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ISM Reports: Gaza Strip / House Visit

ISM Reports: Gaza Strip / House Visit

1) Pictures.... 2) Severe Attack on the Gaza Strip _ Kristen 3) House Visit, Israeli Style _ Linus

Horrifying photo on the front page of AlQuds Newspaper Friday, March 7.

You will never see this in the Western media. They don't show what's really happening here. An average of 10 Palestinians killed every day for the past week. The Israeli Army invading and killing, with impunity. They'll show you the blown up buses and the Israeli spokesperson crying "terrorism" but you'll never hear why.....

You won't hear about the slaughter of Palestinians or the horridness of everyday life. Yesterday, a friend - an engineer from the city of Nablus, called to tell me that he and 40 other Palestinians were on their knees, out on the rough terrain on the road between Nablus and Tulkarem, where he was going to work.

All roads are closed to Palestinians, even traveling from one Palestinian town to the next. We often have to change cars three or four times, walk up mountains and down rocky slopes, create roads through fields, and travel 1.5-2 hours to move just 15 kilometers; but to continue to live when the occupation says no!

To resist, Palestinians do this every day. Trying to circumvent one of the many army posts that would have denied this group of men the right to pass through to Tulkarem, they were caught and forced to sit on their knees from 7:30am until 6pm as punishment. Imagine


Severe Attack on the Gaza Strip 7 March, 2003 Author: Kristen Ess Gaza

Gaza Strip hospitals are urgently requesting blood and medical supplies that, under constant Israeli closure, they are unable to get. They have run out of space for all of the dying Palestinians. Israeli occupation forces have injured 100s of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip over the past week alone.

This week has been particularly brutal in the Gaza Strip. Under the violent Israeli occupation Palestinians are held hostage, unable to get away from invading Israeli soldiers shelling from tanks, firing from Apaches in the sky, and shooting guns at any Palestinian who is here. Last night Israeli soldiers invaded the Al Buriej Refugee Camp in the central Gaza Strip. Israeli soldiers murdered eight Palestinians and wounded 29. They destroyed five houses, using dynamite on four. Israeli soldiers killed one 33-year-old pregnant woman inside her home as they blew up the house next door. Israeli soldiers also invaded the Namsawi area of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, killing two Palestinians and wounding 40. The Israeli military would not allow ambulances to reach the injured, as is common Israeli military practice. They destroyed nine residential buildings, six shops, and part

Day before yesterday when Israeli occupation soldiers invaded the Jabalyia refugee camp in the north of the Gaza Strip, a man died who sustained injuries when Israeli soldiers fired missiles from a US donated Apache helicopter into a Gaza City hospital, killing two nurses. As the Israeli military finished its nine-hour attack on the Jabalyia Refugee Camp yesterday at 8 am, they shot a tank shell into a small crowd that had gathered near an ambulance to help put out a fire. A family was trapped inside and two fire-fighters were spraying the building with water. Israeli soldiers shot the tank shell at the fire-fighters and the people standing around. The ambulance driver was just on one leg trying to help a boy off the ground, many others were lying on the ground, dead. Two men came running to help the ambulance driver lift the boy and it was only then that we could see he had no face Attacks like this are occurring every night here in the Gaza Strip at the brutal hands of the Israeli military government. It is nearly impossible for people here to keep up with the number dead and the horror they are witnessing. Israeli soldiers prevented Palestinian ambulances from reaching the people throughout most of the night. Some people in the camp tell me that Israeli soldiers were taking the ambulances and using them to sneak themselves into the camp in order to more easily shoot the people. Israeli soldiers have murdered over 80 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in this week alone. This massacre is expected to continue as the US openly plans its military invasion and occupation of Iraq.

A friend who is exiled to Gaza City asked his 4-year-old son, who is not allowed by the Israeli military government to visit his father, "Do you want to come to see me?"

The four-year-old boy asked, "Will the Israelis shoot me?"

His dad replied, "No, I don't think so."

The boy said, "Oh, they only kill the big people, not the little ones, right?"

