Finding The Right Words For Gaza

So far, some 37 Palestinians have been killed in four days (i.e. since Bush’s visit to Israel), in an Israeli attempt to end the launching of rockets into its territory. Over 200 rockets have been launched since the seige began. Two Israeli injuries were reported. These homemade rockets have in fact killed 12 Israelis, in the past 6 years. Conversely, almost 700 Palestinians, including 224 civilians (78 of them children) have been killed by Israeli extra-judicial executions during the same period.

Meanwhile, it’s January, so it’s very cold. Nothing is allowed to go in or out of Gaza including food, fuel, medicine or aid. The power plant was forced to shut down. A stubborn Israel squares off with a stubborn Hamas. Sigh. Finding the right word or words to describe the situation in Gaza is too difficult. So I’ll let these people do it:

“At least 800,000 people are now in darkness.” – Derar Abu Sissi, general director of the Gaza power plant.

“Not comfortable but not a humanitarian crisis” – Shlomo Dror, a spokesman for Israel’s defence ministry, describing the power station.

“The ball is in their court…If they stop the rockets today, everything would go back to normal.” – Arye Mekel, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman.

”We have the choice to either cut electricity on babies in the maternity ward or heart surgery patients or stop operating rooms,” – Health Ministry official Dr. Moaiya Hassanain warning that the fuel cutoff would cause a health catastrophe.

“We will not raise the white flag and we will not surrender.” – Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri insisting that Hamas’ attacks on Israel would not cease because of the sanctions.

“In exercising their right to self-defence, we encourage Israel, as we do with our own armed forces — to make every effort to avoid any harm to civilians,” – US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

“You must be on the ground for days and weeks to begin to appreciate the full horror of the situation,” – John Ging, the Gaza director of the UNRWA.

“We want peace. We have nothing to do with this. Israel has the technology to separate those who are firing the rockets and those who are not.” – Gaza resident, Amar Rahal, who lost his mother and brother to an Israeli missile targeting the car of a rocket-launching crew.

“It’s unacceptable that people in [the southern Israeli town of] Sderot should live in fear every day while people in the Gaza Strip are living life as usual,” – Shlomo Dror, spokesman for the Israel’s defense ministry.

“We can’t guarantee the quality of work,” – Gravedigger, Anwar Dramleh, commenting on how cement that they once used to build graves has run out, with gravediggers now resorting to bathroom tile grout.


“The suicide bomber has been arrested by internal security.” – Former interior minister Said Siam on Hamas foiling a Fatah assassination attempt on prime minister Ismail Haniya.

“Fatah has not and will not use weapons for killings and assassinations in the context of the internal situation. This culture of blood was not in the Palestinian political system before the arrival of Hamas.” – Fatah spokesman Fahmi Zaarir rejecting the allegations.


  • Its not internal strife, its not the rockets launched, its not hamas, its not Fateh, its the Occupation…its the occupation its the occupation, its the bottom line,
    this has been going on for decades… do not forget …..its the occupation.

  • God be with them… Our families… Our flesh & blood… I was wondering yesterday and trying to figure out the type of the relation between Bush and the Arab world leaders! I don’t know… How stupid and rude to take someone in your arms, and treat him with maximum hospitality, while he is killing your family… Can’t anyone just say no? It is shame on us eating while our families are starving, resting in warmth while they suffer cold, sleeping in comfort while they are wakeful in horror, it is shame on us living while they are being killed…

  • as markus said .. its not about hamas or rockets or whatever .. it is about “resistance is not allowed” .. you either be our bitches or we’ll kill you ..

    there is a strategic decision to erase any resistance in the middle east i.e. anyone not willing to be US / Israel’s bitch ..

  • Markus: I agree. The occupation is always the underlying factor that dominates everything. But it’s a factor that’s often lost to the more immediate elements. Elements that are of course, all outcomes of the occupation.

    Awartany: I don’t have an answer to your question but I suppose it has a lot to do with who has the power and who doesn’t and thus needs to shut up.

    Mo: leaders aside, that would be much of the arab world’s population. they have a lot of erasing to do.

