Testimonies from Gaza

Sunday 15 February 2009, by Ceyda Turan

The story of Dr. Awni Jarw, aged
37. His house was bombed by the
Israeli air force.

“Yousef was 18 months-old. My wife
and I had been waiting for him for
so long. He brought us joy and love,
with his laugh and smile. He filled our
home with happiness. But all of a
sudden, I found myself searching for
his tiny body parts all over my house.
When looking for the body parts of
my wife, I found Yousef’s tiny feet,
the lower part of my wife’s body, my
baby’s head and hand. I collected
them and put them together so that
they can be united in death.”
(Source: Palestine Monitor)

Story of Ayman Al-Majdalawi, a nurse from
Jabalia in the Northern Gaza Strip.

“I was working at the [Kamal Edwan]
Hospital here in Jabalia, when the
ambulances arrived with the dead
and injured from Al-Fakhoura school.
Most of the dead were women and
children, and most of the survivors
had terrible shrapnel wounds. We
had to turn the maternity ward into a
surgical theatre so that we could try
to save more lives. The ambulance
drivers told me the Israelis were
shooting at them as they were trying
to evacuate the dead and injured.
When the ambulances arrived at
Kamal Edwan, there was chaos. This
is a small hospital, and we were trying
to save as many people as we could
- but a lot of them had already lost
arms or legs, and they were bleeding
heavily. It was horrific.”
(Source: Palestine Monitor)

Testimony of Fadia Al-Najjar,
27 years old, 13 January

“The shelling with phosphorous
bombs started in Khaza’a. Two
of the bombs hit the area around
our house. Neighbours were
screaming, asking for help; the fire
was changing. I woke up my kids,
got them to my parents’ house,
hoping to find a safer place. But
the real catastrophe was two hours
after we had moved to my parents’
house; bombs hit their home too
and the fire spread everywhere.
The top floor was burnt completely.
They wanted to burn us alive inside
the house. There were 40 of us in
there. Men, women, children. We
could hear their bodies burning.”
(Source: Palestine Monitor)

John Ging, Director of Operations
of United Nations Relief and
Works Agency in Gaza

“We have provided the GPS
coordinates to the Israeli military
for quite a long time now. This is a
long standing arrangement that we
have with them. Our installations are
clearly marked with UN flags... It was
entirely inevitable if artillery shells
landed in that area there would be
a high number of casualties. I can
tell you categorically that there was
no military activity in that school at
the time of the tragedy. They were
innocent people.”

“There is nowhere safe in Gaza. I’m
ashamed of this—there’s international
legal responsibility to protect civilians
in conflict, and we’re not
doing it. They’re in their
homes. They’re not safe.
They’re being killed and
injured in large numbers,
and they have no end in
sight. The inhumanity of
this situation, the lack
of action to bring this to
an end is bewildering to
them. We’re failing here,
we’re failing and there
has to be accountability
for that failure.”
(Source: Unifeed and
Irish Times)

Amnesty International
finds indisputable
evidence of widespread use of
white phosphorus in densely
populated residential areas in Gaza
City and in the north.

“Yesterday, we saw streets and
alleyways littered with evidence of the
use of white phosphorus, including
still burning wedges and the remnants
of the shells and canisters fired by the
Israeli army,” said Christopher Cobb-
Smith, a weapons expert who is in
Gaza as part of a four-person Amnesty
International fact-finding team. “White
phosphorus is a weapon intended to
provide a smokescreen
for troop movements
on the battlefield,” said
Cobb-Smith. “It is highly
incendiary, air burst and
its spread effect is such
that it that should never
be used on civilian areas.
“Such extensive use of this
weapon in Gaza’s densely
populated residential
neighbourhoods is
inherently indiscriminate.
Its repeated use in this
manner, despite evidence
of its indiscriminate
effects and its toll on
civilians, is a war crime,”
said Donatella Rovera,
Amnesty’s researcher on Israel and
the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
(Source: Amnesty International,
19 January 2009 Press Release)

À propos de Ceyda Turan

Titulaire d’une maîtrise en développement international de l’Université de Londres (SOAS) en Angleterre, Ceyda détient également un diplôme en science politique et développement international de l’Université McGill. Originaire de Turquie et ayant étudié dans le monde en développement, elle connaît bien les enjeux du développement international. Elle a un intérêt marqué pour des questions touchant les droits humains et a entre autres collaboré au Kurdish Human Rights Project de Londres comme traductrice en plus d’assumer le poste de secrétaire de la section locale d’Amnistie Internationale à SOAS. Avant de se joindre à l’Institut des politiques sociales et de la santé de l’université McGill en tant qu’assistante de recherche et de communication, elle travaillait au sein du programme immigration et employabilité d’Alternatives. Elle continue contribuer au Journal Alternatives.

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