Thursday, March 6, 2008

Baby Dreams…

Gaza City – Today is Saturday, 1 March 2008, one of bloodiest days in Gaza history as 62 Palestinians lives were lost.

In the morning and turned on the television to watch the news that talking about 30 Gazans killed and other 100 injured. TVs were broadcasting the scenes of children crying and terrified. Ambulances were carrying bodies of little babies and children. After a while, I realized that Israel escalated their military operation and rolled inside Jabalia refugee camp, north of Gaza Strip that has highest density of population.
Sounds of unmanned spy planes and military helicopters were clearly heard all the time as well as explosions. At the same time, the Holy Qu’ran was being played by all mosques in Gaza. The general atmosphere was sad, tense and in expectation of the worst.

I prepared myself and I decided to go right to the main hospital in Gaza City and I took the camera with me. I never could have expected what was waiting me. As soon as I arrived to Al-Shifa Hospital’s reception and emergency room I noticed clothes and shoes covered in blood. A while later, ambulances started to arrive one after another to the emergency rooms where I was standing. The first one was carrying a 16 year old boy, full of blood, while the second one was carrying two men and an ambulance officer. One of the two men was dead and covered while the second one was cut of like pieces. The ambulance officer was screaming as he had injuries in the thigh. At that time, at least five ambulances came at once. The emergency room was full of injured, doctors, families, journalists… everybody was running, screaming and crying.

While I was taking photos, I noticed the 16 year old boy who came to the hospital the time I arrived, I walked toward him, but no one was there for him, I started to speak with him trying to calm him dawn but he was crying and completely horrified. Suddenly he looked at me with his teary eyes and told me, "Please help me…don't let me die." I didn’t know what to do but to hold his hands and to tell him not to worry and I am next to him. The boy’s injuries were serious as I could see bleeding holes in his young and innocent body. I ran to find any doctors to give me a hand, but all the doctors were extremely busy. Finally I found one and he came with me back to the boy. The doctor shouted after checking him "There's a boy here in need for immediate surgery". The boy was crying more and more after he heard these words, and for me I was still holding his hands until they took him to operating room. I still do not know what happened with him.

The incident make me feel so bad, I called my boss (Dr. Mohammed Alsousi) and I explained him what was happening in the hospital, minutes later he came to the hospital. While standing and waiting together I heard that the number of martyrs increased to 42 as a residential building had been targeted and 10 members from 'Atallah family' had been killed in a single strike.

Finally I decided to go back home to rest, thinking mistakenly that things had finished. The opposite happened as the attacks escalated against civilians in the northern Gaza Strip and the number of the causalities was dramatically increasing. I went back to Al-Shifa Hospital and I waited in the same place and soon a normal car came driving in very fast and everyone started to run thinking the car was carrying the injured but it was not. Three ladies came out of the car crying and running inside the emergency room, screaming "I want to see him… I know he is dead…" Obviously, she knew that her son was one of the martyrs inside the hospital morgue. Nothing can be worse than the feeling when you know your child is dead.

Every ten minutes an ambulance arrived with dead bodies and/ or injured. What seemed most unbelievable was that most of them were women and children. By 10:00pm local time, 62 Gazans had been pronounced dead, 17 of them were children while there were another 200 Gazans injured of which about 80 which are in critical condition.

Still the day did not finish as Al-Shifa Hospital called Islamic Relief for an urgent appeal meeting to find a way to supply the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with four life monitors, surgery bandages and other disposables and two ventilators as the ICU was completely overloaded with injuries and far exceeded the capacity of the hospital.

