- During this past week, Israeli military forces invaded
civilian villages trapped within Gaza's closed borders with tanks, helicopters,
warplanes, and drones, massacring 39 and wounding over 100, including
scores of unarmed children, babies and women.
- Israel says this is punishment for the homemade Qassam
rockets fired this week toward Sderot. The total number of Israelis killed
by these Qassams was Zero.
- The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) headlines on January 18th,
based on a story from the Associated Press (AP), state, "Israel Temporarily
Closes Gaza Border Crossings." This is a wildly misleading statement.
Israel has had the Gaza borders sealed off since 2000, trapping the 1.5
million civilians living in the Gaza Strip as prisoners in their own homes.
Completely trapped, they cannot escape the wrath or whims of the Israeli
military. Empowered by its massive and brutal military, Israel has been
systematically ethnically cleansing Palestine of native Palestinians for
60 years now. What Israel has been doing and continues to do to the
Palestinians, especially those it has trapped without mercy inside Gaza,
is full-blown genocide but Israel is getting away with murder due to misinformation
continuously sold to the public as "news." (1) (2)
- The long-closed border crossings surrounding Gaza have
been keeping Gaza residents in a state of misery and poverty for years.
In 2007, Israel began an escalated denial of food and other necessary
supplies to Gaza after Israel declared the civilian population of Gaza
to be a "hostile entity."
- The WSJ/AP article then creates a masterful soft-pedaling
of Israeli atrocities by stating, "Palestinians living in Gaza have
had to live without some foodstuffs and basic supplies like spare car
parts and computer paper." The truth, however, is far from the laughable
"spare car parts" line. The truth is not laughable. It is
- The truth is that the Israeli government has refused
to allow the following supplies into Gaza: bottled water, food, soap,
medical supplies, medications, anesthesia for its growing number of sick
and injured, paper, emergency relief funds from abroad, simple care packages,
adequate supplies from the UN, winter clothing, electricity, fuel, postal
service (US Postal Workers in Tallahassee told me, "there is no Palestine"),
cement to repair the numerous Palestinian refugee homes repeatedly bombed
and demolished by Israel tanks and warplanes (and a lot of cement is very
badly needed as much of Gaza is in ruins), and even batteries for the
growing number of hearing aids now needed by those who are shellshocked
in Gaza. At this time, there is no clean water in Gaza, nor is there
adequate fuel or electricity. (3)
- Regarding the outright genocide and humanitarian catastrophe
now taking place in Gaza, the WSJ/AP article reassures the reader that
there is nothing to worry about, stating that according to Israeli spokesman
Shlomo Dror, "Gazans had enough food that no one would go hungry."
Further seeking to reassure us, Mr. Dror gives the following statement:
"There is a government decision that there will not be a humanitarian
crisis in Gaza." Mr. Dror, however, speaks of the future while ignoring
the past and the misery of the present, leaving one to wonder at what
point the Israelis will view the collective punishment of 1.5 million
thirsty, hungry, and increasingly homeless civilians as a "humanitarian
crisis." Gross increases of malnutrition were noted as early as
2002 due to the continuing Israeli border closure and denial of adequate
food to these civilians, many of whom are refugees forced off their other
Palestinian lands taken from them by Israel. According to the World Food
Program, anemia rates due to malnutrition have now risen to over 77%.
- Photo by Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.
- Gaza refugee village following ongoing bombardment
- of refugee homes by Israeli military forces.
- In addition to the Gaza civilians being made homeless
and collectively punished by starvation, thirst and Israeli-imposed filth
and neglect, during the past few months over 70 medical patients have
needlessly perished while awaiting medical treatment, because the Israeli
government denied them permission to pass throughGaza's completely closed
- There are many ways to decimate unarmed, or primitively
armed native populations when a brutally armed military force desires
to move in and take their land away from them. For the past 60 years,
Zionist Israel has used many methods in an attempt to drive the Palestinians
from their ancestral lands. Among those methods is repeated, total destruction
of their property.
- As the Israeli military continues to drive Palestinians
from their land, Zionist Israel has also depended on its worldwide mainstream
presses to hide all of the rather shocking details from the general public,
as well as from their own Israeli citizens. Many Israelis do not know
that each of the Jewish-only "settlements" dotting the Palestinian
countryside has been illegally built upon land forcefully taken from the
Palestinians without compensation. Not a single settlement can be built
unless further land is again forcefully taken from the Palestinian owners.
