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This is a post about the children killed in Gaza recently.

One story is about two Iraqi children killed by the IDF who had fled to Palestine to escape the violence in Iraq.  They lived in Jabaliya, and had been there for three years, and were living with their aunt and uncle.  As the report says:  "They left Iraq to escape war and terror, but all they found in Gaza was more suffering and death."

What inspired this post was a story called "Children of Gaza, Run to the Angels" by Suzanne Baroud.  She found herself whispering, every time she saw a child who was murdered, "run to the angels....run".   Here are some pieces of her original article:

Caged, starved, sniped, suffocated. They are slaughtered like sheep, but the leaders of the free world just cannot seem to find a moment to comment. Golfing, vacationing, Obama, Bush, even the EU, they just aren't important enough. My mutterings have become a like a canter. I call out to these stricken and shattered little bodies, who frankly never experienced life to lose it. The only consolation to offer is the respite found in death.

A crowd gathers, shrouded in gas, smoke and dust. In the front stand eight young fathers, each holding a white swaddled bundle of what used to be a son, a daughter. For a few moments there is no screaming, no chanting or crying, but a moment of quiet and stillness that presses one to wonder just whom has been granted the greater mercy, the toddler who caught the snipers bullet, or the young father, who will have to find some way to live beyond this moment?

...The camera zooms in on the scene of a freshly detonated building, a civilian home. A little girls brown curly hair covered in dust and eyes wide open is all that can be found of her. Her mother wails and pulls her hair while her father frantically searches among the rubble for the rest of his daughter, where could she be? I whisper again, "you will be made whole again in Paradise. Run to the angels".

.....An old and wrinkled Imam so lovingly cradles a little girl's lifeless body, as if mishandling her now could inflict more pain, he mumbles a benediction and gently lies her beside her sisters and her brothers in the mass grave. I try to comfort her, saying, "Finally, a place of safety. Rest beside your sister. Your brother. Put your fears to rest and meet your beloved Prophet and the many of your little friends who have fallen before you."

I have heard some criticism of her writing that ‘snipers’ are not what the children encountered – rather, they found regular Israeli Defense forces who shot at them. That would just be a question of semantics in my opinion.  And my own criticism of the piece is rooted in the claim that the children saw the face of Satan in the IDF – well, the IDF are no more the face of Satan than Hamas, US military, or Iraqi insurgents.  I think a claim could be made that they are all doing Satan’s work, however.

It is reported that over 400 children were killed in Gaza by this war.  There are more children in Gaza who will "run to the angels" soon – because the IDF left behind unexploded ordnance, some of which will surely take their lives and limbs.  Run to the angels, little ones, where the Creator will make you whole again.

Below are links to photos from Gaza, and a description of the photo is listed below the link:

++++++++++++

Evacuation of a dead child:

Palestinians evacuate the body of 13 year-old Faris Al-Samoni, one of 26 bodies from the Al-Samoni family buried in the rubble of their home on January 18, 2009, in southern Gaza City. Israel has called a unilateral ceasefire in the Gaza strip but warned of possible retaliation should Hamas rocket attacks ciontinue. (Photo by Abid Katib/Getty Images)

Another evacuation of a dead child:

Palestinians evacuate the body of two year-old Azza Al-Samoni, one of 26 bodies from the Al-Samoni family buried in the rubble of their home on January 18, 2009, in southern Gaza City. Israel has called a unilateral ceasefire in the Gaza strip but warned of possible retaliation should Hamas rocket attacks continue. (Photo by Abid Katib/Getty Images)

The small body of a young boy:

A man carries the body of a boy killed during Israeli strikes at the Bureij Refugee Camp in central Gaza Strip on January 17, 2009. Israel pummelled Gaza with new strikes on Saturday, as it was poised to unilaterally halt a 22-day-old war on Hamas that has killed nearly 1,200 Palestinians and left much of the enclave in ruins. AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)

Yet another evacuation of a dead child:

Palestinians evacuate a body, one of 26 bodies from the Al-Samoni family buried in the rubble of their home on January 18, 2009, in southern Gaza City. Israel has called a unilateral ceasefire in the Gaza strip but warned of possible retaliation should Hamas rocket attacks ciontinue. (Photo by Abid Katib/Getty Images)

Family photo:

Amal Abed Rabbo, two, pictured after she died in an attack at the village of Izbit Abed Rabbo, on January 7, 2009. According to her father Khalid, 30, Amal and her sister Souad, seven, were killed by gunfire from an Israeli tank after soldiers ordered the family out of their house. Another sister, Samer, four, survived the attack but is paralysed below the waist. "Amal was just learning to talk," said Khalid. "I want to know from the Israeli army: why did they kill my daughters?"  Photograph: Family photograph

Mother runs screaming behind her child:

A Palestinian woman screams as medics rush a critically wounded child into the Kamal Edwan hospital in Beit Lahia following an Israeli air strike on the northern Gaza Strip on January 17, 2009. Israeli troops assaulted Gaza from land, air and sea today as the Jewish state said it was close to reaching its goals and its powerful security cabinet prepared to decide on a unilateral ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / YASSER SAYMEH (Photo credit should read YASSER SAYMEH/AFP/Getty Images)

Three children in a morgue:  

The body of the child (top) killed during Israeli strikes over the UN-run school is pictured along with bodies of two other children killed during strikes in the morgue of Kamal Edwan hospital in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip on January 17, 2009. A woman and a child were killed early today in the Israeli strike on the UN-run school in northern Gaza where civilians were sheltering from the fighting, medics and witnesses said. Fierce clashes were underway around the school as Israeli tanks exchanged fire with Palestinian militants, they said. AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)

Lovely eyelashes on this child:  

The body of Palestinian child Fawzia Saleh lies at the mortuary of a hospital in Beit Lahia following an Israeli air strike on the northern Gaza Strip on January 17, 2009. Israeli troops assaulted Gaza from land, air and sea today as the Jewish state said it was close to reaching its goals and its powerful security cabinet prepared to decide on a unilateral ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / YASSER SAYMEH (Photo credit should read YASSER SAYMEH/AFP/Getty Images)

Lots of shrapnel wounds:

The body of Palestinian child Ahmad Saleh lies at the mortuary of a hospital in Beit Lahia following an Israeli air strike on the northern Gaza Strip on January 17, 2009. Israeli troops assaulted Gaza from land, air and sea today as the Jewish state said it was close to reaching its goals and its powerful security cabinet prepared to decide on a unilateral ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / YASSER SAYMEH (Photo credit should read YASSER SAYMEH/AFP/Getty Images)

Child looks like she is dead to me:  

Palestinian medics rush a child into the Kamal Edwan hospital in Beit Lahia following an Israeli air strike on the northern Gaza Strip on January 17, 2009. Israeli troops assaulted Gaza from land, air and sea today as the Jewish state said it was close to reaching its goals and its powerful security cabinet prepared to decide on a unilateral ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / YASSER SAYMEH (Photo credit should read YASSER SAYMEH/AFP/Getty Images)

A father’s grief:

A Palestinian man cries over the body of his son who died following an Israeli military strike at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on January 14, 2008. Israel sought to tighten the screw on Hamas today as the death from its war on Gaza passed 1,000, carrying out new bombing raids and waging more street battles as hopes rose of a ceasefire. AFP PHOTO/MEHDI FEDOUACH (Photo credit should read MEHDI FEDOUACH/AFP/Getty Images)

Another child in the morgue:

The body of boy, killed during Israeli strikes, is seen at the morgue of Kamal Edwan hospital in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip early on January 17, 2009. A woman and a child were killed early today in the Israeli strike on the UN-run school in northern Gaza where civilians were sheltering from the fighting, medics and witnesses said. Fierce clashes were underway around the school as Israeli tanks exchanged fire with Palestinian militants, they said. AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)

A child dies with her mother:

The body of Palestinian 3 year-old girl, Aysha Al-Najar, lies in the Kamal Adwan hospital morgue next to the body of her mother, Hanan Al-Najar, after they died from wounds in an Israeli military strike, January 14, 2009 in of Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli air strikes continued overnight and into the morning against Palestinian targets along the Gaza Strip. UN Secretery-General Ban Ki-Moon will visit the region today in an effort to bring and end to hostilities. (Photo by Abid Katib/Getty Images)

Here’s three Fatah children that ran to the angels:

Palestinians mourn over the bodies of three children, wrapped in Fatah party’s flags, after they were killed by Israeli fire in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip on January 17, 2009. Israel battered Gaza with new strikes today, as it was poised to unilaterally halt a 22-day-old war on Hamas that has killed nearly 1,200 Palestinians and left much of the enclave in ruins.But Hamas vowed that it would fight on if the Israeli security cabinet orders a unilateral ceasefire insisting that Israeli troops must withdraw from Gaza as part of a reciprocal truce. AFP PHOTO YASSER SAYMEH (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABEDAFP/Getty Images)

She’s not going to make it either:

A Palestinian medic rushes a badly wounded girl into Gaza City�s al-Shifa hospital following an Israeli air strike on January 15, 2009. Israeli strikes set hospitals, media and UN buildings ablaze today as tanks rolled deep into Gaza cities even amid hope that the war on Hamas that has killed more than 1,100 people may soon end. AFP PHOTO / YASSER SAYMEH (Photo credit should read YASSER SAYMEH/AFP/Getty Images)

This is a funeral procession in the middle of devestation:

Palestinian mourners walk amidst debris of destroyed buildings carrying the bodies of victims of Israeli bombardments during their funeral procession in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip on January 17, 2009. Israel battered Gaza with new strikes today, as it was poised to unilaterally halt a 22-day-old war on Hamas that has killed nearly 1,200 Palestinians and left much of the enclave in ruins. But Hamas vowed that it would fight on if the Israeli security cabinet orders a unilateral ceasefire insisting that Israeli troops must withdraw from Gaza as part of a reciprocal truce. AFP PHOTO YASSER SAYMEH (Photo credit should read YASSER SAYMEHAFP/Getty Images)

Oh, and there are plenty more pictures of the children who ran to the angels in Gaza.

And even more pictures here – including one of a pile of small bodies burned black.  Some of them may not be children, it is so hard to tell.  Run to the angels, little ones.

And here is a BBC report on child deaths in Gaza.

And there are stories of children found with bullets lodged in their head, with evidence that they were shot at close range in the face.  From Cairo, Egypt:

Doctors operating the only brain-scanning machine at an Egyptian hospital near Gaza have been almost overwhelmed by the number of Palestinian children arriving with bullet wounds to the head.  On just one day last week, staff at the Al Arish hospital in Sinai were called to perform CAT scans on a nine year old, two 10 year olds and a 14 year old, each of whom had a bullet lodged in their brain after coming under fire during the Israeli ground assault on Gaza.

..... Among them last week was nine-year-old Anas Haref, who arrived with a bullet in her brain. Dr Ahmad Yahia, head of the trauma team, broke the news to her grandmother that the girl was not expected to live.  "The bullet has damaged a big part of her brain," said Dr Yahia. "It came in, hit the skull wall and then changed direction downwards."

Dr Yahia, a professor of neurosurgery, believes that the bullet was shot from close range. "If it changes course inside the brain it has high velocity and its penetrative force is also high," he said.  "I can't precisely decide whether these children are being shot at as a target, but in some cases the bullet comes from the front of the head and goes towards the back, so I think the gun has been directly pointed at the child."

The above article tells the story of Samer, just three years old who had to wait three hours for medical help to reach her.  She survived, but will be paralyzed.  Imagine a child having to wait for medical care, while lying on the ground in a war zone.  Two of her sisters were killed, and I would guess lying close by.

