Posts Tagged Gaza

Remembering Sabra, Shatila and Gaza

Posted by on Tuesday, 16 September, 2014

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

On 6 June 1982, the Israeli army invaded Lebanon. The invasion was grotesquely named “Operation Peace for Galilee.” With the meaning of Peace for Israel and death for everyone else. Over all reports from Lebanese claim the Israeli invasion and subsequent bombing of Beirut killed 18,000 and 30,000 injuries. The majority of these were civilians.

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

Ultimately after about 60 days of fighting a cease-fire was finally agreed. With the PLO agreeing to pull out of the area, this was witnessed by a multinational team. Under the Reagan Administration, Philip Habib a US envoy was sent to Lebanon in 1981 to defuse the Lebanese Civil War. Habib negotiated a peace that allowed the PLO to evacuate from the besieged city of Beirut. Within this agreement West Beirut would fall under the control of the Lebanese army, and the PLO were given a US guarantee of security for the Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila camps once the 14,000 PLO fighters had withdrawn.

Despite the witnessing of the PLO having left the area and despite the promises of protection for the remaining civilians in the two camps by the US envoy Habib, Israel saw a big opportunity to use the situation to its ultimate goal of wiping out more Palestinians. Ariel Sharon unilaterally made the unfounded claim that “2,000 terrorists” were still inside the Palestinian refugee camps. Then, on 15 September the Israeli army moved in and occupied West Beirut. They then surrounded and sealed off the camps of Sabra and Shatila. Leaving the Lebanese and Palestinian civilians at the mercy of their captors.

The War Criminal Sharon personally directed the Israeli operation, placing himself in a vantage point at the Kuwait embassy located at the outskirts of the Shatila camp. Like a dictator overseeing his subjects from atop a six story building, he could see the camps of Sabra and Shatila and witness his orders being carried out. His plan began swiftly and by that afternoon the camps were shelled by the IDF under the direction of Sharon atop his perch. The following order was given “The searching and mopping up of the camps will be done by the Phalangists army.” Then the IDF gave the command to the Phalangist militia to enter the camps and “commence” the “mopping up procedure.” Israeli General Amir Drori then telephoned Ariel Sharon and said, “Our friends are advancing into the camps. We have coordinated their entry.” To which Sharon replied, “Congratulations! Our friends’ operation is approved.”

Over the next 40 hours the Phalangists raped, killed, and injured thousands of unarmed civilians, mostly children, women and elderly inside the surrounded and sealed camps.

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

The IDF were in full contact with the militia and could see what was taking place, yet they never intervened. Instead, they prevented innocent civilians from escaping their death and assisted the terrorist militia by illuminating the camps at night so the killing, raping and injuring could continue round the clock.

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

We can never know the exact number murdered, it ranges between the Israeli IDF counts of 800 to 3,500 by the Lebanese. Almost 1,000 people were dumped in communal graves by the Red Cross. Additionally family members outside the camps buried some in cemeteries in Beirut and lastly hundreds were buried beneath bulldozed buildings by the terrorist Phalangist militia in their “mopping up” operation.

Despite evidence in the UN Security Council calling Sabra and Shatila a “criminal massacre,” despite the UN finding that illegal weapons were used on civilians, Ariel Sharon the man who was found to be “personally responsible” for this war crime was never punished. Instead, the War Criminal Sharon was rewarded as a Hero by his country and was later welcomed to the White House, as a man of peace. As for the US Envoy Philip Habib who promised protection for the civilians in the camp which prompted the PLO to leave the area? Well In 1982, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom which is the highest official honor given to a US citizen by the US government.

Flash forward to December 2008, Gaza, operation “Cast Lead” and more recently “Operation Protective Edge” we see the same tactics once again inflicted on a captive population witnesss the massacre at shujaiya and other Gazan neighbourhoods.

Today Gaza is the new Sabra and Shatila, and moreover, the captive population has no way out, just like the people inside Sabra and Shatila camps. There is no one to protect them, and the world ignores this crisis. There is a progressive slow massacre in Gaza which has continued since operation Cast Lead in 2008. Nearly each week another Palestinian dies at the hands of Israel. Sometimes 1 person, other times 2 or 3 or more. Just as Sharon claimed those left trapped inside the Sabra and Shatila camps were “terrorists” Israel uses this same tactic when it murders Palestinians in Gaza. Israel has appointed itself to be judge, jury and executioner, without world supervision, investigation, transparency.. It’s a constant drip, a slow painful massacre that the world continues to ignore. Israel’s bloody history repeats itself and this will continue until the world demands otherwise.

Remember what Bobby Sands said “Everyone, Republican or otherwise, has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small; no one is too old or too young to do something.”

Determination in the Face of Israeli Brutality – The Children of Gaza

Posted by on Friday, 11 January, 2013


** Daithi Bell is a Sinn Fein Councillor and a teacher at Corpus Christi College in Belfast. He has kindly put forth the following submission after travelling out to Gaza on our most recent Delegation which took place immediately after the recent invasion of Gaza. To learn more about our program go HERE to see an example of the program go HERE.. Daithi’s report:

Sinn Fein Councillor Daithi Bell, who is also a teacher at Corpus Christi College in West Belfast, stands in the ruins of a bombed classroom in Gaza

It is with great difficulty that I will try to describe what I saw and witnessed during my visit to the destroyed schools in Gaza and the feelings I experienced. It would be wrong of me not to do so and I am duty bound to carry this message back to you all.

I experienced a mixture of emotions upon visiting the region. It was heart breaking to see the amount of devastation caused by the recent Israeli attacks on the area, combined with the high levels of poverty that are a direct result of the continued siege on the Gaza strip.

On our third day we were brought to the Ministry of Education and were shown one of the schools that was targeted during the attacks. I braced myself for the worst as I was already aware that during the Israeli assault, children had suffered the most, and the highest percentage of casualties were in fact children.

one of the many classrooms struck by Israeli missile at Umm El Khura Primary school.

I as a teacher cannot imagine teaching, never mind learning, in such conditions as I viewed bombed out classrooms and playgrounds. I asked myself constantly, how in any way could a school be considered a legitimate target?

West Belfast teacher Daithi Bell pictured with youth worker MaryKate Quinn. also from belfast, visiting bombed out school in Gaza.

Teacher Daithi Bell holds up sample of childrens school work found in the rubble of bombed classroom.

Children’s class books and work littered the floor. Huge sections of the walls and floors were missing. Tables and chairs were entangled in a mess of steel and iron. There were also holes in the walls were shrapnel from the bombs had cut like a knife through butter. I could not bare to imagine what the loss of life might have been had children been in the classrooms I saw. What I can say from seeing this is that there is no doubt that the Israeli statements saying that they were trying to target combatants is a bare faced lie! This eight day long bombardment was an attempt to break the spirit and moral of a determined, unbowed and unbroken, Palestinian people.

I am a proud Irish Republican but I believe it does not take a person to be politically motivated to realise right from wrong. It simply takes one to be human, regardless of your religious or political beliefs to see what has been inflicted upon the Palestinian people is nothing short of an act of genocide. I only hope that I in some way can make a difference.

Teacher Daithi Bell meets some former students of the bombed out school who tell about the devastating loss of their school and classrooms

Through the school twinning project that I will be working on I hope to share what I have seen with others. What we achieve as individuals may be small in the grand scheme of things, but a great man once said “Everyone, Republican or otherwise has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small, no one is too old or too young to do something.”

This applies to every just struggle across the world, and it is with the thought of those smiling faces that greeted us upon entering Gaza, despite the oppression they have suffered, that we must have a renewed determination to work harder than ever for freedom, justice and equality. Tiocfaidh ar la!

