Please keep making du’aa for our brothers and sisters in Gaza as much as you can!
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New UPDATES will be added at the bottom of the post. Story now cross-posted on Dailykos.com
After an agreement to a six-month ceasefire between between Hamas and Israel expired on December 19th, Israel launched multiple F-16 bombers into the Gaza Strip, dropping 100 tons of bombs in the first nine hours of fighting, indiscriminately massacring over 225 Palestinians and injuring over 700 others, the worst number of Palestinian casualties, and the bloodiest, since the 1967 attack in Gaza. May Allah subhaana wa ta’aala accept them all amongst the shuhadaa, aameen.
This latest violation of human rights and basic decency by the Israeli government was allegedly due to rockets fired from Gaza into the southern border of Israel, although Hamas contends Israel had been violating the conditions of the ceasefire by closing off checkpoints and murdering 28 Palestinians.
There remains, however, speculation about the motives provided by the current Israeli regime. Within a month’s time, Israel will be holding parlimentary elections and thus far, Ehud Olmert’s government has received poor marks from the Israeli public for their handling of Hamas-controlled Gaza. It is believed this disproportionately senseless attack was meant to beef up Olmert’s party’s street cred with those holding more hawkish views, pulling them away from opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu.
There is further speculation that President-elect Obama supports the Palestinians and this will most likely be the last time it receives unconditional support from the United States through the Bush Administration.
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, lending credence to this theory, has already stated, “We strongly condemn the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and hold Hamas responsible for breaking the cease-fire and for the renewal of violence there. The cease-fire must be restored immediately and fully respected,” referring to rocket attacks which killed one Israeli civilian.
The most plausible theory, however, is that reported by the Haaretz, which states Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has been planning this operation, known as Operation Cast Lead, into the Gaza strip well over six months. Those six months of relative peace were used by the IDF for information gathering, in order to understand Hamas’s security infrastructure completely and destroy it when ready.
That time came when IDF forces carried out attacks in Gaza just over a month ago (during the ceasefire) to take out a tunnel which the army alleged was meant for use as attacking IDF troops. This was met by retaliation from Hamas and has this has now escalated to where the issue stands today.
The rest of the world, including the UN (minus the hawkish neo-conservative executive branch of the US government) has condemned Israel’s disproportionate aggression against the Palestinian people and called for a ceasefire. Israel has made it clear that no ceasefires will be negotiated, and it is gearing up to continue its attacks on Gaza and they will not be ended any time soon. Israeli troops are already amassing tanks and infantry at the border in preparation.
“There are heads without bodies …. There’s blood in the corridors. People are weeping, women are crying, doctors are shouting, ” said nurse Ahmed Abdel Salaam from Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s main treatment center.
The death toll is expected to rise further, with bodies still lying buried under the rubble of destroyed buildings. Hospitals, already suffering from shortages due to an 18-month blockade on the Gaza Strip, said they were struggling to cope with the number of injured, which included women and children.
Gaza is densely populated. Its 1.5 million residents are already experiencing shortages in power and basic supplies due to the siege which is widely condemned by human rights movements as a collective punishment.
MuslimMatters Statement on the Gaza Massacre
The Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam has taught us that if we can stop the evil we encounter with our hands, then we should do so, and if not the hand, then by the tongue, and if that’s not possible, then to at least hate it in our hearts.
Today, we have the platform by which we can express ourselves through the medium of writing and have this reach a wide audience. Thus, we say to you, we stand united with our brothers and sisters in Gaza, and we not only condemn, no, but we curse Olmert, Ehud Barak, and all others involved in this blood bath committed against the people of Gaza. There is no justification by which one group can purport to murder over 225 lives and seriously injure over 700 in retaliation for the loss of one life.
To our brothers and sisters in Islam, we remind you that though your ability to act is limited, your ability to make du’aa remains. Make du’aa to ease the struggles and difficulties, the trials our brothers and sisters of Gaza are going through. Let us also make du’aa against the criminals who committed these evils and that this difficulty and seemingly poor situation, will turn itself into a decisive victory, as was the case with the treaty of hudaybiyyah.
