Aid worker diary: Part four
GAZA: 31 December
Hatem Shurrab is an aid worker in Gaza with the British-based charity
Islamic Relief Worldwide. In the fourth instalment of his diary, he
doubts the new year will bring much relief for the people of Gaza.
People around the world will be about to celebrate the new year - not
here in Gaza.
This is usually a time when people make new plans and have high hopes
for the coming year. At the moment the people in Gaza are just hoping
they will be alive tomorrow.
2008 was a bitter year for Gazans - it looks like 2009 will be the
Food is beginning to become a major issue. Only two weeks ago the
United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) suspended the distribution
of food in Gaza because of shortages.
We pray there is some respite from the constant bombing - this will
allow desperately needed aid to get in. The crisis in Gaza seems to
tick every box to make it a major humanitarian disaster; hunger,
killing, insecurity and poverty.
What makes the food situation even worse is that Gazans were already
facing difficulties with food over the last year - now they are on
Eighty per cent of Gaza's 1.5 million population depends on
international humanitarian assistance; that is an incredible amount
of people in such a small area of land. The level of poverty is
spiralling out of control.
When we go out and assess what is needed you can see that the people
are beyond despair. Food provided by Islamic Relief, the UN and other
agencies is beginning to run out in people's homes. The heads of
households are despairing at the thought of how to feed their
Every family has a story of suffering. They will tell you about the
shortage of food, of cooking gas and fuel, and of course electricity.
People have to queue for an hour to get bread.
Gaza residents are facing serious shortages of basic necessities
At the moment only a quarter of the bakeries are operating due to a
shortage in gas and electricity.
There are 47 bakeries in Gaza. However, 27 of them have not been
operating for some time now and the rest are unable to open every
day. There is only enough flour in Gaza to last two weeks unless more
supplies are brought in.
As an aid worker I have seen poverty deepening in Gaza since the
blockade began 18 months ago. This year has been one of the worst
years I can remember in terms of the desperation people are feeling -
not knowing if there will be enough food in the markets, if there
will be electricity or fuel.
Over the past 12 months Islamic Relief has delivered food assistance
to 40,000 families, in addition to supplying vast amounts of medical
equipment, hygiene kits and kitchen tools to half a million people.
At the moment Islamic Relief is able to source food from suppliers
here in Gaza. In a few days we will begin emergency food
distribution. 2008 was a bitter year for Gazans - it looks like 2009
will be the same.
GAZA: 30 December
On Saturday, Gazan schoolchildren were supposed to be sitting their
exams - schools should have been full. This is exam time but instead
of sitting at their desks children hide in their homes.
The intensity of the bombing is affecting me - but I'm a grown man so
what about the children?
I can see how my nephews and nieces are being affected. Tala, my
youngest niece, is only five years old. When she hears explosions she
rushes to her mother - both are terrified.
A lot of the time, parents try telling their children that the
bombing is the sound of thunder, but Gazan children are not ordinary
children - they know a bombing when they hear it.
The panic caused by the strikes and the shelling from the sky and the
sea has an immense impact on the psychology of Gazan children.
Islamic Relief has been running a project in Gaza for a number of
years trying to help children to deal with psychological trauma.
The programme has taken many steps forward, however the current
bombing means we will have to start all over again. Sadly, I feel the
need for counselling will be greater.
The security situation is getting worse. My colleagues and I make
sure we walk to our office - going by car is far too dangerous. We
phone the office as soon as we step out of our houses.
More than 60 civilians have died in the Israeli strikes, the UN says
Then along the way we phone the office about four times at specific
points - we do this so they know we are safe. Once we get to the
office we ring our families to tell them we have made it safely.
This is what life in Gaza is like these days. Even a simple walk to
work could be life threatening.
This is why most of the shops and businesses are closed. The safest
place to be - if there is one - is indoors. But as humanitarian
workers we have to be out in the community, our job is to help
We are now communicating with suppliers outside the Gaza Strip. We
are trying to prepare for what lies ahead in the coming days.
