Israelis fire on Palestinian women
Gaza military siege ‘made in USA’
Published Nov 9, 2006 8:09 PM
Tel Aviv is carrying out a massacre in the Gaza Strip and
there’s not a peep of protest from Democrats or Republicans
in Washington—not even after Israeli troops opened fire on
unarmed Palestinian women demonstrators.
Shrapnel taken from the bodies of Palestinians
recent Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip.
"Made in USA."
Operation “Autumn Cloud”—the Israeli offensive
against the population in the Gaza Strip—began on Nov. 1.
Within six days, some 57 Palestinian women, men and children had
been killed and hundreds more wounded. Metal shrapnel dug out of
their bodies was stamped “Made in USA.”
The siege began on Nov. 1 as convoys of Israeli tanks and other
armored vehicles rolled into the town of Beit Hanoun, tearing up
the asphalt streets and crushing cars; 24 tanks cordoned off the
local hospital alone.
Ground forces took over the farming community, backed up by
helicopter gunships and warplanes. All Palestinian males ages 16
to 45 were rounded up in the town square and the agricultural
building, hundreds loaded onto trucks and driven away for
interrogation—some later released, others detained
The military cut off Palestinian radio broadcasts, ordering the
population of 30,000 to stay in their homes. Troops went from
house to house, breaking down and exploding walls to enter.
The bloodletting began immediately. By Nov. 3, at least 20
Palestinians had been killed.
A man who identified himself as Mahmoud stressed, “The
situation is very, very bad. The Israelis have destroyed Beit
Hanoun—they have destroyed the infrastructure.
They’ve cut the water pipes and the telephone lines. They
put explosives at the doors of the houses—and then they
enter on the women and children.”
Edible food and potable water quickly ran out as the military
cordoned off the town, blockading its entrances with sand
barricades. Diab al-Bassioni, in his 70s, was cut down by a
military sniper when he stepped outside to get water, his
neighbors told reporters.
Essential medications and medical supplies ran short as
casualties mounted. Paramedics who came to the aid of the wounded
were themselves killed and wounded.
The Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees called for
world support to “End Gaza Carnage.” The group
charged that Gaza’s health system was at “the
breaking point” and that the indiscriminate attacks on
civilians, including children, “represent a form of
reprisals and collective punishment in violation of article 33 of
Fourth Geneva Convention.”
Two protests reportedly erupted in the first two days, during
which demonstrators were said to have fired on the invading
As a result, the army lowered its street profile, pulling back
troop patrols. However, Israeli snipers positioned themselves on
town rooftops, shooting anyone who dared to leave their home.
Canadian television reported that armored tanks locked down the
streets and air strikes sent missiles hurtling into
neighborhoods. (CTV.ca, Nov. 3)
‘Women lead protest to break the siege’
At dawn on Nov. 3, Israeli troops had surrounded the Al Nasir
Mosque in which scores of Palestinian men were barricaded for
safety. The military had for 19 hours fired tear gas, smoke bombs
and stun grenades to drive the men out. The Army had bulldozed
the outer wall of the mosque, collapsing the roof.
As word of the standoff traveled over telephone lines, the local
Hamas radio station, Al Aqsa, broadcast an appeal at daybreak for
women to come to the mosque. Hundreds of Palestinian women left
their homes and walked a mile or more to the Israeli military
confrontation. Vastly outnumbering the infantry, they surrounded
Israeli soldiers opened fire on the unarmed women. The army later
claimed to have film showing that its troops were firing at men
hiding among the women, who it said were being used as human
shields by gunmen. Of course, Tel Aviv claimed that all 57 people
killed by its troops in the town—which included a
four-year-old child—were “gunmen.” Reuters
aired film of the first shots being fired; no men were visible in
Troops killed two Palestinian demonstrators—both
40-year-old women—and wounded at least 10 more.
The women, however, were successful in helping the Palestinian
men escape the troops.
Tahrir Shahin, a 36-year-old with seven children, walked for an
hour with her sister at dawn to the mosque. Troops shot her in
the leg, which later had to be amputated above the knee. She
stated from her hospital bed that she had no regrets about her
decision to mobilize. “I was so upset about what was
happening, so I answered their call.”
The women were hailed as heroes. Palestinian Prime Minister
Ismail Haniyeh “saluted the women of Palestine ... who led
the protest to break the siege of Beit Hanoun.”
Later that day, some 1,000 women marched to the Egyptian
diplomatic mission in Gaza City to condemn Israel and call on
Egypt to intervene.
Loudspeakers throughout the Gaza Strip rallied people to come out
after Friday prayers in solidarity with Beit Hanoun. Tens of
thousands of Palestinians from across the political spectrum
filled the streets of the coastal area.
A young Palestinian woman, Mervat Masaoud, detonated her body
near Israeli troops in Beit Hanoun on Nov. 6, injuring at least
U.S.-Israel: Stop the massacre!
Israeli troops pulled out of Beit Hanoun on the morning of Nov.
7. Thousands of Palestinians marched in funeral processions
through the town, some firing weapons, to mourn and honor the
The Israeli military had bulldozed cultivated land and orchards,
uprooting the lemon and orange groves that are the livelihood of
the farming community. The town’s mayor said 40 homes were
demolished and 400 damaged. Utility poles were toppled, water
pipes wrecked, telephone and electricity wires downed, tombstones
Troops and tanks took up positions outside the town and also
redeployed to three other areas in the northern Gaza Strip,
including the Jabaliya refugee camp and Beit Lahia.
The evening before, an Israeli air strike on the refugee camp had
wounded at least seven civilians, including six children.
Within hours after the redeployment on Nov. 7, the Israeli
military had already killed eight more Palestinians.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Palestinian
Authority Chairperson Mahmoud Abbas denounced the bloody Israeli
offensive as “acts of massacre.”
Since Tel Aviv opened up a military offensive against Gaza four
months ago, more than 300 Palestinians have been killed. (Muslim
Public Affairs Council)
Palestinians are calling for international pressure on Israel to
stop the offensive.
This military operation in Gaza, like the shards of shrapnel,
bears the stamp: “Made in the USA.”
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