Saw and Experienced In Gaza
By Mustafa Barghouti
9th September, Dr Mustafa Barghouti,
the Palestinian MP, member of the PLO’s Central
Council, and General Secretary of the
Palestinian National Initiative, addressed
Palestine Solidarity Campaign activists in
Barghouti, a medical doctor, was in Gaza during
Israel’s latest massacre.
spoke to a packed hall of 400 people on the day
of PSC’s National Lobby of Parliament for
Palestine. Activists then went on to meet their
MPs and put the case for justice for Palestine
and sanctions on Israel.
Dr Barghouti’s speech:
you for everything you have done for Palestine
and Gaza. We have been watching the
demonstrations. What you have done has given the
people a great amount of moral support and I
hope you can continue with this, because it is
you to continue with this solidarity work
because we have a very, very big fight ahead of
to give you a glimpse of what I saw and
experienced in Gaza.
footage, no speech, no camera, no television can
really show the reality that you can see with
your own eyes. Please go there if you can. It’s
so important for you to know the reality and
it’s also important for there people there to
see you there.
happened is beyond description. Even describing
it as an act of disproportionality is an insult
to humanity. Describing it as an imbalance of
power is also an insult.
slaughtering thousands of people and destroying
thousands of homes and to speak about
reconstruction and to immediately allow Israeli
companies to make a profit from this is also an
insult to humanity.
happened in Gaza, as has happened before in the
West Bank is nothing but war crimes and crimes
against humanity. What happened was nothing but
massacres against the civilian population and
Israel couldn’t have done that without a feeling
of impunity and without having impunity from
international law, and this couldn’t have
happened if so many Western world leaders hadn’t
been complicit in what happened.
major world leaders come out and speak about the
right of Israel to self defence and not a single
word about the Palestinian right to self-defence
when Palestinians are slaughtered and occupied
for 47 years, this is an insult to humanity.
me tell you frankly, after all these days and
all this suffering, I have no patience for
show you some pictures of what I have seen. The
destruction was beyond description.
photos of devastation in Gaza)
the Second World War, there was not so much
destruction in such a small area.
was not about one house being destroyed and the
house next to it being destroyed.
was intentional bombardment by the Israeli army
and navy and air force to destroy whole
which was completely destroyed was not a
neighbourhood. It was a town, it was a city,
with 150,000 people and it was destroyed, one
house after another. Every house, every clinic,
every mosque, every building was destroyed. Even
a home for people with disabilities was
destroyed. The destruction was beyond belief,
and it is there for people who want to see.
buildings, of five, six, seven, eight storeys
were completely destroyed.
opinion, Israel was using Gaza as a testing
ground for its weapons. I have never seen even
in films such a level of devastation.
one bomb which caused a half a square kilometre
hole in the ground.
homes and buildings were destroyed completely,
41,000 houses partially damaged, 145 schools,
eight hospitals, 13 health centres damaged. 180
mosques damaged, 71 destroyed completely. Even
cemeteries were bombarded, 10 bombarded, nine
Muslim cemeteries, one Christian cemetery. They
bombarded the graves. The bones of the people
came out of the graves.
amount of explosives they used was beyond
description. (photo of children climbing a huge
mound of rubble, as high as a house, ‘looking
for anything. You can see the stairs. You can
see how this huge building became rubbish.’)
were told sometimes to leave their homes. They
call it warning. They were told within two
minutes you have to leave your home, or they
will kill you. And they can take nothing.
Imagine, wherever you live, someone telling you
to get out of your home within two minutes or
you will be killed and within three minutes your
home will be destroyed. How will you feel?
lose your belongings, your money, your papers,
you photos, your passport, and, most important,
your memories, which can’t be brought back even
if there is reconstruction. That is what they
did to people.
did so many insults to humanity. They talk about
warnings by shooting people. They will shoot a
small rocket at a house as a warning sign and
then shoot a rocket from an F16 and destroy the
house. And these small rockets kill people, tens
the world live with that? How can the BBC speak
about the Israeli army warning people with
rockets and call it a humanity?
people lost their homes. Many of them are still
living in shelters. In huge numbers.
almost cried when I was asked to see a girl in
one of these shelters. She has cancer which has
taken away her sight and she was half paralysed.
Her mother was with her also. She had to be
inside the room with 50 other people. Very hot,
very humid, no showers, no clean water. That’s
what happened to these people when they went
into these shelters.
found evidence of scabies, and gastroenteritis
people decided to live in the rubble rather than
in the shelters, because it was so humiliating
to live without any privacy.