We do not know if the bombing will stop or if it will get worse - but
we have to be prepared and, unfortunately, that means preparing for
GAZA: 28 December
We are working round the clock now to try and get as much medical aid
to the hospitals.
As the bombing continues, the hospitals are reaching breaking point.
We are doing our best to source the aid needed from local suppliers
and our existing stocks. We have enough at the moment but the way
things are going we need to start getting aid in from outside Gaza as
stocks will be running out very soon. The hospitals were already low
on supplies before this crisis - they can barely cope now.
The urgent need for Gazans will soon be food distribution
Yesterday we delivered five trucks of aid to the ministry of health
in Gaza - they then distributed this to five hospitals. The hospitals
seem to be the focus of the aid effort at the moment.
We just met the UN and other aid agencies to help co-ordinate the aid
effort and make sure there is no duplication.
I can't bear to think what will happen if the bombing continues.
There are not enough beds in the hospitals and they are severely
short of equipment, including x-ray machines.
But as we go out and asses the damage, we can see other needs. There
is a shortage of food and flour and people are rushing to the
bakeries but there's not enough bread.
I can't imagine the fuel lasting much longer. Due to the bombings,
people are staying in their homes - they are too frightened to
venture out. Aid workers are not exempt - the fact that nobody knows
when the next bomb will fall makes our job very dangerous.
The shops are closed and so getting food is not easy. Trying to live
in electricity blackouts is difficult - so working becomes that much
Soon we will be distributing food as this is going to be an urgent
need in the coming days if the bombing doesn't stop. That's our plan
but we are now working to make sure we can source what is needed.
Every day is bringing fresh challenges and we have to find ways of
dealing with them. The lack of supplies in hospitals, the food
shortage and of course the fear that stalks the streets - I only hope
and pray that tomorrow is different.
GAZA: 27 December
I was coming home after visiting a friend at 1130 on Saturday, when I
heard the horrific sound of three huge explosions. Then a series of
explosions rocked Gaza City. I live in the centre near a number of
police buildings which were targeted first.
As I rushed home, I saw the main Gaza police station had been
destroyed. Suddenly, another missile hit it again and, along with
dozens of people nearby, I ran away. When I got home I found almost
all the glass from the windows and doors was shattered due to the
I ran to the Shifa hospital to check on casualties and was shocked by
the number of cars and ambulances bringing in the injured. There was
In less than half an hour, the hospital was full of casualties. There
was no space for more, yet the casualties kept coming. At the
hospital I saw something I have never seen before - dead bodies
outside on the floor. Everyone in Gaza has a relative or a friend
killed or injured after these attacks.
Islamic Relief is working hard to get medical aid to the hospitals,
which desperately need disposable equipment. We spoke to the
committee at the Shifa Hospital to find out what's needed. We are now
supplying it with syringes, sponges, surgical gloves and other such
Hospitals are so overwhelmed that they are now using normal beds for
intensive care patients. Everything is so desperate. Only 50% of the
ambulances are working. If the attacks go on for another week the
doctors are going to have to start using old and traditional ways of
treating the injured - that means no anaesthetic. We have to get new
For two years, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been witnessing
daily crises over shortages of food, fuel, health services in
addition to severe poverty and unemployment. We have seen the closure
of crossings and the banning of patients from travelling for medical
All these restrictions have slowly sucked the life out of Gazans and
it's no exaggeration when I say that trying to live daily life is a
struggle. But Gaza has not witnessed anything like this onslaught
I used to describe what was going on in Gaza as a catastrophe, now I
have no words. I received news that the brother of one of my work
colleagues has been killed in the attacks. They had been looking for
him all day and discovered him under the ruins of a destroyed
Why would Israel bomb a university?
