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Posts Tagged ‘David Heap

Palestinian Family Trapped Under Rubble Thrilled To Hear ‘Gaza’ Trending On Twitter

Katy Perry and Bruno Mars posted In the Onion on November 15, 2012

BEIT LAHIA, GAZA STRIP—As her husband and three children remained trapped beneath burning debris from an Israeli airstrike, Gaza resident Adliya al-Haddad, 34, told reporters Thursday that she and her family were beside themselves with excitement after hearing that “Gaza” was a trending topic on the social networking site Twitter.

“Did you guys hear that? Everyone’s talking about us on Twitter!” al-Haddad shouted joyfully while she attempted to free her bloodied, unconscious son from beneath a fallen beam pinning him to the ground.

“Check out how many people are tweeting about us! We’re seriously blowing up.”

At press time, al-Haddad’s critically injured, barely breathing daughter was hoping the Gaza hashtag would receive “some Twitter love” from a person with a large number of followers “like Katy Perry or Bruno Mars.”

Who is doing the killing in Gaza? Noam Chomsky and others challenge world’s media and published on Nov. 15 Palestine and Israel

The degree of terror felt by ordinary Palestinian civilians in Gaza is barely noticed in the media, in stark contrast to the world’s awareness of terrorised and shock-treated Israeli citizens.

Funeral of Palestinians killed by Israeli attack, Gaza, 11.11.2012

WHILE COUNTRIES across Europe and North America commemorated military casualties of past and present wars on November 11, Israel was targeting civilians.

On November 12, waking up to a new week, readers at breakfast were flooded with heart rending accounts of past and current military casualties.

There was, however, no or little mention of the fact that the majority of casualties of modern day wars are civilians.

There was also hardly any mention on the morning of November 12 of military attacks on Gaza that continued throughout the weekend.

A cursory scan confirms this for Canada’s CBC, Globe and Mail, Montreal’s Gazette, and the Toronto Star. Equally, for the New York Times and for the BBC.

According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) report on Sunday November 11, five Palestinian civilians including three children had been killed in the Gaza strip in the previous 72 hours, in addition to two Palestinian security personnel.

Four of the deaths occurred as a result of Israeli military firing artillery shells on youngsters playing soccer.

Moreover, 52 civilians had been wounded, of which six were women and 12 were children.

(Since we began composing this text, the Palestinian death toll has risen, and continues to rise.)

Articles that do report on the killings overwhelmingly focus on the killing of Palestinian security personnel.

For example, an Associated Press article published in the CBC world news on November 13, entitled ‘Israel mulls resuming targeted killings of Gaza militants,’ mentions absolutely nothing of civilian deaths and injuries. It portrays the killings as ‘targeted assassinations.’

The fact that casualties have overwhelmingly been civilians indicates that Israel is not so much engaged in “targeted” killings, as in “collective” killings, thus once again committing the crime of collective punishment.

Another AP item on CBC news from November 12 reads ‘Gaza rocket fire raises pressure on Israel government.’ It features a photo of an Israeli woman gazing on a hole in her living room ceiling. Again, no images, nor mention of the numerous bleeding casualties or corpses in Gaza.

Along the same lines, a BBC headline on November 12 reads ‘Israel hit by fresh volley of rockets from Gaza.’ Similar trends can be illustrated for European mainstream papers.

News items overwhelmingly focus on the rockets that have been fired from Gaza, none of which have caused human casualties.

What is not in focus are the shellings and bombardments on Gaza, which have resulted in numerous severe and fatal casualties. It doesn’t take an expert in media science to understand that what we are facing is at best shoddy and skewed reporting, and at worst willfully dishonest manipulation of the readership.

Articles that do mention the Palestinian casualties in Gaza consistently report that Israeli operations are in response to rockets from Gaza and to the injuring of Israeli soldiers. However, the chronology of events of the recent flare-up began on November 5, when an innocent, apparently mentally unfit, 20-year old man, Ahmad al-Nabaheen, was shot when he wandered close to the border.

Medics had to wait for six hours to be permitted to pick him up and they suspect that he may have died because of that delay.

Then, on November 8, a 13-year-old boy playing football in front of his house was killed by fire from the IOF that had moved into Gazan territory with tanks as well as helicopters. The wounding of four Israeli soldiers at the border on November 10 was therefore already part of a chain of events where Gazan civilians had been killed, and not the triggering event.

We, the signatories, have recently returned from a visit to the Gaza strip. Some among us are now connected to Palestinians living in Gaza through social media. For two nights in a row Palestinians in Gaza were prevented from sleeping through continued engagement of drones, F16s, and indiscriminate bombings of various targets inside the densely populated Gaza strip.

The intent of this is clearly to terrorise the population, successfully so, as we can ascertain from our friends’ reports. If it was not for Facebook postings, we would not be aware of the degree of terror felt by ordinary Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

This stands in stark contrast to the world’s awareness of terrorised and shock-treated Israeli citizens.

An extract of a report sent by a Canadian medic who happened to be in Gaza and helped out in Shifa hospital ER over the weekend says: “the wounded were all civilians with multiple puncture wounds from shrapnel: brain injuries, neck injuries, hemo-pneumo thorax, pericardial tamponade, splenic rupture, intestinal perforations, slatted limbs, traumatic amputations. All of this with no monitors, few stethoscopes, one ultrasound machine. …. Many people with serious but non life threatening injuries were sent home to be re-assessed in the morning due to the sheer volume of casualties. The penetrating shrapnel injuries were spooky. Tiny wounds with massive internal injuries. … There was very little morphine for analgesia.”

Apparently such scenes are not newsworthy for the New York Times, the CBC, or the BBC.

Bias and dishonesty with respect to the oppression of Palestinians is nothing new in Western media and has been widely documented. Nevertheless, Israel continues its crimes against humanity with full acquiescence and financial, military and moral support from our governments, the U.S., Canada and the EU.

Netanyahu is currently garnering Western diplomatic support for additional operations in Gaza, which makes us worry that another Cast Lead may be on the horizon. In fact, the very recent events are confirming such an escalation has already begun, as today’s death-count climbs.

The lack of widespread public outrage at these crimes is a direct consequence of the systematic way in which the facts are withheld and/or of the skewed way these crimes are portrayed.

We wish to express our outrage at the reprehensible media coverage of these acts in the mainstream (corporate) media.

We call on journalists around the world working for corporate media outlets to refuse to be instruments of this systematic policy of disguise. We call on citizens to inform themselves through independent media, and to voice their conscience by whichever means is accessible to them.

Hagit Borer, U.K. Antoine Bustros, Canada Noam Chomsky, U.S. David Heap, Canada Stephanie Kelly, Canada Máire Noonan, Canada Philippe Prévost, France Verena Stresing, France Laurie Tuller, France

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Israel did it again: Capturing Peace flotilla heading to Gaza
As if Gaza is part of the State of Israel! This time around, Israel waited for the “Freedom Waves”  flotilla carrying aid to Gaza to reach “Gaza water” to intervene with four warships and scores of ships carrying soldiers.

Al-Masry Al-Youm English’s managing editor, Lina Attalah, recently took part in the “Freedom Waves”  flotilla. She was captured at sea by Israeli security forces on Friday, along with the rest of the passengers, 27 activists and journalists from around the world. She returned to Egypt safely on Saturday. The two boats, one Irish and one Canadian, were an attempt to draw the world’s attention to the Israeli blockade imposed on Gaza since 2007. This is her account (with slight editing).

“Right before setting sail, I was sitting with Heap in an office at the Fethiye port in Turkey, sending last-minute emails. Amid frantic emailing, I overheard Heap calling his son on Skype and telling him, “I love you, you know that.” I was a little disconcerted. I hadn’t thought to do the same. I asked him, “Do you really think we need to call our folks and tell them we love them before we sail?” He told me, “We have to tell them we love them all the time.” At the time of writing this article, he and Lotayef were still detained in Israel.

“Friday morning. Inside the Tahrir boat heading to Gaza, everyone sat opposite computer screens, updating the world about our trip.  David Heap, one of the boat’s organizers, made a grand entrance to our make-shift media center.

“50! We’re 50 miles away from Gaza,” he screamed to applause.

The previous night, we were expecting Israeli intervention any time. Israel has a record of attacking solidarity boats in international waters as far as 100 nautical miles off Gaza’s shore. We woke up to a sunny day and found that our communications system was working. We thought that arrival to Gaza was imminent. Activists on board spent the first half of the day decorating the boat with pro-Gaza flags, signs and artwork.

The enthusiasm didn’t eliminate our expectation of Israeli intervention. Activists were working on English and Hebrew signs reading “this is piracy” and “this is kidnapping,” in anticipation of a possible attack in international waters.

Towards the early afternoon, we saw three Israeli warships in the horizon. We knew that the moment had come.  At that point, some activists and journalists on board started throwing equipment into the sea, fearing that the information stored on their technology could be used by our potential captors to implicate other activists who were not on the boat.

Israeli presence in the waters around us intensified. We counted at least 15 ships, four of which were warships, and the rest a mix of smaller boats and water cannons. From inside the smaller boats, dozens of Israeli soldiers pointed their machines guns at us. This is when our communications system was jammed and we lost contact with the world.

