Saturday, January 31, 2009

OFFICIAL: DEC Gaza Aid Appeal: BANNED by the BBC and SKY

Jewish group says Israel (Zionism) should not exist.

Secret Israeli database reveals full extent of illegal settlement

Just four years ago, the defense establishment decided to carry out a seemingly elementary task: establish a comprehensive database on the settlements. Brigadier General (res.) Baruch Spiegel, aide to then defense minister Shaul Mofaz, was put in charge of the project. For over two years, Spiegel and his staff, who all signed a special confidentiality agreement, went about systematically collecting data, primarily from the Civil Administration. One of the main reasons for this effort was the need to have credible and accessible information at the ready to contend with legal actions brought by Palestinian residents, human rights organizations and leftist movements challenging the legality of construction in the settlements and the use of private lands to establish or expand them. The painstakingly amassed data was labeled political dynamite. The defense establishment, led by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, steadfastly refused to publicize the figures, arguing, for one thing, that publication could endanger state security or harm Israel's foreign relations. Someone who is liable to be particularly interested in the data collected by Spiegel is George Mitchell, President Barack Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, who came to Israel this week for his first visit since his appointment. It was Mitchell who authored the 2001 report that led to the formulation of the road map, which established a parallel between halting terror and halting construction in the settlements. The official database, the most comprehensive one of its kind ever compiled in Israel about the territories, was recently obtained by Haaretz. Here, for the first time, information the state has been hiding for years is revealed. An analysis of the data reveals that, in the vast majority of the settlements - about 75 percent - construction, sometimes on a large scale, has been carried out without the appropriate permits or contrary to the permits that were issued. The database also shows that, in more than 30 settlements, extensive construction of buildings and infrastructure (roads, schools, synagogues, yeshivas and even police stations) has been carried out on private lands belonging to Palestinian West Bank residents.
The data, it should be stressed, do not refer only to the illegal outposts (information about which was included in the well-known report authored by attorney Talia Sasson and published in March 2005), but to the very heart of the settlement enterprise. Among them are veteran ideological settlements like Alon Shvut (established in 1970 and currently home to 3,291 residents, including Rabbi Yoel Bin Nun); Ofra (established in 1975, home to 2,708 residents, including former Yesha Council spokesman Yehoshua Mor Yosef and media personalities Uri Elitzur and Hagai Segal); and Beit El (established in 1977, population 5,308, including Hagai Ben-Artzi, brother of Sara Netanyahu). Also included are large settlements founded primarily for economic motives, such as the city of Modi'in Illit (established in 1990 and now home to 36,282 people), or Givat Ze'ev outside Jerusalem (founded in 1983, population 11,139), and smaller settlements such as Nokdim near Herodion (established in 1982, population 851, including MK Avigdor Lieberman). The information contained in the database does not conform to the state's official position, as presented, for instance, on the Foreign Ministry Web site, which states: "Israel's actions relating to the use and allocation of land under its administration are all taken with strict regard to the rules and norms of international law - Israel does not requisition private land for the establishment of settlements." Since in many of the settlements, it was the government itself, primarily through the Ministry of Construction and Housing, that was responsible for construction, and since many of the building violations involve infrastructure, roads, public buildings and so on, the official data also demonstrate government responsibility for the unrestrained planning and lack of enforcement of regulations in the territories. The extent of building violations also attests to the poor functioning of the Civil Administration, the body in charge of permits and supervision of construction in the territories. According to the 2008 data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, approximately 290,000 Jews live in the 120 official settlements and dozens of outposts established throughout the West Bank over the past 41 years. "Nothing was done in hiding," says Pinchas Wallerstein, director-general of the Yesha Council of settlements and a leading figure in the settlement project. "I'm not familiar with any [building] plans that were not the initiative of the Israeli government." He says that if the owners of private land upon which settlements are built were to complain and the court were to accept their complaint, then the structures would have to be moved somewhere else. "This has been the Yesha Council's position for the past years," he says. You'd never know it from touring several of the settlements in which massive construction has taken place on private Palestinian lands. Entire neighborhoods built without permits or on private lands are inseparable parts of the settlements. The sense of dissonance only intensifies when you find that municipal offices, police and fire stations were also built upon and currently operate on lands that belong to Palestinians. On Misheknot Haro'im Street in the Kochav Yaakov settlement, a young mother is carrying her two children home. "I've lived here for six years," she says, sounding surprised when told that her entire neighborhood was built upon private Palestinian land. "I know that there's some small area in the community that is in dispute, but I never heard that this is private land." Would she have built her home on this land had she known this from the start? "No," she answers. "I wouldn't have kicked anyone out of his home." Not far away, at the settlement's large and unkempt trailer site, which is also built on private land, a young newlywed couple is walking to the bus stop: 21-year-old Aharon and his 19-year-old wife, Elisheva. They speak nearly perfect Hebrew despite having grown up in the United States and having settled permanently in Israel just a few months ago, after Aharon completed his army service in the ultra-Orthodox Nahal unit. Now he is studying computers at Machon Lev in Jerusalem. Asked why they chose to live here of all places, they list three reasons: It's close to Jerusalem, it's cheap and it's in the territories. In that order. The couple pay their rent, NIS 550 a month, to the settlement secretariat. As new immigrants, they are still exempt from having to pay the arnona municipal tax. Aharon doesn't look upset when he hears that his trailer sits on private land. It doesn't really interest him. "I don't care what the state says, the Torah says that the entire Land of Israel is ours." And what will happen if they're told to move to non-private land? "We'll move," he says without hesitation. A complicated problem Even today, more than two years after concluding his official role, Baruch Spiegel remains loyal to the establishment. In a conversation, he notes several times that he signed a confidentiality agreement and so is not willing to go into the details of the work for which he was responsible. He was appointed by Shaul Mofaz to handle several issues about which Israel had given a commitment to the United States, including improving conditions for Palestinians whose lives were adversely affected by the separation fence, and supervision of IDF soldiers at the checkpoints. Two years ago, Haaretz reporter Amos Harel revealed that the main task given Spiegel was to establish and maintain an up-to-date database on the settlement enterprise. This was after it became apparent that the United States, as well as Peace Now's settlement monitoring team, was in possession of much more precise information about settlement construction than was the defense establishment, which up to then had relied mostly on information collected by Civil Administration inspectors. The old database had many gaps in it, which was largely a consequence of the establishment preferring not to know exactly what was going on in this area. Spiegel's database contains written information backed up by aerial photos and layers of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) data that includes information on the status of the land and the official boundaries of each settlement. "The work took two and a half years," says Spiegel. "It was done in order to check the status of the settlements and the outposts and to achieve the greatest possible accuracy in terms of the database: the land status, the legal status, the sector boundaries, the city building plan, government decisions, lands whose ownership is unclear. It was full-time, professional work done with a professional team of legal experts, planning people, GIS experts. And I hope that this work continues, because it is very vital. One has to know what's going on there and make decisions accordingly." Who is keeping track of all of this now? "I suppose it's the Civil Administration." Why was there no database like this before your appointment? "I don't know how much of a focus there was on doing it." Why do you think the state is not publicizing the data? "It's a sensitive and complex subject and there are all kinds of considerations, political and security-related. There were questions about the public's right to know, the freedom of information law. You should ask the officials in charge." What are the sensitive matters? "It's no secret that there are violations, that there are problems having to do with land. It's a complicated problem." Is there also a problem for the country's image? "I didn't concern myself with image. I was engaged in Sisyphean work to ensure that, first of all, they'll know what exists and what's legal and what's not legal and what the degree of illegality is, whether it involves the takeover of private Palestinian land or something in the process of obtaining proper building permits. Our job was to do the meticulous work of going over all the settlements and outposts that existed then - We found what we found and passed it on." Do you think that this information should be published? "I think they've already decided to publish the simpler part, concerning areas of jurisdiction. There are things that are more sensitive. It's no secret that there are problems, and it's impossible to do something illegal and say that it's legal. I can't elaborate, because I'm still bound to maintain confidentiality." Dror Etkes, formerly the coordinator of Peace Now's settlement monitoring project and currently director of the Land Advocacy Project for the Yesh Din organization, says, "The government's ongoing refusal to reveal this material on the pretext of security reasons is yet another striking example of the way in which the state exploits its authority to reduce the information at the citizens' disposal, when they wish to formulate intelligent positions based on facts rather than lies and half-truths." Following the initial exposure of the material, the Movement for Freedom of Information and Peace Now requested that the Defense Ministry publish the database, in accordance with the Freedom of Information law. The Defense Ministry refused. "This is a computerized database that includes detailed information, in different cross-sections, regarding the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria," the Defense Ministry said in response. "The material was collected by the defense establishment for its purposes and includes sensitive information. The ministry was asked to allow a review of the material in accordance with the Freedom of Information law, and after consideration of the request, decided not to hand over the material. The matter is pending and is the subject of a petition before the Administrative Affairs Court in Tel Aviv." Ofra, Elon Moreh, Beit El The database surveys settlement after settlement alphabetically. For each entry, it notes the source of the settlement's name and the form of settlement there (urban community, local council, moshav, kibbutz, etc.); its organizational affiliation (Herut, Amana, Takam, etc.), the number of inhabitants, pertinent government decisions, the official bodies to which the land was given, the status of the land upon which the settlement was built (state land, private Palestinian or Jewish land, etc.), a survey of the illegal outposts built in proximity to the settlement and to what extent the valid building plans have been executed. Beneath each entry, highlighted in red, is information on the extent of construction that has been carried out without permission and its exact location in the settlement. Among all the revelations in the official data, it's quite fascinating to see what was written about Ofra, a veteran Gush Emunim settlement. According to a recent B'tselem report, most of the settlement's developed area sits on private Palestinian land and therefore falls into the category of an illegal outpost that is supposed to be evacuated. The Yesha Council responded to the B'tselem report, saying that the "facts" in it are "completely baseless and designed to present a false picture. The inhabitants of Ofra are careful to respect the rights of the Arab landowners, with whom they reached an agreement regarding the construction of the neighborhoods as well as an agreement that enables the private landowners to continue to work their lands." But the information in the database about Ofra leaves no room for doubt: "The settlement does not conform to valid building plans. A majority of the construction in the community is on registered private lands without any legal basis whatsoever and no possibility of [converting the land to non-private use]." The database also gives a detailed description of