Tags: America, Cops on Patrol, criminals, Fourth Amendment Rights, Protect and Serve, USA
Today, I received an email from the Rutherford Institute, specifically John Whitehead. In it was a great, yet scary, post about what OUR police officers are up to as they protect and serve. It contains graphic descriptions of what is done to American citizens, and in absolute violation of our Fourth Ammendment rights against unlawful search and seizure. If you’ve got the stomach for it, please read. If not, buck up and read, as this stuff IS important!
Special thanks to John Whitehead for granting his permission for me to repost:
Invasion of the Body Searchers: The Loss of Bodily Integrity in an Emerging Police State
January 14, 2013 By John W. Whitehead
“The Fourth Amendment was designed to stand between us and arbitrary governmental authority. For all practical purposes, that shield has been shattered, leaving our liberty and personal integrity subject to the whim of every cop on the beat, trooper on the highway and jail official. The framers would be appalled.”—Herman Schwartz, The Nation
If you want a recipe for disaster, take police officers hyped up on their own authority and the power of the badge, throw in a few court rulings suggesting that security takes precedence over individual rights, set it against a backdrop of endless wars and militarized law enforcement, and then add to the mix a populace distracted by entertainment, out of touch with the workings of their government, and more inclined to let a few sorry souls suffer injustice than to challenge the status quo.
The resulting concoction, I can promise you, will be a messy, noxious stew unfit for consumption, miserable to digest and with after-effects that will leave you reeling and clutching your stomach in dismay. Such is the nature of life in the emerging police state that is America today, where roadside police stops have devolved into government-sanctioned exercises in humiliation and degradation with a complete disregard for privacy and human dignity.
Consider, for example, what happened to 38-year-old Angel Dobbs and her 24-year-old niece, Ashley, who were pulled over by a Texas state trooper on July 13, 2012, allegedly for flicking cigarette butts out of the car window. First, the trooper berated the women for littering on the highway. Then, insisting that he smelled marijuana, he proceeded to interrogate them and search the car. Despite the fact that both women denied smoking or possessing any marijuana, the police officer then called in a female trooper, who carried out a roadside cavity search, sticking her fingers into the older woman’s anus and vagina, then performing the same procedure on the younger woman, wearing the same pair of gloves. No marijuana was found.
Leila Tarantino was allegedly subjected to two roadside strip searches in plain view of passing traffic during a routine traffic stop, while her two children—ages 1 and 4—waited inside her car. During the second strip search, presumably in an effort to ferret out drugs, a female officer “forcibly removed” a tampon from Tarantino’s body. No contraband or anything illegal was found.
Meanwhile, four Milwaukee police officers have been charged with carrying out rectal searches of suspects on the street and in police district stations over the course of several years. One of the officers is accused of conducting searches of men’s anal and scrotal areas, often inserting his fingers into their rectums and leaving some of his victims with bleeding rectums. Half-way across the country, the city of Oakland, California, has agreed to pay $4.6 million to 39 men who had their pants pulled down by police on city streets between 2002 and 2009.
And then there’s the increasingly popular practice of doing blood draws at DUI checkpoints, where drivers who refuse a breathalyzer test find themselves subjected to forcible blood extractions to test for alcohol levels. Police in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, actually had a registered nurse and an assistant district attorney on hand “to help streamline the ‘blood draw’ warrants and collect blood samples from suspected impaired drivers” at one exercise in holiday drunk driving enforcement. A similar case, Missouri v. McNeely, which deals with a driver who failed a sobriety test, then refused a breathalyzer test and was subjected to a warrantless blood draw, is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Of course, the issue being debated in McNeely is not so much whether the government can forcibly take your blood but whether it can do so without a warrant. As important as the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement may be, it’s scant comfort in the face of a societal acceptance of roadside stops where blood is being drawn and cavity searches are being carried out.
No matter which way the Supreme Court rules in Missouri v. McNeely, it will do little to rein in this runaway police state of ours. Indeed, as we have seen repeatedly, by the time a case arrives before the U.S. Supreme Court, it’s almost too late for any real change to take place, especially when it’s a matter of government abuse. More often than not, during the course of however many years it takes for a case to make its way through the courts, the particular violations being challenged have already been accepted by the citizenry as part of the government’s modus operandi.
