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Gaza lies under rains of fire. Gaza’s children are children without childhood. without food, without water, without a shelter. They are living without a life.

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contents This is the truth

New Year in Gaza.

Deserted streets and fear as Israel demolishes Gaza.

Rights orgs: UN body must act to end Gaza war crimes .

The civilian targets of Israel’s bombing .

Some of Gaza’s suffering

The radio reported that my friend was under the rubble.

Presentation

If there is an Israeli invasion hospitals will collapse

Innocence dreams


This is the truth Hamas fairly won the 2006 UN monitored elections. Israel and its allies, who were unhappy about the democratic choice of the Palestinian people, waged a relentless war against Hamas, starting with the collective punishment of all the people of Gaza. The Israelis blocked all border crossings, starved the people of Gaza, disconnected electricity and fuel, limited medical supplies and continued with massacring Hamas activists, including their families and neighbours (that also included sleeping women and children). In response, Hamas fired home-made rockets over the border of Israel, in a desperate attempt to respond to Israeli aggression. To stop rocket fire, Israel launched an aerial bombardment of the most densely populated territory in the world. The disproportionate attacks have lead to 636 Palestinian deaths, of whom the majority have been policemen, and a second are civilians, whilst only 5 Israelis have been killed. Many suspect that the attacks are a ploy by the current Israeli government to get public support ahead of the upcoming elections this year. 3

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New Year in Gaza

«Our fireworks are the Israeli missiles» Rami Almeghari writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 31 December 2008 «Look outside, F-16 jet fighters are smiling for you, missiles are dancing for you, zannana [the Palestinian name for pilotless drones] are singing for you. I requested them all to wish you a happy new year.» That was the darkly humorous text message Fathi Tobal, a Gaza City resident, received from a friend on his mobile phone today. Tobal added ironically, «While other people around the world celebrate, it seems the Israeli air force is trying to save us the cost of fireworks.» On New Year’s Eve in Gaza, 1.5 million Palestinians are confined to their homes under candlelight and with scarce food supplies, but worst of all with the constant fear of the bombs which have already killed almost 400 people, and injured 2,000. Peace, only peace is everyone’s wish for 2009. They have no other dreams or wishes but to live in the peace that they have yearned for since Israel occupied their lands in 1967.

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But for the fifth day, Israeli warplanes have bombed homes, ministerial buildings, municipal buildings, mosques, universities and charities throughout the densely crowded Gaza Strip. While Israel has attacked Gaza many times, residents say this is the worst they have lived through since the occupation began. Dr. Asad Abu Sharekh, a university professor and a political analyst who lives at the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood in Gaza City, said, «this world should wake up; instead of dancing and drinking, they should move right away to stop the new holocaust being waged against the civilian population of Gaza.»


«Their [Israel’s] deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai said outright that there would be a greater holocaust,» Abu Sharekh said, referring to comments Vilnai made last March when Israeli bombing killed more than 100 people in Gaza. «The United States has promised Israel thousands more missiles,» he added, «the alleged international community must move to protect the legitimate rights of a people under occupation.» «Our music for the New Year is the sound of Israeli warplanes, our lights for the New Year is the fire made by Israeli missiles,» said Raed Samir, 32, from the central Gaza Strip. «As you see, I am trying to see a friend of mine at his shop, and that’s what I can do, chatting a bit and smoking a cigarette.» Ola al-Helo, a 26-year-old woman who works for women’s non-governmental organization in Gaza City, said bluntly of the situation: «It is shit.» Hamada Hammad, 22, recalled on this day last year, he, his parents, sisters and his brothersin-law, enjoyed a day out at the Gaza City’s al-Jundi al-Majhoul square. 5

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A house is bombed in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, 31 )December 2008. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages

«Today I can’t even go to my workplace. As you see, warplanes are casting fear everywhere. I hope that young people outside will do something in solidarity with us, the youth of Palestine,» Hammad added. For the the family of Ali Shaath, 75, of Rafah, at the southern end of the Gaza Strip, New Year’s Eve meant a new refuge as 25 family members fled their home near the border with Egypt to escape Israeli bombing. Israel has bombed the border area intensively under the pretext of targeting the under-


ground tunnels through which essential supplies are brought into besieged Gaza. The bombing has forced many other families to seek refuge with relatives or in school buildings. «Can you imagine, we are now crowded into my small two-room apartment, as my parents, sisters and brothers have been forced to stay with me for fear of the Israel air raids on their neighborhood,» said Marwan, 40, one of Shaath’s sons whose home in Bader refugee camp is further from the border. Marwan did not conceal his outrage when he asked, «What new year celebration? It does not even exist in our terminology. Maybe they have a word for it in Syria or India or Egypt, where I used to live. How can we celebrate when we lack electricity, bread and cooking gas?» Israel is bombing Gaza under the pretext of stopping rockets fired from Gaza into Israel ever since Israel violated a five-month old ceasefire on 4 November and then tightened its blockade on the Gaza Strip. Israel says its attacks will continue and even escalate and there are reports of preparations for a ground invasion. Over the past five days, Israeli 6

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warplanes have been raiding many parts of the coastal region under the pretext of halting homemade shells fire from Gaza into nearby Israeli towns. Israel says its attacks on Gaza will continue until the underlined objectives are reached as a ground offensive is looming in the horizon very soon, according to Israeli officials. Fathi Tobal was right; Israel has saved us the fireworks. Just 20 minutes before midnight, here in al-Maghazi refugee camp, as I write this report, two bombs have hit my town. In Arabic, people exchange the New Year’s greeting, «Kul am wa antum bi khair» (May you be safe and well every year). From Gaza I say, «Kul qasif wa antum bi khair.» May you be safe after every bombing. Rami Almeghari is contributor to The Electronic Intifada, IMEMC. org and Free Speech Radio News and is a part-time lecturer on media and political translation at the Islamic University of Gaza. Rami is also a former senior English translator at and editor-in-chief of the international press center of the Gaza-based Palestinian Information Service. He can be contacted at rami_almeghari@hotmail.com.

Gaza


The civilian targets of Israel’s bombing Report, Al Mezan, 31 December 2008

A building destroyed by Israeli bombing in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, 30 December 2008. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages) 12:30pm Gaza Time (+2hrs GMT

The Israeli Occupation Forces

(IOF) has continued its military operation in the Gaza Strip for the fifth day. Today, it targeted an ambulance and its medical crew with a missile, killing a doctor and an orderly and critically injuring its driver. According to Al Mezan Center’s monitoring, the number of Palestinian casualties since the start of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead at 11:30am on 27 December 2008 has risen to 315, of whom 41 were children and nine women. At least 939 people have been injured, including 85 children and 52 women. The number of civilian objects that have been destroyed is as follows: •112 houses have been destroyed 7

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completely and approximately 3,500 houses damaged; • Seven mosques have been completely destroyed from direct air strikes; • 38 private industrial and agricultural enterprises have been completely destroyed; •16 schools have been damaged; •Nine CBO offices were completely destroyed; •Eight private vehicles were destroyed; •16 governmental facilities were destroyed. Moreover, 20 security installations were targeted and destroyed. All of these targets were struck from the air. Hundreds of heavy missiles have been fired on the Gaza Strip, some of which on open fields.


