30 June 2009


Against Israeli Piracy & Kidnapping
Free Cynthia McKinney and all kidnapped human rights workers!


at the

19th & JFK BLVD.

Last night, Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel.

The seizure of humanitarian supplies and abduction of human rights workers is an act of piracy, a crime under international law. When the boat was attacked, it was not in Israeli waters and was on a human rights mission to Gaza. Israel's deliberate and premeditated attack on an unarmed boat in international waters is a clear violation of international law. Join us tomorrow from 4:30 to 6 pm at the Israeli Consulate to demand an immediate and unconditional release of the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, all 21 human rights workers, and the humanitarian supplies.

According to an International Committee of the Red Cross report released yesterday, the Palestinians living in Gaza are "trapped in despair." Thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed earlier during Israel's December/January massacre are still without shelter despite pledges of almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel refuses to allow cement and other building material into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of their patients due to Israel's disruption of medical supplies.

For information contact Philadelphia Int. Action Center, phillyiac@peoplesmail.net; 215-724-1618 or 610-352-3053


30 June 2009

For more information contact:
Greta Berlin (English)
tel: +357 99 081 767 / friends@freegaza.org
Caoimhe Butterly (Arabic/English/Spanish):
tel: +357 99 077 820 / sahara78@hotmail.co.uk

[23 miles off the coast of Gaza, 15:30pm] - Today Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (see below for a complete list of passengers). The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel.

"This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip," said Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Congresswoman and presidential candidate. "President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that's exactly what we tried to do. We're asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey."

According to an International Committee of the Red Cross report released yesterday, the Palestinians living in Gaza are "trapped in despair." Thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed earlier during Israel's December/January massacre are still without shelter despite pledges of almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel refuses to allow cement and other building material into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of their patients due to Israel's disruption of medical supplies.

"The aid we were carrying is a symbol of hope for the people of Gaza, hope that the sea route would open for them, and they would be able to transport their own materials to begin to reconstruct the schools, hospitals and thousands of homes destroyed during the onslaught of "Cast Lead". Our mission is a gesture to the people of Gaza that we stand by them and that they are not alone" said fellow passenger Mairead Maguire, winner of a Noble Peace Prize for her work in Northern Ireland.

Just before being kidnapped by Israel, Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Movement chairperson and delegation co-coordinator on this voyage, stated that: "No one could possibly believe that our small boat constitutes any sort of threat to Israel. We carry medical and reconstruction supplies, and children's toys. Our passengers include a Nobel peace prize laureate and a former U.S. congressperson. Our boat was searched and received a security clearance by Cypriot Port Authorities before we departed, and at no time did we ever approach Israeli waters."

Arraf continued, "Israel's deliberate and premeditated attack on our unarmed boat is a clear violation of international law and we demand our immediate and unconditional release."

CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of Justice
tel: +972 2646 6666 or +972 2646 6340
fax: +972 2646 6357

CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
tel: +972 2530 3111
fax: +972 2530 3367

CONTACT Mark Regev in the Prime Minister's office at:
tel: +972 5 0620 3264 or +972 2670 5354
CONTACT the International Committee of the Red Cross to ask for their assistance in establishing the wellbeing of the kidnapped human rights workers and help in securing their immediate release!

Red Cross Israel
tel: +972 3524 5286
fax: +972 3527 0370
Red Cross Switzerland:
tel: +41 22 730 3443
fax: +41 22 734 8280

Red Cross USA:
tel: +1 212 599 6021
fax: +1 212 599 6009

Kidnapped Passengers from the Spirit of Humanity include:

Khalad Abdelkader, Bahrain
Khalad is an engineer representing the Islamic Charitable Association of Bahrain.

Othman Abufalah, Jordan
Othman is a world-renowned journalist with al-Jazeera TV.

Khaled Al-Shenoo, Bahrain
Khaled is a lecturer with the University of Bahrain.

Mansour Al-Abi, Yemen
Mansour is a cameraman with Al-Jazeera TV.

Fatima Al-Attawi, Bahrain
Fatima is a relief worker and community activist from Bahrain.

