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UK architects, planners and other construction industry professionals campaigning for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.


Gaza Civilians Waiting for the 'Slaughterhouse'

By Amira Hass        13 July 2014         Haaretz

Palestinians stand next to the rubble of a destroyed building, Gaza Strip, on July 12, 2014. Palestinians stand next to the rubble of a destroyed building following an Israeli air strike in Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 12, 2014. Photo by AFP

“On Thursday afternoon a building in the neighborhood was bombed. With a missile. All the air filled up with light, a sort of big ball of fire we only started seeing during this attack,” a woman I will call T. related at noon on Friday. Like all Gazans, they didn’t sleep at night and fell asleep only at around 8 A.M. Later on, A. said the target was presumably a Hamas institution located in the building, in Gaza City’s Tel al-Hawa neighborhood, but the missile missed and killed Dr. Anas Rizaq Abu al-Kas, 33, in his clinic. He was one of 114 Palestinians killed by the Israel Defense Forces, as of Saturday morning, including 26 children and 18 women. (By Saturday night the death toll had already reached at least 151).

The physician’s “father and mother were also killed, also in error, during Operation Pillar of Defense, in 2012,” A. added.

T., in an uncharacteristically weak voice, continued. “At night we wait for day. In the day we wait for night. Waiting for our turn in the slaughterhouse. We heard just this morning how the entire Ghanam family, from Rafah, died. Another family that was killed,” T. says.

A. tells me that one member of the Ghanam family was an Islamic Jihad member. In its daily report issued late Friday, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights wrotethat early Friday morning: “Israeli warplanes launched 3 missiles without a prior warning at a house belonging to ‘Abdul Raziq Hassan al-Ghannam, 58. As a result, he, his wife, his son, his daughter and his relative were killed: 1) ‘Abdul Raziq Hassan al-Ghannam, 58; 2) Ghalia Deeb al-Ghannam, 57; 3) Mahmoud ‘Abdul Raziq al-Ghannam, 28; 4) Wissam ‘Abdul Raziq al-Ghannam, 31; and 5) Kifah Shaker al-Ghannam, 33, who is deaf. The owner’s son, Hussam, 20, survived the attack although he was wounded. Seven neighbors were also wounded.”

Less than an hour earlier, at approximately 4:35 A.M. Friday, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at tunnels in the Sha’ath neighborhood of Rafah. Nour Marwan al-Nijdi, 10, was killed by shrapnel; her brother Abdul Rahman, 15, and her mother, Salwa Ahmed al-Nijdi, 49, were wounded. They were in their home at the time.

“You can never know which window the missile will come through. I told the children and S. [her husband]: ‘We should always remain together, in one room. If a missile comes, we’ll all be killed, so none of us is left alive, alone,’” related T. “Our youngest daughters are afraid to shower, fearing that a missile will come and kill everyone else just then. I told them: ‘We shower so as to be clean when we die.’ The children are stronger than I. They tell me, stop being afraid. Either we’ll die or we’ll live.’

T. ponders, “Where are the Arabs, where are the Europeans, where is the West Bank? The intellectuals write poetry. They’re afraid of Mahmoud Abbas, not of the Jews, only of Abbas. It’s our fate, operated by a remote control of the Israeli army.”

F., a woman from Rafah, also sees the ball of fire after every air strike. “The whole house shakes,” even when the explosion is far away, she says. Everyone experiences it: An explosion in Beit Hanun, in the northern Gaza Strip, that cannot even be heard in Gaza City, rocks homes in the Shabura refugee camp. Everyone relates that there are bombers whose approach cannot be heard. Only the explosion itself can be heard, and then the plane as it returns to Israel. In previous rounds, they say, the planes were audible in both directions. The pilotless drones, meanwhile, never stop buzzing.

“Since yesterday we haven’t slept, 24 hours have gone by and we don’t sleep,” F. says. “We don’t see our daughters and our siblings who live in other parts of the city. No one leaves their home. And now there’s no electricity, either (because Rafah is dependent on Egypt for its power), and the house is so hot,” F. says.

L., also from Rafah, discusses a family on her street that was informed by phone that its home was about to be destroyed. “The neighbors immediately told everyone to leave, because when they bomb one house the houses nearby are damaged, too, and you can be killed by shrapnel or injured by flying glass,” says L. “We woke my father-in-law, who is 88. He was so scared he was shaking. The poor guy was afraid he wouldn’t be able to cross the street. After about an hour the explosion came. We opened the windows ahead of time, and they didn’t shatter. But at my brother’s place, in the Tel al-Sultan refugee camp, all the windows shattered from an explosion that was nearby, and he came with his family to live with us. My 8-year-old daughter asked, ‘Why are they bombing during Ramadan?’”


