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Related Categories: Palestine | Santa Cruz Indymedia
“Five killed in clashes in West Bank and Gaza”: Language and the crimes we permit
by Scott Kennedy (kenncruz [at] pacbell.net)
Sunday Dec 31st, 2006 7:47 PM
Kennedy describes the ways in which language masks what is actually going on in Palestine -- specifically, the devastation of the Gaza Strip as the result of a US led economic blockade and Israeli siege. Based on a visit to Gaza in November 2006.
beithanoun.jpg
Language and the crimes we permit
by Scott Kennedy

As I entered the powerful new museum of the Holocaust at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem in early November, I was confronted by these words: “A country should be judged not only by what it does, but also by what it tolerates.”

 

Kurt Tucholsky, WW1 veteran and pacifist, journalist and social critic whose books were burned by the same regime that stripped him of his citizenship, wrote the statement after the Nazis adopted the anti-Semitic Nuremberg laws. Tucholsky’s sobering contention was brought vividly to mind during my visit to Gaza, Palestine ten days later.

Gaza is a 140 square mile area packed with 1.5 million people. I visited Gaza by myself after co-leading an Interfaith Peace-Builders delegation to Israel and the West Bank for two weeks. I have visited Gaza more than a dozen times, dating back to 1968. I wanted to see first hand how things had changed since I was last able to visit in 2003. I also wanted to express my solidarity with the people of Gaza who have endured a cruel economic blockade and military siege since election of a Hamas majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh as Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA). During two full days I was able to interview Haniyeh and travel the length of Gaza. During my visit I saw the consequence of the United States’ toleration of the systematic collective punishment of the civilian population of Gaza and the effort to force “regime change” in the Palestinian Authority. I also observed how language is used to obscure and distance Americans from the evil that we tolerate in Gaza.

Barely two hours after entering Gaza on November 18, 2006 I watched an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Apache Helicopter hover eerily above Beit Lahiya, population 40,000, in Northwestern Gaza. The helicopter unleashed bursts of cannon fire into one of the Bedouin town’s densely packed neighborhoods. The sound reverberated across Northern Gaza and rattled the fourth story windows of the Al Awda Hospital in nearby Beit Hanoun through which I squinted in the bright sunlight to make out the helicopter. A cloud of smoke briefly obscured the helicopter against the bright blue sky and then quickly cleared. Moments later, another round was fired into the heavily populated residential area below.

Back at my hotel later that afternoon, I spoke with William Dienst, an American family and emergency physician in the West Bank and Gaza for the fourth time. Dr. Dienst had rushed to nearby Kamal Adwan Hospital with Palestine Medical Relief Society colleagues where wounded from the helicopter attack were received. Still shaken by the experience, Dienst described witnessing the lifeless body of a 16 year old boy killed by a large caliber gunshot wound through the neck. He was also involved in the hospital trauma team’s successful resuscitation of a 20 year-old male suffering from a large caliber gunshot wound to the left chest. Unfortunately, this young man died later due to ongoing internal bleeding.
 

Dr. Dienst commented wryly that the helicopter attack would no doubt be featured in the evening news as another “clash” between Israeli and Palestinian forces in the Gaza Strip. “How can it be a ‘clash,’” he asked, “when the forces are so drastically unequal and the outcome so predictable?” I later read news accounts about heavy shooting by helicopters targeting Beit Lahiya that day and “armed clashes” between “militants” and the IDF. The report said there was one fatality -- Thaer El Masri aged 16 years. Sure enough, that night the ticker running across the bottom of the international news television screen read, “Five killed in clashes in West Bank and Gaza....”

Five Palestinians killed, that is.

Like clockwork. Or shooting fish in a barrel.

I thought again of Tucholsky’s quote. Fatalities in the West Bank and Gaza are killed with advanced military weaponry, such as the Apache helicopter that killed the two young men in Beit Lahiya while I watched, that in many cases were developed in the USA, manufactured in the USA, provided to Israel by the USA and paid for in most cases by American dollars. For those who may be interested in knowing the impact that our country has on people overseas, language commonly used by the American media to describe events can make it difficult to find out and masks what is truly going on. In this case, “clashes” reinforces images of two somewhat equal parties engaged in conflict. In fact the might of one of the most powerful militaries in the world is arrayed against an essentially defenseless civilian population in Gaza. The predictable outcome is indeed a continuing stream of dead Palestinian civilians.

