Tags: Afghanistan, amy goodman, bbc, bbc censorship, gaza, gaza casualties, gaza doctors, gaza hospitals, george mitchell, hamas, humanitarian aid, Iraq, israel, israeli bombs, kathy kelly, lebanon, livni, Middle East, Obama, Palestine, rafah, roger hollander, saddam hussein, war profiteers, weapons makers, west bank, white phosphorus
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January 27, 2009
AMY GOODMAN: President Obama has dispatched George Mitchell on his first trip as Middle East envoy. Mitchell is set to begin in Egypt today, followed by Israel, the occupied West Bank, Jordan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Speaking at the White House, Obama said Mitchell will be charged with bringing about “genuine progress.”
- PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The charge that Senator Mitchell has is to engage vigorously and consistently in order for us to achieve genuine progress. And when I say “progress,” not just photo-ops, but progress that is concretely felt by people on the ground, so that people feel more secure in their lives, so that they feel that the hopes and dreams and aspirations of their children can be met. That is going to be our task. It is not something that we’re going to be able to do overnight, but I am absolutely confident that if the United States is engaged in a consistent way and an early—in early fashion, that we can make genuine progress.
Now, understand that Senator Mitchell is going to be fully empowered by me and fully empowered by Secretary Clinton. So when he speaks, he will be speaking for us. And I’m hopeful that during this initial trip, one of the earliest initiatives that we have taken diplomatically, that not only is he able to communicate effectively how urgent we consider the issue, but that we’re also going to be able to listen and to learn and to find out what various players in the region are thinking. And more immediately, we hope that Senator Mitchell will be able to give us some ideas in terms of how we can solidify the ceasefire, ensure Israel’s security, also ensure that Palestinians in Gaza are able to get the basic necessities they need and that they can see a pathway towards long-term development that will be so critical in order for us to achieve a lasting peace.
AMY GOODMAN: George Mitchell has no immediate plans to visit the Gaza Strip, site of the three-week-long US-backed attack that killed more than 1,300 people, injured more than 5,000. A State Department spokesperson said Mitchell might make it to Gaza.
Well, my next guest has just returned from Gaza. She witnessed the Israeli attack. Kathy Kelly is executive director of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, veteran peace activist, founder of Voices in the Wilderness, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize several times. She joins us in our firehouse studio.
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Kathy.
KATHY KELLY: Good morning, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: How long were you in Gaza, and how did you get in?
KATHY KELLY: We were there, Audrey Stewart and I, for a total of six days, and we had entered after going back up to Cairo and getting an official-stamped letter. You had to swear before the United States embassy in Cairo that you were going in on your own responsibility.
AMY GOODMAN: And what did you see? Where did you go?
KATHY KELLY: We went to Rafah, and we were very fortunate. A family that had fled from their own home and was living in a home that was lent to them in-laws invited us to stay with them. And we were immediately outside the area where people were told to evacuate. And so, we timed it. Every eleven minutes, there would be a huge bomb thudding down on the neighborhood. This was very close to where the tunnel industry had been in full activity prior to the December 27th attacks.
And so, we heard many of the bombs falling, we heard Apache helicopters firing, and then traveled with young people, students, up to Gaza City after the ceasefire was in place and the roads had been cleared and could see just how stunned the students were at the extent of the devastation. And then, from there, we visited inside the hospital, the burn unit, in a major—Shifa Hospital in Gaza, and then went up to Beit Lahiya and Audrey over to Tufa to further see the extent of the damage.
AMY GOODMAN: Speaking with doctors in the hospital, seeing patients, what struck you most?
KATHY KELLY: The doctors said that the majority of their patients were non-military. They were civilians, grandmothers, teenagers, children. They were shaking with rage, honestly, because the world had watched for twenty-two days while this affliction just went on and on. They talked about patients lying on the floor, dying before their eyes, because they couldn’t open up operating rooms, they didn’t have enough materials to try to save all of the people who were coming in desperate need.
They said they had never seen injuries like this before, doctors with fifteen, twenty, thirty years of practice, particularly with regard to the burns. They’ve now, they believe, proven that white phosphorus was used. They had sent one patient’s tissue out for a biopsy in Egypt, and elements of white phosphorus were found in the tissue. And what actually kills people, when the white phosphorus, which is poisonous, goes into the circulatory system, is that the liver can’t process it. And two of their patients died of cardiac arrest after being transported to Egypt.
