IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation has released an extensive report concerning the cases filed across the world into Israel’s 2010 raid on Mavi Marmara, which claimed the lives of nine peaceful activists.
30.01.2013 - Judicial report of Mavi Marmara trials released
The report tells the judicial battle fought by participants of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in Turkey and across the world.The report, prepared by IHH Human Rights and Judicial Commission, includes information about the Mavi Marmara trial as part of which Israeli commanders stand trial in Turkey and judicial work carried out by national and international judicial organs regarding the Mavi Marmara raid.
The report, which states that real persons, judicial persons and third persons have taken various actions to mobilize national and international judicial authorities in the aftermath of the attack, reveals the legal battle which has been going on for more than 2 and a half years. Please click to read Mavi Marmara Judicial Report
Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip, Monday 21st January, 2013: A ceasefire was announced on 21st November, ending eight days of horrific bloodshed in Gaza. Has the delicate truce held over the past two months? It depends who you ask. Israelis or Gazans, each going about their daily lives on opposite sides of a border fence.
There has not been a single report of a rocket fired out of Gaza since 21st November. In contrast, four Palestinians have lost their lives and over 80 have been injured by Israeli forces. Yet these violations have received little or no coverage in the mainstream media. Palestinian civilians, whose only crime is to live in the border areas, are terrorized on a daily basis by the Israeli army. This is what everyday life under the ceasefire has meant for them.
Beit Lahiya, in the far north of the Gaza Strip is one such place. A week ago, it saw the brutal murder of 20 year-old Mustafa Abu Jarad. Today, it was the site of another Israeli violation. Abdullah Marouf, 18, was in the west of Beit Lahiya, near the coast, when he was shot in the right leg by Israeli forces, fracturing both his tibia and fibula.
At about 9.00 am on 21st January, Abdullah was in an area approximately 250 metres from the border fence (the ceasefire says they can go to within 100 meters of the fence), catching birds with his two brothers. A group of five or six Palestinians they were unaquainted with were also in the vicinity, closer to the fence than they were. Abdullah had been under the impression that he would be safe, however he noticed an Israeli soldier in a watchtower on the border and others on the ground. The soldiers began firing live ammunition towards them and Abdullah was shot.
Two local farmers brought him to Kamal Adwan hospital where surgeons performed percutaneous pinning of his lower leg, which had sustained damage from an entry wound and a significantly larger exit wound. He requires subsequent surgery in a couple of months to fit internal wires. His recovery is estimated to take at least 12 months.
Abdullah, who is engaged to be married, had been working with his two brothers selling scrap metal. Now they will have to support a family of nine without his help. It is unsurprising that he expressed a lack of faith in the ceasefire agreement.
One can only expect that the Palestinian resistance has also lost faith and is fast losing patience. If a response is provoked, it will appear to be in a vacuum - despite this being far from the case - due to the shameful silence maintained by the international community throughout the ongoing Israeli atrocities. It is for people of conscience to protest this injustice and prevent a further escalation of Israel's attacks on Gaza.
Khuza'a, Gaza Strip: For the last hour I've been able to see from my appartment window small fishing boats close in to shore being harrassed by an Israeli gunboat. Every so often, one of them is picked out by a strong searchlight and circled. They are to the north of Gaza City but clearly this side of the border some distance south of the Israeli gas platforms which now line the sea border between Palestinian Gaza and Israel.I hope that they all manage to come back to port safely. Theresa McDermott
At about 8.30pm on Tuesday 15th January, Israeli tanks and military bulldozers breached the border adjacent to the village of Khuza'a, east of Khan Younis and intruded inside the Gaza Strip. The incursion into Palestinian farmland continued through the night and added to the long list of Israeli ceasefire violations.
Heavy shooting was reported during the assault but fortunately there were no injuries on this occasion. Also, explosions were heard but no homes were damaged. Terrified locals contacted the International Committee of the Red Cross but were told that the Israeli military wouldn't listen to anyone.
The raid continued on the night of Wednesday 16th January, when Apache helicopters were reported to have also been deployed. Then, on Thursday 17th January, the Israeli military aggression continued in the area for a third consecutive night.
A large swathe of agricultural land was damaged, about eight kilometres along the border fence and about 250 metres back from it. Within this area about 300 dumuns were razed, including wheat crops planted in December. Fields belonging to about 500 different farmers were affected, according to local officials. Farmers have attempted to approach their lands since the attack but haven't been able to reach land closer than 100 metres from the fence.
The mayor of Khuza'a, Kamal Al-Najar, explained that 800 of the 2,000 dunums of agricultural land in Khuza'a is close to the border fence and wasn't accessible prior to Israel's eight-day offensive on Gaza in November. At that time, farmers in Khuza'a had only been able to access their lands which lay half a kilometre or more from the border fence.
Since the ceasefire announcement, they have accessed land 300 metres from the fence and had managed to cultivate about 400 dunums within that area for the first time in ten years. However, most of this has now been destroyed in last week's attack. Over the course of the last ten years, the Israeli military has destroyed olive and citrus groves, greenhouses and water pumping facilities in the border areas. Orange Jenny
Photos courtesy of Desde Palestina:
Since November 22, 2012, 4 Palestinians have been killed and 75 Palestinians, including 14 children have been wounded by IOF fire in Gaza Strip.
One of the wounded is a fisherman shot in the sea, while the others are protesters, workers and farmers shot in the areas close to the fence of the Green Line. The data is from PCHR weekly reports, unless otherwise mentioned. In almost all the cases, the victims are mentioned expressly as civilians. This is not a complete list of Israeli violations of the ceasefire, as it contains only the incidents which resulted in injuries or deaths.
The two reports below are from Free Gaza passengers, Orange Jenny (OJ) and Theresa McDermott. They are staying in Gaza to work with farmers and fishermen and to bear witness to what the IOF is continuing to do to the people there after a 'ceasefire' was agreed to by Israel and Hamas. Theresa has been interviewing family members of the Palestinian farmers who have been murdered and wounded since that ceasefire. Her report follows the report from OJ.
Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip, Monday 14th January Just three days after the fatal shooting of Anwar Al-Malouk near Jabalia, the Israeli military has murdered another Palestinian civilian despite a supposed ceasefire being in place. Mustafa Abu Jarad, 20, was one of a group of bird hunters working on a plot of land in an area north of Beit Lahiya in the very north of the Gaza Strip, over a kilometre away from the border fence.
From the border, the Israeli army began firing heavily in their direction and immediately targeted Mustafa directly in the forehead. The group had thrown themselves onto the ground and when the situation calmed enough for them to move they realised that Mustafa had been hit.
Mustafa's older brother, Loay, was killed two and a half months ago whilst active with the Palestinian resistance. Mustafa had no involvement with the resistance himself. He was trying to earn a little extra income for his family whilst he completed his studies. The latest attacks increase the number of Palestinian casualties since the ceasefire announcement to more than 80, according to officials in Gaza.
To further flout the ceasefire agreement, several Israeli military vehicles were reported to have breached the border with Gaza this morning in an agricultural area east of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip (Ma'an News Agency). After continual violations of the November ceasefire, committed by the Israeli military against Palestinian civilians, the question remains:
When will the international community take notice - and furthermore take action - to prevent an escalation of bloodshed?
Photo courtesy of Desde Palestina:
Interview with Family by Theresa McDermott
Today 20 year old Mustafa Abd Al Hakeem Abu Jarad, was working in the fields with a number of other farmers North of Beit Lahia in the North of the Gaza Strip when he was shot through the head by a single sniper shot fired from the Israeli watchtower on the border. He survived ong enough to be taken to Al Shifa hospital where he was operated on but there was no chance that he would survive, the bullet had entered through his forehead and exited through the back of his head causing severe brain injury.
We spoke to his family as they waited for news at the ICU and they told us that the family did not have their own farm, Mustafa was working as a farm labourer while he finished his schooling. They said that the farm workers had been around 1 km away from the border fence when Israeli soldiers had started to fire towards them, the gunfire was heavy so they left the fields until it stopped, returning once they thought that it would be safe. After they had gone back to work there was a single shot from the watchtower which hit Mustafa squarely in the forehead.
Mustafa was taken straight to Kamal Adwan Hospital from where he was transferred to Shifa Hospital when they realized the seriousness of his injury. At Shifa he was operated on in order to stop the bleeding and remove bone fragments from what was left of his brain but the doctors already knew that his injuries were to severe and that he was unlikely to survive for long. He died at around 7.30 this evening.
Theresa McDermott was on Free Gaza's first trip, August 22-28, 2008 when we broke through Israel's siege. She was also on several other trips, was kidnapped on the June, 2009 voyage and thrown into an Israeli prison. She went back to Gaza during the last Israeli attack in November 2012. Below is Part 2 of her interviews with the families in Gaza.
On Saturday, 12th of January we visited the funeral of Anouar Al Mamluk aged 19 who was shot dead in the Buffer Zone on the 11th of January just East of Jabalya. He was on his own standing around 40 m from the border fence when he was shot in the abdomen, he was taken to hospital but was dead on arrival. He was a member of Fatah but was simply in the buffer zone close to a cemetry where there was a group of young men visiting graves of some Martyrs at the time.
We also visited the house of Omar Ismail Awadi who is 21 years old and was injured in both legs by shrapnel from an exploding bullet when they went to try to help Anouar. He told us the whole story of what happened. Omar is not a member of any political or resistance faction.
Omar told us that he and a friend had gone to the cemetry on Friday to visit some graves when they saw some of his other friends nearby about 100m from the fence and they had gone to chat with them. They could see Anouar on his own around 60m closer to the fence. 4 Israeli Army jeeps drew up on the other side of the fence, around 12 soldiers got out and started firing tear gas and bullets. He and his friends had started to run away but when Anouar was shot they went to try to help him, it was then that a bullet hit the ground in front of him and exploded, spraying his legs with shrapnel. His friends managed to carry both him and Anouar back to where a doctor could get to them and they were both taken to hospital, Anouar was discovered to be dead on arrival, Omar was treated for shrapnel wounds to both ankles and above the left knee, he has to return in one week in order to be seen by an Osteologist as he has a small piece of shrapnel embeded in the bone of his ankle.
The Israeli's claim they suspected they were going to damage the fence as they were at the fence, when we asked Omar about this he insisted that they were around 100m away from it when the Israeli's started to fire and from his reaction to the suggestion that they were closer I believe him. He said that they had only gone closer when they went to pick up Anouar after he had already been shot but they were still 40 m away, not near enough to do damage.Omar said that he is very scared after this incident, he couldn't sleep last night because of thinking about what happened and he wishes that Israel would stop these crimes. His father Ismail is very worried and does not want him to go back to the cemetary or anywhere near the fence.
5 years ago, before cast Lead, Omar's younger brother Mohammed was injured during an Israeli attack on Jabalya Camp, he was 13 at the time and was so badly injured that he had to be sent to Egypt for treatment, he was there for 4 months before being able to return. Mohammed has now recovered but his left hand was badly damaged, he is very artistic and part of his therapy was to encourage his drawing, there are examples of his drawing and other artwork in their house. There are 3 sons and 6 daughters in the Awadi family, 2 of the sons have now been injured by Israeli aggression even though no one in the family are involved with the resistance.
Ismail is a civil servant in the Ministry of the Interior, he is not politicaly active, he has a desk job. He says that he had hoped that the Israelis would honour the cease fire agreement even though he didn't really believe they would, he says "we do not have peace".
An eloquent statement from a farmer in Gaza.
January, 2013: I’ve really tried to understand the Israelis. I used to work on a farm in Israel. I speak Hebrew. I watch their news. All the time they talk about fear. How they have to run to their bunkers to hide from the rockets. How their children can’t sleep because of the sirens. This is not a good way for them to live.
We Palestinians don’t talk about fear, we talk about death. Our rockets scare them; their rockets kill us. We have no bomb shelters, we have no sirens, we have nowhere we can take our children and keep them safe. They are scared. We are dying.
