Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Gaza's hospital struggles to function

Expand Messages
  • World View
    Gaza s main hospital struggles to stay functioning by Saud Abu Ramadan 2009-01-03 http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-01/03/content_10598276.htm Smoke and
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 5, 2009
      Gaza's main hospital struggles to stay functioning
      by Saud Abu Ramadan

      Smoke and fire are seen after an Israeli air strike in the northern
      Gaza Strip December 27, 2008.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
      Photo Gallery>>>

      GAZA, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- The sudden and violent beginning of
      Israel's areal onslaught into Gaza Strip was bigger that the
      emergency plans drawn up earlier by the Palestinian health care
      system, Gaza doctors say.
      The crisis emerged widely in al-Shifa hospital, the only main
      sanatorium for Gaza's 1.5 million population. The hospital's floors
      were colored in red, and also the grass in its yard, as doctors and
      volunteers offered first aid to hundreds of wounded people on the

      "We have got more than 500 case in the hospital in the first
      minutes of the attacks and, in later hours, the number dramatically
      rose, exceeding the 585-bed capacity of the hospital," said Raed al-
      Arini, a spokesman for the al-Shifa hospital.

      Palestinians carry a wounded woman in Rafah in the southern Gaza
      Strip on Dec. 31. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

      At one of the operation rooms, three wounded persons laid to
      undergo surgeries at the same time, though the facility is prepared
      to deal with one case. "There is only six operation rooms in the
      hospital," says Dr. Basel Baker, director of the surgery at the

      "Tens of serious cases were thrown in the yards of the hospital
      on the first couple of days and we were unable to know who needed a
      surgery, "I have not seen such thing in Gaza in my career," the 54-
      year-old surgeon recalled.

      The Israeli intensive attacks in Gaza killed up to 430
      Palestinians since their start on Dec. 27, more than half of them
      died on the first day of the offensive as the warplanes launched
      simultaneous strikes at tens of police and security stations across
      the coastal enclave.

      According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), 165
      Hamas policeman were among the dead, the majority of them passed away
      when their posts were bombed.

      The strikes continued, adding houses and mosques to their range
      of fire.

      Outside the operation room, three children of Hedaya al-Arini,
      were crying as they waited to hear news about their mother, seriously
      hurt when an F16 fighter jet struck at a house of a Hamas activist in
      Gaza city on Thursday. "The rocket (shrapnel) cut my mother's legs
      and demolished our house," screamed Huda, the12-year-old daughter as
      tears flowed over dark red spots the shrapnel and debris made on her

      "We are poor and our house is modest, its ceiling is made of very
      fragile sheets of asbestos that fell on us when we were asleep," she
      added as she tried to relief her younger brothers.

      The nonstop arrival of wounded and dead bodies, by ambulances and
      civilian vehicles, caused shocked among the doctors who have been
      locked in the hospital for more than a week. A nurse at the reception
      did not control herself and went crying crazily after she saw pile of
      flesh brought in on a stretcher.

      Fawzi al-Nabulsia, director of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU),
      said most of the cases they received were clinically dead. "Most of
      them are injured in the head and heart," he affirms.

      He also warns that the hospital suffers from shortage in most of
      the medical supplies that are needed in the day-to-day work. The same
      warning was released by the health ministry, which says that 105
      sorts of the medicines have ran out, in addition to 220 apparatuses
      stopped due to lack of spare parts.

      As the electricity is cut most of the time, the doctors say the
      fuel is running out, adding more troubles to the work of the medical
      teams who, from the outset, do their job in extra ordinary


      Gaza telecommunication systems offline
      04 / 01 / 2009

      Bethlehem – Ma'an – Palestinian communications networks are barely
      functioning in the Gaza Strip due to cables damaged by several
      Israeli airstrikes on network infrastructure on Saturday.

      Palestinian mobile provider Jawwal's phone may stop working "at any
      minute" as shelling severely damaged the provider's
      telecommunications network in Gaza.

