Friday, November 24, 2006

Rachel Corrie died for her sins!

Bulldozed by Naiveté
Terror advocate dies in accident. Atrocious drama ensues.

Saturday, October 21, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

NEW YORK--Politics makes artists stupid. Take "My Name Is Rachel Corrie," the one-woman play cobbled together from the diaries, emails and miscellaneous scribblings of the 23-year-old left-wing activist who was run over by an Israeli Army bulldozer in 2003 while protesting the demolition of a Palestinian house in the Gaza Strip. Co-written and directed by Alan Rickman, one of England's best actors, "Rachel Corrie" just opened off-Broadway after a successful London run. It's an ill-crafted piece of goopy give-peace-a-chance agitprop--yet it's being performed to cheers and tears before admiring crowds of theater-savvy New Yorkers who, like Mr. Rickman himself, ought to know better.

So why don't they? Because Palestine is the new Cuba, a political cause whose invocation has the effect of instantaneously anesthetizing the upper brain functions of those who believe in it. Take Mr. Rickman, who evidently intended "My Name Is Rachel Corrie" to be a pro-Palestinian equivalent of "The Diary of Anne Frank." Alas, wishful thinking is not the stuff of exciting theater. The script is disjointed to the point of incoherence, the staging crude and blatant, while Megan Dodds's performance as Rachel Corrie is frankly cartoonish.

Part of Ms. Dodds's problem, however, is that the real-life character she is portraying was unattractive in the extreme, albeit pathetically so. Whimsical, humorless and--above all--immature, Corrie burbles on about her feelings ("The salmon talked me into a lifestyle change") without ever troubling to test them against reality. When she finally does so by thrusting herself into the middle of the Israeli-Palestinian blood feud, she sees only what she passionately longs to see: "The vast majority of Palestinians right now, as far as I can tell, are engaging in Gandhian nonviolent resistance."

In an act of unintended self-revelation, "My Name Is Rachel Corrie" ends with a film clip of the 10-year-old Corrie prattling away like a baby robot at her elementary school's Fifth Grade Press Conference on World Hunger: "My dream is to give the poor a chance. . . . My dream can and will come true if we all look into the future and see the light that shines there." She grew older but no wiser, and in the end died a martyr to her own naiveté.

Needless to say, political drama has an impeccable theatrical pedigree. Only last week New York playgoers were treated to the Roundabout Theatre's revival of "Heartbreak House," the 1919 play in which George Bernard Shaw sought to show on stage how the European leisure class plunged that continent into a world war by heedlessly immersing itself in the pursuit of pleasure. But Shaw was a great (if erratic) writer who dramatized his ideas instead of merely asserting them. "My Name Is Rachel Corrie," by contrast, is a scrappy, one-sided monologue consisting of nothing but the fugitive observations of a young woman who, like so many idealists, treated her emotions as facts. "I am disappointed," she declares, "that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it. This is not at all what I asked for when I came into this world." To mistake such jejune disillusion for profundity and turn it into the climax of a full-length play is an act of piety, not artistry.
The cancellation of last season's New York Theatre Workshop production of "My Name Is Rachel Corrie" triggered a noisy row in the New York theater community, many of whose members jumped to the not-unreasonable conclusion that the producers were cravenly bowing to backstage pressure from donors who found the play's politics obnoxious. As a result, the belated opening of "Rachel Corrie" at the Minetta Lane Theatre has had the predictable result of bringing it far more attention than it would otherwise have received.

That's the only lesson to be drawn from this exercise in theatrical ineptitude. It is by far the worst political play I've covered in this space, not excluding Tim Robbins's "Embedded," and no amount of earnest hand-wringing can make it anything but dull.

Mr. Teachout is The Wall Street Journal's theater critic.


Blogger Lonnie said...

By STEVE WEIZMAN, Associated Press Writer Tue Nov 21, 6:13 PM ET
JERUSALEM - Nearly 40 percent of

West Bank settlements are built on private land seized from Palestinians, an Israeli watchdog group said Tuesday — challenging the government's long-standing assertion the communities were built only on unclaimed territory.
Citing leaked Israeli military documents, Peace Now unveiled a report it said showed settlements were built on Palestinian property seized by the army long after

Israel's Supreme Court outlawed the practice in 1979.
"We are talking about an institutional land grab," Dror Etkes, a settlement expert with the group, told reporters in Jerusalem.
In the

Gaza Strip, meanwhile, Israeli troops killed a top Hamas commander in an operation against Palestinian rocket squads. Two other Palestinians, including an elderly woman, also were killed, hospital officials said.
Palestinian militants fired at least three rockets into Israel on Tuesday, one of which fatally wounded a man in Sderot — the second resident to be killed by rockets in a week.
U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour was touring the border town when the rocket exploded about half a mile away. Sderot residents surrounded her car and shouted at her to leave, angry with the U.N.'s condemnation of Israel and her support for Gazans after errant Israeli shelling that killed 19, part of an effort to stop the rocket barrages.
"No government would tolerate such attacks, and neither will Israel," Israeli government official David Baker said after the death of the 43-year-old factory worker, Yaakov Yakobovitz.
In apparent Palestinian infighting, a former

Fatah Cabinet minister, Abdel Aziz Shahin, 62, was shot and wounded in Gaza City after criticizing the ruling Islamic group Hamas on a radio show, hospital officials said.
Peace Now said its information was leaked from the Civil Administration, the Israeli military department responsible for civil affairs in the West Bank, which Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East war. It said at the government's request, the Supreme Court delayed a scheduled May hearing on Peace Now's petition to have the data released under freedom of information laws.
In its 174-page report, Peace Now said the Civil Administration database showed 38.8 percent of the area occupied by Israeli settlements, settlement outposts and industrial zones in the West Bank was privately owned Palestinian land, illegally expropriated by Israeli authorities.
Most notable was the city of Maaleh Adumim outside Jerusalem — with a population of 30,000, the West Bank's biggest settlement — where Peace Now said 86.4 percent of the real estate was in fact Palestinian-owned.
Israel has agreed to freeze settlement construction under an internationally backed peace plan, but says the fate of the settlements should be left to future peace negotiations.
The court ruling of 1979 ordered the Defense Ministry to stop seizing private Palestinian land for military use and turning it over for settlement construction. Peace Now said the practice continued, and 31.3 percent of the land built into settlements since the ruling is owned by Palestinians.
Civil Administration spokesman Shlomo Dror said he had not had an opportunity to study the report and could not comment on the figures.
"I can say that in general we have a clear directive not to build on privately owned Palestinian land," he said. He added that West Bank property records, passed down through successive Ottoman, British and Jordanian rulers, were incomplete and that some people listed as holding property titles had died and their heirs were unknown.
"I'm not sure that all the land Peace Now says is Palestinian, is Palestinian," he said.
Bentsi Lieberman, head of the settlers' council, insisted the settlements were built on public land. Speaking on Channel 2 TV, he said much of the land is claimed falsely by Palestinians.
Nearly 244,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank. In the summer of 2005, Israel evacuated all 8,500 settlers from the Gaza Strip, along with its military bases.
Since then, Palestinian militants in Gaza have been pounding southern Israel with homemade rockets. A woman in the town of Sderot, a frequent target, was killed in a volley last week.
In Tuesday's raid, ground troops, backed by helicopters and tanks, surrounded the Gaza City home of Ayman Hassanin, 26, a local Hamas leader, witnesses said.
Gunmen streamed to the area as troops called on loudspeakers for Hassanin and his brother, Ibrahim, to surrender, according to the militants' mother, who identified herself only as Umm Mahmoud. A gunbattle erupted, and Ayman Hassanin was killed.
A 70-year-old woman also was killed in the battle, and a 20-year-old man was killed elsewhere, Palestinian medical officials said.
The army said troops fired at the house only after militants fired bullets and mortars at the soldiers.
Also Tuesday, two Italian Red Cross workers in Gaza were kidnapped by militants, the agency said, the latest in a series of abductions of foreigners in the territory. They were released just after midnight on Wednesday, Palestinian security officials said.