Juhaina Alqaed, Bahrain
Juhaina is a journalist & human rights activist.

Huwaida Arraf, US
Huwaida is the Chair of the Free Gaza Movement and delegation co-coordinator for this voyage.

Ishmahil Blagrove, UK
Ishmahil is a Jamaican-born journalist, documentary film maker and founder of the Rice & Peas film production company. His documentaries focus on international struggles for social justice.

Kaltham Ghloom, Bahrain
Kaltham is a community activist.

Derek Graham, Ireland
Derek Graham is an electrician, Free Gaza organizer, and first mate aboard the Spirit of Humanity.

Alex Harrison, UK
Alex is a solidarity worker from Britain. She is traveling to Gaza to do long-term human rights monitoring.

Denis Healey, UK
Denis is Captain of the Spirit of Humanity. This will be his fifth voyage to Gaza.

Fathi Jaouadi, UK
Fathi is a British journalist, Free Gaza organizer, and delegation co-coordinator for this voyage.

Mairead Maguire, Ireland
Mairead is a Nobel laureate and renowned peace activist.

Lubna Masarwa, Palestine/Israel
Lubna is a Palestinian human rights activist and Free Gaza organizer.

Theresa McDermott, Scotland
Theresa is a solidarity worker from Scotland. She is traveling to Gaza to do long-term human rights monitoring.

Cynthia McKinney, US
Cynthia McKinney is an outspoken advocate for human rights and social justice issues, as well as a former U.S. congressperson and presidential candidate.

Adnan Mormesh, UK
Adnan is a solidarity worker from Britain. He is traveling to Gaza to do long-term human rights monitoring.

Adam Qvist, Denmark
Adam is a solidarity worker from Denmark. He is traveling to Gaza to do human rights monitoring.

Adam Shapiro, US
Adam is an American documentary film maker and human rights activist.

Kathy Sheetz, US
Kathy is a nurse and film maker, traveling to Gaza to do human rights monitoring.

13 June 2009

Playgrounds for Palestine

I've mentioned in the past that I've been looking for a way to do more work with children in Palestine despite not being able to be there as often as I would like. After almost two years of searching I found this is a wonderful organization which helps builds playgrounds for children throughout Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza. It was started by a wonderful woman, Susan Abulhawa, who is the author of the must-read novel, The Scar of David. Just my luck, PfP happens to be run from a town in my area! I was fortunate to meet meet some of the board members recently at a local fundraiser for Gaza.

I anticipate doing some great work with PfP in the near future. I will post more updates as things progress but in the meantime, please visit their website and make a donation if you can. The kids in Palestine need something positive in their lives and a place to play.


24 April 2009

Shuhada Street

This is a great site for information about Shuhada Street in the Tel Rumeida section of Hebron.

Just briefly, Shuhada Street was the main street for business and activities in Hebron. After the massacre in 1994 by Goldstein, all shops on Shuhada were ordered closed and vehicular traffic prohibited by Israel. This left many people unable to work. Those who live along Shuhada Street are no longer allowed to exit and enter their home via this way. They are forced to walk as far as a mile or more around the city to pass through checkpoints to get to their back doors. I once escorted a very kind woman who had an Israeli government pass to walk along Shuhada Street to enter her home. We were held up at a checkpoint. The soldiers eventually allowed us to pass and enter. However, they told us to not exit the same way. It was a very tense and stressful situation.

Where has time gone?

I haven't updated in so long.

All the time passed with the massacre in Gaza. I watched it unfold in the news and through former colleagues websites. But, I somehow could not bring myself to write about it.

Now, I reflect back to 2007. In June it will be two-years since I last touched Palestinian soil. I fondly recall the sounds, the sites and most of all the kids and Palestinian people. I miss the Call to Prayer at 4am followed by the hee-hawing of the donkey, the barking of the dog, and the cockle-doodle-doo of the rooster. I miss the handshakes and words of thanks from parents and vendors for simply being present to witness, document and teach their kids. I miss the service driver's call of Rammmmalllah, Rammmallah, and driving on the treacherous, beaten down, hillside roads. I miss the hours spent listening to their stories under the 2,000 year old olive tree. I miss the strong presence of God felt everywhere. The heaviness of it all. And I miss being able to live in the moment, not thinking of the future nor the past, just how to manage and survive in that moment and enjoying and savoring every minute because you never knew what horror would happen next.