Today, at approximately 1:50 am, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile at an ambulance that arrived in the Jabal al-Rayis neighborhood in the northeast of Gaza City after a call to rescue injured people. The crew, a doctor, driver and orderly, were targeted just after they stepped out of the ambulance. As a result, the orderly, 30-year-old Mohammed Sa’eed Abu Hasira, was immediately killed. The doctor, 33-year-old Ihab al-Madhoun, died from the wounds he sustained in this attack later in the morning. The driver, 30-year-old Hishmat Ajour, sustained critical wounds and is still at hospital. Meanwhile, the health sector in Gaza has continued to suffer from the very high number of casualties and injuries it has been forced to deal with under severe shortages in medical necessities, which is the result of the Israeli prolonged siege on the Gaza Strip. Many health facilities have little materials and dozens of wounded people face greater threats on their life as a result. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights asserts, according to its monitoring of the situation on the ground, that the IOF has perpetrated grave breaches of the international hu8

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manitarian law, amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, in the course of its military actions in Gaza. The Center also asserts that the vast majority of IOF’s targets in Gaza are civilian targets that must not be deliberately targeted. This includes houses, mosques, police stations and at least one ambulance. Most of the casualties are not combatants and were not involved in any hostilities when they were targeted by IOF. This behavior reflects a blatant disregard of civilian life and of the international law that is supposed to protect it. Al Mezan Center condemns the IOF’s violations of international law applicable in times of belligerent occupation and armed conflict. In particular, the violations by IOF of the Fourth Geneva Convention and its Protocol I have caused extreme suffering as well as loss of civilian life. Articles 15-19 of the Convention prohibit the disruption of the working of health facilities during times of conflict. Article 20 requires respect and protection of the persons who are involved in the search for civilians, the sick, the wounded, the elderly and mothers and care for them. IOF violates international humanitarian law by imposing a strangulating blockade that disrupts, and sometimes pre-


vents, the provision of humanitarian aid to the population of the Gaza Strip. As such, and as the silence of international community continues to allow for such violations of international humanitarian law and human rights standards; including the perpetration of war crimes in Gaza, Al Mezan Center calls upon the international community to uphold its legal and ethical obligations by taking effective measures to ensure Israel’s compliance with the applicable rules of international law, and to ensure the protection of civilians and civilian objects in Gaza. Al Mezan finds it ironic that the international community continues to call for such compliance while it must act to ensure it, to protect and aid civilians, and to prevent the perpetration of grave breaches of international humanitarian law. Al Mezan Center welcomes the popular protests against the Israeli violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Gaza, and the worldwide solidarity with its people. The Center calls on civil societies to double their efforts to exert pressure of their governments so that they act in conformity with their human rights and humanitarian obligations.

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what did this children do ?!

Over 350 Palestinian civilians have been killed by the Israeli army , in cold blood ! What happening in Gaza is a Slaughter against innocent Palestinian civilians: children, mothers, and old men.


«The radio reported that my friend was under the rubble»

Dr. Haider Eid writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 31 December 2008

Palestinians inspect the rubble of a destroyed police compound following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, 29 December 2008. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)

Dr. Haidar Eid is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine. He gave the following testimony to Eva Bartlett at 5pm Gaza Time on 30 December: I was lying in my bedroom when the first strike happened, around 1:30 in the morning. A strike isn’t just one explosion, it’s a series of explosions. Boom, boom, boom, boom. The whole building shook. I woke up and went to the bathroom first, and within 30 seconds the second strike hit. F-16s were bombing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building, about 500 meters away. I could hear glass shattering everywhere. I went back into the bedroom and saw glass everywhere, all over the bed which is right up against the window. If I had been lying there still, it would have shattered all over me, would have seriously injured me, or worse. It was a very strong blast, and the glass must have hit the bed with great force.

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under the rubble


I brought a mattress into the living room, which faces the sea, and lay down trying to sleep there. Moments later, I heard a huge explosion, the third strike, this time from an area closer to the sea. The front, sea-facing window exploded into the room, landing on the desk and the floor, thankfully too far from where I was lying.

There were huge, black clouds. I was looking at the ambulances and the people below when another strike against the compound happened, another series of explosions. Again, my building shook from the impact. I heard people screaming, there was more smoke, fire, and a terrible smell. I don’t know what ... the smell of death, I guess.

I tried to call a friend who lives two buildings away from the ministries. He’s got five children, ages five to 15. He said they were okay, but the children were terrified, screaming.