      PalTel, Jawwal's parent company based in the West Bank, told
      Ma'an, "The Israeli shelling damaged the electric grid and caused
      continuous cuts."

      "The lack of fuel will lead to cutting lines with the
      telecommunications company (in Gaza) and the Hadara internet company,
      as well as Jawwal's mobile phones," the statement added.

      The statement warned that "all means of communication with the Gaza
      Strip will be highly affected and may totally cut off."

      Attempts to contact Ma'an's correspondents by mobile were
      unsuccessful early Sunday morning. Landlines appeared to be working
      properly between homes in Gaza and Ma'an's headquarters in Bethlehem.


      Hamas leader: Israel killing Gaza civilians, not our fighters
      04 / 01 / 2009

      Gaza – Ma'an/Agencies – A Hamas leader early on Sunday morning denied
      reports that armed groups affiliated with the Islamic movement had
      been killed by invading Israeli forces.

      Appearing on Al-Jazeera just after midnight on Sunday, Mousa Mohammad
      Abu Marzook claimed that "there are casualties, but they are of the
      people of the Gaza Strip, not us."

      The Qatar-based network had reported Israeli claims that up to 13
      Hamas fighters were dead.

      "We're defending our people, defending ourselves against this
      aggression," Abu Marzook insisted, noting that Israel has "the upper
      hand" in the ongoing conflict.

      "We know they have the upper hand in the air and sea, but we know our
      land. We know ourselves very well," he added. "We will fight."

      "We will fight the Israelis anywhere in the Gaza Strip, Abu Marzook
      warned, "the rights of the Palestinian people cannot be turned off."

      On the prospect of a ceasefire, Abu Marzook said Hamas would consider
      it under certain circumstances. "If there is a ceasefire, if the
      gates are opened, we would deal with this kind of initiative."

      "Discussions in the area (Gaza) at the moment are that France or
      Turkey could achieve a ceasefire," he said.

      And commenting on reports from Israel that Hamas is using civilians
      as human shields, the Hamas leader rejected that civilians in Gaza
      have the means to protect themselves no matter where they are,
      saying, "We have no shelters; we have crowded refugee camps."

      Finally, Abu Marzook denied reports that Arab countries had pressured
      Hamas to stop rocket fire. "Everyone is calling on Israel to stop
      their aggression," he noted.


      Gaza at War
      By Israel Shamir

      Cold wintery evening in Tel Aviv, the evening of the ground invasion,
      a new step in the escalation of what may become a new big war. There
      were hundreds of demonstrators – many young people, a lot of families
      with children, all sorts of Israelis and Palestinians, under red
      banners calling to end the warfare in Gaza. In Jerusalem, deep fog
      all but covered the walls of the Old City.

      But even deeper is the fog of war. It is too early to predict the
      future developments. We still do not know what the goals of the
      Israeli invasion are, and we do not know the strength of Palestinian
      resistance. Fighters decide the future now, not the pundits. The war
      may go on to confrontation with Iran; it may bring too long rule of
      Hosni Mubarak to an abrupt end, it may cause a new intifada, it may
      re-shape the Middle East.

      First week of war did not bring much success to Israel. The attack
      began as a firestorm of fury, but its only "success" was a surprising
      bombing of a graduation ceremony at the Gaza police school with some
      three hundred casualties, mainly young graduates. Next time, they may
      bomb schools on September 1st with even "better" results. Besides,
      the Light-unto-Nations-people bombed the university and a few
      mosques, and killed a few babies as a late tribute to King Herod on
      the Innocent Martyrs Day. Certainly war crime, undoubtedly mass
      murder, but hardly the holocaust they promised.

