Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Beit Hanoun the testimony of a young Palestinian:

"They shoot at anything that moves"

by Silvia Cattori
3 November 2006

"Beit Hanoun, with 30,000 inhabitants, has been the
target of daily
aggressions and air strikes since June 25. It is now
besieged by Israeli
troops. We have seen the tanks advance and take up
their positions. We are
now encircled by about 70 tanks and at least 450
soldiers who announce that
the city is a "closed military zone". That means that
no one can leave. No
one can flee. It is an offensive based on those
carried out in the West Bank
in 2002.

We have no water, no electricity. We hide in the
remote corners of our
houses. Ambulances are not authorized to enter into
this occupied and closed
zone. The soldiers have circled the houses they want
to invade. They
occupied the houses and they shut up the families in
one room. Now they are
using them as forts. They use explosives to pierce
holes in the walls, they
blow off doors, and the people are terrified. They
shoot anyone that moves.

Yesterday they fired on people that were seeking
shelter, who were not
armed, who were not in fighting positions. They shot
them in the back, and
when one was wounded and wanted to flee, they killed
him. Those who wanted
to collect his body were targets as well. In numerous
cases, ambulances
couldn't go to the aid of the wounded. Children who
slip out from their
parent's watch or that look out the windows are killed
by Israeli soldiers
positioned on the roofs and balconies of the houses
they occupy.

They have the green light from Bush to kill us, and
those politicians that
affirm that Israel "has the right to defend itself".
They use arms that
transform the dead and wounded into something
monstrous. The wounds provoked
by the missiles launched from the drones are very
impressive. They are like
razor cuts; the legs, the feet, the hands all cleanly
cut. They are as
horrifying as wounds from an M-16. The soldiers have
orders to shoot at the
upper body. They aim at the chest, near the heart, the

The victims are mostly civilians, killed or wounded in
the throat, the neck,
the chest, the head, even though they were in their
houses. They shoot at
people running in fear, who are trying to save
themselves. We have lost any
notion of time; we have no idea how long we have been
caught in this war. We
feel lost. There are planes that bomb us, drones ready
to fire their
missiles over our heads. They control the entire zone.
With the droning of
the drones, we always have the feeling of having a bee
buzzing in our ears.
It is really disturbing.

There is no one to defend us. We don't have an army.
We have only our
parents to defend us, knowing that they are going to
their deaths and that
they cannot defend us. This new aggression is horrible
especially for the
children who are very numerous here. They are forced
to stay couped up
inside, they are terrorized, and they cry when there
are bombings. At any
moment we can learn there are people killed, there are
people wounded who
are bathed in their own blood, that people don't know
how to stop the
haemorrhaging, and that the ambulances can't give them
any aid without being

The Israelis say that are waging this offensive to
prevent the entry of arms
from Egypt. That is false. Nothing can enter. In Gaza,
there are only rifles
that can do nothing against the Apache helicopters and
the Merkawa tanks of
the Israeli army. The only arms of war in Gaza are
those delivered by Israel
and the United States to Dahlan, who is Abu Mazen's
man, the most feared man
in Gaza. He is at the head of the forces that have,
for months now, created
the troubles to topple the Hamas government.

Yesterday, through their loud speakers the soldiers
summoned all the young
men fifteen years and older leave their houses. Then,
sector by sector, they
searched the houses and brought them out, handcuffed,
and took them to a
place where they certainly forced them to strip, as
they did in Betlaya in
June. They leave the men in their underwear. For an
Oriential, it is the
worst of humiliations. They might as well kill us.

We think that after Beit Hanoun they will attack
Betlaya, and then Jabaliya
and do what they have done here: search house by
house. Beit Hanoun, like
Rafah, are very vulnerable zones because they are
geographically separated
from other inhabited areas. They are therefore easy to
isolate from the rest
of Gaza.