— Mohammed al-Khoudry a Palestinian farmer in Gaza
Jabalia, Gaza Strip The fragile ceasefire announced on 21st November, following Israel's eight-day offensive on Gaza, was yet again violated by the Israeli military today after a fatal attack on a group of Palestinian civilians east of Jabalia. 19 year-old Anwar Al-Malouk, a law student from the Shajaia district of Gaza City was shot dead and 21 year-old Omar Wadi from the Jabalia refugee camp, north of Gaza City, was injured as he came to Anwar's aid.
At about 2.30pm on 11th January, Omar was in a local cemetary visiting the graves of friends killed under the occupation. He noticed a group of around 30 Palestinians a few hundred metres away to the east, between the cemetary and the fence marking the eastern border of the Gaza Strip.
From the cemetary, which was over half a kilometre from the border fence, Omar approached the group to investigate the situation. Four Israeli military jeeps were positioned on the other side of the fence and around 12 Israeli soldiers were present, firing tear-gas canisters towards the group of Palestinians.
At this point, the group was at a distance of approximately 100 metres from the fence but then fled a further 100 metres back, amid the tear-gas attack. By around 4pm, Anwar had been separated from the group and remained alone about 40 metres from the fence, when he was shot by the soldiers and fell.
Three of the group, including Omar, went back to assist Anwar. Omar says he acted instinctively at the sight of a fellow Palestinian in danger and didn't consider his own safety - despite not having previously known Anwar. As he arrived to where Anwar lay, he was hit in both legs by shrapnel from a hollow-tip bullet which exploded on impact with the ground nearby and showered metal fragments in his direction.
The two others managed to evacuate Omar and Anwar from the scene to safety, but Anwar had sustained a serious gunshot wound to his abdomen and died en route to hospital. Anwar had to be driven from the area to the main road in a toc-toc, where he was then transferred to an ambulance. Unfortunately, by this time he had already passed away in the toc-toc.
At Kamal Adwan Hospital in Jabalia, Omar was treated for ankle injuries. He has since been released, but the shrapnel remains embedded in his bones. As an outpatient of the osteological department, he must return next week for assessment regarding the possibility of surgery to remove the shrapnel. It is understandable that Omar was terrified during the attack. He has been traumatised by the experience and has not been able to sleep due to reliving the memory of it.
Omar has two brothers and six sisters. His 18 year-old brother, Mohammed, was seriously injured during an Israeli incursion in the east of Jabalia five years ago when he was only 13 years old. Mohammed underwent treatment in Egypt for four months and is still receiving treatment in Gaza to this day.
The young mens' father expressed concern about Omar ever visiting the cemetary again, whilst their mother said she feared one day all her sons would be killed. The Wadi family yearn for a genuine ceasefire, yet they anticipated from the outset that Israel would never respect it. Omar's principal hope is that Israel's crimes against Palestinians will end.
Anwar was the youngest son of the Al-Malouk family and the only one still living at home, due to his older brothers being married. His 55 year-old mother hopes he is now at peace.
This is not the first killing since the ceasefire. The first Palestinian killed was also named Anwar. On 23rd November, just two days into the agreement, Anwar Qudieh was shot dead, this time in the rural area of Abassan, east of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip.
There have been numerous Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians in Gaza during the ceasefire. One can only imagine the response had it been the other way around.
Photos courtesy of Desde Palestina:
Theresa McDermott was on Free Gaza's first trip, August 22-28, 2008 when we broke through Israel's siege. She was also on several other trips, was kidnapped on the June, 2009 voyage and thrown into an Israeli prison. She went back to Gaza during the last Israeli attack in November 2012. Below is Part 1 of her interviews with the families in Gaza.
Before I start to tell these accounts I need to say something about the current weather conditions here. It is very cold, there have been continuous very strong winds and heavy rain with absolutely torrential bursts. The ground is saturated and very muddy, many places are flooded. In our comparitively luxurious appartment which has continuous power because it is the building that Save the Children use and therefore has a generator to provide power when the power cuts happen, we are huddled round a heater wearing coats all day because we are so cold. What it's like for families living in desperate conditions with no genrator so having power cuts for much of the day, 8 hours a day, sometimes more due to power rationing, I can't imagine.
THE ABU SAID FAMILY, JOHR EL DYK NEAR GAZA CITY
This is a beautiful farming area just outside Gaza City, the fields are fertile and the farms all look quite prosperous. Naser Abu Said the father of the family told us their story. He said that 3 years ago in spite of the fact that their house was only 300 m from the Israeli security fence on the border their life was good, they felt fairly secure as they had not been attacked in Operation Cast Lead so assumed that the Israelis knew that they were just a farming family living there with no connections to political parties. They were used to bombing all around their area but didn't think that they were going to be targeted.
On the 13th of July 2010 this changed, they were all sitting round drinking tea, when the Israelis mounted an incursion onto their land, the army arrived with tanks and soldiers. At first the tanks shelled around their house injuring his younger sister, then they changed to using the heavy caliber machine guns. His wife realized that one of their children was still outside and went to bring him inside to safety. While she was outside they again shelled around the house using flechette shells killing his wife and injuring his father, their child managed to run to safety inside the house. For 3 hours they were stuck inside the house unable to reach their injured family members before the Israelis eventually allowed them to go out to attend to the injured and bury his wife.
From then until 28th April 2011 they continued to live in their damaged home, but on the 28th April the Israelis came back, everyone was inside the house when they opened fire on the house hitting it directly, injuring 3 of his children and destroying the house. It took an hour this time, calling frantically to the Red Cross and other people before the Israelis allowed them to leave and take the injured children to hospital.
Now the house is partly repaired with a couple of rooms usable, but his children are too afraid to return to it, so his parents and sister are living there in very difficult conditions. He is building a new house around 500m further away from the fence. This has been started,but he does not have enough money to carry on the work so he, his new wife and 6 children are all living in 3 small tents with electricity for half of the day brought by wires from the town and the few posessions they salvaged inside the tents.
