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World

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Prof de français à Gaza, il témoigne

by Ziad Medouk, Palestinian teacher, as communicated to Hassane Zerrouky

A Teacher of French in Gaza Witnesses the Bombardment

Translated Sunday 4 January 2009, by Henry Crapo

Ziad Medouk tells of the blind Israeli bombardment of all sorts of targets and the climate of terror it is creating for a population taking refuge in whatever shelter they can find.

Ziad Medouk is teacher of French in Gaza. Having received a grant from the French government and a visa delivered by the French consul in Jerusalem, he was unable to travel to France last October because the Israeli authorities prevented him from leaving Gaza. He managed to reach us, yesterday morning, in an email that is a veritable distress call. We reproduce it in its entirety below. Then we reached him by telephone. He testifies.

"Israel claims that their target is Hamas. Then why is it that on Sunday they bombarded the Faraya prison in Gaza, where they know — and moreover everyone knows — that the Fatah militants of Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian militants opposed to Hamas are detained. Of course this building did shelter a Hamas building, but I ask myself whether Israel didn’t try to profit from the situation to rid itself also of prisoners opposed to Hamas. In any case, the population didn’t take kindly to the fact that Hamas did not decide to free these prisoners, once the air strikes began."

Yesterday, the whole night, the bombardment continued. They were more and more intense. The Israeli army is in the process of destroying Gaza, they bomb everything: houses, stores, and warehouses are destroyed. We don’t sleep any more. Especially the children (Ziad has four children) . This morning (Tuesday) sixteen missiles fell on the city in less than an hour. The complex housing the Ministries of Labor, of Finance, of Public Works, and Interior are largely destroyed. The day before, it was the Islamic University that was hit by several missiles. Five of the fifteen buildings were completely destroyed. Al-Aqsa University, where I work, situated nearby, was also damaged. Happily there were no students there, but some guardians and employees. Here, also, why target an educational complex? In what sense is it a menace to Israel?

The streets are empty. No one goes out, and if one does, it’s to go to the cemetery to bury one’s neighbors and friends, or to find provisions. Because of the week-long strike that everyone observed, but mainly because of the bombardment, nobody goes to work. Only the medical and nursing professions, the ambulance drivers and civil protection personnel are active. They are overwhelmed by the situation, and, despite being aided by the population, they don’t manage to do what would be necessary. The hospitals and health centers, open day and night, are overwhelmed. Ambulances and personal vehicles are continually coming and going. Adults, children, bloody bodies, are dropped off. There are more than 400 dead and 2,000 hospitalized wounded (those who have minor wounds are not counted, and return to their homes after first aid).

Businesses and stores are closed. Only the bakeries are open. Early in the morning, despite the bombs, long waiting lines form. Bread is rationed, and is becoming scarce. Everything is lacking, especially medicine and milk products for the children, and milk itself is becoming scarce.

Don’t believe the images projected by Israeli propaganda affirming that trucks carrying merchandise are permitted to enter Gaza. From yesterday to today, the Israeli army permitted four semi-trailers to pass! There were 300 per day prior to June 2007 when the Israeli blockade of Gaza began. Do you think that four trucks are enough to feed one and a half million inhabitants? It’s atrocious, it’s horrible how we are living. And all that the international community finds to say is that Israel has the right to defend itself! Against whom? The blockade, which was more a military siege, and these bombardments, are nothing other than a war against the Palestinian people. That’s what we believe here. And it’s the population that is paying the price. And if this continues, we will go headlong into a humanitarian catastrophe.


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