Friday, June 09, 2006

Bloody Friday: 10 killed in Gaza massacre, as shelling, sonic booms continue

Just as I've made my way back to Maryland, getting ready to post about how the rest of my trip went, and my stint on Democracy Now this mornig, I learned that 10 palestinians have been been by Israeli shelling in northern Gaza as they were picnicing on the beach. 3 of them were children-two under the age of two. And their mother. And forty others wounded. We called my Aunt, who works with the al-Awda hospital in northern Gaza. She was hysterical, and this is a woman who seldom loses her grip.

She just spoke of blood and body parts, and how one of the cameramen at the hospital couldn't hold it together and dropped his camera as he was filming after he heard a bloodied, batterd girl crying out for her father.

I feel so useless being here, so impotent and angered, and I just want to cry and scream at once. After a week of energizing talks, in which I really felt I could contribute a little bit by informing people this happens.

My aunt also said the dreaded Sonic Boom Attacks had resumed and that Israeli air crafts were beginning to shell areas of Khan Yunis, in al-Qarara. And just last night, I was talking about how the sonic booms, under pressure from human rights organizations, had seemed to cease-albeit without official declration. I spoke too soon.

The horror continues, and the main headline on Yahoo's sidebar? "Hamas to resume attacks in Israel."

I guess that answer's Amy Goodman's question to me this morning: "How do you think this all is being conveyed in the media?"


Blogger pacalaga said...

I'm disgusted to read all of it. The media here portrays what the government wants it to, regardless of free speech and all that. A friend of mine theorizes that the US government supports Israel so staunchly because fundamentalist Christians believe the existence of the nation of Israel is one of the necessary criteria for the end of times. I think maybe if they were the ones picnicking on the beach, they wouldn't be so eager for the end times to come. Anyhow, I am glad you and Yousuf were here and safe, this time.

11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I just read of this horrible massacre of children on the beach, and my heart sank, and my tears fell. You are not alone in feeling impotent- we feel it in America, too, as we cannot stop our government from facilitating these inhuman Israeli attacks that go against every American principle. I am so sorry for American complicity in these attacks, and will continue to fight to change our foreign policy to one that reflects American values, of fairness and justice for all people, including Palestinians and Iraqis.
Yours and Fida's voices are powerful, and though it may seem terribly discouraging, you do make a positive difference. Spreading the word is key.

Thank you for all you do.


12:20 AM  
Blogger fernando reals said...

Leila, I logged on to your page today to show my mother your work. She is nervous about my trip to Palestine. We were alarmed by this terrible news you've reported. It seems the killings don't cease, but we will make them. Stay strong, your talk last night in New York City made an impact. Keep on speaking, keep on writing...

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A friend of mine theorizes that the US government supports Israel so staunchly because fundamentalist Christians believe the existence of the nation of Israel is one of the necessary criteria for the end of times."

your friend is a crazy irrational fool spreading uneeded rumours that create divison and intolerance insead of cooperation, hope and tolerance.

I personally think it was a mistake, an accient. The Israeli's didn't wake up today and say "Yea, we are going to go out and fire missles at a Gaza beach and kill some Palestinians."

And to the blogger... Last time I looked, Gaza used to belong to the Egyptians, you are the occupiers.

1:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good news! It looks like the massacre story is a hoax - a film made by the Pallywood Company.

5:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

concerned bystander: judging by your comment "And to the blogger... Last time I looked, Gaza used to belong to the Egyptians, you are the occupiers.", it is apparent that you do not have any knowledge of history. Even a short search online should clear this up for you.

Laila: feel gratified in the knowledge that you - a young Muslim woman, mother, journalist, writer, and Palestinian living in an occupied territory have bypassed many obstacles and gone against the odds to make your voice heard with such eloquence.

Truly, people like you are our hope for the future.

6:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Occupation is and has been done only by israHell ... and that for the past 58 years. Cateye I agree with you. I do not and will not accept my governments part in this slaughter for the sake of Israel. May God have mercy on us all. Those in charge don't seem to get it.

Laila: This is one American that is on your side and can't wait till the day that Israel and the US is brought down to its knees. I see it comming.

7:07 AM  
Blogger eurofrank said...


The BBC TV coverage of this event was quite outstanding.

There was heatbreaking footage of a girl of about 12 with her family lying dead around her on the beach. scores of children at the hospital and many pictures of a patrol craft a km offshore.

The Israeli foreign ministry spokesman looked totally embarrassed and admitted the that the casualties were civilians.

The BBC Middle East Editor was quite clear on the situation in international law. Even if people had been firing Qasams the retaliation needed to be proportionate.