This has been easily done, however, because only the military aggressor
who covets this land is armed with tanks, warplanes, and other sophisticated
- PCHR More Israeli aerial destruction of
- homes. 2003
- The real information detailing what is going
on in Gaza and the rest of Palestine will not be easily found in mainstream
media. The majority of the mainstream media brings us "news"
written in such a way that it is unfairly biased in favor of the Zionist
aggressors, while downplaying or completely dismissing the slaughter of
Palestinians by continuously referring to these victims as "terrorists,"
"armed militants," or "wanted."
- Independent journalists, on the other hand, appear to
have taken the investigation of world events far more seriously. They
tend to try and find the truth via firsthand accounts, which they then
share with the world. One such independent, freelance journalist is
Sarah Price. Sarah, who is based in Los Angeles, visited Gaza in October,
2007, to see for herself what was happening there.
- At the time of her visit last October, special arrangements
had to be made in order for her to cross the borders that continue to
be closed and guarded by the Israeli military.
- Once inside the closed borders, she saw the grim reality
of everyday life in Gaza. She heard the constant noise of the Israeli
military presence, she saw the children smiling one moment and panic-stricken
the next following Israeli air strikes. She saw the truth about the food
situation that Israel is now trying to hide from the world's eyes. The
vendors in the markets had only rotting and spoiled fruits to sell, but
none of it was discarded. (6)
- "It will still be gone in an hour," Sarah
quotes physician and human rights advocate, Dr. Mona El-Farra, as saying,
"because they have to eat something." (7)
- With the borders tightly closed and no one able to easily
see what the Israeli military is doing, during the past week Israeli forces
comprised of tanks, warplanes and helicopters invaded again civilian refugee
villages in Gaza, destroying more buildings and homes, while also massacring
39 innocent men women and children. In addition, over 100 civilians were
wounded, a large percentage of them children, compounding problems for
both patients and hospitals, due to Israeli denial of medical supplies.
- As the Israeli Apache choppers and warplanes roared
over Gaza Strip targeting homes at random as well as shelling a wedding
party in which one woman was killed and scores of children were injured,
an Israeli drone flew off on its own mindless mission, and without conscience
or warning it singled out and slaughtered a mother and her two sons who
were riding home on a donkey cart carrying oranges. Medical personnel
had trouble identifying these victims from the fragments and pieces that
were left by the vicious drone attack. (8)
- According to WSJ/AP, the latest announcement of "temporary"
border closing and air strikes are due to "recent rocket barrages"
fired toward the southern Israeli town of Sderot. (Sderot is built upon
the Palestine village of Nadj.) The WSJ/AP article goes on to quote ministry
spokesman Shlomo Dror again, this time saying, "'It's time that Hamas
decide to either fight or take care of its population,' he said. 'It's
unacceptable that people in Sderot are living in fear every day and people
in the Gaza Strip are living life as usual.'"
- One wonders what "life as usual" must be like
for the 1.5 million hungry prisoners of Gaza. One also might wonder
what sort of weaponry Mr. Dror expects the Hamas to use as he challenges
the Hamas to fight the Israeli military. The Palestinians have no access
to tanks, Blackhawks, Apaches, drones, blimps, F-16s, armored vehicles,
gunboats, or nuclear weapons, all of which are possessed by Israel. What
does Mr. Dror expect the Hamas to fight with against the massive Israeli
army, navy, and air force?
- Photo: PCHR, 2004. "Life as usual,"
following yet another
- Israeli military strike on refugee homes in Gaza.
- The "recent rocket barrage" that Mr. Dror referred
to resulted in no Israeli deaths. In fact, the Qassams rarely result
in injuries or extensive property damage. Israeli "Defense"
Minister, Yaakov Toran, is quoted as saying, ". . . we need to remember
that Qassams are more a psychological than physical threat. Statistically
they cause the fewest losses. . . " And yet, it is the Palestinians
who are constantly referred to as "terrorists" by the mainstream
press. Nearly every day, those who are armed with rifles and the boys
throwing stones at tanks and armored vehicles are referred to as "militants,"
or "terrorists," while the criminally aggressive Israeli military
with its arsenal of weapons is referred to as a "defense" force
trying to protect itself from "Palestinian terrorists." (9)
- Photo by Laurent Rebours of the Associated Press,
- Fares Odeh from Gaza, age 13, throws a stone
at an advancing
- Israeli tank sent to disperse demonstrators with
- Nine days later, as Fares was throwing stones
at another Israeli
- tank, he was shot in the neck by an Israeli sharpshooter
- The fact is, Israel is committing atrocities and war
crimes because it can do so with its extravagant armed forces, funded
and made possible by US dollars. Israelis a military force from which
the civilians of Gaza cannot adequately defend themselves, and it is a
military force that is randomly attacking civilians without regard for
the fact that the large majority are unarmed, or are armed only with stones.
