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Friday, 16 January 2009

Why would you make it up, and what can you do?

Blog from the ISM volunteer in Gaza who was in the Al Quds hospital which was struck yesterday (Patients flee as flames engulf Gaza hospital: medics. ABC Australia News, 16 January, 2009).

While there, heard shouting, went up stairs to see medic S covered in blood, he had just carried a little girl in from the street who snipers had shot in face and abdomen. We saw her father fall on the hospital stairs, having been shot in the leg. Mother was panicking, shouting there was another girl left behind. S, I and other medics went out to get her, found her not far away, S took her on his shoulders into the hospital. The other medics and I realised they were just the beginning of a stream of desperate people fleeing their buildings, many of which were on fire.

This is not an uncommon story.

Or from the ABC article above:

Desperate patients tried to flee a hospital in Gaza City this morning as it became engulfed in flames after being earlier set on fire by an Israeli tank shell, medics and witnesses said.

In scenes of utter panic, patients who had been wounded in the ongoing war in the territory could be seen trying to struggle from their beds, an AFP photographer at the scene said.

At least three prematurely-born babies were being wheeled out of the hospital in their incubators along with three patients who had been on life-support machines

And later:

Meanwhile, Bashar Murad, a doctor and the head of the ambulance services for the Red Crescent, waited helplessly.

"I have three dead bodies at 500 metres, but I can't get to them," he said. "I have numerous wounded less than a kilometre away, but I can't move without authorisation," Dr Murad said.

Before the ambulances can move anywhere, the International Committee of the Red Cross must call the Israeli army and receive a green light, he said.

My government pretty much endorses this. How about yours? This is the Australian foreign minister's email address:

For Australians who want to do something other than email our foreign minister, you could look at the following email I received today, or write a letter as part of an Amnesty International campaign:

The email:

To all supporters of Palestine in Australia

As Israel's assault on Gaza intensifies without mercy, Australians for
Palestine (AFP) and Women for Palestine (WFP) have decided to launch a
newspaper advertisement campaign calling on Australians to say "NO" to
Israel's war crimes.

The usual formal approaches to some of the organisations included in this
mail-out are not possible because of the escalating crisis, so we hope you
understand that we are contacting you to get the message out with the
greatest urgency. Today, the number of Palestinians killed exceeds 1000
with more than 4,000 wounded, a third of them children. Any help you can
give by passing this on to others whom you think would want to be included,
would be greatly appreciated. Under the circumstances, we hope you will
forgive any cross-postings.

We are seeking signatures and contributions for the attached advertisement
that we hope to place in as many Australian newspapers as possible. The
size of the advertisement will depend on the contributions received, but we
are looking at a quarter page week day advertisement in eight newspapers –
The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Canberra Times, The
Herald Sun, The Courier Mail, Adelaide Advertiser, The West Australian for
publication on Friday 23 January 2009. The cost will be approximately
$40,000. If we cannot cover this amount, we may then have to allocate
smaller-sized advertisements according to readership.

We hope that there will be the same overwhelming support we received in the
two newspaper campaigns that were run last year protesting the Prime
Minister's Israel motion and Australia's request for a Palestine Motion in
parliament. As we do not have time to show the names of endorsees on the
advertisement itself, we intend to list all names on our website to coincide with the publication of the
advertisements and we will keep updating the list for a two-week period

Even if there is a ceasefire, the situation for Palestinians in Gaza will be
horrendous and it will be just as important to keep up the pressure on our
government and the media so that the actual root cause of the problem –
Israel's occupation and control of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem –
is finally addressed. If we fail in this, much of the support for Palestine
will drop away because people will assume the crisis is over. They need to
know that nothing is over until Israel ends the occupation.

The advertisement will be altered to include any new developments and
changed statistics before publication.

We have received many emails from distressed Australians wanting to know how
they can help and we believe that a campaign such as this enables everyone
to register their disgust and/or to make a contribution that will ensure as
wide publicity as possible.

We are, therefore, asking for your association's endorsement as well as of
individual members. In this way, we hope to get the list of endorsees
growing. We would also appreciate any contribution you are able to make so
that we can get the maximum coverage for this advertisement.

Endorsements should be made through Nasser Mashni,
Co-Convener of Australians for Palestine at

For contributions, a donation form is attached and contributions can be made
by direct transfer, cheques or online. Details are as follows and are also
listed on the form.

Bank Transfer
Account Name: Australians for Palestine
Branch: 083-171
Account: 86-641-3885

Make out to Australians for Palestine
PO Box 2099 Hawthorn VIC 3122.

Access Paypal by using our website link

We thank you as always for your cooperation and goodwill in our Palestine
campaigns. These are difficult times, but together we hope to achieve an
effective and lasting voice for Palestine.

Nasser Mashni and Sonja Karkar
Australians for Palestine
PO Box 2099, Hawthorn 3122
Melbourne – Australia

*Note, I cannot include the attachments, which include a donation form and the details of the advertisement, but if you contact Nasser Mashni, Co-Convener of Australians for Palestine at I am sure you can get them.

Oh, and there is always boycott. Jordan, Scandinavian countries, "...mostly Sweden Norway and Denmark" have been boycotting Israeli produce. (, 16 Jan, 2009, Unfruitful Trade)
"...the boycott did not exist before the Gaza offensive was launched. "It's getting worse, and more voices can be heard calling to boycott Israeli merchandise," [Ilan Eshel, director of the Organization of Fruit Growers] said. "Until the operation began we had excellent business, though the economic recession in Europe was causing a slight fall in the market."

These rallies and events are also occurring in Perth and Fremantle, Western Australia.

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this cutie was taken by Crazyegg95 in 2005 and is from flickr