Gaza Strip Turned Into Living Nightmare

I think Hamas Should seriously “RE-Think” their tactics and just loosen up, if they stop attacking Israel with these relatively feeble rocket attacks the devastation would stop.

gaza-attackGAZA: A dentist stood at the bed of a doctor, his good friend Ehab Madhoun, 32, who had just died, his shrapnel-pitted body wrapped in a white shroud.

The day before, Madhoun, a general practitioner, was in an ambulance responding to an Israeli airstrike at the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza. Another missile hit the ambulance. The driver, Muhammad Abu Hasira, died instantly. Madhoun lingered for a day, dying of his wounds on Wednesday in the intensive care unit of Shifa Hospital, where hundreds of people have been brought since Israel began its heaviest assault on Gaza in three decades.

The dentist cried.

“He was just doing his work,” said the dentist, who would not give his name. “He’s a doctor, and I can’t understand why Israel would hit an ambulance. They can tell from the cameras it’s an ambulance.”

It has always been the case, over years of conflict here, that civilians are killed in the densely populated Gaza Strip when Israel stages military operations it says are essential for its security. But six days of Israeli airstrikes have surpassed previous operations in scale and intensity; the long-distance bombardment of the Hamas-controlled territory has, however well aimed at those suspected of being militants, splintered families and shattered homes in one of the most densely populated places on earth.

Medical officials in Gaza said the number of Palestinians killed in the Israeli bombardment had topped 400. While many of the dead were Hamas security personnel, the United Nations said a quarter of those killed were civilians. Some Israeli officials have put the number of Palestinian civilians killed at more like 10 percent.

Israel broadened the scope of its air offensive against the Hamas infrastructure in Gaza on Thursday, destroying important symbols of government and killing a senior leader of the militant Islamic group.

With Israeli troops and tanks amassed along the border with Gaza poised for a possible ground invasion, the foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, flew to Paris to meet with French leaders who are seeking ways to promote a cease-fire. Before she left, Livni had suggested that Israel was seeking more time for its military operation, whose primary objective is to permanently halt Palestinian rocket fire.

The Israeli Air Force on Thursday afternoon bombed the house of Nizar Rayyan, a senior Hamas leader, killing him, two of his wives and four of their children, Palestinian hospital officials said. Rayyan was the first top Hamas figure killed in the Israeli campaign.

Israeli officials are coming under increasing pressure to ease conditions for civilians in Gaza, where severely limited supplies of electricity, water, food and medicine are worsening shortages in an area that was already sealed off from the outside world.

On the issue of civilian casualties, Israeli officials maintained that they do not take aim at civilians and do everything possible to avoid hitting them, like using precision-guidance systems, up-to-the minute intelligence, leaflets and phone calls to targeted areas.

They say killing and wounding civilians only undermines their primary mission: to stop Hamas from firing rockets into civilian areas of Israel.

“I haven’t seen too many tears shed in Paris, London or Berlin over the fact that we have hit Hamas targets,” said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. “So we have many reasons, both moral and political, for doing the utmost to make sure that our strikes are as surgical as possible.”

Further complicating matters is the fact that Gaza’s 1.4 million people are packed into an area of only 360 square kilometers, or 140 square miles. The military and government facilities of Hamas are intertwined with buildings where the civilian population lives and works. Israelis say Hamas fires rockets at Israel from civilian neighborhoods.

In Gaza, human rights groups said that the new scale of Israel’s operation puts the area’s civilians, even those accustomed to conflict, under particular stress.

Some of the wounded are afraid to seek treatment at the already overwhelmed hospitals, fearful of heading into a rocket attack while driving through streets of smashed buildings and concrete shards.

Large, multigenerational families huddle in their houses, hoarding the shrinking supplies of water, food and gasoline. Despite the cold, many have kept their windows open to prevent them from shattering when bombs explode nearby. Shops are closed except for grocery stores, bakeries and pharmacies.

“Conditions for parents and children in Gaza are dangerous and frightening,” Maxwell Gaylard, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, said in a statement.

“It is absolutely crucial that there is an end to the fighting,” he said. “Without it, more civilians will continue to be killed. Without the violence stopping, it is extremely difficult to get food to people who need it, we cannot assess where the most urgent needs are.”

In the debate over civilian casualties, there is no clear understanding of what constitutes a military target. Palestinians argue that since Hamas is also the government in Gaza, many of the police officers who have been killed were civil servants, not hard-core militants. Israel disagrees.

The ambiguity was evident at the intensive care ward in Shifa Hospital, where Madhoun’s body lay. There were 11 patients. One was a pharmacist, Rawya Awad, 32, who had a shrapnel wound to the head. Several were police officers. It was impossible to know the identities of many of the others.

But there were several children in another intensive care unit on Tuesday. Among them was Ismael Hamdan, 8, who had severe brain damage as well as two broken legs, said a doctor there. Earlier that day, two of his sisters, Lama, 5, and Hayya, 12, were killed.

