Friday, July 10, 2009

Still Broken in Gaza

By subscription email from Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP - UK). Please give generously:

MAP's Head of Advocacy Andrea Becker returned from a visit to our Gaza Office last month, she talks of her experience visiting the beleaguered territory.

"People paying attention to the detail of the horrors inflicted on Gaza may remember the tragic story of the Samouni family. Twenty-six members of the same family were killed in their home during the January attacks. Two others were killed in a separate attack. Another was shot in the leg as he led women and children away from the area. He bled to death in the street as ambulances were prevented from entering the area.

Even if you don't remember their story, the Samounis definitely remember us. They remember the international journalists that arrived after the war in their droves. They remember the cameras, the questions and the interviews as they sat on the rubble of their lives telling their stories to the world.

Six months on, little has changed for the Samouni family. We found them still living in the ruins of their home, within a neighbourhood of shattered concrete and sand, each demolished home its own story of destruction and death. We sit on thin mattresses on the floor, sheltering from the oppressive summer heat. Their ongoing hospitality to all who visit them is remarkable. We drink hot sweet tea as they recount the details of their ordeal: those long days of constant attack and terrible fear, not knowing what had happened to so many of their loved ones, unable to help injured family, and not knowing what was yet to come. Long days and hours bound and blindfolded, kept behind as human shields, taunted by soldiers and told their family had been killed, and that they would be next. Days without food, water and access to the most rudimentary health care.

Yet months after the end of Israel's 'Operation Cast Lead', the war on Gaza and the Samouni family is far from over. Before the assault started on 27 December, Palestinians in Gaza endured a deepening humanitarian crisis, as Israel's blockade prevented all but a few basic supplies from entering. The blockade is ongoing. Normal life is impossible for everyone, and reconstruction a dream far removed from reality.

Cement is forbidden from entering Gaza and like thousands of other families, the Samounis have done whatever they can to rebuild, and survive. The room we sit in is half of what used to be their three-bedroom home. It was the boys' room. Using second hand bricks and corrugated iron, the family built a makeshift shelter. A small kitchen with donated items: floor, oil, sugar, hummus. Mattresses and blankets lie piled up in the corner.

All things needed for reconstruction are rare and prohibitively expensive. Rising prices of basic goods have doubled or trebled, items such as tunnel smuggled cement are ten times the price they used to be. The Samouni family can barely afford one bag of cement, but need ten to build basic shelter. The second hand corrugated iron roof under which we sit cost $800, eating deep into the minimal compensation money given out to families by the United Nations and other NGOs trying desperate to alleviate their suffering. Inexcusably the situation in Gaza remains barely changed from the day the attacks finished".

4 Comments:

At 1:09 PM, Blogger Abe Bird said...

Half million were killed in Afghanistan. Althou Afghanistan didn't attack the US!
Did you chassing the US and providing help to the Afghans?

On Gaza, Israel left Gaza for the Palestinian Arabs by they chose to rocket and suicid bomb the Jews in any case. Doesn't Israel and the Jews have no right to defend them selves in any mean just to stop the Muslim teror?

You Are Just Biased and Advocating Islamic Terror Just Because It Is Operated against Jews!

You Are ProPALganda Spreading Machine!

 
At 2:07 PM, Blogger Gert said...

ProPALganda!

Abe, you're just too clever for me. I bow to your superior wisdom!

 
At 6:56 AM, Blogger Victor said...

Maybe instead of smuggling weapons and rockets through the tunnels from Egypt to lob at Israeli cities, Gazans should be smuggling food and medical supplies.

BTW, why aren't you and other pro-Palestinian activists concerned for the more than 2 million displaced Africans in Darfur? Or how about the occupied Tibet? What about 120,000 Tamils in Sri Lanka, 1,400 of whom die in government camps every week?

 
At 2:13 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Victor:

Answering both your questions:

They do.

We are.

 

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