      The Israeli drag-queen of the Defence Minister Ehud Barak improved
      his ratings: 53 percent of Jews are satisfied with his performance
      (Gawd, they are easy to satisfy!) compared to just 34 percent about
      six months ago. "Polls now predict five additional Knesset seats for
      his Labor Party in the coming February general election. That's 40
      Palestinian corpses per seat. No wonder Barak promises it's just the
      beginning: at this pace, it will take Labor just about two thousand
      additional corpses to go from rags to riches, from a dead political
      party to an absolute majority in parliament like in the good old
      days", noted Ran ha-Cohen.

      Barak's roundish Pickwickesque figure has been marketed by his PR
      campaigners as Der Fuhrer (Ha-manhig) of his folk, "he is not nice,
      but he is a leader". "He is not nice; he is murderer" – replied the
      demonstrators in Tel Aviv. Barak is quite unlikely fuhrer, with his
      feminine face, a perfect mate to the masculine butch Tsipi Livni who
      is being marketed as "another Fuhrer". Our friend and Livni's cousin
      Gilad Atzmon wrote of these gender-confused characters in charge of
      the Jewish state: "Both Livni and Barak have to provide the Israeli
      voter with some real exhibition of devastating carnage, so the
      Israelis can trust their leadership."

      Meanwhile they do not make much progress. Despite daily bombardments,
      the Gazans keep shooting back, improving their hits and their
      weapons, reaching as far as Beer Sheba. Moreover, they are not
      begging for unconditional ceasefire, and the Israeli wish-list of
      ceasefire conditions appear as hopeless as that they had vis-à-vis
      Hezbollah two years ago. The initiative remained firmly in the Hamas
      hands – until today.

      The Gaza leadership made a daring if calculated risk when they
      refused to extend the lapsed ceasefire agreement unless the Jews lift
      the siege off the Strip and agree to observe it on the West Bank as
      well. These demands infuriated the petty fuhrers who were used to
      decide the questions of war and peace alone, and propelled them into

      The Israeli government miscalculated: their action received
      justifiably hostile response all over the world. Some of the best
      pieces against Israeli aggression appeared in the Western mainstream:
      by Mark Steel and other writers of the Independent. With expected
      exception of President Bush' administration, the West speaks and
      demonstrates against the invasion. For sure graffiti on a synagogue
      wall brings out more demonstrators than bombing of a mosque and
      killing of all worshippers, but still it is possible that the Jewish
      yoke over the Western public opinion may be broken in the result of
      this intervention. What is unexpected, is that Russian media, usually
      strongly pro-Jewish, speaks in one voice against Israeli aggression.

      Now it is the time to demonstrate, to call for ostracism of Israel,
      for resignation of Mubarak, and it is the time to support the
      legitimate government of Gaza. Stay tuned.


      The Rotten State of Egypt is too Powerless and Corrupt to Act
      By Robert Fisk
      The Independent
      January 1, 2009

      There was a day when we worried about the "Arab masses" – the
      millions of "ordinary" Arabs on the streets of Cairo, Kuwait, Amman,
      Beirut – and their reaction to the constant bloodbaths in the Middle
      East. Could Anwar Sadat restrain the anger of his people? And now –
      after three decades of Hosni Mubarak – can Mubarak (or "La Vache Qui
      Rit", as he is still called in Cairo) restrain the anger of his
      people? The answer, of course, is that Egyptians and Kuwaitis and
      Jordanians will be allowed to shout in the streets of their capitals –
      but then they will be shut down, with the help of the tens of
      thousands of secret policemen and government militiamen who serve the
      princes and kings and elderly rulers of the Arab world.

      Egyptians demand that Mubarak open the Rafah crossing-point into
      Gaza, break off diplomatic relations with Israel, even send weapons
      to Hamas. And there is a kind of perverse beauty in listening to the
      response of the Egyptian government: why not complain about the three
      gates which the Israelis refuse to open? And anyway, the Rafah
      crossing-point is politically controlled by the four powers that
      produced the "road map" for peace, including Britain and the US. Why
      blame Mubarak?

