An open letter for the people in Gaza
This letter is published under the Freedom of Information Act: “Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.”
We are doctors and scientists, who spend our lives developing means to care and protect health and lives. We are also informed people; we teach the ethics of our professions, together with the knowledge and practice of it. We all have worked in and known the situation of Gaza for years.
On the basis of our ethics and practice, we are denouncing what we witness in the aggression of Gaza by Israel.
We ask our colleagues, old and young professionals, to denounce this Israeli aggression. We challenge the perversity of a propaganda that justifies the creation of an emergency to masquerade a massacre, a so-called “defensive aggression”. In reality it is a ruthless assault of unlimited duration, extent, and intensity. We wish to report the facts as we see them and their implications on the lives of the people.
We are appalled by the military onslaught on civilians in Gaza under the guise of punishing terrorists. This is the third large scale military assault on Gaza since 2008. Each time the death toll is borne mainly by innocent people in Gaza, especially women and children under the unacceptable pretext of Israel eradicating political parties and resistance to the occupation and siege they impose.
This action also terrifies those who are not directly hit, and wounds the soul, mind, and resilience of the young generation. Our condemnation and disgust are further compounded by the denial and prohibition for Gaza to receive external help and supplies to alleviate the dire circumstances.
The blockade on Gaza has tightened further since last year and this has worsened the toll on Gaza’s population. In Gaza, people suffer from hunger, thirst, pollution, shortage of medicines, electricity, and any means to get an income, not only by being bombed and shelled. Power crisis, gasoline shortage, water and food scarcity, sewage outflow and ever decreasing resources are disasters caused directly and indirectly by the siege.1
People in Gaza are resisting this aggression because they want a better and normal life and, even while crying in sorrow, pain, and terror, they reject a temporary truce that does not provide a real chance for a better future. A voice under the attacks in Gaza is that of Um Al Ramlawi who speaks for all in Gaza: “They are killing us all anyway—either a slow death by the siege, or a fast one by military attacks. We have nothing left to lose—we must fight for our rights, or die trying.”2
Gaza has been blockaded by sea and land since 2006. Any individual of Gaza, including fishermen venturing beyond 3 nautical miles of the coast of Gaza, face being shot by the Israeli Navy. No one from Gaza can leave from the only two checkpoints, Erez or Rafah, without special permission from the Israelis and the Egyptians, which is hard to come by for many, if not impossible. People in Gaza are unable to go abroad to study, work, visit families, or do business. Wounded and sick people cannot leave easily to get specialized treatment outside Gaza. Entries of food and medicines into Gaza have been restricted and many essential items for survival are prohibited.3 Before the present assault, medical stock items in Gaza were already at an all time low because of the blockade.3 They have run out now. Likewise, Gaza is unable to export its produce. Agriculture has been severely impaired by the imposition of a buffer zone, and agricultural products cannot be exported due to the blockade. 80% of Gaza’s population is dependent on food rations from the UN.
Much of Gaza’s buildings and infrastructure had been destroyed during Operation Cast Lead, 2008—09, and building materials have been blockaded so that schools, homes, and institutions cannot be properly rebuilt. Factories destroyed by bombardment have rarely been rebuilt adding unemployment to destitution.
Despite the difficult conditions, the people of Gaza and their political leaders have recently moved to resolve their conflicts “without arms and harm” through the process of reconciliation between factions, their leadership renouncing titles and positions, so that a unity government can be formed abolishing the divisive factional politics operating since 2007. This reconciliation, although accepted by many in the international community, was rejected by Israel. The present Israeli attacks stop this chance of political unity between Gaza and the West Bank and single out a part of the Palestinian society by destroying the lives of people of Gaza. Under the pretext of eliminating terrorism, Israel is trying to destroy the growing Palestinian unity. Among other lies, it is stated that civilians in Gaza are hostages of Hamas whereas the truth is that the Gaza Strip is sealed by the Israelis and Egyptians.
Gaza has been bombed continuously for the past 14 days followed now by invasion on land by tanks and thousands of Israeli troops. More than 60 000 civilians from Northern Gaza were ordered to leave their homes. These internally displaced people have nowhere to go since Central and Southern Gaza are also subjected to heavy artillery bombardment. The whole of Gaza is under attack. The only shelters in Gaza are the schools of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), uncertain shelters already targeted during Cast Lead, killing many.
