“I was at my father’s house when I heard the voices of bombardments. Immediately after, I received a call. They told me that Israel was bombing my neighborhood,” said Ashraf Al Qaisi, a 46-year-old vendor from Gaza.
Ashraf ran to his home. When he arrived, the whole neighborhood was devastated. Some people were injured and taken to ambulances; others were shouting and running. Every sight, smell, and sound at the scene was intense. It was exhausting to see all that and feel helpless.
Ashraf went right home to check on his family. His wife was injured. His son was already in the ambulance. He was assured his son was alive, so he checked again on his wife. She had been holding their youngest son when small bomb fragments struck her hand.
His wife’s injuries were much less severe than other people in the neighborhood, so he just sent her and the other children to one of our neighbors’ houses to leave more space in the ambulance for severe cases. As for Ashraf’s son, he was still at the hospital, as they are trying to get some fragments out of his hand.
Al-Shout Camp was bombed by Israel at 9:30 p.m on August 6, as part of aggression against the Gaza Strip. The raid killed eight people, including a 14-year-old child and three women, left 50 injuries, and flattened six houses, under which several bodies were trapped.
During the intense attack on Al Shout Camp in the southern area of the Gaza Strip, the civil defense had to ask to demolish the remainder of Ashraf’s house to be able to save people under the rubble. He didn’t think twice about it.
They had to ask for a bulldozer from Gaza, which took two hours to arrive. Four hours later, civil defense workers managed to pull out the first two bodies. After eight hours, they had pulled out a total of eleven.
All that was left from the house were four damaged walls and one room. When the civil defense asked to use that to reach other people under the rubble, Ashraf couldn’t refuse. People all over the neighborhood were in desperate need of help.
Ashraf Al Qaisi’s neighbor, Omar Farhat, 60, an eyewitness of what happened that day, said that out of nowhere the rockets began falling on the buildings around him as he was lying on a carpet beside his home.
There was no warning. He put his hands over his head and ran inside his home, where his daughters and wife were sitting. About 15 people were inside. He helped them all get out.
Then Omar saw his neighbor, Iyad Hassouna, whose face was covered with blood. His neighbor was unable to run, so Omar lifted him over his shoulders and carried him to an ambulance. The neighbor was shouting, “Save my children!” Omar knew that they were already dead. He had seen Hassounas’ wife and daughter, entirely covered with blood. The sight was terrifying for him.
People were horrified. Dust was everywhere. They barely could see each other. Flesh was scattered among the rubble. Omar Farhat heard many others calling out, searching for their relatives and children. It was the worst thing he had ever heard.
Omar’s son woke up yesterday, yelling, “There’s a rocket, dad, there’s a rocket!” He and all the others are deeply traumatized. Omar felt grateful to God that he was covered only with dust, not blood.
The spokesman for civil defense, Major Mahmmoud Bassal, said “Israel didn’t warn anyone in the neighborhood, so people were trapped under the rubble and it was too hard to get into the bombed houses, as all houses there are very close to each other.”
To enable the bulldozer to reach the rubble, four neighbors permitted the civil defense to demolish homes completely and partially. In one place.
The spokesman explained that civil defense in Gaza suffers from the lack of equipment due to the Israeli siege.
“The civil defense doesn’t have any of its own heavy equipment in Gaza. They borrow bulldozers from the ministry of public works. They have been using those vehicles since 1994, although they have to replace them every five years,” he said.
“We could’ve saved so many people, had we had more and better equipment,”.
Until now, Ashraf did not receive any compensation. Some organizations, neighbors and friends gave him some money, but not enough to cover his financial loss, build a new house, and live a decent life.
However, Ashraf never regretted his choice, because saving lives was much more important for him. “At times like that, all you could think of is helping other people survive,” he said, adding that he wishes God would compensate him for his sacrifice.
(All Photos: WANN, Supplied)
The post Israeli Bombing of Gaza: The Man Who Had His House Demolished to Reach Trapped Neighbors appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.
The Prisoners Affairs Commission said on Tuesday that its lawyer Hiba Saleh documented the severe beating of two Palestinian minors at the hands of Israeli forces during detention, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.
According to the attorney, Diyar Ivan Salibi, 16, from the town of Beit Ummar in the south of the West Bank, was severely beaten, kicked, and hit with a gun butt when he was arrested at his home before he was taken to a detention center in a settlement, where he was kept for nine days after which he was moved to Damon prison in the north of Israel.
Prisoner Club: "Palestinian prisoners at the Israeli prison of Ofer shut down all the sections demanding to provide medicine to Palestinian child prisoner Alaa Abu Isninah."#FreeThemAll pic.twitter.com/dUmZfhKsua
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) September 19, 2022
Ahmad Ziad Nimr, 17, from Kufr Aqab, a northern Jerusalem neighborhood, was detained near Lions Gate in the old city of Jerusalem. He was severely beaten by Israeli police when he and other youths were arrested before he was taken to the Russian Compound police station in West Jerusalem, where he underwent interrogation for one hour.
Nimr was then cuffed in the hands and legs in the infamous interrogation room number 4, which does not have cameras. There, he was beaten severely and interrogated for two hours. He was later taken to a court, which extended his detention.
A research conducted by Save the Children last October found that “children in the Israeli military detention system face inhumane treatment such as beatings, strip searches, psychological abuse, weeks in solitary confinement, and being denied access to a lawyer during interrogations”.
(WAFA, PC, SOCIAL)
As I was standing at the Qalandiya military checkpoint, I saw a woman with cancer. She was moaning in pain, as four Red Crescent workers lifted her emaciated body and moved her on a stretcher. She came from the An-Najah Hospital and she needed to reach the Erez Crossing, to enter Gaza and continue her treatment at a local hospital.
Palestinian patients from Gaza need to beg the Israeli authorities to obtain a permit to exit what is considered the largest prison in the world. They need to present medical certificates to prove their illness, and then, wait for an unknown period of time for their jailers to decide whether they live or die.
Their family members are often blackmailed by Israel into serving as informers and collaborators, in order to provide permits or life-saving medical equipment.
Every day, Palestinian patients have to undergo a painful process, in addition to their already existing condition, wasting precious time that they should invest in their treatment.
The introduction of an Israeli Mossad agent as the latest Marvel movie character crosses the line, even by Hollywood’s poor moral standards. However, the Israeli superhero, Sabra, must be understood within the rational progression of the Israelification of Hollywood, a phenomenon that is surprisingly new.
Sabra is a relatively old character, dating back to a Marvel comic, the Incredible Hulk, in 1980. On September 10, however, it was announced that the Israeli character will be included in an upcoming Marvel film, ‘Captain America: New World Order’.
Expectedly, many pro-Palestine activists in the United States and around the world fumed. It is one thing to introduce an ordinary Israeli character, with the mere aim of normalizing Israel, an unrepenting apartheid state, in the eyes of Marvel’s impressionable young audiences; but it is far more sinister to normalize a state intelligence agency, the Mossad, known for its numerous bloody assassinations, sabotage and torture.
By adding Sabra to its cast of superheroes, Marvel Studios has shown its complete disregard for the massive campaign by millions of fans around the world who, in 2017, protested the inclusion of a former Israeli soldier, Gal Gadot, as Marvel’s Wonder Woman. Gadot is a vocal supporter of the Israeli government and military.
In response to the news, many rightly highlighted Hollywood’s inherent bias, starting in the 1960’s movie, Exodus, by Otto Preminger, with Paul Newman as the lead actor, which provided pseudo-historical justification for the colonization of Palestine by the Zionists. Ever since, Israel has been elevated, celebrated and included in an ever-positive context by Hollywood, while Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians continue to be vilified.
Although Israel was represented in a positive light by Hollywood filmmakers, the Israelis themselves were quite marginal in the content creation process. Until recently, the Israel construct was mostly built on behalf of Israel, not by Israel itself. “Things began to change in 1997,” wrote Brian Schaefer in ‘Moment Magazine’. It was then that the L.A. Federation’s Entertainment Division and the Jewish Agency launched the project, the ‘Master Class’, which, “for nearly 15 years … brought countless actors, directors, producers, agents, managers and top studio and network executives to Israel, introducing many of them to the country for the first time, and taught Israelis how to pitch their projects.”
The indoctrination of American actors and filmmakers through these visits and the introduction of many Israeli actors and filmmakers to Hollywood paid dividends, leading to a major change of narrative on Israel. Instead of simply communicating Israel to American and international audiences using references to historical victimization, positive association or even humor, Israelis began to make their case through Hollywood directly. And, unlike the haphazardness of past messages – good Israel, bad Arabs – the new messages are far more sophisticated, tailored around specific ideas, and designed with full awareness of the politics of each era.
Steven Spielberg’s movie, Munich (2005), was released within the cultural context of the US invasion of Iraq as part of Washington’s so-called ‘war on terror’, where human rights were violated on a global scale. Munich was a selective ‘historical’ account of the supposedly difficult choices that Israel, namely the Mossad, had to make to fight its own ‘war on terror’. That was the era when Tel Aviv tirelessly underscored its affinity to Washington, now that both countries are purportedly victims of ‘Islamic extremists’.
Unlike Munich, the widely popular TV series Homeland was not just another pro-Israel American argument that justifies Israeli wars and violence. The series itself, one of the most racist, islamophobic shows on television, was entirely modeled after the Israeli show HaTufim – ‘Prisoners of War’ or ‘Abductees’. The writer and director of the Israeli show, Gideon Raff, has been included in the American version of the show, serving as an executive producer.
The change in the ownership of the narrative may seem superficial – as pro-Israel Holywood propaganda is being replaced by organic Israeli propaganda. However, this is not the case.
The pro-Israel agenda of the past – the romanticization that followed the creation of Israel in 1948 – did not last long. The Israeli defeat of Arab armies in 1967 – thanks to the massive US military support of Tel Aviv – replaced the image of nascent, vulnerable Israel with that of the brave Israeli army, capable of defeating several militaries at once. It was then that Israeli soldiers toured US colleges and schools talking about their heroism on the battlefield. The Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the subsequent massacres, like that of Sabra and Shatila, forced a rethink.
Throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, Israel largely existed in Hollywood as a comic relief, from shows like Friends, Frasier and, more recently, the Big Bang Theory. References to Israel were often followed by a laugh – a clever, and effective way of linking Israel with positive, happy associations.
The ‘war on terror’, starting in 2001, coupled with the creation of the ‘Master Class’ project, allowed Israel to return to the Hollywood universe, not as an occasional reference, but as a staple, with Israeli shows, or joint US-Israeli productions, defining a whole new genre: making difficult choices to fight terrorism and ultimately save the world.
The exploitation of Israeli women on Magazine covers – for example, Maxim – was a whole different shady business, catering to a different audience. The half-naked Israeli army girls have succeeded, in the minds of many, in justifying war through sexual imagery. This genre became particularly popular following the bloody Israeli wars on Gaza, which killed thousands.
Israel’s growing influence on the Marvel movies is a combination of all of these elements: the sexualization of the supposedly strong, empowered woman, the normalization of those who carry out Israeli crimes – Gadot, the soldier, Sabra, the Mossad agent – and the direct injection of Israeli priorities as part of everyday American reality.
Yet, there is a silver lining. For decades, Israel has hidden behind false, romanticized historical notions, making its case to the US and other western public, often indirectly. The wars on Gaza, the exponential growth of the Palestinian boycott movement and the proliferation of social media have, however, forced Israel out of hiding.
The new Hollywood Israel is now a warrior, often forced to make difficult moral choices, but it is, like its American counterpart, ultimately a force for good. Whether Israel will succeed in maintaining this image will depend on several factors, including the pro-Palestinian communities’ ability to counter such falsehood and hasbara.
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