anon #1

6:55 PM, November 24, 2006  
Blogger Ron said...

Remembering Rachel Corrie
Peter Bohmer, The Electronic Intifada, 17 March 2003

Rachel Corrie was an incredibly good person. I mourn and am very saddened by her murder earlier today, 16 March 2003. She was killed by a bulldozer as the Israeli military ran over her as she was protesting the destruction of Palestinian homes in Rafah in the Gaza Strip.

Rachel grew up in Olympia, Wa. I originally met her when she was a student in the options program at Lincoln school around 1989. She was a friend of my son and played on the same YMCA basketball team as my daughter. Rachel and I talked a lot the last two years and marched together at various demos. Rachel was a totally caring and gentle person who was outraged by oppression wherever it took place and had become very active working for social justice and peace.

Rachel was a very modest and responsible person who was the heart and soul of the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, a group she had originally begun working with as part of her study in the Local Knowledge program taught by Anne Fischel and Lin Nelson. Rachel was very active in opposing the U.S. "war against terror" and U.S. militarism.

One project she threw her mind and body into was a September 11th, 2002 day against the U.S. war in Afghanistan and against repression at home at Percival Landing in downtown Olympia. She got a lot of elementary school kids and classes to participate.

So it is very fitting that the vigil tonight (Sunday, March 16th at 7 P.M.) against the war in Iraq and to honor and mourn Rachel, was at Percival Landing. Close to 1000 people attended.

Rachel was a very reflective person who constantly thought about how to link together various groups working for justice, e.g., the labor movement and the peace movement. She volunteered at the Evergreen Labor Center and played a major role in organizing a conference dealing with networking and strategies for justice and peace last spring, 2002.

Another major concern of hers was to involve the local Olympia community that was not connected to Evergreen to the anti-war and economic and social justice issues and groups. Besides going to the Evergreen State College, Rachel also worked at BHR, a local mental health clinic and waas active in her union, 1199, a part of SEIU.

Justice for the Palestinian people was one of many issues Rachel felt deeply about. She strongly opposed the Israeli occupation and supported a Palestinian state. For Rachel, feeling deeply always meant also doing something about her concerns.

She had studied Arabic at Evergreen and decided to go to the Gaza Strip in occupied Palestine for winter quarter. Part of her reasoning was that it was important to have international observers there as Israeli aggression was likely to increase when the U.S. attacked, bombed and invaded Iraq. She strongly opposed the U.S. war against Iraq.

Rachel was aware of the dangers and risks of going to Gaza. She left Olympia on January 18th of this year, went to the West Bank and then Gaza, threw herself fully into human rights activism and solidarity with the Palestinian people.

She volunteered with the International Solidarity Movement, people from around the world who have been witnesses to Israeli attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. She had planned to return to Evergreen State College for spring quarter to finish her studies.

Rachel Corrie will not be coming back to Olympia but let us all take a moment to reflect on what each of us can do to carry on her legacy by doing a little more to oppose war and further justice, equality and peace in the Middle East, around the world and in the U.S. Rachel Corrie was an ordinary and an extraordinary person.

anon #2

7:06 PM, November 24, 2006  
Blogger Ron said...


British Citizen from Lichfield, Birmingham, born 17 August 1984.

Many of you will of heard varying accounts of the death of Rachel Corrie, maybe others will have heard nothing of it. Regardless, I was 10 metres away when it happened 2 days ago, and this is the way it went.

We'd been monitoring and occasionally obstructing the 2 bulldozers for about 2 hours when 1 of them turned toward a house we knew to be threatened with demolition. Rachel knelt down in its way. She was 10-20 metres in front of the bulldozer, clearly visible, the only object for many metres, directly in its view. They were in radio contact with a tank that had a profile view of the situation. There is no way she could not have been seen by them in their elevated cabin. They knew where she was, there is no doubt.

The bulldozer drove toward Rachel slowly, gathering earth in its scoop as it went. She knelt there, she did not move. The bulldozer reached her and she began to stand up, climbing onto the mound of earth. She appeared to be looking into the cockpit. The bulldozer continued to push Rachel, so she slipped down the mound of earth, turning as she went. Her faced showed she was panicking and it was clear she was in danger of being overwhelmed.

All the activists were screaming at the bulldozer to stop and gesturing to the crew about Rachel's presence. We were in clear view as Rachel had been, they continued. They pushed Rachel, first beneath the scoop, then beneath the blade, then continued till her body was beneath the cockpit. They waited over her for a few seconds, before reversing. They reversed with the blade pressed down, so it scraped over her body a second time. Every second I believed they would stop but they never did.

I ran for an ambulance, she was gasping and her face was covered in blood from a gash cutting her face from lip to cheek. She was showing signs of brain hemorrhaging. She died in the ambulance a few minutes later of massive internal injuries. She was a brilliant, bright and amazing person, immensely brave and committed. She is gone and I cannot believe it.

The group here in Rafah has decided that we will stay here and continue to oppose human rights abuses as best we can. I want to add that more than 10 Palestinians have died in the Gaza Strip since Rachel.

Please: forward this message. Boycott Caterpillar. Take direct action against the Caterpillar Corporation - please do not let this be without cost to them. Legally, I shouldn't ask you to do anything destructive or against the law.

If you're wondering about Rachel: her writings, photos of her and statements on her death are available on the website below. More photos: go to yahoo news section, search for photos by 'rachel'.

If you're wondering about the International Solidarity Movement:

If you're wondering about the bulldozers: They're American, Caterpillar-made armoured D9 Bulldozers. I estimate the blade is maybe 8 ft high, 15 ft wide and the bulldozer more than 9 tons. They're purchased from America using the $12 billion per annum military aid package that America gives to Israel. [Report on their previous usage, well worth reading -- especially if you didn't believe anyone would be crazy enough to do this].

If you're wondering about Rafah: in the southern Gaza Strip, next to the Egyptian border. Apart from suffering in excess from the problems all over Palestine: Israeli manipulation of the water supply, economic strangulation, regular shootings and army operations, Rafah is afflicted by the building of an extra border wall. It has caused hundreds of homes to be destroyed.