According to Gaza Ministry of Health and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA),1 as of July 21, 149 of the 558 killed in Gaza and 1100 of the 3504 wounded are children. Those buried under the rubble are not counted yet. As we write, the BBC reports of the bombing of another hospital, hitting the intensive care unit and operating theatres, with deaths of patients and staff. There are now fears for the main hospital Al-Shifa. Moreover, most people are psychologically traumatized in Gaza. Anyone older than 6 years has already lived through their third military assault by Israel.
The massacre in Gaza spares no one, and includes the disabled and sick in hospitals, children playing on the beach or on the roof top, with a large majority of non-combatants. Hospitals, clinics, ambulances, mosques, schools, and press buildings have all been attacked, with thousands of private homes bombed, clearly directing fire to target whole families killing them within their homes, depriving families of their homes by chasing them out a few minutes before destruction. An entire area was destroyed on July 20, leaving thousands of displaced people homeless, beside wounding hundreds and killing at least 70—this is way beyond the purpose of finding tunnels. None of these are military objectives. These attacks aim to terrorize, wound the soul and the body of the people, and make their life impossible in the future, as well as also demolishing their homes and prohibiting the means to rebuild.
Weaponry known to cause long-term damages on health of the whole population are used; particularly non fragmentation weaponry and hard-head bombs.4, 5 We witnessed targeted weaponry used indiscriminately and on children and we constantly see that so-called intelligent weapons fail to be precise, unless they are deliberately used to destroy innocent lives.
We denounce the myth propagated by Israel that the aggression is done caring about saving civilian lives and children’s well-being.
Israel’s behavior has insulted our humanity, intelligence, and dignity as well as our professional ethics and efforts. Even those of us who want to go and help are unable to reach Gaza due to the blockade.
This “defensive aggression” of unlimited duration, extent, and intensity must be stopped.
Additionally, should the use of gas be further confirmed, this is unequivocally a war crime for which, before anything else, high sanctions will have to be taken immediately on Israel with cessation of any trade and collaborative agreements with Europe.
As we write, other massacres and threats to the medical personnel in emergency services and denial of entry for international humanitarian convoys are reported.6 We as scientists and doctors cannot keep silent while this crime against humanity continues. We urge readers not to be silent too. Gaza trapped under siege, is being killed by one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated modern military machines. The land is poisoned by weapon debris, with consequences for future generations. If those of us capable of speaking up fail to do so and take a stand against this war crime, we are also complicit in the destruction of the lives and homes of 1·8 million people in Gaza.
We register with dismay that only 5% of our Israeli academic colleagues signed an appeal to their government to stop the military operation against Gaza. We are tempted to conclude that with the exception of this 5%, the rest of the Israeli academics are complicit in the massacre and destruction of Gaza. We also see the complicity of our countries in Europe and North America in this massacre and the impotence once again of the international institutions and organizations to stop this massacre.
His user name fowlsegs writes a reddit in response to the article “We have nothing to lose:I would rather die with my family under the rubble of our house than having a humiliating truce’=: Palestinian youth demand justice“
The article was submitted by user onicc in reddit.com/r/worldnews and in less than six hours it position itself in one of the most read posts in worldnews reddit.
The sad part of the article is that is about the death and destruction of Gaza, Palestine.
fowlslegs writes the following:
Wrote the following in the comment section of the post “Cellphone Video Captures Gaza Civilian Shot and Killed By Sniper,” but I thought I should share this here too. Obviously the first paragraph or so is out of context here, but I think the rest is important for to read (esp. for Americans).
Whether or not this video is real is trivial. If you think there’s no way it’s real you haven’t been doing your research. There are a huge number of extremely racist and angry Israelis and things like this are constantly happening. That’s why the civilian death toll is so high. Dozens of civilians have died from shelling today. Make no mistake many have been intentional.
