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OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) declared its intention to demolish hundreds of Palestinian homes and buildings in area C under its control in the occupied West Bank and to retain illegal settlement outposts.
Haaretz newspaper said the Israeli prosecution bureau pledged to respond to petitions filed by Palestinian residents with the Israeli higher court against demolition of their property by razing hundreds of buildings and structures including schools without delay.
The IOA prevents the Palestinian natives from building or getting licenses to build in area C, so they find themselves forced to set up even temporary structures and tents because they know that Israel will not let them live peacefully in their lands without harassment and demolitions.
If the IOA and its prosecution bureau fulfilled their pledge to respond to Palestinian petitions, thousands of Palestinians would be homeless and 32 schools would be knocked down depriving about 1,000 Palestinian children from education.
For its part, the Israeli ministerial committee for legislation discussed in its meeting on Sunday a draft law aimed at preventing the evacuation of random illegal settlement outposts built by Jewish settlers without permits in the West Bank.
Haaretz said the leaders of these settlement outposts and right-wing Knesset members pressured this ministerial committee to approve and support the draft law.
Ola Attallah, IOL Correspondent
Jan 15, 2009
GAZA CITY-The words keep echoing in Kamal Awaga’s ears, sending jolts of pain into his feeble, wounded body.
These were the last words uttered by his 9-year-old son, Ibrahim, before he ended up as target practice for Israeli soldiers.
“They killed my son in cold blood,” says the grief-stricken father, still in a state of shock.
Ibrahim joined more than 350 children killed by Israel in its three-week onslaught on the coastal enclave.
But while others fell victim to killer bullets or deadly bombs, Ibrahim’s fate was even more tragic.
He became shooting practice for a squad of Israeli soldiers.
“The Israelis did not show mercy for his innocence,” said his tearful father from his bed at the Al-Shefa hospital in Gaza City.
“They had no pity for his tiny body,” added the heart-broken father.
A Sunny Day
Nothing in the day prepared the Awaga family for the tragic twist of events that unfolded.
They woke up to a sunny morning after days of being locked in one small room to escape the massive Israeli bombardment.
“Mom, let’s have our breakfast out in the garden. I’m tired of staying in this room,” the grieved mother recalls Ibrahim’s plea.
An hour later, the table was set in the garden and the family was hoping to enjoy rare moments of peace, unaware of the eyes watching them from a distance.
A first missile stole the family’s job before another destroyed their house.
“Dad, I am dying,” cried Ibrahim to his father who rushed frantically to his side.
“Hurry, let’s go,” Awaga told his wife and two other children while carrying bleeding Ibrahim.
But even before they could reach the gate, a flood of bullets showered them.
One bullet hit the mother’s leg and another hit the father’s waist.
Ibrahim’s two frightened brothers ran for cover behind the rubbles of their bombed-out house.
As the firing died down, the family thought their misery was over. But the Israeli soldiers were not finished yet.
“When the soldiers came closer, I thought they will kill me,” said Awaga who faked being dead.
“But they were aiming at my young child,” he said choking at the bitter memory.
One soldier came close to Ibrahim’s body, turning him by his leg and laughing while another fired his gun to the dead boy’s head.
Laughs got louder as they carried the body to a higher place to start their party.
For a whole hour, the father hushed his cries of pain as he watched the Israeli soldiers compete in sniping on his dead son’s body.
“They were using his bullet-ridden, bleeding body as a shooting practice.
“With each bullet, they were humming with words I could not figure out, but it sounded full of rapture. It was as if they were celebrating.”
When they finally had enough “practicing,” the Israelis took their guns and left the house.
Four complete days passed before emergency doctors were able to find their way to the family and rush them to hospital.
“What did my son do to deserve that?” Awaga asks, shaking his head in disbelief.
“The Israelis killed my kid, not once or twice but a thousand times.”
Grieving Palestinian father says children were killed after family obeyed order from troops to leave Gaza home
By Donald Macintyre in Gaza City
A Palestinian father has claimed that he saw two of his young daughters shot dead and another critically injured by an Israeli soldier who emerged from a stationary tank and opened fire as the family obeyed an order from the Israeli forces to leave their home.
