International Witnesses speak out from Gaza


27th December 2008, Gaza, Palestine –  Human Rights Defenders from Lebanon, the UK, Poland, Canada, Spain, Italy and Australia are present in Gaza and are witnessing and documenting the current Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Due to Israel’s policy of denying access to international media, human rights defenders and aid agencies to the Occupied Gaza Strip, many of these Human Rights Defenders arrived in Gaza with the Free Gaza Movement’s boats. FREE GAZA boats have broken Israel’s siege of Gaza five times in the past four months.

“At the time of the attacks I was on Omar Mukhtar street and witnessed a last rocket hit the street 150 meters away where crowds had already gathered to try to extract the dead bodies. Ambulances, trucks, cars – anything that can move is bringing injured to the hospitals. Hospitals have had to evacuate sick patients to make room for the injured. I have been told that there is not enough room in the morgues for the bodies and that there is a great lack of blood in the blood banks. I have just learned that among the civilians killed today was the mother of my good friends in Jabalya camp.”
– Eva Bartlett (Canada) International Solidarity Movement

“Israeli missles tore through a children’s playground and busy market in Diere Balah, we saw the aftermath – many were injured and some reportedly killed. Every Hospital in the Gaza strip is already overwhelmed with injured people and does not have the medicine or the capacity to treat them. Israel is committing crimes against humanity, it is violating international and human rights law, ignoring the United Nations and planning even bigger attacks. The world must act now and intensify the calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel; governments need to move beyond words of condemnation into an active and immediate restraint of Israel and a lifting of the siege of Gaza”
– Ewa Jasiewicz (Polish and British) Free Gaza Movement

“The morgue at the Shifa hospital has no more room for dead bodies, so bodies and body parts are strewn all over the hospital.”
– Dr. Haidar Eid, (Palestinian, South African) Professor of Social and Cultural Studies, Al Aqsa University Gaza

“The bombs began to fall just as the children were on the streets walking back from school. I went out onto the stairs and a terrified 5 year old girl ran sobbing into my arms.”
– Sharon Lock (Australian) International Solidarity Movement

“This is incredibly sad. This massacre is not going to bring security for the State of Israel or allow it to be part of the Middle East. Now calls of revenge are everywhere.”
– Dr. Eyad Sarraj – President of the Gaza Community Mental Health Centre

“As I speak they have just hit a building 200 metres away. There is smoke everywhere. This morning I went to the building close to where I live in Rafah that had been hit. Two bulldozers were immediately attempting to clear the rubble. They thought they had found all the bodies. As we arrived one more was found.”
– Jenny Linnel (British) International Solidarity Movement

“The home I am staying in is across from the preventive security compound. All the glass of the house shattered. The home has been severely damaged. Due to the siege there is no glass or building materials to repair this damage. One little boy in our house fainted. An eight year little boy was trembling on the ground for an hour. In front of our house we found the bodies of two little girls under a car, completely burnt. They were coming home from school. This is more than just collective punishment. We are being treated like laboratory animals. I have lived through the Israeli bombardment of Beirut and the Israel’s message is the same in Gaza as it was in Beirut- The killing of civilians. There was just another explosion outside!”
– Natalie Abu Eid (Lebanon) International Solidarity Movement


Human Rights Defenders in Gaza (available for interviews):

  • Dr. Eyad Sarraj (Arabic and English) +972 599400424
  • Ewa Jasiewicz, Free Gaza Co-Coordinator in Gaza (Polish, Arabic, and English) – +972 59 8700497
  • Dr. Haider Eid (English and Arabic) + 972 59 9441766
  • Sharon Lock (English) +972 59 8826513
  • Vittorio Arrigoni (Italian) +972 59 8378945
  • Fida Qishta (English and Arabic) +972 599681669
  • Jenny Linnel (English) +972 59 87653777
  • Natalie Abu Shakra (Arabic and English) 0598336 328
  • For more information on the Free Gaza Movement (FREE GAZA) or the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) contact in the West Bank:
  • Adam Taylor (ISM) – 972 59 8503948
  • Lubna Masarwa (FREE GAZA) – 972 50 5633044

11 Responses to “International Witnesses speak out from Gaza”

  1. Israel attacks Gaza « Harpymarx Says:

    […] Further reports on the current attacks. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Israel: At War With Every Single Man, Woman and Child In GazaTaking cue from Hezbollah, Hamas honing fighting forceZionist Terrorist Army kills 8 Palestinians in two Gaza raidsIsraeli Attack Kills Scores Across Gaza – […]

  2. Annie Besant Says:

    Who is there from UK? Nobody from our fucking pointless govt. I bet.

  3. RickB Says:

    Hey Annie, no UK official is there, and a lack of media because of the siege (so activist and human rights defenders are the only lifeline for coverage), although now it bleeds, it leads, the media will turn up, whereas a slow starving siege is not telegenic.
    Brown said in useless fashion-

    “I am deeply concerned by continuing missile strikes from Gaza on Israel and by Israel’s response today,” Brown said, reiterating statements made by the Middle East Quartet — the European Union, the United Nations, the United States and Russia — that only peaceful means would provide a lasting solution.
    A spokeswoman for the British premier’s Downing Street office said Brown had spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and “urged him to show restraint”.
    “I call on Gazan militants to cease all rocket attacks on Israel immediately. These attacks are designed to cause random destruction and to undermine the prospects of peace talks led by (Palestinian) president (Mahmud) Abbas.
    “I understand the Israeli government’s sense of obligation to its population.
    “Israel needs to meet its humanitarian obligations, act in a way to further the long-term vision of a two-state solution, and do everything in its power to avoid civilian casualties.
    “There is a pre-eminent need for renewal of a comprehensive settlement for the Israel-Palestine dispute in 2009.”