What happened yesterday wasn't.

Don't feel impotent. What bloggers do is give a human face to The Palestinians, The Iranians.

Because we share a small part of your lives,and cookery recipes and pictures of Yusuf playing in the sea we empathise with you, and realise that but for some good luck or the grace of God you might have been shelled, or bombed.

That is your contribution. Helena Cobban compared Riverbend's blog in Baghdad to Anne Frank's diaries a couple of days ago.

Do keep up the good work.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Karin said...

I feel so disgusted and helpless reading about this terrible massacre on the beach!! I can not grasp how the Israeli public on one side and the American lobby on the other can possibly support a horrid thing like that! It is murder, cold-blooded murder, nothing else! The outrageous Israeli reaction of "we regret the loss of innocent life" attests to how life itself is valued .. it only disgusts me!! I'm afraid a new circle of violence is about to start - NOT that I agree to it, GOD forbid ... but I understand it. It is sad, so sad ...
Please keep on doing what you're doing, inform, teach, explain ... SPREAD THE WORD! That's the most powerful weapon we all have - and we MUST use it to do whatever possible to get this nightmare to end and peace and justice for your great people!

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Concerned Bystander I say "How well informed and educated you are! Then you think the Palestinians are the occupiers!!! How educated!!!! Palestinians have lived in Gaza and the West Bank since the dawn of history. It is I srael that occupied parts of Palestine in 1948, and in 1967 Israel occupied the rest of Palestine - namty Gaza and the West Bank. Prior to 1967, the Gaza secror and the West Bank became parts of Egypt and Jordan respectively as they had no government to run thei daily affairs." I am really sorry that there are people who think the Palestinians are the occupiers. Please read more and educate yourself better, Concerned Bystander. The way you write does reveal your ignorance, whgich is a shame.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Gary Yeritsian said...

Laila, The situation can at times be very discouraging, but voices of courage and integrity like yours keep alive all of our hopes for peace and justice to prevail for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples. Thank you for your work and know that there are so many of us who deeply appreciate what you are doing.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

An utter horror. Which only confirms all the more urgently how the Occupation must end now. How Israel must sit down w/o preconditions and negotiate an end to the conflict now.

How much more blood? How long, O Lord, how long?

I've written a blog post about the murders.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You do not me, though in a way I know about you (Al Ajrami family, Dalia al Farra is married to my cousin. What I knew about you is that you have a real talent in writing and expressing what is taking place in Palestine. yesterday was on my worst days, you talked in your entry about what happened and how things were catastrophic, what you may not see or at least did not talk about is that little girl traumatic experience at the beach where she lost ALL of her family members, all of them in front of her eyes and the only thing she managed to do is to keep yelling ( Ya BA, Abouya, 6eeb, Sorouh)that broke my heart. she could do a thing but to watch and scream voicelessly into the deaf ears of this Democratic world states, from which the states refused even to condemn this attack saying the Israel has the right to defend itself.... NO COMMENT!!
Huda baby tell them about your sister's head that was teared into pieces in front of their eyes, tell them about your standstill mother, tell them about your father, Answer me Huda, just tell me this why could not you hug your dad, is strange or hard to hug a dead body??? I wish I can do anything but to scream and cry for hours and hours.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

people killing people..........what a game..........
I propose a new game: PEACE

5:14 PM  
Blogger Anne Rettenberg LCSW said...

Laila, I wanted to tell you I sent some people to your talk in the E. Village and one of them emailed me to say it was very informative.

CNN did air the footage of the young girl screaming. The New York Times, however, has a very puzzling editorial today that tries to shift the focus.

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To I love munich, exactly what response by Israel would have satisfied you? your bias shines through here. Israel has wholeheartedly apologised, offered help in the way of medical evacuations which was accepted, and started an investigation - one in which the palestinians have so far refused to help with. I do not think there is any other response Israel could have given which would have satisfied you. If there is, please detail it.

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cry me a river......

10:41 PM  
Blogger Mad Canuck said...

Hi Laila,

This is a really heart-wrenchingly awful incident, especially seeing the pictures of that little girl crying among the dead bodies of her family. I thought of you when I first heard the news report about that attack. I remember the pictures you'd posted of Yousuf playing in the sand, and other pictures of the beautiful sunsets there, and the people enjoying themselves on the beach. I wonder how far it is from that spot that you and Yousuf used to spend time to where those people were killed....

That attack must have really hit home for you. Did you know any of the people who were killed?

Here in the US, the coverage of the incident seemed very scant to me, overshadowed by the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq.

