“They know no limits now”: a New Nakba

Live from Palestine, 3 January 2009    By Eva Bartlett

In the haze of dust and smoke from the latest F-16 strike, a family self-evacuates. The dispatcher at the Jabaliya Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) receives call after call from terrified residents fleeing their homes. It’s a new year, a new Nakba, and an old scene; Israel is bombarding Gaza once again and the world is standing idly by, sitting on a fence very different from the fortified border fence encaging Gaza, or the separation wall dividing and ghettoizing the West Bank. The politicians of the world sit on the fence, justifying Israel’s massacre of a civilian population already dying from the siege. And in the case of Canadian politicians, applauding the massacre.

We are four ambulances out tonight, versus two last night. The ambulances weave nimbly along blacked-out streets of a manufactured ghost town — like the streets all over Gaza — dodging fresh piles of rubble.

It’s absolutely impossible, it’s a massacre. “They know no limits now,” the medics report. “They are going crazy.”

We pass shells of houses, mosques, schools and shops, and see streams of panicked residents fleeing for their lives. Many more began to flee this morning after yet another night of bombardment on and around their houses. I saw the remains of rubble. This morning when Israel dropped the fliers announcing their intention to bomb the northern regions in collective punishment, residents believed it. The lights in Jabaliya’s Red Crescent stations are out, the power has just cut. In the dark, and cold, the sounds of explosions outside are more pronounced.

dsc02061dsc02059**house destroyed by missile strike days ago; 4 families (including over 25 children) given 7 minutes to evacuate house

dsc02014**house destroyed days ago; had recently been constructed; in dense housing area

dsc02083

* a farm with about 22 cows was hit by an F-16 missile yesterday.  The farmers worked to coax the five miraculously surviving cows out of the crater that the missile had created.

Acrid smoke from the shelling poisons the air. The feeling of being utterly surrounded by war planes, tanks, bulldozers and warships increases as news comes of the latest attack around Gaza: an orphanage in Gaza City, near the Palestine Mosque, with whispers that the holy place is next, marking at least 10 mosques destroyed. The number of dead and injured from the attack on the Ibrahim al-Makadma Mosque today is 11 and 50 respectively, and rising.

The calls for help from the northwest region, and from 500 meters east of this ambulance station, must go unanswered. The medics must coordinate with Israel via the ICRC. A bitter irony; the occupier denies permission to leave, the occupier invades, the invader kills and injures, and — beyond belief — holds the power to grant permission to retrieve those that the invader has injured or killed.

Thuds of explosions and Apache blades; staccato of firing into the night; blasts hitting unknown targets with an unknown end.

haze

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3 comments

  1. I don’t envy you or the people there. I can’t possibly imagine the horror you’re experiencing. The situation over there must seem worse than hopeless. Ironically, speaking with people in Israel, I often hear their own frustration and hopelessness (even though the amount of fear and pain is totally incomparable to what the people of Gaza are going through).

  2. This terrorist slaughter of Gazans cannot continue. People whether they are Israeli, Arab or other must come out on the street to protest against this barbarity. I find it utterly sickening that the western media are describing palestinians rockets are ‘barbaric’ yet continue to report this massacre and blitz as simply an effort to topple Hamas. The lies beggar belief but show that the massive Israeli PR machine is very effective. Al-Jazeera are now reporting that the entrance of a Mosque has been bombed as worshippers were emerging. That is true terrorism by the Israeli occupation forces.

  3. Did you know that many Jewish women ,quite prominent in our media and governental organizations had a sit
    in at a prime governmental bureau here in Canada?
    Our leaders are quite numb and mumb and seen as rather pro Israel but many many Canadians are speaking out about this terrible plunder on Israel’s part.
    Canada is sending to Gaza $4 million in huanitarian aid.
    We, the people ,must assert our rights,nonviolently.

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