The house in question, that of a doctor, like dozens of others in the area is not set to be demolished because of any supposed link to militants. Only because it lies within 100 metres of the new border wall, currently in construction. Families receive no compensation from Israel, and are frequently given just a few minutes warning in the form of live ammunition being shot through the walls of their house.

Tom Dale
18 March 2003


United States citizen from Chicago, IL, USA, born 26 April 1974.

I, Greg Schnabel, came to Rafah to work with the International Solidarity Movement.

At approximately 3 p.m. on the afternoon of March 16, 2003 I was with Rachel at a water well in the Tel al Sultan district of Rafah. We received a call from our fellow I.S.M. activists in the Hyy Es Salam district. Our friends informed us that two bulldozers were in that neighborhood threatening to destroy family houses. Rachel and I went to the Hyy Es Salam area to help our friends. The homes that were being threatened by the bulldozers were the homes of families which our group had been sleeping with for the past four months. We had personal relationships with these families and defending their homes from being destroyed was very important to us.

When Rachel and I arrived on the scene, two bulldozers were clearing the ground near to these homes. There was also a tank. Our group began to stand in front of these bulldozers in an attempt to stop them. Generally they did not stop when we stood in front of them, but continued to push the earth up from underneath our feet to push us away. Several times we had to dive away at the last moment in order to avoid being crushed.

This continued for about two and a half hours. All the time the bulldozers were approaching closer to the families homes. They made several attempts to evade us and outmaneuver us. At one point, Will from the United States was nearly crushed between the bulldozer and a pile of razor wire. The bulldozer stopped at the last minute in Will's case. If it had moved any closer he would have been impaled by the razor wire.

The bulldozers destroyed part of a home which was unoccupied. Members of our group including myself stood inside this home in an attempt to stop them. One bulldozer then moved toward the house of Dr. Samir, one of the families with whom we had relations.

Rachel was standing in front of this home. As the bulldozer approached she stood her ground. Rachel was wearing an orange fluorescent jacket. She was clearly visible to the bulldozer driver as well as to the soldiers in the tank. The bulldozer began to push up the ground from beneath her feet. The pile of earth was mounding up and she tried her best to stay on top of it. As the ground continued to move Rachel went down on her knees. The bulldozer continued to move forward. Rachel began to become buried beneath the dirt. Still it did not stop. Finally, Rachel was beneath the bulldozer. The bulldozer did not even pick up its blade. It ran over her completely and continued to advance. It stopped when she was completely underneath the body of the bulldozer. It then moved backwards over her body. It moved clear of her and backed away.

At this point I and my friends ran to her. She was obviously in terrible condition. Her upper lip had been split open and was bleeding. We called an ambulance immediately and continued to monitor her vital signs. She was breathing but she was losing consciousness rapidly. Within a minute she was no longer able to give us her name or speak. We continued to talk to her encouraging her, breathing with her, and telling her we loved her.

The ambulance staff came and took her to the hospital. Once there she died within twenty minutes or less.

Greg Schnabel
16 March 2003


British citizen from Brighton, England. A Construction Worker born on 12 October 1971.

I am Richard Purssell of the United Kingdom. I am here in Rafah to demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian people and take non-violent direct action to confront the illegal Israeli occupation. I am making this statement at 11:30 on the night after the incident.

On 16 March 2003 I, Rachel Corrie, and Greg were acting as human shields at the well in Tel al Sultan. We received a call at 2.30 from other ISM activists who were working in the Hyy es Salaam area that bulldozers had been spotted. We arrived ten minutes later at the area, which was near both to houses we were protecting and houses which had been destroyed in the previous week. Using a megaphone and banners to identify ourselves as international nonviolent activists we moved forward to confront the bulldozers.

For two hours we attempted at great risk to ourselves to obstruct and frustrate the bulldozers in their work. One activist from the U.S was trapped underneath barbed wire. The bulldozers seemed to be concentrating on ploughing up the land in front of the buildings whilst making occasional runs at houses. There were two bulldozers one marked 94 serial number 949623 the other 95 serial no. 949645. There was one tank but I do not recall its number. I noted these numbers prior to the incident.

At approximately 16:45 a bulldozer began making a straight run at a house which I now know to belong to a doctor Izmir [sic: Dr. Samir]. At this point the majority of the group were positioned around a wrecked building. We were all within 70 metres of each other. I was to the left of the ruined building and to the right of Dr. [Samir]'s house. Rachel was approximately 15 metres in front of me.

The ground was level and the light was good, I had a good view of everything which happened. Rachel was wearing an orange fluorescent jacket with reflective strips (the type worn by construction workers for high visibility and the avoidance of accidents). Rachel stood to confront the bulldozer and it approached her at about five or six miles an hour. The blade on the bulldozer was dipped into the ground and was scooping up soil.

As the bulldozer came nearer the pile mounted up. Rachel climbed up the pile and at the one stage was looking into the cabin window. There is no way that the driver could not have known she was there. The bulldozer continued driving forwards and Rachel turned round to face in my direction.

She began to slide down the pile, however as soon as her feet touched the ground for some reason she fell forward. Maybe her foot was caught or the weight of the soil pushed her forward. At this point the panic on her face was obvious.

We were all shouting, screaming and gesturing by this stage. The earth was totally pushed over her, engulfing her. She was lost to my sight. I noticed that the driver had not lifted the blade. The machine rolled straight over her and continued for a little way. It then reversed over her and retreated about twenty metres. Rachel was left in its tracks, bleeding from her mouth and twisted.

The tank came over to where she was briefly and then retreated to the border fence with the two bulldozers. At no point did any member of the Israeli forces enquire as to Rachel's well-being or offer any assistance.

Eventually we were able to call an ambulance and one arrived shortly. Rachel was taken to hospital in Rafah, where I heard she had died.

I certify that this is a true account to the best of my recollection.

R.J.A. Purssell
16 March 2003


United States citizen from Kansas City, MO, USA, born 25 April 1981.

I have never experienced anything like this in my life. I've never had someone close to me die before, let alone be brutally murdered right in front of my eyes. I don't even know how to react. I went through stages of dumbfounded shock and serious crying fits. I had no chance to be alone at all, I was either surrounded by Palestinians or on the phone with media. I chose the latter. I was doing interviews non-stop starting 30 min. after her death, all the way until midnight, and then starting again at 6am and continuing all day today. I literally would never hang up the phone, just switch to an incoming call on call waiting. When I did finnally get a second to breath, I'd have like 30 missed calls.

Anyway, it was a bit therapeutic I think, telling the story over and over, and interviews make me feel [as if I was doing something] important [in the aftermath]. All this thing is is a media event now, so we must continue a campaign as hard as possible before the new and bigger tragedy, the Iraq war, begins. The few hours I had off interviews last night between midnight and 4am, was spent organizing today's events, press conferences, live TV/radio interviews, a demonstration and the begginings of the traditional Palestinian 3-day ceremony. Now we're preparing for a serious influx of people from the West Bank and Israel, as well as some people from abroad, possibly including her family.

