SF Bay Area Indymedia indymedia
About Contact Subscribe Calendar Publish Print Donate

Palestine | International

Gaza: When Will it End?
by Electronic Intifada (repost)
Wednesday Jul 20th, 2005 6:33 AM
Laila M. El-Haddad writing from Gaza City, occupied Palestine, Live from Palestine, 18 July 2005

An elderly man at Netzarim checkpoint. (Laila El-Haddad)

I spent much of the day talking to Palestinians trying to cross the Netzarim checkpoint today. It is a 6m deep trench dug deep into Gaza's coastal road, which has in recent days been ripped apart by nocturnal armoured bulldozers that come out from behind the lone sniper in he distance, and dissappear before dawn when their work is done.

The checkpoint, along with one further south at Abo Holi, has divided Gaza into three isolated segments for over five days now: Rafah and Khan Yunis in the south; dair al-Balah, Maghazi, and Nseirat refugee camps in the central Gaza Strip; and Gaza city, Beit Hanun, and Jabaliya in the north.

It was a painful site, as I heard testimony after testimony of the hardship endured in what would otherwise be a daily routine. Commerical trucks, donkey carts, fruit vendors, taxis, all attempting to make it down the trench and across to the other side. Young women heading to college carrying textbooks, walking over 3 km around the checkpoint; Women with infants; Elderly Palestinians trudging across on canes through mounds of sand; And most heartbreaking of a all, a man who was suffering from Parkinson's, and had come back from al-Shifa hospital with a bag full of medicine and a medical transfer to Egypt, though he would be unable to travel there because further south, Abo Holi checkpoint was completey sealed off to commuters.

I heard accounts of "close-calls", of bullets just missing commuters heads, fired in "warning" by the lone sniper overlooking the checkpoint, and when it was over, I headed home, relieved that none of those bullets had been fatal, satisfied with a job well-done, and wrote the story out.

I made it home in time to meet with a colleague from the BBC who was here on assigment for a radio program. "I just heard a 14-year-old boy was shot at Abo Holi, but the IDF hasn't yet confirmed it," she said.

I checked my sources. I called the hospitals, the families in Dair al-Balah, and sure enough, 14-year old Raghed al-Masri was brutally {blocked}ed, as he was waiting with his family in a taxi at Abo Holi. But the world's media was too busy covering a press conference Abbas was holding in Gaza, and a meeting between Hamas and Egyptian delegates on the fate of he dubious "ceasefire".

Read More (With Photos)