“Soldiers came to the area at night [on 3 January 2009] and at dawn on 4 January many relatives came to my house to stay with us. We though that if we stayed in our house we would be all right. After a while soldiers came to the house and my father spoke to them in Hebrew; he told them: ‘These are my children, my family, there are no terrorists here.’ The soldiers told us to leave our house and go to Wa’el’s house across the road and we obeyed. We were many relatives, about 100 altogether, many of them children. We stayed there all day and all night. We had hardly any food in the house and the children were hungry. Nobody could come to the area, not even ambulances. We were scared. The following morning (5 January) three of my cousins and I tried to go out of the house, to the walled garden to get some tomatoes and some wood to cook something. As soon as we got out of the door we were shelled. My cousins Muhammad and Hamdi were killed and Wa’el and I were injured and we retreated back into the house. Then the house was shelled again – at least two shells – from above. Some 25 people were killed and most of
the others were injured. My little girl, Azza, was killed and my wife was injured. My mother Rahma was holding baby Mahmoud (six months old) and she was killed but she shielded the baby with her body and saved him. My father was killed. Wa’el’s children, a boy and a girl, were both killed. Safa, the wife of my brother Iyad, was killed and Maha, the wife of my brother Hilmi, and their baby son Muhammad were all killed. Why did they shell the house after having put us all in there? We thought we’d all be killed; those of us who could ran out of the house. Many of us were injured; I was injured in the head and blood was pouring down my face as I ran. Nearby there were soldiers in the house of the Sawafiri family and they shouted to us to go back and shot at us, but we kept running. When we got to safety we raised the alarm, called the Red Cross to send an ambulance to the house to get the injured, but the army did not let any ambulances approach the area. We knew there were people still alive in the house because we called the mobile numbers and children answered; they were scared, with dead bodies all around them. Some of the injured died in the house waiting to be rescued. Only three days later could the Red Cross go in, but only on foot as the army did not let the ambulances approach; they found some children still alive and many others dead.”
For full report, click here.
Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of aid intended for the Gaza Strip is piling up in cities across Egypt’s North Sinai region, despite recent calls from the United Nations to ease aid flow restrictions to the embattled territory in the wake of Operation Cast Lead.
Food, medicine, blankets, infant food and other supplies for Gaza’s 1.5 million people, coming from governments and non-governmental agencies around the world, are being stored in warehouses, parking lots, stadiums and on airport runways across Egypt’s North Sinai governorate.
For full article, visit http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=46504
“It’s wholly and totally inadequate,” John Ging, head of the UN Relief and Works Agency in Gaza, said about the amount of goods Israel permits into the territory, where some 1.5 million Palestinians live.
For full article, visit http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1076282.html
Following an internal election within UNRWA, the agency’s management has warned it may fire employees who violated the organization’s nonpartisan policy by affiliating with political factions in Gaza – namely Fatah and Hamas.
The warning came as the election for the chairmanship of UNRWA trade union ended Monday. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East is a major source of employment in Gaza.
For full article, visit http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1075344.html
During the Israeli attack in January, there was a breach in one of the earthen embankment walls of a sewage containment lagoon in Gaza due to some form of Israeli military activity resulting in a large sewage flood.
Although the incident was only reported recently, it was evident from a United Nations analysis of QuickBird satellite images taken from space on 16 January, and confirmed by photos taken by a UN Environmental Program team on the ground in Gaza on 30 January, was an outflow from a sewage lagoon in Sheikh Ejleen, next to the main wastewater treatment plant in Gaza City.
To see a map outlining the damage caused by the sewage treatment plant click here.
For full article, visit http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10433.shtml
“This report documents Israel’s extensive use of white phosphorus munitions during its 22-day military operations in Gaza, from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009, named Operation Cast Lead. Based on in-depth investigations in Gaza, the report concludes that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) repeatedly exploded white phosphorus munitions in the air over populated areas, killing and injuring civilians, and damaging civilian structures, including a school, a market, a humanitarian aid warehouse and a hospital.
White phosphorus munitions did not kill the most civilians in Gaza – many more died from missiles, bombs, heavy artillery, tank shells, and small arms fire – but their use in densely populated neighborhoods, including downtown Gaza City, violated international humanitarian law (the laws of war), which requires taking all feasible precautions to avoid civilian harm and prohibits indiscriminate attacks.
The unlawful use of white phosphorus was neither incidental nor accidental. It was repeated over time and in different locations, with the IDF “air-bursting” the munition in populated areas up to the last days of its military operation. Even if intended as an obscurant rather than as a weapon, the IDF’s repeated firing of air-burst white phosphorus shells from 155mm artillery into densely populated areas was indiscriminate and indicates the commission of war crimes.”
To download full report, click here.