Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.

×

Kamal Odwan’s ‘mosque’

Missiles have been falling throughout the afternoon 'ceasefire' reports Ewa Jasiewicz

January 12, 2009
4 min read


Ewa JasiewiczEwa Jasiewicz is a Palestine solidarity activist, union organiser and part of the editorial collective of Le Monde Diplomatique Polish Edition.


  share     tweet  

Kamal Odwan hospital is the main port of call for the bulk of emergency services, once a local clinic, it has now grown, concomitantly with the population of the north, now 350000, into a hospital. Since the bombing of an average of one in ten mosques in the Jabaliya area according to local Imams, Kamal Odwan is now also a prayer site, an open-air mosque. Rows of men kneel together daily in the car park, round the corner from the overflowing morgue; praying also takes place at the side of the lines of parked ambulances and in the little garden area in front of the reception and emergency room.

The emergency staff, the families and friends of new martyrs, all pray together in perhaps the last place of sanctuary in Jabaliya, knowing that as soon as they set foot outside, they’re fair game for snipers, surveillance drones, Apaches, Cobras, F16 and F15 fired missiles, shrapnel, flying chunks of house, glass, and nails that are shredding people here. White phosphorous too is reportedly being used, along with a white mist of nerve gas hanging in Jabaliya a few days ago and over Beit Hanoun, in the Zoumou street area. Today at least three casualties, all of them elderly women, were brought into Beit Hanoun hospital suffering from inhalation of this gas, which chokes people, tightening chests and nasal passages and rendering people dizzy and disorientated; we were all affected by it, despite being maybe half a kilometre away from the site of its release. As I finish writing this now, in the offices of Ramatan News, the same gas, nerve fraying, chest tightening, tear-inducing and confusing is seeping into the offices.

The director of public relations at Kamal Odwan, Moayad Al Masri, whose family now lives in the Fakhoura School refugee camp gives me the stats for the past week. Every day approximately 20 people are killed, by tank shelling, apache, F16, and surveillance plane missile strikes.

On 27 December, 14 people killed, 52 injured; On the 28 December, six killed, 22 injured; 29 December 15 killed, 102 injured; 30 December, two killed, 11 injured; 31 December, three killed, three injured; New Years Day, 17 killed, 67 injured; 2 January, six killed, 10 injured; 3 January, 13 killed, 43 injured; 4 January, 28 killed, 35 injured; 5 January, 15 killed, 98 injured; 6 January, 50 killed, 101 injured; 7 January, 17 killed, 33 injured; 8 January, 11 killed, 53 injured; 9 January, 15 killed and 63 injured; 10 January, 22 killed and 53 injured. And today, this morning, six people had been killed so far. Four of them children. Two sisters, Saher Ghabban 16 and Haowla Ghabban 14, and Fatima Mahrouf 16 and Haitham Mahrouf. Witnesses report that they were leaving their home at the UNRWA Beit Lahiya school, to go home to wash and make food. They were walking near strawberry fields in Sheyma when they were struck by a surveillance plane missile.

I go to meet a friend from Beit Hanoun at the hospital. It takes stopping five different taxi drivers before I finally get one who agrees to take me. Missiles have been falling throughout the afternoon ‘ceasefire’. Everyone has heard about cars and their passengers zapped in two by missiles from surveillance drones. We all engage in a kind of Russian roulette every time we move, knowing we might be the next unlucky ones.

In Beit Hanoun we hear about six families from the Abu Amsha House – 50 people – having to flee their four-story home after the IOF called to give them five minutes to leave or be bombed. As the families frantically gathered their belongings – mattresses, blankets, clothes, documents, photographs – and made their way down the stairs, an Israeli F16 war plane bombed them. 27 were injured, four of them seriously, including one with shrapnel in the spinal area.

Red Pepper is an independent, non-profit magazine that puts left politics and culture at the heart of its stories. We think publications should embrace the values of a movement that is unafraid to take a stand, radical yet not dogmatic, and focus on amplifying the voices of the people and activists that make up our movement. If you think so too, please support Red Pepper in continuing our work by becoming a subscriber today.
Why not try our new pay as you feel subscription? You decide how much to pay.

Ewa JasiewiczEwa Jasiewicz is a Palestine solidarity activist, union organiser and part of the editorial collective of Le Monde Diplomatique Polish Edition.


Contribute to Conter – the new cross-party platform linking Scottish socialists
Jonathan Rimmer, editor of Conter, says it’s time for a new non-sectarian space for Scottish anti-capitalists and invites you to take part

Editorial: Empire will eat itself
Ashish Ghadiali introduces the June/July issue of Red Pepper

Eddie Chambers: Black artists and the DIY aesthetic
Eddie Chambers, artist and art historian, speaks to Ashish Ghadiali about the cultural strategies that he, as founder of the Black Art Group, helped to define in the 1980s

Despite Erdogan, Turkey is still alive
With this year's referendum consolidating President Erdogan’s autocracy in Turkey, Nazim A argues that the way forward for democrats lies in a more radical approach

Red Pepper Race Section: open editorial meeting – 11 August in Leeds
The next open editorial meeting of the Red Pepper Race Section will take place between 3.30-5.30pm, Friday 11th August in Leeds.

Mogg-mentum? Thatcherite die-hard Jacob Rees-Mogg is no man of the people
Adam Peggs says Rees-Mogg is no joke – he is a living embodiment of Britain's repulsive ruling elite

Power to the renters: Turning the tide on our broken housing system
Heather Kennedy, from the Renters Power Project, argues it’s time to reject Thatcher’s dream of a 'property-owning democracy' and build renters' power instead

Your vote can help Corbyn supporters win these vital Labour Party positions
Left candidate Seema Chandwani speaks to Red Pepper ahead of ballot papers going out to all members for a crucial Labour committee

Join the Rolling Resistance to the frackers
Al Wilson invites you to take part in a month of anti-fracking action in Lancashire with Reclaim the Power

The Grenfell public inquiry must listen to the residents who have been ignored for so long
Councils handed housing over to obscure, unaccountable organisations, writes Anna Minton – now we must hear the voices they silenced

India: Modi’s ‘development model’ is built on violence and theft from the poorest
Development in India is at the expense of minorities and the poor, writes Gargi Battacharya

North Korea is just the start of potentially deadly tensions between the US and China
US-China relations have taken on a disturbing new dimension under Donald Trump, writes Dorothy Guerrero

The feminist army leading the fight against ISIS
Dilar Dirik salutes militant women-organised democracy in action in Rojava

France: The colonial republic
The roots of France’s ascendant racism lie as deep as the origins of the French republic itself, argues Yasser Louati

This is why it’s an important time to support Caroline Lucas
A vital voice of dissent in Parliament: Caroline Lucas explains why she is asking for your help

PLP committee elections: it seems like most Labour backbenchers still haven’t learned their lesson
Corbyn is riding high in the polls - so he can face down the secret malcontents among Labour MPs, writes Michael Calderbank

Going from a top BBC job to Tory spin chief should be banned – it’s that simple
This revolving door between the 'impartial' broadcaster and the Conservatives stinks, writes Louis Mendee – we need a different media

I read Gavin Barwell’s ‘marginal seat’ book and it was incredibly awkward
Gavin Barwell was mocked for writing a book called How to Win a Marginal Seat, then losing his. But what does the book itself reveal about Theresa May’s new top adviser? Matt Thompson reads it so you don’t have to

We can defeat this weak Tory government on the pay cap
With the government in chaos, this is our chance to lift the pay cap for everyone, writes Mark Serwotka, general secretary of public service workers’ union PCS

Corbyn supporters surge in Labour’s internal elections
A big rise in left nominations from constituency Labour parties suggests Corbynites are getting better organised, reports Michael Calderbank

Undercover policing – the need for a public inquiry for Scotland
Tilly Gifford, who exposed police efforts to recruit her as a paid informer, calls for the inquiry into undercover policing to extend to Scotland

Becoming a better ally: how to understand intersectionality
Intersectionality can provide the basis of our solidarity in this new age of empire, writes Peninah Wangari-Jones

The myth of the ‘white working class’ stops us seeing the working class as it really is
The right imagines a socially conservative working class while the left pines for the days of mass workplaces. Neither represent today's reality, argues Gargi Bhattacharyya

The government played the public for fools, and lost
The High Court has ruled that the government cannot veto local council investment decisions. This is a victory for local democracy and the BDS movement, and shows what can happen when we stand together, writes War on Want’s Ross Hemingway.

An ‘obscure’ party? I’m amazed at how little people in Britain know about the DUP
After the Tories' deal with the Democratic Unionists, Denis Burke asks why people in Britain weren't a bit more curious about Northern Ireland before now

The Tories’ deal with the DUP is outright bribery – but this government won’t last
Theresa May’s £1.5 billion bung to the DUP is the last nail in the coffin of the austerity myth, writes Louis Mendee

Brexit, Corbyn and beyond
Clarity of analysis can help the left avoid practical traps, argues Paul O'Connell

Paul Mason vs Progress: ‘Decide whether you want to be part of this party’ – full report
Broadcaster and Corbyn supporter Paul Mason tells the Blairites' annual conference some home truths

Contagion: how the crisis spread
Following on from his essay, How Empire Struck Back, Walden Bello speaks to TNI's Nick Buxton about how the financial crisis spread from the USA to Europe

How empire struck back
Walden Bello dissects the failure of Barack Obama's 'technocratic Keynesianism' and explains why this led to Donald Trump winning the US presidency