This is incredibly hard in the summer but just now during the Winter it must be almost impossible, this last month there has been extremely heavy rain and gale force winds, it's extremely cold. All around the house there is water and the ground has been turned to mud, the tents do not keep out all of the rain, so it's very hard to keep dry and warm, and using the electricity is dangerous.
Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, Mairead Maguire, Shirin Ebadi, Tawakkol Karman, Alice Walker, Denis J. Halliday, Hans C. von Sponeck, Rigoberta Menchú Tum and many others; Nobel Laureates, politicians, writers, artists and public figures, announced their support for Gaza's Ark. You can see a partial list of figures supporting Gaza's Ark below* and a full list on our website at http://www.gazaark.org/2012/12/02/our-supporters/.
Following the Israeli aggression against Gaza in November and the conditions of the recent ceasefire it is more important than ever to assert the Palestinian right to freedom of movement, including trade, and challenge the Israeli illegal and inhumane blockade through Gaza's Ark.
Please follow the lead of Archbishop Tutu and all these other figures of conscience and support Gaza's Ark. Visit www.gazaark.org and click the "donate" button to give whatever amount you can, and encourage others to do so as well. Please also endorse Gaza's Ark -- your support is very valuable to this project.
Remember that Gaza's Ark, run jointly by civil society groups in Gaza and a committee of internationals, will hire local workers to rebuild an existing boat and stock it with goods for export -- including date products, clothing and furniture, exports that once fuelled an independent, self-sufficient economy (more details at www.gazaark.org).
Gaza's Ark is a project of the International Freedom Flotilla Coalition that has been challenging the Israeli Naval blockade of Gaza for years and is committed to continue its work until the blockade is totally lifted as a step towards regaining the full rights of the Palestinian people.
Your support, in any and every way you can, is our route to success.
Gaza's Ark Steering Committee
* Partial list of supporters:
Noam Chomsky - USA - Linguistics Professor, MIT
Shirin Ebadi - Iran - Nobel Laureate (2003)
Hedy Epstein - USA - Holocaust survivor
Leymah Gbowee - Liberia - Nobel Laureate (2011)
Denis J. Halliday - Ireland - UN Assistant Secretary-General (1994-1998)
Tawakkol Karman - Yemen - Nobel Laureate (2011)
Sir Gerald Kaufman - UK - Member of Parliament (1997-present)
Mairead Maguire - Ireland - Nobel Laureate (1976)
John Pilger - Australia - Journalist, Writer and Documentary filmmaker
David Shoebridge - Australia - Member of NSW Parliament (2010-present)
Clare Short - UK - Member of Parliament (1997-2010)
Hans C. von Sponeck - Germany - UN Assistant Secretary General (1998-2000)
Baroness Jenny Tonge - UK - Member of Parliament (1997-2005)
Rigoberta Menchú Tum - Guatemala - Nobel Laureate (1992)
Archbishop Desmond Tutu - South Africa - Social Rights Activist & Nobel Laureate (1984)
Alice Walker - USA - Pulitzer Prize winner (1983)
Jody Williams - USA - Nobel Laureate (1997)
Suzanne Weiss - Canada - Holocaust Survivor
Hon. Lynda Jane Voltz - Australia - Member of the NSW Legislative Council (2007-present)
Federico Mayor Zaragoza - Spain - Director-General of UNESCO (1987-1999)
Those were the eloquent words of Ray McGovern when the piece of art from Holland came to him by mail. “The artwork and text are as gripping as they are poignant. The book can move to tears -- as it did me, despite all of the callouses I wear as a result of witnessing longstanding unconscionable oppression in Gaza.”
Many people have asked us how they can help publicize the oppression in Gaza, how they can help when they don’t have a lot of money and what else can they do to raise money for the people in Gaza.
Here are three ways you can help:
Buy a piece of art from an exhibition in The Hague and Brussels. Part of the purchase money will go to projects in Gaza. http://www.freegaza.org/en/home/56-news/1392-be-a-part-of-art-and-a-witness-to-history
Buy Free Gaza’s book at www.freedomsailors.com as royalties go to projects in Gaza, and you get a great read of Free Gaza’s first voyage and how we succeeded in spite of ourselves.
As the most current reviewe on Amazon r says about the book, "Freedom Sailors" is a riveting account of how 44 avowed, non-violent peace activists sailed their two barely seaworthy boats past the naval blockade of Gaza and thus became the first vessels to break the siege in 41 years. How these leaderless, "hardheaded, independent-minded, stubborn" individuals from 17 different nations planned and accomplished this feat in 2008 is graphically told here from several perspectives. I was held spellbound by reading "Freedom Sailors" and am glad that the "majority of the Royalties earned from this book will be donated to Gaza-based humanitarian organizations." Alan T. Marty MD
Buy Peace tunes with Rich Siegel http://www.amazon.com/s?_encoding=UTF8&field-artist=Rich%20Siegel&search-alias=music and spread the music around on this holiday season. The songs are terrific.
Please don’t miss this opportunity to share in a piece of artwork, the history of Free Gaza’s first voyage. And, when you are reading the books, listen to the wonderful music and Rich Siegel and company. And know that part of the purchase price will go to projects in Gaza.
December 12th, 2012: Gaza- Israeli forces fired live ammunition and tear gas at unarmed farmers and international solidarity activists working in Khuza’a, a small village outside of Khan Younis located near the Israeli border. At 10:30 AM, the farmers arrived and began to plough approximately 100 meters from the separation fence while internationals lined up in between the border and the farmers. They were quickly met by an Israeli military jeep and transport vehicle. An Israeli soldier issued a warning in Arabic to leave the area and then fired two rounds into the air. The farmers and internationals remained calm and continued their work and the Israeli soldiers left the area.
