The Afterbirth of the Arab Spring

20 Nov

109 civilians in Gaza have died, and over 700 wounded, for what the International Crisis Group‘s Rob Blecher calls “setting the rules“. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Hamas are jockeying for strategic position in a region where Egypt and Israel are no longer partners, Jordan is weak, and Syria is in civil war. This is the ghastly result:

AMY GOODMAN: Raji [Sourani, an award-winning human rights lawyer, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza. He is on the executive board of the International Federation for Human Rights. In 1991, he won the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Prize.], can you tell us where you are right now and describe what’s happening in Gaza?

RAJI SOURANI: I’m in Gaza City in the western part of the city, just near the beach. And the situation for the last 24 hours has been escalated in a very, very drastic way, meaning—I mean more and more aerial bombardment coming for the Gaza. Gunships have been bombing all over the place. And the number of killings and injuries, especially among civilians, raised in a very unique way. In the last five days, we lost 27 civilians, women and children. But in the last 24 hours, we lost 31 civilians, including al-Dalo family where 10 family members has been killed during this air raid on their three-stories home.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you know who this family was? And who were the 10 members of this family?

RAJI SOURANI: We are talking about six children, four women. And this family good—I mean, nice, good, working family, a successful businessman who’s doing well, I mean, in Gaza. And they have nothing to do with politics. I mean, like any ordinary, standard Gazans. I think this wasn’t, I mean, the first, you know, house to be targeted. And the eye of the storm, Gaza civilians. An overwhelming majority so far among the killings and injuries are civilians. More than 70 percent are civilians. We know them, we count them, we document them, and we are aware about that. Even, I mean, the targets are very, very civilian targets. You are talking about private houses. You are talking about police stations. You are talking about soccer fields. You are talking about water wells. I mean, it’s amazing. I think the Israelis very intentionally targeting civilians. They are the one in the eye of the storm.

I’ll share with you a very personal story. My family house, located in the heart of the Gaza City, is just near a police station. And this police station, since first hour, no one in it. It’s entirely empty. But last night, 3:00 in the morning, my aunt—she is 87—and I have two brothers who passed through open-heart surgeries, and many of the children rounded the house, and 10 to 3:00 a.m. in the early morning, maybe one-ton bomb hit the first time, and second bomb exploded. And the entire neighborhood, I mean, was just insane. I mean, it’s like earthquake hit to place, tsunami hit the place.

Israeli civilians has also suffered, but in a blog, the IDF crows “why the number of Israeli civilian casualties is so low“. (With apt precision, the site has crashed my browser twice)

Egypt has taken the opportunity, to become the diplomatic heart of truce talks. Amnesty International has called for “an international arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and Palestinian armed groups and the immediate deployment of international monitors.


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