“I prepared them breakfast that day in the garden,” said their mother, Ayda, 36. “They had the tea, bread and thyme. Lama wanted a second pita, but we all teased her, saying keep it for lunch. She told us, ‘Don’t worry, God will provide us with bread.’ “”She made all of us laugh,” the mother said. “I cleaned after them and collected the garbage. Ismael volunteered to dump the garbage, but Hayya and Lama joined him. The garbage can is in front of the house, a five-minute walk away. All of a sudden I heard the news from a neighbor, and I ran barefoot to the hospital. A relative collected the bodies of Lama and Hayya on a donkey cart. “The neighbors ran trying to save Ismael, who was the only one breathing,” she said. “They say my kids flew 40 meters before hitting the ground.”

Ismael died Wednesday night.

At Kamal Edwan Hospital in Beit Lahiya, in northern Gaza, Mahmoud al-Sheikh, 11, was recovering from wounds he received two days before – he thinks from a rocket fired by an Israeli warplane. Even at his age, he is aware of how fighters and civilians are mixed together in Gaza, saying that the bomb was aimed at the house of his neighbor, Salim Zaqout, who he said was a member of Hamas.

“But Zaqout and his family evacuated the house a few days ago,” Mahmoud said. “Can’t Israel see all these houses that are adjacent to Zaqout’s? Now Zaqout’s house is completely destroyed, but so are other houses that have nothing to do with Hamas.

“I have a big hole in my left hand,” he continued. “The doctor told me I’m fine. He filled the hole, but it’s hurting. It feels like fire inside it.”

However:

Israel has allowed entry of vehicles carrying fuel, food and medicine to victims of the recent attack on Palestinian territory. The humanitarian gesture comes with Prime Minister Olmert’s appeal to Palestinians in Gaza to pressure militants to stop attacking Israel, saying that Israel won’t hesitate to respond with force.

Earlier, massive air strikes were launched by Israel inside Gaza in retaliation for the continued rocket and mortar attacks by militants in Gaza. Israel authorities said that warnings were issued to Hamas to stop the rocket and mortar attacks on Israel or it will be met with harsh reprisal.

At least 195 people were killed and hundreds wounded as a result of massive air attack by Israel.

According to a report by the Inquirer, The Israel military confirmed the air strikes, saying they were launched in a bid to stop terrorist attacks from the Hamas-run enclave.

‘Our aviation intervened massively on Saturday against Hamas infrastructure in the Gaza strip to stop the terrorist attacks of the past several weeks against Israel civilian installations’, an Army spokesman told AFP.

The Israel government issued a warning to Gaza militants that Israel will strike back hard if the attacks by Hamas continue.

Israel authorities said that Hamas are to be blamed for the victims of the attack, saying they were repeatedly warned about the repercussions of Israels massive action.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas condemned the attack by Israel and called on the international community to intervene in order to end the massive attack by Israel.

‘I will not hesitate to use Israel’ss strength to strike at Hamas and Islamic Jihad, said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, adding that tens of thousands of children and innocent lives will be at risk as a result of Hamas actions.

Both sides have been accusing each other for the death and destruction of innocent civilians.

Gaza militants earlier said that ‘Hamas is sworn to destruction of the Jewish State and has warned that it would retaliate by resuming suicide bombings inside Israel’.

3 comments to Gaza Strip Turned Into Living Nightmare

  • “Hamas had repeatedly said it was willing and ready to stop “all” firing of projectiles from Gaza if only Israel would lift the deadly blockade. And Israel repeatedly said “No.”

    Israel has been saying ad nauseam that it ended its occupation of Gaza. Well, why does Israel then retain its control of Gaza skies, Gaza shores, Gaza sea, Gaza border crossings (even with Egypt). Why does Israel retain its control of Gaza life? Why?

    Hence, the issue of firing “rockets” on Israel (they are homemade projectiles that make more noise than damage), should be viewed largely as a red herring.

    http://desertpeace.wordpress.com/2008/12/30/my-br

  • Philip Federici

    Israel complaining about the rockets that hit them is like a big ugly rapist complaining that the girl he keeps brutally raping has scratched him on the face.

  • JackOfHeart

    If you condone the starving and the killing of innocent children and women in Gaza, then I hope you vanish from this planet, you and your terrorist Israelis that you support. You, obviously, are either an extream ignorant (American) or a real terrorist (Israeli). Don’t give me that “Hamas firing rocket” B.S.!! There is not even a comparison between the destruction ability of both sides. Shame on Anybody to bombard places of worship and schools. This terrorist aggression is only a lesson to the world on how evil the Israelis are and how evil their agenda is. in 2006, Israel commited a similar massacer in Lebanon killing 1000’s of innocent children. Israel is a very bad neighbor and has been ever since its inception. I know for a fact, that even if Israel kills all Arabs and Muslims, they will keep on expanding their illegal settlements until they border another country and start more and more settlements and wars. This is what Israel is all about; Unlimited expansion and killings. To them, a non-jew is a goim, who is not worthy of living.

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