At around 11 AM, approximately 20 Palestinians and farmers gathered around 300 meters back from the fence. Two military jeeps returned to the area. One soldier exited his vehicle and fired four shots in the direction of the farmers and activists. The fourth shot crossed the line of the activists and landed in the field being ploughed. Again, the Palestinians and internationals were not deterred. The Israeli jeeps left and the farmers finished working on this section of land and moved on to an adjacent plot. Fifteen minutes later, two Israeli jeeps returned, one equipped with an automatic machine gun. A soldier fired three canisters of tear gas directly in front of the activists. He proceeded to shoot at the tractor, damaging its engine and bringing the work to a halt. An international was accompanying the driver aboard the tractor. The accompaniment team included participants from Spain, Italy, France, England, Scotland, Germany and the United States
Gazan farmers successfully ploughed and sowed wheat in adjacent plots, with the presence of internationals, during the two days prior to the incident. Though they were issued warnings by Israeli forces to stay 100 meters from the fence, they were not fired upon in a similar fashion. "This incident is a prime example of the military harassment and unpredictability of the Israeli occupation forces that farmers routinely face while working their land in Gaza," said Maria del Mar Fernandez from Free Gaza.
Residents from Khuza’a said they have not planted in this area, declared a closed military zone by Israel, for the past thirteen years. Formerly an orchard, Israeli forces bulldozed the field multiple times during military incursions and regularly shoots at farmers who attempt to work there. Farmers were under the impression that this area was now accessible after the November 21st ceasefire’s stipulations that Israeli forces would "refrain from targeting residents in the border areas" and to "stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals." This is the optimum season for planting wheat and the Gaza farmers only have a small window of time in which to work before the land will be rendered unusable.
December 10th, 2012
Today, Gazan farmers from Khuza'a, a small village near Khan Younis, worked on their land in defiance of Israeli military harassment. Farmers ploughed approximately seven dunams and then sowed wheat in a plot that they had previously been denied access to before the November 21st, 2012 ceasefire. The farmers successfully worked up to 100 meters from the separation fence. The Israeli military arbitrarily designates this area as a restricted military buffer zone, otherwise known as the "kill zone." According to the workers, they have not been able to farm on this specific plot of land for the past ten years. Formerly an orchard, Israeli forces bulldozed the field multiple times during military incursions and regularly shoots at farmers who attempt to work there.
At approximately 8:00 AM, the Palestinian farmers began their morning‘s activities when two Israeli tanks, one military jeep and five bulldozers lined up across from the farmers on the Israeli side of the fence, threatening to fire. Around 9:30 AM, the farmers were joined by a group of 14 solidarity activists from Gaza, Spain, Italy, France, England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany and the United States. The Israeli forces left after half an hour and were quickly replaced by two more military jeeps. The Palestinians and internationals stood their ground approximately 100 meters from the fence despite multiple Israeli warnings to leave the area. One of the international activists accompanied a Gaza driver aboard his tractor to act as a deterrent to Israeli fire. Other farmers sowed wheat by hand. The work concluded around 12:30 PM without any fire from Israeli forces.
This was a small, yet very important victory for the farmers, especially as Israel has frequently and unapologetically breached the ceasefire’s stipulations to "refrain from targeting residents in the border areas" and to "stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals." Video by Desde Palestina and reports by Joshua Brollier
The following report has just come in from Free Gaza's board member, Maria del mar Fernandez, who is staying in Gaza and working with Palestinians and other activists.
December 11, 2012: Gaza City: In spite of the stipulations of the ceasefire agreement of November 21, 2012 between the Palestinian Government of the Gaza Strip and Israel, in which it was agreed that there would not be restrictions for farmers to work their land there, and that fishermen could fish up to 6 miles from the coast, Israel has not respected either of these committments and has been attacking fishing boats, arresting fishermen and destroying boats and has repeatedly attacked and injured farmers.
That is why, a group of 14 solidarity activists have accompanied today the famers to their lands in Khuza'a, close to Khan Younis in the central Gaza Strip to try to prevent these attacks occurring and if so, to monitor them. We were from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK and US and wore yellow and orange coats to advise the Israeli military of our presence.
Before our arrival, the farmers had tried to go to their lands alone by 8.30 a.m. and told us that they were shot by Israeli soldiers that arrived immediately in tanks, bulldozers and jeeps and prevented them from working.
When we arrived, we deployed along the lands to be sowed at 100 meters from the separation fence.
Shortly after our arrival, Israeli jeeps appeared and the soldiers descended from them ordering the farmers and us to abandon the zone immediately. We replied that we all were unarmed civilians and that according to the Ceasefire Agreement, the farmers were exerting their right to work their land. We told them as well the different countries we were from and that we were not going to abandon the farmers. They then insisted that we were closer than 100 meters and that we had to go away. After about half hour exchanging messages, we retired some 10 meters farther back. In the meantime, the farmers were working behind those of us standing between them and the soldiers, with a tractor on which there was also an international accompanying the farmer. The farmers have now sowed their land with wheat seeds.
When today's work ended at about 12.30pm, 7.5 dunams (about two acres) had been sowed, and we have all left with high spirits. Tomorrow, we'll return there to continue our task of solidarity with the farmers.
The father of the family, Jamal Mahmoud Yassin al-Dalu, was praying when the missile struck. It was the afternoon of November 18th, the fifth day of the Israeli attack against Gaza misnamed “Operation Pillar of Defense”.
Jamal’s wife, Tahani Hassan al-Dalu, 52 was at home preparing lunch. His grandchildren, ages 1, 4, 6, and 7 were playing with their toys, waiting to eat. Also in the house were Jamal’s 73 year old sister, his two daughters, 16 and 25, his son, 29 and his son’s wife, 25. All 10 were killed at once. Three generations of a family wiped out in a single event: five children, 4 women and the father of four of the children.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Audrey Bomse, Free Gaza, +1 856 986 2213, email@example.com
December 7, 2012
An emergency delegation of peace activists, lawyers, and journalists that hurried to the Gaza Strip just days after the end of Israel’s recent assault on the territory has wound up up a week of bearing witness both to the war’s devastation and to the Gazan people’s determination to rebuild their society and seek a more peaceful and just future.