where construction was carried out in Ofra without permits: "The original part of the settlement: [this includes] more than 200 permanent residential structures, agricultural structures, public structures, lots, roads and orchards in the old section of the settlement (in regard to which Plan 221 was submitted, but not advanced due to a problem of ownership)." After mentioning 75 trailers and temporary shelters in two groups within the old settlement, the database mentions the Ramat Zvi neighborhood, south of the original settlement: "There are about 200 permanent structures as well as lots being developed for additional permanent construction, all trespassing on private lands." Yesha Council chairman Danny Dayan responds: "I am not familiar with that data." Another place where the data reveals illegal construction is Elon Moreh, one of the most famous settlements in the territories. In June 1979, several residents of the village of Rujib, southeast of Nablus, petitioned the High Court, asking it to annul the appropriation order for 5,000 dunams of land in their possession, that had been designated for the construction of the settlement. In court, the government argued, as it did regularly at the time, that the construction of the settlement was required for military needs, and therefore the appropriation orders were legal. But in a statement on behalf of the petitioners, former chief of staff Haim Bar-Lev asserted that, "In my best professional judgment, Elon Moreh does not contribute to Israel's security." The High Court, relying on this statement and the statements of the original core group of settlers of Elon Moreh, who also argued that this was not a temporary settlement established for security purposes, but a permanent settlement, instructed the IDF to evacuate the settlement and return the lands to their owners. The immediate consequence of the ruling was to find an alternative site for construction of the settlement, on lands previously defined as "state lands." Following this ruling, Israel stopped officially using military injunctions in the territories for the purpose of establishing new settlements. The lands that were originally taken for the purpose of building Elon Moreh were returned to their Palestinian owners, but according to the database, also in the new site where the settlement was built, called Har Kabir, "most of the construction was done without approved, detailed plans, and some of the construction involved trespassing on private lands. As for the state lands in the settlement, a detailed plan, no. 107/1, was prepared and published on 16/7/99, but has yet to go into effect." The Shomron regional council, which includes Elon Moreh, said in response: "All the neighborhoods in the settlement were planned, and some were also built, by the State of Israel through the Housing Ministry. The residents of Elon Moreh did not trespass at all and any allegation of this kind is also false. The State of Israel is tasked with promoting and approving the building plans in the settlement, as everywhere else in the country, and as for the plans that supposedly have yet to receive final validity, just like many other communities throughout Israel, where the processes continue for decades, this does not delay the plans, even if the planning is not complete or being done in tandem." Beit El, another veteran settlement, was also, according to the database, established "on private lands seized for military purposes (In fact, the settlement was expanded on private lands, by means of trespassing in the northern section of the settlement) and on state lands that were appropriated during the Jordanian period (the Maoz Tzur neighborhood in the south of the settlement)." According to the official data, construction in Beit El in the absence of approved plans includes the council office buildings and the "northern neighborhood (Beit El Bet) that was built for the most part on private lands. The neighborhood comprises widespread construction, public buildings and new ring roads (about 80 permanent buildings and trailers); the northeastern neighborhood (between Jabal Artis and the old part of the settlement) includes about 20 permanent residential buildings, public buildings (including a school building), 40 trailers and an industrial zone (10 industrial buildings). The entire compound is located on private land and has no plan attached." Moshe Rosenbaum, head of the Beit El local council, responds: "Unfortunately, you are cooperating with the worst of Israel's enemies and causing tremendous damage to the whole country." 'One giant bluff' Ron Nahman, mayor of Ariel, was re-elected to a sixth term in the last elections. Nahman is a long-time resident of the territories and runs a fascinating heterogeneous city. Between a visit to the trailer site where evacuees from Netzarim are housed and a stop at a shop that sells pork and other non-kosher products, mostly to the city's large Russian population, Nahman complains about the halting of construction in his city and about his battles with the Civil Administration over every building permit. Ariel College, Nahman's pride and joy, is also mentioned in the database: "The area upon which Ariel College was built was not regulated in terms of planning." It further explains that the institution sits on two separate plots and the new plan has not yet been discussed. Nahman confirms this, but says the planning issue was recently resolved. When told that dozens of settlements include construction on private lands, he is not surprised. "That's possible," he says. The fact that in three-quarters of the settlements, there has been construction that deviates from the approved plans doesn't surprise him either. "All the complaints should be directed at the government, not at us," he says. "As for the small and communal settlements, they were planned by the Housing Ministry's Rural Building Administration. The larger communities are planned by the ministry's district offices. It's all the government. Sometimes the Housing Ministry is responsible for budgetary construction, which is construction out of the state budget. In the Build Your Own Home program, the state pays a share of the development costs and the rest is paid for by the individual. All of these things are one giant bluff. Am I the one who planned the settlements? It was Sharon, Peres, Rabin, Golda, Dayan." The database provides information attesting to a failure to adhere to planning guidelines in the territories. For example, an attempt to determine the status of the land of the Argaman settlement in the Jordan Rift Valley found that "the community was apparently established on the basis of an appropriation order from 1968 that was not located." About Mevo Horon, the database says: "The settlement was built without a government decision on lands that are mostly private within a closed area in the Latrun enclave (Area Yod). There was an allocation for the area to the WZO from 1995, which was issued as in a deviation from authority, apparently on the basis of a political directive." In the Tekoa settlement, trailers were leased to the IDF "and installed contrary to the area's designation according to a detailed plan? and some also deviate from the boundaries of the plan." Most of the territories of the West Bank have not been annexed to Israel, and therefore regulations for the establishment and construction of communities there differ from those that apply within Israel proper. The Sasson report, which dealt with the illegal outposts, was based in part on data collected by Spiegel, and listed the criteria necessary for the establishment of a new settlement in the territories: 1. The Israeli government issued a decision to establish the settlement 2. The settlement has a defined jurisdictional area 3. The settlement has a detailed, approved outline plan 4. The settlement lies on state land or on land that was purchased by Israelis and registered under their name in the Land Registry. According to the database, the state gave the World Zionist Organization (WZO) and/or the Construction and Housing Ministry authorization to plan and build on most of the territories upon which the settlements were constructed. These bodies allocated the land to those who eventually carried out the actual construction of the settlement: Sometimes it was the Settlement Division of the WZO and other times it was the Construction and Housing Ministry itself, sometimes through the Rural Building Administration. In several cases, settlements were built by Amana, the Gush Emunim settlement arm. Another body cited in the database as having received allocations and being responsible for construction in some of the settlements is Gush Emunim's Settler National Fund. Talmud Torah @Text: Regular schools and religious schools (Talmudei Torah) have also been built on Palestinian lands. According to the database, in the southern part of the Ateret settlement, "15 structures were built outside of state lands, which are used for the Kinor David yeshiva. There are also new ring roads and a special security area that is illegal." Kinor David is the name of a "yeshiva high school with a musical framework." The sign at the entrance says the yeshiva was built by the Amana settlement movement, the Mateh Binyamin local council and the WZO settlement division. The data regarding Michmash also make it very clear that part of the settlement was built on "private lands via trespassing." For example, "In the center of the settlement (near the main entrance) is a trailer neighborhood that serves as a Talmud Torah and other buildings (30 trailers) on private land." On a winter's afternoon, a bunch of young children were playing there, one of them wearing a shirt printed with the words "We won't forget and we won't forgive." There were no teachers in sight. A young woman in slacks, taking her baby to the doctor, stopped for a moment to chat. She moved here from Ashkelon because her husband's parents are among the settlement's founders. When her son is old enough for preschool, she won't send him to the Talmud Torah. Not because it sits on private land, but just because that's not the type of education she wants for him. "I don't think there's been construction on private land here," she said. "I don't think there ought to be, either." In the Psagot settlement, where there has also been a lot of construction on private land, it's easy to discern the terracing style typical of Palestinian agriculture in the region. According to the database, in Psagot there are "agricultural structures (a winery and storehouses) to the east of the settlement, close to the grapevines cultivated by the settlement by trespassing." During a visit here, the winery was abandoned. Its owner, Yaakov Berg, acquired land from the Israel Lands Administration near the Migron outpost and a new winery and regional visitors' center is currently under construction there. "The vineyards are located in Psagot," says Berg, who is busy with the preparations for the new site. From the unfinished observation deck one can see an enormous quarry in the mountains across the way. "If I built a bathroom here without permission from the Civil Administration, within 15 minutes, a helicopter would be here and I'd be told that it was prohibited," Berg complains. "And right here there's an illegal Palestinian quarry that continues to operate." The politicians did it Kobi Bleich, spokesperson for the Ministry of Construction and Housing: "The ministry participates in subsidizing the development costs of settlements in Priority Area A, in accordance with decisions of the Israeli government. Development works are carried out by the regional councils, and only after the ministry has ascertained that the new neighborhood is located within an approved city plan. This applies throughout Israel as well as in the areas over the Green Line. Let me emphasize that the ministry's employees are charged with implementing the policies of the Israeli government. All of the actions in the past were done solely in keeping with the decisions of the political echelon." Danny Poleg, spokesperson for the Judea and Samaria district of the Israel Police: "The issue of the construction of police facilities is the responsibility of the Ministry of Internal Security, so any questions should be addressed to them." The Internal Security Ministry spokesman responds: "And for construction by the police is allocated by the Israel Lands Administration in coordination with the Internal Security Ministry. There is no police station in Modi'in Ilit, but a rapid response post for the local residents on land allocated by the local authority. The land in Givat Ze'ev was allocated by the local council and the police station is located within the municipality. The road to the police headquarters was built by the Housing and Construction ministry and is maintained by the local council." Avi Roeh, head of the Mateh Binyamin regional council (whose jurisdiction includes the settlements of Ofra, Kochav Yaakov, Ateret, Ma'aleh Michmash and Psagot): "The Mateh Binyamin regional council, like the neighboring councils in Judea and Samaria, is coping with political decisions regarding the manner of the the communities' expansion. However, this does not remove the need for proper planning procedures in order to expand the settlements in an orderly manner and in accordance with the law." For its response, the WZO sent a thick booklet, a copy of which was previously sent to attorney Talia Sasson in response to her report. "Settlement in Judea and Samaria, as in Israel, has been accompanied by the preparation of regional master plans," says the booklet. "Steering committees from various government ministries, the Civil Administration and the municipal authorities were involved in the preparation of these plans? The (settlement) department worked solely on lands that were given to it by contract from the authorities in the Civil Administration and all the lands that were allocated to it by contract were properly allocated." The Civil Administration, which was first asked for a response regarding the database more than a month ago, has yet to reply