Certainly Palestinian violence has targeted and killed Israeli civilians. Perhaps equally reprehensible, Palestinian paramilitary groups have fired hundreds of homemade “Qassam” rockets (HMRs) over the separation barrier surrounding Gaza. The HMRs have spread terror in Israeli communities such as Sderot, even though the rockets are crudely built and poorly aimed and often hit Palestinian areas or strike harmlessly in the nearby desert. The firing of such rockets must be halted. But Israel’s military might has failed altogether to suppress the attacks.

Even during direct Israeli military occupation of Gaza after a “separation barrier” was built around Gaza in the mid-1990s and before Israel’s “disengagement” from Gaza in August of 2005, the IDF could not stop the firing of HMRs from Gaza. The PA and its security forces are much more poorly equipped to stop them.

The targeting and killing of Israeli civilians is often broadcast in such a way to reinforce the impression that Palestinian violence constitutes a mortal threat to Israel’s continued existence. In fact, as of July 5, 840 Palestinian rockets had been launched towards Israel from within Gaza. Meanwhile, during the same period, Israel fired 8,300 shells and rockets into Gaza, nearly ten times the number of Palestinian rockets.

In the past five years, Palestinian HMRs and mortars have killed ten people in Israel (including at least two Arab citizens of Israel) and seven Israelis in illegal Jewish settlements within Gaza, for a total of 17 deaths. In slightly more than four months since Israel launched major retaliatory attacks on Gaza in June of 2006, on the other hand, Israeli forces have killed 400 Palestinians in Gaza. More than 40% of those killed were civilians and more than 60 of those killed were children. We are told that Palestinians target civilians and the Israelis only kill civilians by accident. This may sound reassuring. But the Israelis killed more civilians in one “accident” ten days before my visit, than the Palestinians had killed with all their Qassam rockets in more than half a decade.

In June 2006 fighters from Hamas captured an Israeli soldier just across the border from Gaza. This soldier’s capture plus the continuing “threat” of the HMRs provoked massive Israeli military retaliation. Israeli forces launched a series of “incursions,” in fact a re-invasion and occupation of Gaza. They called the invasion “Summer Rains” and said its purpose was to free the captured Israeli soldier and to catch or kill those responsible. The Israeli military action was a typically calculated overreaction to any act of violence by Palestinians. The dismantling of Jewish settlements in Gaza and pullout of Israeli troops actually was intended to give the Israeli military a freer hand in attacking those firing the rockets. But continued Israeli attacks have not stopped the firing of rockets by rival militant wings of Hamas and Fateh and other Palestinian factions.

As part of “Summer Rains,” the IDF specifically targeted Beit Hanoun during a month-long assault named “Clouds of Autumn.” The IDF claimed that 300 of the 800 rockets fired into Israel over the past year were launched from Beit Hanoun. To isolate and punish Beit Hanoun, Israeli forces dug a seven-foot wide and three-and-a-half foot deep trench around the city, leaving one narrow and closely guarded passageway for ingress and egress. Israel lifted the siege of Beit Hanoun on November 7th as troops withdrew from the town. The very next day, however, according to an IDF spokesman, an Israeli artillery barrage targeted a spot from which Qassams were launched. A technical error resulted in shells striking a Palestinian residential area in the dead of night. The errant Israeli shelling killed 19 and wounded more than 40 Palestinians sleeping in their homes. On my first day in Gaza, I visited the site of the shelling in Beit Hanoun.

I could see collapsed walls and ceilings of the apartment building through smoke and fire blackened concrete around windows and several gaping holes. I met a Palestine Red Crescent Society ambulance worker across the street from the building. He had helped transport the casualties of the shelling to the hospital and introduced me to several young girls who survived the shelling. Their heads, necks and exposed arms showed cuts and bruises from shrapnel and flying concrete. Many members of their extended family had been killed. My guide counseled against entering the building because the anger against Americans in the building and neighborhood was running so high.