Some of the beautiful Children of Gaza

****FOR A FULL LIST OF UPCOMING REPORTS
TO BE PUBLISHED ON OUR SITE GO HERE ****

Freedom & Friendship Delegation Project #2 Basma Smile Centre

Posted by on Tuesday, 18 September, 2012

PLEASE HELP TO KEEP THEM SMILING

To donate to this project via credit card or paypal go HERE

Some of the beautiful children getting help from the Basma Smile Centre

In March of this year Irish Friends of Palestine traveled to Gaza and visited the Basma Centre where we met with Mr. Anwar Abu Mosa and Raida Abu Hamad who run the Centre and as part of our special friendship with Khan Younis we undertook to spread the word about the Centre and to ask the Irish people to help the children who are attending the centre.

March 2012 Irish Friends of PalestineDelegation meeting with Basma Centre in Khan Younis.

Hearing your mothers voice is something we all pretty much take for granted. Hearing your child say your name is also something most of us take for granted.

Staff and some of the Children at the Centre during a therapy class

The Al Basma Smile Center for Audiology & Speech Therapy carrys out critical work in the areas of Cochlear Implants, speech therapy and testing. They are also responsible for surgical pre-care and aftercare of children who receive Cochlear Implants. The Centre is run on donations and has a small staff and amazing volunteers who dedicate themselves to helping deaf children in Gaza have the ability to communicate. For those children who are able to benefit from Cochlear Implants, the center carries out this task in conjunction with a visiting Surgeon who performs the surgical operation in a Gaza hosptial. The Center also tests for early detection of hearing problems or speech disorders which when uncovered allows the Center to immediately get that child into one of the Centre’s programs to assist their individual needs.

In Gaza there are beautiful children in need of your help and support for Cochlear Implants, and/or parts and Batteries to keep the implants running.

The Cochlear implant needs batteries to keep them working, due to the siege these are hard to come by. Please donate so that this chiild and others like him can keep hearing

The device is surgically implanted under a general anesthetic, and the operation usually takes from 1½ to 5 hours. First a small area of the scalp directly behind the ear may be shaved and cleaned. Then an incision is made in the skin behind the ear and the surgeon drills into the mastoid bone, creating a pocket for the receiver/stimulator, and then into the inner ear where the electrode array is inserted into the cochlea. The patient normally goes home the same day or the day after the surgery, although some cochlear implant recipients stay in the hospital for 1 to 2 days. As with every medical procedure, the surgery involves a certain amount of risk

After 1–4 weeks of healing (the wait is usually longer for children than adults), the implant is “activated” by connecting an external sound processor to the internal device via a magnet. Initial results vary widely, and post-implantation therapy is required as well as time for the brain to adapt to hearing new sounds. In the case of congenitally deaf children, audiological training and speech therapy typically continue for years, though infants can become age appropriate—able to speak and understand at the same level as a hearing child of the same age. The participation of the child’s family in working on spoken language development is considered to be even more important than therapy, because the family can aid development by participating actively—and continually—in the child’s therapy, making hearing and listening interesting, talking about objects and actions, and encouraging the child to make sounds and form words. Professionals trained to work with children who have received cochlear implants are a major part of the parent-professional team when addressing the task of teaching children to use their hearing to develop speech and spoken language. These professionals include, but are not limited to:

Speech-Language Pathologists
Certified Auditory-Verbal Therapists
Pediatric Audiologist
Teacher of the Deaf with a specialization in Oral Deaf Education

The above services are supplied by the Basma Centre and it’s staff thanks to Donations, but Donations are becoming harder to get due to the siege and children are in need of parts and batteries for their implants. The specialist implantation surgeon does not reside inside Gaza, he travels into Gaza and carries out surgical cochlear implantation on several children each time he visits, then he leaves Gaza and the children’s aftercare is left to the Basma centre and it’s volunteer Staff.

Children learning to sign

All the pre-care and after care and speech therapy and Audiology work is a monumental task for such a small center to handle, much of their the equipment is old and outdated and even the newer stuff needs parts. This is a direct result of the siege and the fact that within Gaza people are poor and our of work, again due to the siege, and so the Centre has to look outside Gaza for donations.

