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(en) Palestine, Gaza, report from "observers" who are involved around the Irish Grassroots Gathering

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 22 Nov 2002 15:04:17 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

The Grassroots Gathering people are of a broad libertarian
network - http://grassrootsgathering.freeservers.com

........... One of them has been shot and wounded 
by Israeli soldiers in Jenin and is in hospital 
at the moment (but well enough to send
email reports).  Two others are in Raffa. Included
their report below.  Their email address is
bobssista@yahoo.co.uk if you want to drop them
a line.  They are sending reports back
to Irish indymedia.

Report from gaza
by tracey and peter - gluaiseacht Fri, Nov 22 2002, 4:54pm

report from gaza

we arrived into raffa a city in the gaza strip last night to the sound of
gunfire. we met with other internationals to try to discuss what our
actions would be. it was hard to hear each other speak as rounds of
ammunition were been fired all around. thats lots of us tax dollars been
fired into the air. the palestinians told us that the soliders fire at
anything that moves and walking around at night can be very dangerous. on
our way to the family we were staying with bullets were passing over our
heads. but our palestinian friends didn't even bat an eyelid. it becomes
normal they told us.

the reason for us coming here is to stay with families whose houses are
been demolished to make way for another wall. this time to separate eygpt
and palestine. half of raffa lies in eygpt and the other in palestine. 300
houses have already been bulldozed, the reason according to the idf is to
stop weapons been smuggled in through under ground tunnels. the families
are at best given an hours notice that they are about to loose their homes
and at worst they start to bulldoze while the family are inside. this has
resulted in 2 deaths already.
this morning a man showed us around his appartment block. all the walls
were covered in bullet holes. everything in raffa is covered in bullet
holes. another man showed us places where people died after been hit by
stray bullets. he showed us the spot where his 8 year old niece was shot.
all over the town are pictures of the martyrs. a martyr is anyone who has
died as a result of the israeli occupation, children hit by bullets and
sucide bombers alike.

the locals here are very protective of us and don't quite understand why we
are here. we want to negotiate with soliders to allow the families more
time to collect their possesions when their house is being demolished and
also we want to look at the wall and inspect the wide area bulldozed around
it. (to see if there really is any tunnels} but the locals worry too much
about us. today to show them that we are not so easily intimidated by the
army and to show the army our presence we (7 internationals) slowly
approached the tanks waiving our passports in the air. 2 tanks fired up
their engines and drove towards us. we motioned to them that we wanted to
proceed towards the wall. a hand appeared from one of the tanks hatches
signalling us to back away. we slowly proceeded towards them and they fired
about 3 shots at the ground in front of us. we decided we had pushed them
far enough and anything more could cause problems for the locals.

raffa is a hopeless case. we can't think of anything to do. the people have
become resigned to the fact that they will loose their homes. so when we
got an sos call from bethleham 3 of us decided to leave for bethleham.
bethleham is under siege because the suicide bomber that blew up the bus in
jerusalem was from there. revenge will be taken on all the people of
bethelam. collective punishment is a war crime.

i've just heard the news about caoimhe. we had planned to go to jenin next
week anyway so we will be able to visit her. if anyone wants to send her
support messages you can email them to this address and i will print them
out and give them to her.

thats all the news for now. once again i urge people to write to the
isreali embassy or protest there.
tracey and peter

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