Later, at Al Awda (“the Return”) Hospital, doctors showed me photos of the Palestinian victims of Operations Summer Rains and Autumn Clouds. I was handed samples of shrapnel removed from their bodies. Several pieces of twisted metal clearly bore the marking “made in the USA” and legible serial numbers.

Just a few days prior to my arrival in Gaza, the US vetoed a UN Resolution condemning the bombing in Beit Hanoun. Ironically, the director of the hospital was telling me how much more difficult it has become for Palestinians to distinguish between the American people and our government when our conversation was suddenly interrupted by shooting from the helicopter, described above. It is no wonder that the Palestinian people are outraged, he explained, at American backing Israel’s ongoing aggression in Gaza.

The fighting in and around Gaza is sometimes portrayed in the West as a “war” between Israel and Palestine. But it is not a war. What’s going on in Gaza is an American financed slaughter.

In my two days visiting Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahiya, Jebaliya Camp, Gaza City and Rafah, I saw plenty of evidence of the widespread devastation left by Israeli forces. There were dozens of sites, either single plots or entire city blocks, where houses were crumpled and rendered uninhabitable or flattened into indistinguishable mounds of shattered concrete, twisted rebar, shattered furniture and remnants of personal belongings.

I was also appalled by the widespread destruction of the public infrastructure of Gaza. During the 1950s Ariel Sharon’s bulldozers cut a grid of wide roadways to provide Israeli troops ready deployment into the crowded refugee camps. Still I saw that the corners of buildings at many intersections were slumping, apparently inadvertently wrecked as tanks turned the corners during this summer’s invasion. Rows of power and telephone polls had been snapped off. Much of the curbing and medians were chewed up by heavy treads. Many streets evinced damage by Israeli tanks and other vehicles. Sewage pipes were damaged and effluent was pooling in some streets. Broken-back bridges sagged on major streets and roads.

In Rafah, I saw a barren expanse of concrete heaps and dirt piles along the 25 foot high metal and concrete barrier marking the Egyptian border. Israeli forces demolished more than 700 homes in the the Tel al Sultan residential zone of Rafah alone. The great wasteland covered many acres of what used to be Palestinian neighborhoods. In all, an estimated 2,000-3,000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed to create the Philadelphi corridor, making tens of thousands of Palestinians homeless.

Dr. Dienst and I asked to be taken to the location where American peace activist Rachel Corrie was crushed and killed by an Israeli bulldozer in March of 2003. The local police had some difficulty identifying the site. The streets and alleyways and block after block of residential buildings were all gone and they could hardly recognize the site after recent rains. The ruin wreaked upon Gaza is justified by Israeli and American spokespersons as a necessary part of the “war on terror.” I had seen photos and read many articles about the destruction, but I failed to fully grasp the damage that had been done before seeing Rafah.

Finally, after finding the site of Corrie’s death, the heavily armed security detail asked to have a photo taken with Dr. Dienst and me. They don’t want Rachel Corrie, or themselves, to be forgotten.



In other towns in Gaza, I was impressed to see municipal workers repairing power and telephone lines and cleaning streets. Public employees had not been paid for more than eight months. Having served in local government during recovery from a major earthquake in my home town, I was left shaking my head at the thought of how very long it would take to repair the infrastructure of Gaza. And at what great price. How will Gaza ever recover?

At one point during the summer of 2006, Israeli over flights created round-the-clock sonic booms. Air strikes also destroyed Gaza’s only power station, a single act reducing available electricity to Gaza by more than 65% and crippling water and sewer treatment facilities. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reportedly commented to his cabinet, “No one in Gaza should sleep,” and “Nobody dies from not having electricity.” During the fall of 2006, relief and human rights organizations began to protest the onset of malnutrition and hunger and the impact of acute stress and trauma, especially on children. An adviser to Olmert responded, “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”

People in Gaza clearly understand that their suffering is not accidentally caused by IDF operations to stamp out terrorism. The IDF imposes deprivation, suffering and death on the civilian population Gaza -- “collateral damage” from an intentional strategy to punish the people for a majority electing Hamas to head the Palestinian Authority and for continuing violence by extremist factions beyond the control of the PA or the IDF.

