evictions, ethnic cleansing and plain massacres.

Zionist, have become, exactly and even worse like those, they once feared and hated themselves.

Needless to say this was not the first massacre since IOA announced it’s own statehood.
Click here for an overview of All Israeli Massacres on Palestinians.



Recapulating the Cast Lead Massacre
Over 1,400 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were killed during 22 days of Israeli shelling from sea, air and land. Palestinians in Gaza had nowhere to flee from Israel’s onslaught as the border has been closed for two years, with disastrous consequences for the 1.5 million in habitants of Gaza — the majority of them children and refugees.

In this time, IOA used indiscriminate force and violence, even made use of forbidden chemical weapons like white Phosphorus, DIME, depleted uranium and more. But still, IOA wants us to believe there was no crime committed at all. I regard this as an insult of our intelligence, but formost an magnum opus of denial of the crimes on Palestinians, the massacred and their loved ones who where left behind.

The ongoing Siege on Gaza already made it to the largest open air prison in the world, but the weapons used on the people of Gaza made it also the largest gas chamber in history. Even now – and probably long lasting and continuing – effects on all kinds of health, of born and even unborn life are horrendous. Birth defects, massive increase of diseases like cancer and more.

Not to be forgotten: The thousands of injured, handicapped, eye- arm- or legless Palestinian people who were mutilated for life…physically as well as mentally. The children, traumatized for life. But IOA committed no crime.

This is an appeal from occupiedpalestine, to use your common sense and mind to behold the facts and judge for yourself, for it is clear judge Goldstone and companions do not want you and us to believe the reality. And as long as IOA’s warcrimes stay unpunished, the zionist modus operandi of ethnic cleansing in any way possible will continue and increase. It not has been enough it has been to much already too long.

Palestine is not waiting to be the next to hear the world says again:Wir haben es nicht gewußt…

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Goldstone’s Backtrack: Some points to remember

by Tom Pessah on April 2, 2011 | Mondoweiss

Justice Goldstone, author of the famous report on the 2009 attack on Gaza, published an op-ed today in which he seemed to be retracting some of his claims. He wrote that “while the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy”

This claim was immediately picked up by Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, who sees it as making it “clear that IDF is a moral army.”

It is important to respond to these claims for several reasons: because they are false and misleading, and because they serve to buttress many Israelis’ self-image of being morally superior to Palestinians, since all Israeli violence towards civilians is supposedly accidental. Portraying such attacks as accidental is also linked to seeing them as inevitable, and therefore justified – which means they can happen again.

Mondoweiss’ Adam Horowitz has already responded to this, but here are some more points to keep in mind in regard to the 2009 Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

1. They were very well documented by a variety of sources. Human Rights Watch wrote that “First, the repeated use of air-burst white phosphorus in populated areas until the last days of the operation reveals a pattern or policy of conduct rather than incidental or accidental usage. Second, the IDF was well aware of the effects of white phosphorus and the dangers it poses to civilians. Third, the IDF failed to use safer available alternatives for smokescreens.”

Breaking the Silence testimonies show that “Fire power was insane. We went in and the booms were just mad. The minute we got to our starting line, we simply began to fire at suspect places. You see a house, a window, shoot at the window. You don’t see a terrorist there? Fire at the window. In urban warfare, anyone is your enemy. No innocents.”

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, and others, collected many testimonies of attacks on civilians. For example:

The al-Helu family had been told to evacuate their house in Zaytoun, eastern Gaza, but while they were attempting to flee, Israeli soldiers opened fire on them. Farah was shot in the stomach and bled to death two hours later

2. As Adam wrote:

The U.N. committee of independent experts (led by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis) which was charged with following the Israeli and Palestinian investigations following the Goldstone report […] point to Israel’s unwillingness, and in fact inability, to investigate the policies of the Israeli military as the greatest fault of the Israeli investigation to this point… The experts’ report also addresses the structural reason the Israeli investigation has failed to look into military policy. Evidently the Israeli office responsible for investigating the question of crimes committed in Gaza is the same office that would be responsible for providing legal counsel to the Israeli military’s Chief of Staff and other military authorities. So basically, office that would accusing the military of committing crimes is the same one that would be defending them from the same charges.

As a result, few officers have been charged in relation to crimes committed. An internal IDF investigation found two officers responsible for dropping phosphorus bombs on civilians, and all they got was a little reprimand in their personal files.

On the other hand, an anti-war activist was given three months in jail for riding his bicycle too slowly at a protest.

3. The claim that there was no policy behind this stems from a poor understanding of civilian-military relations in Israel. The details of policy are often not set by the government, but they give army officers leeway to set these policies, and then don’t take any significant steps to punish them for causing human rights violations. For example, the 1982 invasion of Lebanon was supposed to end, according to the government’s decision, 40 kilometers north of the border. The army initiated a full invasion, and no one was ever reprimanded for this discrepancy. In 2000, some government ministers wanted to limit the use of force against Palestinian protestors at the beginning of the second Intifada, while the army shot an estimated million bullets (as can be seen in the excellent Israeli documentary “a Million Bullets in October,” available on Youtube). In 2006 the Chief of Staff asked the government for permission to attack Lebanese infrastructure and was refused (see Shelah’s and Limor’s book on that war)- but infrastructure was attacked nonetheless. And so it was in Gaza: as I mentioned an internal IDF investigation found two officers responsible for dropping phosphorus bombs on civilians, and all they got was a little reprimand in their personal files.

The background for such actions was ongoing incitement to attack civilians – Deputy Defense secretary Vilnai’s threat to bring a “Shoah” on Gaza or the hate leaflets distributed to soldiers entering the Strip – and many more examples.

4. It is true that the army is taking criticism of its actions more seriously than after the attack on Lebanon in 2006. This can only be explained as a direct result of international pressure, which hopefully could prevent some loss of civilian life in the future. In other words, instead of praising the army’s liberality, Goldstone should be praising the international community of activists for successfully putting pressure on the army to investigate its own actions..

5. Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t believe the hype. Don’t believe the hype.

Tom Pessah is a graduate sociology student at UC Berkeley.

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Israel demands retraction of UN Gaza war criticism

Three siblings from the Al-Samouni family. Goldstone's report said Israeli forces "killed 23 members of the extended Al-Samouni family" in one day of its devastating Cast Lead offensive on the coastal enclave

April 3, 2011

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israel on Sunday demanded the retraction of a United Nations report deeply critical of its deadly 2008-2009 offensive on the Gaza Strip after the main author expressed regret over the conclusions.

South African judge Richard Goldstone had faced down enormous criticism in Israel at the time, much of it targeting his own Jewish ancestry, over the report which accused both Israel and the Hamas rulers of Gaza of potential war crimes during the 22-day conflict.

But in a surprise about turn on Saturday, he said his conclusions would have been different if he had been aware of additional information now brought to his attention.

“If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document,” he wrote in a commentary piece in the Washington Post.

The report’s findings had set the tone for widespread international condemnation of the Israeli assault on Hamas-ruled Gaza in which more than 1,400 people lost their lives, the vast majority of them Palestinians.

Israeli officials said the United Nations now needed to set the record straight.

“This is an extremely important development and right now we are multiplying our efforts to get this report rescinded,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak told army radio on Sunday.

“I am going to give the issue my personal commitment,” Barak said, adding that he deeply regretted the “harm already done” by the Goldstone report.

He was echoing remarks made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late on Saturday.

“Goldstone himself has just confirmed what we all knew all along… I think our soldiers and army behaved according to the highest international standards,” the premier said during a brief televised address.

“We expect this farce to be rectified immediately.”

Netanyahu once again rejected the findings of the Goldstone Report, which came up with evidence of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity by both Israel and Hamas for targeting civilians.

The Israeli military did not deliberately target civilians during Operation Cast Lead, Netanyahu said, while Hamas fired at innocent civilians and did not conduct investigations.

The prime minister said the fact that long-time Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi — now facing an uprising in his country — was on the UN Human Rights Council that commissioned the report, made the findings especially dubious.

“There is no greater absurdity,” he said.

In his opinion piece in the Post, Goldstone said he now concurred with Netanyahu that the council had a “history of bias against Israel”.

“We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission,” Goldstone wrote.

A UN committee of independent experts that followed up on the Goldstone Report’s recommendations found that Israel “has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza.”

In contrast, Hamas leaders “have not conducted any investigations” into the rocket and mortar attacks against Israel that were its grounds for going to war.

Allegations of intentionality by Israel in turn were based on the death and wounding of civilians in situations where the UN fact-finding mission could not reach “any other reasonable conclusion,” Goldstone said.

He acknowledged that while some incidents were validated in cases involving individual soldiers, Israeli investigations found that “civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.”

Goldstone recalled one of the most serious incidents his team investigated — without Israel’s cooperation due to its allegations that the investigators were biased — when Israeli shelling of a Gaza home killed 29 members of the Al-Samouni family.

He noted that Israel’s investigation into the incident found the attack was apparently due to an Israeli commander’s misinterpretation of a drone image and that an officer was under investigation for having ordered the shelling.

“I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes,” Goldstone wrote.

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Spread for the sake of the Martyrs of this genocide!

Israeli minister, media perpetuate lie about Goldstone’s Gaza report

Eli Yishai, Israel’s lethally incompetent Interior Minister, is outraged that Judge Richard Goldstone, who headed the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza war, has not condemned attacks on Israeli civilians. According to Ynet, Yishai sent a letter to Goldstone in which he “demanded of Goldstone to condemn the firing from Gaza as he did with IDF operations in the Gaza Strip.”

The idea that Goldstone did not condemn the firing of rockets from Gaza is one of the oft-repeated lies about his report. Look, the document is posted on the World Wide Web. It is pretty long, so let me spoil it for you. On page 32, it states, regarding the rockets and mortars fired from Gaza:

The Mission has further determined that these attacks constitute indiscriminate attacks upon the civilian population of southern Israel and that, where there is no intended military target and the rockets and mortars are launched into a civilian population, they constitute a deliberate attack against a civilian population. These acts would constitute war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity. Given the seeming inability of the Palestinian armed groups to direct the rockets and mortars towards specific targets and given that the attacks have caused very little damage to Israeli military assets, the Mission finds that there is significant evidence to suggest that one of the primary purposes of the rocket and mortar attacks is to spread terror among the Israeli civilian population, a violation of international law.

… Noting that some of the Palestinian armed groups, among them Hamas, have publicly expressed their intention to target civilians in reprisal for the civilian fatalities in Gaza as a result of Israeli military operations, the Mission is of the view that reprisals against civilians in armed hostilities are contrary to international humanitarian law.

Goldstone, like everyone else, is not above criticism. But the accusation that he did not condemn attacks on Israeli civilians is an outrageous lie. By reporting these accusations, without pointing to their utter, demonstrable falseness, Israeli media is a collaborator in this libel (no, not a “blood libel”, but still, a pretty nasty libel).

Source.

Children and a world of fantasy in Palestine ..أطفال من الخيال فى فلسطين

YouTube – Children and a world of fantasy in Palestine ..أطفال من الخيال فى فلسطين.

Ministry of Justice briefs UN on latest in Goldstone recommendations

[ 06/02/2011 – 07:26 PM ]

 

GAZA, (PIC)– Gaza Minister of Justice Mohammed Faraj al-Ghoul has written to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the President of the UN Human Rights Council and the President of the Rights Council’s High Commission in the Palestinian regions revealing the latest developments on the Goldstone report.

“Despite the Palestinian government’s commitment to follow the report’s recommendations and although an independent board to execute those recommendations submitted reports and fulfilled its obligations according to recommendations by the Human Rights Council, authorities in Gaza have not recieved any response or comments,” he said.

A UN fact-finding mission headed by South African judge Richard Goldstone issued a report following the 2008-2009 Gaza war recommeding that both Israel and the Palestinians open investigations into international violations committed during the war.

Separately, Ghoul welcomed UN Human Rights Council Commissioner Nawitham Pillay to the Palestinian territories.

He said in statements Sunday that Pillay has deep knowledge of Palesinian affairs and has issued many reports of Israeli violations committed during the war and even to date.

An assembly of 13 Palestinian rights groups and others in Israel have collectively asked Pillay for an update on the Goldstone report.

They accused the international community of failing to bring about justice and urged Pillay to publically reveal the recommendations of the Goldstone report.

Ministry of Justice briefs UN on latest in Goldstone recommendations.

Ministry of Justice briefs UN on latest in Goldstone recommendations.

Palestinians wait for answers on Israeli war in Gaza

Human rights groups demand progress in inquiries over Israel’s conduct in Operation Cast Lead, reports Donald Macintyre

 

Monday, 24 January 2011– Middle East, World – The Independent

The funeral of Issa, Ahmed, and Mohamed Samouni  

AP

The funeral of Issa, Ahmed, and Mohamed Samouni, killed with 18 other members of the same family while sheltering from an Israeli strike

After two years, a UN-commissioned report accusing Israel of widespread violations of international law and possible war crimes, and the opening of 52 separate military police investigations, the only soldier jailed so far for his conduct in the 2008-09 Gaza war was convicted of stealing and using a Palestinian’s credit card. In this special report, The Independenthas examined progress in the investigations arising from the warin the Hamas-controlled territory, and returned to some of the cases that it reported at the time.

Operation Cast Lead caused widespread destruction, and, according to the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, resulted in 759 deaths of Palestinians “not taking part in hostilities”. Only three indictments, against four defendants, have arisen from the operation until now.

Two soldiers were given a suspended prison terms for using a 12-year-old boy as a human shield to open bags in case they contained explosives. Another, after being charged with shooting dead a Palestinian civilian, is awaiting a military court trial in a case in which no specific victim has been named in the charges. A further five officers have been disciplined internally, with measures ranging from official reprimands to being prohibited from holding a similar command in the future in the case of an army captain who authorised an attack on a militant outside a mosque in northern Gaza which killed 13 civilians.

Several military police investigations are still in progress, including in to one of the worst single incidents of the war – the lethal air strike on a house in which 100 members of the same extended family were sheltering – but the Israel Defence Force (IDF) told The Independent last week that “a majority” of the 52 investigations have now been closed, without further action.

Israeli human rights organisations and lawyers representing Palestinian complainants have two principal concerns. In July 2009 the Israeli veterans’ and human rights group Breaking the Silence published testimonies from some 30 soldiers who served in the operation, charging that rules of engagement were loosened and that the military used massive firepower in a consistent effort to prioritise the safety of troops over that of Palestinian civilians. One soldier quoted a battalion officer as saying: “Not a hair will fall of a soldier of mine. I am not willing to allow a soldier of mine to risk himself by hesitating. If you are not sure, shoot.” During the offensive nine Israeli soldiers were killed inside Gaza, four of them by friendly fire.

Reflecting concerns over the rules of engagement operated during the war, B’Tselem called for a much wider-ranging Israeli inquiry. While also condemning Hamas for not properly investigating its own violations during the war, it complained that the IDF investigations did not “deal with the policy that guided the army during the operation, nor with the legality of the instructions given to soldiers. Instead, the investigations have focused on the actions of the lone soldier in the field.”

A second issue is the transparency of the individual investigations. Palestinian witnesses interviewed by military police have told The Independent they were treated with courtesy and professionalism, but in the many cases in which the military’s Advocate General, Avichai Mandelblit, has decided, after reading police reports, that no further action should be taken, it has been impossible for lawyers representing bereaved or injured Palestinians to establish behind the decision.

Military court decisions are subject to appeal to the civilian High Court, but to bring such an appeal the lawyers need to have some access to the investigative material, which has not been forthcoming. A striking example is the case of Majdi Abed Rabbo whose account of being used as a human shield was independently corroborated in one of the Breaking Silence testimonies from an experienced reservist who served in Gaza with a special forces unit and was briefed by his officers on what was broadly the same story as that of Mr Abed Rabbo. He also spoke of the use of other “johnnies” or human shields in a practice that violates international law, the IDF’s own regulations and a decision of the Israeli Supreme Court. But until Mr Abed Rabbo’s lawyers can secure the release of the relevant documents – which Adalah, the legal rights organisation, is likely to make a legal attempt to do – they have little chance of an appeal.

With one exception, the handful of cases summarised here are those for which a military police investigation was carried out. They do not include the many cases where such an investigation was not even opened. For example, of 21 suspected violations all involving civilian deaths o r the use of human shields, raised by B’Tselem, only 11 were referred to the military police by the military Advocate General, Avichai Mandelblit, and of these at least two have already been closed without further action.

The sensitivity of the issue in Israel is not in doubt. After two soldiers were given what Army Radio described as a “light” sentence last year for using a boy as a human shield, right-wing vandals daubed graffiti outside Mr Mandelblit’s home branding him a “traitor.” B’Tselem says the wider issues it wants investigated “must remain on the public agenda” given the “severity of the suspicions” over the army’s conduct.

Attacked in shelter

Military police are still investigating one of the most lethal single incidents during Operation Cast Lead, the air strike on a house in the Zeitoun district of Gaza City owned by Wael Samouni in which 21 of the 100 members of his extended family sheltering there were killed early on 5 January. In October, Amos Harel, Haaretz’s respected military correspondent, reported that air force officers had testified that they had warned former Givati Brigade commander Colonel Ilan Malka that there were civilians in the area. A reconstruction by Haaretz journalist Amira Hass based partly on accounts from soldiers through Breaking the Silence, found that a surveillance drone had wrongly identified a group of men who had left the building to collect firewood as an armed group. The investigation may have to decide how senior officers did not know of civilians even if Col Malka was not warned in advance, since many in the building had been directed to shelter there by troops the previous day. One of those, Mousa Samouni, 21, said he was asked if he had been aware of “resistance” or armed militants in the vicinity, which he said he had not. After he left the building Mousa was detained, handcuffed and blindfolded, for 48 hours by troops occupying another Samouni house. The Israelis interviewed another man, Imad Samouni, 40, who had not been in the building hit by the air strike, which killed his brother, sister and two nephews. He said: “They asked me to write down what happened when I was held but I thought they were most interested in whether there had been any resistance. I said there was no resistance at all. How could there have been with the Army everywhere?”

Killed under white flags

Military police investigated the case of Khaled Abed Rabbo, who had described how his family was ordered by the Israeli military out of their home on 7 January. After they left, carrying white flags, a soldier climbed out of the tank and fired a machine gun at them, killing his daughters Suad, 9, and Amal, 3, severely wounding the third, Samar, 5, and injuring the girls’ grandmother Suad, 54. The Military Advocate General judged there was “insufficient” evidence for criminal proceedings. The legal rights agency Adalah, which handled the case, points out that the claim that the girls were shot by Israeli fire was not refuted and that the authorities had not offered an alternative version of what happened. Mr Abed Rabbo told The Independent on 20 January, 2009: “We are not Hamas. My children were not Hamas… I want the international community and the International Red Cross to ask Israel why it has done this to us.”

A disputed death

The story of the Hajaj family, tenant farmers from Juhr al Dik, is that just after 6am on 4 January the house of Yusef Hajaj was shelled. A family group of 15 fled 250 metres to the east and took shelter with their neighbour and landlord, Mohammed al-Safadi and his family. During the morning the Israeli military broke into radio broadcasts to announce that those in border areas should leave their homes, holding white flags. Ahmed al-Safadi, 23, carrying his two-year-old son, and Majda Hajaj, 35, tied makeshift white flags to sticks and led the group of at least 26 out towards the west. As they walked they were fired on, fatally in the case of Majda Abu Hajaj and her mother Raya, 65. The group again sheltered in the al-Safadi house and the next day, 5 January, as shelling continued, it started out east on a circuitous route to the safety of the Bureij refugee camp without mishap. The women’s bodies were not recovered until 18 January. The IDF announced last July that military police found “gaps” between the testimonies. Soldiers said it was a man who had been shot, and on 5 January, not the day before, although in the location described by the Palestinian witnesses. A staff sergeant has now been indicted for killing an unknown person walking with a group carrying a white flag. But the IDF added: “Despite the fact that the two events are apparently one and the same … sufficient connections could not be made between the evidence gathered in the case of the indicted soldier and the event described by Palestinian testimonies.” The military said last week it could not comment on the case of the soldier “accused of the wrongful killing of a woman” because it was still being investigated. Lawyers and Israeli human rights groups are doubtful about a military court conviction when no victim has been identified.

An unwilling go-between

Majdi Abed Rabbo says that on January 6 and 7, 2009, in the heat of battle, he was forced to go four times into his next-door neighbour’s house to check on three armed Hamas militants holed up inside fighting to the death. Mr Abed Rabbo, who was throughout in military custody and did not know whether his wife and children were alive or dead, told military police investigators he was kicked, beaten and threatened with shooting by Israeli soldiers unless he obeyed their orders. When, on the morning of January 7, the one militant still alive in the house refused to respond to calls to leave, Mr Abed Rabbo watched as the building was flattened by a military bulldozer. After a police investigation a lieutenant colonel, who was not at the scene but in constant contact with his troops, was disciplined for permitting him to enter. But the military advocate general ruled against further action because, he said, Mr Abed Rabbo “asked to enter the structure and to communicate with the men, apparently in an attempt to resolve the situation and avoid potential damage to his own house”. Mr Abed Rabbo, who has no love for Hamas and was a Fatah member of the intelligence service, vehemently denied this. “I never asked that at all,” he said. “They really made me go four times.”

An ‘unfortunate incident’

Mohammed Daya returned from the local mosque on 6 January to find his five-storey apartment building destroyed by an air strike. At least 22 members of his family were killed, including his pregnant wife Tezal, his daughters Amani, 7, Qamer, 6 and Areej, 4, and his son Yusef, 3. There was no military police investigation because, as the Israeli foreign ministry explained in a statement in July 2009, the “extremely unfortunate incident” was the result of an “operational error”. The IDF had intended to bomb a “weapons storage facility” next door to the residential building and was investigating why the error had occurred. The IDF has not so far explained what that investigation had uncovered.

Related articles

Palestinians wait for answers on Israeli war in Gaza – Middle East, World – The Independent.

Kai Wiedenhöfer’s The Book of Destruction: Gaza – One year After the 2009 War | Art and design | The Observer

Mosaic Rooms, London

  • Peter Beaumont
  • The Observer, Sunday 23 January 2011
  • gaza Jamila al-Habash, a 16-year-old student from the Tufah neighborhood in Gaza city was hit by a missile while playing on the roof of her house on 4 January 2009. One of her sisters and a cousin were killed in the same attack. The photograph is from the exhibition and book (published by Steidl) ‘The Book of Destruction’ by Kai Wiedenhofer. When The Book of Destruction, Kai Wiedenhöfer’s exhibition of photographs documenting the consequences of Israel’s war against Gaza, opened at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris late last year, two men wearing ski masks and motorcycle helmets tried to storm the building to damage the exhibits. An umbrella group of Jewish organisations in France accused him of “virulently anti-Israel views”. Others on the internet charged him with “fanning the flames of antisemitism”.

    Kai Wiedenhöfer: Book of Destruction: Gaza – One Year After the 2009 War
    by Kai Wiedenhöfer

    The award-winning Wiedenhöfer, whose exhibition moves to London this week, is not unaccustomed to such charges and finds them ridiculous. They first emerged in 2005 during discussions with Berlin’s municipal authorities for a project – which never saw the light of day – involving affixing giant prints of Israel’s West Bank separation wall on to what remains of the Berlin Wall. During talks, a local politician informed him that the panoramic images in his book, Wall, which were to be used for the project, were “antisemitic photography“.

    “I asked him to define antisemitic photography,” says Wiedenhöfer. “He replied that I had pictures in the book that showed Israeli soldiers being violent against Palestinians.”

    Sitting in his bare Berlin apartment, Wiedenhöfer is suddenly animated and goes to fetch a copy from his bookshelf. “I know every picture in this book. There is not a single image of an Israeli laying a thumb on a Palestinian. So I said, ‘Show me!'” Wiedenhöfer flicks through the pages. “This is the only image of violence in the whole book – it’s an Israeli soldier removing Israeli peace protesters.”

    Wiedenhöfer’s pictures are controversial because his three books – Perfect Peace, detailing Palestinian life between the two intifadas, Wall and now The Book of Destruction – focus almost exclusively on the Palestinian experience. Self-employed and funded often by grants, he is free from the requirement of television and print media to tell both sides of the story with equal weight, instead photographing what interests him, which has rankled deeply with some of Israel’s supporters.

    Here, I believe, a disclosure is in order. I have known Wiedenhöfer, who was born in 1966 in a village near Stuttgart, for almost a decade. We first met and travelled together when covering Israel’s 2002 Operation Defensive Shield, dodging tanks in Bethlehem. Wiedenhöfer borrowed the title for his current exhibition from an article written by myself and my Observer colleague, photographer Antonio Olmos, about a list we came across of all of Gaza’s damaged buildings, a document we called “the book of destruction”.

    Wiedenhöfer’s dedication, even in a profession that requires such discipline, is extraordinary. I recall running into him in Jerusalem almost five years ago when he was working on Wall. He was staying in a filthy, cell-like single-room dwelling owned by a monk, scattered with crucifixes and empty whisky bottles (the monk’s, not the teetotal Wiedenhöfer’s) because it meant he could come and go as he pleased and he wanted to capture the morning light. He took me on one of his early-morning outings, wandering beneath watchtowers full of armed soldiers to study how the light fell on concrete at different times, scrambling up ridges to find new viewpoints of the concrete barrier snaking among the hills and observe the pattern of daily life flowing around it.

    If Wall was about separation, Wiedenhöfer’s new book and exhibition, funded by the Fondation Carmignac Gestion, is unquestionably about violence, documenting in almost unbearable detail the damage left after Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2009. Unpeopled images of ruined buildings, photographed with an architectural precision, are contrasted with portraits of equally ruined people with truncated limbs and scarred bodies. His human subjects look into the camera, seated in their own homes: women and children; the family of fighters and civilians – all displaying bewildering variations of traumatic amputation and burns.

    The photographs of the ruined buildings supply their own taxonomy of the consequences of different explosive forces: houses brought down by mines rendered into bristling igloos of concrete; buildings pierced and burned by shells; walls perforated by gunfire. The result is a body of work that is anti-sensational but shocking in the directness with which it engages with violence.

    “I wanted to make a record,” Wiedenhöfer says. “That’s all. I do not accuse Israel. If there is an accusation, it is in the record itself.” Therein lies the problem. He has come up against the increasingly prevalent desire of many within Israel and without to rule inadmissible any “record” that depicts what Israel or its defence forces do in a negative light, deploying an intellectual sleight of hand to suggest that all such criticism is designed to “delegitimise” the existence of Israel. That it is “antisemitism” of a new and sneaky kind.

    The irony is that Wiedenhöfer had not intended to return to the subject of Israel and Palestine again after his books Perfect Peace and Wall. Indeed, his main interest these days is examining the nature of boundaries, particularly in areas of conflict or that have been affected by conflicts, something he is pursuing with the same single-mindedness he dedicated to documenting Palestinian life for almost two decades.

    Wiedenhöfer insists that he could have done a similar study to The Book of Destruction in Afghanistan or in Iraq and that the real meaning of the book is the horrible “creativity” people use to hurt others. What really concerns him is the unwillingness of many photographers, and the media, to document the human consequences.

    In part, he blames the constrained economics of the media today, which, he believes, has made many photographers take fewer risks, instead focusing on images they know will sell. “We see the same pictures all the time. A Palestinian child throwing a stone. A soldier surrounded by dust in Afghanistan. An IED exploding. But what does it show us of the true meaning of war?”

    Peter Beaumont is the Observer’s foreign affairs editor. Kai Wiedenhöfer’s The Book of Destruction: Gaza – One Year After the 2009 War is at the Mosaic Rooms, London SW5, from Friday to 12 Feb; mosaicrooms.org. Funds raised through the exhibition will be used to support the individuals featured in his photographs. The book is published by Steidl/Fondation Carmignac Gestion on 6 June, £30

Kai Wiedenhöfer’s The Book of Destruction: Gaza – One year After the 2009 War | Art and design | The Observer.

Gaza doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish two years after Israeli attack that killed 3 daughters and niece

20 January 2011

“As Long as I am Breathing, They are with Me. I Will Never Forget”
 
Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish was a well-known Palestinian gynecologist who spent years working in one of Israeli’s main hospitals. On January 16, 2009, two days before the end of Israel’s brutal 22-day assault on Gaza, his home was shelled twice by Israeli tanks. His three daughters and his niece were killed. He has just written a book about his life called I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity. He joins us in our studio for an extended conversation.

Rush Transcript

AMY GOODMAN: Yesterday marked the second anniversary of the end of Israel’s assault on Gaza. Dubbed “Operation Cast Lead,” up to 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the 22-day assault between December 28th, 2008 and January 18th, 2009. More than half the Palestinians killed were civilians, over 300 of them children.

Today we spend the rest of the hour remembering the story of just one Palestinian family behind those numbers. It’s one of the better known tragedies of the attack, in part because it unfolded live on Israeli television.

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is a well-known Palestinian gynecologist who has spent years working in one of Israeli’s main hospitals. He crossed into Israel daily through the Erez checkpoint from his home in Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza.

During the assault, Dr. Abuelaish was interviewed regularly on Israeli television and radio. Not even Israeli journalists were able to report independently from within Gaza, making Dr. Abuelaish one of the few Hebrew-speaking witnesses who told of the Palestinian suffering under fire.

On January 16, 2009, a day and a half before the official end of the war, Dr. Abuelaish’s home was shelled twice by Israeli tanks. His three daughters were killed—21-year-old Bessan, 15-year-old Mayar, and 13-year-old Aya—as well as his niece Noor. Another daughter, Shatha, and his brother were also badly injured.

Moments after Dr. Abuelaish discovered the bodies of his children, he called his friend Shlomi Eldar, a correspondent at Israel’s Channel 10 News, for help. Eldar happened to be in the studio at the time. Democracy Now! producer Anjali Kamat narrates the exchange that was broadcast live on Israeli television.

ANJALI KAMAT: On January 16th, when Dr. Abuelaish called Shlomi Eldar of Israel’s Channel 10 TV News, Israeli tank shells had just struck his home. They killed his family, he says. “I think I’m a bit overwhelmed, too.”

He explains that Dr. Abuelaish is a physician at Tel Hashomer Hospital. He always feared his family would be hurt. His daughters were injured. “I want to save them, but they died on the spot, Shlomi. They were hit in the head.”

A visibly emotional Eldar explains that the doctor had unsuccessfully tried to get out for many days and was afraid to even raise a white flag. “A shell hit his home,” Eldar says. “And I have to tell you, I do not know how to hang up this phone. I will not hang up this phone call.”

The anchor calls on the Israeli Defense Forces to allow ambulances to get to the doctor’s family. Shlomi Eldar then excused himself from the show, took off his earpiece and rushed off the set to get help to Dr. Abuelaish.

AMY GOODMAN: That was the live broadcast of Israel’s Channel 10 News on January 16, 2009. No ambulances ever reached Dr. Abuelaish’s home, which was surrounded by Israeli tanks. He and the surviving members of his family walked a quarter of a mile carrying the dead and wounded through the streets. They eventually found an ambulance to take them to the closest hospital. Standing outside, a grieving Dr. Abuelaish kissed the forehead and hands of his children as they were strapped into stretchers. He addressed a news camera at the scene in Hebrew.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: [translated] What happened? Everybody in Israel knows. They know that I was talking on television and on the radio, that we were at home, that there are innocent people, 25 people, here. Suddenly, today, when there was a hope for a ceasefire, in the last day that I was talking with my children, suddenly they bombed us. That’s how you treat a doctor who takes care of Israeli patients? Is this what’s done? Is this peace?