The radio reported that my friend, Dr. Fawaz Abu Sitta, whose house is just in front of the ministry compound, was buried under the rubble of his home. I was stunned, it really affected me badly. He’s such a kind man, and I couldn’t believe it. I called friends, I was so worried, and 15 minutes later finally learned that another friend had spoken to him: he and his wife were okay, in the basement of their house, locked in because something had fallen against the door.

I went into the third room, a spare bedroom, and saw that the windows were already broken. I looked through the shards of glass and saw that four ambulances had come, as well as two fire engines.

The compound has three or four ministries, and each building has eight to ten floors. So I’d imagine you need three missiles for each building. So far there’d been three sets of hits

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against the buildings, as well as ongoing strikes around Gaza City and the Strip. I could hear some of the explosions in Gaza’s neighborhoods, and the radio kept reporting the latest explosions. They were everywhere: Sheikh Radwan (a district of Gaza City, where my brother and his family live. I started calling him, but he didn’t answer), Zaytoun (another district of Gaza), Jabaliya, Beit Hanoun ... All the time, the building was shaking, like an earthquake. These were the loudest explosions I’ve ever heard. It was terrible, frightening, confusing. And you know, you don’t know where to run, what to do. I looked outside, but it was too dark, too filled with black smoke ... I don’t know what kind of bombs Israel is using, something that creates fire, and very dark smoke. I could hear children screaming in my own building, screeching from fear. My landlord is in his eighties, and his wife had a stroke last year and cannot walk. They live on the 12th floor. I couldn’t imagine how they were feeling then, completely helpless, the power out, no way of escaping if our building was hit, or even if it wasn’t hit, but just to escape the terror. 12

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I took my mattress and went to the corridor this time, the last place I could try. I lay down, and listened to the radio reporting the latest. And I continued to hear blasts all over. Forty-five minutes after the third strike, they came back, to finish the job against the ministerial compound. With the fourth strike, more glass shattered, what was left of it. I rushed to the window closest to the attacks, already shattered, and again tried to see through dark smoke. But I couldn’t see anything, but could hear ambulances below, more screaming. The electricity was off, the landlines down. No phone lines, no Internet, no cell phone connection. I had no way of speaking to anyone. It was very isolating, terrifying. It seems ridiculous to go back to bed after all of this, to try to sleep. But there is really nowhere I felt safe, so I went back to the mattress in the corridor. It started raining, and I could see rain coming in the sea-view window, and my bedroom window. I got up, tried to cover things ... my laptop, my stereo ... I was just trying to save my things. And there was glass all over the floor, I was stepping on it.


This morning, my nieces came over, and when they saw my bedroom with the broken windows and thick shards of glass where my head and body would have been, they were horrified, started crying. We still have glass everywhere. We tried to clean ... it’s everywhere. I heard later that they used more than 40 bombs, which when you add up all the strikes is entirely possible. After the attacks, the drones were all over, flying low, buzzing like huge mosquitoes. The sound they make, it’s loud, grating, and you know it means they’re considering what to do next. They were up there the rest of the night, flying circles, coming lower, going back up, the pitch of their whine raising, going away, coming back ... They want to make their presence felt. They are really saying to us, «we can do whatever we want, with impunity.»

There’s only so much one can bear, you know. You can’t think clearly. I don’t know what to do. People are afraid they might strike the Ministry of Justice and next to it the Ministry of Education, just up the street, about 400-500 meters.

Update: 8am, 31 December, the Council of Ministers, hosting the prime minister’s office, was targeted Tuesday night at around 8:50pm, along with the Ministry of Interior in Tel al-Hawa (just 500 meters from Dr. Eid’s home), which was targeted for the third time. Both were completely destroyed. Eva Bartlett is a Canadian human rights advocate and freelancer who spent eight months in 2007 living in West Bank communities and four months in Cairo and at the Rafah crossing. She is currently based in Gaza, after the third successful voyage of the Free Gaza Movement to break the siege on Gaza.

“Why was he Killed” asked Omer We were Just playing football Can they live in peace ?!! 13

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«If there is an Israeli invasion hospitals will collapse» Report, The Electronic Intifada, 31 December 2008

A Palestinian injured by Israeli air strikes in Gaza arrives at Nasser hospital in Cairo, Egypt, 30 December 2008. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)

GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IRIN) - In Gaza’s main hospital, the director’s office is under virtual siege, according to an IRIN journalist in Gaza. Relatives of the injured are desperate to get their kin transferred to Egypt for emergency treatment. There is a fear here that the already overstretched healthcare system will collapse if Israel mounts a ground offensive into the tiny coastal strip, home to 1.5 million Palestinians. As of the night of 30 December the death toll from the Israeli offensive had reached 380, with 1,800 wounded, according to the Gaza health ministry. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) said 30 children and nine women were among the dead and 250 children had been injured. Fifteen medical patients passed through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt for emergency care on that day, said WHO. 14

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Hospitals in the enclave have been overwhelmed by the trauma cases flowing into emergency rooms since the morning of 27 December. An official from the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, Aed Yaghi, said at a press conference on 30 December that there were 2,053 hospital beds in Gaza, and warned it was not enough. «One hundred and fifty patients were brought in at once,» said Khaled Abu-Najar, a staff nurse in al-Shifa’s emergency room. «We lack beds, sterile gloves, sheets, scissors and gauze to treat patients.» Shortages He said there were shortages of chest tubes, forceps, artery clamps, ventilators and monitors. Nearly half of the emergency room staff are volunteers recruited since 27 December, said Abu-Najar.

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«We are short of rooms and supplies, we are up to our necks,» said Ramez Zyara, one of nine general surgeons working 24hour shifts at al-Shifa. The small team treated hundreds

of patients on 30 December for crush injuries and severe trauma. «The buildings are falling on the heads of the patients,» said Zyara. The intensive care (ICU), burns, orthopedic and surgery units have reached capacity, said alShifa hospital director Hussein Ashur, while 10 of the 12 operating rooms are being used for emergency care. There are 25 life support systems -- also used to measure a patient’s blood pressure, temperature, oxygen circulation and heart activity -- in the ICU of al-Shifa. «We need at least 25 more,» said Ashur. He also said there were shortages of dressings, and gauze used in X-ray machines. «We have not received medical supplies at al-Shifa for three months,» said Ashur. The first emergency medical aid deliveries reached Gaza on 30 December. Some 90 trucks -- 53 supplied by aid agencies -entered via the Kerem Shalom crossing, according to WHO.


Kamal Adwan hospital Kamal Adwan is the primary hospital serving Jabaliya and Beit Lahiya. Jabaliya, Gaza’s largest refugee camp, is home to 300,000. The hospital lacks medicine, including basic antibiotics, analgesics and hydrocortisone, said hospital director Bassam Abu-Warda. «If there is a major Israeli invasion we will collapse,» warned Abu Warda. «On Saturday [27 December] 93 patients came for emergency care; we had to set up make-shift beds.» Since 27 December Abu-Warda has added 24 beds to the existing 71. Paramedics at Kamal said they did not have enough staff, medical supplies or ambulances. Magdi Hatib, 48, witnessed his brother, Akram Hatib, 35, torn apart by burning shrapnel from an Israeli missile on 27 December in the Beach refugee camp of Gaza City, home to Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh.

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«He was bleeding on the ground for 15 minutes till we could ap-

proach him, fearing a second explosion,» said Magdi. «There were no ambulances, so we took him to al-Shifa hospital by taxi.» Rafah tunnels bombed Israel bombed dozens of tunnels in the Rafah area on 30 December, saying they were used by Hamas for smuggling weapons. Health ministry spokesperson Hamam Nasman said shipments of Egyptian fuel were the only means of running his fleet of ambulances, half of which are not operating due to a lack of spare parts -- a result of the border closures by Israel since June 2007 when the elected Hamas government took over in the enclave. The tunnels have been used to import fuel, cooking gas, medicine and food supplies to circumvent the Israeli blockade. Residents flee their homes Meanwhile, residents in Jabaliya and Beit Lahiya were fleeing their homes in anticipation of further bombardments.


«We evacuated our home last night -- my wife and our twoyear old son Karim,» said Sami Abu Salem, 38, an editor, after the Israeli authorities warned residents the home of a militant leader in the area would be targeted. «We took basic food items with us and we are still afraid to return,» said Abu Salem. The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility in Gaza said that if the water supply network is damaged it will be impossible to repair, due to the lack of fuel and spare parts.

Access for aid agencies to Gaza has been severely restricted since the beginning of November. A ground invasion would make matters worse. This item comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian news and information service, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. All IRIN material may be reposted or reprinted free-of-charge; refer to the copyright page for conditions of use. IRIN is a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

DEATH IN

GAZA

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In Gaza!! There is no mercy!! No food!! No electricity!! No fuel No mercy!! Israel says .. We will strike terrorism.. !! But!! They are killing children!!


Deserted streets and fear as Israel demolishes Gaza Rami Almeghari writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 30 December 2008

Palestinains queue up to buy bread in Gaza, 30 December 2008. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)

As Israel’s relentless bombardment of the occupied Gaza Strip has entered its fourth day, the number of dead and injured has exceeded 2,000. Speaking via Skype, The Electronic Intifada correspondent Rami Almeghari described the situation near his home in al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip: I am in al-Maghazi refugee camp, in the central Gaza Strip. This afternoon Israeli drones targeted a house in al-Maghazi with three missiles. Fortunately there were no casualties. But unfortunately there have been many casualties elsewhere in Gaza where they have targeted houses and mosques. I went out of the house to deal with some urgent matters today. But movement is really risky right now. Anyone who moves could be a potential target for the Israeli warplanes that are buzzing overhead all the time. You don’t know what the next target is. It is terrible, horrible for the population here. Most of the shops and businesses are closed. Only a few food stores are open. There is very little movement in the streets. There are very few 18

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cars, for example, the on the Salah al-Din road, a main thoroughfare running through the Gaza Strip. People are staying in their houses, their neighborhoods. What is going on is unprecedented since Israel occupied Gaza in 1967. There is a great deal of fear, worry, anxiety. Fortunately we do have access to the Internet, but the power outages are very prolonged. Right now I am talking to you using a gasolinepowered generator. But gasoline is in very short supply all over, so shortly I could be cut off from the world. Some food shops and bakeries are open, but just for a few hours a day. They take whatever opportunity they can to make bread for the people. This morning I went to a bakery in the nearby Nusseirat refugee camp to try to by bread for my children and family. They said, «There is no bread right now, maybe after 8pm.» They are waiting for the electricity to come back so they can bake. Over the past two days there have been some food shipments into the Gaza Strip, but in very limited quantities -- much much less than can meet the needs of 1.5 million people. The average household here has seven or eight persons, so the need is very great. 19

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You cannot find any presence of the government here now. Most of the government buildings have been destroyed by Israeli warplanes. For example the whole compound of ministerial buildings in Gaza City -- including the ministries of finance, interior, education and others -- has been completely destroyed. These are not «terrorist» or military sites. These were civilian buildings that served the population in civil matters. They had nothing to do with any military purposes as Israel always claims. Even the police stations they have been targeting over the past few days, were just civil police stations, guarding security of the people, dealing with traffic and so on. The people working in those police stations were just previously unemployed youths who took the opportunity to make a living and feed their families.


