Gaza - Israel's Inhuman Crime Against The World
By Mary Sparrowdancer
(Part One of a multi-part feature focusing separately on the horrors endured in Gaza, and the West Bank.)
Weeping father carries child slaughtered by invading Israeli military forces in a Gaza civilian village. Photo by Mohammed al Zaanoun, Palestinian photojournalist armed only with a camera, July 2006.*
The world's current political warlords lord themselves over us while openly demonstrating they have no regard for our opinions, our choices, our votes or our protests. They speak convincingly through their propaganda media machines about "freedoms" when in fact, liberty is their enemy and they are working hard in a futile attempt to destroy it. They do not realize, however, that liberty belongs to us, and it is not theirs to destroy. They speak of lawfulness, while swaggering in utter defiance of all laws of civility. They speak of terrorists and point fingers elsewhere, when they are the actual terrorists who have murdered and displaced millions of civilians since 2001. They speak of their humanitarian treatment of prisoners, when in fact they are consumed and entertained by violence and torture that would put Ancient Rome to shame. Nowhere are prisoners more shamefully treated than in the Gaza Strip, and this treatment is being funded and made possible by US dollars.
The Gaza Strip is bordered on the south by the sands and eternal mystique of Egypt, on the west by the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, its inviting beaches a place where dreams of peaceful tourist resorts once flourished, and on the east it is bordered by what used to be Palestine. In 1948, Israel announced itself a state withinPalestine, and began systematically forcing the Palestinians off their ancestral lands in order to build Jewish-only settlements. (1)
For almost two years, the Israeli military forces have completely surrounded Gaza. Israel has built tall, ugly walls around the borders of Gaza, including the border between Gaza and Egypt. The Israeli military forces patrol and attack the civilians of Gaza from the air with US helicopters, F-16s, and with drones. Israeli/ US tanks and bulldozers attack from the ground, storming through Gaza villages and refugee camps, destroying homes and killing more Palestinian victims. Israeli gunboats sit poised in the once peaceful waters off Gaza's shore, intent upon shelling unarmed fishing boats and massacring families daring to enjoy picnics on the beach. With all Gaza borders tightly closed, and with no way out by land, sea or air, approximately 1.5 million Palestinians are trapped in Gaza making it the largest and most inhumane prison on earth.
In September of 2007, after sealing all of the borders, Israel declared the civilian population imprisoned in the Gaza Strip a "hostile entity," and as such justifiedIsrael's next plan to block the delivery of all supplies including water, food, soap, paper, textiles, fuels and electricity. At this moment the civilians trapped within the closed borders of Gaza, most of them refugees, await their fate at the hands of the Israeli military force. This is a military force that is funded by the US, and it is a force from which the civilians cannot now defend themselves, nor have they ever been able to defend themselves.
Palestinian man tries to carry a wounded friend after invading Israeli military forces shelled villages in Gaza. July 2006 Photo by Mohammed al Zaanoun, photojournalist armed only with a camera.
In speaking with photojournalists Mohammed al Zaanoun, and Mohammed Omer via email yesterday, I asked if the people of Gaza had access to clean water. The answer received from both was, "No."
"Dear Mary," Mohammed al Zaanoun wrote, "Gaza has many problems now, such as the electricity was cut off, and they [Israel] will not allow food and water to enter and many young are infected and dying due to closure of crossings."
This is a photo of Mohammed al Zaanoun at his desk while working for Ma'an News in 2006. This photo was taken before he photographed the above Israeli massacre.
[link to www.currentissues.tv
At this time, therefore, the 1.5 million people trapped in Gaza have little or no access to clean water. Building supplies to repair water pumps and homes that have been bombed, shelled and bulldozed by Israeli forces are denied passage through the closed borders. Electricity is denied. Free trade beyond the borders is blocked. Transfer of emergency relief funds into Gaza is denied.
Cement is denied, leaving Gazans unable to even properly bury those already murdered by Israeli forces. Soap is denied. Postal service is denied. Bottled water is denied. Medications are denied. The sick are denied access to medical care across the blocked borders, as Mohammed pointed out. During the past three months, 70 of the desperately ill and innocent waiting for "permission" from Israel to cross the border for medical care have died. In 2007 alone, the Israeli forces slaughtered 290 people outright in Gaza, including children (this does not include those slaughtered in the West Bank). Now Israel is starving the remaining 1.5 million in Gaza, while also denying them access to clean water. (2)
One might wonder what the people of Gaza have done to provoke such a barbaric demonstration of hatred, racial rage and collective torture that is being displayed by the Israeli military forces.