They also told about the way that surgeons had to work as teams—a vascular surgeon, a neurosurgeon, an orthopedic surgeon—trying desperately to save lives. And the extent of the wounds that each patient came in with, they said, was nothing like they had ever experienced before.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you, Kathy Kelly, about this brewing controversy in Britain. Two of Britain’s major broadcasters, the BBC and Sky, are continuing to come under criticism for refusing to air a charity appeal for the victims of the Israel attack on Gaza. The appeal was put together by the Disasters Emergency Committee, or DEC, which includes thirteen of Britain’s main charities. The DEC asked broadcasters to air the three-minute appeal during primetime on Monday, seeking donations for Palestinians affected by the conflict. The appeal aired on many British channels last night, but the BBC and Sky refused. This is an excerpt of the appeal.
- DEC APPEAL: The children of Gaza are suffering. Many are struggling to survive, homeless and in need of food and water. Today, this is not about the rights and wrongs of the conflict. The hospitals have been overwhelmed with the number of casualties and need more resources to treat them. This is why the DEC has launched this appeal.
AMY GOODMAN: Again, the BBC has come under broad criticism for its decision not to air the appeal. This is Caroline Thomson, chief operating officer for the BBC.
- CAROLINE THOMSON: It is a matter of a big national, international controversy. There is a big debate about the rights and wrongs of the war and the causes and so on, and we would want that to have stabilized and the situation on the ground to have stabilized before we could reconsider and feel it was something we could do.
AMY GOODMAN: And here is what the BBC’s director-general Mark Thompson had to say.
- MARK THOMPSON: We believe that the BBC’s reputation of impartiality is so important and so integral to the BBC’s reputation and its trustworthiness here and around the world that it’s very important that we adhere strictly to our principles.
AMY GOODMAN: Again, the charities behind the appeal include the Red Cross, Oxfam, Save the Children and Christian Aid. Kathy Kelly, your response?
KATHY KELLY: Well, many of those charities had even prior to the December 27th attacks issued a scathing report showing how the economic war, the state of siege that had been imposed on Gaza, was something that was in violation of international law. I think that these charities have had on-the-ground experiences, and they should certainly be listened to.
Surely, the humanitarian is political. That’s just a reality that we should all accept. But I think that the journalistic integrity would be most respected if in fact there would be clear reporting on the ways that these assaults, the Israeli assaults on a civilian population, 50 percent of whom are children, violated international law and any standards of human decency and, I believe, should be examined under the questions of genocide.
AMY GOODMAN: Israel said that they would stop during that attack if Hamas stopped launching the rockets. What was the response of Palestinians inside? Has Hamas increased in popularity or decreased?
KATHY KELLY: It’s difficult to answer that question. I, myself, sensed that when people heard the word “victory,” that gave people pause. I mean, you couldn’t look at the extent of the damage and devastation and the amount of time it will take to repair and speak of victory, if in fact you are going to live in that situation for a long time. But I think that the rage that was felt in every conversation that I heard, in terms of the international community allowing this devastation to go on for twenty-two days without stepping in, was a cause of ongoing chagrin. Now, how that will affect Hamas’s political standing, it’s difficult to say.
AMY GOODMAN: How did this compare to your experience of other conflict situations? I mean, you’re famous, Kathy, for traveling the world to conflict zones. You were in Iraq before the invasion and during. You were in Lebanon in 2006.
KATHY KELLY: You know, in Iraq, when people were trapped under the economic sanctions, it seemed as though there was nothing that average, ordinary people could do except be punished again and again and again.
I was impressed by the tunnel industry. In the town of Rafah, which is bisected by the border, people have found a way to deal with the state of siege that was imposed on them imposing collective punishment. And they created a network of tunnels so that—actually, the first day that people could kind of basically come out after the bombing had ended, the stalls in Rafah were pretty stacked with goods. And I thought, well, how did they ever get there? And people just said, “The tunnels.” And so, I think where there’s tremendous need, people don’t like the idea of burrowing underground in order to get food and water and benzene and needed goods, but I think that there’s a great survival ethos that is—
AMY GOODMAN: Israel said the tunnels are used for weapons smuggling, and Tzipi Livni came to the US in the amidst of the attacks to get the US to vow they would stop this weapons smuggling.
KATHY KELLY: But oughtn’t we just use that as a segue into understanding the extent of the United States weapon delivery to the Israeli government? I mean, the planes that were flying overhead were using aviation fuel given free of charge by the United States taxpayers. The drones that are flying overhead doing surveillance represent state-of-the-art modern technology. The amount of money the United States gives annually, $2.6 billion, to Israel—this is a delivery that doesn’t even require any kind of smuggling, because the world has said, yes, the United States and Israel can collaborate, and they can beat up on Palestinian people, pounding them into the ground as much as they want, and there will be complicity.
AMY GOODMAN: What about George Mitchell going to Israel now, going to the occupied West Bank, but at least at this point they’ve not announced plans for him to go to Gaza?
KATHY KELLY: He has such an opportunity to make tracks out of the comfort of offices and salons in Tel Aviv and go to Gaza. Ban Ki-moon did it. My hope is that he would go and stay for several days, that he would make a thorough tour of the Gaza Strip. And I hope that everybody in the United States who’s tuned into his travel will encourage him to avail himself of what is a crucial opportunity to state his own desire to listen, as the President has instructed him to do. He should be listening to the mothers, to the children, to the doctors, to the people who are trying to now rebuild after a fierce and horrible assault.
AMY GOODMAN: Why did you leave Gaza?
KATHY KELLY: You know, the electricity was sporadic. The internet connections were not so available. We felt we had a story to tell, and so we decided—it was a difficult decision to make. We decided, though, that it might be best to leave. But also, the people giving us hospitality, I think, were a bit worried that they were becoming too high-profile. I’ll have to acknowledge that people are afraid of what the Hamas authorities might think of what they’re doing in housing two Westerners, and, you know, shepherding them around the area was perhaps, with students, beginning to become worrisome.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask what you think of your fellow Chicagoan who has just become President of the United States, Barack Obama, who says he will double the force, for example, in Afghanistan, though has vowed to draw down troops in Iraq.
KATHY KELLY: This is a grave disappointment. I think we can still hold out hope in the reports that he said once, maybe four years ago, that his leading lights were the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King and Mohandas Gandhi. But I think that the pressure that he has buckled under, in terms of adhering to the demands of people who are weapon makers and war makers, is a pressure that won’t bring security to his fellow citizens in the United States or to the world. I hope he’ll step away from US exceptionalism and see the United States as part of the family of nations, not as a nation that has an indispensable role in the world.
AMY GOODMAN: I’ll never forget, not that I was there in Iraq when you were, right before the invasion, but the scene described—I think we talked to you around then—of you holding a protest outside the US embassy right before the attack and the journalists surrounding you, almost attacking you, for what you were doing. Can you explain that scene? They were calling you a collaborator with Saddam Hussein for protesting the imminent attack.
KATHY KELLY: I have a pretty vivid memory of that day, as well. We were in front of the United Nations compound, and we had a big sign that said “No blank check for war.” And Jeremy and others—Jeremy Scahill—had gone over to the prison just prior to that where people had been released by Saddam Hussein. And I remember John Burns, in particular. He was so angry with—
AMY GOODMAN: John Burns of the New York Times?
KATHY KELLY: Yeah—with my belief that in fact, you know, we had a prison-industrial complex in the United States that perhaps should bear scrutiny and attention and that maybe what Saddam had done might be something that the United States could consider, as well. But I have to say that after the war, after John Burns was kind of stuck in the Palestine Hotel in a staircase, at some point, at some risk to his own life, he pulled me over while he was with another group of reporters, and he said, “This is the person to go to if you want to hear the humanitarian story in Iraq.” So, you know, I should probably add that part, too.
AMY GOODMAN: Are you saying he was, in a sense, apologizing to you?
KATHY KELLY: Oh, that might be a stretch. But at any rate, it didn’t seem to be a relationship fraught by conflict.
AMY GOODMAN: And what was the anger that was being expressed to you right before the invasion? I mean, these reporters were supposed to be covering your point of view, but they were arguing with you.
