International Witnesses Speak Out from Gaza
For More Information, please visit http://www.FreeGaza.org, or see contact
(Besieged Gaza, Palestine - 27th December 2008) - Human Rights Defenders
from Lebanon, the UK, Poland, Canada, Spain, Italy and Australia are
present in Gaza and are witnessing and documenting the current Israeli
attacks on Gaza.
Due to Israel's policy of denying access to international media, human
rights defenders and aid agencies to the Occupied Gaza Strip, many of
these Human Rights Defenders arrived in Gaza with the Free Gaza Movement's
boats. FREE GAZA boats have broken Israel's siege of Gaza five times in
the past four months.
"At the time of the attacks I was on Omar Mukhtar street and witnessed a
last rocket hit the street 150 meters away where crowds had already
gathered to try to extract the dead bodies. Ambulances, trucks, cars -
anything that can move is bringing injured to
the hospitals. Hospitals have had to evacuate sick patients to make room
for the injured. I have been told that there is not enough room in the
morgues for the bodies and that there is a great lack of blood in the
blood banks. I have just learned that among the civilians killed today was
the mother of my good friends in Jabalya camp."
- Eva Bartlett (Canada) International Solidarity Movement
"Israeli missles tore through a children's playground and busy market in
Diere Balah, we saw the aftermath - many were injured and some reportedly
killed. Every Hospital in the Gaza strip is already overwhelmed with
injured people and does not have the medicine or the capacity to treat
them. Israel is committing crimes against humanity, it is violating
international and human rights law, ignoring the United Nations and
planning even bigger attacks. The world must act now and intensify the
calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel; governments
need to move beyond words of condemnation into an active and immediate
restraint of Israel and a lifting of the siege of Gaza"
- Ewa Jasiewicz (Polish and British) Free Gaza Movement
"The morgue at the Shifa hospital has no more room for dead bodies, so
bodies and body parts are strewn all over the hospital."
- Dr. Haidar Eid, (Palestinian, South African) Professor of Social and
Cultural Studies, Al Aqsa University Gaza
"The bombs began to fall just as the children were on the streets walking
back from school. I went out onto the stairs and a terrified 5 year old
girl ran sobbing into my arms."
- Sharon Lock (Australian) International Solidarity Movement
"This is incredibly sad. This massacre is not going to bring security for
the State of Israel or allow it to be part of the Middle East. Now calls
of revenge are everywhere."
- Dr. Eyad Sarraj - President of the Gaza Community Mental Health Centre
"As I speak they have just hit a building 200 metres away. There is smoke
everywhere. This morning I went to the building close to where I live in
Rafah that had been hit. Two bulldozers were immediately attempting to
clear the rubble. They thought they had found all the bodies. As we
arrived one more was found."
- Jenny Linnel (British) International Solidarity Movement
"The home I am staying in is across from the preventive security compound.
All the glass of the house shattered. The home has been severely damaged.
Due to the siege there is no glass or building materials to repair this
damage. One little boy in our house fainted. An eight year little boy was
trembling on the ground for an hour. In front of our house we found the
bodies of two little girls under a car, completely burnt. They were coming
home from school. This is more than just collective punishment. We are
being treated like laboratory animals. I have lived through the Israeli
bombardment of Beirut and the Israel's message is the same in Gaza as it
was in Beirut- The killing of civilians. There was just another explosion
- Natalie Abu Eid (Lebanon) International Solidarity Movement
Human Rights Defenders in Gaza (available for interviews):
Dr. Eyad Sarraj (Arabic and English) +972 599400424
Ewa Jasiewicz, Free Gaza Co-Coordinator in Gaza (Polish, Arabic, and
English) - +972 59 8700497
Dr. Haider Eid (English and Arabic) + 972 59 9441766
Sharon Lock (English) +972 59 8826513
Vittorio Arrigoni (Italian) +972 59 8378945
Fida Qishta (English and Arabic) +972 599681669
Jenny Linnel (English) +972 59 87653777
Natalie Abu Shakra (Arabic and English) 0598336 328
For more information on the Free Gaza Movement (FREE GAZA) or the
International Solidarity Movement (ISM) contact in the West Bank:
Adam Taylor (ISM) - 972 59 8503948
Lubna Masarwa (FREE GAZA) - 972 50 5633044
The Free Gaza Movement, a human rights group, sent two boats to Gaza in
August 2008. These were the first international boats to land in the port
in 41 years. Since August, four more voyages were successful, taking
Parliamentarians, human rights workers, and other dignitaries to witness
the effects of Israel's draconian policies on the civilians of Gaza.