Such was the case with Florence v. Bd. of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington, which attempted to challenge the practice of forcible strip searches by government officials, namely jail wardens. Albert Florence, an African-American man in his mid-thirties, was on his way to Sunday dinner in 2005 when his then-pregnant wife, who was driving, was pulled over by a New Jersey State Police trooper. Asked to show his ID, Florence soon found himself handcuffed, erroneously arrested for failing to pay a traffic fine, and forced to submit to two egregious strip and visual body-cavity searches at two different county jails. After spending six days in jail, Florence was finally able to prove his innocence. Outraged, Florence sued the jail officials who had needlessly degraded his bodily integrity.
It took seven years for Florence’s case to make it to the Supreme Court, and a year later, in April 2012, the Court handed down a 5-4 ruling which struck a blow to any long-standing protections against blanket strip searches, declaring that any person who is arrested and processed at a jail house, regardless of the severity of his or her offense (i.e., they can be guilty of nothing more than a minor traffic offense), can be subjected to a strip search by police or jail officials without reasonable suspicion that the arrestee is carrying a weapon or contraband.
However, all the while Florence was making its way through the courts, law enforcement officials were playing fast and loose with the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on searches and seizures, especially as it relates to violations of bodily integrity and roadside strip searches. Examples of minor infractions which have resulted in strip searches include: individuals arrested for driving with a noisy muffler, driving with an inoperable headlight, failing to use a turn signal, riding a bicycle without an audible bell, making an improper left turn, engaging in an antiwar demonstration (the individual searched was a nun, a Sister of Divine Providence for 50 years). Police have also carried out strip searches for passing a bad check, dog leash violations, filing a false police report, failing to produce a driver’s license after making an illegal left turn, having outstanding parking tickets, and public intoxication. A failure to pay child support could also result in a strip search.
This brings us to the present moment where we find ourselves hapless, helpless passengers in a runaway car hurtling down the road toward a police state, and the only hope of salvation rests with the Supreme Court, which is little hope at all when you consider that the Court has, in recent years alone, given a green light to all manner of police abuses, including the tasering of a pregnant woman for failing to sign a speeding ticket.
It must be remembered that the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was intended to protect the citizenry from being subjected to “unreasonable searches and seizures” by government agents. While the literal purpose of the amendment is to protect our property and our bodies from unwarranted government intrusion, the moral intention behind it is to protect our human dignity. Unfortunately, the rights supposedly guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment have been steadily eroded over the past few decades. Court rulings justifying invasive strip searches as well as Americans’ continued deference to the dictates of achieving total security have left us literally stranded on the side of the road, grasping for dignity.
And, if all of that doesn’t make you sick, I really don’t know what would.
Tags: Israel, Israhell, murders, Op Pillar of Cloud, Zionism
The hardest thing: Palestinian parents speak of their children killed by Israeli bombings
*** Note: Cross-posted via The Ugly Truth, Crescent and Cross
It’s time we created a full LIST of the dead, since the day the USA decided it’s okay for these murders to be done and ignored. The HOLOCAUST of Arab and Muslim people, including children, all over the Middle-East, is not okay with me. It should not be okay with YOU. Please check out, The Ugly Truth, to read more. Thank you. ***
During the Nov 2012 Israeli attacks on Gaza, 182 Palestinians were killed, according to the World Health Organization’s Dec 2012 report, among whom 47 were children, including 16 under 5 years old. Another 1399 Palestinians were injured, most of them with multiple injuries.It is only four years after Israel’s last major assault on Gaza, which killed over 1450 including those who died of their injuries, and injured over 5000. Then there are the random Israeli attacks throughout the years, leaving injured suffering even years later.And there were the under-reported attacks in the week preceding the Nov 14 attacks: the Nov 8 killing of 13 year old Ahmed Abu Daqqa as he played football, the Nov 10 killing of Mohammed Harara (16) and Ahmed Harara (17) as they played football, the subsequent killings of Ahmed Al- Dirdissawi (18) and Matar Abu al-‘Ata (19) when they rushed to the scene of the Harara killings (source: PCHR).Every December and January, I remember the victims of the 2008-2009 massacre, particularly some of the harder incidents ofburning to death from white phosphorous bombing, or point blank shootings of loved ones. All ages suffered, although we tend to pick up on the children. Somehow their murders, their maimings, their imprisonme
Tags: America, American Jews, Israel, Jews, USA
Pressed from The Ugly Truth
Will 2013 be the Year American Jews Secede from Israel?
