Normalcy follows terror

The sky is blue, the sun is shining this morning in Gaza, and it seems from our house that everything has returned to normal.  Can’t believe normalcy follows the terror from last night.

My Palestinian family and I were up until very late (after 3 AM) because there were bomb blasts in every direction every few minutes.   I was trying to tweet and post on Facebook as much as I could because I think Americans and Westerners want to know about what’s going on here, and their media is failing them.

An interactive map of Gaza will help friends and family visualize this small territory under assault.  I’m currently living in the north in Gaza City near the university.

I’m not a professional journalist and won’t be traveling to the sites of the attacks and won’t be taking photos of victims.  I’m sitting at home and watching and listening and waiting and hoping that everyone I have met in Gaza over the past 7 weeks are safe.  They are not abstractions to me.

I suspect if the Israeli soldiers (forget Netanyahu, he is hopeless) could meet and drink coffee with some of the Palestinians in Gaza their own age, they would find this assault on Gaza is not antiseptic.  They are destroying lives of people who have the same dreams the IDF soldiers have.

Last night was particularly terrifying for me, an American who has never lived or visited a war zone.

The bomb blasts were louder, they were closer than on previous nights.  They shook the building I’m living in.  And they continued one after the other without a break.  I suspect my neighborhood near the university did not witness the same intensity of attacks as other parts of Gaza City, but it did get very close to home.  Two blasts hit a building in the next block and the blast sent a ball of red-orange flames up into the sky that reached our windows.

==== more blasts just now, further away, ambulance sirens ====

Israel and the US have designated Hamas a terror organization but as I sit in Gaza and listen to the indiscriminate bombing, I wonder who is terrorizing whom.  Some examples:

President Obama authorizes drone strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan killing innocent bystanders, including women and children.  Is President Obama a terrorist?  Are the soldiers sitting in Nevada or Utah working the controls terrorists?

Netanyahu’s drones, F-16s and bombs strike Gaza indiscriminately.  Don’t believe those media reports that claim these attacks are targeted with precision.  They are not.    As of this morning, there are 20 casualties in Gaza, including 8 children, a pregnant woman, and 2 elderly men and more than 235 injured.  Is Netanyahu a terrorist?

I can hear some family and friends already responding — “but what about the families in southern Israel who have lived under the threat of rockets from Gaza militants?  Aren’t the militants terrorists?”

Of course, anyone who must live under the threat of death and destruction will feel terror.  And I will not fall into the trap of trying to size up who are the biggest terrorists to roam the Middle East.   (I dreamed of castration last night, so maybe I’m a terrorist too.)

The western media is notorious for its spinning of the narrative so that western audiences see black and white but not the truth.  If westerners don’t understand the Occupation, the history of the Occupati0n, the responsibilities of the Occupying power under international law, and the impact that 60+ years of Occupati0n has had on Palestinians, then they can’t possibly understand the terror of the current assault on Gaza.

Most of the internationals and NGO workers have left Gaza this week to safer ground.  1.6 million Palestinians cannot leave, and many would not leave despite Israel’s desire to force them out.

Israel’s military might is unparalleled in the region, thanks to the $3 BILLION that American taxpayers send annually.  To call this assault on Gaza a “war” is a gross exaggeration.  Even though I’m hearing that Palestinian rockets have hit as far away as Tel Aviv (and possibly Jerusalem this morning?), there is no comparison between the capacity of the two sides to wage a war.  Stop kidding yourselves.  If Israel wants a war, then someone needs to arm the Palestinians accordingly.

The electricity will go off shortly. I’m going to post this and will follow-up later.


Filed under Gaza, Israel, Israel Defense Forces, Media

10 responses to “Normalcy follows terror

  1. Lora, I’ve just shared your post on my Facebook page, and have asked others to do so, too. I am grateful for you sharing your journey in Gaza, and for shedding light on the nature of this massacre. I will hold a clear desire and definite vision for peace and resolution between the people in that region, and will pray on it everyday. And if you help me with the verbiage, I will start a petition online, that I will ensure is delivered to President Obama.

  2. I just want to thank you for using your blog to share your views, since you are literally in the middle of it, right now. This is what the new media is about. Thank you again for having this blog up. Your POV is needed as well. Peace to you.

  3. Mary Wilson

    Lora–We value your honest reporting from Gaza. Please keep on telling us exactly what you see and feel about the situation there. And be safe. Mary Wilson from Albuquerque

  4. Steven Farber

    Perhaps you will comment on this execution in the streets of Gaza as you report on the events in Gaza.

    The New York Times

    November 16, 2012
    Suspected Collaborator with Israel Executed on Gaza Street

    GAZA — Masked gunmen in Gaza summarily executed a man here on Friday as a suspected collaborator with Israel on the third day of its deadly aerial bombardments, shooting him multiple times and leaving his body beneath a billboard featuring a Hamas fighter holding a rocket.

    The executed man, identified as Ashraf Ouaida, had a poster hung around his neck accusing him of cooperating with the Israelis in the killing of 15 Palestinian leaders.

    Wael Mohammed, a taxi driver who was standing on the steps of the Aman Mosque in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City, said that around 11:45 a.m. he saw a Jeep pull up on Al Jalla Street, from which two masked men dragged Mr. Ouaida to the dirt circle under the Hamas billboard.

    “They took him out from the Jeep with his hands cuffed behind his back, they pushed him under the poster and fired three gunshots at his head from the back,” Mr. Mohammed said. “He was still alive. Then they set his cuffs free and turned him upside down and fired on him again.”

    One of the gunmen, Mr. Mohammed said, hung a poster in which Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility and cited Mr. Ouaida’s alleged crimes.

    By noon, at least 100 men and boys, some carrying prayer mats, had gathered around Mr. Ouaida’s body, covering his bloodied head with a plastic sheet. He was wearing blue pants and a black zip-up sweatshirt and his feet were bare, and one dusty sandal sat by his hand. Another 15 minutes elapsed before an ambulance took him away.

    The brazen nature of the execution suggested that Hamas, which governs Gaza, intended it as a blunt message to other possible collaborators with Israel, which is believed to have an extensive network of informants here as part of its underlying battle with the group. But the shooting evoked mixed feelings.

    “There were kids and children on the street,” said the witness, Mr. Mohammed. “They should have executed him in a far place.”

    A spokeswoman for the Independent Commission for Human Rights, the Palestinian Authority’s watchdog agency that monitors prosecutions of suspected collaborators with Israel, said the group had no record of Mr. Ouaida having ever been arrested or sentenced to death.

    Even if he had been, she noted, such an execution should be carried out by the government after a trial, not handled summarily on the street.

    More in Middle East (3 of 29 articles)
    Bolder Hamas Tests Alliances in a Shifting Arab World

    Read More »

    • This is horrible …. and there are not words strong enough to condemn this summary execution.

      I wish I could find words to explain the indiscriminate slaughter and butchery that Israeli is currently inflicting on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

      Killing at close range or from a plane up in the air …. both are reprehensible and need to be condemned.

      Maybe there is too much testosterone in the world.

  5. You have a great blog. It is very interesting to get an American’s perspective from inside Gaza. It’s a story we don’t hear from our media. Keep up the writing and stay safe!!

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