Such comments by Israel’s leaders are outrageous, if not obscene. Yet they are digested without comment by mainstream newspaper editorial writers in the USA. Even the most progressive of anti-war American elected officials gladly fund Israel’s military and in doing so underwrite the horrendous and illegal practice of collective punishment. On its own, the Bush Administration raises only the most muted objections to Israeli atrocities and most often exercises its veto to stifle international objections. Our nation is not directly involved in inflicting punishment on families, neighborhoods and entire cities in Gaza. But we defend, support and pay for an Israeli policy of collective punishment, even though penalizing an occupied civilian population is illegal according to international humanitarian law and the Geneva Accords, to which both Israel and the USA are signatories.

So too, when the IDF rounded up and handcuffed more than 4,000 men from 16 to 45 years of age from Beit Hanoun, held and interrogated them in a makeshift detention camp on the beach by Beit Lahiya, Israel counted on the United States’ looking the other way.

According to US and Israeli spokespersons, the civilian population of Gaza is being deprived of food and water and basic services to force a change in the Palestinian government from Hamas to one more amenable to the wishes of Israel and the USA. Israel’s gratuitous destruction of Gaza’s public infrastructure is considered fair game. The USA and Israel are now actively fomenting civil war among the Palestinians as an explicit means of achieving the goal of bringing down Hamas. The American public is comforted by the reassuring notion that the “clashes” and “accidents” are inevitable outcomes of Israel fighting a war for its very survival, as part of the global war against terror.

But is not part of Tucholsky’s point that nations should be judged by the consequences of their actions, not only by their intentions?

When we talked my first afternoon in Gaza, Doctor Dienst described his last several nights there. Each night soon after 11:00 p.m., he explained, Israeli helicopters slid down the Mediterranean coast and positioned themselves above one of the teeming refugee camps or crowded towns of Gaza. From the safety of their perch in the sky, the helicopters pummeled Palestinian houses, reducing concrete block homes up to four or five stories high to a pile of rubble. Palestinian homes in Gaza typically house several generations and a dozen or more members of a Palestinian family. The house represents the accumulated wealth of the extended family. Israeli artillery may be employed from just outside the narrow breadth of Gaza to do the demolition. At other times, the Israelis send in ground forces with tanks and Caterpillar D9 armored bulldozers. Destruction of a house may be part of targeting a “wanted” person. Demolition of houses is also a favored form of collective “punishment” imposed on the extended families of those Palestinians accused of being “terrorists,” or “militants,” depending on one’s point of view. In either case, by what right is such a heavy penalty inflicted on a person’s family and neighbors?

“Just step out on your balcony,” Dienst encouraged me. “You can watch the fireworks from there.”

That night, I left the window in my hotel room overlooking the beach open so that any shooting would wake me up. I slept the night undisturbed, however, and asked at breakfast what had happened. I learned that a remarkable act of nonviolent civilian resistance had deterred the nightly Israeli assault. In order to reduce civilian casualties, the Israelis have made phone calls to warn residents that their home will soon be destroyed. Sometimes people are told the demolition will occur the next day. Other times the family has thirty minutes or less to remove items of value from their home before it is flattened. All the inhabitants may flee immediately, not knowing when a rocket might strike. There are reports of families that received the warning call and then nothing happens. They are left uncertain if they are victims of a malicious prank or if it is in fact safe to return to their home.

The night of my visit to Gaza, hundreds of unarmed Palestinians thwarted the IDF’s announced plans to destroy a residence in Jebaliya. Jebaliya is the world’s largest permanent refugee camp with 100,000 residents packed into a little more than 1/2-square mile. Several dozen people swarmed onto the roof while hundreds of women surrounded the targeted building. When Israeli helicopters arrived and surveyed the scene, they decided against an attack. A slew of civilian casualties would not look so good following international outrage about the Beit Hanoun massacre not two weeks earlier.

