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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Carnage à Gaza, les civils pris pour cibles

by Testimony by "Zoher", as recorded by Pierre Barbancey

"It’s Hell, here", says a Palestinian civilian

Bloody events in Gaza, civilians targeted

Translated Friday 2 January 2009, by Henry Crapo

Palestine. Fearing Israeli reprisals, Zoher prefers not to give his name. From his village of Abassane, in Gaza, he bears witness to aerial attacks that kill indiscriminately.

"Saturday, at about 11 o’clock in the morning, children were leaving school. They were on the streets of the neighborhood. They heard bombardment that became more and more intense. Shortly thereafter, we heard reports that the infrastructures of Hamas and also of the police had been targeted. The children leaving school were literally dying of fear. They began to shout, to cry. Women came out of the houses, shouting also. They ran in the streets, searching for their children."

"It’s yet another catastrophe, like at Deir Yassine (a massacre perpetrated by the Zionist forces who killed more than 120 persons in April 1948 in a village near Jerusalem) or in Beirut in 1982. What is happening is simply unbelievable. You can’t imagine it. It is contrary to humanity. They bomb without thinking. They say they are not bombing civilians, but that is not true. Today, on Sunday, and during the previous night, they never stopped. This morning, in Rafah, they even bombed a hangar in which medicine was stored. I saw the flames that enveloped the building. It was not a military site, it was civilian. There were no rockets inside. They hit a petroleum tank truck filled with inflammable materials."

Zoher continues: "In Gaza, you know, it’s not like at your home in France or in other European countries. We don’t have the equipment and the means to put out these fires. When it exploded, the truck set the nearby houses on fire, and there were many wounded. I heard on the radio that the Israeli say they are only killing people in the Hamas organization. This is not true. They hit anybody, and anything that moves."

"Before the bombardments, there was a cease-fire between Hamas and the Israeli. The Israeli never stopped bombing and killing Palestinians. Forty-nine Palestinians, including seven children, were killed in the West Bank region and in Gaza during the six months of cease-fire. What are we supposed to do? It’s always the same way. When the violence lets up on our side, we gain nothing, or it means some additional dead on our side."

"I’m not in Hamas, and I didn’t vote for them. But I’m Palestinian. The Hamas observed a truce for six months, and what did they gain? Nothing. Even if I’m not in Hamas, I have to tell the truth. It’s the Israeli who benefitted. During the cease-fire we continued to undergo a blockade. We had no gas, no electricity, no medicine. The passages between Gaza and the rest of the world are closed. It’s just one big prison. We don’t even have a present, let alone a future. If you have a present, you can eat, you can wash, you can go out. We have nothing. Gaza is a closed place, blocked. We’re encircled by the Israeli. There is no way out. Even to the sea, we have no access. It is closed in our face. There is nothing. Gaza is a dead land. If the countries of the world have no place for their dead, they can bring them here, to Gaza. I have lived elsewhere, in many other countries, but I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s a hard life. Even in Africa you don’t see a situation like this."

It’s our land, and we’re staying"

"The European governments know, nevertheless, what the terms "human rights", "liberty", "humanity" mean. They never stop talking about them. They know what the words "children", "woman", "man" mean. But I don’t believe they’re going to do anything. But perhaps if their peoples demonstrate, they may begin to budge. If only they would help us to bring in the flour for our food, the wheat for our bread."

"The problem is that the other countries, European or Arab, do nothing. They must intervene. This is not a war against another military force, it’s a war against humanity. What is there in Gaza. There are locally-produced missiles. No comparison with the F-16 fighter aircraft and the Israeli missiles. It’s a war against a civilian population. This is outlawed by international law. Barak says he’s going to continue his attack on Gaza, by air and by land. But if I look around me in my village, in my neighborhood, I see that the men are not afraid, despite the great difference between the Israeli army and our resistance. We are not afraid because this is our country, this is our land, and we will resist."

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