Consisting of 20 U.S. citizens, two from the UK, one from Spain, and one from Germany, and ranging in age from 23 to 82, the group entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing from Egypt on Nov. 26 and 27, following the ceasefire brokered by Egypt and finally announced on Nov. 21. Over the last week members of the group have traveled throughout the Strip, meeting with the families of some of the more than 160 people killed, visiting hospitals and bombed-out homes, joining farmers and fishermen in their efforts to ensure that the terms of the ceasefire agreement are implemented fully, and exchanging views with local human-rights advocates, professors and students, young bloggers, and people on the streets.
“We’ve seen the devastating destructiveness of Israel’s high-tech weaponry, most of it supplied by the U.S. at American taxpayer’s expense,” said Col. Ann Wright, ret., who served in the U.S. military for 29 years and in the U.S. diplomatic service for 13. “We’ve heard grief, anger, fear, and bewilderment, but just about everyone we’ve talked to has also expressed pride in their society’s resiliency and a commitment to continue the struggle for their rights, despite the high price they’ve paid.”
“Over and over people told us terrified they were by the constant buzzing of the drones, and the bombs and rockets that shook whole neighborhoods and sent deadly shrapnel over wide areas,” said delegation member Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK. “There was no safe haven in the Gaza Strip.”
Many of the most poignant stories delegation members heard involved children killed or injured in the Israeli attacks. Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, recalled a family speaking fondly about their lively and lovable eight-year-old son, Fares. On November 15, 2012, shrapnel from an Israeli rocket attacks decapitated Fares as he slept. “He was the life of the house,” said Ahmed Baiyouni, his father. “Now the home seems so quiet.”
At least 33 children were killed and 247 wounded during the Israeli onslaught, according to a preliminary count by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza. Even children who weren’t harmed physically were left traumatized by the sights, sounds, and bone-jarring impact of the bombing, many parents told the visiting delegation. Despite warning shots fired by Israeli forces, delegation members also accompanied fishermen and farmers asserting their right to fish in Gaza’s territorial waters and to farm their lands along the border with Israel. In recent years Israel unilaterally banned Gaza’s fishing fleet from sailing more than three nautical miles offshore and declared “no go” zones in Gazan territory along the border with Israel, including much of the area’s most productive agricultural land. Israeli forces enforced these ban with frequent attacks on both farmers and fishermen.
According to the text of the November 21 ceasefire agreement, this was supposed to change: Israel’s obligations include “refraining from restricting residents' free movements and targeting residents in border areas.” With their rights thus reaffirmed, Gazans all along the border have returned to land they have been unable to farm for years, while fishermen have sailed out to six nautical miles offshore. Unfortunately, since day one of the ceasefire Israel has repeatedly violated its commitment, firing guns and tear gas across the border at Palestinians as they farm their own land and sending gunboats to harass the fishermen. Since the ceasefire Israeli fire along the border fence has killed one civilian and wounded at least 42, including 7 children, while Israeli naval forces have arrested at least 29 fishermen, impounded and damaged nine fishing boats, and destroyed one boat.
"The shooting at farmers and fishermen puts the ceasefire at risk," said attorney James Marc Leas, co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild Free Palestine Sub-committee. "If the ceasefire ends, Israel cannot shift the blame as it is the first to be shooting guns."
The delegation was in Gaza when the UN General Assembly voted overwhelming to grant Palestine recognition as an “observer state.” While people celebrated the vote, many expressed anger that the U.S. joined Israel in voting “No.” They were even angrier that the U.S. supported the Israeli attack on Gaza, citing Israel's right to self-defense as if Israel were the victim and not the aggressor. Jamal Dalu, a shop keeper who lost 11 members of his family, including his wife and five children, told delegates: "Barack Obama has the blood of my children on his hands, because he gave Israel the green light to carry out these crimes."
The group brought medical supplies and donations for the hospitals and the Red Crescent, and donated funds to some of the families who lost their homes. But these donations are meager compared to the $3 billion in US tax dollars going to the Israeli military. The group plans to use their experiences to report back to their communities and organize to change US policy. While some members of the emergency delegation plan to stay longer in Gaza, most have just returned to their homes and are available for interviews. Articles published so far by members of the emergency delegation to Gaza:
Audrey Bomse and James Marc Leas, “Where’s the Accountability for Israeli War Crimes?”http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/11/28/wheres-the-accountability-for-israeli-war-crimes/
Johnny Barber, “Tonight I am confused”
Joshua Brollier, “Refusing to Acquiesce in Gaza”
Tiffany Ornelas de Tool, “Farmers in the Gaza buffer zone”
The report below is from Maria del mar Ferndandez, one of the board members of Free Gaza. She will remain in Gaza until the end of the year and will make periodic reports to us. Contact her at 00 972 (0) 595 157 194
Gaza City, December 3, 2012: In the last 4 days, Israelis have arrested 31 fishermen, destroyed a boat, kept another one they say for three years, distroyed 4 motors of the boats. They say also that Israelis are not shooting any more water cannons but real fire, and when they arrest Palestinians, one of their main interests in interrogations is to get information about internationals.
Most of the fishermen in the fishermen's union and another fishing association decided the day before yesterday not to go out to the sea, because they cannot bear that more fishermen are arrested and the boats badly damaged. There is still one fisherman kept in prison. The decision was also to wait for the next ten days so that conversations in Cairo about the ceasefire are completed in order to be sure of the 6 miles nautical miles. Most of the information is published by PCHR in Gaza.
On Wednesday, December 5, fishermen and internationals will demonstrate at the harbour, and we have been asked to bring the flags of our own countries to make visible our support and to spread the news as much as possible.
Yesterday, some fishermen dared to go out fishing, because they said they preferred to be dead rather than stop bringing food for their families.
As for the farmers, they have been shot at in Beit Lahya where we wisited one of the families, and also yesterday Israelis were shooting at farmers and internationals in the buffer zone of Khan Younis. That's why Rosa, the Italian international here, asked most of us today to go to support them. But in the early morning they phoned that there was heavy shooting (real fire of course) and they could not go to their lands in these conditions, even accompanied by internationals. So, some of them have gone just to interview the farmers.
The statement for the European parliamentaries and to the world should be that Israel is breaking dangerously the ceasefire as people cannot bear this situation of being denied their most elemental rights to life, and security.