  • “The suicide bomber has been arrested by internal security.” – Former interior minister Said Siam on Hamas foiling a Fatah assassination attempt on prime minister Ismail Haniya.

    That’s hilarious… I am surprised the ‘suicide bomber’ did not accuse Abbas himself of sending him 😀

    “Fatah has not and will not use weapons for killings and assassinations in the context of the internal situation. This culture of blood was not in the Palestinian political system before the arrival of Hamas.” – Fatah spokesman Fahmi Zaarir rejecting the allegations.

    Very true. Fatah ideology does not promote blowing yourself up … resist and fight your enemy and if you happen to die, you die fighting … they were never proponents of ‘suicide bombings.’

    You know what, sometimes I feel a civil war is not such a bad idea after all!

  • If I were a Zionist…what is happening in Palestine would be a dream come true…..The right word for Gaza today is bankruptcy….of all…the Palestinians as well as the Arabs….A big shame….and shame on us all!!!!!!

  • Naseem, as usual: extraordinary mix of writing and reporting.

    We have always lacked trans arab plan to fight Israel in all fields, starting from military and ending by social front.. It always heats up in time of extreme crisis such as Gaza at the moment.

    If Hammas has any idea about the best of the palestinian people, they would reconsider current policies to at least sustain the people for future endeavors when the terms are in our favor, better than proud rockets doing nothing… and I do not want to go to the extent that Hammas is no more than a tool, or even worse by implying that they are willing to do anything for their greed to power..

    God be with Gaza, and God would not look after arabs if they do not start looking after themselves and consider their own future.

  • nas .. yes well what do you think is easier .. to do all that erasing or to support a dictator who will make sure that they are kept in the barn?

    btw iman, fatah has carried out plenty of “suicide bombings” in the past several years.

  • mo, are you referring to those carried out by al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades? This group is linked to fatah but by no means representative of it…

  • anyway you know what i mean by resistance ..
    a stand-in by the naqabit il muhandiseen is not resistance ..
    i’m talking about the people who actually stand in the way of the “new middle east” ..

  • aha .. ok .. well not like it’s a bad thing .. it’s not something to be ashamed of .. imo anyway.

    “linked to fateh”? .. i could shrug that off as mere semantics .. but ok i will play along .. can you explain what you mean by “linked to fateh”?

    and if you don’t mind me asking .. who is representative of fatah in your opinion?
    abu mazen?

  • People in Gaza have a choice now:persuade Hamas et al to stop firing Qassam rockets over the border targetting civilian Israeli communities or face the consequences.Why Israel still now supplies 70% of Gaza’s electric and water whilst the Palestinians are firing rockets is beyond me.

    King Hussein took stern action against Palestinian terrorism in 1970 killing thousands of Palestinians.

  • A: if Israel no longer wants to supply Gaza with water or Gaza then it is free to do so by giving them decent warning and allowing them to control Gaza’s borders and to bring in water and gas from Egypt, but to deny them both options is murder pure and simple.
    King Hussain has nothing to do with this, at was a civil war against the PLO and not against ‘Palestinian terrorism’ (no such words were ever used) and whatever happened ended right then and there more than 30 years ago, you are fooling no-one with silly smokescreens and irrelevent comparisons – its like a suicide bomber justifying his actions by saying more Jews were killed by Germans than by Palestinians!
    Finally, when will Israel learn that its policy of 10 eyes for every eyelash has only ended up created a very angry population with nothing to lose, people in Israel have a choice: either accept that the Palestinians are human being with equal rights and that the Israeli occupation is inhuman and must end NOW, or live for the rest of their lives as citizens of a pariah state surrounded by neighbors who despise it and will work until the end of time for its destruction – remember the crusader states took 250 years to be destroyed, we’ve still got time.

  • Yes abo mazen represents the majority of fateh, represents the longest in term revolution which started before 1967 with what all this means.

    The new groups object to the centralized decision making that was imposed by Arafat through out the decades. The new groups are against opposing Fateh directly due to new strategies followed by the top command, as Fateh remains to be the widest and original representation. They choose to carry on with the militant guerilla warfare.

Your Two Piasters: