Dec 21, 2014, RT Op-Edge
-By Eva Bartlett
*edited slightly from original
Five months ago the world watched in horror as the bully of the Middle East, the racist, colonial settler state of so-called israel, launched the most brutal massacre on the Palestinians of Gaza since the Nakba (perhaps more brutal, Palestinian friends in Gaza have said).
Lasting over twice as long as the 2008-09 war on Gaza (formerly the most-brutal massacre since the Nakba), and killing over 800 more Palestinians than in the attack six years ago, the July-August 51-day offensive killed 2,131 Palestinians and injured over 11,000, and destroyed tens of thousands of homes, buildings, businesses, hospitals, Gaza’s only power plant and other key components of Gaza’s infrastructure.
Palestinian and foreign activists and journalists within the 40 kilometer-long strip of open-air prison tweeted and live-streamed images more horrific than the best Hollywood productions. Weathered journalists broke down sobbing at the sight of Palestinian civilians, especially children being targeted like prey by one of the world’s most wickedly powerful armies and navies. Doctors who have seen the mutilated corpses and scarcely-living bodies of Palestinian elderly, men, women and children many times before were yet still appalled by the brutality of these latest attacks.
Worldwide, protesters, journalists of integrity called the bombardment of Gaza genocidal (as israeli officials and politicians called for genocide). One of the most shocking of many images was that of 4-year-old Saher Abu Namous‘s half blown-off head, his father cradling him and wailing. Entire families were murdered in this latest israeli offensive. Not for the first time, the israeli army bombed schools hosting internally displaced, hospitals (including a rehabilitation hospital for disabled and invalid), and entire neighborhoods.
As with prior military operations, the israelis in 2014 targeted water and sewage lines, electricity networks, hospitals, primary health centers, ambulances and medics, bridges and major roads, key governmental buildings, schools and universities.They went further and attacked water, electricity and sanitation personnel, killing at least 14, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted. The resulting electricity, water and sanitation crises are such that until November, power was out 18 hours a day, and just 10 percent of the 1.8 million Palestinians get water once a day (for a matter of hours). As of mid-November, Oxfam reported, power cuts were 12 hours per day in some areas.
While the bombs rained down, some iIsraelis pulled up seats to watch the bloodshed, as 21st Century Wire noted: “Old sofas, garden chairs, battered car seats and upturned crates provide seating for the spectators. …Some bring bottles of beer or soft drinks and snacks. …Nearly all hold up smartphones to record the explosions or to pose grinning, perhaps with thumbs up, for selfies against a backdrop of black smoke.”
The israeli army used the same banned weapons on Palestinians this summer that they’ve used in the past two massacres, as well as “armour piercing bombs” which have “high explosive capabilities” and were used on Palestinian homes. Weapons-seekers flocked to israel after seeing the effects of its weaponry and technology. israel’s weapons industry thrives with each massacre of the Gaza testing ground.
Strangling and starving Gaza
In September 2005, the 8,500 israeli colonists finally, unwillingly left their homes on stolen land. With no Jewish colonists in Gaza, israel has since been free to lock-down all of Gaza and bomb whenever the whim occurs, with no fear of any israeli loss of life. The israelis have waged wars against Gaza every year or two since pulling their colonists out.
Since the June 28, 2006 israeli repeated bombing of Gaza’s sole power plant—destroying all six transformers – Palestinians in Gaza have neither been allowed to import the transformers and materials needed to rehabilitate the plant, nor offered an alternative solution. Through the now-destroyed tunnels, Palestinians did import smaller transformers and got the power plant hobbling again, but never to full capacity.
“The Tel Aviv regime is turning a blind eye to the deteriorating health conditions of about 1,500 sick Palestinians behind bars in Israeli prisons.
Figures show around 100 of the Palestinian inmates with health problems have been diagnosed with cancer and chronic diseases and are in need of immediate care.
Human rights organizations have called on Israel to immediately release the Palestinian inmates diagnosed with serious illnesses.
“Any one visiting the Israeli hospitals, where sick Palestinian prisoners are kept, discovers that the jails might be better. We have always believed that the appropriate solution to treat the prisoners is through releasing them,” said Tayseer al-Ali, with the Palestinian Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights.
Reports say over 7,000 Palestinians are being held in Israeli jails. Approximately 2,000 of the Palestinian prisoners have been arrested over the past few months.
On September 26, the Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies said Israel was holding 540 Palestinians without trial, showing an increase in the number of these cases over the past six years.”
Sam Bahour, Why must Gaza wait in the dark?:
“When I asked my colleague in Gaza about her biggest dream, her answer made an impression on me: “I dream of what life would be like with 24-hour electricity.” CONTINUE READING
*June 29 photo from Gaza. photo: Fadi Badwan
Unsurprisingly, one hears little to no news of Gaza these days, and utterly distorted news on Palestine in general. The ongoing manufactured crises that the 1.8 million Palestinians of Gaza have been suffering since at least 2006 is old news, their misery only now and then newsworthy.
There are murmurs from the usual suspects in the Zionist state’s administration about those damn rockets from Gaza, with the vitriol of Lieberman flowing, calling to re-occupy Gaza. The thing is, while they did pull their roughly 8,000 colonists out in 2005, the Israelis never stopped occupying Gaza and, contrary to their obligations as an occupier, the various genocidal policies Israel has implemented over the years have served to further the ethnic cleansing of Palestine they have shown such talent for.
The corporate media has ignored, under-reported, or distorted the following important news items on Palestine:
“A Palestinian teenager from occupied east Jerusalem was kidnapped and killed early Wednesday, hours after Israelis rampaged through the city calling for Arabs to die in “revenge” for the deaths of three settlers by unknown assailants.
…the body, discovered in a forest in the area of Deir Yassin, was charred and showed signs of violence.
Ma’an also reported that the body had been burned.”
“In one of the most heinous crimes committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the oPt, a group of Israeli settlers kidnapped Mohammed Hussein Abu Khudair, 16, from the vicinity of his family’s house in Shu’fat neighborhood in the north of occupied Jerusalem, subjected him to brutal torture, and then killed him.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 05:00 on Wednesday, 02 July 2014, 5 Israeli settlers kidnapped the child from the vicinity of his family’s house in Shu’fat neighborhood in the north of occupied Jerusalem. A few hours later, the Israeli police declared that they found the child’s body in forest lands near “Givat Shaul” settlement, adjacent to Deir Yassin village, west of Jerusalem. The police confirmed that signs of torture and burns were seen on the child’s body.”
I had an enjoyable discussion with James Evan Pilato of Media Monarchy for his new series: Geopolitiks.
“Eva Bartlett follows in the footsteps of Rachel Corrie.” As she continues her US speaking tour about human rights in Palestine, activist and journalist Eva Bartlett joins us for the second episode of Geopolitiks to talk about her years spent volunteering in Gaza documenting the various angles of life under siege, from the “peace” talks to Israeli war crimes and much more.
first published at Crescent International, Eva Bartlett
Unusually heavy torrential rains last month inundated much of Gaza, which was already reeling from a tight Israeli-Egyptian siege since 2006. Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected with more than 5,000 evacuated from their homes. Power outages of 20-22 hours daily, or complete days, have become the norm, affecting every facet of life in Gaza.
The Gaza Strip, a 40 km long, 12 km at its widest point, 365 square metre strip of land is host to 1.7 million Palestinians, two thirds of whom are refugees.
While Gaza’s suffering extends decades back, since 2006 much of the world has cut ties with Gaza, and since 2007 Israel, supported by Egyptian and Western powers, has enforced a full blockade on the Strip.
It is not merely an economic blockade, but rather a full lock-down on movement, goods, access to health care outside, and limiting the import of fuel, cooking gas, and medicines, to name some items, into the enclave. It impacts on every facet of life imaginable.
In November 2008, I joined a boat of European Parliamentarians sailing from Cyprus to the Strip, attempting to symbolically break the blockade. Apart from the act of solidarity, it was also my sole means of entering Gaza. With all but one border crossing controlled by israel, and the remaining crossing by the complicit Mubarak rule in Egypt, entry by sea was the only option. However, the outcome was not certain: israel also controls Palestinian waters.
Storm exacerbates sewage crisis in Gaza, Dec 20, 2013
On 13 November, more than 35,000 cubic meters of raw sewage overflowed when the Zaytoun pumping station failed, affecting 3,000 nearby residents. Just as the mess was being cleaned up, the area was again inundated — this time with approximately twice as much waste — when heavy rains fell over the Gaza Strip between 11 and 15 December. CONTINUE READING