As I reflect upon all of this, I still read about the injustices that continue and which have seemingly gotten worse in Tel Rumeida. I think about going back but life has taken me over here. Insh'allah one day I will return. Insh'allah.

I also reflect on the loss of some friendships due to my time spent there. Once you go and see the reality there is really no way to continue life as before. There is no way to support the occupation and act as though it does not exist. This was difficult for many who knew me and thus the separation. I understood and was actually prepare. But, just recently one former acquaintance who lived in Israel for a number of years and who served in the IDF sent me an email bashing Palestinians and requesting that all Jews stand up for Israel and save her. When I responded back with a simple, "Hello, how are you?" refusing to comment or engage in such a discussion but merely to extend the olive branch, I received nothing back. This led me to wonder... was that email sent to me by mistake? Was it there to let me know that there are zionists out there lurking and trying to continue to not only eliminate the Palestinian people but to also eliminate supporters of ending the occupation of Palestine? I wonder.

But, I do not stop speaking out for justice.


06 January 2009

From Electronic Intifada

Two schools housing refugees shelled in bloodied Gaza
Press release, Al Mezan, 6 January 2009

Smoke rises from Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, after an Israeli air strike, 5 January 2009. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)

1pm Gaza Time (+2hrs GMT)

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) has further escalated its attacks against the Gaza Strip, massacring civilians. Air raids continued to target dozens of houses and border areas. Last night air raids targeted repeatedly targeted security installations that had been targeted during the past days. At the same time, artillery shells and missiles destroyed dozens of homes, wiping out entire families and seriously raising civilian casualties. Today, the IOF shelled an UNRWA [the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees] school that was inhabited by 600 civilians who had to evacuate their homes in northern Gaza, killing six people. IOF attacks caused damage to two hospitals and destroyed the Civil Defence station in Rafah. Between 2:30pm yesterday and 1pm today, IOF attacks killed 96 people. At least 22 were children and seven were women.

Attacks have particularly targeted Gaza City and the areas close to the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel in the northern suburbs of Beit Lahia and the eastern areas of Beit Hanoun, Jabaliya, Gaza City and al-Bureij refugee camp.
In North Gaza District, IOF fired artillery towards a police car that was parked near the al-Awda Hospital in Jabaliya. This attack, which occurred at approximately 1:40pm yesterday, 5 January 2009, destroyed the car and caused damage to the hospital's building. A resident of the area, Ali Salman, was also injured.

At approximately 3:15pm Monday, IOF artillery hit the house of the al-Jatali family, which is located near Erez Crossing. The father, 35-year-old Mousa Mohammed al-Jatali, was killed immediately in the house. His three sons, Islam (nine); Hamza (four); and Abdul-Rahma (two), were injured.

At approximately 5:10pm Monday, IOF artillery hit houses in Jabalia's neighborhood of Tel al-Zatar, injuring three children and starting a fire in a house. Another artillery attack destroyed and burnt 10 houses in the al-Ajarma Street in Jabaliya refugee camp's Block Six. Five civilians were injured.
In the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahia, Israeli tanks opened fire at two Palestine Red Crescent Society ambulances at approximately 5:30pm, also on Monday. The two ambulances, which were on their way to collect injured and killed people in the al-Atatra area, were damaged by the shelling, despite their coordination with the IOF through the International Committee of the Red Cross.

At approximately 8pm on Monday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Mahmoud Yousef Lubad in Block 12 in Jabaliya refugee camp, destroying it completely and causing damage to six houses. Forty-year-old Basil Abu Ghaben was killed. His body was found under the rubble in the morning.

At approximately 11:30pm on Monday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Fuad Mansour in Block 12 in Jabaliya refugee camp, destroying it completely and killing an old women, Khadija Zomlut, 70. Two children and one woman were also injured: Hilmi Zomlut, one years old, his brother Mohammed (15) and Nisreen Zomlut (30).