The stress is really getting to me. I couldn't sleep for the 2 hours I was allowed because my body won't relax. My heart is racing and shake a lot, and even have trouble breathing. My jaw is the worst though. It won't losen to save my life, and it hurts like hell, especially when I chew (when i get time to grab a falafel sandwhich). I've never experienced physical stress and tension like this.

We thought this might happen eventually. We often spoke in the abstract that eventually one of us would get killed, but we always figured they'd shoot us, or it'd be an "accident", like in a house that is missiled or a stray bullet gets an unlucky activist. I never dreamed it'd be like this, the intentional crushing of a human being.

I do believe it was intentional. I saw it, and I know he saw her, I know he did, and I know he knew she was still under the bulldozer when it backed up without raising its blade. I don't know if he wanted to kill her, or if he was just focused on doing his work and didn't care if he killed her or not, I don't know which is scarier. I don't feel like telling the whole detailed story right now. I promise that for the record I will tell it in detail, but give me a few days. I just want to quickly dispel a few myths you may have heard in the media. She did not "trip and fall" in front of the bulldozer. She sat down in front of it, well in advance, wearing one of the orange flouro jackets I got in Amsterdam. (By the way, I took the pictures you may have seen of her, standing with the megaphone in front of the bulldozer, and the ones of her friends helping her.)

He clearly saw her, and continued to drive until she was forced onto the top of the dirt he was pushing, elevating her so much that she was at eye level with the bulldozer's cab, he could see right into her eyes. He continued forward, pulling her underneath the dirt, and out of his vision. He continued forward, crushing her underneath the weight of the blade. He continued forward, until she was well underneath the bulldozer. It was then quite clear that she was nowhere but underneath him, but he proceded to back up, without lifting the blade, crushing her again.

I believe that it was the combination of these two crushings together that caused her death. She was defending the house of a physician. We've all stayed in the house, we know that there are no weapons of any kind there. Just a middle aged doctor and his lovely family. They want to demolish it because it happens to lie near the border, and they're systematically demolishing all the houses near the border. It has nothing to do with retaliatory or preventative operations. They were not searching for tunnels or bombs either. We know what this looks like, they do it a lot. It involves armored drills and bomb dogs and shooting at the ground, none of which was present here.

It's just a further example of the Israeli military's blatant lies. There was never any gunfire from any Palestinians, the only gunfire came from the tank, when it shot at the ground a few times in order to scare us. But even this was extremely minimal. The Palestinian that was killed was in a totally seperate area of Rafah, and was killed by blanket fire into the area, not in a gun battle. It is quite unfortunate that his death probably wouldn't even be reported anywhere if it weren't for [what happened to] Rachel. The Palestinians have been incredible. They are quite used to this, as thousands of their people have died. Indeed, I now know how every Palestinian family feels, as many of them have lost multiple freinds and family to this occupation.

Their support has been invaluable, however; they've gone to full lengths to give her a proper demonstration and ceremony, like they give every other Shahid (martyr). They've made a nice poster of her as well, which will be posted in all of the places she has been, and there's going to be a big march and demonstration this afternoon. We're planning actions for the comming days as well. We're planning to occupy the murder sight, and line the whole area with flowers, and erect a nice visible memorial as well. I don't know what this means for us now.

It could go one of two ways. It could make us more effective, because now they know that we are not going to move, and that we will risk our safety to oppose them. Thus they will be forced to be more careful, and withdraw sooner. Or, it could mean that they no longer care, and will willfully kill and injure us without hesitation. This would render us useless as human shields, and our work would be impossible. So we'll have to see.

I know we'll be much more careful, and have long talks about tactics, and what people are still comfortable with. I have a lot of thinking and considering to do. But we're not leaving, that's for sure. We're dedicated to staying here, especially with the Iraq war and the risk of a full invasion of Gaza. If any of you heard anything else and have questions, I'd gladly respond to them.

[...] I'm sure you'll keep me in your thoughts, I need all the energy I can get as I deal with this trauma. My close friends and family have been wonderful, and haven't freaked out on me like I thought they would. But I share their concern. Ok, I must go to the press conference.

Joe Smith
17 March 2003

anon #2

7:13 PM, November 24, 2006  
Blogger Lonnie said...

A Voice against Israeli 'terror'
A holocaust survivor talks about Israel's atrocities in the Middle East
© Sumaira Shaikh
Susan Kozma, a Hungarian holocaust survivor, explains Israel's reign of terror in Palestine and beyond.
Susan Kozma witnessed one of history's largest genocidal attempts. But having seen and lived through the terror of the holocaust, she hopes that no one would ever have to go through that torment ever again. Unfortunately though, she does not think it is over yet and history continues to be repeated-in Rwanda and in a different way, in Israel as well.

"The holocaust was a terrible thing, but it is not a reason for me to behave the same way," she said.

Kozma was sent to a concentration camp at the age of 18, but was lucky enough to leave alive a year later. Her parents and siblings did not survive the holocaust, and she lost 34 members to the massacre. But she said having lived through the holocaust, she does not understand how any Jew would do the same to anyone else.

"If the Israeli government let everyone live in peace, then the danger that both sides feel in their life would not be there...You can't make peace with arms," she said.

Kozma, 82, is a Hungarian immigrant to Canada and has spent more than 30 years here, but as she looks outward into the situation in the Middle East, she feels nothing but sorrow.

She said she understands the reason for the establishment of a Jewish state, but does not understand the reason to implement unequal and discriminatory policies in the state-dividing two nations, Jews and Arabs that lived together in peace for centuries.

"As a Jew, I know that Israel was established on the one hand because Europe was very guilty since no body did anything to stop the holocaust and the other thing is that Europe was happy to get rid of as many Jews as possible," she explained.

Kozma said the instability in the Middle East is due to the detrimental mentality that the early leaders of the Israeli state, including the British who helped establish the state, held during that time. She said the view among both was that the Arabs were not a problem in the equation and that they did not count or even exist. She said this mentality and rejection has led to the sorrowful situation in the Middle East and explains the expanding phenomenon of violence in the region--which now threatens to spread its wings into Iran and Syria.

"It is horrible to reject a nation that has been living there for centuries, just as long as the Jews have lived there. But now to go back 60 years, that is like thinking ' what would it have been like if my family would not have been killed'? It is over now-that time is passed. But they have to try to pick up the threads now and find a solution."

Kozma described Israel as a state that is no less of a terrorist than how it views Hezbollah and Hamas. She said Hezbollah is not a "terrorist organization," but instead is a social organization in the region, helping the refugees from Palestine in Lebanon as well as the Lebanese Shi'ia population in the south.

She said hatred and adolescence is the reason for the daily violence in Israel. But she said that if there was no killing of the Arabs, then there would not be any suicide bombings or other attacks. She said these bombings are a reaction from the population that has been treated so poorly by the Jewish population.

"To understand the violence by the Palestinians is one thing, but to justify it is another. I am a pacifist, so I don't like violence at any cost. But people are very angry there and they have a reason to be," she explained.

She said that the sentiment among most Jews in Israel is that Arabs are not people and that they need not bother with them.