Sometimes they still find people who are dead
under the destruction (photo of a dead baby
girl, who had been under a destroyed home for
high rises, they were all destroyed. Huge
building hosted 80 families. In two minutes, it
was a man, 82 years old, who told me he spent
all his life building a house and a family. He
had a house with four storeys and 28 sons and
daughters and grandchildren. He went to pray
during Ramadaan, one evening. He came back. The
house was completely destroyed, his wife was
killed. All the 28 sons and daughters and
grandsons and granddaughters were killed.
families were completely annihilated. 91
families were scratched from the civil records
in these attacks.
these attacks, the Israeli army killed 2,153
people, and the number will still rise because
we still have injured people who will not
survive. 83% of those killed were civilians, 85%
of them were killed inside their homes, 578 of
those killed were children, 260 were women, 101
were elderly people. More than 1,100 people have
been injured, including more than 3,000 people
who will become disabled for the rest of their
population of Gaza is only 1.8 million. If Gaza
had the population of the United States, you
will be talking about 400,000 killed and
1,934,000 injured, almost two million.
the September 11th 2001 attacks, the
United States lost 3,000 people. After that,
they conducted so many wars and went after
everybody all over the world. What would the
United States have done if they had lost 400,000
people in 51 days?
eight times more than what the United States
lost in the whole of the Vietnam War – just to
give an idea of the scope of the killing and the
families lost three or more of their members. 31
charities were destroyed. 462,000 people were
weapons they used should be prohibited by
international law. As well as using their F16s,
the Israelis started throwing barrels of
explosives, because their aim was not to target
specifically but their aim was to destroy and
kill as many people as possible.
something that the BBC does not show you, and
CCN and Sky news does not show you, and Fox News
does not talk about it. I provided this footage
(photos of barrel bombs, exploded and
unexploded) to their correspondents. They would
hear about it? Was it mentioned in the news?
Tell your MPs about it. Ask your MP – how can a
country that claims to be a civilised country, a
democracy, that has a very special relationship
with the United Kingdom, that keeps speaking
about the right to defend itself, ask them, how
can they be allowed to throw barrels of
explosives at a civilian population?
shrapnel is so sharp it can cut anything, and
shrapnel like this is all over the place. It
includes very dangerous material. Tungsten and
other material that is cancerogenous, and
woman told me she was hiding in a UNWRA shelter,
which was supposed to be a safe place. The
Israelis had the geographical location of it,
they had the co-ordinates for that shelter. And
they still attacked seven of these UNWRA
shelters, killing 40 people and injuring 240
woman called me. She was in one of these
shelters. She said: ‘At four in the morning they
started bombarding us. There was one bomb, then
a second bomb, then a third. I woke up, it was
dark, I couldn’t find anybody. I started looking
for my children, and then I found Mohammed. I
put my hand out and he was without his head.’
decapitated. This is what they have done.
used 21,000 tonnes of explosives. This is equal
to two 1 megaton nuclear bombs. Two nuclear
bombs basically were dropped on Gaza.
used prohibited weapons. Dime bombs, tungsten,
depleted uranium, even bombs that throw nails
everywhere, so they kill as many people as
destroyed water networks, sewage systems, they
attacked and destroyed the only electricity
station in Gaza. And they created epidemics.
Uptil now, in the best case scenario, people in
Gaza have electricity for only six hours a day.
you do if you only have electricity for six
hours a day? What would you do if you could not
have showers every day because the water is so
saline? What would you do in a place where 90%
of water sources are polluted and salinated, and
not good for human use?
devastation is unbelievable. They attacked 36
ambulances, they killed 22 first aid and health
providers. They devastated eight hospitals. They
killed 18 journalists and attacked seven UNWRA
schools. They killed five people in Shifa
hospital. Two disabled women were killed in a
disabled centre. 450 factories were destroyed.
Farms were destroyed. Today there is no meat in
Gaza, because all the sheep were killed in the
attacks. The soil is so covered in chemicals
that it’s not good for human use, for farming.
Amira (photo of heavily bandaged girl in a
shelter), and her sister. Two years old and four
months old. Broken legs, broken arms. They lost
their father, their mother, brothers, sisters,
their aunts, their uncles, they lost everything.
And when somebody in the room in the room said
‘who will have them?’, three women in the room
immediately said they would. And they were women
who already had children to look after, one of
them had lost a child. They said, ‘we will have
them. We are all their family.’ This is the
Palestinian resistance that Netanyahu will never
are not numbers. People are human beings. None
of you would expect to be treated as a number.
You are a human being with a history, with
family, with children, with relatives, with a
whole life. Every single one of those people who
were killed should be recorded and people should
know about them.
attacked Gaza in 2006, in 2008, in 2013 and in
2014. In 2014, there was one hundred times more
destruction and more explosives than in all
three previous wars. Why? Because they are
testing the world, they are testing you, they
are testing every single person in humanity to
see how much you can tolerate.
what the fascists did before. The fascists
tested humanity to see how much it would resist
and now it is time to resist Israel.
tried to dehumanise us as Palestinians. First
they tried to dehumanise Hamas, then all
Palestinians. Netanyahu even has the guts to try
and compare Hamas with Isis.
totally unacceptable to keep accepting Israel’s
claim of self-defence. This is not self-defence.
This is offence. Israel shouldn’t be allowed
this level of impunity. Enough is enough. We
have to take them to the International Criminal
Court. The PLO must immediately sign the Rome
Statute and take Israel to the ICC.
bombed, then they let ambulances and journalists
come to the site, then they bombed again and
again. (shows a harrowing video of ambulances
and people coming to the aid of people injured
in a bombing, and then being themselves bombed)
your MPs now that this inhumanity can’t
continue. There’s only one way out – to
establish boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS)
against Israel in order to dismantle this
occupation and this apartheid.
Palestine Solidarity Campaign 2013