Israel bombed the Hamas-run al-Aqsa TV station, but just one hour ago on al-Aqsa TV a masked spokesman from the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, spoke live from a hidden location. And despite the repeated attacks by the Israelis, the firing of rockets is still going on into Israel. So Israel has not hit Hamas. It has hit the civilian population. Rami Almeghari is contributor to The Electronic Intifada, IMEMC.org and Free Speech Radio News and is a part-time lecturer on media and political translation at the Islamic University of Gaza. Rami is also a former senior English translator at and editor-in-chief of the international press center of the Gaza-based Palestinian Information Service. He can be contacted at rami_almeghari@hotmail.com.

Gaza in the middle of darkness, with no electricity and tones of agony

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Rights orgs: UN body must act to end Gaza war crimes Intervention, various undersigned, 30 December 2008

A Palestinian woman and child at the site of a house damaged by Israeli air strikes on a nearby governmental building, 30 December 2008. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)

The following intervention was submitted to the UN Human Rights Council on 30 December 2008: General Assembly to act under Resolution 377 Dear Member State of the UN Human Rights Council, Representing the Palestinian human rights community, we write to you with an urgent request for intervention by the UN Human Rights Council to put an end to the war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) as a result of the Israeli occupying forces’ ongoing attacks on the Gaza Strip. At least 310 persons, including 37 children, have been killed and more than 1,000 Palestinians have been injured. The civilian population of the occupied Gaza Strip will inevitably continue to suffer heavy losses without the external intervention of the international community; this is confirmed by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s assertion that this is a «war to the bitter end.» 21

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Grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention amounting to war crimes, have been committed, including, willful killing and the extensive destruction of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly. Furthermore, the continuing collective punishment of the Gaza Strip has left medical services unable to deal with the increasing number of victims. As member States of the UN Human Rights Council, you were fully apprised of the human rights situation in the OPT, during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Israel earlier this month. The dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip was a dominant concern raised by States during the review. Despite recommendations to Israel concerning its obligation to improve the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, the capacity of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure to respond to the humanitarian needs of the population after days of bombardment has now reached breaking point. You have further been notified by Special Rapporteur Richard Falk of Israel’s failure to cooperate with his mandate and his call on «all Member States, as well as officials and every relevant organ of the United Nations system, to 22

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move on an emergency basis not only to condemn Israel>s serious violations, but to develop new approaches to providing real protection for the Palestinian people.» We note that the Security Council has thus far failed to take concrete steps despite the gravity of the situation. However, General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto’s statement that «the time has come to take firm action if the UN does not want to be rightly accused of complicity by omission» offers a platform for concrete action that should be supported by the Human Rights Council. It is our considered judgement that the only effective measure the UN Human Rights Council can take under these specific circumstances is to issue a resolution requesting the General Assembly to convene under GA Resolution 377, «Uniting for Peace,» with a view towards the imposition of collective measures against the Israeli Government. We urge this approach having duly considered the implications for the Human Rights Council as well as the human rights of the Palestinian people should Israel again impede or ignore the Council’s interventions. We believe that such a step would halt the escalation of civil-


ian deaths, offer hope to civilians in despair over the political deadlock and ultimately serve the long-term interests of peace. Sincere regards, Palestinian Human Rights Community Al-Haq Adalah Arab Association for Human RightsHRA Addameer Prisoners’ Support & Human Rights Association Ad-Dameer Association for Human Rights Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights BADIL Resource Center for Pales-

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tinian Residency & Refugee Rights Defence for Children International Ensan Center for Democracy & Human Rights Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) Jerusalem Legal Aid & Human Rights Center (JLAC) Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession, Musawa Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies (RCHRS) Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC) Women’s Studies Center The Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations’ Network - PNGO


Some of Gaza’s

suffering

Gaza

In Pictures: Massacre of Gazan Children

PNN -Israeli forces killed two girls in an air attack on Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip early Tuesday. Local sources report that a missile destroyed a house belonging to Talal Hamdan in Beit Hanoun today, killing his two daughters of 12 and 4 years old. A son is reported seriously injured. Yesterday Israeli forces killed four sisters and a four year old boy. Over 40 children have been killed since Saturday.