His dad said, "Right."

The boy said, "Okay, I'll come."

A man here told me that there's even less future now than before. There is nothing to plan for, although today President Arafat, in an attempt to find someone the butcher Sharon is willing to speak with, is speaking seriously about Abu Mazen (Mahmud Abbas) as Prime Minister. A guy here just told me, "The US loves him."

For more information: 011.972.(0)59.357.526 ==========================

3) House Visit, Israeli Style March 7, 2003 Author: Linus Nablus

Yesterday I had the opportunity to observe a house visit Israeli style. In the last days I have visited a number of homes in Nablus Old City previously occupied by the army. I've seen the mess they made, the broken windows, the destroyed furniture and the scared faces of the children. Actually staying with a family as their home was occupied enabled me to get a better understanding of what it means to be a prisoner in your own home and to be forced to ask for permission from armed young men to even go to the bathroom or to drink water.

At 1pm IOF soldiers entered the Abu Keshek house through a hole in the wall of the shower, destroying water pipes leaving the flat without running water. Tarik, a medical relief volunteer with the UPMRC, a good friend of mine and the son of the Abu Keshek family received information about what was going on and went to the house along with me, David (Sweden) and three other medical volunteers. At around 2:30pm we entered the house, only to find a group of soldiers already "searching" the flat and we were ordered to sit down in the one room they had not yet turned upside down. The UPMRC volunteers had their ID cards confiscated and we were not allowed to use our phones. The soldiers would not answer our questions about the purpose of the visit and about how long they were going to stay. The mother of the family, her daughters aged two and fourteen and her son aged five were also force After around 30 minutes all the UPMRC volunteers except Tarik got their ID cards back and were free to leave. The commander also told me and David that we could go now, but we had no intention of leaving as long as the soldiers were still occupying the house. We told them that we wanted to see what they did to the family and their home and after a while he gave up and let us stay. We were moved to another room upstairs and we heard how the IOF soldiers were working on another hole in the wall downstairs with a jackhammer. We found furniture turned upside down and clothes all over the floor.

Later I found out that the father of the Abu Keshek family was denied entrance to the house, leaving the rest of the family not knowing his whereabouts.

We tried to convince the soldiers to allow us to bring the children some food but the group of five to six soldiers sitting outside the room would not cooperate or tell us how long they were going to stay. "Even if it takes four hours it is ok" one of the soldiers said.

I tried to imagine a Swedish home being occupied by soldiers wearing camouflage clothing and carrying M16 automatic rifles. I tried to think that the two-year-old daughter Zena playing with a pillow as she was held prisoner in her own home was my sister Anna in Sweden. Imagine her blond and not Palestinian, this would not have been happening to her.

At around 8pm the soldiers started to move. They told us to stay in the room, keeping the doors shut for one hour before we went out. As we disobeyed by going to the bathroom two soldiers came back up the stairs, pointing their guns at us and forcing us back into the room. Their movement seemed totally without coordination; now two soldiers with their faces painted dark came into the room where we, the activists, the women and the children were sitting. They left, other new soldiers came. With two holes in the wall downstairs, this home seemed to have been turned into a passage for soldiers moving in the area.

We heard gunshots right outside the windows. The soldiers didn't seem to mind, they even smiled and said something in Hebrew, but the family moved down to sit on the floor, afraid to be to close to the windows.

At 8:30pm, after the home had been occupied for 7.5 hours the IOF left the building. We were still not able to go downstairs since the soldiers had closed the entrance door and locked it; the key was with the father who hadn't been able to enter the house where his family was.

This morning we saw what the soldiers had done to the home downstairs. Large holes in the wall, bricks all over the floor, neighbors’ furniture destroyed, Koran pages torn out. We were told that the hard drive was stolen from the computer.

>From now on I will not write that soldiers search homes, I will write, "search". It doesn't take 7.5 hours to search through apartments of this size. Ripping out pages from the holy Koran is not about searching for weapons. It's about making people insecure in their own homes, about humiliation and oppression.

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