      To admit that Egypt can't even open its sovereign border without
      permission from Washington tells you all you need to know about the
      powerlessness of the satraps that run the Middle East for us.

      Open the Rafah gate – or break off relations with Israel – and
      Egypt's economic foundations crumble. Any Arab leader who took that
      kind of step will find that the West's economic and military support
      is withdrawn. Without subventions, Egypt is bankrupt. Of course, it
      works both ways. Individual Arab leaders are no longer going to make
      emotional gestures for anyone. When Sadat flew to Jerusalem – "I am
      tired of the dwarves," he said of his fellow Arab leaders – he paid
      the price with his own blood at the Cairo reviewing-stand where one
      of his own soldiers called him a "Pharaoh" before shooting him dead.

      The true disgrace of Egypt, however, is not in its response to the
      slaughter in Gaza. It is the corruption that has become embedded in
      an Egyptian society where the idea of service – health, education,
      genuine security for ordinary people – has simply ceased to exist.
      It's a land where the first duty of the police is to protect the
      regime, where protesters are beaten up by the security police, where
      young women objecting to Mubarak's endless regime – likely to be
      passed on caliph-like to his son Gamal, whatever we may be told – are
      sexually molested by plain-clothes agents, where prisoners in the
      Tora-Tora complex are forced to rape each other by their guards.

      There has developed in Egypt a kind of religious facade in which the
      meaning of Islam has become effaced by its physical representation.
      Egyptian civil "servants" and government officials are often
      scrupulous in their religious observances – yet they tolerate and
      connive in rigged elections, violations of the law and prison
      torture. A young American doctor described to me recently how in a
      Cairo hospital busy doctors merely blocked doors with plastic chairs
      to prevent access to patients. In November, the Egyptian newspaper Al-
      Masry al-Youm reported how doctors abandoned their patients to attend
      prayers during Ramadan.

      And amid all this, Egyptians have to live amid daily slaughter by
      their own shabby infrastructure. Alaa al-Aswani wrote eloquently in
      the Cairo paper Al-Dastour that the regime's "martyrs" outnumber all
      the dead of Egypt's wars against Israel – victims of railway
      accidents, ferry sinkings, the collapse of city buildings, sickness,
      cancers and pesticide poisonings – all victims, as Aswani says, "of
      the corruption and abuse of power". Opening the Rafah border-crossing
      for wounded Palestinians – the Palestinian medical staff being pushed
      back into their Gaza prison once the bloodied survivors of air raids
      have been dumped on Egyptian territory – is not going to change the
      midden in which Egyptians themselves live.

      Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, the Hizbollah secretary general in Lebanon,
      felt able to call on Egyptians to "rise in their millions" to open
      the border with Gaza, but they will not do so. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the
      feeble Egyptian Foreign Minister, could only taunt the Hizbollah
      leaders by accusing them of trying to provoke "an anarchy similar to
      the one they created in their own country."

      But he is well-protected. So is President Mubarak.

      Egypt's malaise is in many ways as dark as that of the Palestinians.
      Its impotence in the face of Gaza's suffering is a symbol of its own
      political sickness.


      From Cynthia McKinney: We Lived to Tell the Story; Lebanon Rescued Us
      To: updates@...
      Thursday, January 1, 2009

      Yesterday, we met with the President of Lebanon, the Chief of the
      Military, and the Interior Minister who all thanked us for responding
      and risking our lives on a mission of mercy; we profusely thanked
      them for rescuing us.

      What would we have done, stranded out at sea, prohibited from
      reaching our destination, low on fuel, with a badly damaged boat if
      Lebanon had not accepted us? Lebanon sent their ships to find us.
      Lebanon rescued us. Lebanon welcomed us. And we are truly thankful.