KATHY KELLY: Well, I think that the reporters were very, very angry at Saddam Hussein’s regime, in part because they would be bounced out every ten days and have to pay enormous amounts of money, which all went—in order to come back into the country every ten days. And that went to the Ministry of Tourism. Well, believe me, there was no tourism in Baghdad before the war. So, in a sense, it went right into the pockets of the Mahabharat, the secret service agency that was hounding them and tracking their every step. They were very, very angry, and I think they had a right to be. Saddam Hussein’s regime was ruthless and horrible.
But it wasn’t fair to say that we were the silent servants of Saddam Hussein. We were trying to say that you don’t punish children; children couldn’t be held accountable for that government. And John Burns deemed the demonstration we had as a demonstration that Saddam Hussein loved to see, but we saw the headline that he used as a headline that George Bush loved to see. And these kinds of—
AMY GOODMAN: And what was that?
KATHY KELLY: Oh, it was a headline, exactly that, saying that it was a demonstration Saddam loved to see.
AMY GOODMAN: Finally, with Barack Obama now the President of the United States, are you strategizing differently? You are one of the most well known international peace activists.
KATHY KELLY: I think if we take a wait-and-see attitude, that could quickly morph into inertia. And so, I think it’s just as imperative and as much of a responsibility for adults in the United States to keep trying to identify the grave dangers that exist as we continue to pour resources into military projects. And I think we should continue to say, “Abandon these military projects.” They don’t bring us security. And at a time when there are so many environmental concerns, when the financial collapses of so many industries are affecting people, we should be taking that money that we’ve given to the Defense Department and putting it into things that really ensure security and then continuing to demand that President Obama pay attention to these kinds of vital concerns.
We camped outside his home for nineteen days in Arctic temperatures in Chicago—I left in the middle to go to Gaza—what we called Camp Hope. And we did want to be respectful of the neighbors of the Obama family, of all the many people who are feeling great congratulatory happiness. But I think that we have to recognize where—well, that President Obama has now become the chief arms exporter in the world. He’s in charge of the most massive killing machine in the world. And it’s our responsibility to continue to hold forth those visions of another way without extending the arm of imperial menace and might all over the world—instead, to be extending a hand of friendship and to share resources as best we can.
AMY GOODMAN: Kathy Kelly, I want to thank you for being with us. Kathy Kelly is executive director of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a veteran peace activist, founder of Voices in the Wilderness. She has just returned from Gaza. She lives in Chicago, when she’s ever home.
Gaza Doctor Who Lost Daughters Demands Explanation January 21, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Israel, Gaza & Middle East, War.
Tags: abu al-aish, children casualties, ehud barak, gaza, israel, israeli bombs, israeli defense minister, israeli massacre, israeli military, Middle East, Palestine, roger hollander, tamer saliba
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Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish, a Palestinian doctor and peace activist who trained in Israel and became a regular fixture on Israeli television, rests his head on his son Abdullah, 6, in a car before traveling to Israel with his children, near his house in Jebaliya, in the northern Gaza strip, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009. Three of his daughters and a niece were killed by an Israeli shell which struck his house, and he returned to Gaza Wednesday to collect his remaining children. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Tamer Saliba, www.huffingtonpost.com, Januray 21, 2009
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The Gaza doctor who recounted live on Israeli television how his three daughters and niece had just been killed by shelling demanded on Wednesday that Israel’s defense minister explain their deaths.
Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish, a 55-year-old gynecologist who speaks Hebrew after training in two Israeli hospitals, sobbed as he reported the deaths shortly after an Israeli shell struck his home in the northern town of Jebaliya on Friday. His account captivated viewers on Israel’s Channel 10 TV.
The well-known peace activist who was involved in promoting joint Israeli-Palestinian projects returned Wednesday to inspect his destroyed Gaza home and to reunite with his five surviving children. His wife died recently of cancer.
“I was well known to the Israelis even more than the Palestinians. They know me. Why they kill my children?” he sobbed in an APTN interview Wednesday as he looked at pictures of his dead daughters amid the rubble in his home.
He said he wanted to meet with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to hear firsthand why his children were killed.
