The American International School in Gaza
I am proud to announce that the members of the NLG delegation to Gaza have finally released our report and it is available to view at: http://nlg.org/NLGGazaDelegationReport.pdf.
We have worked very hard in issuing this report not only for the sake of documenting the atrocities that took place in Gaza but also because this report serves as the first step in demanding that the US government take a firm stance against Israel. In the report, you will read that the US government is the largest military funder and arms supplier to Israel of any country worldwide. We provide Israel approximately $3 billion dollars a year (totaling approximately $8 million a day) in military funding from our tax dollars. Not only is this military funding unacceptable in light of the current recession, with unemployment rates paralleling those of the Great Depression, but it is frankly illegal. Continue reading
I recently wrote a response to a law student who attended my talk at Loyola Law School on my recent trip to Gaza. The talk focused on examining relevant international humanitarian law and discussing how Israel breached these laws when targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, when using highly indiscriminate and incendiary weapons against civilians, and when blocking medical access and attacking medics. Such acts are war crimes. He was unhappy about some assertions made during my talk. He posted his complaint at the end of my post “Justifying Israeli War Crimes.” Members of the blog asked that I post my response as not only a comment but also as a feature post as it may provide helpful information that we often don’t read or hear about in mainstream media.
I was originally not planning on responding to your claims below as they are lack legal veracity. And while I doubt anything I say will actually make you question the propaganda that you have so well consumed, digested and currently espouse, I respond merely so that you know that I am neither silencing nor censoring you. It is ironic that when even the Israeli soldiers who were present in Gaza can question the legality and morality of their actions, you thousands of miles away remain so adamantly and disappointingly misinformed.
And on a personal level, after hearing first-hand testimonies of the Palestinians in Gaza and subsequently reading the testimonies of Israeli soldiers in nearly all the major media sources who merely corroborated what we heard, I find your comment very reactionary. But for what its worth, below is my response to your comment. Continue reading
By Reem Salahi
Having left Gaza now, I am trying to come to terms with what I saw, what I heard and honestly, what I don’t think I will ever understand – the justification. While Israel’s recent offensive has been the most egregious of any historical attack upon the Palestinians in Gaza, it is just that, one of many. Gaza has been under Israeli bombardment and sanctions for many years. Prior to the Israeli pullout in 2005, Gaza was under the complete control and occupation of Israel. Nearly 8000 Israeli settlers occupied 40% of Gaza while the 1.5 million Palestinians occupied the remaining 60%. Settlements were located on the most fertile lands and along Gaza’s beautiful coastal regions and checkpoints prevented Palestinian mobility. Despite being one-fifth the size of Rhode Island, 25 miles long by 4-7.5 miles wide, Gaza was divided into three sections and Palestinians had to pass through multiple checkpoints to get from one section to the next. Often Israeli forces would close these checkpoints and not allow the Palestinians access to the other regions in Gaza as a form of collective punishment.
Yet with Israel’s pullout in 2005, the Palestinian experience has not improved. Rather, it has become even more unpredictable and isolated. Continue reading
By Reem Salahi
I have been getting a lot of requests for photos. Some of these pictures are rather disturbing. I’m going to send the pics in increments since the internet is slower here. w/peace.
Mohammad Shurrab shows the pictures of his two dead sons. Israeli soldiers executed Kassab, 28, with 5 bullets across the chest. Ibrahim bled to death from a bullet wound in his thigh. Israeli soldiers did not provide Ibrahim any medical treatment and denied any ambulances from coming to his aid and he died 12 hours after being shot. Mohammad Shurrab watched both his sons die.
More images from Gaza here
By Reem Salahi
History repeats itself. With the key to her demolished home around her neck, the middle-aged Palestinian woman standing before me had escaped the first Nakba (meaning ‘Day of Catastrophe’ marking the exodus of Palestinians from their homes with the creation of the State of Israel) of 1948 only to live through the second Nakba; the Nakba of 2009, which was more destructive and deadly than the first.
In order to reach the tent city in Jabalia, we walked down a long road of pure destruction and demolition; destroyed homes, mosques, buildings, bakeries and stores.
I had wanted to see the tent city in Jabalia to take pictures and talk to the residents living there. Undoubtedly, these people were the most affected by Israel’s recent offensive as their livelihoods were minimized to nothing more than a 6×8 foot white tent which had no amenities and housed up to fifty persons per tent. Continue reading
By Reem S.
These are a fluff of thoughts that I have tried to put together. I am so horrified by what I see and hear each day here that I have reached a point of numbness and disbelief–disbelief that this is real and not just a horrible dream. I am awaiting to wake up from this dream and realize that the world is not as bad and as ugly as it seems now, here. I am awaiting to wake up and not feel guilty that maybe I can’t help change things here, that I can’t rebuild the destroyed homes and bring comfort to those who have lost loved ones in the most cruel ways. While I refuse to feel defeated, I am humbled and speechless at the downfall of mankind. Suffering has no limits, yet there are forces in this world that seek to find those limits and monopolize on them. If ever in the world I am close to experiencing the absolute farthest limits of suffering, where suffering can no longer be increased further, it is here, in Gaza. And maybe that is why the tears have dried up and I find myself on autopilot, listening, talking, writing but not processing. And maybe that is why I have found refuge in my camera. From behind the lens, I am allowed to be one step removed from this world that should not be the world and from this life that should not be life, not for a Palestinian, not for anyone. I hope to write more in the coming days and maybe through my writing, I will find understanding and meaning to this chaos here that I could have never fathomed.
I have not shed one tear since entering Gaza. I cannot explain this lack of emotionalism except for an anesthesia injected through complete shock. Continue reading
After 3 days in transit and 9.5 hours on the Egyptian/Rafah border, we are finally in Gaza. For those who I have not told, I am on a legal delegation with 7 other attorneys organized by the National Lawyers Guild. Driving from the Rafah crossing to Gaza City, I saw innumerable bombed out buildings and we passed by the infamous police station which looks like nothing more than scattered bricks and a few pillars. Anyways I will be blogging for the next few days and send out my blogs as soon as I have a chance. I am fine just very very tired. I believe we are going to some hospitals now as we are trying to get as many visits done as possible. I’ll send more info soon.
ps. Israel has been bombing the tunnels for the past few days. While we were waiting on the border crossing, Israel bombed some nearby tunnel. Even though it made me jump, none of the Palestinians seemed phased…