Gaza Strip, Palestine 20 January 2008
Since US President George W. Bush’s visit to this part of the world, at least 38 Gazans were killed and another 1,500 were injured as a result of Israeli military attacks. This escalation of violence came right after Bush’s trip to Israel and Ramallah, as Israel enjoyed an obvious green light from the US as the Arab and Islamic world sat by and watched.
For anyone who might believe that Bush’s visit would improve the lives of Palestinians in general and of Gazans in particular, let me assure you that the opposite has occurred.
Electricity cuts still plague Gaza. Ambulance sirens wail one after the other; the smell of death is everywhere. Gazans have no life anymore, and Bush and Israel are to thank.
On Wednesday a 27-year-old father, his nine-year-old son and his brother were all killed in an Israeli air strike. Israel said that the incident was an error. Such a mistake ended the lives of three innocents civilians from the same family.
I’m wondering, how can can I, or any father in Gaza, guarantee his own family’s safety? We are all targets, no matter if we are civilians or combatants. And who will be held accountable for there crimes? The answer is as clear as ever: no one.
A few days ago I came home from work tired, and then I took a nap. I wake up at 6:00pm to find everything dark, no electricity as usual, and my infant son was crying. I took my wife and son for a drive around Gaza only to find Gaza City in total darkness, a ghost town.
While driving, news broke regarding an Israeli air strike that targeted a car on one of Gaza’s main streets; two Gazans were killed. Two minutes later, another breaking news report stated that another air strike targeted another car in a different area. The radio report added that Israeli helicopters were still in the air above Gaza. A third broadcast reported that Israel fired land-to-land rockets targeting northern Gaza. In less than five minutes I heard all of that as we drove back home to darkness.
Two day ago, Israel announced a “complete closure” against Gaza — as if it was open before. Prior to this decision of a complete closure everything was already closed. Gazans’ suffering continues.
The other day as I was playing with my son, I heard a massive explosion that shook the house and make my four-month-old start to cry. I turned on the radio to hear that an Israeli F16 fired a half-ton missile on the building of the former Interior Ministry in Gaza. The building was crushed and a woman was killed and another 45 persons were injured. All of them lived next door to the struck building and were celebrating a wedding that ended up being a funeral instead.
Yesterday I went to see the damage; the scene resembled an earthquake. Why did it happen?
This is the state of insecurity, in which not one single Gazan is secure or safe even in his or her own home.
Today I went to fill up my car with gas as I was running down to the last few liters. The gas station attendant told me that by the end of day the station would be closed since they were nearing the end of their supply.
Now I can tell Bush that because of his unconditional support of Israel, Gaza can no longer can provide its population with daily necessities. There’s no food, no water, no electricity, no borders that we can cross, no medicine, nothing.
Now let’s all imagine that this same siege was imposed Israel. What would be the reaction of Bush and the international community?
Mohammed Ali’s blog is www.gazawy.blogspot.com.