With your help, Irish Friends of Palestine will deliver funds and parts to Al Basma which will help the centre to continue to deliver Cochlear implants to children, so they can have the gift of hearing and speech.

Imagine for one minute that you can directly be responsible for helping a child in Gaza to hear their mothers voice for the very first time! How amazing is that????

He will now hear his mothers voice for the first time. He will also learn to speak and live a normal life. He is a lucky one, others like him need your help to hear and speak. Gaza is under siege, please help these beautiful children

We will issue a report along with photos when we deliver the donation to the Centre in late October/Early November

Show some love for these kids:


TO DONATE FOR THIS PROJECT VIA PAYPAL OR CREDIT CARD GO HERE

You can support our endeavours to deliver an Electric Wheelchair to Ibrahim by making a donation to our group.
You can make a standing order for any amount, or a bank transfer can be sent via:

Bank of Ireland
account# 45463260
Sort Code 90 49 74
Strand Road, Derry

Cheques can be sent:

Irish Friends of Palestine
C/O Destined
45 Great James Street
Derry, BT48 7DF

“SONGS FOR IBRAHIM” EVENT AMAZING SPIRIT OF SUPPORT

Posted by on Sunday, 16 September, 2012

Members of Irish Ship to Gaza pictured with John Kavanagh and our friend Kamal from Gaza

Heartfelt Thanks to a great guy John Kavanagh who organised the event and who has a big heart!!

Followed by another BIG “Thank You” to all the musicians who performed on the night, such a huge amount of talent and so many offering their time and talent to help Ibrahim a young man they will most likely never meet, who lives in Gaza, Palestine. This is the amazing spirit of people in action!

Now, for those who could not attend the Event, here is some of what you missed out on:

The night began with two amazing wee Irish Dancers; Katelyn Whitty & Abby Walsh. Abby Walsh is Munster Champion for her age group.

The Dancers were followed by the young group called the “Trad Band” from Ballinaboola, Co Wexford. We love these guys so much!!!

After the Trad Lads we were entertained by Johnny Dunphy & Michelle Haberlin, and then Mark Atkins Sang and played Guitar. Then we had Pat Doyle on guitar and vocals and he was joined by his daughter Sarah on vocals and base guitar, with again Michelle Haberlin on violin. TRULY BRILLIANT TALENT ALL AROUND!!

And then we were treated to a live performance of the song called “Palestine” which won an award, IT WAS written and performed by John Kavanagh. The song really puts things into perspective and reminded us all why we were there on the night, to help people who are suffering everyday simly because they were born Palestinian and are forced to live under a brutal inhumane siege and a terrorising occupation.

Please enjoy John singing “Palestine”

ENJOY OUR GALLERY OF PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT BELOW:

John Kavanagh performing "Palestine"

UPDATE: have not met the funding goal for the purchase of Ibrahim’s new electric wheelchair, please dont let him be disappointed, We are still short on funding to make this heppen, so we are asking people to step forward and donate so that Ibrahim is not disappointed.

PLEASE DONATE FOR IBRAHIM


Bank of Ireland
account# 45463260
Sort Code 90 49 74
Strand Road, Derry

Cheques can be sent:

Friends of Palestine
C/O Destined
45 Great James Street
Derry, BT48 7DF

Gaza, Palestine~ Participates in Paralympics~London 2012

Posted by on Friday, 31 August, 2012

Team Palestine arrives at the Opening Ceremony London 2012

Team Palestine is represented by two athletes, both in field events in athletics. Khamis Zaqout, a wheelchair athlete is Palestine’s best hope for a Paralympic medal in London. He will compete in the discus, javelin and shot put.” Mohammed Fannouna, who is partially sighted, will compete in the long jump; he won a bronze medal in the 2004 Paralympics in Athens
The pair were good enough to vie for medals, said Ala Shataly, a Palestinian Paralympic Committee member “Zaqout is definitely going to win a medal,” he said, adding that Fannouna, who won two golds and three bronze medals in the Arab Games in Doha last year, was also capable of a podium finish.

“We have always been competitive at the Paralympics where we strive for achievements and we have reached a stage where we cannot go backwards,”
Zaqout attained the qualifying distance for London in Doha where he won his category in the shot put with 10.77 meters, soon after setting an Asian record of 11.34. Father-of-nine Zaqout, 47, was injured when he fell while working on a building site in Israel. He said his disability had made him determined to strive for sporting success. “I am physically and mentally ready for this battle and to represent Palestine on the international stage,” he said.

Zaqout trains in a park in Gaza City, one of very few green areas in the cramped coastal enclave. Zaqout wears out-moded, shabby clothes that are a far cry from the modern, high-tech attire that is standard for elite athletes. In order to get maximum purchase, he ties his leg to his wheelchair and sways his body three times before propelling the shot and letting out a powerful grunt. His wheelchair is old but he hopes to have a new one before the Games.

“We face many challenges … We must train outside the Gaza Strip and we desperately need equipment. Nobody would ever believe that a champion could arrive in London without the appropriate clothing, or even a discus,” Zaqout said.

MEDAL HISTORY
Palestine has won three Paralympic medals: Hussam Azzam took a bronze in Sydney and a silver in Athens in the shot put, and Fannouna captured the long-jump bronze in Athens.

>>>>LONDON 2012 PARALYMPICS SCHEDULE (BELOW) FOR TEAM PALESTINE<<<<

Wheelchair bound Khamis Zaqout will participate in Shot Put, Discus and Javelin. Best chance of Medal in Javelin Throw-Schedule below

Partially sighted Mohammed Fannouna will compete in Long Jump, Men's 100M and Mens' 200M and Jevelin-see schedules below

FRIDAY 31 AUGUST

Mohammed Fannouna
televised at 21:35PM
Mens’ 100M T13 HEAT2, running in Lane #6. His personal best is 11.81

SATURDAY 1 SEPTEMBER

Khamis Zaqout
televised at 10:01AM
Shot Put F54/55/56 FINAL

Mohammed Fannouna
televised at 10:30AM
Men’s Long Jump F13 FINAL

Mohammed Fannouna
**NOTE he will only compete in the FINAL below if he qualified after HEAT 2 on Friday
televised at 19:15PM
Men’s 100M T13 FINAL

WEDNESDAY 5 SEPTEMBER

Khamis Zaqout
televised at 10:08AM
Discus Throw F54/55/56 FINAL

Mohammed Fannouna
televised at 19:30PM
Jevelin Throw F12/13 FINAL

THURSDAY 6 SEPTEMBER

Mohammed Fannouna
televised at 11:03AM
Men’s 200M T13 ROUND 1

FRIDAY 7 SEPTEMBER

Mohammed Fannouna
NOTE-he will only compete here if he qualified ater Round 1 above.
televised at 19:18PM
Men’s 200M T13 FINAL

SATURDAY 8 SEPTEMBER

Khamis Zaqout
televised at 10:12AM
Javelin Throw F54/55/56 FINAL

WE WISH TEAM PALESTINE THE BEST OF LUCK!!

Mohammed Fannouna at the Opening Ceremony

Khamis Zaqout at the Opening Ceremony London 2012

In Gaza Electricity is a Rationed Luxury

Posted by on Wednesday, 1 August, 2012

Ahmed Abul Amreen, head of Palestinian Energy and National Resources Authorities (PENRA) information office, said that the Israelis allowed 400,000 litres of Qatari fuel to enter to Gaza, which helped in operating three more generators in the only Gaza power plant in the Gaza Strip.

“Electricity conditions will improve as long as the Qatari fuel enters Gaza,” he added. Otherwise Power cuts may increase, the PENRA’s official warned, and power the crisis will not end, even though 10 trucks carry fuel to Gaza daily.

Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, said that the Egyptian President, Mohammed Morsi, agreed on improving the living conditions in the Gaza Strip.

Both Haniyah and Morsi agreed on increasing work hours in the Rafah Crossing up to 12 hours a day. They both agreed on allowing 1500 Gazan departures to travel through Egypt per day and an additional agreement was made on increasing the numbers of trucks carrying the Qatari fuel into Gaza from six up to ten every day.