I went back to the hospital for the third time in the same day as Islamic Relief responded to the urgent hospital appeal for medical equipment. This time I had to enter the ICU in order to document the delivery of the machines. Entering the ICU was a shock to me because I could see so many people with but little hope to live… the sound of life monitoring tones were everywhere... the scene was indescribable. I started to take photos for some of the cases. The first one was of a youth that lost his leg and the second was a boy covered by bandages in the face with lots of wires, and many others.
Among the monitoring tones, doctors, and nearly dead people lying dawn, I noticed a young baby aged 15 months, from the 'Abu Jarrbou'h' family. I looked at her while a doctor was checking her and I could read in her face the true meaning of innocence. I asked the doctor about her case and he told me that she's in critical but stable condition. There was something really attaching me with this little baby; it could be because I have a baby of almost the exact same age.
Technicians were busy setting up the new life monitors and the ventilators machines donated by Islamic Relief in the same ICU. Ten minutes later, I heard a noise…doctors were running here and there…they're running toward the young baby and pushing constantly on her chest…the alarm of the monitor was loud and giving off a red light…I walked toward her bed and closely watched her and with a broken heart I asked the doctors about her condition…meanwhile there was a doctor saying over and over in English 'no response!' At that moment, I was praying and praying…I was calling Allah SWT to help her…the doctors were still busy, and I suddenly heard one of the doctors was saying 'there's hope'…two minutes later had her stabilized and they said she had a chances to live. At that moment, I felt both little happy and sad. Happy because I knew that she have a chance to live, while sad because I questioned what had she ever done to deserve to have been shot right in the head?!

I went back to the technicians and I stayed with them for about 15 minutes until they finally finished setting up the new Islamic Relief donated machines. I had wanted them to finish quickly because I wanted to go back to the same baby and give her a kiss and to pray for her a better chance in life. As I was walking toward her, I was shocked to see doctors removing all the wires out of her body as they turned and told me that she just died.

I couldn’t believe it, I looked at the doctor without asking him anything, he exclaimed to me, ‘I did my best… but this is Allah’s will.'

With a broken heart I went back home, looking with tears at my son and so afraid that my son might be next.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Gaza Sense of Insecurity

Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak's declare a wide military attacks in Gaza to bring an end to Palestinian home rockets launched to the Israel in Sedirot twon. Israel says that they might target Palestinian Hamas political leaders in Gaza, in an indication to Palestinian former Prime Minister Isma'el Hania. Furthermore, an Israeli minister called intensifying the attacks against all police stations, as well as targeting all resistance. "Israeli must target all police stations in Gaza, and we do consider any one carrying a gun is a target for us". Said Liberman, the foreign Minister in the Israeli government led my Olmert.

Gazans are very anxious as violant decisions taken by Israel, waiting what might happen; meanwhile Palestinian resistance is holding their positions challenging the Israeli threats. "We are taking all needed precautions to our leaders but if anything happened to our leaders, Hamas won't stand watching" Said Moshier El Masri, a member for Palestinian Legislative Council, representing Hamas.

Gaza night is very calm exactly as the calmness precede the storm while people are scard and few people in streets although it still early. Gaza streets are dark due to electricity cut off, cars are limited because of fuel shortage. "The situation in Gaza is terrifying and we don't know weather we live for tomorrow or we die" said Ahmed Ghoa, 30 years old driving a taxi in Gaza city "I have been driving around Gaza city streets since an hours, I only waist fuel that's why I will drive back home for my daughter and wife and stay next to them in case Israel attack take palce" he added.

Staying home with candle light is so boring especially when my four and a half month child is crying all the time because he dose not like darkness, my wife was busy calming him down. I called a friend; his name is Hatem 23 years old from Gaza city, to go out together. I drove my car in the city as if I am driving in a ghost town, no lights, no people, nothing but the sound of Israeli F16 flying over Gaza. Eventually I arrived to Hatem's home after driving around to avoid a police station located next to his home. "Where shall we go, police stations are everywhere in Gaza city and am worried that they target a building or a police station while we're driving" Hatem said.

We drove carefully around in Gaza streets for about an hour and then I went back home to my family. Luckily, the power was back in my house. My parents were unusually sleeping because of the electricity cut of. My wife told me that the power just came on and my son is sleeping.