- Raising Yousuf and Noor: diary of a Palestinian mother
- Israeli Occupation Causes Terrorism (UN Report Finds) @ MM
- Israel’s “Retaliatory” Killing Machine Fully Justified @MM
- The World I Live In : Reflections on Gaza @MM
- Farmocracy Experiment Part-2 (The Gaza Crises) @MM
- More than 360 of the people of Gaza are now reported killed, and scores others either injured and succumbing to injuries or buried alive, and now more than 1600 are reported wounded. 4 Israelis were also killed yesterday due to rockets fired.
- The offensive from the Israelis has widened. Certain areas of the Gaza border are closed off and missiles are now being fired from navy vessels as well to hit designated targets.
- Israeli patrol boats have rammed a gaza relief vessel, carrying medical supplies and medical personnel to assist with the shortages. On board were also many journalists and former US Representative Cynthia McKinney. She is quoted as saying, “I would call it ramming. Let’s just call it as it is. Our boat was rammed three times, twice in the front and one on the side. Our mission was a peaceful mission to deliver medical supplies and our mission was thwarted by the Israelis — the aggressiveness of the Israeli military.” The Israeli military claimed there was no intention to ram and they feared the boat was up to terrorist activity.
- There are conflicting reports which state Israel may, due to intense international pressure for a ceasefire, halt operations for 48 hours. Defense officials and the Shin Bet are stating this is untrue, though another source speaking on condition of anonymity has stated Defense Minister Ehud Barak would be bringing it up during an Israeli security Cabinet meeting.
- Assuming there is truth to the 48 hour proposal, the purpose of it will be to give Hamas time to stop firing rockets into Israel. Hamas has said that if the proposal is true, they will consider the ceasefire if Israel will end its blockcade of Gaza.
- If the 48 hour window of time expires, Israel will then move to a ground offensive. Hamas has said it would welcome a ground offensive, and has threatened if the fighting continues they will launch rockets deeper into Israel.
- The death toll now stands at 345 killed, and over 1450 are injured. In Israel, one worker at construction site in Ashkelon died from the rockets fired in return for the Gaza offensive, and 8 others were injured.
- Israel currently has 2000 reservists at the Gaza border and is looking to amass a total of 6700. Israeli leaders maintain they are not looking for a ground offensive. It seems that in order for a ground initiative into Gaza, Israel will need 10,000 troops. On the other hand, it also appears that Israel will exhaust, by Monday, its target bank for aerial bombing, so either ground fighting or a quick diplomatic solution will need to occur, but neither seems a possibility at the moment.
- Egyptian authorities have allowed ambulances to cross into the Rafah border to bring back Palestinian casualties for medical treatment, and as well, food and medical supplies have been lined up since early morning to get in.
- Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadro, speaking about the chaotic situation at the Shifa hospital in Gaza city stated, “Hundreds of people are just waiting outside … the problem is that there simply aren’t enough beds to cope with the number of injured. Medical sources here are telling us they are running out of everything, from gauzes to saline solutions, and critically now they are running out of almost every type of blood.“
- 30 trucks loaded with fuel, food, and medical supplies from the Red Cross have also been allowed to pass, but as Red Cross International Spokesman Iyad Nasr said, the earlier Israeli sanctions, which were key in triggering this offensive, have left hospitals, “almost incapable of functioning” even before the weekend’s attacks, and those facilities are now “bleeding every resource available.”
- He also stated, “Very little number of cars are going out. People who need to secure some basic food supplies are all to go out, or people looking for a family member who is missing or going to a hospital.”
- Among the targets hit were an Islamic University and a masjid. The bombing of the masjid also killed 5 young girls.
More evidence for the futility of stereotyping, this powerful diary, “Today I end my support of Israel” has become the most recommended story on Dailykos.com, one of the most popular blogs in the entire blogosphere [Pls note that there is some profanity in the post]:
I’m Jewish and descendant of holocaust survivors. Moreover, I’ve been a Zionist all of my life. I went to a Zionist school, I was active in Zionist youth groups. I’ve always been a fervent supporter of Israel as a refuge for Jews around the world who seek a place to exercise their traditions and embrace their identity in peace.