Ten minutes later, the IOF fired about 30 artillery shells towards the al-Jama neighborhood in the east of Jabaliya, destroying ten homes, injuring one person and forcing about 100 of the residents to evacuate their homes.

At approximately 12:30am Tuesday, 6 January 2009, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Abdullah Kadoura Salih in Block Six in Jabaliya refugee camp, destroying it completely and killing four of its residents. They were identified as:
12-year-old girl Raneen Kadoura Salih;
55-year-old Abdullah Salih;
45-year-old Mahzyia Salih; and
21-year-old Samia Salih.
Ten of the house's residents were also injured in the attack, including three children.

At approximately 12:40am on Tuesday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Hatim Wadi in Jabaliya camp, destroying it and damaging four houses around it. Two people were killed in this raid:
33-year-old Hamdi Hammad; and
50-year-old Ismail Abu Nasser.
Twenty others were also injured in the attack.

At approximately 4:37am Tuesday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Manar al-Kurdi in Block Two of Jabaliya camp, destroying it and killing two of its residents; a child and an old woman:
Three-year-old Adam Mamoun al-Kurdi; and
60-year-old Hajar Ismail Insiwi.
Four others were injured, including a child. The same house was raided again, just as ambulance crews arrived at the scene, injuring 10 rescue workers.

Also on Tuesday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Kamal al-Kahlout in Jabaliya camp, destroying it and killing a child: 17-year-old Huzayfa al-Kahlout.

At approximately 8am, an IOF drone bombarded a car, injuring 24-year-old Emad Mohammed Shalak and 21-year-old Tariq Farajallah, and the driver 24-year-old Jalal Afana, whose leg was later amputated.

In Gaza City, IOF has launched numerous attacks on houses, destroying many of their residents. Al Mezan has not been able to verify the consequences of each attack in these areas; however, killed and injured people continue to arrive at al-Shifa Hospital. Al Mezan has received many reports about civilians who were killed under the rubble of their homes. Al Mezan has verified the following attacks and casualties in Gaza City:

At approximately 12:50pm yesterday, Monday 5 January 2009, IOF artillery targeted the house of al-Milh in the east of al-Zeitoun neighborhood, killing two women and causing several casualties. The two women were identified as:
80-year-old Khadra al-Milh; and
25-year-old Lobna al-Milh.
About two hours later, IOF artillery hit the house of Nafez Eliwa in al-Shejaiyeh neighborhood, killing a mother and four of her children. The victims were identified as:
The mother, 37-year-old Amal Zaki Eliwa;
Muntaser Eliwa;
Hazem Eliwa;
Mumen Eliwa;
The fourth child, a girl, has not yet been identified; however, Al Mezan knew that the children were under the age of 15.
At approximately 2:20pm, on 5 January 2009, the IOF fired artillery shells at the house of the al-Sirsawi family in eastern al-Zeitoun neighborhood, destroying it completely while its inhabitants were inside it. Five-year-old Ayia al-Sirsawi was killed in the attack. According to eyewitnesses, more family members are still under the rubble of their house.
At approximately 2:15pm, on the same day, the IOF fired artillery at the house of the Allaw family, which is located in al-Tuffah neighborhood of eastern Gaza City, killing 12-year-old Mohammed Talal Allaw, and his 11-year-old brother Momen while they were playing on the roof of their house.

At approximately 1:30pm, on the same day, the IOF shelled also the house of the al-Harazeen family in az-Zeitoun neighborhood, eastern Gaza City, with artillery, killing 20-year-old Alaa Ibrahim al-Harazeen, and 21-year-old Ahmed Fathi al-Harazeen. Eye witnesses reported to Al Mezan that there were still victims under the rubble of the house.

At approximately 5:30pm that same day, the IOF opened fire randomly at houses in al-Zeitoun neighborhood during an incursion of a special force into the neighborhood. The shooting killed 15-year-old Hanadi Basem Khalifa with a live bullet to her head.

At approximately 6:10pm, IOF aircrafts hit one of al-Saada towers (apartment-building compound) in Tel al-Hawa neighborhood, south of Gaza City, killing 50-year-old Fayiz Yousif Hasan, while he was in his house close to the tower, and injuring two others.