Dr. Akram Habeeb writing from the occupied Gaza Strip
29 December 2008
As a Fulbright scholar and professor of American literature at the
Islamic University of Gaza (IUG), I have always preferred to keep
silent about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I always felt that it
was my mission to preach love and peaceful coexistence. However,
Israel's massive offensive against the Gaza Strip has spurred me to
Last night, during the second night of Israel's unprecedented attack
on Gaza, I was awakened by the deafening sound of intensive
bombardment. When I learned that Israel had bombed my university with
American-made F-16s, I realized that its "target bank" had gone
bankrupt. Of course Israeli politicians and generals would claim that
IUG is a Hamas stronghold and that it preaches terrorism.
As an independent professor, not affiliated with any political party,
I can say that IUG is an academic institution which embraces a wide
spectrum of political affinities. I see it as prestigious university
which encourages liberalism and free thought. This personal point
view might seem to be biased; therefore, I would invite anyone who
would doubt about my assertions to browse IUG's website and research
its history. They would learn about its membership in various
international academic institutions, the active role its professors
play in scholarly research as well as prizes and research grants they
Why would Israel bomb a university? Israel did not only target my
university last night. It also bombed mosques, pharmacies and homes.
In Jabaliya refugee camp Israeli bombs killed four little girls,
sisters from the Balousha family. In Rafah they killed three
brothers, aged 6, 12 and 14. They also killed a mother, along with
her one-year-old child from the Kishko family in Gaza City.
These acts made me reflect on some of the commandments given by God
to the "Chosen People:" Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not covet thy
No one could be chosen by God to annex the land of other people and
kill them. Israel made these ethical choices by itself. Israel itself
chose to wage its wars to eliminate the indigenous people of
Dr. Akram Habeeb is Assistant Professor of American Literature at the
Islamic University of Gaza.
The Hanukah Massacre on GazaJudaism in its Finest Hour
Mark Glenn - nomorewarsforisrael @ gmail.com
American Free Press Newspaper
"When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are to possess
and casts out the many peoples living there, you shall then slaughter
them all and utterly destroy them
You shall make no agreements with
them nor show them any mercy
You shall destroy their altars, break
down their images, cut down their groves and burn their graven images
with fire. For you are a holy people unto the LORD thy God and He has
chosen you to be a special people above all others upon the face of
Book of Deuteronomy, 7:1-8
The aerial assault on Gaza thus far resulting in several hundred
deaths and close to a thousand casualties (much of which will result
in even more deaths) mustif it is to be understood correctlybe
placed within the historical context of the religious ideas expounded
by Judaism since its inception and which today constitute the
philosophical lifeblood of the state of Israel.
It is an increasingly popular fad these days amongst those taking the
moral high road against Israel's 60 year-long orgy of violence and
bloodshed against the indigenous Semites of Palestine, Lebanon and
other surrounding areas to erect a separation wall between "Zionism"
as a violent, racist political movement and "Judaism" as a holy
religion devoted to the worship of God. Such arguments, whether made
by groups such as Neturei Karta or "Rabbis For Human Rights" maintain
that the two ideologies are as different from each other as the lion
is to the lamb. Some go so far as to refer to Herzl, the founding
father of Zionism as a "heretic" who abandoned the "godliness" of
Judaism in favor of a secular, Marxist ideology responsible for
creating the modern Jewish state.
Despite some very impressive arguments made by prominent individuals
and groups in trying to paint this picture however, the fact is that
the aforementioned argument is as real as any other fantasy created
by Jewish Hollywood that defies the laws of reason or reality. Modern
day Zionism and Judaism are synonymous, and it has been the
fundamental misunderstanding of this fact that has brought the
situation to where it is today, both in the Holy Land and in the
present "Clash of Civilizations" between the West and the Islamic
Judaism is based upon the Old Testament, and in particular, the first
five books that constitute "The Law", referred to as "The Torah". As
many undoubtedly remember from their Sunday school classes, it begins
with the story of creation, the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, Noah's
ark and other seemingly harmless tales of persons and events.