If American Jews think that what is being done in their name is self-destructive, oppressive, blockheaded and wrong, it stands to reason they would want it to stop.
ed note–generally I find Burston’s ideas tolerable, as he does not have that mad dog disposition that seems to go hand in hand with organized Jewish interests.
HOWEVER, the real question that Burston & co need to be asking here is not whether there is going to be a mass secession from Israel on the part of American (and worldwide, for that matter) Jews, but rather there is going to be a secession from JUDAISM.
Israel, Zionism and all their siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc, all spring forth from one common well, and it is JUDAISM. It has been the source of conflict the VERY MOMENT it was put into practice thousands of years ago and remains so today.
Until there are more Gilad Atzmons out there willing to have this discussion, the Jewish problem–affecting both Jew and Gentile alike–will continue on until the consummation of the world takes place.
By Bradley Burston
One day in the future, when it all comes horribly down, will Israelis finally realize that there were warning signs all along?
More to the point of the ultimate survival of Israel, could it be that when the real alarm sounds, when the genuine danger impends, Israelis won’t hear a thing?
The answers may lie in how Israelis react to the canary in the coal mine, their forward recon unit in the world, the American Jewish community.
In fact, as the new year dawns, there are mounting signs that 2013 may be the year in which U.S. Jews – in the main, liberal in outlook, committed to tolerance, pluralism, and a vigorous, sincere pursuit of peace – effectively secede from this state of Israel.
They remain committed to supporting the existence of an Israel which balances Israeli and Jewish culture with respect for minority rights, democratic values. They will stay active in promoting the welfare of Israel’s disadvantaged.
But many American Jews are already distancing themselves in word and deed from a government it sees as arrogant and short-sighted, enslaved to a runaway train of settlement, dismissive of the rights of Palestinians and other non-Jews, cold to the concerns of a sinking middle class and the drowning disadvantaged, contemptuous of the concerns of the larger Jewish world.
The catalysts: settlement expansion – especially as it strikes at Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects and mocks Washington – and backhanded insensitivity to the rights and ritual of non-Orthodox Jews.
In recent weeks, some of Israel’s most influential defenders in the States have warned of hardline Israeli policies and parties which could lead “to the destruction (the self-destruction) of Israel” (Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic), and “national suicide” (Thomas Friedman).
Israeli leaders lent them not so much as a deaf ear. Nothing.
Even when the issue touches directly on the religious concerns of American Jewry, the government’s response is as dismissive and condescending as it is dishonest.
Last week, waking, years in arrears, to discover that U.S. Jews are appalled by continuing arrests for violating Orthodox-ordered prohibitions on women praying aloud and wearing prayer shawls by the Western Wall, the prime minister appointed Natan Sharansky to look into the matter.
Within hours, however, the Prime Minister’s Office rushed out a message aimed at Israelis, indicating that the appointment was largely a charade.
“There are no changes in prayer arrangements at the Western Wall and no committee has been established,” Netanyahu’s office was quoted as saying.
There are Israelis who will do anything not to be reminded that American support, anchored by U.S. Jewry, is the strategic asset which makes all other strategic assets possible. The 2012 election, after all, saw prominent members of the ruling Likud-Beiteinu, notably Knesset Deputy Speaker Danny Danon, actively campaigning for the defeat of President Obama.
But that was then.
Now, as Israel’s election campaign nears its home stretch, the heavily favored Likud-Beiteinu party, which encompasses the principal authors of nearly all of the anti-democratic legislation of the last four years, offers fresh voices and perilous new avenues for alienating American Jews from Israel.
There is, for example, Moshe Feiglin, who will enter the Knesset following the January 22 election. Something of his political philosophy can be gleaned from a 2004 article on radical settlers, in which Feiglin spoke to Goldberg, then writing in the New Yorker:
“Why should non-Jews have a say in the policy of a Jewish state?” Feiglin said to me. “For two thousand years, Jews dreamed of a Jewish state, not a democratic state. Democracy should serve the values of the state, not destroy them.” In any case, Feiglin said, “You can’t teach a monkey to speak and you can’t teach an Arab to be democratic. You’re dealing with a culture of thieves and robbers. Muhammad, their prophet, was a robber and a killer and a liar. The Arab destroys everything he touches.”