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Palistinians are slaughtered daily,and have been since the illegal occupation,and this will continue.
The agenda for Isreal is the total annilation of the palistinian people.They deem them as non-human read their talmud if you think I lie.

I ask you to make this latest atroscity personal,imagine if your country was invaded your homes and lands destroyed or stolen,your family killed or imprisioned.Imagine where you live now a wall being en-circled around you,water cut off,food supplys unable to even go to work ,and on top of that daily 24-7 snipers tanks rockets pounding your district,imagine seeing your neighbours children blown to pieces in front of you ,and you having to clean it up.
This is personal as it affects the whole of mankind,and anyone who does not speak up speak out,even if its only within their hearts are part of the act of an on-going genocide.

11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"occupation is and has been done only by israHell ... and that for the past 58 years" Wrong, if the Palestians truly are a nation then they have been occuping Gaza since the Israeli's left it. Gaza belonged to Egypt before 1967.

"daily crimes commited by the IOF terrorists ... genocide commited on the palestinian people" It is IDF. And it is retailiation for what your government does against Israel.

"YOU ARE RIGHT>>>THATS EXACTLY WHAT ISRAHELL DOES" Proofs? Or is this just you being deluded?

"down with israHell .. long live palestine" It is Isreal. Please don't put the 'a' and the 'e' the wrong way around, it makes you look VERY stupid.

2:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"it is apparent that you do not have any knowledge of history. Even a short search online should clear this up for you."

Is that right? Are you aware that the Disputed Territories never belonged to the “Palestinians” and only came into Israeli possession as a result of the 1967 six day war in which Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon all massed forces at Israel’s border in order to “push the Jews into the sea”. The Arabs lost and Israel took control of the land. Do you agree that if these Arabs don’t want to lose territory to Israel, then they shouldn’t start wars? Do you agree that there is justice that Israel, who as far back as 1948 has always sought peace with her far larger neighbors, should live in prosperity - making the desert bloom - while the residents of 19 adjacent Arab countries who are blessed with far more land as well as oil wealth live in their own feces?

2:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Latest reports: this may well have been a Qassam missile that went off course.

Even if that turns out not to be true, face reality for a change: your wonderful Hamas Prime Minister encourages rocket attacks on civilians, designed to do exactly what just happened -- which, regardless of who fired it, was not intentional.

The Israelis are trying to stop your friends from murdering their children. If, in the process, they accidentally kill a few of your children, this is the price you pay for electing leaders who love instead of stop terrorism.

6:13 AM  
Blogger bodda said...

According to Sean McCormack, spokesman for the US State Department, (on this attack): "Let me just state what we have said before: That Israel has a right to defend itself."

yes, Israel has to defend herself against one year babies. Because they might somehow survive all the Israeli atricities and grow up (in subhumane conditions), to be throwing stones at their sophisticated tanks.

9:22 AM  
Blogger الفلسطينية said...

"I feel so useless being here, so impotent and angered, and I just want to cry and scream at once. "

-join the club.:( and i was just thinking today about all this and realized that the very nite b4 this happened u were showing us photos of kids playing on the beach happily...

9:35 AM  
Blogger Karin said...

To Claire ...
Response??? Do the words "We are so sorry" make the people alive again? Do they bring the parents back to this young girl? Does it eliminate the picture of her sister's head being cracked to pieces right in front of her eyes from her soul (fact!)? Bring her sister and other familymembers back? Take the hatred and incredible pain out of her heart which she will live with for the rest of her life? Do you want to tell ONE of these children who lost loved ones ever tell, Israel wants peace?? What do you think they will respond?
What did YOU get now? Hamas having quit the truce ... and a new round of violence and bloodshed will start! Was that worth it? You can't deny the DID maintain truce till now - I'm NOT pro but that is a fact!
You ask me what response??? STOP DOING THAT!!! THAT'S the ONLY "response" .. and get rid of this horrid occupation! I am GOD KNOWS not for violence .. but what would YOU do, were you occupied? Would you politely thank your occupier and sit still? SURE NOT - and neither would I! So what please do you expect from the Palestinian population?? Think of that once ..

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

claire the only appropriate response from israel is to dismantle and leave the stolen land and return to their coutry of origin

7:01 PM  
Blogger Halla said...

Right on Karin!!!

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yahoo's headline is all too typical of the American media (and some of the world's media) who for some reason, think that Israel can do no wrong.

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The U.S reaction is disgusting to say the least.

Thouroughly disappointed

has the right to defend itself over what

9 year old children going to a picnic having a good time cause the exams are over.

According to aljazeera someone said that avenging the death of her family by killing another 10 israelis.

Its only natural that someone can feel this after what happened

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not belittling the incident, and if the Israelis ARE responsible, then they/we should take full responsibility for the incident.

But another angle has turned up that no one here has talked about. It could, and I say could, be that this tradegy happened because of a land mine that went off on the beach. These mines were layed, and buried in the sand by Palestinians to thwart any Israeli commando raid by sea.

If, and I say IF , this is the case,where would this lead us all. It is all too easy to blame Israel straight away, it takes the spotlight away from the crisis in the Palestinian Authority.

One other fact, or non fact. If it WAS an Israeli shell, why hasn't there been any pictures, as there usually are, of people showing this shell to the press/TV?

Again, if Israel IS responsible, they should apologize, and compensate, if such a thing is possible after losing your whole family.

Whatever happened, it is a tradegy, and my heart goes out to
Hoda Ghalya


10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love munich, all the capital letters and exclamation marks in the world won't make your point more clear, maybe calm down and write a bit more logically.

There is no response from Israel which would please others apart from what anonymous 7.01 said - to leave their "stolen land." Thanks for admitting that . Nothing will make the pain of that little girl go away, and it is quite stupid to say you're disappointed with Israel's response - no response can undo this very unfortunate mistake.

The thing is, it's still not quite clear as to the actual cause of this incident, and if it does turn out to not be the fault of the Israelis, what response will you demand from the Palestinians?

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those news broke our hearts. No reason in the world is good enough to kill. May you, and all Palestinians, accept our condoleances. We did not vote for GWB. And we do not support the racial segregation going on in the occupied territories. I pray that the soul of the dead find peace - and that their families and friends find consolation.
Becky, NYC.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find amusing that some actually wonder whose fault it is.. it's easy to try to blame the Palestinians, isn't it.. anything but Israel! Hell, i expect some other racist person to say it was North Korea. Or Al-Zarkawi, perhaps? :)
Well, Israel apologised for the civilian deaths. Is that not a very clear admission of guilt? Or will someone say that Israel is apologising on behalf of Palestine?
Geez, people, GROW UP! Face the facts! Stop finding excuses for the israeli genocide of the Palestinian people!! There is one occupier and one occupied; there is a criminal and a victim. They're called Israel and Palestine, respectively.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading this blog and others like it, it never ceases to amazed me how immature many of the liberal left readers are. I suppose there is a sense of self-gratification in rooting for the perceived underdog. Perhaps it has something to do with growing with simplistic television and cinema that divides the world into the goodies and the baddies where viewers are instilled with the belief that one can easily tell them apart.

The world is not so simple a place. Any fully developed brain should be able to evaluate the Israel-Palestinian conflict as complex and messy where bias in news sources, social contacts and upbringing are going to affect your understanding of the situation.

I would suggest, although I'm sure that I'll be ignored, that all the yes-men on this blog wake up to reality and try to honestly understand the israeli perspective. I don't expect that you change your point-of-view but perhaps you might seem a little less foolish.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, there is no occupation of Gaza. Hamas, now in control of Gaza, is using it to wage unilateral war against Israel, yet you only condemn the defending party.

I would like to respond to the anonymous who wrote earlier: "Still, I wish and hope that the suicide bombers and the kassam rocket attacks would stop, then Israel would have no excuse for her atrocities done in return."

This is idiocy. Do you not remember 1999? Before Arafat started the current round of violence against Israel, THERE WERE NO ISRAELI ATTACKS on the West Bank or Gaza.

If the Arabs would lay down their weapons, there would be no war. If the Israelis would lay down their weapons, there would be no Israel.

6:42 PM  
Blogger Moses said...

Israel murders children and keeps international witnesses out. God forbid they should see and report of their crimes.

Fida does have an email address.
I have her card (which I misplaced) but if she is agreeable I will give out her email to the poster asking where to contact her in order to further the work of her Rachel Way Group

9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This tragedy is truly awful. The girl is suffering and deserves all of our support. Having said all that, there hasn’t been a single shred of evidence linking Israel to this explosion.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

From the AP today below. Violence will only bring additional tougher responses on the Palestinians. No matter what the Palestinians invent to attack Israel, Israel has the means to always to top it. Dialog and compromise are the only way forward to a solution. But this blog is more about displaying emotion through Palestinian misery than finding a logical way out of the box.

"Sderot mayor Eli Moyal demanded tougher military action, even if it meant turning nearby areas of Gaza, from where militants fire rockets, into ghost towns.

"We should react roughly," Moyal told Reuters after talks with government officials who promised more money to build shelters. "Unless the Palestinians understand they will pay a heavy price, they will continue to blast us."