  4. harpymarx Says:

    But as ever gutless NL ignores the carnage wrecked by Israel on the Palestinians but hones in on the ‘terrorists’ Hamas, the official elected government that the West won’t recognise.
    The Israeli State is pounding Gaza into the stone age and mealy-mouthed apologism spouted by the West is gut churning. But what can you expect from two governments that is bombing civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan (a further media black out there).

    “act in a way to further the long-term vision of a two-state solution”…

    That’s no solution as it is unworkable and politically wrong. The only way forward is a single secular state….

  5. Naftali Says:

    Anyone ever wonder how the children in Sderot and surrounding communities have felt for the last 8 years with rockets raining down on them, sometimes daily? As ye sow, so shall ye reap

  6. RickB Says:

    I expect they feel much the same as kids in Gaza except the kids in Gaza have a far greater chance of actually being killed if they do not starve or die from easily treated diseases. And quoting religious texts to excuse murder is not the smartest rhetorical move, just as it’s a poor reason for dispossessing people of their land.

  7. Joe Says:

    Everyone loves an underdog story, it seems.

    Israel left Gaza in 2005 and provides more aid to the region than all of the Arab League; electricity is supplied off Israel’s national grid, and the water supply is provided by Israel. Israel is the only country in the world that directly funds her enemies out of solidarity for the civilian population.

    Israel removed everyone from Gaza and the West Bank, demolishing Jewish settlements and not wanting anything to do with the region. Hamas exploited this, and responded with rockets. Hamas decided it would ‘democratically’ (killing Fatah affiliates) control Gaza and start firing rockets into Israel. Since then, Israel has exhausted every peaceful measure to stop rockets; including the closure of borders, countless ‘ceasefires’ (that Hamas has never adhered to), and limiting of utilities. So its Israel’s fault that she isn’t providing more electricity to manufacture weapons…

    1 million Israelis deserve better than spending their nights in bomb shelters.

    In contrast, the West Bank is enjoying relative calm under Fatah, because the PA has realised that rocket attacks help nobody. Hamas is an obstacle to peace and I can’t believe people buy into its rhetoric.

    As for media being refused access; anyone remember Alan Johnston?

  8. ralfast Says:

    Wrong. Israel retained the right to invade at a moments notice.

    Hamas won the election but Israel and the U.S. refused to acknowledge the results and encouraging the corrupt Fatah movement to stay in power, providing them with weapons.

    The expansion of the settlements continues, as does the wall that divides places such as Bethlehem in half.

    Israeli troops have either attacked or entered Gaza multiple times to arrest Hamas leaders.

    Only a fraction of that aid, which should not be necessary had the Fatah goverment not stolen all that aid money to begin with, managed to get through.

    Funny that the hated PLO morphed into the beloved Fatah, when they started taking U.S. dollars and playing nice proxy for Israeli rule.

    Israel is using White Phosphorous shells in inhabited areas. These shells are considered to be chemical weapons and illegal when used in such environment. Same tactic used by American forces in obliterating Fallujah.

    From the horses mouth:

    “We were stuck, so we decided to change the strategic equation,” explained an Israeli general. Whatever the talk about the “road map to peace”, after withdrawing from Gaza, there will be little pressure on Israel to negotiate on Jerusalem or anything else. The onus will be on the Palestinians to prove to the world that they can run Gaza. The Israelis will sit back and wait for them to mess it up. If the Palestinian Authority fails to stop Hamas from lobbing missiles into Israel, or if the factions fight among themselves in Gaza, creating a “failed state” before there is any Palestinian state at all, it will be more reason for Israel not to negotiate.

    “The significance is the freezing of the political process,” said Sharon’s senior adviser Dov Weisglass, in an interview last year so frank that his boss tried to distance himself from the remarks. “When you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and you prevent discussion about the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. In effect, this whole package that is called a Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed from our agenda indefinitely.”

  9. Joe Says:

    In 60 years, rather than focusing on the annihilation of its neighbours, Israel has chosen to become an oasis within a turbulant desert. Israel has economic and political freedom, and the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.

    The onus was on the Palestinians to prove to the world that they could run Gaza. They did mess it up; and ‘democratically’ elected Hamas to run the region. If Hamas is such a peace-loving group, what did they do for Gaza? What economic stability came to Gaza under Hamas?

    Hamas has done nothing for the people they fight for, and they’ve brought this conflict upon their own people by consistently rocketing Israeli towns.

    Israel, frankly, would love for a stable neighbour to exist, because Israel wouldn’t be wasting her own resources on Palestinian welfare. Israel doesn’t want to be the pillar to the Palestinians’ survival.

    You call Fatah corrupt; but what about Hamas? Hamas sells food on the black market, Hamas retains medical supplies to sell on the black market. Hamas is a terrorist organisation that wants nothing more than Israel’s destruction. Israel should not have to tolerate this.

  10. ralfast Says:

    You didn’t read what I posted, now did you? Ok then….of you go with your talking points.

  11. Joe Says:

    You come up with a way to resettle 250 000 people; then we’ll address the borders of West Bank.

    If you want the wall removed; look at how the number of suicide bombings has been reduced since its construction. It’s not going to happen.

    You read nothing of what I posted, now did you?

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