Further, at approximately 11pm, the IOF launched eight air raids at the al-Saraya security compound in central Gaza City. The compound includes Gaza Central Prison and security apparatuses. The attacks destroyed the compound completely and caused severe damages to neighboring houses. Several residents of the areas were injured.

At approximately 12am, on 6 January 2009, the IOF tanks shelled the house of 50-year-old Awni Abdul-Fattah Jaddou, which is located in al-Zeitoun neighborhood. The shelling killed three of Jadou's sons, and injured four others from the same family. Those killed were:
18-year-old Lotfi Abdul-Fattah Jadou;
24-year-old Ghazi Abdul-Fattah Jadou; and
20-year-old Hashem Abdul-Fattah Jadou.
Furthermore, IOF aircrafts raided UNRWA's Asma School the Beach refugee camp. This school was used by UNRWA to shelter civilians who were displaced from the areas where they live in the eastern areas of Gaza City as well as the al-Atatra and al-Salatin areas in Beit Lahia town. The attack killed three youths who were identified as: 27-year-old Rawhi Jamal al-Sultan, 23-year-old Hussein Mamoud al-Sultan, and 19-year-old Abed Samir al-Sultan.

At approximately 6am on the same day, Israeli aircrafts bombarded the four-story house of 60-year-old Fayiz al-Daya, in al-Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City. The attack destroyed the house completely while its residents were in inside it. Eyewitnesses and survivors reported that 30 members of the al-Daya family were killed. Four bodies had been taken out from under the rubble and sent to al-Shifa Hospital at the time this release was issued. Al Mezan has also received the names of 26 other members of this family, who are believed to be under the rubble. Those who were identified are:
60-year-old Fayiz Mosbah al-Daya,
25-year-old Sabreen al-Daya;
34-year-old Iyad Fayiz al-Daya;
Five-year-old Falastin Fayiz al-Daya; and
55-year-old Khitam al-Daya, who is the wife of the house's owner.
In another attack, at the same time, the IOF fired artillery shells towards houses near the Abu Jebba gas station in al-Zeitoun neighborhood. The shelling killed 52-year-old Abdul-Wahab Ahmed Hasanein, while he was in his house. Twelve others were injured.

Between 1pm on 5 January 2009 and 12pm on 6 January 2009, 40 bodies were admitted to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Al Mezan was able to identify some of them as:
Five-year-old Aya al-Sirsawi, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
19-year-old Mohammed Mustafa Kmeel, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
22-year-old Mohammed Al-Ghazali,
20-year-old Ahmed Fathi al-Nazli,
Three-year-old Wiam Jamal al-Kafarneh, from Beit Hanoun town;
Montasir Eleiwa, a child from al-Shejaiyia neighborhood;
Hazem Elawa, a child from al-Shejaiyia neighborhood;
Momen Eleiwa, a child from al-Shejaiyia neighborhood;
Mohammed al-Khouli, from al-Tuffah neighborhood;
37-year-old Amal Eleiwa; from al-Shejaiyia neighborhood;
36-year-old Mahrous Shuheibar, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
Basem Morjan, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
20-year-old Ala Ibrahim al-Harazeen, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
21-year-old Ahmed Fathi al-Harazeen, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
15-year-old Nada Mosbah Sad, from al-Tuffah neighborhood;
Adham Moteir, from al-Tuffah neighborhood;
Five-year-old Nada Mardi, from al-Tuffah neighborhood;
Ramadan Fefel, from al-Tuffah neighborhood;
58-year-old Laila Ismail Sulaiman, from al-Tuffah neighborhood;
Mohammed Samir Salem, from al-Tuffah neighborhood;
74-year-old Hassan Khalil Arafat, from al-Tuffah neighborhood;
80-year-old Khadra Abdul-Malek, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
15-year-old Ahmed Shaher Khteir, from Beit Lahia town;
Nine-year-old Jihad Samir Rheim, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
12-year-old Mohammed Mahmoud Allaw, from al-Tuffah neighborhood
11-year-old Momen Mahoud Allaw, from al-Tuffah neighborhood;
80-year-old Khadra al-Milh, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
25-year-old Lubna al-Milh, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
52-year-old Abdul-Wahhab Ahmed Hasanein, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
50-year-old Fayiz Yousif Hassan, Tel al-Hawa;
60-year-old Fayiz Musbah al-Daya, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
55-year-old Khitam al-Daya, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
34-year-old Iyad al-Daya, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood;
Five-year-old Filastin al-Daya, from al-Zeitoun neighborhood.
Medical sources announced the death of 47-year-old Asad Hamouda, who was injured on 4 January 2009. In addition, were a child from the Eliaw family, and another from the Sheheibar family whose names remain unknown.

