By: Dr. Javed Jamil
There is huge difference between “We” and “They”. This instinct is omnipotent. But when this instinct stings the mighty “we” is ready to kill “they” if “they” even dare to stare at “we”. What “we” do is always right, and what “they” do, unless approved by “we” is never right. If “they” behead half a dozen, they are cruel and barbaric, if we bombard millions to death, “we” are “peace-loving” and “civilised”. Beheading is brutal because it is “their” method; bombardment is civilised because it is “our” method. Nothing to do with the truth that the swords can behead dozens or hundreds and the bombs can destroy millions.
By: Brandon Parsons
After a brief pause in the violence to discuss prospects for peace in Cairo, Israelis and Palestinians are back to exchanging death. Israeli airstrikes reportedly killed three senior Hamas officials on Thursday, while also killing the wife and child of Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif.
By: Khalid Elmezaini (from Gaza)
“Last night was the worst night by far. Around 1 am the bombing was so intense that we decided to huddle together as a family in the living room away from the windows. Then a huge blast, so powerful it felt like the building was going to collapse. We hear screaming from the floor above us. We rush to the door, there is a woman carrying her 3 children running downstairs, “they hit our apartment” she screamed repeatedly. Was this a roof knock? Was her apartment really hit? Myself and 2 more ran upstairs to see, all we can see is smoke in her apartment, the bedrooms where her children sleep have smashed walls, a missile has hit her home. We couldn’t take chances. With the cloths on our backs we all ran downstairs to the ground floor. Do we leave? Where do we go? There is no place to go. And if we make a run for it they will target us, they always target moving groups. We decided that the 23 families should stay on the ground floor near the stairs. The children were crying, so were their mothers, it was chaotic. Then an even bigger bomb, louder than the first, the whole building shook, rubble flying onto our building, windows and glass smashing everywhere. We took our shahada, we were convinced this is our last night, that we wouldn’t make it. The bombing was intense, everywhere, north, south, east, west, it was random, every minute non-stop, we were just waiting our turn, like cattle for slaughter. 4 hours passed, non-stop shelling, then we can hear them coming, by their sound, the F16 fighter jets have arrived. By the time we made that realization, an explosion so powerful dropped us to the ground, rubble and smoke flew in, then quickly another closer one, then a third one a little further. All we could see are huge fire balls in the sky, light almost turning around corners. Moments later, a funny smell, we ran for any wet cloth, water on shirt and over the face will do. Time has passed, it was quiet for an hour. Was it over? The sun is now up, and we were happy to see it. We knew the zionist don’t hit as hard in day light as they do at night, where the cameras can’t capture the full scale of the destruction. We decided to go back to the lower level apartments, we were tired, we huddled and slept close to the door when deep down we knew that just like there is no where safe in Gaza, no place in our house is safer than any other.
Every house was hit, every building, every mosque, they have no targets, they do not know what they are doing.
This isn’t a fictional story, this is how we spent last night. And if the zionist think that this will scare us into submission, they need to think again, we only submit to Allah, we will never give up, we live and die with dignity and honour.”
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It is imperative not to be numbed by the death toll numbers reported every day from Gaza.
By: Hamid Dabashi
According to the most recent calculation, 1000 Palestinians have been murdered by the Israeli army, majority of them civilians, who have nowhere to run. Trapped by Egypt from one side and Israeli army from the other, the mostly defenceless Palestinians are being slaughtered in more than two weeks of relentless bombing by what is considered to be the fifth most powerful military on earth, armed to its teeth by the United States and its European allies.
But what does that absolute number – 1000 – actually mean? How would this number of Palestinians in Gaza compare if proportionately these bombs were to be dropped say on the US, or UK, or China, or India, or Germany?
When bombing killed Khansa’s husband, and two of her sons went missing, she took the rest of her family and fled Syria, seeking refuge in Lebanon. There, we’re providing her with vital aid, but she’s losing hope fast as she wonders whether life will ever return to normal for her children again.
Khansa Al-Hammady lived a normal life in Raqqa, north Syria, with her husband farming their land. Then the bombing started and their peaceful life changed forever. Khansa’s husband was killed in the bombing and her two elder sons suddenly disappeared. She still does not know whether they are dead or alive.
Khansa, fled her home with her three remaining sons and daughter towards Lebanon and found safety in the Bekaa Valley refugee camp.
”We had a beautiful life. We used to work in agriculture; everyone had their own land and we were all happy. Now my situation is very bad.”
In the camp, the family shares a tent with another family and they have very little food for the family. Khansa’s health has also deteriorated due to the difficult conditions that she has to endure. She is losing hope that her situation will ever improve and that her children will ever have a normal life.
“I am asking Allah to return us to our homes and give us a peaceful life – that’s all we need from Him.”
Islamic Relief is working in the Bekaa Valley camp, providing essential aid to thousands of families, such as food, shelter and blankets, which provide some comfort and hope for the future.
“Islamic Relief brought us things that we need like mattresses, blankets and hygiene,” said Khansa. ”May Allah bless them.”
Source: Al Jazeera
By: Gregg Carlstrom
Hamas says Israel will pay a “high price” as tanks seen entering Palestinian territory in major escalation of offensive.
Israeli tanks entered Gaza on Thursday night after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a ground invasion, a major escalation in a ten-day offensive that has already killed more than 230 Palestinians.
Witnesses in Gaza reported heavy bombing from jets, warships and artillery stationed along the border, with much of the firing was directed at northern Gaza. Electricity was cut off across a large swathe of the strip, though it was unclear why.
A statement from Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon described the invasion as focused on destroying tunnels connecting Gaza to Israel.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said that the ground operation amounted to “stupidity” and that the Israeli army would “pay a high price”.
Sami Abu Zuhri, another spokesman for the group which controls Gaza, said: “It does not scare the Hamas leaders or the Palestinian people. We warn Netanyahu of the dreadful consequences of such a foolish act.”
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Diana Buttu, a former legal advisor for the Palestinian peace negotiating team, said: “I think it’s high time that the Palestinian Authority go and sign on to the International Criminal Court and start charging Israel with war crimes. This isn’t the first time this has happened.”
“They [Israel] shouldn’t be allowed to behave like they are above the law, and treat Palestinians like they are beneath it.”
On Thursday morning, a group of gunmen had tried to enter southern Israel through a tunnel from Gaza, the army said eight of the 13 attackers were killed, and Hamas claimed responsibility for the operation.
It was the second such incident in the past ten days.
“[The operation] will deal significant damage to the infrastructure of Hamas and other terrorist organisations in the Gaza Strip,” the army said.
The escalation came not long after a five-hour “humanitarian ceasefire” requested by the United Nations, which gave residents a brief chance to venture outside before the bombardment resumed.
Both sides largely stopped firing, and people ventured out to markets, grocers, barbers and banks, which opened for the first time in more than a week.
At least 231 Palestinians have been killed so far, including 39 children, and more than 1,700 injured. One Israeli has been killed by rocket fire from Gaza.
Media reports on Thursday afternoon, attributed to Israeli officials, suggested that a ceasefire had been agreed and would take effect the next morning.
But diplomatic sources said that the parties were still meeting, and both sides have now denied the reports.