“I want him to have the courage, to have the concern to meet me to tell me why, without falsification,” he told Associated Press Television. “I’ll be proud that my children were the symbol of this war _ that their blood wasn’t futile. That it awakened the concern of some, not the majority, of Israelis.”
Abu al-Aish is an academic who studied the effects of war on Gaza and Israeli children and he works at Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital.
Gaza officials identified his slain daughters as 22-year-old Bisan, 15-year-old Mayer and 14-year-old Aya. His niece was identified as 14-year-old Nour Abu al-Aish.
Two other daughters were wounded and were taken to Israeli hospitals for treatment. Israeli TV said initial reports indicated that a sniper had fired from either the family’s building _ which friends quoted in the report said they doubted _ or nearby, and Israeli forces responded with a tank shell. The Israeli military is investigating the case.
Abu al-Aish also attacked the international community for turning a blind eye to Gaza.
“Maybe this massacre will be the triggering factor to wake them up,” he said. “I will continue in the same way that I believe in humanity, with Palestinians and Israelis.”
Report From Rafah: Doctors Stopped at Borders January 12, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Human Rights, Israel, Gaza & Middle East, War.
Tags: bill quigley, blockade, civilian casualties, doctors of peace, egypt, frida berrigan, gaza, human rights, humanitarian assistance, humanitarian catastrophe, humanitarian crisis, humanitarian resources, International law, israel, israeli bombs, israelis, medical assistance, Palestine, Palestinians, rafah, red crescent, Richard Falk, rockets, roger hollander, siege, United Nations, us military aid, War Crimes
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A Palestinian boy blinded during an airstrike. Injured civilians in Gaza struggle to gain access to supplies and medical care due to Israel’s blockade of the region. (Photo: Reuters)
Saturday 10 January 2009
by: Bill Quigley, t r u t h o u t | Report
Dr. Nicolas Doussis-Rassias and many other volunteer doctors have been waiting in Rafah, Egypt, for days. Nicolas and the other physicians came to Rafah to go through the border into Gaza to help the 3,000 people wounded by Israeli bombs and heavy weapons. Rafah is a heavily armed Egyptian border crossing into Gaza, a four-hour drive away from Cairo. Sonic booms of highflying jets cut through the stark blue sky. Military drones hover over the border, as the air smells of burning.
”Three thousand victims of bombs and gunfire would overwhelm the medical system of New York City,” Nicolas said. “Gaza now has no functioning medical system at all. Most of it has no electricity or running water. These people are in crisis – they need medical help, so we are here to help them.”
But today, instead of helping the thousands of wounded, Nicolas and other doctors are holding up a hand-lettered red and blue banner outside the Egyptian border station saying, “Let the Doctors Through!”
Why? Doctors of Peace and numerous other doctors from around the world have been prevented from entering Gaza for seven days. They cannot get in to help through Israel or Egypt.
Nicolas is not an anti-Israeli radical. He is a jolly, 49-year-old Athens doctor. Father of two children, he is the president of an organization of volunteer Greek physicians called Doctors of Peace. These doctors pay their own way and volunteer to help the victims of war and natural disasters. They have helped out in Latin America with victims of Hurricane Mitch, in Sri Lanka with tsunami victims and the victims of wars in Lebanon, Serbia, Turkey and Pakistan.
But the borders of Gaza are sealed off, preventing basic humanitarian and medical assistance from entering. Richard Falk, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied territories, pointed out the human rights violations of the sealed border: “Israeli actions, specifically the complete sealing off of entry and exit to and from the Gaza Strip, have led to severe shortages of medicine and fuel (as well as food), resulting in the inability of ambulances to respond to the injured, the inability of hospitals to adequately provide medicine or necessary equipment for the injured, and the inability of Gaza’s besieged doctors and other medical workers to sufficiently treat the victims.”
The people of Gaza have been cut off from basic medical and humanitarian resources for a long time by an ongoing blockade by Israel, but everything is much worse in the last few weeks.
Falk, like many others, also condemned the rocket attacks launched from Gaza against Israel. More than a dozen Israelis have died since the war began, as have more than 800 Gazans. But Falk’s harshest words were reserved for the catastrophic human toll from the Israeli airstrikes and “those counties that have been and remain complicit, either directly or indirectly, in Israel’s violations of international law.”