According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, “the IDF counter terrorist operation had to be canceled due to the proximity of the civilians -- demonstrating vividly that the Palestinians know that Israel values their lives more than the Palestinian terrorists do.” This statement, while it plays well in the American press, would sound odd to the Palestinian residents of Gaza that had suffered nearly 200 civilian fatalities and seen thousands made homeless and tens of thousands traumatized by Israeli forces in the preceding four months.

I met some of those made homeless when I visited the remains of the 800 year old al Nasr Mosque in Beit Hanoun. An Israeli ground force was pursuing up to 15 targeted Palestinians who sought refuge inside the mosque. Several hundred unarmed women surrounded the mosque and successfully prevented the IDF from capturing or killing the fighters. According to Israeli officials, the militants had fired at troops from inside the mosque. At some point, the crowd surged towards the Israeli soldiers who fired and killed two women and wounded dozens more. The Israelis then retreated and the men escaped.

But the victory was short-lived. Israeli forces returned and demolished the mosque, leaving only the minaret in tact. They also demolished several nearby houses where military authorities said weapons were found. 40 people were made homeless, including several women who sat speechless on the rubble of their homes or wept staring inconsolably at the ground as I approached the scene.

I cannot imagine the circumstances in which people of the United States would accept destruction of homes because a family member was accused (not even convicted) of planning to commit a crime orcommitting a crime. Imagine forcing a familly member or an entire family to pay for a crime or alleged crime, about which that person may not even have been aware or over which they had no control. Under any circumstances, American homes would have numbers of weapons. And, if American homes were threatened with widespread and arbitrary demolition by a foreign power, Americans might well be ready to use those weapons.

Acts of unarmed civilian resistance by Palestinians, such as surrounding the mosque and defending the home in Gaza, are something altogether different. The instances mentioned were just two of many examples of imaginative and courageous active nonviolence which I saw or learned about. I visited several promising community projects in Beit Hanoun, Jebaliya, and Rafah: an employment center for female victims of domestic violence, cultural centers, hospitals, health clinics and schools. People continue to nurture a civil society in Palestinian areas, what Gandhi would call “constructive works,” despite the formidable obstacles they face and the repeated disruption of their activities. The range of Palestinian nonviolence stretches from daily constructive work in building and strengthening civil society, to persistent advocacy of human rights and democracy and to dramatic acts of popular resistance.

Still, the decision of unarmed civilians to defend a threatened home is as much as anything an act of despair in the face of indifference by the United States and the world to what is happening in Gaza. So too, Palestinian paramilitary groups continue firing rockets for the media and psychological impact as much as for any actual damage done. The difference is, I think, that the futile military gestures further delegitimized the Palestinians’ standing in world opinion and undercut Israeli peace forces. The nonviolent acts of resistance, on the other hand, bolster the Palestinians’ legal and moral case and strengthen allies in Israel and abroad.

Word of the the bold and successful nonviolent intervention to save the house spread like wildfire through Gaza and the international media. Unfortunately, neither the ongoing overwhelming military assault on the civilian population of Gaza nor the brave acts of popular defiance undertaken by its people are widely noted or discussed in the American press.

Palestinians were troubled when a prominent international human rights organization declared that the use of “human shields” to protect “suspected militants’ homes” in Gaza was a war crime. I wondered how a civilian home, perhaps even a house belonging to an extended family of a person targeted for assassination or accused of crimes, had become a legitimate military target?

Why would an international human rights organization condemn the desperate act of unarmed civilians attempting to stop the wanton destruction of their homes and families?

The Israeli military carries on its deadly work in Gaza with little or no interference from other nations. For their part, the Palestinians will use tactics such as swarming threatened targets with unarmed civilians again, if only because they have no military force capable of stopping the Israeli juggernaut. So I wasn’t surprised when a second house was saved from demolition by similar mass civilian action in Gaza a few days later.

On the other hand, these tactics confront the Israelis with a very tough choice. Their tactics must either risk injury or death of its soldiers by sending in ground forces to effect the demolitions, or use artillery or rockets without warning or despite the presence of many civilians. The likely result in the latter case would be far more civilian casualties. Few observers expect that the Israelis are willing to foreswear their widespread practice of collective punishment and home demolitions. The growing nonviolent action may well have contributed nevertheless to Israel’s recent decision to enter into a cease-fire in Gaza. Hopefully negotiations will get back on track. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, short of genocide or enthnic cleansing, does not lend itself to a military solution.