      It's official now. We've been told that the sturdy, wood
      construction of our boat, Dignity, is the reason we are still alive.
      Fiberglass would probably not have withstood the impact of the
      Israeli attack and under different circumstances, we might not be
      here to tell the story. Even at that, the report that came to us
      yesterday after the Captain and First Mate went back to Sour (Tyre)
      to inspect the boat was that it was sinking, the damage is extensive,
      and the boat will take, in their estimation, at least one month to
      repair. Tomorrow, we will bring the Dignity from Sour to Beirut.
      And now, we must decide what to do and from where we will do it and
      how we are to get back to wherever that might be.

      My personal, and I know the group's, thanks must go to Al Jazeera,
      that allowed three of their reporters to be onboard with us on our
      voyage. As a result, Al Jazeera carried the story of the Dignity
      live, from castoff in Cyprus when our spirits were high, right up
      through the manacing maneuvers of the huge, super fast Israeli ships
      before they rammed us, the Israeli calls on the ship phone after the
      ramming calling us terrorists and subversives and telling us to
      return to Cyprus (even though the Israelis later claimed that they
      didn't know who we were, they knew enough about us to tell us where
      we had come from), and the fact that we didn't have enough fuel to
      follow their instructions, right up to their threat to fire at us if
      we didn't turn around, ending with our beaten-up boat limping into
      Sour harbor in Lebanon. Al Jazeera carried our story as "breaking
      news" and performed a real service to its audience and to us. Al
      Jazeera called the Israelis to inquire about the incident right as it
      was happening and I am sure the Israelis were prepared to leave none
      to tell the story. Al Jazeera told the story and documented it as it
      was happening.

      One of those Al Jazeera reporters with us was Sami El-Haj, who was
      detained in Guantanamo by the United States for six incredibly long
      years. What an honor to even exchange glances with such a humble man
      who had endured so much pain at the hands of the U.S. government. I
      apologized to him that my tax dollars were being used in such a
      despicable way. And Sami's crime according to the U.S.? Born in
      Sudan, and reporting for Al Jazeera in Afghanistan, Sami was the
      wrong color, the wrong nationality, the wrong religion, reporting for
      the wrong news outfit, telling us the truth about a wrong war. And
      for that he survived incarceration for six long years. Sami El-Haj,
      Guantanamo prisoner number 345.

      Another incredibly committed journalist who was with us was CNN's
      Karl Penhaul. Karl reported the truth even when his own station was
      repeating Israeli disinformation. The fact that we were traveling
      with these alert journalists added to the flat-footedness and obvious
      crudeness of the Israeli response. Sadly, Israel has changed its
      story too many times to count, and that's because they are not
      telling the truth.

      We lived to tell the story. Karl's incredible reporting, just a
      portion of our story, can be seen on CNN at:


      where there's also video and a photo of our damaged boat.

      This video and the photos of Karl's report is particularly
      interesting given that Israel claims that our boat was only scratched
      and that, in actuality, our captain, while trying to outmaneuver
      them, damaged their warship.

      I'm told that CNN only played my full statement once--and that's the
      time that it aired live. Of course, they cut the reference to the
      U.S.S. Liberty. What are they afraid of?

      Last night I was on PressTV.com, along with others who were on the
      Dignity, and we debated a representative from WINEP, the Washington
      Institute for Near East Policy. I reminded the audience that the
      Palestinians don't have nuclear weapons, depleted uranium munitions,
      white phosphorous, or F-16s, but the Israelis do. The facts,
      however, tend to get garbled after being processed by the "Grand
      Wurlitzer" organ of state-sponsored disinformation utilizing the
      world's press.

      With the truth clearly on our side, Israel has been reduced to
      releasing the ridiculous bombast below, given to me by a reporter who
      came to our hotel in Beirut for a visit. With their multiple,
      conflicting stories, it is clear that the Israelis did not expect us
      to live to tell the truth.

