Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Atrocities Continue in Gaza - The Children Suffer

It is 15 days and counting. To date the Israeli military operation have caused 854 Palestinians to be killed in Gaza; aid workers say that one-third of that figure are children. Keeping in mind that more than half of the population in Gaza are children, that figure may be much higher than reported. There are also 3680 injured Palestinians.

Reports by aid workers who have managed to enter the embattled areas have depicted the scenes as devastating - little children, weak and barely clinging on to life were found next to their dead mothers, little toddlers dead, and dead bodies of an extended family strewn in a village.

A UN aid worker described the Gaza civilians as being“the meat in the sandwich,” because they cannot flee anywhere since the borders are closed.

Here are some interesting facts obtained from a New York Times article - you can get a sense of how the atrocities are being perpetuated.

"The Israelis say they are also using new weapons, like a small-diameter smart bomb, the GBU-39, which Israel bought last fall from Washington".

"Israeli intelligence officers are telephoning Gazans and, in good Arabic, pretending to be sympathetic Egyptians, Saudis, Jordanians or Libyans, Gazans say and Israel has confirmed"

"They aim the missiles at empty areas of the roofs to frighten residents into leaving the buildings, a tactic called a knock on the roof".

"The most important strategic decision the Israelis have made so far, according to senior military officers and analysts, is to approach their incursion as a war, not a police operation".

"Civilians are warned by leaflets, loudspeakers and telephone calls to evacuate battle areas. But troops are instructed to protect themselves first and civilians second".

"As the commander of the army’s elite combat engineering unit, Yahalom, told the Israeli press on Wednesday: “We are very violent. We do not balk at any means to protect the lives of our soldiers.” His name cannot be published under censorship rules."

"While The New York Times and some other news organizations have local or Gaza-based Palestinian correspondents, any Israeli citizen or Israeli with dual citizenship has been banned for more than two years from entering Gaza, and any foreign correspondent who did not enter the territory before a six-month cease-fire with Hamas ended last month has not been allowed in".

"Israel has also managed to block cellphone bandwidth, so very few amateur cellphone photographs are getting out of Gaza".

"In one widely reported episode, 43 people died when the Israelis shelled a street next to a United Nations school in northern Jabaliya where refugees were taking shelter. The United Nations says no militants were in the school"

The few pictures of the war in Gaza that have come out are horrific. It is all the more worse because Gaza has so many young children, and they bear the brunt of the war in more ways than just the physical risk of death. It would be easy to look away from such horror, but I think it is important to bear witness to the pain of the innocent.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Fear the cry of the oppressed, for there is no barrier between it and God."

Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 1

What CAN we do to stop this injustice?

We can pray for there to be peace, and for the innocent deaths to stop.

We can spread what we know about this conflict through our writing and speaking.

When we hear misinformation, we should do what we can to stop it from spreading. The worst thing you can do is to stay silent because you are afraid of speaking the truth for fear of being labelled "extremist", "anti-semite" or "terrorist-lover" when you know different.

Speak out against injustice, for your silence may one day come to hurt you too.

Dead Mother and her Dead Children

Grieving over a Dead Baby

Dead Palestinian Children

A Palestinian man carries his son wounded in Israeli army operations into Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Ashraf Amra)

Palestinians carry a boy into Shifa hospital in Gaza City, wounded during the Israeli army operation in Gaza, Sunday Jan. 4, 2009. (AP Photo/Ashraf Amra)

A Child holds a banner reading, " Don't Kill the Children," during a protest after Friday prayer in front of the U.S. embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Jan. 9, 2009

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