to read this databas in hebrew click here

George Washington fue un terrorista?

George Washington

1. Su abuelo fue un capitán de la milicia británica en una colonia de Virginia
2. Él terminado la colonización británica,que su abuelo se lo traído.
3. Él fue principalmente la defensa de intereses económicos.
4. Él atacó a civiles que fueron leales a la monarquía
5. Recibió el apoyo de Francia, que fue una potencia imperialista también, aprovechando el conflicto político entre Francia y Gran Bretaña.
6. Ha utilizado la técnica de la guerrilla.
7. Él fue popular entre los revolucionarios.
8. Él lucho los residents quien se llaman lucha contra los revolucionarios.

Los miembros de Hamas y Hazballah

1. Cualquier miembro de Hamas o Hezballah antepasados pertenecen en la región cientos o quizás miles de años.
2. Ellos son la lucha contra la ocupación israelí, que expulsó a sus abuelos a partir de sus propias tierras.
3. Se trata de defender su mera existencia
4. Atacan militantes o los colonos que ocupan sus tierras.
5. Reciben el apoyo de los países que comparten con ellos la cultura y la historia y no por todos los medios imperialistas.
6. Que utilizan la técnica de la guerrilla
7. Son populares entre su pueblo: que Hamás ganó las elecciones; Hezballah cuenta con el pleno apoyo de la mayoría.
8. Que negociar con la minoría que son la lucha contra la resistencia.

· George Washington es un héroe.
· Hamas y Hezballah son grupos terroristas

Esto es una lógica
¿Hay alguna necesidad de que el renacimiento de Aristóteles aquí?

Friday, January 30, 2009

A letter from a Palestinian Child to the US President

Precaution: The Palestinian child doesn’t have a specific clear definition for terms like “terrorism” and “peace”.

Dear Mr. President,
First I would like to congratulate you for your new post; I guess it is a good but tiring job. I want to apologize for not watching your inaugural ceremony, we have no electricity in Gaza, and moreover, I was busy dragging out the corpses of my family while the ceremony was taking place. I heard it was a hell of a ceremony, I wish I could shared the world its joy, but you know, it was a bit difficult to feel happy in such circumstances.
But I heard you after the ceremony, two days later a neighbour came to us while we were still searching for the corps of my little sister carrying with him a portable TV. He looked very serious and said: Youth, the new president of the United States is going to comment on what happened. He said that he is optimistic because you assigned someone called Michael or… Mitchell, something like that. He added that he is a good person. Oh, we found the corps of my three years old sister, she was completely burnt, my twenty one years old cousin fainted, but I remembered my father’s advice for me: Be a man. I was about to faint while I was pulling out her body which was stuck under the devastated building and her body started to crumble…. It was totally scorched. Before I lose control, I remembered my mother’s suggestion when we were frightened of the loud voice of the Israeli strikes: When you feel frightened try to think of something else.
Thank you Mr. President, it was your speech that distracted me while I was collecting my sister’s fragments. I heard you saying: Israel has the right to defend itself… achieving peace in the middle east…. Hamas was sending rockets ….. democracy … and other words that I cannot remember. I am sorry again, I was striving to concentrate in your speech but the smell of my sister’s body and my fear that I may lose some of it didn’t help me to grasp what you were saying exactly. I just realised our neighbour’s anger when he turned the TV off murmuring that he wasted the battery for nothing. We had already pulled out the corps of my mother and half of the corps of my father; we couldn’t find the rest of his body. To be frank with you, I never thought of addressing any American president, I mean, it goes without saying that we are killed with American weapons and taxes. The doctors in the hospitals said that Americans were experimenting a new weapon called DIME in this war, I mean the war on Gaza. We don’t talk to the enemy.
But during the funeral I heard you – on the same TV that belongs to the same neighbour who usually turns it off after your speeches cursing his stupid persistence on wasting the battery - in an interview with an Arab TV channel saying that you want to deliver us a message that America is not our enemy. Oh, I felt responsibility, it seems Mr. President that someone is playing behind your back, it seems that you don’t know that we are killed with your weapons, it seems that those who use the veto to protect Israel and let it get away with its crimes against us in the security council are just doing this without even telling you, it seems that you don’t know that your country annually pumps a huge amount of money to Israel, well Mr. President, Israel is the enemy, and we didn’t choose it. We didn’t beg for check points, we didn’t beg for blockage, we didn’t beg for cluster bombs, phosphorus bombs and this new bomb you are experimenting on us.
Besides, I heard you saying that you want to achieve peace in the Middle East; I know, I know, it is us, we are the Middle East. Why Mr. President? Why do you want to achieve more peace in us? We had enough peace; we had more than enough peace during the last war. Do you want to achieve more? The blond woman called Livni said that she wants peace that is why Israel waged this aggression on us. I lost my whole family in this peace process. And those who imposed the blockage on Gaza – during which one of my cousins died because of the shortage of medicine – always talk about peace: Abbas, Fayyad, Mubarak. They are men of peace, exactly like Livni. They did all what they can to achieve peace, I don’t think that you need more peace, do you?
I went to my cousin’s home, he also lost all his family, I am in his custody now. He is my all family and I am his only family. He is twenty one years old as I told you before, he was a student in the faculty of medicine, but he was not allowed to graduate, the blockage and the bad circumstances pushed him to leave the university and work, then he joined the resistance during this last war. He is a Hamas member now. You said you will achieve peace on them.. in them … within them? Something like that… right? Anyway, I don’t remember, I just remember that you want to harm my cousin too because he is a terrorist. I wonder what is wrong with terrorists like my cousin.
He is a very nice guy, you would like him if you meet him. He prepares breakfast for me, he cooks very delicious smashed eggs, he takes me to school, he stays all night besides me because I have nightmares every night, and when I wake up startled with the frightening nightmare he puts his hand on my forehead and recites some verses from the Quran and sing me beautiful songs till I fall asleep again. After school he plays with me soccer in the street, he tells me very funny jokes and gorgeous fairy tales, he swings me along with his friends whom you call terrorists and I laugh to tears. On my neighbour’s TV I watched you practicing some terrorism with your daughters; you were playing with them exactly like my cousin plays with me. Why don’t you want my cousin to be a good terrorist like you? Why do you want to make peace in my country while you all live in terrorism happily? Did we annoy you Mr. President? We don’t even know you, if someone in my district did anything wrong to you just tell me and I will oblige him to apologize for you.
Then you tell us that you are not our enemy! Then who is our enemy Mr. President? I see, it is the Democratic Republic of Congo. Oho, my mother used to tell me that I have to lessen my satirical remarks, I am sorry Mr. President, but imagine Mr. Obama that you were dragging the corps of one of your girls – God forbids – while someone is nagging behind you blaming you for the death of your own daughter and never blames the one who killed her, on the contrary, he thinks that the murderer’s crime is entirely justified and you and your daughter deserve what happened to you, what would you think of that guy? Would you think that he is your friend?
Mr. President, I know that you are “not an Arab but you are a decent family man”, but that doesn’t mean that those indecent family Arab men, women and children deserve to be barbequed. You don’t kill people because they are indecent. By the way, my parents were not Hamas members, truly they elected Hamas, but they didn’t work with the resistance.
My mother was happy with the elections; she said that this is democracy. I am very sad that my mother didn’t know that democracy means destruction; she thought it is a nice thing. Now I know that democracy is like peace, they both kill families and children. But it is too late; I wish my mother read more books to know better than that.
The whole situation really confuses me, my cousin says that is because I am still a child, but I am not a child, I am seven years old and I am a man as my father wanted me. Yet I really do not understand when people are occupied what usually they do except resisting? When they are the natives, the owners of the land and someone comes and expel them from this land and build settlements, are they supposed to just leave without any resistance? Would you do this Mr. President? Would you give up your home to somebody else that easy? Why would you live with your daughters safely at home while my home is devastated?
I am not a creature with a tail, I really do not have any tails, you can check yourself. I am a human being like you, exactly like you. Apparently you believe the blond woman when she says that Hamas is hiding among civilians. I will tell you the story because it is obvious that they are deceiving you. Hamas is not a ghost or a monster, it is a movement, that is to say… hmmm how can I explain it to you, yea, like a club or stuff like that, a group of people, very large number of people, those people are mostly like my cousin, I mean, ordinary people, cousins, brothers, neighbours…etc, and naturally such people have families and homes, these homes are in Gaza, so if someone of them is sitting at home with his brothers and sisters and this home is in a building that is full of women and children, actually he is not hiding, I mean if you phone called him he will answer, if you called him from the street he will look to you from the window as he does with his friends.
They are the tenants, they don’t have any place to go to except Gaza, they don’t have any homes except their homes. And the blond woman says that they send rockets, well besides that Israel is occupation and we have to get them out of our lands, and these “cities” you are referring to are settlements built on our occupied lands, and those “civilians” whom you sympathise with are occupiers who were brought by the Israeli army to live in our lands, beside all this, she is a liar, there was no ceasefire at all, during the calming or the ceasefire we had the Israeli planes flying over our heads, striking, killing six people one of them was my cousin’s neighbour, he was wounded and left on the passage to Egypt because the borders were blocked and he died on the borders.
So I can assure you that these six were dead, because my cousin attended his neighbour’s funeral. See? she is lying. I wonder how an adult woman like her lies all the time like that, and you are a kind person, I can understand why you believe her, that is because naturally an adult shouldn’t lie, but life is full of surprises, I swear she is lying, I tell you what, let her face me personally with what she is telling the world, I will tell her that she is lying and she will never be able to deny it, I bet she will even refuse to face me.
I really don’t want to be your enemy Mr. President, you Americans have nice movies, nice burger, nice coke, we can easily love you, but you don’t give us any space. Arming Israelis to shower us with phosphorus peace, burning us with DIME peace, destroying our schools with cluster peace and peacefully making me an orphan… and now I am threatened to lose the last person left in my family, that doesn’t make you a biased mediator or a strong ally to the enemy Mr. President, that makes you THE ENEMY.
I don’t think it is smart to have a strong enemy like you, but what can I do Mr. President? Apparently it is your choice and I have nothing to do about it.
Don’t worry Mr. President, everything is settled, I live with my cousin, he is preparing me emotionally that I may lose him, he told me what to do when he dies.
I know what to do, I went to a friend and I asked him to list me with the resistance and not to tell my cousin, he said that I am still a child, so I asked my cousin (without telling him the reasons of course) to find a way to smuggle milk and cheese through the tunnels so I can grow up fast and strong and join the resistance to be a nice young man like my cousin, to defend other families, to save the souls of other mothers and fathers, to protect other children from becoming orphans like me.
As for you, try to reconsider finding out who annoyed you in my district and made you insisting on killing us all, I swear I will tear him into pieces.

Best regards to you and special respect to your daughters…. I’ll pray for them in order not to face my destiny.

PCHR: human rights violations

War on the Wounded: human rights violations
perpetrated against Palestinian medical personnel in the Gaza Strip

A PCHR report on attacks perpetrated by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF)
against Palestinian medical personnel during the IOF military offensive in Gaza
27 December 2008 – 13 January 2009

In light of continuing attacks being launched by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) against the population of the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) is gravely concerned that humanitarian services in the Gaza Strip, especially emergency medical services, are in dangerous of collapsing. During their ongoing military offensive in the Gaza Strip, the IOF have continually attacked humanitarian and medical personnel whilst they have been on duty.
PCHR has consistently demanded that IOF cease all attacks on civilians in the Gaza Strip, including all humanitarian staff, and that IOF allow the free flow of goods, including medication and humanitarian aid, into the Gaza Strip. This report includes testimonies from, and interviews with, eyewitnesses and survivors of IOF attacks, including officials from the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH) and staff from humanitarian organizations.
According to PCHR investigations, which include statements from eye-witnesses, IOF have perpetrated crimes amounting to war crimes against medical personnel working in the Gaza Strip, in clear violation of the (1949) Fourth Geneva Convention, which affords special protection to medical personnel. Since the launch of their military offensive against the population of the Gaza Strip on 27 December 2008, IOF have killed seven Palestinian medical personnel, and wounded dozens of others, whilst they were attempting to evacuate and transfer the dead and injured. IOF have launched ground, sea and air attacks targeting medical personnel and medical facilities, including ambulances, and in addition have obstructed the access of medical personnel to the dead and injured.
Blatant IOF attacks against Palestinian medical personnel have undermined their work during this IOF offensive, by obstructing, and sometimes forcibly preventing, their access to dozens of dead and injured civilians across the Gaza Strip. In many cases documented by PCHR, medical personnel were only able to access the dead and injured up to 72 hours after they had been killed or injured. The Centre has also documented cases of IOF denying medical personnel access to people who subsequently bled to death. In addition, medical personnel, and their vehicles, have been obstructed whilst attempting to evacuate the dead and injured from houses and other civilian facilities that had been targeted by IOF, including houses that had been set on fire. Medical personnel were obstructed by IOF vehicles positioned in the vicinity of these houses and other civilian facilities - and, in some instances, IOF continued shelling and bombardments whilst the medical personnel were clearly evacuating the dead and injured.
In other incidents documented by PCHR, Palestinian medical personnel were prevented from performing their duties despite having secured prior coordination with IOF via the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The ICRC subsequently criticized in the strongest possible terms IOF attacks on medical and humanitarian personnel in the Gaza Strip. ICRC also demanded that IOF respect international humanitarian law, including the freedom of movement afforded to medical personnel in order for them to evacuate the dead and the injured.
Based on its investigations, PCHR believes that dozens of victims may have died because they were denied emergency medical treatment due to IOF obstruction of medical personnel and their facilities. In spite of repeated attempts by Palestinian medical personnel to evacuate victims, as well as Palestinian medical personnel having secured prior coordination with the IOF via ICRC, IOF continued to prevent medical personnel from accessing victims in order to provide emergency medical treatment, and to transfer them to hospital for treatment.
PCHR calls upon the international community, especially the High Contracting Parties to the (1949) Fourth Geneva Convention, relative to the protection of civilians in times of war, to end their shameful silence regarding abuses being perpetrated by the IOF. In addition, the Centre calls on IOF to immediately cease all human rights violations, including war crimes, being perpetrated against all civilians in the Gaza Strip, including the targeting of humanitarian staff, which includes medical personnel carrying out their duties in ambulances and other civil defense vehicles. The Centre also demands that IOF immediately cease targeting medical facilities, in order that medical personnel be allowed to carry out their duties to protect, and treat, the sick and injured.

