Monday, May 17, 2004

Save Palestinians!

Rafah has been the scene of devastating raids over the past few days, with the army demolishing up to 100 Palestinian homes. Up to 1000 Palestinians have been left homeless, as a result of the demolitions.
The Israeli occupation army has destroyed dozens of civilian homes in Rafah, at the southern tip of the Gaza Strip, and said it would demolish hundreds of additional homes in the next few days, apparently as a retaliation and collective punishment for the death of seven Israeli soldiers over the weekend in a battle with Palestinian resistance fighters in the area.

Today,Israeli occupation forces, using tanks, bulldozers and helicopters, opened fire as it invaded the refugee town of Rafah, cutting it off from rest of the Gaza Strip. Seven tanks and armoured bulldozers, backed by helicopter gunships moved into the area between Rafah and the town of Khan Yunis, witnesses said. Unlike other invasions, today’s raid began from the northern and eastern parts of Rafah, in an attempt to completely isolate it from the rest of Gaza.
As usual, it’s always for security that Israel kills, assassinates, destroys and bombs. So this time Israeli military sources confirmed the target of the operation was to isolate Rafah in an attempt to search for Palestinian activists and weapons, the correspondent said. Another report said the army said the move was aimed at preventing what it called "militants" moving between the two towns. Israel's army chief, General Moshe Yaalon, said "hundreds of houses" believed to be concealing tunnels or to have been used as cover by Palestinian gunmen were set for destruction.
So, it means, when police want to prevent thieves and criminals from hiding and moving, then they should destroy the whole neighborhood?!!! And just because the police MAY DOUBT a certain house is used for weapon storage, then there is nothing as entering it, they have to blow it up, or knock it down to be relieved and make sure nothing’s actually there!! Actually this is pathetic. We all know these reasons are nothing but this same old story of trying to justify some criminal acts. Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie accused the Israeli court of permitting "ethnic cleansing...and collective punishment of innocent civilians." U.N. officials said Israel had displaced more than 12,000 Rafah residents by demolitions, incursions, air strikes and other fighting since the 2000 start of a Palestinian revolt in Gaza and the West Bank, land Israel captured in a 1967 war. "I want the world to see Nazism in action. I don't see any difference between German Nazism and Jewish Nazism. When will the world calls the spade a spade?" said Amjad Zurub, a local official in Rafah, who castigated the international community for "playing deaf and dumb" in the face of this "holocaust against a defenseless civilian population".

Scenes of fleeing women and children, some carrying and comforting younger children, were ubiquitous in Rafah throughout Friday and early Saturday.
Panic-stricken children and women grabbed whatever belongings they could carry and fled as Israeli bulldozers began destroying their homes.
In some cases, Israeli bulldozers destroyed homes on top of occupants, killing at least three people.

The Palestinian Authority and the Israeli peace movement have condemned the demolitions as war crimes.
"It is manifestly clear that we are talking about a war crime …
without ifs or buts," said Hanna Isa, deputy-director of the Palestinian Ministry of Justice and professor of international law.
"Israel is flying in the face of the fourth Geneva Convention and article-8 of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

More details are available from Reuters and Al Jazeera .