Then there is political novice Yair Shamir, catapulted from nowhere to the very upper level of Likud-Beiteinu, thanks in part to his late father’s prime ministerial heritage of having warred with then-president George H.W. Bush over the issue of settlement construction.
Last week, an opinion piece by Yair Shamir was headlined, “In Israel-US relations, settlements are entirely beside the point.”
Wrong. As his father once inadvertently proved.
But candidate Shamir went further. Taking up where Danon left off, Shamir attacked Obama’s nomination of John Kerry as secretary of state – over settlements. In essence, Shamir made acquiescence to settlement construction a condition of Israel-U.S. ties: “Many are liable to feel that his nomination will deter Israel from implementing its decision to build thousands of apartments in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and will be viewed as an obstacle to Israel-U.S. relations.”
American Jews want to know what is being done in their name. In the name of Judaism. And if they think that it is self-destructive, oppressive, blockheaded and wrong, it stands to reason they would want it to stop.
American Jews are tiring of being told that opposing Israel’s policies puts Israelis in danger. Blackmail is not persuasion. If the hard right is so certain that it can get along without American Jewish support, it may all too soon get the chance to find out.
Tags: 1st Intifada, 25th Anniversary, Gaza, Gaza. Israel, Intifada, Palestine, War
Dr. Khoury-Machool contributed this article to The OtherSite – Truth? Justice? Peace?
Meanwhile I moved to the side of the road, away from the center of the conflict. A passing taxi picked me up and took me to Shifa Hospital in Gaza. During the whole journey, I heard bursts of fire. At the entrance to the hospital about thirty doctors in white gowns stood waiting for casualties. I was the first. They took me into the operating theater, and ten doctors, including surgeons, all began to treat me at once. One of them took my blood pressure, a second my temperature; a third checked my stomach; another connected me to an ECG machine. I was injured in the face, next to my nose. While they were stitching me up under a local anesthetic, a lad of about 17 was brought into the hospital. He had been shot by soldiers at the incident in Bayt Hanun. From the operating table, I saw in the mirror the barrel of a gun waving nervously across the windowsill. The second casualty died on the operating table, right next to me. I left the theater straight into the hospital courtyard. Seven soldiers stood at the side and arrested all the youths who came to inquire about the condition of their wounded comrade. I decided nevertheless to try to reach the meeting place. A man was waiting for me there, and he took me to the leader. The condition was that I should not know his name nor other identifying details such as where he lived, where and what he studied. Later I saw him in action, giving orders, receiving reports, directing thousands of people against the army. Twice I saw IDF soldiers withdraw. He speaks perfect literary Arabic and also good Hebrew. His speech is open and decisive, laced with figures and data. Every half hour he received up-to-date information from his people on what was going on in the Gaza Strip. Around him I saw five people who kept him supplied with news. During the day, I was with him in various parts of Gaza and the refugee camps of Jabalya nad Shati’. He always stood erect, steady, almost without moving. In every place, people were drawn to him as to a magnet. I talked with him as we walked along the paths and alleys between the houses. The Gazans who saw me at his side asked what I was doing there. They expect that journalists, foreigners as well as Israelis, will sit in the military headquarters or travel about surrounded by 20 jeeps, take a few photo- graphs, and leave. The leader said about this, “We told all our people not to believe the signs which say ‘Foreign Press’ because the settlers, the army, and the occupiers are behind them, in order to hitch a lift and get into the Strip.” But despite this, he said, “The progressive Jewish journalists are the most intelligent and best people in Israel.” The bandage on my head broke some of the barriers of suspicion. As far as I was able to tell, he spoke to me candidly and with a great deal of honesty. “They are not really demonstrations and this is not a revolt,” is the leader’s contribution to the debate in Israel. “This is a war that continues 24 hours a day. We are working in rotation. The order was that the youngsters should go in the front, facing the fire, and they don’t hesitate to do so. They block the army’s central route. It is the first time in history that this has happened. I go through the whole Strip and instruct them in the camps. It’s not just school children. By now it includes everyone aged from nought to a hundred. Here is a 55-year-old woman who took part in the events and was hit with a stick by the soldiers. The women are not afraid. Ninety percent of the people in Gaza belong to political groups. They don’t need instructions from anybody. In any case, people who live under occupation and oppression do not need someone else to incite them.” How do you organize the demonstrations now? “Once, in order to start a demonstration, we would send the children to organize a disturbance. Now, everyone is out on the streets at 3 in the morning. Not ten or twenty people, but hundreds. We don’t have a timetable, but we already have a custom, waves of people going out, at 3 am, in the morning, at midday, early evening. From the evening