Violations of the Right to Life, Freedom and Personal Security
The rights to life, freedom and personal security are enshrined in international humanitarian and human rights law. Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that "everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."
Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that "every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life...".
The (1949) Fourth Geneva Convention, relative to the protection of civilian persons in time of war, prohibits murder of all kinds, as well as mutilation, cruel and inhumane treatment and torture. In addition, the Convention has two additional protocols that afford special protection to medical personnel and humanitarian staff; these are enshrined in articles 14-24. The Convention also guarantees respect for the freedom of movement of medical personnel, and ensures they be granted all necessary material facilities for them to perform their duties, including removal of victims, attending to and transferring injured and sick civilians, pregnant women, and children who require vaccinations.
Article 21 of the Convention states that, "convoys of vehicles or hospital trains on land or specially provided vessels on sea, conveying wounded and sick civilians, the infirm and maternity cases, shall be respected and protected in the same manner as the hospitals provided for in Article 18…." Article 23 [of the same Convention] states that, "Each High Contracting Party shall allow the free passage of all consignments of medical and hospital stores and objects necessary for religious worship intended only for civilians of another High Contracting Party, even if the latter is its adversary. It shall likewise permit the free passage of all consignments of essential foodstuffs, clothing and tonics intended for children under fifteen, expectant mothers and maternity cases..... such consignments shall be forwarded as rapidly as possible…"
Testimonies from Palestinian victims of IOF attacks, eyewitnesses and Palestinian medical personnel indicate that during the reporting period (27 December 2008- 13 January 2009) IOF killed medical personnel, including two doctors, whilst they were on duty and attempting to evacuate the dead and wounded in Gaza Strip. Investigations carried out by PCHR indicate IOF targeted the medical personnel despite the fact they were wearing clothing that clearly identified them. In addition, during the reporting period, IOF also killed one truck driver working for the UN Work and Relief Agency (UNRWA) whilst he was transporting humanitarian aid near Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. A second truck driver was seriously injured in the same incident. UNRWA subsequently suspended its entire Gaza Strip operations for twenty four hours, stating that IOF had targeted its staff despite the fact that its vehicles are clearly distinguished by blue UN flags, and UNRWA had secured prior coordination with IOF concerning the exact location and movements of its staff.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, during the reporting period IOF intensified their targeting of Palestinian medical personnel who were on duty in areas where IOF were carrying out military offensives. By doing so, IOF violated the right of these personnel to carry out their humanitarian duties, including treatment; evacuation, and transfer of the sick and injured. In addition, IOF, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, prevented evacuation and transfer of dead civilians and members of the armed resistance. In spite of repeated appeals by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and other international humanitarian organizations, IOF continued to launch attacks on Palestinian medical personnel. Dozens of Palestinian medical personnel were subsequently injured during the reporting period.
In the majority of cases investigated by PCHR, the deaths and injuries of these medical ersonnel were due to IOF use of excessive lethal force, their utter disregard for the lives of civilians, and their deliberate targeting of humanitarian staff. By targeting medical personnel, IOF clearly intended to intimidate them, and to prevent them from providing medical assistance to the sick and injured. PCHR notes that IOF have prevented medical personnel from carrying out their duties in the majority of areas that have been subjected to IOF attacks since the launch of the IOF offensive against the population of the Gaza Strip on 27 December 2008.

PCHR documented the following cases of IOF targeting Palestinian medical
personnel and humanitarian staff during the reporting period:

• Wednesday 31 December, 2008: paramedic killed inside ambulance
At approximately 12:30 on Wednesday, 31 December 2008, an IOF aircraft fired a
missile at a group of Palestinian resistance members who were standing in the vicinity of
Jabal al-Rayes, east of Gaza City. One of the members was immediately killed and
another was injured. Approximately an hour later, an ambulance from the Palestinian
Ministry of Health (MOH) drove to the area in order to evacuate the wounded man. An
IOF aircraft then fired a second missile towards the ambulance. Twenty one year old
paramedic Mohammed Sa'id Abu Hassira was killed whilst inside the ambulance. Thirty
five year old doctor, Ihab 'Umar al-Madhoon, who was also inside the ambulance at the
time, sustained serious wounds, and died of his injuries later the same day. The
ambulance driver, thirty year old Heshmat 'Ajjour, also sustained serious injuries.

• 4 January, 2009: three paramedics killed by IOF missile
At approximately 16:00 on 4 January 2009, IOF killed three Palestinian paramedics
whilst they were on duty in the al-Dahdouh area, south of Tal al-Hawa, in Gaza City.
Twenty four year old Yaser Kamal Shbeir, twenty five year old Anas Fadel Na'im, and
twenty four year old Ra'afat Abdul 'Al, arrived in al-Dahdouh in a convoy of two
ambulances, and IOF aircrafts fired several missiles into the area at the same time they
arrived. Nevertheless, the three paramedics gathered stretchers, climbed down from the
ambulances and set off to evacuate people who had been injured in the area. An IOF
aircraft then fired a missile at the three of them, killing all three men instantly.
Yahya Abdul Halim Abdul Mohsen Hassan, age 38, was driving one of the ambulances.
He gave this testimony to PCHR:
"At approximately 16:00 on 4 January, I was working at the Feta Hospital in Tal al-
Hawa when we started getting a lot of calls from civilians living in al-Dahdouh. They
said a number of local people had been injured in the area. I immediately drove [to al-
Dahdouh] with two paramedics, Fadel Na'im and Ra'afat Abdul 'Al. My colleague,
ambulance driver Hazim al-Barrawi, also headed to the area with paramedic Yaser
Kamal Shbeir. When we arrived, we met a young child, who was crying, and he pointed
out where the injured people were located. It was a dirt track, and so it was difficult for
us to drive in that direction, so the three paramedics stepped down from the ambulances
and started to walk. They had stretchers with them, and they headed off to find the
injured. As they were walking with the child, who was guiding them, the Israelis fired a
missile at them. They [the IOF] also fired missiles towards me, and towards Hazem al-
Barrawi, whose ambulance was stuck in the ruts in the road. Hazem climbed into my
ambulance, and we quickly drove away, as the Israelis continued firing missiles towards
us. A missile landed just behind my ambulance and I heard a third missile whilst I was
driving. When we arrived back at the hospital, we reported what happened to the head of
the ambulance station. We told him we had fled the area without being able to evacuate
the injured, or take our colleagues, because the Israelis had been firing missiles at us.
The head of the ambulance station drove to the ambulance headquarters of the
Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) which is close by. Then, three ambulances
drove to the area of the attack. But even after coordinating wit the Israelis, they could
only evacuate two of the paramedics; the Israelis only allowed them to take one dead
body in each ambulance. So, the body of Ra'afat Abdul 'Al, plus the body of the young
child, and the bodies of other martyrs who had been killed, all remained in the area. Our
crews were not able to evacuate them at the time, though I know these bodies were
evacuated later."

• 4 January, 2009: paramedic dies after ambulance shelled by IOF
At approximately 10:00 on Sunday, 4 January, IOF bombarded a crowd of civilians near
Abu 'Ybeida Ibn al-Jarrah school in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. Locals rushed
to rescue the injured. An ambulance from al-'Awda Hospital also drove to the area to
evacuate the injured. At approximately 10:10, IOF bombarded the same area again. Nine
civilians, including a father and two of his sons, were killed as a result, and a number of
civilians, including two paramedics, sustained injuries. One of them, thirty three year old
'Arafa Hani Abdul Dayem, subsequently died of his injuries.
Ambulance driver, Khalid Yousif Abu Sa'ada, gave the following testimony to PCHR:
"At approximately 10:15 on Sunday, 4 January, I was told that there were injured people
near the western roundabout in Beit Lahia town. I immediately drove to the area with two
paramedics, 'Arafa Hani Abdul Dayem (age 33) and 'Ala'a Usama Sarhan (age 26).
When we arrived, we saw a person who had been critically injured. The two paramedics
climbed out of the ambulance to evacuate him into the ambulance. I drove approximately
ten meters ahead in order to evacuate another injured person. Then, an IOF tank fired a
shell at us. The shell directly hit the ambulance, and ten civilians, including the two
paramedics, were injured. My colleague 'Arafa Hani Abdul Dayem died of his injuries
later the same day."

• 12 January, 2009: doctor decapitated by IOF artillery shell
At approximately 16:10 on Monday, 12 January, IOF fired an artillery shell at the al-
Banna building in al-Zarqa Street in Jabalia town. Three ambulances quickly arrived at
the scene: one ambulance was from the military medical services, the second from the
civil defense services and the third from the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH).
Medical personnel in the three ambulances immediately left their vehicles in order to
evacuate the casualties. Approximately seven minutes later, IOF fired a second artillery
shell at the al-Banna building, whilst the medical personnel were evacuating the
decapitated body of a man who had been killed by the first shell. The second shell hit
Doctor Issa Abdul Rahim Saleh, age 32, who was a member of the military medical
services. He was decapitated by the artillery shell. His decapitated head struck his
colleague, paramedic Ahmed Abdul Bari Abu Foul, age 25, a member of the civil defense
services. Ahmed Abu Foul also sustained shrapnel injuries to his head and back. The
body of Issa Saleh, and his injured colleague, Ahmed Abu Foul, were evacuated by
ambulance to Kamal 'Odwan Hospital in Beit Lahia.
Ahmed Abu Foul told a PCHR field worker that he had been in the targeted building
attempting to evacuate the dead and the wounded, and that he and his colleagues had all
been wearing uniforms that clearly identified them as medical personnel. Abu Foul also
said that the ambulances were clearly marked as medical vehicles, and were also flying
flags to indicate their status. He said he was "astonished" that he and his colleagues were
indiscriminately shelled whilst trying to evacuate casualties. At the time of publication,
Ahmed Abu Foul is still at hospital being treated for his injuries.
IOF attacks on Palestinian medical personnel are not accidents or mistakes. The available
evidence strongly indicates IOF deliberate use of excessive lethal force against medical
personnel and their vehicles, with the intent to target and kill or injure the medical
personnel, as well as to destroy their vehicles.