Frida Berrigan pointed out, “During the Bush administration Israel has received over $21 billion in U.S. security assistance, including $19 billion in direct military aid. The bulk of Israel’s current arsenal is composed of equipment supplied under U.S. assistance programs. For example, Israel has 226 U.S.-supplied F-16 fighter and attack jets, over 700 M-60 tanks, 6,000 armored personnel carriers, and scores of transport planes, attack helicopters, utility and training aircraft, bombs, and tactical missiles of all kinds.”
Palestinian medical officials say more than half of the 800 dead and 3,000 wounded are civilians. Denial of humanitarian and medical assistance to civilian casualties is a clear violation of basic human rights.
The people of Egypt are challenging the denial of medical help for Gaza. Halfway through our drive from Cairo to Rafah, we saw a hundred young Egyptians sitting in the middle of the highway protesting Egypt’s inactions.
After seven days, the border is starting to open a little. The Egyptian Red Crescent was allowed to deliver supplies to the border today and some of the waiting doctors were allowed in. With great show, two dozen Egyptian ambulances were allowed to enter the border area – only to be parked inside to wait for the injured to make it to the border. Two ambulances left Rafah with patients inside. Doctors of Peace were still not allowed in today. Some physicians, tired from the seven-day blockade, have started to return home. Nicolas is going back to the Rafah border crossing tomorrow to try again. Why? “Because there are 3,000 injured people who need help. I am going to keep trying.”
Bill is a human rights lawyer and law professor at Loyola New Orleans. He is in Egypt as a human rights representative of the National Lawyers Guild, the Society of American Law Professors, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the War Resisters League. Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and Audrey Stewart are also in Egypt and contributed to this article. His email is email@example.com.
Gaza medics describe horror of strike which killed 70 January 8, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Israel, Gaza & Middle East, War.
Tags: gaza, gaza city, gaza massacre, gaza medics, hamas, israel, israeli army, israeli bombs, jerusalem, palestinian, red crescent, red cross, roger hollander, tim butcher
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Tim Butcher in Jerusalem
Last Updated: 5:27PM GMT 07 Jan 2009
Growing evidence emerged today of the bloodiest single incident of the Gaza conflict when around 70 corpses were found by a Palestinian paramedic near a bombed-out house.
Mohammed Shaheen, a volunteer with Palestinian Red Crescent, was in the first convoy of ambulances to reach the site of the blast in Zeitoun since it was first occupied then shelled by the Israeli army.
His testimony confirmed accounts, first reported in The Telegraph, from survivors of the extended al Samouni clan who said they feared between 60 and 70 family members had been killed.
“Inside the Samouni house I saw about ten bodies and outside another sixty,” Mr Shaheen said.
“I was not able to count them accurately because there was not much time and we were looking for wounded people.
“We found fifteen people still alive but injured so we took them in the ambulances.
“I could see an Israeli army bulldozer knocking down houses nearby but we ran out of time and the Israeli soldiers started shooting at us.
“We had to leave about eight injured people behind because we could not get to them and it was no longer safe for us to stay.” Mr Shaheen was in a convoy led by a jeep from the International Committee of the Red Cross that made its way down war-damaged tracks past demolished houses to the town of Zeitoun.
Concerns had been growing that Zeitoun had witnessed massive civilian casualties after surviving members of the Samouni clan reached Gaza City three days ago.
They said that after the Israeli army first took the town on Saturday night soldiers had ordered about 100 members of the clan to gather in a single house owned by Wael Samouni around dawn on Sunday.
At 6.35am on Monday the house was repeatedly shelled with appalling loss of civilian life.
A handful of survivors, some wounded, others carrying dead or dying infants, made it on foot to Gaza’s main north-south road before they were given lifts to hospital. Three small children were buried in Gaza City that afternoon.
According to the survivors between 60 and 70 family members had been killed by shrapnel and falling masonry.
Convoys of ambulances twice headed to the area to look for wounded but they were driven back by Israeli shooting.
During today’s three hour lull in offensive operations by Israel, the ICRC led the rescue convoy in although it took a long time for the convoy to make its way down war-damaged.
According to Mr Shaheen, the death toll was as high as described by the survivors.