January 13, 2009

ISM Media Update 13 January 09

Posted in ISM Updates tagged , , , , , at 5:44 pm by Alexia

from:  http://www.palsolidarity.org
European MEPs enter Gaza

(Gaza, January 11, 2009)

Luisa Morgantini, Vice President of the European Parliament, and the MEPs delegation entered to Gaza Strip, today 11th January 2009, through Rafah border crossing.

 The delegation ­ composed by 8 MEPs belonging to different political groups and by one Member of the Italian Senate – will stay in Gaza from Saturday 10 to Tuesday 13 January, when the MEPs will come back to Strasbourg to report back about the situation to the Plenary session of the EU Parliament and they will hold a press conference.
In Gaza the delegation will be staying with UNRWA and visit refugee camps, hospitals and towns.
The MEPs are grateful to the Egyptian Authority and UNRWA for their cooperation and support.
MEPs Participants: Luisa Morgantini (Italy) David Hammerstein Mintz (Spain) Hélène Flautre (France) Véronique de Keyser (Belgium) Miguel Portas (Porturgal) Feleknas Uca (Germany) Chris Davies (UK) Kyriacos Triantaphyllides (Cypre) Alberto Maritati (Italy) Member of the Italian Senate
ISM video of Israel troops shooting Palestinian paramedics in Jabaliya
(Gaza, January 11, 2009)
A Palestinian medic, traveling with two International Solidarity Movement volunteers, has been shot by Israeli forces in Jabaliya, northern Gaza.
Red Crescent medic, Hassan al-Attal, was shot through the thigh while collecting a civilian killed by Israeli fire from Zemmo, east of Jabaliya refugee camp.
Israel is targeting medics
By Eva Bartlett
(Gaza, January 12, 2009) On 7 January, as Spanish human rights advocate and documentary filmmaker, Alberto Arce, and I accompanied Palestinian medics to retrieve the body of a man shot earlier by invading Israeli forces, we were also shot at as the medics carried the body towards the ambulance. It was in Dawwar Zimmo, eastern Jabaliya, near the area which has been occupied by Israeli soldiers since the land invasion began. It’s an area where tens are thought to have been seriously injured by bombing and shooting by the Israeli army, and where many, many more will lie dead, uncollected for days, or weeks, out of reach of the medics whose duty is to retrieve them.
Hassan al-Attal and Jamal had gotten out of the ambulance, a clearly- marked 101 ambulance, and approached the corpse lying in the middle of the street. They wore their Palestine Red Crescent Society uniforms Hassan’s was bright red with reflective tape, Jamal’s bright orange and white, also with reflective tape — and approached slowly, hands empty except a stretcher to take away the body. Arce filmed as the medics picked up the dead man, put him on the stretcher and began the retreat towards the ambulance. Arce was still filming when the shots cracked out, rapidly but evidently a targeted sniper’s shot, not a machine gun. Incredibly, Hassan and Jamal continued to try to evacuate the body, running with the dead man, before finally dropping the stretcher and fleeing for their lives.
It was about 1:30 pm, the first day of Israel’s self-declared “ceasefire” and the sniper was aiming at the medical personnel. The ambulance’s siren was still screaming, the driver had been moving quickly away from the sniper, to avoid further hits on us or himself, and we were frantically scouring to find Hassan and Jamal. In the days prior to this attack, seven medics had been killed since the start of Israel’s air and ground assault on Gaza’s population. Tens more had been injured, and Hassan was to join their ranks. A sniper’s bullet caught his thigh, and as he scrambled into the ambulance, the blood seeping through his pants alerted us to his injury.
These medics are all too aware of, many all too familiar with, the mortal risks of their job in the face of invading Israeli soldiers with, apparently, no regard for the Geneva Conventions which should allow and oblige medics to reach the injured and the dead, without being fired upon by the invading army.
It was frightening. I thought we’d lost them both, and they are both young, wonderful men doing a job worthy of medals. The 10 to 15 seconds it took before Hassan and Jamal could jump into the ambulance and pull down its back door were a painfully long stretch, during which I’d feared the worst. As we pulled away, a final bullet caught the back door of the ambulance.
Medics worked quickly on Hassan’s thigh injury: the bullet had penetrated the inside of his upper left thigh, digging into muscle, and exiting a couple of inches from the entry wound. He was impressively brave about it, though obviously in a great deal of pain.
Arce’s video footage caught the incident, and is testimony to what we’ve seen, what medics have told us they’ve long endured, and what Israeli authorities belligerently continue to deny: Israel is targeting medical personnel, as Israeli forces target journalists, civilians, and these days in Gaza anything that moves. No sanctuary, no safety, no guarantee of medical service.
UNRWA emergency shelters and bombed schools
(Gaza, January 12, 2009) Across the Gaza Strip, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is setting up emergency shelters in its schools. Despite two such shelters being cynically targeted by Israeli shelling in northern Gaza last week, many families still seek refuge in UNRWA schools simply because they have nowhere else to go. The massacre on 6th January at the Al Fakhoura School and a second school in the Jabaliya refugee camp north-east of Gaza City killed nearly 50 and injured dozens more.
Two UNRWA schools in Rafah, the ‘A’ and ‘B’ Boys Preparatory Schools close to Rafah city centre, have become temporary homes for nearly 2,000 people. These emergency shelters were set up as thousands of people in Rafah fled their homes following threats by the Israeli Occupation Forces to target entire neighbourhoods lying close to border strip with Egypt. The families in one of the schools were evacuated from communities near the defunct airport on the edge of Rafah city where Israeli ground forces have been basing themselves since invading the Gaza Strip on 3rd January. Members of ISM Gaza Strip visited the schools today and met UN staff and some of the families seeking refuge there, such as the Amsi family who have about 15 members of their extended family were living together in one classroom.
They also visited the UNRWA warehouse in Rafah, where they spoke to the Area Operations Officer. He confirmed that the supplies currently getting in are not nearly enough to cope with the crisis. Approximately 200 tons of aid per day is being allowed in compared to the 2,000 tons usually brought in daily by the UNRWA. He explained that UN stocks were exhausted a while ago and that the only food people now have comes from this trickle of aid entering the strip. Anything that does get in is distributed immediately.
At approximately 3.00am on Sunday 11th January, Israeli F-16 fighter jets bombed the buildings of the Dar al-Fadila Association for Orphans, which included a school, a college, a computer centre and a mosque, on Taha Hussein Street in the Kherbat al-‘Adas neighbourhood in the north-east of Rafah. Parts of the buildings were totally destroyed and others were structurally damaged. The school had been assisting about 500 children disadvantaged children. Nearly 20 mosques have now been destroyed or severely damaged by the Israeli military since 27th December. ISM Gaza Strip documented the devastation.
The Rafah Red Crescent ambulance station is now relocating from its base in the Tel Zorob neighbourhood close to the border with Egypt, to Kherbet Al Adas on the other side of the city centre. Tel Zorob is in the area now being targeted so a planned move to the new premises was brought forward ahead of time. Numerous ambulances have been attacked by the Israeli military during the ongoing war on the Gaza Strip and 13 paramedics have been killed.



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