By Eileen Fleming
Building materials promised by the UN and international donors are stalled or unavailable and once again Governments around the world agreed to shoulder the burden of Zionist impunity by pledging $5.4 Billion USD to rebuild Gaza again- but Israel still has not allowed cement and steel in.
The rubble remains and the cold rains of winter will soon be upon the children of Gaza.
Gaza isn’t just a physical wreck. The psychological damage is even worse.
I’ve worked for 20 years with psychological trauma.
Since 2002, I’ve worked here, in long-beleaguered, isolated Gaza.
I’ve never seen psychological devastation this intense…
On Monday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed a five-member panel to investigate Israeli attacks on UN shelters during the Gaza war and the discovery of Hamas weapons at UN sites.
Ban announced plans to set up a probe during his visit to Gaza last month after describing Israeli shelling of UN-run schools as a “moral outrage” and declared the destruction was “beyond description.”
Last week Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged recent reports criticizing civilian deaths during the 50-day Gaza war this year but told an audience in New York he thought the Israel Defense Forces “did what they could” to avoid civilian casualties.
A September Human Rights Watch Report accused Israel of committing war crimes by attacking three U.N.-run schools in Gaza.
An Amnesty International report released last week stated Israel showed “callous indifference” to the carnage caused by attacks on civilian targets.
However, the highest-ranking U.S. military officer opined that Israel went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit civilian casualties in the recent war in Gaza and that the Pentagon had sent a team to see what lessons could be learned from the operation. During an appearance in New York at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, Dempsey was asked about the ethical implications of Israel’s handling of the Gaza war:
I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties. In this kind of conflict, where you are held to a standard that your enemy is not held to, you’re going to be criticized for civilian casualties.
Dempsey applauded the IDF for “roof-knocking” – dropping a low-yield explosive or non-explosive device on a rooftop to alert residents their homes will soon be bombed.
Despite the fact that Israel maintains complete control of all borders in and out of the 139 sq. mile enclave with a population of over 1.8 million trapped within, Dempsey concluded the IDF “did some extraordinary things to try and limit civilian casualties.”
In November 2006, Father Manuel, the parish priest at the Latin Church and school in Gaza warned the world:
Gaza cannot sleep! The people are suffering unbelievably. They are hungry, thirsty, have no electricity or clean water. They are suffering constant bombardments and sonic booms from low flying aircraft. They need food: bread and water.
Children and babies are hungry…people have no money to buy food. The price of food has doubled and tripled due to the situation.
We cannot drink water from the ground here as it is salty and not hygienic. People must buy water to drink. They have no income, no opportunities to get food and water from outside and no opportunities to secure money inside of Gaza. They have no hope.
Without electricity children are afraid. No light at night. No oil or candles.
Thirsty children are crying, afraid and desperate.
Many children have been violently thrown from their beds at night from the sonic booms. Many arms and legs have been broken. These planes fly low over Gaza and then reach the speed of sound. This shakes the ground and creates shock waves like an earthquake that causes people to be thrown from their bed. I, myself weigh 120 kilos and was almost thrown from my bed due to the shock wave produced by a low flying jet that made a sonic boom.
Gaza cannot sleep.
The cries of hungry children, the sullen faces of broken men and women who are just sitting in their hungry emptiness with no light, no hope, no love. These actions are War Crimes!
Dr. Gordon, wrote regarding a school in Rafah “where 3,500 homeless Gazans sleep like logs lined up on thin blankets spread over concrete floors, uncertainty about the future is crushing. Mothers fear the next round of Israeli bombs will kill children on their long way to still-standing schools. Parents are sure they’ll never be able to rebuild their homes or pay for their kids’ university education.
“I have seen this level of distress, unaddressed, lead to fixed destructive biological, psychological and social patterns: agitated children and adults focus and function poorly; impatience explodes in domestic abuse; and free-floating fear and anger push desperate people toward individual and collective violence.
“Almost all the hands I shake, seven weeks after the fighting has stopped, are cold with a ‘fight or flight’ response that won’t quit even though the situation no longer demands it. When I ask children and adults in the half-dozen Mind Body Skills Groups that our Gaza team leads whether they have trouble sleeping, all hands go up.
“Just about everyone has regular nightmares of bombs falling, tanks roaring toward them, body parts lying in the street, children buried under rubble, screaming for help that never comes…”
On Monday, this reporter contacted Mohammed Asad, photojournalist in Gaza to request a few photos of the children, I was not expecting smiles.
“All children in Gaza when they see a camera are happy.”
The people of Gaza find comfort, inspiration and healing just by smiling and helping other people’s children.
God Bless America with a people like that.
THIS STORY WILL CONTINUE, but learn more now:
“A Child’s View from Gaza: Palestinian Children’s Art and the Fight Against Censorship” is a collection of drawings by children from the Gaza Strip that was censored by the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland, California.
In 2005, Eileen Fleming established WeAreWideAwake.org in response to her first of 8 trips to both sides of The Wall as a public service.
Eileen is the Administrator for FREE VANUNU and TNT/Telling Nuclear Truths
Her fifth book, The Vanunu Legend Israel’s Nuclear Whistleblower’s Struggle for Freedom was published 24 September 2014, as a FREE Ebook.