Ahmed Abul Amreen, head of Palestinian Energy and National Resources Authorities (PENRA) information office, said that the Israelis allowed 400,000 litres of Qatari fuel to enter to Gaza, which helped in operating three more generators in the only Gaza power plant in the Gaza Strip.

“Electricity conditions will improve as long as the Qatari fuel enters Gaza,” he added. Otherwise Power cuts may increase, the PENRA’s official warned, and power the crisis will not end, even though 10 trucks carry fuel to Gaza daily.

Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, said that the Egyptian President, Mohammed Morsi, agreed on improving the living conditions in the Gaza Strip.

Both Haniyah and Morsi agreed on increasing work hours in the Rafah Crossing up to 12 hours a day. They both agreed on allowing 1500 Gazan departures to travel through Egypt per day and an additional agreement was made on increasing the numbers of trucks carrying the Qatari fuel into Gaza from six up to ten every day.

A scene taking place everyday all over Gaza. People queing up in the hopes of getting a few litres of petrol before it runs out again. Petrol is used for cars and for running tiny personal generators that many Gazans use to supply a bit of electricity to their home because the Gaza Power plant cannot function properly due to being partially destroyed and the siege

Gaza Under-Powered

No`man Al Khuzondar is the guard of a seven-story residential building in the Tal Al Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City. He is in his twenties, thin, and new to the job. As he was picking up the trash bags outside an apartment in the morning and carrying them downstairs, he said with a low voice, “You know, I have been working here for a few months now and never complained. Electricity cuts were never something new; it’s been 6 years of scheduled power cuts after all. But, this month… this month has really been rough.” Complaining about (literally) the extra weight on his shoulders, he continued, “I knew when power would be on and when it would be out. At least half of the week I could collect the trash bags and bring them downstairs using the elevator. Now, I have to go to every apartment, four on each floor, take the trash, and carry it downstairs myself and come back upstairs for the rest.”

Collecting trash bags is not No`man’s only job; he is also responsible for the comfort of the residents and handling water pumping into the apartments, something that has been for the first time a problem for those living in Gaza. Whereas the problem of water has always mainly been one of water pollution, with the lack of water desalination plants and only 5% of Gaza’s water being suitable for consumption, this time access to whatever water that is available has become severely restricted.

“Where on earth am I supposed to get electricity? If it goes out 12-18 hours a day, how am I supposed to pump the water up into the tanks during my work hours? If someone can’t find water to cook, to take a shower, to flush the toilet, or to even brush their teeth, they come to me. Well, I am having the same problem myself! All I can do is fill dozens of bottles when electricity is on and distribute them for use when there is no water.” he added, cheerlessly.

According to OCHA, the shortage of electricity in the Gaza Strip dates back to June 2006, when the Israeli Air Force destroyed all six transformers at the sole Gaza Power Plant during an air strike. Five months later, the power plant resumed production, but at a significantly reduced level. The imposition of the Israeli blockade and the restrictions on imports exacerbated the already dire energy situation, and forced the people of Gaza to turn to underground tunnels for trade and access to fuel and power generators more than anything else in the Gaza market. On February, 14, 2012, the Gaza power plant shut down after Egypt cut fuel supplies through the tunnels, and since then the power plant has shut down three times, leaving Gaza facing up to 18 hours of power cuts per day, a disruption of almost all aspects of daily life.

Gazans’ que up for miles at petrol stations, fuel restrictions mean the quantities per person are small due to rationing. Even with rationing the Petrol stations run out before everyone is served. you can que for 24 hours and end up with nothing.

Cars que up for miles in the hopes of getting a few litres of petrol before it runs out again.

All of these problems relating to the electricity and fuel shortage do not even scratch the surface. While the water, sanitation, refrigeration, education, and daily life of ordinary people in Gaza have been affected by the crisis, key issues such as hospitals, health and mental health remain most important of all.

source:
IMEU
EI
alresalah