Israel's real purpose in Gaza operation? To kill Arabs

Since the first Lebanon War over 30 years ago, Israel's main strategy has been killing Arabs.The current atrocious war in Gaza is no different.

by Gideon Levy      13 July 2014          Haaretz

A funeral in Khan Younis refugee camp.

A funeral of people killed in an Israeli strike in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, July 9, 2014.Photo by AP

The goal of Operation Protective Edge is to restore the calm; the means: killing civilians.The slogan of the Mafia has become official Israeli policy. Israel sincerely believes that if it kills hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, quiet will reign. It is pointless to destroy the weapons stores of Hamas, which has already proved capable of rearmament. Bringing down the Hamas government is an unrealistic (and illegitimate) goal, one that Israel does not want: It is aware that the alternative could be much worse. That leaves only one possible purpose for the military operation: death to Arabs, accompanied by the cheering of the masses.

The Israel Defense Forces already has a “map of pain,” a diabolical invention that has replaced the no less diabolical “bank of targets,” and that map is spreading at a sickening pace.Watch Al Jazeera English, a balanced and professional television channel (unlike its Arabic sister station), and see the extent of its success. You won’t see it in Israel’s “open” broadcast studios, which as usual are only open to the Israeli victim, but on Al Jazeera you will see the whole truth, and perhaps you will even be shocked.


Palestinians run following what police said was an Israeli air strike on a house in Gaza City. July 9, 2014.Photo by Reuters

The bodies in Gaza are piling up, the desperate, constantly updated tabulation of mass killing that Israel boasts of, which already numbers dozens of civilians, including 24 children as of noon on Saturday; hundreds of people injured, in addition to horror and destruction.One school and one hospital have already been bombed. The aim is to strike homes, and no amount of justification can help: It’s a war crime, even if the IDF calls them “command-and-control centers” or “conference rooms.” Granted, there are strikes that are much more brutal than Israel’s, but in this war, which is nothing other than mutual attacks on civilians — the elephant against the fly — there aren’t even any refugees. In contrast to Syria and Iraq, in the Gaza Strip the inhabitants do not have the luxury of fleeing for their lives. In a cage, there’s nowhere to run.

Since the first Lebanon war, more than 30 years ago, the killing of Arabs has become Israel’s primary strategic instrument. The IDF doesn’t wage war against armies, and its main target is civilian populations. Arabs are born only to kill and to be killed, as everyone knows. They have no other goal in life, and Israel kills them.

One must, of course, be outraged by the modus operandi of Hamas: Not only does it aim its rockets at civilian population centers in Israel, not only does it position itself within population centers — it may not have an alternative, given the crowded conditions in the Strip — but it also leaves the Gazan civilian population vulnerable to Israel’s brutal attacks, without seeing to a single siren, shelter or protected space. That is criminal. But the barrages of the Israel Air Force are no less criminal, on account of both the result and the intent: There isn’t a single residential building in the Gaza Strip that is not home to dozens of women and children; the IDF cannot, therefore, claim that it does not mean to hurt innocent civilians. If the recent demolition of the home of a terrorist in the West Bank still stirred a weak protest, now dozens of homes are being destroyed, together with their occupants.

Retired generals and commentators on active duty compete to make the most monstrous proposal: “If we kill their families, that will frighten them,” explained Maj.Gen. (res.) Oren Shachor, without batting an eyelid. “We must create a situation such that when they come out of their burrows, they won’t recognize Gaza,” others said. Shamelessly, without question — until the next Goldstone investigation.

A war with no goal is among the most despicable of wars; the deliberate targeting of civilians is among the most atrocious of means. Terror now reigns in Israel as well, but it’s unlikely there is a single Israeli who can imagine what it’s like for Gaza’s 1.8 million inhabitants, whose already miserable lives are now totally horrific. The Gaza Strip is not a “hornet’s nest,” it is a province of human desperation. Hamas is not an army, far from it, despite all the fear tactics: If it really did build such a sophisticated network of tunnels there, as is claimed, then why doesn’t it build Tel Aviv’s light rail network, already?

The 1,000-sortie and 1,000 tons of explosives marks have almost been reached, and Israel is waiting for the “victory picture” that has already been achieved: Death to Arabs.