"A homeland is important for the Jewish people, but I feel that what Israel is doing is digging their own grave and the existence of Israel can't be based on what they are doing to the Palestinians...Israel can defend itself, but it does not have to kill others and demolish houses in order to do that. That is not self-defense," she said.

Kozma, also a Canadian, found herself troubled with the way the current prime minister, Stephen Harper has stationed himself in the global arena. In her words, he has "no humanity."

"His whole attitude is horrible, and I know Canada as a peacekeeping force and Canada has always been balanced in its views, but now that is gone with this new prime minister.... Harper is not stupid unfortunately, he just has no morality, you can see it in his eyes...he has empty eyes," she said.

But Kozma said one of the several reasons why Harper and the rest of the West is now in support of the state of Israel and continues to ignore its atrocities against the Arabs is due to guilt. She said it is the guilt that the Europeans have for not stopping the holocaust, and on the part of the U.S. there is the guilt of not getting involved soon enough as well as not allowing ships of Jews to land in their country. This, she said, has led to unconditional support for Israel. In sum, the West she said, which views itself as the pioneer of human rights, does not want to risk being called anti-Semitic by the Jewish people, who believe that when they were persecuted, Europe nor the U.S. did enough to stop it.

But Kozma said regardless of the holocaust, its occurence does not justify doing the same to anyone else, and the international community should stop history from being repeated once again.

"Whether you are shot dead or you are killed in a concentration camp, the end result is the same. You are dead. There is no difference between the two."

anon #1

7:22 PM, November 24, 2006  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Did they produce a deed showing the land to belong to some particular Arab? I thought not.

7:24 PM, November 24, 2006  
Blogger Lonnie said...

Memories of Safsaf eMail to a friend

Posted by Mohammad Abdallah Edghaim on APRIL-25-2001

The Immortal Memories of Safsaf /Palestine are Immuned against Death

I was born in Safsaf and lived there happily all my childhood till I was 15 years old. I attended Elementary school there, and then completed 7th Elem.Class in Jish and 1st Secondary Class in Safad Secondary School. And of course I still remember and will never ever forget every single place and moment I lived there. Up till this moment my soul is still living there since we were Ethnically Cleansed out of our dearest Land . Again of course I would never ever trade Safsaf/Palestine for any place, neither on Earth nor in Heaven . I with my children and grand grand children desperately want and will go back to Safsaf/Palestine (Our Paradise) sooner or later regardless of time or anything else.

Oct.29, 1948 was our last night in Safsaf . There was a real battle and fierce attacks from Jews Israeli Army using all different artilleries and weapons including tanks and plane bombardness which was met with fierce resistance from Safsaf people along hand in hand with The Arab Liberation Army, who defended the village for hours and hours, from 4pm.till the morning. Unfortunately Beit Jun Drooze helped the Israeli army to defeat and take over Safsaf, Jish, Taytaba,Ras al-Ahmar, Sa'sa', Alma and Kofr Bira'm.

At about 9pm my family and about 25 others from the Zaghmout , Edghaim, Younis and Hamad family were trying to burry Mohammad Mahmoud Naser Zaghmout
(The well known Hadda & Singer in Al-Jaleel ) who was killed from the Israeli airplane bombing in Al-Sahl Al-Gharbi,Vine (Grapes) Kroum . Also there were some injured, with minor injuries and my mother was one of them. Then we heard the Jews and some Dorooze talking in Arabic and Hebro near us and firing guns with bullets like rain over us and towards our village , while our defending fighters were expecting the Jews from the eastside .Now here they are from the westside coming from Beit Jun. Seeing that, one of our elderly cousins suggested that we move slowly north towards the valley between Jish and Sa'sa' for a while or we would be all killed .In the morning of Oct.30th,1948 we found ourselves crossing to Yaroun/Lebanon with other thousands of people from other villages.

As for more than 75% of the population of Safsaf inside the siege of the village and according to my two fellow childhood and classmates ,Saleem and Shehadeh along with my own uncle (an elderly man of 80 years who passed away in Ein Al-Helweh Refugee Camp in Lebanon ) told me what they had personally eye-witnessed in the morning of Oct.30th,1948. The Jews gathered all the people on the Bayader and the second massacre started, shooting at the people and over their heads and randomly to terrorize them, then later chose more than 70 young men, Blind Folded them, and executed them by firing heavily on them, killing the seventy young men. That is in addition to four women and a girl were raped in front of all people. Also Shehadeh and Saleem eye-witnessed their uncle Abd Ahmad Shraydeh killed by an Israeli soldier with an Axe dividing his head immediately into two parts sending him to death instantly. Also a Dirzi Soldier fired at Ahmad Azizi (Hamzeh) then took a cup of his running Blood, DRANK some and offered the rest to another Israeli soldier and drank together towards the occasion. When Azizi, Ahmad's pregnant-mother saw that , got mad with her elderly mother, both started screaming , cursing ,crying loudly , had a hysterical fit , they throw stones at the soldiers, then Azizi threw her 18 month-old daughter at them not knowing what she was doing. A soldier came near them shot the old grandmother, then STABBED Pregnant Azizi in her Belly with a Bayonet. ' She carried on cursing and saying 'You killed my husband, my son, my daughter, my old mother, my infant and my unborn baby inside me, you Cruel Savage Jews, come back and shoot me and he did instantly ' . Saleem Swore to God more than ten times that he had eye-witnessed this not believing his eyes and to him it was worse than a nightmare. Shehadeh fainted and was terrorized to death. What can be more than such cruel acts and savage treatment' I cannot believe and imagine such hatred worse than that anywhere on Earth exists .

The second day the Israelis chose few elderly men with five or six young boys and (Saleem & Shehadeh ) were among them , in order to collect the corpses scattered in and outside the village under the threats of bayonets and bullets of Jews and Drooze , then helped in burying the corpses of the martyrs and threw them all in a big ditch in and around Ain Al-Safsaf ( A very deep and big Water Spring ) Then the Jews bulldozed and leveled the Ain over them. At about sunset The Israeli Army drove every single living person OUT to Wadi Al-Jish, firing at them like a cattle, even worse with bullets like rain over their heads, killing two more men and injuring many others and shouting at them in Arabic and Hebro saying ' We Jews , don't want to see any living soul to stay nor live in Safsaf ,Yalla go to Lebanon, tell your Arab Leaders and Their Freedom Liberation Army what you have seen and happened ' . They made sure that people reached Yaroun in Lebanon .They added that the Israeli Army was trying to take over this area since April through October and tens and tens of their soldiers were killed and lost in this battle. You Safsaf people deserve more than that. I forgot to mention that there were more than fifty other persons and soldiers from The Freedom Liberation Army and people from outside Safsaf ,
Temporary were living there, were killed in the battle and their corpses were scattered here and there, in and outside the village, & their names were not known .