It is a military force that considers boys who throw stones at armored
tanks as "militants" deserving death or imprisonment.
- Israeli citizens who do learn the truth about the stark
suffering and loss of all human rights in Gaza and the West Bank are usually
horrified at the conditions. They form groups, they protest, they write,
and they march in solidarity with the Palestinian refugees.
- One such group is Gush Shalom. They are planning to
assemble a Convoy of trucks carrying water filters and other supplies
desperately needed in Gaza. Their Convoy will go to one of the Israeli
checkpoints along the Gaza border on January 26th, 2008.
- There, the assembled people of the Convoy will stand
not as Jews or Christians, or Muslims, or anything else that separates
one group from another. They will stand together as human beings and
ask the Israeli guards for permission to cross into Gaza so that they
may deliver the needed goods to the Palestinians waiting on the other
side of the fence. When I read about this planned convoy, I sent a donation
to help purchase supplies. I sent it to the Eschaton Foundation, Resource
Center for Nonviolence, which is accepting donations in the US for the
Gush Shalom Convoy. (10)
- Yesterday, I received a thank you letter from Eschaton,
and in the envelope was a charming little card with pressed flowers on
- The card read, "Flowers fromPalestine." I
touched the delicate flower petals that had somehow endured their journey
from Palestine to Eschaton in California, and from there to my home in
Florida, still intact. The petals seemed to suggest there might be a
simple and enduring way out of this terrible situation in the Holy Land.
- Turning the card over, I read the message on the back.
"We don't want you to bring the Israelis to their knees, but to
bring them to their senses. We believe in restorative justice: to redress
the wrongs rather than avenge them, (signed) Zoughbi Zoughbi of Wi'Am,
Palestinian Conflict Resolution. Bethlehem - Palestine."
- Perhaps having spent the day researching the violence
and watching videos of the carnage in Gaza left me emotionally vulnerable,
but when I read this, I was overwhelmed. Now came the tears that I had
fought back all day long. A flower does indeed have a far better chance
of bringing about enduring peace than bullets and artillery fire ever
- I send my best wishes and good luck to the Israeli Gush
Shalom Convoy of compassion. May your passage be smooth on January 26th,
and may this border be opened to you. I hope the whole world will be
watching. May this day mark the beginning of a new era, in which many
nations will come to their senses and see that humanity does not need
to live in a state of perpetual violence.
- Most importantly, after 60 years of endless suffering,
may the God- given human rights, dignity, and civil liberties of the Palestinians
finally be acknowledged and honored for the first time.
- * * * * * * * * *
- mary sparrowdancer is an independent journalist and the
author of a bestselling book about the Messiah, "The Love Song."
Her website, "Help for Palestine," can be found here: www.sparrowdancer.org.
Information about her book can be found here: www.sparrowdancer.com
Mary wishes to thank Sarah Price for her important comments and information.
- * * * * * * * * *
- Gush Shalom Convoy information and addresses
- Eschaton Foundation
- 515 Broadway,
- Santa Cruz, CA 95060.
- * * * * * * * * *
- 1. Wall Street Journal.
- 2. Gaza "total siege and closure,"
- 3. Conditions in Gaza.
- 4. World Food Program.
- 5. Death Toll of patients reaches 70 due to closed
- 6. Sarah Price Lighthouse video. 55 Minutes.
- Eyewitness account of what she saw in Gaza.
- 7. Sarah Price writes about Gaza.
- 8. Mother and sons killed by drone.
- 9. Defense Minister Director-General Yaakov Toran,
- 10. Gush Shalom
- VIDEO 3 minutes, showing aftermath of latest Israeli
air strike on Gaza.
- http://video.google.com/videoplay? docid=-8825066995598479751&q=gaza&total=6540&start=20&num=10&so=0&type