This morning, the women went out to come to the aid of
their sons or
husbands threatened by the armored cars that encircled
the Mosque. The women
defied the Apaches and the armored vehicles. For us,
it was a tremendous
moment. We felt like we were wrapped up in a veil of
humanity. It was very
moving to see these women ready to die to save their
sons and husbands. They
continued on without hesitation, and the soldiers, who
hadn't expected this,
were disoriented. Because of this effect of surprise,
they succeeded, saving
the lives of these fighters. They demonstrated that
people with empty hands
could defeat the largest army in the world. We took it
as a message to the
men of the Arab countries who remain silent. These
women said, by their
gesture, "There, in the face of your cowardice,
Palestinian women by
themselves are in the process of fighting for the
release of their men who
are besieged by the enemies of the Arabs, Israel."
"[End of report.]

They are making war on civilians and the world doesn't

This young Palestinian who recounted the above in a
low voice breaks our
heart. He could render no greater homage to these
heroic women. I think that
everyone who saw the images of these women was shaken.
The women threw
themselves down the long avenue, uncovered, empty
handed, defying the
helicopters and the armored vehicles, in order to
protect their men. The
soldiers fired on them, but the women continued and
arrived at their goal.
The soldiers who were firing from the armored vehicles
on these harmless
women are monsters.

"Israel has the right to defend itself" responded the
former ambassador Elie
Barnavi to a journalist from France Culture this
morning when asked about
the meaning of the Israeli offensive in the north of
Gaza. The right to
defend themselves against what? There is no
Palestinian army facing them.
There is only a people being massacred day after day
by the best equipped
army in the world. And the Palestinians don't have the
right to defend

It is to the Palestinian people, the victims of the
massacres, that we
should be asking what it means to live under the
Israeli military offensive,
and not to ambassadors of the Jewish State of Israel,
ambassadors who will
never tell you, when it comes to Arab lives, of the
suffering and anxiety of
children thrown into the dreadful chaos, of the women
who have no idea how
to protect them, of the elderly who impotently submit,
of babies wailing, of
pregnant women who fear for their unborn children, of
the wounded, the dead,
the mothers who cry for their men, who feel humiliated
that they cannot
defend their children, the doctors who can no longer
support the rivers of
blood and the wounded added to the wounded in their
poorly equipped

These "terrorists", these "activists" that Israel is
fighting, these are
Palestinians, the authentic residents of the nation
that Israel wiped off
the map. These are women of all ages who brave the
tanks to protect their
sons. These are children who die in their beds or
playing by the front door.
These are fathers, brothers, cousins, and spouses
summarily executed because
Israel has put them on their "wanted" lists. These are
desperate young
people who, to defend their dignity, have only rifles
and rudimentary
rockets, and who know full well that they are going to
their deaths when
they put their nose outside. Like the child Bara'
Riyad Fayyad, 4 years old,
killed on Thursday in front of the door of her house.
These are normal
people who voted democratically against the corrupt
authorities of Fatah.

"Where are our Arab brothers?", cries a Palestinian in
front of a camera.

Yes, where is the world? The "international community"
says nothing say
shocked people who watch all of this with horror and
don't understand the
silence. But the "international community", so often
invoked, is only an
empty word. The UN, ever since the fall of the USSR,
is nothing but an
instrument in the hands of the US superpower.

In fact, the "international community" is us, all of
us. It is the
associations that are unfortunately more attached to
protecting the Jewish
State of Israel than defending the right of existence
of the Palestinians
and their right to return to their rightful home. It
is the political
parties of every tendency, too preoccupied by their
electoral success. It is
our elected officials who don't dare criticize Israel
out of fear of being
accused of anti-Semitism. It is the journalists who
misinform public opinion
and cover up the crimes of state.


Anonymous said...

This is not true. Most of the killed are militants according to Roiters. Also if you don't have electrisity, how do you post on your blog?

Anonymous said...

Most were not militants. Even Palestinian press reports when a militant is killed versus a civilian. It is hard to be a militant without a weapon. The Israeli newspaper even refers to those killed as "suspected" militants. In the US, we believe in innocent until proven guilty. Not all westerners, not all Americans stand behind Bush and his support of the killings of innocent women and children. I am a westerner currently working in the Gaza Strip and I stand only for human rights.

Anonymous said...

If I were the Israeli parent of a young person serving in the IDF, I'd be horrified. The Israeli military is teaching its young to be sadistic monsters.

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