I sang the Israeli anthem in the train rails of Aushwitz-Birkenau and I pledged to fight every day of my life to make sure the savage crimes that had taken place there would never happen again. Every year I pledged: Never Again. Remember and Never forget.
Well, I haven’t forgotten. And so to honor that pledge, to honor the memory of my family members who died in those death camps and because “there comes a time when silence is betrayal”, today I finally and publicly end my support for the state of Israel.
ENOUGH. I’m done justifying crimes against humanity by a country that claims to be an illuminated western democracy. I’m done defending a country that is unwilling to grant self-determination to a neighboring people because it won’t let go of a few settlements and divide a city. I’m done tolerating the slaughtering of innocent kids, the murderous and barbaric occupation of an impoverished people, the utter disregard for human life.
Please read this great diary where different ways of supporting Gaza’s population and organizing against Israeli occupation are presented.
Also see these Haaretz stories published by Israeli Jews:
- The death toll in Gaza has risen now to 280 of our brothers and sisters. May Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala have mercy on them and accept them into jannatul firdaus, aameen.
- Tunnels which were alleged to have been used for smuggling weapons from Egypt into Gaza to build up Hamas have been bombed. In total, more than 40 airstrikes have been carried out, taking out 210 targets.
- The red cross has been allowed into Gaza to provide medical supplies,which is interesting when you consider that all this time when such supplies have been in need, Israel has continued to blockcade any form of help to the people of Gaza.
- Sister Safa, who lives in Gaza city and is witnessing the carnage and destruction firsthand, has written the following:
I’ve never seen anything like this. It all happened so fast but the amount of death and destruction is inconceivable, even to me and I’m in the middle of it and a few hours have already passed. I think 15 locations were hit during the air raid on Gaza City. [some Israelis sources said 150 targets were struck] The images are probably not broadcast in US media. There are piles and piles of bodies in the locations that were hit. As you look at them you can see that a few of the young men are still alive, someone lifts a hand here, and another raise his head there. They probably died within moments because their bodies are burned, most have lost limbs, some have their guts hanging out and they’re all lying in pools of blood.
Outside my home, (which is close to the universities) a bomb fell on a large group of young men, university students, they’d been warned not to stand in groups, it makes them an easy target, but they were waiting for buses to take them home. This was about 3 hours ago 7 were killed, 4 students and 3 of our neighbors kids, teenagers who were from the same family (Rayes) and were best friends.
As I’m writing this I heard a funeral procession go by outside, I looked out the window and it was the 3 Rayes boys, They spent all their time together when they were alive, and now their sharing the same funeral together. Nothing could stop my 14 year old brother from rushing out to see the bodies of his friends laying in the street after they were killed. He hasn’t spoken a word since.
A little further down the street about an hour earlier 3 girls happened to be passing by one of the locations when a bomb fell. The girls bodies were torn into pieces and covered the street from one side to the other.These are just a couple of images that i’ve witnessed. In all the locations people are going through the dead terrified of recognizing a family member among them. The city is in a state of alarm, panic and confusion, cell phones aren’t working, hospitals and morgues are backed up and some of the dead are still lying in the streets with their families gathered around them, kissing their faces, holding on to them. Outside the destroyed buildings old men are kneeling on the floor weeping. Their slim hopes of finding their sons still alive vanished after taking one look at what had become of their office buildings.
At least 160 people dead in today’s air raid. That means 160 funeral processions, a few today, most of them tomorrow probably. To think that yesterday these families were worried about food and heat and electricity. At this point I think they -actually all of us- would gladly have Hamas sign off every last basic right we’ve been calling for the last few months forever if it could have stopped this from ever having happened.
The bombing was very close to my home. Most of my extended family live in the area. My family is ok, but 2 of my uncles’ homes were damaged, another relative was injured. I don’t know why I’m sending this. It doesn’t even begin to tell the story on any level. Just flashes of thing that happened today that are going through my head.