As for us the story of wandering has just started like most our native Palestinians .We changed places taking refuge in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and many other countries. Now talking about my family we lived in Burj El-Shamali Camp for Refugees near Tyre/Lebanon, then Sidon,Tripoli , Mina and later in Nahr El-Bared Refugee Camp. Regardless of the suffering and what we had experienced , became the WANDERERS on Earth like most our fellow Native Palestinians. I could be one of thousand examples, even more, of our Palestinian People who struggled hard and inscribed with their Nails, Hands , Brains, (Even Mouths,as my second Son Hisham was later paralyzed by an accident and now earns his living as an artist by drawing with his Mouth) and with such a strong will trying to overcome the continued disaster and come back to life again. I worked continuously very hard to finance my family ever since we were Ethnically Cleansed from Safsaf/Palestine. Later got married , educated my four brothers, 2 with University Degrees, the other two and a sister with Secondary Education .Then back to myself, having 5 children , went back to university (The American University in Beirut) AUB , graduated with BA Degree. My five children , 3 sons and 2 daughters graduated from universities with BA Degrees, after spending most of my life working in the Gulf Countries, namely Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia (Many, many thanks to them and appreciated). Now I am a retired Ailing Young/ Old Man Spiritually Live in SAFSAF.

By the way our village Safsaf took its name from the safsaf tree by The Romans because it had many safsaf trees and running water springs . Safsaf means in English the Weeping Willow. Wherever I lived , I planted one or two safsaf trees around my house to be with me. Now I am over 68 years of age and at least I have a weekly if not a daily dream living in Safsaf/Palestilne playing with my fellow classmates on the Bayader. This is what is helping me to overcome my Ailing Heart Problems and many other severe Health Problems. I lived in Safsaf/Palestine 15 years BUT Safsaf/Palestine are still living in me, in my Heart FOR EVER. There is no JUSTICE in this so called Civilized WORLD !!!!!!.

anon #1

7:28 PM, November 24, 2006  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Rachel knelt down in its way. There is no way she could not have been seen by them in their elevated cabin. She knelt there, she did not move.

Rachel was standing in front of this home. As the bulldozer approached she stood her ground.

Stood or knelt? which of these eye witnesses are lying? Or are they both lying?

The supporters of Palestinian Islamic fascism always shoot themselves in the foot.

Sometimes they bleed to death!

7:36 PM, November 24, 2006  
Blogger Ron said...

Bush’s backing imperils Israel
By Henry Siegman
Financial Times

Published: September 15 2006

Nothing has been more important to Israel’s security than its special relationship with the US, which has provided it with virtually unlimited military, diplomatic and economic support. Under George W. Bush, US president, that generosity and intimacy have reached levels unprecedented in America’s relations with other countries.

However, the advantages of that relationship have ended, a fact that has been slow to register with Israel’s leadership. For in the aftermath of America’s invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and that country’s intensifying civil war, which now threatens region-wide destabilisation and upheaval, and after Israel’s war in Lebanon, in which it was believed by most Arabs to be acting as America’s proxy, that relationship threatens Israel’s very survival in the region. Its intimacy with the Bush administration has persuaded much of the Arab and Muslim world that the Jewish state is Washington’s cat’s paw in furthering a neo-conservative agenda for regional transformation.

The main product of the war in Lebanon has been hatred, as noted by Israel’s most prominent gadfly, Uri Avnery. The death and destruction wrought by Israel against civilian targets broadcast for 33 successive days by al-Jazeera and other television networks have reinforced hatred of Israel among Arabs and Muslims, which may take generations to undo. (Hizbollah was no less indiscriminate in its targeting of Israeli civilians, but sadly that does not mitigate Arab hatred.)

While rightwing Israeli political and military leaders have exploited this hatred by invoking it as justification for their hardline policies, their blindness to its destructive consequences is the result of their long-held conviction that there is not a problem that cannot be solved by Israel’s massive military superiority. It was General Moshe Ya’alon, the Israel Defence Forces’ former chief of staff, who said in 2002 that Palestinians would not become peace partners for Israel until the IDF has “deeply seared on their consciousness that they are a defeated people”.

One might have thought Israel would have learned from Hamas’s election victory this year that when it seeks to solve political problems by military force – rather than seeing its military superiority as providing the latitude to pursue political solutions – Israel actually “sears the consciousness” of its victims only with a rage for revenge.

Because there was not a clear winner or loser in Lebanon, an opportunity may now exist to address the fundamental causes of Israel’s regional conflicts rather than the symptoms. The stand-off may open the way to a return to diplomacy between Israel and its adversaries, as happened after the Yom Kippur War of 1973 that paved the way for Israel’s peace with Egypt.

What stands in the way of using this opportunity is the rage in the Arab world that could easily be redirected towards “moderate” Arab regimes. Whether Israelis like it or not, the only protection from that rage, and most threats facing them, is a decision to negotiate a fair agreement with the Palestinians in peace talks whose starting point is the pre-1967 armistice line, subject to mutually agreed changes.

Israel has refused to deal with a Palestinian Authority led by Hamas. However it is uniquely Hamas – not Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority’s president, nor a discredited Fatah party – that can offer redemption to Israel in the Arab and Islamic world. An understanding between Israel and a Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (with or without Fatah) that ends violence and allows for the development of informal co-operation that would lead to more formal agreements is the only path to overcoming the wall of hatred that now encircles Israel.

An opportunity to launch the adversaries on such a political path has now been opened by the agreement between Mr Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh, the Palestinian Authority’s Hamas-appointed prime minister, to form a government of national unity that accepts the Arab Initiative of 2002. That initiative commits Arab countries to the establishment of normal relations with the Jewish state following the conclusion of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. When asked whether this means that Hamas no longer has a problem recognising Israel’s 1967 borders, Hamas’s spokesman replied, “Yes, we have no problem with that.”

But far from taking advantage of this opening, Ehud Olmert’s government announced a diplomatic offensive to ensure that this new Palestinian unity government will not be recognised by the international community and that the brutal sanctions that have been imposed against it remain in place. It has been reported that Washington intends to support Israel’s position.

If Israel indeed rejects this opportunity for dialogue with a Hamas prepared to end violence and accept Israel’s pre-1967 borders, its problem is not finding a Palestinian peace partner, but its rejection of any such partner in favour of reliance on the IDF to impose Israel’s will by force on its Arab neighbours. Such a decision, and Israel’s continued identification with Mr Bush’s misguided crusade against “Islamo-fascism”, will allow the hatred that surrounds Israel to undermine its existence in a part of the world that for the Jewish state would turn – sooner or later – into “the heart of darkness”.

The writer is director of the US/Middle East Project and a visiting professor at the Sir Joseph Hotung Middle East Programme at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

The truth will be known!

anon #2

7:45 PM, November 24, 2006  
Blogger Ron said...

Israeli War Crimes
Who to Trust: AIPAC or Amnesty International?

In a speech recently, President Bush says Israel has a right to defend itself against terror but he made no mention of Israel's government's "war crimes."

Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorism, but does Israel's government have a right to kill innocent Palestinians?

Does Israel's government have a right to fabricate excuses that no one can confirm as reasons to ethnically cleanse areas of the occupied lands?

Does Israel's government have a right to steal lands, expel its Christian and Muslim Palestinian inhabitants and replace them with Jewish refugees who claim a "right of return" that they deny to others?