Khaled Abed Rabbo said Amal, aged two and Suad, seven, were killed by fire from the soldier’s semi-automatic rifle. His third daughter, Samer, four, has been evacuated to intensive care in a Belgian hospital after suffering critical spinal injuries which he said were inflicted in the attack early in Israel’s ground offensive.
Mr Abed Rabbo stood near the wreckage off his subsequently destroyed home on the eastern edge of the northern Gaza town of Jabalya yesterday and described how a tank had parked outside the building at 12.50pm on 7 January and ordered the family in Arabic through a megaphone to leave building. He said his 60-year-old mother had also been shot at as she left waving her white headscarf with her son, daughter in law and her three grandchildren.
“Two soldiers were on the tank eating chips, then one man came out of the tank with a rifle and started shooting the kids,” Mr Abed Rabbo, who receives a salary as a policeman from the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in Ramallah said. The family say they think the weapon used by the soldier was an M16 and that the first to be shot was Amal. Mr Abed Rabbo said that Suad was then shot with what he claimed were 12 bullets, and then Samer.
The soldier who fired the rifle had what Mr Abed Rabbo thought were ringlets visible below his helmet, he said. The small minority of ultra-Orthodox Jews who serve in the army are in a unit which did not take part in the Gaza offensive and only a very small number of settlers who also favour that hairstyle serve in other units.
It has so far been impossible independently to verify Mr Abed Rabbo’s claim and the military said last night Israeli Defence Forces “does not target civilians, only Hamas terrorists and infrastructure”. It added: “The IDF is investigating various claims made with regard to Operation Cast Lead and at the end of its investigation will respond accordingly.”
The district is named Abed Rabbo after the clan who live in most of it. The dense concrete roof of the house now hangs at more at more than a 45-degree angle, and at least three other substantial buildings have been flattened in the agricultural, semi-rural immediate neighbourhood. Khaled Abed Rabbo said that there had been a delay before the ambulance could reach the building because the road from the west had been made impassable by the churning of the tanks.
The soldiers had in the end let the family leave on foot, he said. He added that they walked two kilometres before finding a vehicle to take them to Kamal Adwan Hospital. He said: “I carried Suad, who was dead, my wife carried Amal and my brother Ibrahim carried Samer.”
He added: “We are not Hamas. My children were not Hamas. And if they were going to shoot anyone it should have been me.” He added: “I want the international community and the International Red Cross to ask Israel why it has done this to us. They talk about democracy but is it democracy to kill children? What did the kids do to them? What did my house do to them? They destroyed my life?
Gaza City is showing signs of returning to a form of normality as more shops reopen. The offices of the main Palestinian telephone company Jawwal reopened though this has not eased severe problems of connectivity on the Palestinian mobile network.
Some Hamas policemen were back directing traffic, though in smaller numbers than before the offensive. Unconfirmed figures are that 270 Hamas policemen were killed, mainly in the air attacks during the first week. In a victory rally in Gaza city yesterday, Hamas supporters converged on a square near the remains of the bombed parliament building..
‘Heartbreaking’: The ugly face of war
The UN secretary general, looking distressed, described the devastation of Gaza as “heartbreaking” on a visit to the area yesterday after the 22-day Israeli assault.
“I have seen only a fraction of the destruction,” said Ban Ki-moon, as he stood in front of a UN warehouse set on fire by Israeli shells last Thursday. “This is shocking and alarming. These are heartbreaking scenes I have seen and I am deeply grieved by what I have seen today.” he said.
Mr Ban demanded a full investigation into the Israeli shelling of the UN Relief and Works Agency compound. UN officials say the compound, still smouldering yesterday, was targeted by white phosphorus munitions which are not supposed to be used in densely populated areas because of the harm to civilians. Mr Ban said the Israeli attacks on UNRWA headquarters and two UN schools in Gaza, one of which killed 40 sheltering Palestinians, were “outrageous”.
Amnesty International said Israel’s repeated use of the munitions despite evidence of their indiscriminate effects and harm to civilians “is a war crime”. The Israeli army has launched an investigation but says Hamas fighters operate from densely populated areas, and used UN buildings as cover for attacks.
Mr Ban said: “It has been especially troubling and heartbreaking for me as secretary general that I couldn’t end this faster,” he said. He urged Israel and Hamas to “exercise maximum restraint and nurture the ceasefire”.