AMY GOODMAN: Israeli TV correspondent Shlomi Eldar arranged for the evacuation of Dr. Abuelaish and his only surviving daughter, 16-year-old Shatha, who was badly wounded. The next day, Dr. Abuelaish spoke at a news conference at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv. Angry Israelis present at the hospital heckled him while he spoke.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: I want them to know that I am from Jabalia camp. I am Palestinian. And we can live together. And no difference between Palestinian and Israelis. Within the borders of the hospital, all are equal. Why not to be outside equal? Why not? My children—my children were involved in peace. In peace, they participated in many peace camps everywhere. They were weaponed when they killed them. They were weaponed not by arms; they were weaponed by love.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish speaking two years ago. Of his six daughters, three were killed. One was critically injured, lost her eye. His tragic story has come to symbolize Palestinian suffering during Israel’s assault on Gaza. His story made headlines around the world, and he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. Abuelaish has just published a book. It’s called I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity.

He flew into New York for an interview in our studio from Toronto, Canada, where he has been practicing and teaching. I began by playing for him the tape of the day his voice was broadcast on the Israeli airwaves, and I asked him to remember that day for us.

AMY GOODMAN: It is two years later. As you listen to this, it brings us all back. It’s painful to even play it for you. Tell us about this day two years ago.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: It’s living with me. It’s not two years. It’s every moment. I see it every day. I feel it. I see my daughters speaking with me every day, to talk to me. They are part of me. And that’s what can I say, as long as I am living. As long as I am breathing, they are with me. I will never forget—the opposite. All of the time, I feel, I am determined, those girls, as other girls of the world, that I believe in their potential—they are asking me, “Do more. Bring us justice, and keep our holy souls holy, and fight with wisdom and good words.”

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Abuelaish, tell us what happened that day, on January 16th.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: January 16th, we were expecting the ceasefire, day before or after. And a human life doesn’t need negotiation. It’s an urgency when it comes to human life. To save, we need to act immediate. And I was supposed to be interviewed live by Oshrat Kotler about women’s health and the situation in Gaza. And we were planning our future. Where can I be with my children? As I was fed up, and it’s time to be with my children, not to travel. I want to see them every day. And that’s the message, what I want to tell everyone. Don’t say “tomorrow.” If you can do it today, do it today. Spend as much as you can of your time with your beloved ones. You don’t know if tomorrow is coming or not. We were planning to go to Toronto. And then, after I left their room, the first shell came.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: Of leukemia. I didn’t imagine it. I thought the shelling from the surrounding, because we were surrounded by shelling everywhere. I didn’t think that it’s my house. But when I saw the smoke, the dusk, the chaos within the house, I went inside the room. Where is Bessan? To see them, I can’t recognize Bessan, Mayar, Aya, Noor. Just to see Shatha in front of me with her eye on her cheek and her fingers. Mayar, I want to see her. Where is her head? Bessan, decapitated, blood, parts. I started to think of saving Shatha, not to see her blind.

AMY GOODMAN: Shatha was how old?

AMY GOODMAN: What time was it?

AMY GOODMAN: She had died of leukemia?

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: She was 17. She was in her high school. And at that moment, I decided either to save her eye, or I am ready to accept her to be with her sisters, but not to be disabled. That’s why I called my friend Shlomi. And it was God’s bless that he was at the studio with Oshrat Kotler, and it was broadcasted live to show the craziness of humanity in the 21st century.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: Four-thirty p.m. It’s the same time of the time when their mother passed away, afternoon. Just four months’ period, exactly.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to play a clip of when my colleague, Anjali Kamat, and Jacquie Soohen came to Gaza, and you gave them a tour of your house. This is Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: We are standing in the scene of the tragedy, in the place where four lovely girls were sitting, building their dreams and their hopes, and in seconds, these dreams were killed. These flowers were dead. Three of my daughters and one niece were killed in one second on the 16th of January at a quarter to five p.m. Just a few seconds, I left them, and they stayed in the room—two daughters here, one daughter here, one daughter here, and my niece with them.

The first shell came from the tank space, which is there, came to shell two daughters who were sitting here on their chairs. And when I heard this shell, I came inside the room to find, to look. I can’t recognize my daughters. Their heads were cut off their bodies. They were separated from their bodies, and I can’t recognize whose body is this. They were drowning in a pool of blood. This is the pool of blood. Even look here. This is their brain. These are parts of their brain. Aya was lying on the ground. Shatha was injured, and her eye is coming out. Her fingers were torn, just attached by a tag of skin. I felt disloved, out of space, screaming, “What can I do?”

They were not satisfied by the first shell and to leave my eldest daughter. But the second shell soon came to kill Aya, to injure my niece, who came down from the third floor, and to kill my eldest daughter Bessan, who was in the kitchen and came at that moment, screaming and jumping, “Dad! Dad! Aya is injured!”

The second shell, it penetrated the wall between this room to enter the other room. Look. This is the room with the weapons, where this room was fully equipped with weapons. These are the weapons which were in this room. These are the weapons. These are the weapons: the books and their clothes. These were the science handouts. There, you see, these are her handouts for the courses that she studies, which is stained with her blood. It’s mixed with her blood. These are the books. These are the weapons that I equipped my daughters with: with education, with knowledge, with dreams, with hopes, with loves.

I am a gynecologist who practiced most of my time in Israel. I was trained in Israel. And I devoted my life and my work for the benefit of humanity and well-being, to serve patients, not as someone else that you are delivering or helping choose. I am dealing with patients and human beings. We treat patients equally, with respect, with dignity, with privacy. Politicians and leaders should learn from doctors these values and these norms and to adopt them.

This invasion, from the beginning, I said it’s useless. It’s futile. No one is winning. The innocent civilians, the Gazans, civilians, paid the price of this invasion, no one else.

Military ways proved its failure. We should look for other ways to give each other its rights. We don’t want to speak about peace. Peace is—you know, this word lost its meaning. We should find something else: respect, equality, justice and partnership. That’s what we should look for.

