January 9, 2009
1) The Demolition of Rafah (Gaza, 7th January 2009)
Jenny Linnel a British ISM volunteer in Rafah said following escalated Israeli attacks in Rafah, “Shortly before midnight on the 6th of January, missiles began raining down on Rafah in one of the heaviest Israeli air strikes since the current atrocities began. Continuous sorties pounded the southern Gaza city for over 12 hours. Many homes were destroyed or severely damaged, especially in the neighbourhoods along the border with Egypt.”
According to Fida Qishta Rafah resident and ISM activist, “Papers dropped from planes in Rafah neighborhood ordered people to leave their homes in the areas stretching from the borderline all the way back to Sea Street, the main street running through the heart of Rafah, parallel to the border.
This area is hundreds of metres deep and the site of thousands of homes. Most of these areas are refugee camps, where residents are being made refugees yet again, some for the third or fourth time following the mass home demolitions of 2003 and 2004 by Israeli military D-9 bulldozers. People are told to leave their homes but even if they leave they are attacked.
Nowhere is safe in the Gaza strip. Where will these families go? They are afraid to seek sanctuary in local UNRWA schools following yesterday’s massacres in Jabaliya. They are afraid to drive somewhere and be shot down on the road like the Sinwar family was. They are being temporarily absorbed by the rest of Rafah’s population friends, neighbours, relatives.” Jenny added, “We have a friend in Yibna, directly on the border, who refuses to leave his home. We spoke to one woman in Al Barazil who has a family of 12 and simply doesn’t know where to go and another woman in Block J who is literally in the street tonight. Her father is in his nineties.
The family home where ISM volunteers are staying is on the other side of the city centre and has become a refuge for three other families tonight. The house is filled with excited chatter and lots of children. Palestinians have a long-learned talent of making- do, but there is no escaping the deep sense of uncertainty..”
Referring to hundreds of homes that were demolished in Rafah along the Egyptian border in 2002 former Israeli OC Southern Command, Yom Tov Samiah, contended in an interview to the “Voice of Israel” on the 16 January 2002.January 2002 that, “These houses should have been demolished and evacuated a long time ago, because the Rafah border is not a natural border, it cannot be defended. Three hundred meters of the Strip along the two sides of the border must be evacuated. Three hundred meters, no matter how many houses, period.”
The six hundred meter buffer zone that the former OC Southern Command of the Israeli Occupation Forces referred to seven years ago seems to be Israel’s goal in the latest wave of demolitions.
ISM media coordinator Adam Taylor stated, “Israel wants a buffer zone in Rafah in order to besiege Gaza more effectively. The tunnels that ran under the border with Egypt have become Gaza’s life line during the prolonged Israeli siege and served as the only source for basic necessities such as fuel and medicine that Israel did not allow into the Gaza strip. This recent wide scale destruction of private property of the occupied people of Rafah is not a military necessity.
One war crime is being committed in order to reinforce another – that of collective punishment.” Adam Taylor – International Solidarity Movement
To my friends in Gaza, our thoughts are with you in this terrible time. We can’t be there with you, but we’re doing what we can to try and stop this. Please stay strong.
To everyone else, please support us in our quest to end this invasion of Gaza and help us bring peace and justice to the Palestinians.
From the latest Palestine Solidarity Campaign email
The depravity with which the Israeli Government is inflicting death on the people of Gaza reached a new low today as news began to leak out of yet another Israeli war crime in the town of Zeitoun.
According to the United Nations the events in a second shelter in the town represents ‘one of the gravest events since the beginning of the offensive.’
Eyewitness accounts obtained by the UN describe how, on the 4th January, the IDF rounded up 110 people, half of them children and moved them into a single story home. The IDF told the people they were being led to their safety.
Then 24 hours later the IDF bombed the shelter killing 30 people. According to the Red Cross and the UN, the IDF’s refusal to allow humanitarian access to the area for four days was because of this incident.
Following this incident the Red Cross issued a statement on the deaths of children killed by the Israeli Army in which they said that there had been a 250% increase in deaths to children since the ground invasion.
Read the BBC report here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7819492.stm
Here’s the latest update from the Red Cross
Israel allowed the ICRC to get blood supplies (but don’t say how much) and 1000 tetanus injections into Gaza. The injections are given to the wounded to help reduce the chance of infection. Only 1000 when there are over 3000 known wounded already. A pittance, just crumbs from the Israeli table.
If you live in the UK, the PSC have set up a web page with a pre written letter that they will use to forward to your MP. It literally takes a couple of minutes and will exert pressure on them to act. It calls on them to pressure the Government into taking real action that will force Israel to end its invasion and siege on Gaza.
All you have to do is visit http://www.iparl.com/lobby-psc/widget.html and put in your postcode – easy as that.
Please take the time to do this, small actions like this can make a difference.
Don’t forget there are demonstrations in London and Edinburgh tomorrow. Last Saturday’s had over 60,000 people there.
NATIONAL DEMONSTRATION: SATURDAY 10 JANUARY
STOP THE MASSACRE : ISRAEL OUT OF GAZA
SPEAKERS CORNER,HYDE PARK (Nearest tube Marble Arch)
MARCH TO ISRAELI EMBASSY High St Kensington, London W8
MARCH ROUTE: Speakers Corner at Hyde Park, Bayswater, Notting Hill Gate, left into Kensington Church Street, left into Kensington High Street, past the Israeli Embassy. There will be rallies with speakers at Speakers Corner and at the end of the march.
ALL SCOTLAND DEMONSTRATION 10 JANUARY
STOP THE MASSACRE: ISRAEL OUT OF GAZA
DEMONSTRATION IN EDINBURGH
SATURDAY 10 JANUARY 2009
EAST MARKET STREET Behind Edinburgh Waverley train station
MARCH THROUGH CITY CENTRE TO US CONSULATE
Bring in-date medicine for Gaza, and spare shoes.
Supported by Stop the War Scotland, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Pauline McNeil MSP, Sandra White MSP, Muslim Association of Britain, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign, Lebanese Community Scotland, Scottish Afghan Society, Scottish Islamic Foundation.