Our boat’s captain, George Klontzas, started receiving radio messages from the Israeli navy, asking about the organizers and the destination of the trip. Ehab Lotayef communicated with the Israeli navy, telling them that our destination was Gaza and that any attempt to arrest us would be illegal. When the navy repeated over the radio, “Tahrir, what is your final destination?” The poet Lotayef responded, “the betterment of mankind.”

As Israeli naval vessels loomed around our boat, the Israelis made a proposition that they would send one person to inspect for weapons, and if he found nothing, they would let us pass. The proposition was met with skepticism among the activists, although some thought this could really be a way to get to Gaza. The Irish boat, which was sailing with us, staunchly refused the proposition.

As the Israeli ships closed in on us, we found the Irish boat heading into our direction and hitting our boat so aggressively that they damaged their entry point. We speculated that this could be a form of resistance to the forced Israeli boarding, but we couldn’t communicate with them to find out.

At this point, the Israelis had withdrawn their proposition and sent radio messages to our boat, asking us to stop sailing because they would board the boat and take us to the Israeli port of Ashdod.

As our boat refused to surrender, they aimed their canons at us, showering us with salty water. This came a few minutes after Heap had warned us, “get ready for a shower.” The radio warnings from the Israeli navy continued, asking the boat’s members to remove the net surrounding the boat, which we had put in place as a form of protection.

The boat had become highly unstable and panic was in the air. But a beautiful rainbow in the sky caught our attention, and, in what was a surreal moment, we started capturing it with our cameras.

We were outmaneuvered. Israeli ships hit our boat and Israeli soldiers started boarding. Dozens of masked soldiers screamed “on your knees,” and “hands up.” One soldier filmed the whole process.

At the same time, a group of soldiers invaded the boat’s lower level, where we had set up our media center. I don’t remember at what point an Israeli flag was flown from the boat.

After some initial checks, we also found ourselves below deck, where we were seated one next to the other. We learned that the boat was already being steered towards Ashdod. When one of the soldiers asked if we needed anything, Lotayef and Heap said “we need our boat back.” They were ignored.

We were then allowed to go one by one to collect our luggage from the ship’s hold. I found no computers or any other electronics left, and our luggage was dumped in piles, with soldiers lying on the floor in what became a mess. That same area had been our temporary home for the past four days as we worked, ate and slept there. The scene of a dismantled home was quite disturbing.

We reached Ashdod within two hours. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see what became of the other passengers because I was called out first. We exchanged painful gazes at each other as I was taken out, wondering when and where next we would meet next.

On the way out of the boat, I was showered with flashes as Israeli soldiers took pictures. The place we were taken to at Ashdod is a featureless detention facility for “illegal migrants.” I was strip-searched and had my flip cam, personal diary, USB stick, mobile phone and voice recorder confiscated. My computer and camera had already been taken by the soldiers on the boat. I tried to negotiate to get my things back – or at least to recuperate my personal diary, where I had compiled minute details of the trip – but failed. I did manage to keep two books they wanted to confiscate.

My thoughts were with the boat’s activists, who pledged to peacefully resist being taken out of the boat. They agreed that they would only leave the boat by being forcibly dragged. As I was searched, I heard Heap screaming inside the facility. “Ehab, can you hear me?,” “Majd, can you hear me?,” “Kit, can you hear me?,” “Karen, can you hear me?,” “Michael, can you hear me?” The calls echoed in the large detention facility, piercing through its noisy corridors. But I heard no responses from fellow activists.

I was interrogated by police officers for 30 minutes and my finger prints and photo were taken. During the interrogation, I was asked about my professional history, the different organizations I worked for and how I knew Freedom Waves, our flotilla to Gaza, and the activists involved. As I was facing the police officer, I saw the reflection of George Klontzas, the boat’s captain, in the mirror. His legs were cloaked in metal chain.

“Are you aware that you were heading into a closed military zone?” the police officer asked. I said yes. When he asked why I did that, I told him I was covering an activists’ quest to challenge the Gaza blockade. He smiled and let me go.

I was driven by two diplomats from the Egyptian Embassy to the Taba border crossing and crossed over to Egypt, quite smoothly and unharmed. At the time of writing this article, he and Lotayef were still detained in Israel.

One of the two books that escaped confiscation was “Mediterranean Crossings” by Iain Chambers. As the soldier removed my bookmark, I naively rushed to mark the page by folding it. “The Mediterranean becomes a site for an experiment to a different form of history,” read some of Chambers’ words on that page. Perhaps the line describes the act of appropriating international waters in a quest to change the status quo.


adonis49

adonis49

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