until 3 am, we sleep and organize. Sometimes, if the situation demands it, we even go out at 10 pm, because during the night, the army doesn’t effectively control the streets and doesn’t know the local topography, so we are in control. For instance, yesterday in Jabalya refugee camp, there were demonstrations all night and there was not a single soldier, even though there was a curfew. The soldiers simply fled, because thousands of people formed a sort of moving human wall, and nothing will work against something like that, neither an iron fist nor bullets.” Aren’t you afraid? “It is forbidden. It is simply forbidden to be afraid of anything. The occupation authorities think that if someone dies and they take the body and permit the burial only during the night, then there will not be any disturbance. But our thinking has already passed this barrier. The new system is that we snatch the body from the hospital and bury it and turn this into a sort of spontaneous demonstration. We also forbade the doctors to give the bodies to the military authorities, and anyway the doctors are not in control of this, for we have no difficulty in snatching the bodies. For instance, in the past few days we have snatched four bodies and organized night funerals which have turned into demonstrations. Then the whole area, like Khan Yunis yesterday, is out on the streets. Not a single person stayed at home. Thirty-five thousand took part in that funeral. During the funeral, we injured seven soldiers. Yesterday, I made a few trips, from Khan Yunis to Rafah and from Rafah to al-Burayj. There were tens of thousands, and until 3 am the army could not break in. The distance between the Gaza sentries and the army was fifty meters, and the army simply didn’t dare to come in.” In one of the side roads, someone came up to him and said that a 17-year-old boy had been murdered in Bayt Hanun. That was the lad who had died on the operating table next to me. All the time, he received reports, how this youth had been struck, whether with a stick or something else, on what part of the body, and where this had happened. He explained that the distribution of leaflets from any organization was forbidden, but if he wanted to he could organize the distribution of leaflets every day, without problems [sic]. “We already know how to identify their civilian information. We feel their presence, particularly in the mornings. We have seen to it that the army does not know who the inciters are. The authorities will not see another inciter. There is an instruction, and everyone goes out, quite spontaneously. There are no single inciters.” When I asked him about the role of the leader in directing the masses, he was modest. “No, not exactly a leader. More like a giver of order.” But the hours that I spent in his presence showed that his orders are carried out with an almost religious obedience. This is how he sees things. “Out of 650,000 residents of the Strip, the occupying authorities have so far arrested 47,000. Every one of them is already his own leader where he lives. The arrest creates a leader. We cause the politicization of the people, and they like this because they need it. Let no idiot think that external forces are directing what goes on inside. The people inside belong to all sorts of organizations, which are like political parties of the nascent state. Even those who do not belong to any group identify with the overall struggle.” Over the years, a sort of quiet hatred has developed among the residents of the Strip for their compatriots in the West Bank. They feel neglected, even forgotten. The journalists reporting on events in the territories usually set out from Jerusalem. They easily reach Ramallah or Bethlehem, but rarely get to Gaza. So the West Bank naturally gets press coverage, even when much more important things which are happening in Gaza don’t find any expression in the media. Loyalty to what is called “unity of Palestinian ranks” prevents the Gaza residents from expressing their frustration, but many of them feel that the national leadership in the West Bank looks down on them in the way town-dwellers usually regard residents of some distant province. The leader was only prepared to say these few words about the differences: “The Gazans, if they decide to do something, carry it out to the end. The West Bank is almost paradise compared to the Gaza Strip. Even such a simple thing as a passport is denied to them. The only thing that most of them have is a refugee card.” Perhaps this is the reason that the Gaza Strip has always been distinguished by a large measure of independent action. At the end of the 1960s, the underground groups used to organize under the umbrella of one of the Palestinian organizations, but even when contact was made with the leadership outside, it was hard to maintain it. Decisions on activities were taken in the Strip, and the residents usually got hold of the arms and sabotage materials by themselves. In recent years, it has been decided to maintain a strict separation between the armed groups and the activists considered “political.” In no case have shots been fired at the army from among the demonstrators, which should have been likely to lead to a bloodbath. The local leaders are responsible for this discipline. “Every quarter has its own leader, who is usually some major personality. He will be known for this high political consciousness, for his charisma, and he will not have to do that much persuasion, for the situation helps him, and he will just have to give the signal. Every one of these leaders has already become a symbol. In a large quarter, there will be two or three