      On the drive from Sour through Saida to Beirut, we were welcomed like
      heroes because our ordeal had been seen by everyone on Al Jazeera.
      The mayor of Sour came to welcome us. The mayor of Saida insisted
      that we stop there, on our way to Beirut, for a special ceremony.
      But there was something else that was visible along our drive, and
      that is the devastation that Lebanon, itself, has received as a
      result of the Israeli war machine. The scars of the war are still
      evident everywhere. I will write more on that tomorrow.

      And one final note, President-elect Obama roared like a mighty lion
      onto the political scene, but now he is as silent as a lamb in the
      face of the death and destruction that is happening in Gaza. As we
      approach the birthday celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. let
      us remember what Dr. King said:

      "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the
      silence of our friends."

      And after five days of aerial bombardment by Israel, the carnage in
      Gaza continues.

      Here is the palaver that the Israelis put out for public
      consumption. It is pitiful that a powerful and mighty country like
      Israel would be reduced to publishing something so petty and weak as
      the following press release dated December 30, 2008:

      Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast

      Press Release
      Office of Media Affairs


      Israel continues to take its humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza
      seriously. Border crossings into Gaza remain open, and every effort
      is being made to deliver aid to the Palestinian people. Nearly 100
      trucks carrying relief supplies entered Gaza on the 28th & 29th of
      December and additional shipments are arriving. Israel is working
      closely with UNSCO, UNRWA, the Red Cross, and WHO to ensure the entry
      of the required aid, especially food and medical equipment.

      Unfortunately, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has taken it
      upon herself to commit an act of provocation, leading a small boat of
      supposed assistants into the conflict zone. She endangered herself,
      her assistants, and the vessel's crew. The Israeli navy hailed Ms.
      McKinney but the former Congresswoman failed to respond, thereby
      leading to the incident. We regret that during this time of crisis,
      while Israel is battling with the terrorist organization of Hamas and
      defending its citizens, that we are forced to deal with Ms.
      McKinney's irresponsible behavior.

      Consulate General of Israel
      to the Southeast
      1100 Spring St NW, Ste 440
      Atlanta, GA 30309-2823

      Michael Printy Arthur
      Director of Media Affairs


      Gaza relief boat damaged in encounter with Israeli vessel
      Tue December 30, 2008

      (CNN) -- An Israeli patrol boat struck a boat carrying medical
      volunteers and supplies to Gaza early Tuesday as it attempted to
      intercept the vessel in the Mediterranean Sea, witnesses and Israeli
      officials said.

      The Dignity arrives in Tyre, Lebanon, after it was reportedly rammed
      by an Israeli military vessel Tuesday.

      CNN correspondent Karl Penhaul was aboard the 60-foot pleasure boat
      Dignity when the contact occurred. When the boat later docked in the
      Lebanese port city of Tyre, severe damage was visible to the forward
      port side of the boat, and the front left window and part of the roof
      had collapsed. It was flying the flag of Gibraltar.

      The Dignity was carrying crew and 16 passengers -- physicians from
      Britain, Germany and Cyprus and human rights activists from the
      Free Gaza Solidarity Movement -- who were trying to reach Gaza
      through an Israeli blockade of the territory.

      Also on board was former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney.

      Penhaul said an Israeli patrol boat shined its spotlight on
      the Dignity, and then it and another patrol boat shadowed the Dignity
      for about a half hour before the collision. One patrol boat "very
      severely rammed" the Dignity, Penhaul said.

      The captain of the Dignity told Penhaul he received no warning. Only
      after the collision did the Israelis come on the radio to say they
      struck the boat because they believed it was involved in terrorist
      activities, the captain said.

      But Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor denied that and
      said the patrol boat had warned the vessel not to proceed to Gaza
      because it is a closed military area.

      Palmor said there was no response to the radio message, and
      the vessel then tried to out-maneuver the Israeli patrol boat,
      leading to the collision.



      To subscribe to this group, send an email to:


      Need some good karma? Appreciate the service?
      Please consider donating to WVNS today.
      Email ummyakoub@... for instructions.

      To leave this list, send an email to:
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.