While the published reason is that some Palestinians in Gaza have fired homemade, primitive Qassam rockets towards an Israeli settlement (while glossing over the fact that this settlement was built on land stolen from the Palestinians), we now know that much of what is promoted in the mainstream US news is far from the truth. A more careful search reveals that 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. . . " (3)
Qassams, which were first fired into Israeli settlements in 2002, are extremely inaccurate, short-range homemade rockets, and when they are fired from Gaza, they are generally fired in the direction of the Israeli settlement of Sderot. Sderot is located upon the ashes of the Palestinian village of Nadj. According to Dr. Walid Khalidi, the Palestinian inhabitants of Nadj were driven out when this village was ethnically cleansed by Israeli settlers in 1948, the year Israel announced its statehood. In Dr Khalidi's book, "All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated By Israel in 1948," Najd is said to be one of 418 ethnically cleansed villages. Not a trace of this peaceful farming community remains, but in the ashes of this village and the other 417 racially cleansed villages, there is a hint of the true reason behind the Israeli overkill, its frantic rage, and its racial violence against the Palestinian refugees. (4)
According to international laws regarding the Right of Return of refugees to their homes, the Palestinian refugees must be permitted to return to their own ancestral lands or be compensated justly for what was taken from them by Israel. The simple truth is that Israel, with its ever-mutating Swiss cheese borders, cannot remain in existence if this law is enforced. Israel cannot possibly give back all that it has taken from the Palestinian refugees, because every Israeli settlement that is dotting what was once the Holy Land, is built upon land stolen from the Palestinians. Incredibly, the only "Right of Return" law that Israel acknowledges, is the right of any Jewish person on earth to "return" to a land where neither they nor their ancestors have ever stepped foot, and call it home. (5) (6)
Therefore, one must ask a critical question. In order to protect the scattered-around "state" of Israel and all of its illegal settlements and rather than abiding by the international Right of Return laws, are the Israeli forces instead attempting to destroy as many Palestinian refugees as possible? One of the largest concentrations of Palestinian refugees is now being held captive, starved, deprived of water, bombarded daily, and slowly murdered through neglect and the withholding of basic needs inGaza.
Bush recently visited Israel, at which time he was "thanked" by Olmert for the $30 Billion package of US funds promised to Israel.
For those of us who are increasingly opposed to the activities of the state of Israel (as well as the activities of the US war machine abroad), this "gift package" is the equivalent of forcing all Americans into aiding and abetting what now appears to be a true terrorist state. Forcing Americans to support Zionist Israeli military and its host of illegal terrorist activities is an abomination. Americans should not have to helplessly watch as Zionist politicians in the US government hand US money over to the brutal, racist state favored by all Zionists. This is especially egregious because numerous US politicians have dual citizenships in both the US and Israel and enjoy frequent lavish trips and vacations to "Israel," the land forcefully taken away from the Palestinians. No one can support the state of Israel while also upholding his or her oath of office to support and uphold the US Constitution. (7)
This Christmas was bleak in Gaza. There were no winter clothes or toys to buy, and almost no money with which to buy goods. There were few sweet treats for the children. There was little food.
There was little medicine. There is no clean water. But, there was something else that remains in abundance, something that has never been taken away from the Palestinians. It is something that one can see well in the Palestinians if one takes a moment to look. It is something that continues to leave me in awe as well as with a profoundly growing respect.
The Palestinians have been patiently asking the world for help in ending the Israeli occupation of their homes and lands for 60 years now. Despite the fact that little help has been given to them and they remain refugees without human rights in their own land, there is something about them. Even after 60 years, they have not been broken in spirit. They have remained steadfast, patient, and still somehow in possession of a sense of humor that allows a ready smile, but they are also not ashamed of weeping when their hearts are broken. They have never given up, and they are determined to live in peace again on their ancestral lands - but there is something even more: They are filled with grace. Blocked from selling even their beautiful flowers abroad by the inhumane US and Israeli border closures, poverty stricken, jobless through no fault of their own and possessing almost nothing now, they gave each other those flowers for Christmas. (8)
Christmas in Gaza was also bleak for my friend, Mohammed al Zaanoun, although to date I have never heard him complain about his own situation even when I have asked him about it. With the typical grace shown by many Palestinians, he does not focus attention upon himself or his own suffering. With rare and brief exception, I have only heard him speak on behalf of others whose suffering he has witnessed and photographed. I, however, am aware of his personal suffering.
This photo, below, is one taken of Mohammed as he lay fighting for his life after he dared to photograph the above Israeli carnage in 2006. That was carnage the Israelis did not want the world seeing, and so they stopped the unarmed cameraman with typical Israeli force.
As Mohammed photographed and documented the July 2006 Israeli military attack on Gaza civilians as shown in the opening photos of this article, he was struck by Israeli fire first in the face and hand, but he continued photographing. He was then targeted and gunned down by an Israeli shell fired directly into his abdomen.
Upon impact, the shell fragmented into over 100 pieces inside him. Mohammed fell to the ground and as rescue workers ran to help him, he told them to save his camera.
"There are photos in the camera that bear witness to the truth," he said. "They will help awaken the world," Mohammed said.
They helped awaken me.
mary sparrowdancer is an independent journalist and author of a bestselling book about the return of the Messiah, "The Love Song." www.sparrowdancer.com Please feel free to copy this article about Gaza and send it to anyone in need of an awakening.
Mary is committed to helping Mohammed receive the reconstructive surgeries that he still desperately requires. If you would like to help, contributions for Mohammed can be sent via paypal to her email [email protected]
- or her mailing address in care of Tenth Moon Press, 529 East Jennings Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301. Please earmark them "For Mohammed." Mary wishes to thank Congressional Candidate Mark Yannone, (AZ, Congressional District 3) for his input regarding oaths of office, and his brief, one-word comment suggesting that I include the photos in this article. He said, after looking at them, "Jesus."
1.Gaza map. (1/14/2008)
[link to images.nationmaster.com
2. 2007 Statistics. (1/14/2008)
[link to www.btselem.org
3. Yaakov Toran talks about qassams. (1/14/2008)
[link to www.ynetnews.com
4. Najd. (1/14/2008)
[link to umkahlil.blogspot.com
5. UN Human Rights Resolution 194. (1/14/2008)
[link to domino.un.org
6. International laws. (1/14/2008)
[link to www.hrw.org
7. Thanks for the $30 Billion (1/13/2008
[link to www.lebanese-forces.org
8. Flowers for Christmas (1/13/2008)
[link to bbsnews.net
[link to www.rense.com