Palestine/Israel

 
By Andrew Lee Butters
http://www.time.com
August 2nd, 2007
 
On Patrol in Shijaiyah, the toughest neighborhood in Gaza City, Lieut. Naim Ashraf Mushtaha, 31, an officer of the Hamas Executive Force, spots a man in civilian clothes carrying an M-16 assault rifle and walking through the street suqs in broad daylight. His officers quickly encircle the suspect and demand that he identify himself and turn over the weapon. The man turns out to be a member of one of the neighborhood's most powerful clans, and he refuses to give up his gun. "What's my name, boys?" he shouts to the gathering crowd of curious onlookers. "Mohassi Abbas!" they shout back. "See, everyone knows who I am," says the gunman. "I don't care who you are," says Mushtaha calmly, without raising his voice or his weapon. "No one is above the law."

Gaza War Cemetery 

The Palestinian gardeners trim the immaculate lawns. Blood red Bourgainvilleas climb the limestone walls. The British are good at death. My eye through the camera focuses on many of about three and a half thousand gravestones caught by the name, the unit or the inscription chosen by the family. 3,217 of these fell in WW1 and were joined by 210 brothers and sisters from round the pink world in WW11. The family of Private Alfred Crittle, Royal West Kent Regt 19th April 1917 said ‘to see his face, to hear his voice, what would we give’.

Alongside lies Rifleman Norman Victor Crouch 8th Battn. Hampshire Regt and his folk chose ‘faithful until death’. They later receive this as do all the next of kin:- ‘He whom this scroll commemorates was numbered among those who, at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of the sight of men by the path of duty and self-sacrifice, by giving up their own lives that others might live in freedom.

Let those who come after see to it that his name be not forgotten

He took his last breath during the Third Battle of Gaza on the 2nd of November 1917 as did at least another two hundred men and women on that same day.

Gaza - Autumn 2006 --- The thin and limpid crescent lies on its back in a clear sky. If it does not reappear tomorrow then Ramadan will end. A 'drone' can be heard above the amplified recitations of the Quran, but it cannot be seen.

 

On the third floor of the battered and very busy Shifa hospital here in Gaza city lies a 9 yr old boy in his fourth month of recovery. Saad is a sad and frightened boy. He has lost all the muscle from the front of his left thigh. The shape of his femur can be seen in its entirety beneath the skilful skin grafting. There is just a twitch of motion in the foot. Most parts of his young body are scarred. There are many of punctate type, including on his face. There is a colostomy which will probably be permanent because his bowels were badly damaged. The tracheostomy has healed, and the pleural fistula is well on that way.

Gulf News reported a claim by Dr Al Saqqa, Head of the Emergency Unit of El Shifa Hospital, Gaza on 7-07-06 that the Israeli Occupation Force was using a new 'chemical' weapon.

He has worked at El Shifa for ten years. He had noted that two hundred and more casualties of Summer Rain (sic) had unusual wounds. These numbers included about fifty children. Later evidence from Dr Al Saqqa described surface wounds as having the general appearance of those due to 'shrapnel' – fragments from shell, missile or bomb casings – but no fragments were to be seen on Xray. There were usually entry and exit wounds. When the wounds were explored no foreign material was found. There was tissue death, the extent of which was difficult to determine. It is vital, especially with deep wounds, to excise all dead tissue. A higher deep infection rate resulted with subsequent amputation. In spite of amputation there was a higher mortality.

This letter is written and signed by Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter, Jose Saramago, Noam Chomsky and John Berger, it has been forwarded to major newspapers.

The latest chapter of the conflict between Israel and Palestine began when Israeli forces abducted two civilians, a doctor and his brother, from Gaza. An incident scarcely reported anywhere, except in the Turkish press. The following day the Palestinians took an Israeli soldier prisoner - and proposed a negotiated exchange against prisoners taken by the Israelis - there are approximately 10,000 in Israeli jails .