leaders. The detainees are usually political people, who belong to an ideological current and not necessarily to a particular organization. The leader creates around himself an organized mass which at any time can go and do whatever is necessary. In effect, we want the army. We don’t demonstrate when it isn’t here. We want it in order to confront it, in whatever way we can.” Referring to the efficiency of the organization, he said: “Yesterday, five hundred women went to Bayt Hanun, and they only knew of the planned trip five minutes before they left. The conscription of all levels of the population is in effect like a military operation. When we want to operate through the whole Strip, our short experience has taught us that within a few minutes we can block the main traffic route leading out from the Strip. When the army says that it has opened the main road, it is a lie because the road is blocked by our people.” He stressed: “It is not correct that the mosques are center of incitement. We only use the mosque loudspeakers, nothing more. Now the whole community is united in one front. At the moment, it doesn’t matter who the organizations are, even though it is known that the Popular Front is more revolutionary than Fateh. The basic presence on the ground is of the Popular Front and Fateh, though in terms of numbers, Fateh is bigger.” Suddenly he disappeared. I don’t know where to. He didn’t say goodbye or farewell. I met him again about an hour later in Shifa Hospital, in which his forces had been besieged for the past five hours. Shortly after 11, I arrived at the Red Cross building, in which about two hundred lawyers had been barricaded since the morning. At 11:45, they decided to go out for a silent procession to the hospital, which had filled up with casualties over the previous two hours. A strange procession in the Gaza street, many grey heads, tens of men in suits and ties and polished shoes, marching silently between the smoking tires. In the hospital courtyard, the leader received them. “Take off your ties and join in with everyone else,” he told them. Some of the elderly lawyers were offended. After five minutes, they were all busily throwing stones at the soldiers surrounding the area. A small mosque stands next to the hospital. The leader went in, put a few guards at the door, took over the loudspeakers, and let his men in. The news of the death of the boy from Bayt Hanun started to spread, and hundreds of people streamed toward the hospital. Within an hour, thirteen people arrived at the hospital with gunshot wounds. Among them I saw a girl who had a bullet in her bottom, and a youth injured in his arm – two holes, entry and exit wounds of the bullet. All of the hospital buildings were already full, thousands of people. Many of them were seeking shelter from the shooting in the streets, assuming that the army would not enter the hospital. It was hard to pass along the corridors. Shooting was heard again. Close, very close. The leader started to send his people out. The youths went out first, the adults next, and all the women behind them. The leader instructed them to pass stones from the rear to the front. A chain was formed, and a rain of stones was thrown out. After each barrage, the leader ordered, “Everyone, inside!” The soldiers started to fire at a youth on the second floor of the east wing. He jumped into the courtyard to escape from the shots. A few soldiers came into the hospital grounds. The youth tried to escape, but saw a soldier facing him. He stopped running, stood facing the soldier, opened his shirt, bared his chest and said “Shoot!” The soldier pointed the gun at him and, from a distance of fifteen meters, fired. This happened in front of my eyes, less than twenty meters from me. The soldier’s face is engraved in my memory. From all around shouts were heard, “Wounded! Wounded!” The shooting continued. The leader or- dered, “All the women, out, to the wounded.” They went and fetched the body and put it on a stretcher. I went into the theater. The doctors told me that the bullet had cut a main artery. Immediately it was known that the boy was dead, masked youths came and took away the body. The soldiers withdrew about 300 meters, to ‘Umar al-Makhtar Street. The youths marched with the body in a short procession and disap- peared within minutes. A few hundred people arrived with each further casualty or body. They started to make Molotov cocktails in the hospital. I saw a little boy take a bottle from the floor, pull out from his pocket a plastic flask of turpentine and a rag, fill and seal the bottle, light a match, and throw it. Flames started to rise from the tires which had rolled into the courtyard. The leader told me that, in addition to the stone and the Molotov, they had returned to an ancient method: the sling and stone, like David. The soldiers, who in one of their assaults had come very close to the hospital, were trapped between the burning tires, and hundreds of demon- strators started to surround them. The soldiers tried to flee, but the demonstrators managed to capture one of them. All of his comrades ran. The captive was stripped of his clothes. His jacket, his pack, and all of his equipment were taken. Nobody touched his body, and he was released wearing only a pair of torn trousers. If they had wanted, they could have killed him. They opened the pack, searched it, and asked where the grenades were. Some of them started to dance, with the rifle magazine in one hand and a “V” sign on the other. They threw the soldier’s jacket and shirt on the ground, and pressed around to trample on them. I asked them, “What are you so happy about?” and they replied, “It is the greatest humiliation for the occupation.” After this victory, the leader found a few minutes for me. “Once it was difficult to hold even a strike,” he said. “Today, they strike easily. The army opens the shops, and they close them. Rashad al-Shawwa, who no longer has any influence, says that what is happening in the Strip is an expression of people’s despair. But those in despair do not struggle. They surrender. We don’t actually have firearms, but even so, if the situation continues we won’t only push the soldiers back to Eretz Junction [the major road junction outside the Gaza Strip], but to Tel Aviv.” My injury started to bother me. A few doctors ran after me, offering me ice compresses. One offered me antibiotic capsules. By the way, after midnight, when the hell was already behind me, I was forced to wait for four hours for treatment in Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. A further casualty, who had been shot in the head, was brought to the hospital gate. He died a short time later. His body was snatched. The soldiers again entered the hospital courtyard. Bursts of fire were heard in the building. The echo added to the noise and confusion. People started to barricade themselves inside. There were already a few casualties, but there had been no time to treat them. The leader shouted to the women to go out and treat the wounded, despite the danger. For each casualty, twenty people rushed to give blood. Twenty-eight casualties arrived within a short time, three of them with serious injuries. One of them died at 7 pm. In the operating theater, tens of doctors were working without a break, like a conveyor belt. At about 1 pm, a ten-year-old boy was shot in the hospital courtyard, in the sight of his mother. His body was wrapped in a green hospital sheet and placed on a wooden board, adorned with two palm fronds. I went up to the roof. At 3:15, the aerial attack started; a helicopter circled 18 times and dropped tear gas grenades. Everyone started to cough. Those who didn’t get gas from above got it from below. Shots were heard from the direction of the helicopter. I heard the army loudspeaker announce that the hospital had been declared a closed military area. The area was attacked from three sides. The iron gates were broken down at once, and 45 minutes of shooting started. Forty Gazans were arrested. Many were injured. I saw a man running, dragging his foot. I felt like a live target. It’s good that my tape is on, I thought. At least it will be able to record how I was killed. Meanwhile, about thirty jeeps entered the hospital area, and shots were heard from all directions. Some of the injured jumped over the hospital fence into the neighboring orchard. Others fled into the alleys between the nearby houses, into which it is hard for the army to penetrate. I heard the shouts of the mukhtars, who are being beaten with sticks. I went into one of the nearby houses and dialed the Ministry of Defense, the prime minister’s office. Engaged. No line. I dialed the Knesset. They told me that there was not a single Knesset member on the premises. “They are somewhere in the area, but it is impossible to get hold of them.” The operator managed to get hold of Tawfiq Ziyad. “I will raise this in the Knesset,” he told me. I also contacted the Red Cross. They said they would come. They didn’t come. I checked my pulse. One-hundred and twenty beats per minute. A demonstration of thousands of people from Shati’ refugee camp reached the hospital. They had heard of the deaths. In the street, I met the doctor who had seen me when I was injured in the morning. He suggested that I rest at his house, with the help of some pills for the pain. Another doctor was sitting in his house. They both checked me. They said that perhaps I had a broken chin. At 4 pm, the curfew started. Night began to fall. The army cut off the electric supply, and the residents sat in dark homes and lit candles. In the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem, Ariel Sharon lit the first candle of Hanukkah in his new home. I went onto the roof of the doctor’s house. All around, there were gatherings of people and burning tires. The soldiers had disappeared. The darkness, say the Gazans, is the best weapon against the occupation forces. There were thousands of people in the streets. That was what the curfew looked like. I contacted the paper, seeking a way out. Two Gazans checked the terrain and told me that the main road was blocked. The doctor suggested that I slept at his place. At 9 pm, the electricity returned. “Now the stone rules the streets,” they warned me. “Whoever goes out is in danger.” I decided to go out. I walked about a kilometer through the empty streets to the police station. The gate was locked. The police pulled out their guns and pointed them at me and only after they had checked my documents permitted me to enter. When the car from the military government came to take me to Eretz Junction, a few police went up to the roof of the police station in order to protect me for the ten meters I had to walk in the street to the car. At Eretz Junction, less than ten kilometers from the center of the events, a few drowsy reservists sat. They asked me what was going on in Gaza and how I had been injured. I told them that I had been asked to act as a referee in a basketball match between Maccabi Hebron and Hapoel Gaza. The crowd attacked me, I explained to them, and said that the referee was a son of a whore. One of the reservists told me that he was a basketball player himself. He asked me about the level of the Arab players and who won the match.