In the Central Gaza district, the IOF opened artillery fire at Block Four in the al-Bureij refugee camp. At approximately 9:40pm Monday 5 January 2009, artillery shells hit the house of Jihad Ali Abu Jbara, 53, killing him, his two sons Basil (29), and Usama (21); and two children in the neighboring houses: Naji al-Hamalawi (16), and Ibrahim Akel (17). Ten other people including four children were also injured in this attack.

At approximately 10pm on the same day, Israeli aircrafts raided the police station in the town of Deir al-Balah. Israeli navy vessels shelled a crowd and houses in the town's refugee camp at 2:30am Tuesday, killing 10 people. They were identified as:
21-year-old Hashim Afana;
27-year-old Khalil al-Hasanat;
20-year-old Husam Abu al-Sibah;
25-year-old Zyad Nassar;
35-year-old Ahmad al-Hasanat;
33-year-old Mohammed Abu Shira;
22-year-old Hasan Mismeh;
18-year-old Ala Ismail;
18-year-old Mohammed Eid and
23-year-old Mohammed al-Banna.
Al Mezan's field worker in the Central Gaza district reported that a 22-year-old woman, Ayyat Farajallah, was injured in her chest from Israeli fire when she was at her house's door in the Wadi Gaza village. IOF troops, who are stationed north to the nearby al-Zahraa, opened fire at the woman. Continuous shooting from these troops has forced the residents of the village to evacuate and seek safe shelters elsewhere. This woman was about to leave the village with her family when she was shot.

At approximately 12:10am Tuesday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Salah al-Aydi in the al-Maghazi refugee camp, destroying it and injuring three civilians in the area. A 26-year-old woman, Islam Abdul-Jawwad was critically injured in this attack.

At approximately 10:30am also today, IOF fired artillery that exploded near the house of Mahmoud Abu Shaar, 27, in the Wadi al-Salqa village in central Gaza. The man was killed with his 24-year-old wife Fidaa Abu Shaar. Their infant, Tamer, who is six months old, was injured.

At approximately 1:15am today, Israeli aircraft fired two missiles that struck a garden and an open field in the al-Nuseirat refugee camp in the Central Gaza district. Several houses in the area were damaged.

At approximately 8pm yesterday, Monday 5 January 2009, Israeli aircrafts also fired a missile that landed near al-Nour Mosque in Abassan town, east of Khan Younis City in South Gaza district. It caused severe damage to the mosque and several other houses in its vicinity. Israeli aircrafts also bombarded numerous open fields close to neighborhoods in Khan Younis, causing damages to houses in the al-Amal neighborhood and the towns of Abassan and Khuzaa. Three women were injured in these raids. Moreover, Israeli naval vessels opened fire towards the al-Mawasi area in the west of Khan Younis, injuring three civilians, including two children.

At approximately 9:10am today, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Khaled Abu Odeh in the al-Amal neighborhood, destroying it and a neighboring house completely, and causing damage to several houses in its vicinity. Five people were injured in this raid; including a cameraman of the al-Aqsa satellite channel, two children and one woman.

IOF's artillery shells landed in eastern Abassan town at approximately 11:20am today. One shell landed near the house of Hasan Ikdeeh, killing a five-year-old child, Marwan Hasan Ikdeeh, and injuring his 13-year-old sister, Lama.