Two people have been dead since the "ceasefire", one in the South, and one in the North with an unexploded bomb of the last attack.
Raise Money for Projects in Gaza
November 29, 2012, The Hague: From December 27, 2008 until January 18, 2009, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead against the population of Gaza. In 23 days, 1430 lives were lost, most of them civilians. Two years ago, in tribute to the people killed, Ingrid Rollema, a Dutch artist began to develop a piece of artwork entitled "The Nomadic Memorial Cast Lead,” a symbolic graveyard consisting of 1430 unique books 'floating' above the floor in battle-array.
Each book bears the name of one of the victims, beautifully typographed in Latin and Arabic script. Holding the book in your hands, the artwork opens to its center, with the right side in Dutch/English and the left side in Arabic. Inside the 254-page book are texts by famous writers, artists and thinkers from around the world as well as photos of the installation and the artists.
“The Nomadic Memorial Cast Lead” was unveiled in the Dutch Residential City, The Hague on September 21, 2012, the international day of peace. Then the installation was taken down and moved to Brussels, capital of Europe. It was exhibited again in BOZAR, Centre for Fine Arts on November 1-2, 2012. More than 21,000 people viewed this stunning installation, a testament to the men, women and children who died in those terrible 23 days.
The 1430 books are now for sale, and only one person/book will ever be sold. You will have a unique piece of artwork and a remembrance of one of the people who lost a life and will now never be forgotten.
The artists are raising money for a traveling presentation to be opened in Paris in 2013, but these books, the first ones, will be the only copies offered for sale.
Would you like to purchase one of these pieces of art? For €65 ($85.00), including taxes and shipping, you will receive your unique book. The holidays are coming. This gift is perfect for people who have wondered how to memorialize the names of the dead of Operation Cast Lead.
The books won’t last long. Below is how you can receive one as a gift or to give as a gift. And the artists are generously donating $10.00 (€8,00) of every purchase to FREEDOM SAILORS for projects in Gaza, including the MECA water project, the Gaza Community Mental Health Center, and Gaza’s Ark.
To adopt a book, click on http://www.gegotenlood.nl/en. On the right-hand side, you will see information on how to donate. Select the method of payment. Click on the DONATE button, then click on CONTINUE.
If donating through PayPal, add “Please donate $10.00 to Freedom Sailors” where it says to add information on your PayPal account.
If donating by credit card, click on the card you want to use, then click CONTINUE on the next page, then fill out the credit card information. When donations come from the U.S. and Canada, the artists will know that $10.00 goes to Freedom Sailors. You can also buy a book through your bank account. http://www.gegotenlood.nl/en-donate
These books are a unique gift and a way to continue to support the people of the occupied territories, especially after this last vicious attack on Gaza in November where another 175 Palestinians were killed, most of them women, children and older men.
The Palestinian Authority would be “traitors” if they agreed to a condition the UK is seeking to impose in exchange for agreeing to support Palestine upgrading its membership in the UN. So said Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestine Center for Human Rights (PCHR) at a meeting with lawyers from the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) in Gaza City today.
Audrey Bomse, Free Gaza board member and James Marc Leas, have written about the situation in Gaza. They are both members of the National Lawyer's Guild and are on the ground in Gaza, along with a large number of internationals to help bring the human stories of the bombing of Gaza to a wider public.There report is below
Free Gaza joins Emergency International Delegation to Gaza
Tuesday, November 27 (Cairo, Egypt) The Free Gaza movement is joining an international delegation of volunteers including lawyers, medical personnel, boat experts and journalists to work in Gaza over the next one to three weeks. We, along with our partners, PENGO and Stop the Wall are part of a larger coalition including Code Pink and the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) who are sending in human rights observers.
Mushen Ramadan, Chair of PENGO in Gaza was one of the people sending out the call to come, “The role of internationals should increase in order to help put an end to the Israeli occupation as well as help Palestinians achieve their rights. This coalition reflects the highest human desire to work for democracy, self determination for the people against occupation and racism.”
Free Gaza board members, Audrey Bomse and Maria del mar Fernandez, both attorneys, will help take testimony. Ms. Bomse states, “I'm going to Gaza as an activist and as a lawyer to lend whatever help I can in documenting and reporting on the numerous violations of international law once again committed by Israel. I hope that in a small way what we do will put pressure on the international community to finally end Israeli impunity.”
Several teams of lawyers, journalists and translators will collect testimony from the survivors and from the families of victims for possible use against Israeli actions that caused the deaths of 165 Palestinians, including over 40 children in eight days of vicious pounding by Israeli war planes and naval vessels.
Maria del mar Fernandez, arrived in Gaza last Friday and is working with people on the ground to organize, “As I came in, I could see bombed houses and buildings. In some cases, you see a big hole instead of a home.”
Several former Free Gaza passengers and crew who sailed on our successful voyages in 2008 are also returning, to work with the fishermen at the port and to help document the destruction there as well.
The twenty-five member international delegation is also coming to show support for the people of Gaza and to bear personal witness to the destruction brought on to a civilian population that is held hostage in the world’s largest outdoor prison.
Ann Wright, a member of both Code Pink and a board member with Free Gaza issued the following, "Four years ago I traveled to Gaza to witness and write about the Israeli attack on Gaza. Based on that experience and after 4 years of international activism, with the Free Gaza Movement boats, the Gaza Freedom March, the Gaza Flotillas and Gaza's Ark to heighten worldwide consciousness of the violent attacks on Palestinians in Gaza--and in the West Bank, I return to Gaza with a group of 25 internationals in solidarity for respect and justice for Palestinians."
Contact: Lubna Masarwa, Free Gaza Board member 00 972 592829714 or 00 972 505633044
Muhsen Ramadan, PENGO 00 972 (0) 599606642
Jamal Juma, Stop the Wall 00 972 598921821
Amjad Shawwa, PENGO 00 972 599401297
Maria del Mar Fernandez, Free Gaza Board member, 00 972 (0) 595 157 194
Jimmy Leas, National Lawyers Guild, 00 972 (0) 59 5156994.