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Palestinians carry the body of 4-year-old Lama Hamdan during her funeral in the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip December 30, 2008

Palestinians bury the body of 4-year-old Lama Hamdan at Beit Hanoun cemetery in the northern Gaza Strip December 30, 2008. 25

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Palestinians mourn beside the bodies of three children in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip December 29, 2008.

Three Palestinian children from the Balosha family, of five who were all killed in the same Israeli missile strike, are seen in the morgue before their burial at Kamal Edwan hopsital in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Dec. 29, 2008

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Palestinian children from the Balosha family, who were all killed in the same Israeli missile strike, are seen in the morgue before their burial at Kamal Edwan hopsital in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Dec. 29, 2008

Palestinian women mourn over the bodies of three Palestinian children from the Balosha family, of five who were all killed in the same Israeli missile strike, in the morgue before their burial at Kamal Edwan hopsital in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Dec. 29, 2008 27

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A Palestinian man buries the body of 4-year-old Dena Balosha at Beit Lahiya cemetery in the northern Gaza Strip December 29, 2008.

A Palestinian man carries the body of his 4-year-old daughter Dena Balosha during the funeral for her and her four sisters in Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip December 29, 2008.

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A Palestinian mourner shouts as he lifts the body of a child from the Balosha family, of which three children and two teenagers, were killed in an Israeli missile strike,durng their funeral in the Jebaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Dec. 29, 2008

A Palestinian man buries the body of 5-year-old Sodqi alAbsi in Rafah cemetery in the southern Gaza Strip December 29, 2008.

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A Palestinian mourner carries the body of 4-year-old Dena Balosha, foreground, one of five members of the same family including three children and two teenagers who were killed in an Israeli missile strike, during their funeral in the Jebaliya refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Dec. 29, 2008

The father of Palestinian Dena Balosha, 4, left, one of five members of the same family including three children and two teenagers who were killed in an Israeli missile strike, carries her body during their funeral in the Jebaliya refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Dec. 29, 2008. 30

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In this image taken from APTN video, Palestinian men carry two injured children into hospital after Israeli aircraft struck Hamas security compounds across Gaza in Gaza City on Saturday Dec. 27, 2008.

A wounded Palestinian boy is carried by his father following an Israel air strike in Gaza December 28, 2008.

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A Palestinian boy is carried to al-Shifa hospital following an Israel air strike in Gaza December 28, 2008

A Palestinian security force officer carries a wounded girl into the emergency room at Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008.

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A wounded Palestinian boy is carried by his father at a hospital in Gaza City following an Israeli air strike

A Palestinian man carries his wounded child to the treatment room of Kamal Edwan hospital following an Israeli missile strike in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Dec. 29, 2008. 33

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Shifa hospital ICU: a six year old down’s syndrom with brain trauma

Samera Baalusha (34) carries her surving child Mohamad (15 months) while she waits to see the body of her daughter Jawaher Baalusha (aged 4) during the funeral held for her and four of her sisters who were killed in an Israeli missile strike, on December 29, 2008 in the Jebaliya refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip 34

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w w w . i s l a m c g . c o m


“I wish a wish in that new day, I wish all my pain will fade away, I wish that longest night can pass, I wish the darkest times wont last, I wish that the sun will rise, I wish the tears can dry in our eyes, I wish to see the golden rays of light, I wish to see my hopes rising within the sunlight, I wish today we will all be free, I wish today the happiness we can see, If only the blind world can see, If only the deaf world can hear, If only people feel what we’ve been through, If only all my wishes come true………” Are the only wishes of a lonely child, Wandering in the scared land of Palestine. Written by: Sara Yasser

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w w w . i s l a m c g . c o m

Whispering in the cold breeze, All the wishes that he want but never sees;

Innocence dr Innocence dreams

In the beginning of the unknown day, A child steps the first step on his longest way,


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