Saturday, January 03, 2009

These targets had names

As Israel continues its bombardment of Gaza, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) public relations office is providing what for the last decade has become standard war pornography: video feeds from precision guided rockets destroying their targets. The IDF has its own YouTube channel where you can watch these explosive snuff videos at your leisure. Wow -- there goes a mosque! Yikes -- that was the Hamas Government compound! Wonder how many people were inside?

I poked around in this channel the other day, mostly just appalled. All that destruction can't possibly lead to anything but further hatred.

But one video was actually interesting. It was called "Israeli Air Force Strikes Rockets in Transit" and seemed to show what appeared to half a dozen human figures on the ground moving cylindrical objects into an open pickup truck. The black and white film is jerky -- the indistinct men seem to swarm rather than walk, slightly insect-like. On the other hand, their movements don't seem furtive, as if they were hiding something. Can Gazan rocketeers really act so casual? Then comes the blast and they disappear in a fire ball.

You can see this one for yourself if you want [2:42]:

The Israeli journalist Amira Haas has since reported in Haaretz newspaper what seems to have been the story that underlies this gritty video.

According to B'tselem and the Mezan center for human rights, the truck belongs to Ahmed Samur, 55, and is still standing, burnt, beside his workshop in the Jabaliya refugee camp. Next to it hang scorched oxygen balloons, a blade and cables. Nobody dares move the truck or the accompanying accoutrements for fear that the UAVs filming every detail from above will bomb whoever approaches.

"Everything is still there on the ground," said Samur on Thursday. "We only moved the dead."

Just three hours before the attack, Samur's daughter told him that she had heard on the local radio that a house next to his workshop had been bombed.

He immediately got into his Mercedes truck, along with his son and a few neighbors and relatives, and went to the workshop to see the damage.

They were shocked to discover that the neighboring house had collapsed onto his workshop and decided to pack up the expensive tools and take them home before they could be looted.

On the first round, they brought home a drill, a welding torch, a scale, other tools and a gas balloon for cooking. Then they went back to the workshop to pack up the rest: three of six oxygen balloons used for welding, two jerrycans filled with benzene and two filled with diesel.

As Samir's son Imad organized the tools in the truck, his brother-in-law packed his own smaller car with 50 packages of welding electrodes, 4 kilograms each, and drove off.

Samur himself stood on the other side of the street to keep the dust particles from the burning nearby house from flying into his lungs. He looked at the youths packing the truck and was reminded of working bees in a honeycomb - this was just before 5 P.M., he estimates.

"Suddenly I saw a flash of light next to my truck and then it caught fire and I heard the sound of an explosion. I started to run toward the blast, and when I got close and the smoke cleared, I saw bodies, one of them belonging to my son Imad. I fainted. When I woke up they told me that Imad and the seven other young people who were helping him had been killed," he recounted.

Speaking to Haaretz by phone, Samur said: "These were not Hamas, they were our children, and I will tell you their names. Imad Samur, 32; Ashraf al-Dabar, 30; Mahmoud Rabayan, 15; Rami Rabayan, 23; Ahmed Hila, 19; Mohammed Mahdi, 17; Wissam Eid, 14; Mohammed Haber, 20. Four others were hurt, two of them seriously: Bilal Rabayan, 19 and his brother Baha, 16."

Knowing their names doesn't make them any less dead.


Tina said...

i listen to Bush declarations about what is going on in Gaza and wonder how the majority of good Americans don't question their government politics when it comes to Israel. Bush is/was wrong about everything, but not about Israel?!

Anne Vis said...

What a shocking story ... I wonder why in the video the people are all in white ... it looks like somebody good in video-editing did this ... also: after the plane crash in 1992 of an El Al boing (containing chemical weapons for israel) in Amsterdam, many people saw "men in white" ...
Unnerving ...

Motto said...

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is S.Aran, I am a representative of Dream Activist where we are currently conducting a massive awareness and recruitment campaign in order to garnish support for the Dream Act.

I am an undocumented student, and find it extremely difficult to pursue my college education due to a status I inherited from my parents. Being brought to the United States at the age of 12, raised and brought to an American lifestyle, to graduating high school in 2007 at the top of my class. The DREAM Act would help me, and students in my situation, realize our dreams of becoming active members of society by allowing us to attend school or join the military.

Currently we have a project going on at CHANGE.ORG, a website that will present the top 10 ideas that it generates to the Obama administration upon its inauguration. The members of your organization are more than welcome to vote on our idea in order to keep it in the top 10. Heres a link to the site:


YOUR BLOG, is probably the most invaluable tool you have in order to help us.
Starting January 5th, the site and voting polls will re-open and we will need as many votes as possible in order to defeat our opposition; in which, we have only 10 days to gather enough votes so that our idea move forward and get presented to the Obama administration upon inauguration. There will be a widget that you can post on your blog to allow your readers to vote on our cause, and do not forget to make a post public for viewing and circulate it far and wide.

Another project we would like for you to be involved is the petition we will have online as of January 21 ( This petition is being hosted by DreamACTivist and the United We DREAM Coalition, in which we will aim to gather 65,000 signature by March 1st of this year.

Remember that is now a new year, this is our time to bring the Change that was promised to us. Let us work together towards a common goal, and enjoy the role we play in society as activists and advocated for not only immigrants, but education as a whole.

Please, let me know if you are interested, as the more help we get the better and faster our mission can get accomplished. If you have any questions surrounding the bill, or anything in relation to DO NOT HESITATE to contact me at this email address.

Hope we can keep in touch.
Thanks for your attention.



DREAM Activist Representative and Editor

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