Those few people in the US who have given it any thought at all, seem to accept the PR spin that Israel has “disengaged” or withdrawn from Gaza. “Clashes” are portrayed as battles between two warring parties. The reality is that Israel continues to exercise systematic and comprehensive control of nearly every aspect of Palestinian life in Gaza.

A Palestinian college professor whom I met in Gaza, for example, has been married to a South African woman for a decade. His wife can only join him in Gaza on a three-month tourist visa like the one that I receive when visiting. More than a year after Israel's “disengagement” from Gaza, Israeli authorities still won’t let his wife live permanently in Gaza. The alternative, from the Israeli viewpoint of course, is that the husband is welcome to join his wife outside of Palestine. He is free to join the ranks of Palestinians who finally give up and leave, permanently forfeiting the possibility of returning to their homes and families.

Preventing a married couple from living together is a small, perhaps banal, example of Israel’s continuing domination of Gaza. The IDF also controls the air over Gaza, the length of its borders with Israel and Egypt, and the waters of the Mediterranean coast. Israeli naval forces make certain that Palestinians do not fish more than a few hundred yards from the shore. Commercial crossings from Gaza into Israel were closed about 20% of the time before official “disengagement.” Since August 2005 the commercial border crossings have been closed 60% of the time, devastating Palestinian commerce. Israel controls most water and all electricity in the Palestinian area.

The Israeli military enters Gaza at will to demolish homes and other buildings, to impose curfews, enforce economic sanctions, and to assassinate those they consider a threat. All of these actions converge create a severe humanitarian crisis, political despair and widespread hopelessness in Gaza. The desperate situation of Gaza, if anything, only justifies continuing rocket attacks on Israel in the eyes of many Palestinians.

As I was driven back to the Erez border crossing to exit Gaza, a white shape hanging in the blue sky over the northernmost border with Israel caught my eye. It was a pilot-less lighter-than-air balloo. I remarked that at home, such balloons advertise a car sale or boost a furniture store’s perennial going-out-of-business closeout. In Gaza, however, this and several other balloons remotely surveil the activities of Palestinians below. The balloons provide direction for military assaults by Israeli forces into the Palestinian territories trapped within the separation barrier built by Israel.



For nearly six decades of belligerent military occupation of Gaza, the Israeli military has assaulted, degraded and destroyed the private property and public infrastructure of Gaza. They have pursued this course with virtual impunity. These practices are routine, despite the so-called Israeli “disengagement” in August of 2005. The Gazans have no effective means of self-defense. Ongoing Israeli offensives have flattened Palestinian police stations and jails, destroyed vehicles and decimated security forces. Palestinian law enforcement agencies have no weaponry or personnel capable of counteracting Israel’s tanks, artillery, aircraft and its overwhelming force of men under arms.

Meanwhile, the international community does little or nothing to stop ongoing attacks on Gaza. It’s almost impossible to get into Gaza to witness what is going on. When the United Nations finally takes action, the USA wields its veto power to shield Israel from any sanctions or its economic and diplomatic might to minimize international pressure.

When looking at the ruins of al Nasr Mosque in Beit Hanoun, several Palestinians whose homes had been bulldozed beseeched me to tell others “in America” what had happened to them. They demonstrated a widespread and seemingly irrepressible faith among Palestinians. So many Palestinians entreat visitors to carry the message of what they have seen back to their countrymen. If Americans only knew what was going on in Gaza, then surely we would stop sending the weapons that Israel uses to control and attack the civilian Palestinian population.

I didn’t have the heart – or the courage – to explain that most Americans simply don’t care to know what is done with our money or what is made possible by our nation’s diplomatic and economic support of Israel.

Or, if Americans do know, they don’t care enough to do anything about what is going on in places like Gaza.

Many otherwise thoughtful people in the United States, people with a demonstrated commitment to human rights and social justice, defend whatever actions Israel may take. They back Israel regardless of international law and despite the devastating consequences for a defenseless civilian population of Palestinians in Gaza. Glib slogans are offered in defense of actions that they would not support or want to pay for anywhere else. This degree of indifference is constructed through a concerted effort to prevent the American public from really knowing what is going on.

