Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Suffer the children, and how the IDF targets children

Filmed during a lull during Israel’s unrepentant and ongoing assault on Gaza, this handsome, eloquent 12 year old boy by the name of Mohammed tells us what life is like (<3 mins). I hope that in 15 or twenty years time, the well-spoken Mohammed will be seen running for Palestinian elections in a free Palestine.

Mohammed and his family fled from their home in the Alatatra area north of the Gaza eleven days ago. Unlike Sderot, Gaza children have no bomb shelters and nowhere to escape: their schools, clinics and places of worship are being systematically targeted by Israel. The family are now with scores of others in an UNRWA school in Gaza City where there is no electricity, a lack of water, and fear everywhere. Filmed by a freelance film-maker for

On the 11th, the village of Alatrata where Mohammed’s family originate saw a number of deaths after Israeli strikes. Amira Hass writes:

It is hard to count all the dead. However, there are reports of entire families being killed, and of numerous persons from the same family being killed, especially in peripheral areas that are emptying of people. The inhabitants are doing their best to avoid becoming part of the statistics of death.

Last Thursday, at 3:40 P.M., medical teams pulled four bodies out of the rubble – three of them children – in the Atatra neighborhood, southwest of Beit Lahiya. According to the report, the four had been killed several days earlier. On Friday at 3:30 P.M., a UAV fired a warning missile at the home of Faiz Salha in Jabalya. The family did not make it out of the house before heavier artillery slammed into it two minutes later, killing six of them.

Incidentally, the IDF verbally sanctions–why would they want this incriminating crime recorded in writing? — the direct killing of children over 12, with these new verbal open-fire regulations in place during and since the Second Intifada, as Lawrence of Cyberia writes. In 2000, Amira Hass has recorded the following chilling exchange with a sharp-shooter:

Sniper: “They forbid us to shoot at children”.
Journalist: “How do they say this?”
Sniper: “You don’t shoot a child who is 12 or younger”.
Journalist: “That is, a child of 12 or older is allowed?”
Sniper: “Twelve and up is allowed. He’s not a child anymore, he’s already after his bar mitzvah. Something like that”.
Journalist: “Thirteen is bar mitzvah age”.
Sniper: “Twelve and up, you’re allowed to shoot. That’s what they tell us”.
Journalist: “Under international law, a child is defined as someone up to the age of 18.”
Sniper: “Up until 18 is a child?”
Journalist: “So, according to the IDF, it is 12?”
Sniper: “According to what the IDF says to its soldiers. I don’t know if this is what the IDF says to the media.”

Shooting unarmed civilians, even children, has been all too commonplace for the IOF, as LoC describes at length, and digs out this footnote from Mearsheimer and Walt’s The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy (chapter 2, endnote 49):

The Swedish “Save the Children” organization estimated that “23,600 to 29,900 children required medical treatment for their beating injuries in the first two years of the [first] intifida,” with nearly one‐third sustaining broken bones. Nearly one‐third of the beaten children were aged ten and under. It also states that 6,500 to 8,000 children were wounded by gunfire during the first two years of the Intifada. Researchers investigated 66 of the 106 recorded cases of “child gunshot deaths.” They concluded that: almost all of them “were hit by directed ‐‐ not random or ricochet ‐‐ gunfire”; nearly twenty percent suffered multiple gunshot wounds; twelve percent were shot from behind; fifteen percent of the children were ten years of age or younger; “most children were not participating in a stone‐throwing demonstration when shot dead”; and “nearly one‐fifth of the children were shot dead while at home or within ten meters of their homes.”

On Israeli targeting of civilians, see also:

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This entry was posted on 14 January, 2009 by in Civilians, Gaza, Video and tagged , , , , .

Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"