An IOF special force infiltrated into the al-Zana area in the east of Bani Suhaila town, where it exchanged fire with militants. Al Mezan's field worker reported that this area was targeted with artillery between 5am and noon today. An Israeli aircrafts fired a missile at a protestor who was trying to set fire to a tire in this same area. It was also reported that the bodies of two unidentified men lie in the north of the area.

In Rafah, south Gaza, Israeli planes, naval vessels and artillery bombarded various parts of the town and its refugee camp. In al-Shoka village, east of Rafah, a four-month-old girl was killed when pieces of furniture fell on her as a result of IOF artillery shelling near her house. Israeli aircrafts also fired nine missiles at a road in the al-Nasser village between Rafah and Khan Younis. They also raided a field and a car maintenance workshop in Rafah refugee camp, destroying the workshop and two cars.

At approximately 6am on Tuesday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Ismail Abu Haddaf in Block O refugee camp in Rafah, destroying it completely and causing damage to several houses in its vicinity. Two hours later, aircraft raided the Civil Defense office in Rafah camp, destroying it and causing damage to five houses.

During the drafting of this release, an Israeli raid targeted another UNRWA school in Faluja neighborhood in Jabaliya refugee camp. Initial news indicate that between 15 and 45 civilians who have were taking shelter the school were killed.

As the Israeli aggression continues, the humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip have grown worse and are in a state of severe disaster. Without electricity supply for several days, water, sanitation and health services have been affected badly. The number of displaced people have grown to over 50,000, while UNRWA and other humanitarian organizations face difficulty in providing shelter and food for them.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights renews its condemnation of the Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip, which have continued to cause unprecedented losses in civilian life and property. Attacks on civilian targets are not unavoidable collateral damage, but deliberate attacks in which IOF uses guided missiles and shells. Al Mezan remains alarmed by the international community's failure to address the grave situation in Gaza, by bringing the Israeli military actions to an end and aiding civilians. Therefore, Al Mezan Center reiterates its calls upon the international community to take effective action to bring to an end these operations without delay. Al Mezan calls upon:

The United Nations Secretary-General to condemn the Israeli disproportionate use of force and the targeting of civilians and civilian objects in defiance of peremptory rules of international law, and to ensure that the UN Security Council and General Assembly take appropriate steps to address the situation in the Gaza Strip;
The United Nations agencies to provide urgent humanitarian aid and safe shelters for Gazans who have been displaced and those living in threatened areas;
The International Committee of the Red Cross to double its efforts to ensure humanitarian access for civilians and ensure tending to the urgent needs for medicines and water, and to investigate the likelihood of the use of cluster bombs in north Gaza;
The Human Rights Council to request the UN General Assembly to request the convening in Switzerland of a conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilians in Times of war, of 1949, to consider the breaches by Israel of its nonderogable obligations under the Convention in the course of its ongoing military actions in Gaza, and to consider the necessary measures to ensure respect of the rules set out in the Convention and its relevant protocols.
Civil societies around the world to exert pressure on their governments so that they act in conformity with the relevant human rights and humanitarian obligations as prescribed in relevant international law.
Failure to take effective action to halt the continuous Israeli violations has only allowed for a grave situation to grow worse. Action must be taken immediately to ensure the protection of the civilian population in the occupied Gaza Strip.

02 January 2009


A rally and march in Philly to support peace in Gaza and end the senseless killings of all human beings.

A rally starting at City Hall at 15th & Market at 11am. It would be followed by a march starting at noon to go to the Federal Building at 6th & Market; to WHYY on 6th near Arch and ending at FOX News on Market just east of 4th.

The event in Philadelphia would also coincide with a major demonstration taking place in NY on Saturday and others ongoing around the country - and around the world. Please share this message with everyone on your list. It is critical that we build broader opposition to stop the loss of life in Gaza and demand an immediate stop to Israel's war on the people of Palestine! It has been tremendously encouraging to see so many people coming out to stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza, here in Philly and around the world! Please contact phillyiac at action-mail.org or call 215-724-1618 if you can help.


Peace Vigil today at noon at S. 15th Street between Walnut and Locust Streets
Contact: Bubbes and Zaydes for Peace in the Middle East, phillyjewishpeace.org