Casualties in Israel from Palestinian rockets are far smaller than those from Israeli strikes in Gaza, but that is little solace to Sderot's 20,000 residents.

Moyal said more than 60 rockets had slammed into fields, backyards and buildings in the Sderot area in recent days, up from about 80 a month that had been fired from Gaza since Israel withdrew from the coastal strip.

The thud of at least one explosion could be heard on Monday.'

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know full well why you have not allowed my comment to be published, something which is of course reprehensible. You are denying your readers the truth of the situation to further your political agenda. Discusting. Of course I expect nothing less from your type.

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Israel murders children and keeps international witnesses out. God forbid they should see and report of their crimes

Abu Shaar, how is it that Israel is keeping International winesses out? They can enter from Egypt. Also, can you explain why the beach was "cleaned up" so fast before anyone could get there to check what happened?

Please, everyone, don't be so fast to blame Israel. I know that we are not objective, each side knows their own truth, but maybe one can try to think a little bit further than what seems to be obvious.

If Israel is to blame for something, I am the first to admit it, but if the story is not as obvious as it may seem, why not wait a few days to see what happened.

Whatever happened, I denounce the cynical use of putting Hoda Ghalya in front of the cameras, even with President Abbas. Everyone wants to
"gain" from being seen with her. Please, leave her alone, and help her get her life together again.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Jade said...

I'm sorry to hear of another horrible tragedy for Palestine.I don't know what else to say.
I am an American who heard you on Democracy Now! this week. I will visit your blog regularly now. Thank you for your courage.

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi I am an American who now supports the Palestinians because of people like you who make us understand what is going on. Keep up the good work and do not be afraid.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Moses said...

how is it that Israel is keeping International winesses out?

"Thousands of supporters of Palestinian human rights have been denied access to the occupied territories by Israel. We hear about them sometimes, when some, like Mr. Larudee, choose to use their privilege as citizens of countries like the United States and demand an explanation from the state of Israel, at the price of spending weeks in detention. What we don’t hear is that Israel permanently denies entry to millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Palestinian refugees are denied access by Israel to their native land, in what is now Israel and to the Palestinian occupied territories occupied in 1967. They are denied the right to visit with their family members that managed to remain and they do not have the privilege of an explanation or a day in court. Nor do we hear about the conditions set by Israel denying access to ALL visitors to Gaza including Palestinians, unless they hold an Israeli issued Identity card, even through the Egyptian border"

12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

food for thought.......occupation cannot be comprehended unless experienced. We can read the words and see the pictures of the pain of ohters....but untill you have lived it, you have no right to claim you understand it. To all those who come to the defense of Isreal, I challenge you to come to an occupied terrority for one week......and then, you will have earned to the right, if you still chose to defend isreal.

4:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You Palastinians cannot get out of your own way. Israel turned the desert into fields of green. What have you done in Gaza other than to sit in you own waste?

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before I blow myself up in the name of Allah, I think it;s only fair that I get some things clarified about exactly what I’m getting in return. I’ve been told that I’ll get 71 virgins.
1. Are the 71 virgins spread out over eternity ? If not, eventually I’ll eventually be left with 71 soiled whores. That would be more hell than what I have on earth. I can get a different girl for 71 nights without blowing myself up. Just give me enough money and I’ll hang around a strip club for a couple months. If I have to spend an eternity with 71 whores that I’ve soiled, that seems a little harsh.
2. If my sister blows herself up, will she be met with 71 guys ? Does she have to take them on all at once ? The most I’ve ever seen in a porno video was about 6 or seven guys on one girl. Maybe she would have to take them one right after another ? Rod Stewart tried that back in the -70’s and only got to around 15 guys.
3. Can these 71 virgins perform “forbidden sex acts ?” (In other words, can I get a blow job. If not, what are the permitted acts ?
4. If the 71 virgins are able to do whatever sex acts, can they do a threesome ? If so, does that count as 2 virgins ? How about if you just have 2 virgins having sex with each other as you watch ? Does that count as 1, 2…or none ? Technically, they have not been penetrated.
5. What if I’m gay ? Will Allah give me 71 guys ? The same questions apply to threesomes and watching 2 of the virgins go at it while I watch.Do they count as 1, 2 or none ?
I THINK IT’S ONLY FAIR THAT THESE QUESTIONS BE PRECISELY ANSWERED. If not, that would lead me to question if these 71 virgins even exist. Or can it be that you just want me to believe this so I blow myself up for your ass ??????????
That would be pretty sorry !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1:02 PM  

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