AMY GOODMAN: You have been watching Izzeldin Abuelaish or listening to Dr. Abuelaish, the Palestinian doctor who lost three daughters and a niece on January 16th, 2009: Bessam, 21; Mayar, 15; Aya, 14; Noor was 17, his niece. On this day, two years later, describe what was the Israeli government’s response to your children’s killing. You are well known throughout Israel, a Palestinian doctor who works in Israel. You were updating people on the siege almost every day on television.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: You know, it took one month to admit their responsibility and to say, “We shelled the house.”

AMY GOODMAN: As opposed to…?

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: As opposed to be done immediate, to recognize that and to admit, to take responsibility from the first moment, because they shelled it. It’s not after one month. It’s the first day.

AMY GOODMAN: Right. What did they say had happened?

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: They tried to justify. We don’t need to justify. It’s better—we are human being, and it’s a human to err. But a mistake is a mistake if we didn’t learn from it, not to repeat those mistakes. They started to justify, to say there were snipers, the first day. The second scenario, there were militants. The third day, there were firing. And the fourth scenario, that they took shrapnels from my niece’s wound, and it was coming from Qassam rockets. Why? Please.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s what they said.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: But it wasn’t true.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: Of course. Of course. And it took one month to investigate it. Doesn’t need investigation for one month. It has been shelled, 16th, and it’s known who shelled it. Please. “We made a mistake. We did it. And we are ready for responsibility.” This is the easiest way, to have the moral courage to admit responsibility. It will help all to move forward, not to deny.

AMY GOODMAN: Tell us about your daughters. Bessam, 21?

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: Bessam, I see her in front of me now, with her smile, with her potential, with her love, with her humanity. She was supposed to get her BA a few months later. She was the mother, the sister, the friend, the good person to everyone after I lost my wife. She’s the one who encouraged me to go and to resume my work. She took responsibility. Bessam, the wise person—she doesn’t speak much; she listens. But when she speaks, she says wisdoms. She said, “I learned the academic exams are nothing. It’s the life exams we face in life.” She said, “Everything starts small, then becomes big. Everything starts in one place, then goes in different directions.” When I sent her to Creativity for Peace camp in New Mexico—

AMY GOODMAN: In Santa Fe.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: In Santa Fe. She said, “There, I realized how similar are we.” Can we learn from our children?

AMY GOODMAN: You mean there, Israeli and Palestinian girls.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish, Christian, Druze. They learned that they are similar. And that’s what we need to learn from our children, and to work for them.

AMY GOODMAN: And tell me about Mayar, who was 15.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: Mayar, the smartest, the brightest girl. After once when I visited the school, she was number one in math in the Gaza Strip. If they have a math problem in their class, the students look at each other. They can’t—they say, “If Mayar was here, she is the one who is for it.” She was open-minded. She was the chairman of the students’ parliament, to represent them, to defend those girls. Aya was 14, who had planned to be a journalist, to be the voice of the voiceless, to think of others, to defend others, and to work for them. They were fighters for humanity, for peace. They were connected with others to feel the suffering of other children. And that’s what we need.

AMY GOODMAN: And Noor, your niece?

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: Noor, she was 17, 17 years old. She came for her fate. She was at the camp with her mother. But she said she can’t tolerate the life there—in a public space, 50, 60 people in one room, with shortage of everything. It’s intimidation, humiliation. She said, “I want to go there to be with my dad.” So she came and stayed with us. Just two days before, she came.

AMY GOODMAN: And yet, your book, Dr. Abuelaish, is called I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity. You have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Your response has been remarkable. The response of Israelis to what happened to you? I mean, your cries for help were heard around the world in that conversation on Israel Channel 10—not conversation, your wailing for your family.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: Those daughters, when I want to bring them justice, I must be healthy. And hate, as every one of us knows, it’s a poison. We don’t want to be injected with it. If you want to achieve a noble goal and cause, you must be healthy mentally, spiritually and physically, to defend your goals.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish’s three daughters and niece were killed in his home in Gaza when it was shelled by Israeli tanks on January 16, 2009, during the 22-day Israeli assault on Gaza. We’ll come back to our conversation with the Palestinian gynecologist in a minute.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: We return to my interview with the Palestinian doctor, Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish.

AMY GOODMAN: You have sued the Israeli government. Your statute of limitations is out on January 16th, so you have just sued. What are you demanding?

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: Because they didn’t leave any alternative for me within two years. I was using and used every possible peaceful way, with Israeli ministers, Knesset members. Please, we need the truth and, to bring those daughters justice, apology, responsibility and the consequences of that. That’s what we want. It will be a new opportunity, a window of opportunity, for both nations, for the leadership to speak about the truth and to have the moral courage to move forward, not to deny. We need to take responsibility. So I asked for that, and I told, human life can’t be valued by money, and it’s time to give, not to take. Any compensation that comes, it will go for a foundation that I established, Daughters for Life, for health and education, for girls and women in the Middle East, including Israel. It’s time for women to take the lead and to practice their full potential and their role. That’s what I am determined. I want to see the plans of my daughters fulfilled by other girls.

AMY GOODMAN: More than 1,400 Palestinians died in the Israeli siege of Gaza. Talk about what happened during that time.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: During that time, it was a crazy moment. Three weeks, no one knows about what happened. And the world was closing the eyes about what is happening in Gaza. Even for me in Gaza, we don’t know what is happening outside my house. Just with a radio, I used to listen. And Gazans became numbers. Human beings are not numbers. They have faces. They have names. They have hopes. They have dreams. Can we get from there to consider a human being as a human being, not numbers? And that’s what we need. Tell what happened, 16th of January, to open the eyes of the Israeli public, the international community, the Palestinians, that we are killing innocent civilians.

AMY GOODMAN: How does it feel for you to come into the United States, Dr. Abuelaish, at this time? Then, it was the Israeli assault on Gaza. Your children were killed by a military that is armed and financed by the United States.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: It’s time to face each other and to speak. And it’s important to transmit the message. The Americans, the American Jews, Arabs, Muslims everywhere, we need to communicate and to speak. Words are stronger than bullets. And without communicating, without acting and meeting together, who’s going to solve? And I learned one thing: our enemy is our ignorance. We don’t know. We don’t know. And to know, we need to communicate and to explain face to face.