Tags: Birthday, Gaza, Israel, Palestine, Statehood, UN, Vote
Today, finally, Palestine was recognised as a state (essentially) when she was given, “Observer Status”, via the UN.
You could have knocked me over with that proverbial feather.
Certainly, as much as I wanted for Palestine to be recognised, I did not expect it. I read everything posted (which was not a lot) about the back and forth; the struggle of Palestine to achieve Observer status, and given what Palestine (Abbas, of the Palestinian Authority) was being pressured to do, such as give-up the right to take Israel to the International Criminal Court for their crimes against humanity, for (at least) Op Pillar of Cloud.
I really thought Palestine attaining, “Observer Status”, this would not happen in my lifetime. It did. And I am trilled! I hope it is a stepping stone.. I hope it’s only a short-step toward giving all people of Palestine their freedom. And I really hope it gives them the right to take Israel to the ICC, today and anytime in the future, when the ILLICIT state again bombs Gaza and murders Palestinians, just because they feel like it.
Of course, I have questions and concerns:
Did Abbas give up the right of Gaza/Hamas to take Bibi Netanyahu (@netanyahu for my twitter follows) to the ICC? Will Israel ever be forced to stand trial for their latest murders of Palestinian innocents? I hope Abbas did not give in or give up. But, I do not yet know the answer to this question.
Will Hamas, the elected leader of the Palestinian people, finally be treated like the humans and leaders that they are? Or, will they continue to be labeled as “terrorists”? I think people should look at the truth of Hamas. Though they were weaponized by Israel, years back, they have acted in the best interest of Gaza and would act in the best interest of all of Palestine, had the Zionist state not completely separated the West Bank from East Jerusalem and, especially, from Gaza. I believe this was by design. Surely, most people see this, too. For, though the majority of the world does not seem to be aware of this fact, Hamas has been struggling to stop all of those qassams from going into the (Palestinian) no-man’s land or squatter’s territory of what is really occupied Palestine. If their, “neighbors” (to put it nicely) are worried about these few qassams, they should just get out of Palestine!
One more time: Hamas is not responsible for most projectiles fired into the other side of that ever-moving wall of Israel. Hamas has struggled to catch and jail resistance fighters who do fire-off qassams. Yet, during, “Operation Pillar of Cloud”, Israeli Occupation Forces and Israel Air Forces targeted these very Hamas policemen and police-stations, when they were not murdering babes and other innocents and not targeting news-media and hospitals and schools. Isreali Occupation forces targeted women and children, intentionally.. So, what was it Israel and Bibi wanted to accomplish in the latest massacre? Does anybody have a valid response to this question?
Until the people of the world wake up to the truth that Hamas is far from being a terrorist-organization, Israel will continue to act with reckless abandon. Israel will keep acting like, “terrorists “, they say they despise and fear. And until the USA and EU and others, particularly Westerners, figure this out, the world will continue to be in a terrible state. Of course, the USA voted against Palestine obtaining this observer-status. And what did the UK do? They wimped out and they took the no-vote route; they abstained.
My wish now, for Palestine, is that the latest recognition by the U.N. will mean more positive accomplishments are on the way. I hope this will mean the Israeli siege against Palestine will end. But, I suppose we shall have to take this one step at a time.
For now; congratulations, to Palestine. I am sorry my own country’s government sided with the terrorists of Israel. I am sorry they are puppets to the Zionist regime of Israel and I do hope they will wake up very soon or be voted out, if possible, before much worse happens.
Now, don’t cry, Gaza and Palestine; for we are with you, at least in spirit. And, I do believe that much more hope IS on the way.
OUR HEART IS EVER WITH YOU!