Don’t you realize Israel wants to kill Palestinian civilians to punish them because they believe there is great support from Hamas? That’s why Gazans are denied ambulances, fishing territory, food and international aide, etc.. That’s why they have curfews and have their papers checked and their bodies groped at checkpoints within their own territory. That’s why it’s called the world’s largest prison.
Considering the following conclusion United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (2009).
The operations were in furtherance of an overall policy aimed at punishing the Gaza population for its resilience and for its apparent support for Hamas, and possibly with the intent of forcing a change in such support.
Read the Wikipedia articles about racism in Israel. Arab Israelis are largely segregated from Jewish Israelis and find themselves disadvantaged in terms of social mobility, education, and under the law. You’ll see from polls that the vast majority of Israelis are not afraid to admit they believe they are a superior people to Arabs and that they would prefer they and their family not have to share apartment buildings, playgrounds, schools, hospitals, etc. with their children.
Read the book Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation by Eyal Weizman. You’ll learn about how in the colonized (settled) areas of the West Bank, where Israelis bulldoze Palestinian homes to make room for their own, they drive on separate roads, live in gated communities, etc.. It becomes clear why the South African apartheid analogy comes into play.
Make no mistake: Israel wishes to colonize all of Palestine. That’s why they won’t consider any peace treaty which makes them give up the massive amount of land and resources they’ve taken, even though, AFAIK, every country has categorically rejected the legality of their land grab. Look at the history of their illegal housing demolitions, their settlements and outposts, their massive infrastructure within Palestinian territory, and their division of West Bank with numerous extensions of the West Bank Barrier. Their ethnic cleansing and Judaizing of space. Look at this historical map. That isn’t self-defense. Read about the huge number of settlers, citizens, and politicians who deny Palestine’s existence as a state. That isn’t self-defense. Read about the history of the Zionist movement.
I see people commenting about how it’s foolish to take sides when you don’t know what’s going on. I disagree. Take the side of the Palestinian and of the Israeli citizen. Invest yourself thoroughly in what’s going on. Something needs to be done about Hamas and terror attacks on Israeli citizens, but the situation for Palestinian civilians is much more pressing, and not only during times of war. (They experience violence, the destruction of their homes, the colonization of their land, checkpoints, curfews, discrimination, denial of access to building materials, medical and school supplies, etc.. See the film Six Broken Cameras to see examples of this happening and how the Palestinian civilian body has largely reacted.) Additionally, the amelioration of the living conditions of Palestinians is much cheaper (actually negative in expense, arguably) and easier than the elimination of a terror group that works largely in secret (see the continued existence of al-Qaeda, the Taliban, etc.).
As Reddit is largely US citizens we can actually do somethings about it. A conservative estimate of direct US aid to Israel puts the number at more than $130 billion. We are financing this imperialism with our words and dollar.
If you want to help Palestinian citizens, I suggest joining the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement as a first step.
Boycott products made by Israeli or US companies operating in stolen Palestinian land and products made by corporations who provide the infrastructure for the operation. You can find a list of such companies online. One example is US corporation Caterpillar, whose bulldozers are used to destroy Palestinian homes.
Support divestment of your company, school, etc. from these corporations and also from any Israeli government owned business. Start a Students for Justice in Palestine group at your college/ University or join the one that already exists.
Call and email your national representatives and demand that aid to Israel’s military must be cut. Explain why using some of what I’ve written above or your own argument.
I hope this argument got through to at least a few of you. Fighting colonialism is a lot easier than fighting terrorism.
Written by an Atheist Jew with family in Israel. My family there is against the occupation and colonization.
“We have nothing left to lose. I would rather die with my family under the rubble of our house than have a humiliating truce’: Palestinian youth demand justice”
Palestinians in Gaza have been suffering a long blockade from the outside world, such blockade, was placed by Israel and enforced in part by Egypt by closing Rafah crossing, which it is the only other border to the outside world.
Palestinians in Gaza see the siege to the Strip worse than a direct war at them, the siege of Gaza is a slow death. A truce with Israel that does not include end of the blockade is only temporary cease of fire.
Fishermen are harassed everyday by Israel boats that illegally patrol Gaza’s waters. Fisherman are confined to a 3 nautical miles to fish.
Excerpt from 3 Miles to Fish or Die,
“Why did you break the 3 mile limit?” an Israeli soldier asked him.
“During Oslo, we were allowed to reach 20 miles so why do you prevent us from going past 3 miles? These 3 miles not enough,” Al-Hesy responded.
Gaza is not a pleasant place to be. The Israeli occupation smothers and suffocates, it makes one highly attuned to one’s surroundings in unnatural ways, or ways that were once natural but should no longer be. Notes from behind the Blockade
I took a much-needed shower after a day of harvesting olives near the buffer zone and my skin still burns. My eyes itch as well. I’m not quite sure what this is about. Gaza’s water contamination is well-documented — Israel damaged the sewage facilities here during “Operation Cast Lead” causing sewage to penetrate Gaza’s coastal aquifer. There is a high level nitrates in the water here (nitrates come from waste and cause “blue baby syndrome”) as well as high saline levels (tap water is undrinkable), but I haven’t heard anything about this weird itching and burning. International Activist in Gaza
There’s a serious Israeli blockade of Gaza. You’ll notice Israeli fences, boundaries, and supervised crossings all around Gaza. Israel heavily controls the flow of goods through these channels, including food, medicine, construction materials, and the like. The state reason it does that is to limit Hamas’ ability to resupply itself militarily; for instance, Hamas and other militant groups often home-build rockets that get fired into Israeli towns and cities. These restrictions also severely affect civilians. To deal with the military and civilian effects of the blockade, Hamas built well over a thousand tunnels out of Gaza — mostly into Egypt. Israel’s stated reason for the ground incursion into Gaza is shutting down tunnels into Israel built for attacks, but it also may want to shut down Hamas supply tunnels into Egypt. Vox.com
Jerusalem Post published on last week an Egyptian proposed cease of fire that many in Gaza believes to be Israel crafted, such cease of fire agreement was rejected by Hamas for the simple reason that they were not invited to participate in the conversations and the cease of fire does not help to end the conflict in Gaza at all, it is simply temporary cease of fire.
Historically Israel has broke every cease of fire signed when continues with the target assassinations on Palestinian leaders in Gaza and around the world, the latest target assassinations during negotiated cease fire Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, on January 19, 2010 and Ahmed Jabari who Hours before to be assassinated, he have received the draft of a permanent truce agreement with Israel, which included mechanisms for maintaining the cease-fire in the case of a flare-up between Israel and the factions in the Gaza Strip.
Gaza ask 10 very easy achievable points to end the rockets to Israel:
End completely Gaza siege including the 3-fishing-nautical-miles, release of all political prisoners including the prisoners re-arrested after Shilat deal exchange, release the 500 or so arrested in West Bank after the 3 Israeli soldiers were killed, including Hamas members of Palestinian parliament , stop the assassination of Palestinian political leaders and and international supervision of the Gazan seaport in place of the current Israeli blockade, which was suggested by Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Attiyah, on July 14, 2014
I leave you to reflect on the words of Benjamin Netayahu included in a book he co_authored in 1986, in his words he explain exactly why Israeli actions against the Palestinians are carried out. He is doing exactly what he said in 1986.
Benjamin Netayahu best known by Bibi in 1986 co-authored a book called TERRORISM How The West Can Win. In the Chapter “Defining Terrorism”, you find the following statement.
“For in addition to random killing, terrorist often engage in assassinations of society’s leaders. Assassinations, in fact is important to the genesis of modern terrorism, emerging from an older tradition that maintains that a society can be reshaped, or a creed cleansed, by eliminating its leaders or ruling class. For the TERRORIST, assassination is the precursor of mass murder, and both constitute the principal weapons in his arsenal.” Benjamin Netayahu, 1986 in his book TERRORISM
This graphic was published by ABC World News showing the number of Palestinians killed vs Israeli killed in this unmistakeably unequal war. claimed that the number of casualties are because the “Collapse on a proposal cease of fire” that had broadly been blamed on Hamas. ABCWN failed to mentions that #Hamas was not invited to the cease of fire meetings. Pretty much like Oslo accord where Egypt, US, and Israel decided the luck of the Palestinian people without inviting the Palestinian leaders to the secret meetings.
It can not be “The collapse of….” because a proposal is not a cease of fire, and the proposal not implemented is not the cause to more casualties, but the irresponsibility of Israel that is engage in a genocidal mission in Gaza.
This Is What the Growing Death Toll in Gaza Looks Like: The fatality count in the ongoing attacks between Israel and Gaza has risen throughout the day after the proposed cease-fire agreement failed, said ABCWN Diana sawyer in her facebook page.
CNN continues twisting the facts reporting that, “Israel destroys Hamas facilities” counting residential buildings, schools, mosques, and hospitals as Hamas facilities.
None of the big media outlets had reported accurate, and unbiased news. They old failed their role as communicators, as News outlets, all had failed the people.
I see few truths on the development of the Palestinian resistance.
1.- Israel is making sure to kill the militants in Gaza, West Bank and Jerusalem.
Israel would not be questioned because the international community – I mean the leaders, the organizations in charge to record human rights abuses, and the Institutions that have direct or indirect relations with Israel – will not raise public outrage because according to international treaties Israel has the right to defend itself from attacks, or in the case of Palestine, future attacks.
2.- Israel is making easy for the intellectuals to leave the territories to go abroad to “study” knowing that these bright minds will not come back to Palestine.
The people that leave Palestine to study they do with the idea of not coming back. We can not blame them, they have the right to dream a better future.
Seven years ago that I started being very active in the Palestinian Solidarity Movement I started with hundreds of friends from the territories and now I look back and look for them and I’m finding out that many of them had moved on with their lives. They left Palestine to study and they never came back.
Was this part of Israel plan to get rid of them?
I do not know but I m happy for them that had made it out. Out of the danger of the bombs, the uncertainty of a secure job, the difficulties that the occupation brings to the people.
On the other hand, I m sad because they left their land, the land that their grandparents died for, that land that they themselves fought so hard to keep but at the end they left following their dreams.
Few years ago when I noticed this phenomenon in the Palestinian community I commented with some Palestinian friends and they just nodded their heads saying that Palestine does not offer anything, the ones that fight are the passionate, the idealist but the realists only looking to feed their families and end the violence that had taken their sons for too long.
A big smile and hug for my Palestinians friends that left Palestine for a better future
I wish them good luck and hope they keep the fight for their land. Now they had become Internationals like the rest of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement.
I originally wrote this poem Inseparable Twins for a dear friend from Gaza (over the years I adopted him as virtual son), but now I expand the dedication to all Palestinians that leave Palestine following their dreams.
May 4, 2014
Palestinian Children Relief’s Fund’s communications officer, Eloise Bollack shared by mail the following information regarding the International Gaza Mission that arrived in Gaza last week.
The 12-team-member is comprised of volunteers doctors and nurses who are taking part in a humanitarian mission that will last a week, where they will perform various heart operations in the European Hospital located in the southern refugee camp of Khan Younis in The Gaza Strip, Palestine.
“International mission – Pediatric Cardiac Surgery
European Gaza Hospital – Khan Younis, Gaza Strip – 2 to 9 May 2014
On May 2, a 12-member team of doctors and nurses, mainly from the United Kingdom, but also including
members from Jordan, Portugal, Palestine and the USA, crossed Erez checkpoint into Gaza to start a week of
pediatric cardiac surgery on babies with congenital heart disease at the European Gaza Hospital in Khan Younis in the Southern Strip. Led by surgeon Dr. B. Sethia from the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, who has been volunteering with the PCRF for fifteen years, the team includes volunteers in many areas of specialties related to this field.
The team started with the screening of 15 cases on their first day; and they will undertake 10 surgeries during
this week mission. In the meanwhile, they will share their skills with local doctors.
This is the third cardiac mission to Gaza in 2014 and part of our “Healing Hearts” project to build a program
there. We are partnering with Cycling 4 Gaza to help treat these kids in the besieged strip.
The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund is an apolitical nonprofit humanitarian medical relief organization providing
free medical care to thousands of sick and injured children from the Middle East. In 2013, PCRF sponsored 81
volunteer surgery missions in the Middle East, providing 1495 operations for needy children. In addition, 63
children were sent abroad for free medical care that they could not get locally.” PCRF Press Release
At this moment is the only information we have, later on today, will be updating this report with question answers from some of the team members.
Palestine Children Relief’s Fund is a Non-profit organization, this organization is always in need of donations to fulfill its mission.
You can go to their web site at PCRF and make a small donation.
The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) is a non-political, non-profit organization dedicated to healing the wounds of war, occupation and poverty for children in the Middle East, regardless of their nationality, religion, race or gender.
Games Over-The world is too comfortable playing the game.
Gaza’s electricity problems is the last of the concern for the Palestinian people. If you look around, you will see that 25 percent of the population of the world does not have electricity. According to International Energy Agency 1.5 Billion people have no electricity, that is almost half of the world popular, majority of people lit themselves with other elements such: candles, charcoal, petrol, crude oil, and raw fire. Electricity is almost a 21 century invention.
To center our attention on Gaza’s electricity problem is to give Israel what they want, a diversión to the real problem that it is the occupation of Palestine.
Soon we will see the Royal Gulf Kings, coming with their offering-Three Wise Kings Biblical Story- of Petro-dirty-bloody dollars to alleviate Gaza’s electricity problem. Soon, we might also see a resolution calling for Egypt, to Ease, The Rafah Crossing blockade, but we won’t see the real solution, a real call for an end of the occupation. Every one seems to be missing the point.
It is time to call spades as spades and call Israel an Apartheid Entity an illegal usurper, an entity legitimized by British Rich friends in the UN in 1948.
A slowly genocide is taking place in the Land of Palestine; ethnic cleansing is methodically performed in Palestine; “ethnic cleansing, the attempt to create ethnically homogeneous geographic areas through the deportation or forcible displacement of persons belonging to particular ethnic groups. Ethnic cleansing sometimes involves the removal of all physical vestiges of the targeted group through the destruction of monuments, cemeteries, and houses of worship.” Encyclopedia Britannica
Israel is experimenting with its new weapons using Palestinians as a drills targets for its dirty wars, and the world is busy trying to brake Gaza blockade. Isn’t ironic that contingent of people are planing Gaza convoys, in a way to brake Israel Gaza siege? I’m not saying that this is not good, it is great that people show their compassion with the side of the weak. But the time has come to change the name of the game, we can not be using our energy on small battles. The problem is Israel and has to go, there is no other way.
The times has come to call for the dismantling the whole Apartheid Entity of Israel. The Zionist plan is being exposed. People stop being part of the game. The Holocaust was designed. The whole Nazi Party was part of the plan, the Vatican, The Rich Jews; all of them took part, and they have succeed, until the internet came to expose them.
Every one in Palestine fighting for the rights of Palestinians; should be fighting for the returning of the land to its owners and that means, to leave themselves the land taken from Palestinians. Everyone fighting inside of Palestine for the right of refugees, have to start looking for a place to go. All the resident of Palestine that holds an Israel citizenship, that came after the 1918 and 1948 exodus that resulted in the expulsion of a Palestinian family should be going back to their original countries; them and their children. It is just the right thing to do, for the sake of Justice and truth.
There is so much hypocrisy going on in between the Israelis that support Palestine; helping trying to ease the guilt of the occupation. An Israeli fighting shoulder to shoulder with a Palestinian, has only credibility if, he/she is original native of Palestine.
Time to End Apartheid Israel. History has no space for wars of conquest. The European Voyages of Exploration, were a salvage past of the human history. It’s time to evolve and modernize our thoughts.
There is no chosen race, there is no chosen people, there is no promise land, There is only Palestine. Viva Free Palestine.
Day 34 respectively .. Gaza without electricity, every time a few years ago to hear the Palestinian citizen and returns and plans to solve the electricity problem, but discovered it just lies citizen such as injection of anesthesia .. The question remains on the table in front of us .. How long will the world remain silent in front of the siege on Gaza??
Where the Security Council and human rights organizations, I think it’s best to cancel these organizations for their inability to carry its functions to human rights.
Palestinian people die a slow death and no ones lift a finger.