Monday, January 26, 2009

What now?

Many Israeli Jews empathise with the plight and suffering of the Palestinians as this letter printed in today's Jordan Times shows .... but empathy is not enough to stop evil in its tracks. We need you, Barbara et al, to rise up in Israel itself and make your voices heard to enforce the change this region so desperately needs. Bush's America wanted a 'new Middle East' ... let's pray that Obama's America will start with change in Israel itself .... so that all the crimes against humanity committed by the Fascists in government and the IDF will be pursued ... regardless of how much money the Israeli government can muster to cover its tracks. The truth will out. J

Greater than expected

I entered the Gaza Strip Wednesday night with a friend and fellow activist after waiting for 10 hours at a border crossing. The destruction and trauma is even greater than I expected.

In two short days I met with families who were given minutes to evacuate their homes and are now living in overcrowded UN schools; I saw the ruins of bombed greenhouses; I looked out the window at fields and roads torn up by the tread of Israeli tanks; and I visited two universities where Middle East Children’s Alliance supports students with scholarships - severely damaged by Israeli bombs.

Of all the devastation I have seen so far, there is one story in particular that I think the world needs to hear. I met a mother who was at home with her 10 children when Israeli soldiers entered the house. The soldiers told her she had to choose five of her children to “give as a gift to Israel”. As she screamed in horror, they repeated the demand and told her she could choose or they would choose for her. Then the soldiers murdered five of her children in front of her.

The concept of “Jewish morality” is truly dead. We can be fascists, terrorists, and Nazis just like everybody else.

Two days later I visited Jabaliya refugee camp and the Zaytoun neighbourhood of Gaza City, two of the areas hardest hit by Israel’s brutal attacks. Pharmacies, schools and homes were indiscriminately hit in Jabaliya.

In Zaytoun, I saw families gathering wood from charred trees. The almost two-year blockade of Gaza has deprived people of cooking gas, so these terrified families build fires to keep warm and cook the little food they can get.

I talked to people on the street who told stories of wild dogs coming to eat their dead neighbours, relatives bleeding to death because Israel would not allow emergency workers into the area, and Israeli soldiers entering houses to beat and kill.

But despite the immense mourning and devastation, people are starting to put their lives back together. Sabreen, a young woman from Rafah, told me: “We are a strong people. No matter how many times Israel bombs us we are not leaving. We will keep trying to live as normal a life as possible.”

Barbara Lubin,
Gaza City,


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