Does Israel's government have a right to violate the Geneva Conventions, commit war crimes and literally impose a new form of Apartheid on the occupied population?

Bush was addressing AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Council), a foreign lobbying organization that has as much power in this country as the Electoral College.

AIPAC defends Israel's government's right to do whatever it wishes and is silent on its military abuses and atrocities against the Palestinians it occupies.

But rather than address AIPAC, Maybe Bush should have spoken to a gathering of Amnesty International, an organization that is objective and more dedicated to fairness, justice, truth and individual liberties on this planet than AIPAC.

This week, Amnesty issued a scathing 65-page report accusing Israel not only of violating the Geneva Conventions - which Israel does not recognize - but also of committing "war crimes." (You won't read much about the report in our media and you won't find it on the White House web page, so go to Amnesty's web page at and read it yourself.)

At least there is someone in this world who does not fear the power of AIPAC or the defamation of those who criticize Israel's government "war crimes."

The report said the demolition and destruction are ``grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention and are war crimes'' Amnesty called on Israel to halt the practices immediately, and said the house demolitions are linked to Israeli intentions to take over West Bank and Gaza land.

Haven't people been saying that for years?

Amnesty reports "Families are forcibly evicted from their homes, often at night, without prior warning. They are given only a few minutes to leave their home and are not allowed to salvage their possession. The unprecedented scale of destruction has resulted in widespread violations of the right to adequate housing and standard of living for tens of thousands of people and violates fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law.

It goes on to say, "In the Occupied Territories, demolitions are often carried out as collective punishments for Palestinian attacks or to facilitate the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements. Both practices contravene international law and some of these acts are war crimes.

The report is devastating and labels the Wall as a violation, too.

Amnesty concludes "Israel's right to take reasonable, necessary and proportionate measures to protect the security of its citizens does not allow such disproportionate and discriminatory restrictions and collective punishment, which violate international law."

What that means is this: the two kids at Columbine claimed they were being harassed and bullied by other students had a right to file formal complaints against the other students and to bring the harassment to an end.

They did not have the right to bring in their own weapons and wantonly murder other students as an act of revenge.

That's exactly what Israel's government is doing. Of course Israelis have a right to defend themselves, but not to do it in such a way that they are achieving other more sinister objectives such as the theft of Palestinian lands, which is the foundation of Israel's policies and actions.

I don't expect AIPAC to replace their blind support for Israel with truth and justice above. And, even tough I am an American who served during the Vietnam War and whose father and uncle served during World War II, I will be accused of being "anti-Semitic" just for repeating Amnesty International's conclusions.

But you might think that Bush, the guy who goes around the word lecturing everyone about civil rights, freedom, democracy and justice, might be less concerned with appeasing AIPAC. Bush should be more concerned about putting truth and justice above AIPAC's blind support for Israel, even if it is a presidential election year and he is stumbling in the polls.

The Truth Will Be Known!

anon #2

8:08 PM, November 24, 2006  
Blogger Ron said...

Take Sharon to The Hague
Prosecute Israeli War Crimes at Jenin
by Francis A. Boyle

The Israeli government inflicted war crimes, grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and a Crime against Humanity against the inhabitants of Jenin. The United Nations must prosecute these international crimes for the exact same reasons that it created the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Both of these ad hoc international criminal tribunals were established by the United Nations Security Council with the approval of the United States government, a Permanent Member thereof with a veto power. But it has already been publicly reported that the Bush Jr. administration intervened with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to head off an investigation of Jenin as authorized by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1405 (19 April 2002).

Despite such unconscionable but continual U.S. obstructionism at the Security Council when it comes to protecting the basic human rights of the Palestinian People, the U.N. General Assembly has concurrent jurisdiction under the United Nations Charter to investigate and prosecute Israeli government officials - both civilian and military - for the international crimes that they have ordered, committed, condoned, and approved at Jenin and elsewhere in Palestine. We must pressure the member states of the U.N. General Assembly to found an International Criminal Tribunal for Palestine (ICTP) in order to prosecute Israeli war criminals, both military and civilian, including and especially Israeli political leaders such as Sharon. The U.N. General Assembly can set up this ICTP by a majority vote pursuant to its powers to establish "subsidiary organs" under U.N. Charter Article 22. This International Criminal Tribunal for Palestine should be organized by the U.N. General Assembly along the same lines as the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which deals with international armed conflicts.

In this regard, back in 1993 as the Lawyer for the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I sued the rump Yugoslavia for committing genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention before the International Court of Justice in the Hague. I also did the very best I could to personally implicate Slobodan Milosevic and his henchmen for ordering and committing these international crimes against the Bosnians. At the time I never realistically expected that less than nine years later Milosevic himself and his henchmen would be on trial in The Hague for committing these heinous international crimes against the Bosnians.

For similar reasons, Sharon and his henchmen must also stand on trial in The Hague for perpetrating the exact same types of international crimes against the Palestinian People at Jenin and elsewhere in Palestine. It is up to us to bring Sharon and his henchmen to Justice in The Hague. Milosevic and Sharon will get along quite well with each other in The Hague because they have so much in common to talk about: war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Francis A. Boyle, Professor of Law, University of Illinois, is author of Foundations of World Order, Duke University Press, and The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence, Clarity Press. He can be reached at: FBOYLE@LAW.UIUC.EDU

The Truth Will Be Known!

anon #2

8:30 PM, November 24, 2006  
Blogger Ron said...

Amnesty International Delegate Visits Scene of Gaza killings

Wednesday November 08, 2006
Amnesty International Delegate Visits Scene of Gaza

Those killed, most of whom were asleep in their beds
when their homes were struck by shells fired by
Israeli forces, included eight children.

(Press release, 11/08/2006) - The killing this morning
of 18 civilians in the Palestinian town of Beit
Hanoun, victims of Israeli shelling, was an appalling
act, Amnesty International said today. The
organization called for an immediate, independent
investigation and for those responsible to be held
accountable. It said previous Israeli investigations,
such as that carried out into the killings of a
Palestinian family on a beach in the Gaza Strip last
June, had been seriously inadequate and failed to meet
international standards for such investigations, which
must be independent, impartial and thorough.

Those killed, most of whom were asleep in their beds
when their homes were struck by shells fired by
Israeli forces, included eight children. An Amnesty
International delegate who visited the scene of the
killings shortly after the attack was told that 15 of
the victims were killed in the first strike and that
three others were killed by a second shell as they
raced to help the dead and injured.

“This terrible act follows a renewed upsurge in
killings of Palestinians since Israel forces launched
their latest military operation into the Gaza Strip on
2 November,“ said Malcolm Smart, Director of Amnesty
International’s Middle East and North Africa
programme. “Israeli actions during this entire
operation have been marked by nothing less than
reckless disregard for the lives of Palestinian
civilians, over 20 of whom had been killed even before
this morning’s tragedy.”

