Thursday, January 22, 2009

Renewed Rafah Breach?

In Sheikh Zweyyid, a town 15km away from the Rafah border Mostafa Singer, teacher and journalist told me that the last two times the border was breached was in coordination between Hamas and the Egyptian authorities.

38 days prior to the incident in January 2008 the journalist received word from Fatah officers being housed in Egyptian military camps that the border would be toppled. Despite this prior information the governorate of Northern Sinai was far from prepared for the flow of people following the border opening.

“When the border was breached in 2007 Rafah, Sheikh Zweyyid and Arish ran out of water and prices tripled… many Palestinians were sleeping in the streets,” Singer said, “in [Egyptian] Rafah Hamas members were guiding traffic in the streets” in order to restore some order.

According to Singer four days before Israel’s latest military attacks the governor of Northern Sinai met with local leaders, heads of schools, youth organizations and hospitals to prepare for mobilization. At a monthly meeting on January 20th the governor furthermore coordinated efforts for emigration of Palestinian refugees to the region.

Near the hospital in Rafah the Egyptian army set up a camp of tents soon after the Israeli military onslaught began. I received reports that other such camps existed within closed off Egyptian military compounds. Egyptian authorities have given no official explanation as to why the tents are there.

Khalil Alniss, head of Justice for Gaza, an NGO that coordinates humanitarian assistance into Gaza, is based in the area. Alniss believes the tents may be used to house fleeing Palestinian refugees.
In the Egyptian town of Rafah Om Muhammed said, “if they open the border they are welcome, if they need to come then let them come.”

My Dear Friend Dr Ezzeldeen

Since an Israeli rocket killed his three daughters I have not been able to reach Dr Ezzeldeen by phone... here AP explains a bit.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Gaza doctor who recounted live on Israeli television how his three daughters and niece had just been killed by shelling demanded on Wednesday that Israel's defense minister explain their deaths.

Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish, a 55-year-old gynecologist who speaks Hebrew after training in two Israeli hospitals, sobbed as he reported the deaths shortly after an Israeli shell struck his home in the northern town of Jebaliya on Friday. His account captivated viewers on Israel's Channel 10 TV.

The well-known peace activist who was involved in promoting joint Israeli-Palestinian projects returned Wednesday to inspect his destroyed Gaza home and to reunite with his five surviving children. His wife died recently of cancer.

"I was well known to the Israelis even more than the Palestinians. They know me. Why they kill my children?" he sobbed in an APTN interview Wednesday as he looked at pictures of his dead daughters amid the rubble in his home.

Read On

Israel targeted civilians throughout this military attack:

Ben White, "
Israel wanted a humanitarian crisis"

Alfred De Montesquiou, "
Gaza family returns home after phosphorus blast"