• IOF open fire at Erez Crossing, killing UN staff member
On Thursday, 8 January, IOF opened fire at a convoy of trucks that were waiting near
Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing, in order to transport humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip
for UNRWA. A driver working for UNRWA was killed, and a second driver injured in
the attack. Investigations conducted by PCHR indicate that IOF soldiers positioned at
Erez crossing opened fired at the group while they were waiting in their vehicles near the
crossing, killing thirty two year old Bassam Qouta, 32, who was working for the
Shuheibar Transport Company. The company had contracted some of its drivers to work
with UNRWA.
Immediately after the death of Bassam Qouta, UNRWA announced that, in light of its
humanitarian staff having been targeted, it was being forced to suspend its entire
operations in the Gaza Strip. Later the same day, 8 January, Al-Jazeera TV interviewed
John Ging, Head of UNRWA operations in the Gaza Strip. John Ging told al-Jazeera that
UNRWA had taken the decision to suspend its operations and activities in Gaza,
including aid distribution for approximately 750,000 Palestinian refugees in the Gaza
Strip, as well as suspending activities in schools and other institutes, in light of IOF
attacks on UNRWA facilities in Gaza. John Ging called for the application of the
principles of the Fourth Geneva Convention, especially the provisions relative to the
protection of humanitarian staff and organizations in times of war. An UNRWA
spokesman reiterated that the Agency had taken the decision to suspend all its operations
in Gaza because of increasing hostile actions committed by IOF against UNRWA
premises and personnel. He confirmed that UNRWA trucks had come under IOF fire near
Erez crossing despite having secured prior coordination with the IOF, and that one driver
had been killed and a second injured in the attack. He added that IOF had also fired at an
UNRWA armoured car driven by UNRWA staff member Judy Clark, who is John Ging's
assistant, and who was not injured only because she was inside an armoured car.
Subsequently, Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing had to be closed as Palestinian
transport staff in Gaza refused to work, in protest at the killing of their colleague.
UNRWA reiterated these violations had taken place despite the fact that UNRWA had
informed IOF of its activities, the movements and locations of its entire staff, and their
means of transport.
UNRWA subsequently resumed its activities on Saturday, 10 January, after IOF pledged,
in a meeting with the UNRWA commissioner, not to target UNRWA staff and facilities
in the Gaza Strip.

• Preventing medical personnel from evacuating the dead and
Preliminary investigations carried out by CPHR, including interviews with victims and
eyewitness, indicate that Palestinian medical personnel, and staff working for the
Palestinian civil defense, have faced extreme risks throughout the ongoing IOF military
offensive in the Gaza Strip. IOF have prevented the free movement of Palestinian
medical personnel, and thus prevented their access to the sick, dead and injured. As a
direct result, hundreds of injured people were left unattended. Civilians who had been
killed or injured were sometimes unattended for several days due to IOF preventing
access to medical personnel, despite persistent attempts by medical personnel, and the
ICRC, to secure coordination in order to be able to reach the victims.
PCHR has documented hundreds of cases in which Palestinian civilians have been
injured by indiscriminate IOF shelling and bombardments, and Palestinian medical
personnel were subsequently unable to reach the injured in order to evacuate and
hospitalize them. The majority of these cases have been in areas invaded by IOF ground
troops, especially in Gaza City, where the districts of al-Zaytoun, al-Sheja'ya, al-Sheikh
'Ajleen, and the al-Karam apartment buildings in northern Gaza city were especially
targeted. As regards the northern Gaza Strip, al-Salatin district, al-'Atatra, Ezzbit 'Abed
Rabbo area and al-Sha'ima'a were all severely affected. In theses areas, the injured, who
were mainly civilians, were frightened, isolated and often unable to leave the area due to
IOF attacks. Civilians were unable to access medical services, and some of them
subsequently died before medical personnel could reach them. In al-Zaytoun, medical
personnel managed to evacuate dozens of the dead and the injured only four days after
they had been killed or injured, because the situation remained so dangerous.
• Maher Husein Nassar, age 44, is married with five children. He lives in al-'Atatra
district in the north of the Gaza Strip, and gave this testimony to a PCHR field
"At approximately 18:00 on Sunday, 4 January, the Israelis started to invade our area. I
immediately left my house with my wife and five children to look for a safer place. But we
could not get out of the area because of intensive [IOF] firing and Israeli smoke bombs
that created thick clouds. We also couldn't find any transport to get us out of the area,
because all the streets had been bombed a few hours before the beginning of the ground
invasion and there were craters and holes all over the streets. So we were forced to
return home. At night, none of us were able to sleep because IOF were firing and shelling
all night. The electricity and water system had also been destroyed during the shelling.
Early in the morning of [Monday], 5 January, I heard shells landing on the houses of our
neighbours. At approximately 05:00, a shell landed on our house, which is composed of
just one storey. The shell hit one of the walls and my family was injured. Ten minutes
later, a second shell landed on our house. My wife and three of my children; Ala'a, (9),
Yasmin (8) and Mohammed (5), were hurt again. I telephoned the ambulance station.
They told me they would send us an ambulance as soon as possible. I waited more than
an hour and then called them again, and they told me that the ambulance was not able to
access the area due to heavy shelling. I tried to treat my wife and children myself as they
were seriously injured, but only had basic first aid stuff at home. This situation continued
for another full day. We spent the whole time living in fear and panic about what was
going to happen next. The IOF continued to heavily shell, and to fire around us. In the
morning of Tuesday (6 January), we finally managed to leave our house and walked
about 300 meters, where we found an ambulance. The ambulance took us to Kamal
'Odwan hospital, where my wife and children were treated. My daughter, Yasmin, is still
being treated in hospital."
• Mohammed al-Sultan, age 25, from al-Salatin district in Beit Lahia, told PCHR
that his relative, Mohamed Ali Ahmed al-Sultan, age 53, was injured by shrapnel
when IOF fired a shell at a group of civilians standing near his house at
approximately 13:00 on Wednesday, 7 January. The shrapnel hit Mohamed Ali
Ahmed al-Sultan in the back and he collapsed. Paramedics were unable to reach
him, and he was left bleeding for approximately one hour and a half. His relatives
phoned ambulance services, but were told the ambulances could not evacuate him
immediately due to heavy IOF firing, and because the local streets had been
severely damaged by F-16 missiles that had caused craters. An hour and a half
later, at approximately 14:30, an ambulance reached Mohamed Ali Ahmed al-
Sultan, but he had bled to death.
• Mohammed al-Sultan also told PCHR that, at approximately 09:00 on Tuesday, 6
January, Mohammed Abdul Bari al-Sultan,19, had been shot by a sniper whilst
inside his house near al-Iman Mosque in the al-Salatin district. Al-Sultan said
they telephoned for ambulances, but the ambulances could not enter the area due
to heavy firing and shelling. One hour later, the family of the injured man took the
risk of transporting him by their own car Kamal 'Odwan hospital in Beit Lahia.
• Tala'at 'Asa'ad Sa'adi Hamouda, age 51, a director in the Ministry of Social
Affairs, is married to 38 year old Intesar Abdul Wahhab Hammouda. They have
five children. He gave PCHR the following testimony.
"At approximately 02:00, on 11 January, I was at home with my family. We were hiding
in one bedroom, because the Israelis were firing heavily, and also shelling in our area. At
midnight they began invading our area, and then there was suddenly a loud explosion in
a house neighboring ours. The targeted house belongs to Jawad al-Dahdouh. Shrapnel
flew into the bedroom where we were hiding. Thanks to Allah, nobody was hurt. We
moved into the hall for our own safety. I could hear the sound of heavy military vehicles.
Tanks were approaching our house. Suddenly, the tanks fired several shells at our house.
The shells hit one room, and also penetrated the wall of the bedroom and the hall. The
shells killed my son Fares, (age two and a half), who was in my wife's arms. My wife was
also injured, and so was son Mahmoud, (age17). I immediately called the ICRC for an
ambulance – but the person I spoke to told me they could do nothing anything before
eight o'clock that night. I phoned the local ambulance station, and then I also telephoned
local radio stations and appealed for help. But no-one could help us. My son Mahmoud
bled to death at about six o'clock the next morning. At about 07:30, the Israelis withdrew
from the area, and half an hour later, my son Ihab went to the al-Quds Hospital and
found an ambulance that came to take my injured wife, and the bodies of my sons Fares
and Mahmoud, to hospital. My wife is still in the hospital. Shrapnel penetrated her
abdomen, her right arm, her legs and her face. Because of the Israelis, my two sons are
dead, my wife is injured and my house is half destroyed."

• Study Case (1): targeting the work of the Palestinian Red
Crescent Society (PRCS)
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has also been targeted by the IOF during
its ongoing military offensive in the Gaza Strip. PRCS medical personnel have been
prevented from accessing the dead and injured throughout the IOF offensive, and a
number of people subsequently died of their injuries. Sick and injured civilians, including
women waiting to give birth, have been denied emergency medical attention. According
to PRCS documentation and data, the IOF have targeted their ambulances, and other
means of transport PRCS has used to evacuate the dead, sick and injured. Below is a
summary of attacks on PRCS staff and facilities during the reporting period.
• On 5 January, IOF fired at two PRCS ambulances while they were driving to
evacuate injured civilians. One of the ambulances was damaged, but no personnel
were injured.
• On 6 January, having secured prior coordination with IOF, three PRCS
ambulances and an ICRC vehicle entered the al-Samoubi area in al-Zaytoun
district in eastern Gaza city, in order to evacuate dead and injured people who had
been left unattended in the area for several days. PRCS had spent four days
securing the coordination, and their efforts had been repeatedly refused.
• Also on 6 January, a medical personnel member of the military medical services
was injured, and two PRCS ambulances damaged, when an IOF aircraft targeted
them while they were attempting to evacuate injured people in Jabalia in the
northern Gaza Strip.
• At approximately 17:00, on 6 January, a PRCS ambulance drove to al-Samoubi
area in al-Zaytoun district, south of Gaza City, to evacuate an injured person,
having secured coordination with IOF via the ICRC. When the ambulance arrived
at its destination, IOF fired at it. The ambulance was damaged, but the medical
personnel were not injured.
• At approximately 18:00, on 6 January, IOF fired at a PRCS ambulance in the al-
'Atatra area. No damages or casualties were reported. The ambulance drove to the
area after coordination had been secured with IOF via the ICRC.
• On 7 January, Hasan al-'Attal, a PRCS paramedic, was injured in the left thigh,
when IOF fired at him while he was trying to evacuate injured people near the
Zemmu roundabout in Jabalia.
• According to PRCS sources, Hassan al-'Attal, who had worked for PRCS for ten
years, was trying to evacuate a dead body after having received appeals from
locals. He began the evacuation after the IOF three hour ceasefire began at 13:00.
Hassan al-'Attal said he and his colleague were both wearing uniforms that
clearly identified them as medical personnel. He gave PCHR the following
"After the ambulance station had reported that injured people were near Zemmu
roundabout in Jabalia, I drove the ambulance to the reported location. We could not
reach the site by ambulance, so I left the ambulance with a PRCS volunteer who was
accompanying me. We took a stretcher and headed off to evacuate a dead person who
was in a location that nobody had been able to reach because of the [IOF] firing. We
carried the body to the stretcher and walked towards the ambulance. A few seconds later,
we were being fired at by the Israelis. I was wounded in my left thigh. The volunteer
helped me to reach the ambulance. I was taken to al-'Awda Hospital in Jabalia refugee
camp and then referred to al-Quds hospital for more treatment".
• Also on 7 January, two PRCS paramedics sustained injuries when they were
directly targeted by IOF gunfire.
• Also on 7 January, a PRCS paramedic sustained injuries when IOF fired at a
PRCS ambulance while the personnel were trying to evacuate injured people in
the al-Jurun district of Jabalia. The ambulance was damaged.
• At approximately 16:00, on 9 January, IOF fired at an convoy of eleven
ambulances, including three PRCS ambulances, near the al-Shuhadeh crossroads
which is located near the ex-settlement of Netzarim. The convoy was being led by
a clearly marked ICRC vehicle. As a result, a Palestinian member of ICRC staff
was injured and the ICRC vehicle was damaged.
• On 9 January, seven PRCS ambulances, plus a number of ICRC vehicles and a
number of international solidarity activists headed to al-Zaytoun district, and to
the al-'Atatra area, to evacuate a number of the dead and injured. The team
managed to evacuate three bodies and transferred eighty people from six families
to the al-Quds Hospital for medical treatment. The team members were not able to
continue searching for the dead and injured due to repeated IOF firing. PCHR
notes that the PRCS and ICRC had spent six days attempting to secure
coordination with IOF to enter the area, but all previous attempts had failed.
• On the same day, IOF fired at PRCS ambulances and medical personnel in the al-
'Atatra area, whilst they were trying to enter to the area with an ICRC vehicle in
order to evacuate the dead and injured. One of the PRCS ambulances was
damaged in the attack.
• Also on the same day, PRCS ambulance driver Marwan Hammouda was injured
by a bullet in the left leg when IOF fired at his ambulance in Jabalia.
Marwan Hammouda stated that PRCS had secured coordination with IOF to transfer
those with serious injuries from al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza city to the Rafah International
Crossing, so they could be treated in Egypt or abroad. He added that on his return, IOF
positioned on the coastal road detained the ambulance for two hours. Marwan
Hammouda sated that he drove to Jabalia after IOF had allowed the ambulance to
continue on its way. He was shot after he arrived in Jabalia.

• Case Study (2): ICRC calls upon IOF to respect International
Humanitarian Law (IHL)
During the IOF military offensive in the Gaza Strip, the International Committee of the
Red Cross (ICRC) accused Israel of failing to meet its obligation under international
humanitarian law, to protect sick and injured civilians. IOF had prevented medical
personnel and humanitarian staff from accessing the dead and injured. As a result, a
number of civilians had died of injuries before access had been possible.
According to a press release published by ICRC, on 7 January, four Palestinian Red
Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulances, and representatives from the ICRC had managed
to secure access for the first time to several houses in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood of
Gaza City that had been severely affected by IOF shelling. The ICRC had requested safe
passage for ambulances to access this neighborhood since 3 January, but had only
received permission to do so on 7 January. The ICRC/PRCS team found four small
children in one house, who were crouched next to their dead mother and were too weak
to stand up alone. They also found one man, also too weak to stand, alive in the same
house. There were at least 12 corpses lying on mattresses1.
In another house, as stated in ICRC press release, the ICRC/PRCS rescue team found 15
other survivors of IOF attacks, including several injured people. In another home, they
found an additional three corpses. Israeli soldiers posted at a military position some 80
meters away from this third house ordered the team to leave the area, which they refused
to do.
"This is a shocking incident," said Pierre Wettach, ICRC Head of Delegation for Israel
and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, commenting on the case in al-Zaytoun. "The
Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded.
Neither did they make it possible for us or the Palestine Red Crescent Society to assist the
wounded." Wettach added that, "Large earth walls erected by the Israeli army had made
it impossible to bring ambulances into the neighborhood. Therefore, the children and the
wounded had to be taken to the ambulances on a donkey cart. In total, the ICRC/PRCS
rescue team evacuated 18 wounded and 12 others who were extremely exhausted. Two
corpses were also evacuated. The ICRC/PRCS will recover the remaining corpses on
Thursday. The ICRC was informed that there are more wounded sheltering in other
destroyed houses in this neighborhood. It demands that the Israeli military grant it and
PRCS ambulances safe passage and access immediately to search for any other wounded.
Until now, the ICRC has still not received confirmation from the Israeli authorities that
this will be allowed. The ICRC believes that in this instance the Israeli military failed to
meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the
wounded. It considers the delay in allowing rescue services access unacceptable. "
1 See

• Case study (3): aggravated suffering due to IOF denial of access
to medical personnel
Civilians are bearing the brunt of the continuing IOF military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
The civilian population, especially those living in and around al-Zaytoun, al-Salatin and
al-'Atatra districts, are being subjected to intense IOF military attacks whilst also being
denied water and electricity, and emergency healthcare. Dozens of persons, who have
been killed or injured in IOF attacks have not received the medical assistance they
urgently need. PCHR lawyers and field workers have collated accounts from dozens of
eyewitnesses and survivors, highlighting the violations that have taken place.
Nahil Abdullah Ibrahim al-Sammouni, 38, lives near al-Tawhid Mosque, west of Salah
Addin Street in al-Zaytoun district. She is married to Nafez Ahmed Mahmoud al-
Sammouni and has five daughters and three sons. She gave the following testimony to
"At approximately 05:00 on Sunday, 4 January, I was with my family in our house. We
were hiding in a room on the first floor as the Israelis were heavily firing, and also
shelling, as they moved into our area. Suddenly, there was a very strong explosion. The
house collapsed on top of us. IOF had fired a missile at our house. Thank to Allah, we all
safely managed to escape. We ran to the house of my husband's cousin, Talal Hemi
Mahmoud al-Sammouni. The house is cement, and while we were there, I could see
Israeli soldiers in a neighboring house. A few hours later, the Israelis began to order
civilians to leave, including us. They told us to go to a house belonging to Wa'el al-
Sammouni. The house is just one storey and is not yet finished. We were about seven
families inside this house. The soldiers searched all the men and took their mobile phones
and ID cards. We stayed in that house for a full day. Early in the morning on Monday [5
January] the situation seemed calm. But we were all worried about my husband's brother
who lives in a shelter nearby, between some trees. Some of the men tried to leave the
house so they could bring him to stay with us. But at about 09:00, the Israelis fired a
shell or a missile at us. Five of the people inside the house were wounded, and two of
them died afterwards. As we were trying to help them, another shell was fired at the
house. I felt sick and dizzy because of the dust and the smell from the explosion. My
children were screaming, and my husband was wounded in his leg. I took off my hijab
and covered my husband's leg because he was bleeding heavily. A few moments later, the
men who were with us said we should try to leave the house. We were approximately 80
people altogether. We left the house holding our hands up and carrying white flags. We
were walking and asking the Israeli soldiers for mercy as they were in their tanks all
around us. We ran towards the street, and our neighbours also began to run towards the
street, crying. At that moment, I was looking for my children, but I did not see my son
Ahmed. I couldn't go back to look for him, so I didn't know what happened to him. I also
had to leave my injured husband in the house. An Israeli tank was firing on the ground
around us, while we were running to escape. People took us into their houses, so we
began to feel safe. Two days later, on 7 January, medical personnel could reach our area
and began to take the dead and the wounded. I went to al-Quds Hospital where my
husband and my son, Ahmed, were receiving medical treatment. Many members of our
family, and other families, have been killed and wounded. There are dead people in the
area that the medical people still couldn't reach. The Israeli shelling was not justified.
There were no clashes. There was no need to target us and to target entire families of
civilians with many children, and women and elderly people. The attack took place while
the Israelis were completely controlling our area, which includes houses of the al-
Samouni family and other families and other houses."

• Deterioration of health in the Gaza Strip
IOF continue to target medical institutions, increasing the deterioration of the health and
humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. This coincides with continuing severe shortages
of medicine consignments and supplies in Gaza Strip hospitals and medical centers.
Since the beginning of the IOF offensive, on 27 December 2008, IOF have continued to
deny patients from Gaza access to Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing in order that they can be
transferred to hospitals in Israel or the West Bank. This has had a serious impact on
patients, especially those suffering from cancer, heart disease, kidney failure, as well as
patients suffering from diseases that can not be treated in hospitals in the Gaza Strip.
Prior to the current closure restrictions imposed by IOF, 30-50 approximately patients
from Gaza used to be referred to hospitals in Israel and the West Bank per day.
PCHR has documented IOF attacks against Palestinian medical personnel and medical
establishments in the Gaza Strip. This is a summery:
• At approximately 11:25, on 27 December 2008, IOF aircrafts bombarded the
VAT department (the ex-headquarters of the preventive security directorate) in
the Tal al-Hawa district of Gaza city. Many buildings in the department were
destroyed as a result. A nearby 13 storey building belong to the Palestinian Red
Crescent Society (PRCS) was also heavily damaged. Windows and doors in the
building were shattered. The building of the PRCS Directorate General of
Ambulances and Emergency Services was also heavily damaged. The nearby
PRCS buildings, including al-Quds Hospital, were also heavily damaged due to
repeated IOF bombardment of VAT department and the nearby Ministry of
• At approximately 01:00, on 28 December 2008, IOF aircrafts bombarded the al-
Borno Mosque near the al-Shifa medical compound. The compound, which
includes the main hospital in the Gaza Strip, was heavily damaged. The main
building in the al-Shifa medical compound, which includes the reception and
emergency departments of the hospital, the surgical unit, the osteology
department, and the intensive care unit, were all damaged. The majority of
windows and doors in the building shattered. Also the administration building and
the radiology unit were severely affected by shattered glass.
• At approximately 02:00 on Tuesday, 30 December 2008, an IOF F-16 fired a
missile at the al-Farouq 'Umar Mosque in Block 9 in al-Bureij refugee camp. The
Mosque was completely destroyed and heavy damage was caused to Sanabel al-
Aqsa kindergarten that stood on the ground floor in the targeted mosque. The
bombardment also completely destroyed the entire contents of the al-Bureij
governmental clinic.
• On 3 January 2009, IOF aircrafts bombarded the civil defense headquarters on
Bani Sheila- 'Abasan main road east of Khan Yunis. The headquarters was
completely destroyed and heavy damage was been caused to neighboring houses.
• At approximately 01:00 on Monday, 5 January, an IOF F-16 fired a missile at the
Union of the Palestinian Healthcare Committees in al-Remal neighborhood in
Gaza City. The Union was completely destroyed. In addition, three mobile clinics
were also destroyed.
• On 7 January, an IOF aircraft bombarded the civil defense headquarters in Rafah.
One of the offices was completely destroyed. Heavy damage was caused to
neighboring houses. No casualties were reported.
• At approximately 8:30 on Saturday, 10 January, IOF aircrafts bombarded the
northern wall of the Gaza European Hospital, south east of Khan Younis. About
20 meters of the wall was destroyed. Damage was also caused to the main water
pipe and to the electricity network, the power generator and the fuel stocks.
Hospitals and medical centers across the Gaza Strip are suffering from severe shortage in
resources as medical apparatuses are not operating due to lack of spare parts. Sources
from the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH) stated that more than 200 pieces of
medical equipment need maintenance and spare parts that are not available in the Gaza
Strip due to the continuing IOF siege of Gaza. In addition, more than 105 medicine are
now completely out of stock, and approximately 225 medical supplies and tools remain
completely unavailable.

PCHR warns of IOF continuing escalation of attacks against Palestinian medical
personnel and their facilities, including ambulances and hospitals. The Centre condemns
the failure of IOF, at military and political levels, to open any serious investigations into
the violations that are being perpetrated against doctors, nurses and paramedics. This
indicates that the chain of command begins at very senior levels, with the intent of
targeting members of Palestinian medical personnel, in order to intimidate them, and
prevent them from carrying out their humanitarian duties. The number of victims among
the medical personnel, and the severe damage that has been caused to ambulances and
other medical facilities provide strong evidence that IOF are launching repeated attacks
on medical centers and facilities, and thus failing to comply with international
humanitarian law. PCHR calls for all humanitarian staff to be protected, including
medical personnel, and for them to be allowed to carry out their duties without fear of
being targeted, killed or injured.
PCHR condemns the conspiracy of silence of the international community as regards
crimes being committed by IOF against humanitarian staff, including international and
local ambulance drivers and volunteer escorts. The Centre also condemns the silence and
complicity of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, as regards
the violations, including war crimes, being committed by IOF against Palestinian
civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
PCHR demands that all High Contracting Parties work seriously towards ensuring respect
for the Convention, and that they intervene immediately and effectively in order to put an
end to the killing of civilians in the Gaza Strip. The Centre calls upon the international
community, especially the UN Security Council, to take immediate steps that may stop
the ongoing IOF offensive on the Gaza Strip, and put an end to IOF human rights
violations against the Palestinian civilian population. IOF violations amount to war

Therefore, the Centre:
• Calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva convention to apply
the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, to ensure its respect, to
immediately activate articles 1, 2, 146 and 147 in order to ensure compliance of
the Occupying State to the rules of the Convention.
• Calls for immediate international protection for the Palestinian civilian population
in the Occupied Palestinian Territory against flagrant violations being committed
by IOF, especially amongst the civilian population, and to ensure the safety of
those who enjoy special protection, including medical personnel and humanitarian
• Calls upon the European Union (EU) to take urgent and prompt steps to halt its
cooperation with Israel, pursuant to Article 2 of the Convention on the European -
Israeli Association Agreement, which places conditionality on Israel's respect for
the International Humanitarian Law and the International Human Rights Law.
The European role is potentially effective as the European Union is the major
economic partner for the Government of Israel.
• Calls for urgent provision of humanitarian and medical aid to Gaza civilians, who
are suffering severe shortages, due to the continuing IOF siege of the Gaza Strip,
and attacks on Palestinian property.
• Calls upon the international community, especially the International Committee of
the Red Cross (ICRC) to seriously intervene in order to take the necessary steps to
ensure the provision of medical supplies, including consignments of medicine and
food, clothing and food supplements needed by children and pregnant women.
• Calls for the activation of the role of international organizations, especially the
role of the World Health Organization (WHO) to halt the severe violations being
perpetrated against Palestinian medical personnel, and to allow them to worksafely, in order to carry out their duties.

Israeli army 'using white phosphorus'

The Israeli Terrorist Army used white phosphorus shells to kill the innocent Palestinians in Gaza.

The Israeli occupation to Palestine must go and leave the people there to live free in their land.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gaza crisis stirs heated debate in Davos - 30 January 09

A debate on the Middle East crisis focusing on the aftermath of Israel's war on Gaza has dominated the second day of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Al Jazeera's Matthew Moore has more from Davos.

Is Peace Out Of Reach?

Has peace in the Middle East become nothing more than a pipe dream? As Bob Simon reports, a growing number of Israelis and Palestinians feel that a two-state solution is no longer possible.

CBS report

Watch CBS Videos Online

The difference between words and deeds, the leaders of Israel

Doctor Decries Israeli Attacks

Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor in Gaza, tells Sky News that the number of civilians injured and killed in Gaza proves that Israel is deliberately attacking the population

Israelis Soldiers refuse to serve in Gaza

The Easiest Targets

13-minute video: Five women – Palestinian, American, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish – tell stories of humiliation and harassment by Israeli border guards and airport security officials

Part 1

Part 2