In all, before today’s deaths, more than 53
Palestinians were killed during the Israeli military
siege of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, and
many more were wounded. Two ambulance workers were
among the civilians killed. Dubbed “Autumn clouds”by
the Israeli army, the operation began on 2 November
and continued until 7 November when Israeli forces
redeployed outside the town. Israeli authorities said
they mounted the operation in an attempt to prevent
Palestinian armed groups firing home-made Qassem
rockets at Israeli towns and villages near to the Gaza
Strip. Most of the dead were killed in Beit Hanoun,
which was kept under siege throughout the six days,
but others were killed as a result of Israeli military
strikes in the surrounding area.

Amnesty International condemns all attacks on unarmed
civilians and is calling on the Israeli authorities to
establish independent investigations into every
incident in which Palestinian civilians were killed or
injured by Israeli forces, and to bring to justice
those responsible for human rights violations.

As Israeli forces began their siege of Beit Hanoun,
one senior officer, Lieutenant Colonel Yarom, said
that troops had been instructed to avoid causing
civilian casualties. Four days into the operation, in
face of a rising toll of deaths and injuries among
Palestinian civilians, Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert declared: “Those Palestinians who have been
wounded were mostly armed, but, to our regret, they
are using innocent people as human shields, resulting
in the injury of uninvolved civilians as well”.

The information gathered by Amnesty International
delegates currently in the Gaza Strip contradicts
this, however, and indicates that at least half of
those killed, including at least two women and several
children, were unarmed bystanders not involved in the
confrontations. The pattern is the same for those
injured as a result of Israeli force air strikes and
artillery shelling.

Those killed or injured as a result of Israeli attacks

Ramzi al-Ashrafi, 16, was killed and seven other
children were injured on the morning of 6 November
when an Israeli shell exploded close by the bus on
which they were travelling to school along a busy road
between Beit Lahia and Jabalya, north of Gaza City.
Najwa Khleif, a 20-year-old teacher who was also in
the bus, sustained severe brain injuries. Doctors
treating her in the intensive care unit of Gaza City’s
main hospital told Amnesty International that she was
in critical condition. The bus was hit apparently in a
failed strike by Israeli forces on a vehicle believed
to belong to a Palestinian armed group. However, the
attack was carried out at a busy intersection during
the morning rush hour, when it could be expected that
the streets would be busy with adults and children
making their way to work and school. The shell which
killed Ramzi al-Ashrafi and injured others in the
school bus, fell near a kindergarten although,
fortunately, without causing further deaths or
injuries there.

Ala’ Mansour al-Khdeir, an 11-year-old girl, one of
two children who were wounded by Israeli fire on 4
November when they were returning home from a morning
at school in Beit Lahia. She was struck by a bullet
which entered the left side of her head and travelled
to the left side of her neck, where it remains lodged,
and remains seriously ill. Her mother told Amnesty
International that Ala’was near home in the Sayafa
area of north-west Gaza, an area where there has been
frequent Israeli army shelling in recent days, when
she was wounded. The other child, a boy, was also
seriously injured.

Ibtisam Masoud, 44, was killed and ten other women,
including Tahrir Shahin, a 37-year-old mother of
seven, were injured by Israeli fire during a women’s
demonstration on the morning of 3 November at the
entrance of Beit Hanoun. Tahrir Shahin, whose leg had
to be amputated, told Amnesty International from her
hospital bed in Gaza city that she and other women
were unarmed and standing less than 100 meters from
the Israeli tanks which fired at them: “Ours was a
peaceful demonstration, we were all women, there were
no men, no militants, no weapons. We were just women
standing in front of tanks. We did not think the
Israeli soldiers would shoot us, but they fired

Heba Rajab, 20, a volunteer with the Palestinian
Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution, and
Sou’ad Abu Najem, 43, a mother of eight, both
sustained serious gunshot wounds to their legs and
hands in the same incident. They said they had seen
Israeli soldiers taking aim at the women demonstrators
from the tops of their tanks. The women were
demonstrating in response to a call by a Hamas party
member of the Palestinian parliament to help break the
siege by Israeli forces of a mosque in which members
of Palestinian armed groups were reported to be
sheltering, surrounded by Israeli forces. However, the
women were shot before they could approach the mosque.

Ahmad al-Madhoun, 42, and Mustapha Habib, 26, both
volunteer emergency ambulance workers with the
Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS), and a third
man who was assisting them, were killed in an Israeli
air strike on the evening of 3 November as they were
evacuating the body of a man killed in an earlier air
strike. Iyad Yousef Abu al-Ful, the ambulance driver
accompanying them, told Amnesty International: “Ahmad
and Mustapha were about 20 meters from the ambulance
and were about to load the body of a dead man on the
stretcher; I had just got out of the ambulance and was
beginning to move towards them when a missile struck
at the spot where they were. I got back into the
ambulance and called for help. I cannot get out of my
mind the sight of my colleagues killed while they were
doing their duty”. The medical rescue team was in an
open field near Beit Lahia. It was dark but the
ambulance should have been clearly visible from the
emergency light on its roof. The other victim had
directed the ambulance crew to the body of his friend,
who had been killed earlier in unclear circumstances.

Palestinian ambulances have been frequently attacked
and dozens have been hit by Israeli strikes in recent
years. During the siege of Beit Hanoun, emergency
rescue workers faced increased obstacles and delays in
carrying out their duties due to the virtually
continuous curfew imposed by Israeli forces. Israeli
tanks controlled the access to Beit Hanoun hospital
and delayed the passage of ambulances in and out of
the hospital, as well as into and out of the town.

Zahir Mustapha Shabat, 32, was shot and seriously
injured and his cousin, Mazen Shabat, was killed by
Israeli soldiers in the evening of 4 November when
they were returning home after they had both been
released from three days’ detention by the Israeli
army. He told Amnesty International from his hospital
bed, shortly after he was moved from the intensive
care unit: "After three days in detention the soldiers
released us and gave us a paper, which they said we
could show if we got stopped by other soldiers on our
way home, about 1.5 to 2 km from the place where we
were detained. They told us that they had coordinated
with the tanks in the area and that we would have safe
passage home but when we got about 150 meters from my
house soldiers jumped out of the house of one of my
relatives and fired on me and my cousin, Mazen,
Shabat. Mazen was killed and I was seriously injured
in the abdomen and back."

-For interviews, please contact Amnesty
International's researcher Donatella Rovera in Gaza on
+970 599 446 703 or +44 7771 796 091, or Amnesty
International's Middle East and North Africa press
officer Nicole Choueiry on +44 7831 640 170

anon #2

10:10 PM, November 24, 2006  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

When Palestinians stop using ambulances to transport weapons and terrorists, then Israelis can give them free reign.

4:26 AM, November 25, 2006  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

In January, 2002, Wafa Idris blew herself up on the crowded Jaffa Street in Jerusalem, becoming one of the first female suicide bombers. She was an ambulance driver for the Palestinian Red Crescent, as was Mohammed Hababa, the Tanzim operative who sent her on her mission. She left the West Bank by way of an ambulance.

4:33 AM, November 25, 2006  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

It is a shame that Palestinian Islamic Fascists use kindergartens as shields.

5:23 AM, November 26, 2006  

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