AMY GOODMAN: The story of your life is remarkable, and you tell it very graphically in your book I Shall Not Hate. If you could just share with us where you were born, tell us in a nutshell, which I think is very much the story of the Palestinian people.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: I was born, raised and lived as a Palestinian refugee in the Jabalia refugee camp, deprived of what is called a childhood. I never tasted the childhood as millions in this world, which is man-made suffering. And this is the hope. It’s man-made. So we, as a human being, we can challenge those man-made challenges and not to accept it and to change it. I succeeded.

AMY GOODMAN: Your father came from…?

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: From a village called Houg, where Sharon’s farm is established. It’s close to Sderot.

AMY GOODMAN: So, your land, your father, what he has a deed for, is actually known today as the Sharon farm, Ariel Sharon’s farm?

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: The prime minister.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: The Abuelaish land. And in a sudden, to be a refugee, own nothing. But our parents, especially the Palestinian mother—she is the hero. From nothing, they pushed, encouraged the children. We lost everything, but we didn’t lose hope in the Palestinian children to be focused and to be educated.

AMY GOODMAN: You say your family left Houg in 1948—

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN:—your father afraid there would be an attack.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: They were exiled to leave, and they were forced to leave. And they were thinking it may take just a few days, and they will go back—these days, months, years, and now six decades. And even in the place where are we now, we are not safe, or we are not free.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you grew up in the Jabalia refugee camp completely destitute.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Your only escape ultimately was your education, what your parents pushed you to do. And you became a doctor.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: The Jabalia refugee camp, it’s the place which is close to my heart. I feel the good and the bad times in the Jabalia refugee camp. It’s the memory, it’s the roots, but encouraged me of not accepting this life, this suffering, and that we can change it. I succeeded. From nothing. From nothing. And that’s the message I want others—please, stand up, have hope, have faith, and act.

AMY GOODMAN: How many of you lived in one room?

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: We were—I remember, in the early days, the room, three by three meters, to have six, seven—one by one to be covered. In winter, we are attached together. That’s the life in the camp. We have no life. But we were determined, just breathing.

AMY GOODMAN: Describe what it’s like to go through a checkpoint. I mean, for you as an adult, as a recognized doctor, renowned through Israel as a gynecologist working in Israeli hospitals, describe what it was like for you to go through checkpoints. And where were these checkpoints?

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: These checkpoints, someone, when he sees it from far, he doesn’t imagine it, especially when I leave from Gaza to Israel, to pass through how many checkpoints. It’s intimidation.

AMY GOODMAN: How many?

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: Just from the first gate to the last gate, it’s about 20 gates you pass through.

AMY GOODMAN: Twenty checkpoints.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: Twenty gates. From one to the other, within one checkpoint, this is what is called Erez, a checkpoint. And you need to pass through that, electronized, with computerized cameras. You don’t see just doors open, and someone is telling by voice to cross or not. It took me—sometimes, if you are lucky, it may take one hour, two hours. And sometimes ’til the permits and the coordination is ready, it may take me, from Gaza to Tel Aviv, which is 45 minutes, it may take between two hours to four or five hours.

AMY GOODMAN: And you’d even have the Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint asking you for medical advice about birth control and other issues.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: They know me.

AMY GOODMAN: They knew you, and you—still it could take hours.

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: And they know me, and I know them. I understand the security needs, but can we make human life easy, too? Not to intimidate, not to humiliate. That’s what we need. A checkpoint security, I understand it. But it is not in that way, not in that way. When I came from Jordan to my wife, who was gasping—she was dying. I went to see her before she dies.

AMY GOODMAN: She died of leukemia?

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: She died of leukemia. Took me more than 14 hours from Allenby Bridge to Sheba Medical Center.

AMY GOODMAN: And how far is it?

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: It’s one-hour drive. And to move from one checkpoint to the other, we need to put ourselves in the shoe of the other. What are we doing? And why are we doing that? And is it the right way? Or can we change course?

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Abuelaish, newly released classified U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal that Israeli officials openly told U.S. diplomats the aim of the blockade of Gaza was to keep Gaza’s economy on the brink of collapse. According to a November 2008 cable, Israel wanted Gaza’s economy to be, quote, “functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis.” Can you describe the conditions?

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: Gaza is collapsing. There is no life in Gaza. And that’s—Gaza is stigmatized by everything you like for yourself, but for Gazans, say no—no life, no hope, no work, no employment. And some people—it’s shame to say, we open the borders for food. Human life is not dependent on food. They are hungry for food, for employment, for freedom, for education, to taste their life and to feel that they are free in their life. That’s what we need. What do you think of a person living in a palace, and you provide him with the best types of foods. He doesn’t need the food. He needs the freedom. The most holy thing in the universe is a human being under freedom, freedom of poverty and occupation.

AMY GOODMAN: So, what do you think has to happen right now?

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: What to happen, that—to admit the rights of the Palestinians and to take active steps, and that there will never be a just and good peace just for one. Must be good and just for all, for Palestinians and Israelis. And I think it’s time for the Israeli government and the Israeli people to stand up. We need to translate the resolutions into actions. There is a Palestinian nation and an Israeli nation, and they have to live sharing the land with respect, and that the dignity of the Palestinians equals the dignity of the Israelis. And the freedom of the Palestinians is linked to the freedom of the Israelis from their fears. The security of the Israelis and safety is linked to the safety and the security of the Palestinians, not dependent on the security and suffering of the Palestinians.

AMY GOODMAN: And here in the United States you are. Your message to the American people?

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: We need them to mediate and to take action, to say—

AMY GOODMAN: Your assessment of President Obama?

DR. IZZELDIN ABUELAISH: Yes, and that’s what do we need. If we care about each other, even about your friends, if they are making mistakes, tell them, “This is not good for your interest.” We need to open their eyes. We may be hard and harsh with our beloved ones, from good will. And that’s what I think. We need to open the eyes of the Israeli public, and even if the Palestinian leadership is not committed to say to them, “This is not for your interest.” But also, the road map is the humanity between us, not the territory. You can’t have everything and the other side have nothing. Peace has a price, to be by choice or from the heart. You can, by military ways, succeed for short term; you can force others to accept. But it is not sustainable, and we must look and to find the ways that are sustainable and to protect the future of our children and to put our children as a priority.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish. Three of his daughters and his niece were killed on January 16, 2009, when his home in Gaza was shelled by Israeli tanks. He has just written a book about his life; it’s called I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity. He is currently teaching and practicing in Toronto, Canada, with his surviving children.

 


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Gaza doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish two years after Israeli attack that killed 3 daughters and niece — Israeli Occupation Archive.