I live in West of Gaza city near by a police station named AL 'Abbas station'. My son was the only thing in my mind makes me worried, I looked at his innocent face while sleeping, thinking what might happens if the Israel F16 target the building with a heavy missile as they do usually when they target buildings. Directly I went to open all my house windows because of pressure incase of any sudden attacks.

I could not sleep all night long, checking my son from time to time losing the sense of security that any human all over the world should have as minimum to live and survive.

The bottom line is that we as Palestinians in Gaza live an extreme miserable conditions and horror as we suffer lack of security more than anything else...


Sunday, January 20, 2008

What Bush left behind?!

Since US President George W. Bush's visit to this part of the world, at least 38 Gazans were killed and another 1,500 were injured as a result of Israeli military attacks. This escalation of violence came right after Bush's trip to Israel and Ramallah, as Israel enjoyed an obvious green light from the US as the Arab and Islamic world sat by and watched.

For anyone who might believe that Bush's visit would improve the lives of Palestinians in General and of Gazans in particular, let me assure you that the opposite has occurred.

Electricity cuts still plague Gaza. Ambulance sirens wail one after the other; the smell of death is everywhere. Gazans have no life anymore, and Bush and Israel are to thank.

On Wednesday a 27-year-old father, his nine-year-old son and his brother were all killed in an Israeli air strike. Israel said that the incident was an error. Such a mistake ended the lives of three innocent civilians from the same family.

I'm wondering, how can I, or any father in Gaza, guarantee his own family's safety? We are all targets, no matter if we are civilians or combatants. And who will be held accountable for there crimes? The answer is as clear as ever: no one.

A few days ago I came home from work tired, and then I took a nap. I wake up at 6:00pm to find everything dark, no electricity as usual, and my infant son was crying. I took my wife and son for a drive around Gaza only to find Gaza City in total darkness, a ghost town.

While driving, news broke regarding an Israeli air strike that targeted a car on one of Gaza's main streets; two Gazans were killed. Two minutes later, another breaking news report stated that another air strike targeted another car in a different area. The radio report added that Israeli helicopters were still in the air above Gaza. A third broadcast reported that Israel fired land-to-land rockets targeting northern Gaza. In less than five minutes I heard all of that as we drove back home to darkness.

Two day ago, Israel announced a "complete closure" against Gaza – as if it was open before. Prior to this decision of a complete closure everything was already closed. Gazans' suffering continues. The other day as I was playing with my son, I heard a massive explosion that shook the house and make my four-month-old start to cry. I turned on the radio to hear that an Israeli F16 fired a half- ton missile on the building of the former Interior Ministry in Gaza. The building was crushed and a woman was killed and another 45 persons were injured. All of them lived next door to the struck building and were celebrating a wedding that ended up being a funeral instead.Yesterday I went to see the damage; the scene resembled an earthquake. Why did it happen? This is the state of insecurity, in which not one single Gazan is secure or safe even in his or her own home.

Today I went to fill up my car with gas as I was running down to the last few liters. The gas station attendant told me that by the end of day the station would be closed since they were nearing the end of their supply. Now I can tell Bush that because of his unconditional support of Israel, Gaza can no longer provide its population with daily necessities. There's no food, no water, no electricity, no borders that we can cross, no medicine, nothing.

Now let's all imagine that this same siege was imposed Israel. What would be the reaction of Bush and the international community?
This article is published at:

Saturday, January 12, 2008

George W. Bush: You are not welcome

While I was driving in the car the other day, there was a radio report that the Israeli high court has approved to cut off the electricity from Gaza and leave Gaza in darkness to intensify the collective punishment on Gaza. When the Israeli high court previously agreed to ban the transfer to Gaza of fuel to supply the main power plant, there were power cuts for at least eight hours a day.
Power and fuel cuts mean that hospitals, factories and other essential services suffer as a result. Such Israeli court decisions ignore the humanitarian impact on Gaza.
I drove back home and I found the streets without light and not even much traffic as if Gaza was under curfew. When I arrived home, my family was sitting in darkness with a little candlelight. My three-and-a-half-month-old son was crying. I felt that he didn't want to be in darkness as darkness to him means bed time.
The power cuts that Gazans were experiencing before the last electricity cut was even then too much to bear and now the necessities of daily life are even harder to come by.What drives me and other Gazans crazy is that the international community can see all of the human rights violations being committed in Gaza and yet they choose not to take any action and instead remain silent. In the past I remember hearing the international community condemn such Israeli violations, but now, nothing.
One must conclude they are in favor of the Gaza siege because they support Israel's declaration that Gaza is an "enemy entity" since Hamas took over the Strip, ignoring that there are civilians living in Gaza that cannot be blamed for anything other than residing in Gaza.My family and I are suffering like many others in Gaza. We are all waiting for an improvement in the situation in Gaza, hoping that things will get better. Most Gazans have nothing to do but hope for a better life for our children, families and ourselves.
I wish I could tell George W. Bush that if he is coming to Palestine to complicate the lives of Palestinians while showing sympathy with Israeli then you are not welcome. We want solutions in easing our lives, the opening the borders and the breaking of the siege.I am not optimistic about Bush's visit as it's nothing but more talks. I am expecting a huge Israeli military attack against Gaza with the approval of the US. And as always, occupied Palestinians will receive nothing but the blame.I am sorry George W. Bush, you are not welcome.Published at: Electronic Intifada website:

Gaza residents discuss the closure (BBC)

Three Palestinians describe life in Gaza under the closure of the borders and how much they think the extra funding pledged by donors in Paris can help them.
I am principal of a school for children aged 10-13. The school is in a poor area and we are funded by UNWRA. The pupils who attend are among those hit hardest by the closure [of Gaza's border with Israel and Egypt, since June 2007]. Many of their parents used to work outside the Gaza Strip, so since the closure they have had no income.
Some of them come without proper clothing or shoes. It all affects their health and their performance at school. They attend, but often they are not really concentrating.
We have a lot of problems with low achievement. We do try to raise standards, but the circumstances don't help.
Some of these young people are blaming the whole world for their problems.
Put yourself in their shoes - what do you think will happen to them? They may become radicalised, they may become fanatics.
This is definitely affecting their mentality, their personalities.
As far as this new aid money goes, if it goes directly to the people I can assure you it will help. But the method of delivering the money is important.
The UN is the only international agency in Gaza which is working. It is making a lot of effort to help the refugees.
Every day we hear some clashes between Palestinians and Israelis on the borders to our east. But it doesn't really come into our area, to be honest.
However the closure affects every area of life.
Since Hamas took power there has been no construction work. There are a lot of half-finished projects and broken areas. Everything is upside down.
We heard about the pledges made by the donors. They spend a lot of money in the West Bank but here we don't tend to see it.
There are some shortages. We can't find the washing liquid we want, and there wasn't enough lamb for the Eid celebrations. We couldn't find Cola or Sevenup.
But more important are the medical shortages. In the West Bank patients can leave for treatment elsewhere. Here, they don't have the option.
At the moment I am the only source of income for about 12 members of my family. I work with an international humanitarian organisation and I also work as a freelance journalist.
My father used to work in tailoring in the Israeli industrial areas in Erez. When the Israelis withdrew [in September 2005] they closed the factory and he found similar work inside Gaza for less money.
But since the closure even that factory closed because no materials could get through. I would say about 70% of factories have closed for the same reasons.
I am an ambitious man and want to do an MA. My wife is educated, she's an electrical engineer. We want to travel, get more experiences and more education. But even if I get a visa, I can't leave.
The problem with this donors' conference is that they're giving their money to Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas]. He only represents the West Bank - and he's the one separating the West Bank from Gaza.
How can this man sleep when he has cut the salaries of 33,000 people in Gaza?
Two months ago my wife had our first baby. I look at him and I want to give him a better life, but I don't know how to.