Report from activists around the occupied West Bank on demonstrations yesterday and today in support of the people of Gaza.
At 10 o’clock in the morning, a rally was held at the Ibn Rush roundabout. Approximately 100 people from Hebron and the surrounding village’s population participated to strengthen the resilience of the people in Gaza and to condemn the Israeli aggression. Another rally was also organized by the national forces in the village of Yatta, in solidarity with Gaza.
The funeral procession of martyr Hamza al-Fallah went to the Martyr’s cemetery in the city. Clashes between Palestinian youth and occupation forces erupted in several areas, among them:
- Shalala Street, adjacent to the Shuhada Street in Hebron.
- In the area Bir al-Mohajar in Hebron.
- The northern entrance of the Halhul Bridge.
- The entrance of Idna village, south-west of Hebron
There were several injuries after the occupation forces used rubber bullets, tear gas and skunk water to stop the demonstrators. The clashes lasted until late at night.
At 12 o’clock, a rally and sit-down demonstration was organized in solidarity with Gaza and to condemn the Israeli aggression. Many Palestinian youths were wounded and injuries by the IOF in all of Shalala Street and in the villages Bani Na’im and Beit Ummar where Israeli soldiers used live ammunition, rubber bullets, skunk water and tear gas.
The clashes in Hebron lasted until evening hours.
One youth from Bani Na’im was wounded after being shot with three rubber bullets, one of them was in the head. His condition is described as serious.
Clashes between Palestinian youth and occupation forces led to several injuries in several areas, among them:
- The area of Rachel’s Tomb, next to Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque.
- The village Husan.
- At al-Nashash checkpoint in al-Khader village.
- In the two villages of Beit Fajar and Dar Salah.
A large number of demonstrators were wounded as a result of the occupation forces using rubber bullets and tear gas, and the clashes lasted until late at night.
Clashes erupted in the area of Rachel’s Tomb with several injuries among Palestinians after the IOF used tear gas and rubber bullets.
A sit-down demonstration was organized after an invitation from the National and Civil Task Force in Jerusalem was issued. The demonstration was in front of the courts door, the Headquarter of the European Union and the quartet. A hand written letter was handed over where these entities were deemed persona non grata in Palestine.
A student sit-down protest was organized in front of the Hebrew University, where both Arab and Jewish students participated. Five students were arrested; two of them Jews. The demonstrators were assaulted by settlers who arranged another sit-down demonstration in front of them.
Clashes erupted at Qalandia checkpoint and at the entrance of Shu’fat, which led to several injuries after the occupation forces used rubber bullets and tear gas on the demonstrators.
A settler was stabbed in Jaffa Street in Jerusalem.
Several young people was arrested on Tuesday in front of the court’s door in Jerusalem where the police also tried to disperse the demonstrators by force.
Several arrests in the area of Silwan, targeting children and youth.
Hard clashes at Qalandia checkpoint. Many casualties expected among the demonstrators because of extensive use of live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas.
Clashes in Wadi Joz and in the neighborhood Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem, which lasted until evening hours.
The funeral procession of the martyr Rushdie Tamimi with a large number of participants in rally who came.
Clashes erupted in the whole area of Nabi Saleh, Atara, Ofer and Qalandia which caused many injuries as a result of the occupation forces use of rubber bullets, live ammunition, tear gas and skunk water. The 11 wounded by live ammunition and rubber bullets during the clashes was filmed, in addition to several wounded as a result of skunk water and tear gas.
There were clashes during the night in the area of Ni’lin where the occupation army fired live ammunition and a different kind of tear gas, developed by the army to last longer and spread over larger areas.
At 8 o’clock in the morning youth groups organized a rally to protest the visit of US Secretary of Sate, Hillary Clinton, to the Palestinian Authorities, the American policies, what is going on in Gaza and to focus on the Palestinian cause.
At 12 o’clock a march was organized to strengthen the resilience of Gaza and to protest against the aggressions on the Gaza Strip. A second march was organized by the national and Islamic forces. Both marches came together and marched to the Palestinian Authority,
Clashes erupted around Ofer prison with several injured after the Israeli army used live ammunition. Several snipers took down protesters with live ammunition, in addition to those dozen injured by rubber bullets and tear gas.
A young man was arrested in Deir Ghassaneh at 4 o’clock in the morning.
There were clashes in the village of Nabi Saleh which lasted until evening hours.
There has been an intensive increase in military checkpoints and a strict inspections at Ni’lin checkpoint and a complete closure of the Beit Ur checkpoint.
Clashes at Huwwara military checkpoint with several injured as a result of the IOF firing rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Clashes at Huwwara military checkpoint with several wounded by tear gas and rubber bullets. Gas with a different and strange color was also used by the occupation soldiers.
A rally in Nablus was arranged at 3 o’clock in support of Gaza.
A march was also arranged at 5 o’clock in support of Gaza.
Clashes in the village of Urif.
The Palestinian Authority prevented clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli occupation forces at the entrance of Tulkarem and at military points in the city.
Occupation forces invaded the city and had a home inspection campaign at coordinator Suheil Salman’s house.
One youth was arrested in the city.
The entrances of Tulkarem were closed followed by an Israeli military raid and a search in the city’s neighborhood.
Clashes at the Jaljulia checkpoint and in the village of Azzun, where a curfew was called. Several injuries after use of tear gas and rubber bullets.
Clashes at Jaljulia checkpoint (Western checkpoint) and also in the town Jayyous.
Detentions and investigations have been ongoing.
Demonstrations were held at Jalama checkpoint with more than 2000 participants. 15 Palestinian boys and girls from the 1948-area were arrested. 14 girls were released after being held for more than 6 hours. One boy was taken prisoner for throwing Molotov cocktails at the occupation army. Recordings of several injuries as a result of tear gas and rubber bullets. Live ammunition was fired into the air.
Clashes at Jalama checkpoint with number of injuries as a result of tear gas and rubber bullets.
Announcement that the Jalama area is now a closed military zone, which prevents Palestinians from the 1948-areas and traffic to get in.