Jan 30, 2009

Stop War Crimes!

Make Zionism History!

Every family has a story, here are some of them: BBC

Eva Bartlett writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine,
One family’s story

Destruction in Izbet Abed Rabu.

There are many stories. Each account — each murdered individual, each wounded person, each burned-out and broken house, each shattered window, trashed kitchen, strewn item of clothing, bedroom turned upside down, bullet and shelling hole in walls, offensive Israeli army graffiti — is important.
I start to tell the stories of Ezbet Abbed Rabu, eastern Jabaliya, where homes off the main north south road, Salah al-Din, were penetrated by bullets, bombs and/or soldiers. If they weren’t destroyed, they were occupied or shot up. Or occupied and then destroyed. The army was creative in their destruction, in their defacing of property, in their insults. Creative in the ways they could shit in rooms and save their shit for cupboards and unexpected places. Actually, their creativity wasn’t so broad. The rest was routine: ransack the house from top to bottom. Turn over or break every clothing cupboard, kitchen shelf, television, computer, window pane and water tank.
The first house I visited was that of my dear friends, who we’d stayed with in the evenings before the land invasion began, with whom we had huddled in their basement as the random crashes of missiles pulverized around the neighborhood. I worried non-stop about the father. After seeing he was still alive, I’d done the tour, from the bottom up. The safe-haven ground floor room was the least affected: disheveled, piles of earth at bases of windows where it had rushed in with a later bombing which caved the hillside behind, mattresses turned over and items strewn. This room was the cleanest, least damaged.
Upstairs to the first level apartment, complete disarray. Feces on the floor. Broken everything. Opened cans of Israeli army provisions. Bullet holes in walls. Stench.  To the second floor, next two apartments, all of the extended sons and wives and children’s rooms. More disarray, greater stench. This was the soldiers’ main base, as can be ascertained, from the boxes of food — prepackaged meals, noodles, tins of chocolate and plastic-wrapped sandwiches — and the clothing left behind by the occupiers. A pair of soldier’s trousers in the bathtub, soiled with shit.

“Gaza will take years to recover”: Mel Frykberg, The Electronic Intifada

RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) – Gaza will need years to recover from the devastating Israeli assault, says Katharina Ritz, head of mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Israel’s 22-day assault left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead, and decimated much of the coastal territory’s infrastructure.
Excerpts from the interview:
IPS: How long do you think it will take for Gaza to be rehabilitated?
Katharina Ritz: Gaza will take several years at the very least to recover from the Israeli military campaign. This is the best case scenario, assuming that the border crossings are opened permanently and all the necessary aid and help is allowed in unhindered.
IPS: How will the reconstruction take place, and what will this involve?
KR: There will be several stages. The initial shortages of electricity, water, food and medicine can be met, and the sewage and water systems repaired within weeks if sufficient quantities of spare parts, fuel and humanitarian aid are allowed in. There are enough Gazans with the expertise and experience to deal with these issues.

After the victory rallies, leaders must decide on their next move: The Guardian

Four days after Israel halted its war in Gaza, Hamas decided it was time for victory celebrations. In the past, thousands would gather for elaborate rallies with singing male bands, abseiling commandos and bombastic speeches. This time the mood was different. Rather than risk one poorly attended central demonstration, Hamas held separate rallies in different towns. In Gaza City, barely a few hundred tired-looking sympathisers walked behind a truck as slogans were reeled off through a loudspeaker. Most Gazans were still digging their dead from the rubble and trying to rebuild their destroyed homes with plastic sheets and duct tape. Despite more than 1,200 people killed and 21,000 homes wholly or partly destroyed, Hamas leaders believe they have won a victory against the might of the Israeli military. This deep inner conviction is shaping the movement’s decision making.