Whatever the case, the United States sends $10 million a day to Israel. Our support and tolerance of what goes on there flows essentially unchallenged through Congress and unnoticed by the public.

Kurt Tucholsky says a country “should be judged ... by what it tolerates.” If that be true, in light of what I saw happening in Gaza, the United States and all of us who live, vote or pay taxes here, have a lot to answer for.


[Scott Kennedy coordinates the Middle East Program of the Resource Center for Nonviolence in Santa Cruz, California. He was elected to three terms on the Santa Cruz City Council and served twice as mayor. Kennedy was elected national chairman of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and founded and chaired the FOR's Middle East Task Force. He has traveled to the Mid East four dozen times since 1968 and most recently in November 2006 when he co-led a delegation for the Interfaith Peace-Builders http://www.interfaithpeacebuilders.org. Contact: kenncruz [at] pacbell.net]



§Beit Hanoun Bridge
by Scott Kennedy Sunday Dec 31st, 2006 7:47 PM
bridge_2.jpg
The major bridge connecting Beit Hanoun to the primary border crossing between Gaza and Israel, damaged by Israeli rockets. (Photo by Scott Kennedy)
§Demolished Palestinian Homes, Rafah
by Scott Kennedy Sunday Dec 31st, 2006 7:47 PM
homesdestroyed.jpg
Homes demolished by Israeli forces in Rafah, southernmost area of Gaza. (Photo by Scott Kennedy)
§Shrapnel "Made in USA"
by Scott Kennedy Sunday Dec 31st, 2006 7:48 PM
metal_usa.jpg
Shrapnel removed at Al Awda hospital in the Jebaliya Refugee Camp, Gaza, from a patient's abdomen. The marking "Made in USA" and serial number 9633 are clearly visible on the twisted metal. (Photo by Scott Kennedy)
§Sewer system damaged by Israeli tanks in Beit Hanoun
by Scott Kennedy Sunday Dec 31st, 2006 7:48 PM
rubble.jpg
Extensive damage was caused to Gaza's public infrastructure during Israel's occupation of Beit Hanoun. Sewage pipes beneath the streets damaged by tank treads. (Photo by Scott Kennedy)
§All bridges in Gaza destroyed
by Scott Kennedy Sunday Dec 31st, 2006 7:48 PM
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Israeli forces destroyed this bridge on the major north-south highway in Gaza. (Photo by Scott Kennedy)
§Philadelphia Corridor, Gaza/Egypt Border
by Scott Kennedy Sunday Dec 31st, 2006 7:48 PM
rafah.jpg
Palestinian police and a Palestine Authority security detail accompany Scott Kennedy in the Tel al Sultan neighborhood near the wall with Egypt on Gaza Strip's southernmost border. Israeli forces have destroyed 700 homes in the Tel al Sultan secton of the Philadelphi Corridor, a 100-200 meter wide swath along the Egyptian border with a metal and concrete wall that divides the City of Rafah in half. (Photo by Bill Dienst)
§Site of Rachel Corrie's Death
by Scott Kennedy Sunday Dec 31st, 2006 7:48 PM
rc_groupshot.jpg
Dr. William Dienst (third from left) and Scott Kennedy accompanied by Palestinian security detail on the site of Rachel Corrie's death, Rafah, Gaza Strip.
§Home demolished by al Nasr Mosque
by Scott Kennedy Sunday Dec 31st, 2006 7:48 PM
woman_home.jpg
A woman sits upon the rubble of her home destroyed next to the al-Nasr Mosque in Jebaliya Refugee Camp, Gaza Strip. Israeli officials said weapons were found in the three homes destroyed along with the 800 year old mosque. (Photo by Scott Kennedy)
§Child wounded in Beit Hanoun Massacre
by Scott Kennedy Sunday Dec 31st, 2006 7:48 PM
wounded_girl.jpg
This young girl survived the Beit Hanoun shelling, though her forehead and neck had shrapnel cuts and brusiing. (Photo by Scott Kennedy)
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