The point at which it transforms into the creature responsible for so
much of today's mayhem is when Abraham, a landless, penniless nomad
living in modern day Iraq, begins hearing voices in his head telling
him he has been favored by a God named Yahweh who than promises him a
future of wealth, land, power and superiority over all other persons,
encapsulating this idea with "I will bless those who bless thee and
curse those who curse thee". Shortly thereafter, he again hears
voices in his head telling him to engage in the barbarity of human
sacrifice by killing his own son Isaac in worshipping this God named
Yahweh. With knife at the throat of his son, he is then prevented
from doing so by an angel, and some 3 generations later, his
descendents (made up by 12 tribes) come to be known as "Israelites".
Not long afterwards an Israelite named Moses also begins hearing
voices from this same god, telling him to rescue the Israelites
being "oppressed and persecuted" by the Egyptians. After a series of
plagues brought against the oppressorsseemingly a fulfillment of
Yahweh's promise to "Curse those who curse" the descendents of
Abraham, Mosesagain, under the direction of the voices he is hearing
orders the Israelites to steal all the gold and silver of Egypt and
to follow him to the land "promised" them by Yahweh residing between
the two great rivers, the Nile and the Euphrates. Before entering
this land however, Moses instructs the Israelites that they are to
kill all the inhabitants, man, woman and child"infant and suckling"
and to rob them of all their possessions. An extermination campaign
is mounted, left unfinished by Moses but taken up again by his
protégé Joshua and other subsequent leaders such as Saul and David.
By the time all is said and done, 31 cities inhabited by non-
Israelite peoplesincluding but not limited to the Midianites,
Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Hiviteshave
been completely destroyed. The only non-Israelites allowed to remain
alive are young girls "who have never slept with man" who then become
concubines for the Israelites as well as those adults who resign
themselves to live as "carriers of water and hewers of wood"in
effect, slaves for God's chosen people.
So in other words, Zionismthe idea that the "Chosen people" were
promised the land encompassing modern day Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan,
Syria and elsewhere and were given the commandment to expel, murder
and enslave the peoples and civilizations already there got its start
with Abraham and later put into practice by Moses and those who came
after him. By definition then, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Saul, David
and all the other "Patriarchs" (the George Washingtons, Thomas
Jeffersons and John Adams of "Israel") were Zionists.
Putting this into context, any other person or group of persons
claiming to have received divine messages from some "higher power"
telling them they were superior creatures and commanding them to
invade, slaughter, enslave and rob other peoples not like them would
rightlybe branded criminally insane, delusional, fanatical and
locked away for life. As it is today though, this situation is not
categorized as such. Rather, it has been made into a religion that
guides the actions of a nuclear-armed nation.
As all who understand the situation in Palestine can attest, the
moment the Jews made their "exodus" from the various lands they
previously inhabited and returned to "redeem and make clean" the
Promised land, they have repeated the very same process of killing,
expelling and enslaving today's version of the ancient Midianites,
Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Hivites, etc
of Moses' heyday. NOTHING HAS CHANGED. The Jews of today are in
effect trying to implement 21st century BC ideas in a 21st century AD
world with results no different than what took place as recounted in
the Old Testament. It is this history that forms the foundation of
their existence as a people and now as a nuclear-armed, messianic
nation. The only difference between the Israelites of old and those
of today is that when today's Israelites "smite" the non-Israelite
inhabitants living in close proximity to them they do not hack them
to pieces with the edge of a sword or an axe but rather blow them to
pieces with hellfire missiles, Apache attack helicopters and one-ton
bombs made in the USA.
This being the case, it only stands to reason then that massacres
such as what took place 2 days after Christians celebrate the birth
of Jesus Christ occur. Just as Christians go to church on Sundays and
Muslims to mosque on Fridays to commemorate the persons and
circumstances of their respective faiths, so too must the Jews engage
in the same type of holy war against the non-Israelite peoples living
in or near their "promised land" as a means of "keeping the Lord's
day holy". This genocide against civilians is the glue that holds
them together as a people and prevents the nation from disintegrating
from within. The fact that this latest massacre took place during the
religious festival of Hanukkah, (the festival of lights) where the
Jews celebrate the "temple" being rescued and redeemed from the
Assyrians over 2,000 years ago lends even more credence to the notion
that for them it is all about religion and has nothing to do with the
stated justifications of "security". The fact that the Gazans were
starved for months upon months prior to this recent holocaust is yet
one more manifestation of this religious mindset, and in particular
the commandment to "Cut down the groves" of the non-Israelites living
in the promised land.
A recent case (covered by Palestinian journalist Khalid Ameyreh)
taking place in Israel just prior to the Gaza massacre adds even
more proof to this idea of "Judaism VS the world". Said case involves
Daniela Weise, a rabidly anti-Gentile "Israelite" who regularly
quotes from the Old Testament, telling hundreds of Jewish fanatics it
is a mitzvah (religious commandment) to attack Arabs and murder them
because "their lives have no sanctity and their property belongs to
us" and adding that "The Bible shows us the way we should be dealing
with the Arabs. The Bible can't be wrong". In another similar case,
an American tourist in Israel recently engaged in a discussion with a
Jew where the following exchange took place
Israeli Jew"You are a Christian, aren't you?"
Israeli Jew"Do you believe in the Bible?"
Israeli Jew"Well then, you know God ordered the ancient Israelites
to wipe off the goyim (gentiles) from the holy land of Israel. If
that was right then, why can't it be right now?"
As all are told (and have been on a daily basis now for the last
century) Israel is not like other nations. Both secular and religious
leaders have gone to great lengths in trying to sell the idea that
the Jewish state is the "embodiment of God's word" on earth. As
former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir once quipped Israel is "The
fulfillment of a promise made by God Himself
It would be ridiculous
to ask it to account for its legitimacy."
What all of this means in the final analysis is that as long as
Israel (a nation founded on the Old Testament tales of genocide,
rape, pillage, expulsion and enslavement of "the other") exists,
massacres such as the one taking place against the Palestinians in
Gaza will be a regular occurrence, just as they have been throughout
the last 60 years. Having been nursed on the poisoned milk of tribal
supremacism first envisioned by a greedy, covetous, ambitious nomad
hearing voices in his head complimenting his own delusions of
grandeur and later adopted by the great "Patriarchs" that manifested
itself in violence and bloodshed of innocents as extolled in the
religion known as Judaism means that the Jewish state MUST engage in
these acts as a means of paying homage to the deity Yahweh.
Although 2,000 years too late, it is imperative now more than ever
that the world come to grips with these facts, and until it does
that "great day of reckoning" commonly referred to as Armageddon will
continue to barrel towards civilization like an out-of-control
freight train. The curing of any disease begins with isolating the
cause, and in the case of the present circumstance involving the
Jewish state being at war with the entire world (and more
specifically against the Arabs in Palestine) it is the recognition of
the "I will bless those who bless thee and curse those who curse
thee" mindset coupled with the justification of genocide and
enslavement of "the other" that threatens all life on earth.
Anyone needing proof of this should simply visit some of the photos
of the most recent massacre taking place against the Palestinians
Christian and Muslim alikewho are and have been sacrificed now for
the last 60 years on the altar of twisted Judaistic thinking. This
most recent massacre taking place during the Jewish "festival of
lights", where Gaza was "lighted up" with balls of fire after 200,000
lbs of high-explosives were dropped on schoolchildren is proof
positive that Israel is not a nation of people devoted to a
righteous, loving God, but rather a civilization of vampires making
up the caricature of the beast described in the Book of Revelations
that threatens all life on earth. And unless the rest of the world
comes to this "revelation", they too will soon find themselves in the
same place as those today being exterminated in the interests of
appeasing the "God" of the Jews.
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