And four girls were called the "last children to die" in Gaza, since they were shot just before the ceasefire was called by Israel.  Those girls were the daughters and niece of a physician who worked in Israel, and who reported in to an Israeli TV station.  A shell slammed into the bedroom of Aya, aged 13, Mayar, aged 14 and Bissam, aged 20 – the three daughters of Dr. Ezzedine, and his niece Noor, aged 16, was also killed.  I will post a you tube of the harrowing phone call made to the Israeli TV station in the comments.  I will also post the follow up press conference the next day.  Imagine holding a press conference the day after three of your children were killed!  Amazingly enough, this man of peace spoke reasonably towards the nation of Israel.  And a few days later, he had this to say:  "May the voices of peace be heard in the world to stop this madness."

And one family lost 35 members in an F-16 bombing.

Some of the children in that family reported that their watched their parents get executed and their siblings bled to death, some taking a few hours, some a couple of days.  These children were found starving near their dead parents.  IDF did not allow help to reach them for several days.

And some of the injured that survived so far might still die from the horrible wounds.  Physicians working on these patients report unusual wounds:

"Normal shrapnel has a clear path, with both an entry and an exit point," said Dr. Mohamed Al-Ron, another surgeon at Al-Shifa hospital.  "But someone's entire abdomen will be ripped open, and only after searching will we find a miniscule hole in the skin. Then we will find small black dots all over the organ, but we don't know what they are."  It is an indication, he continued, that whatever is entering the body is exploding and doing the damage once it is inside. Multiple organs will fail, and will continue to fail even after surgery removes any shrapnel.

"We are consulting with international colleagues, and they are confirming that there is something unusual going on with these cases," said Dr. Skaik.  "We have seen plenty of nails, of metal shrapnel and foreign metallic parts, but there was never violence of this character or something that continued to damage even after the parts of the weapon were removed. What is being intentionally created is a population of handicapped people."

Some of the injuries, including multiple organ failure, mutilation and severed limbs, are so debilitating that Dr. Karim Hosni, an Egyptian doctor volunteering at the Al-Naser hospital in Khan Younis, says he wishes he could just end his patients' misery.

How many casualties are there in Gaza?  Well, the Israelis who suffered from rocket attacks claim they were injured by the shock and stress of those rockets.  Since each and every person in Gaza has suffered from bombs and tank rounds, so there are 1.5 million casualties in Gaza today.

And nearly all were exposed to smoke, noise, and chemicals during this war on Gaza.  
Psychologists working with children in Gaza report this concern:

Psychologists say Israel's three-week offensive inflicted more severe trauma than previous conflicts in Gaza because civilians in the crowded sliver of territory had no safe place to run. A wartime study among hundreds of Gaza children showed a rise in nightmares, bedwetting and other signs of trauma, said psychologist Fadel Abu Hein.  Counselors and aid workers fear that Gaza's children, who make up 56 percent of the 1.4 million people here, will grow up hating Israel and become easier prey for extremists.

And this website – which has not been updated since the war on Gaza started – shows that Palestinian children are the ones doing most of the dying.

++++++++++++

A gathering to mourn and protest was held in Jaffa on January 16th.  There were many things said at this gathering of 300 Israelis at the Association for Jaffa Arabs, but this is part of one speech that really struck me:

Psychology Professor Ariella Friedman of Tel Aviv University: "I am dumbstruck that such a large percentage of the nation thinks this campaign [in Gaza] is legitimate. I don’t think the Jewish people is the worst nation on earth, nor, sadly, is it the best nation on earth. But the circumstances here have turned us into people who perpetrate atrocities – and are then silent. I’ve heard people say that this was a ’successful war’ – what cynicism, what spiritual numbness. There is a model here: they begin a war with a grand display of arrogant posturing but without any idea how they want to end it, and people enthusiastically embrace that decision. And afterwards they say ’there was no choice’ – since when did we have no choice?

"In Israel," continued Prof. Friedman, "some people want to hang on to their faith in [their] morality at any price while waging war by any means. The price is an extreme separation between us and them. In Israel, the people weep over every citizen killed and there is a tremendous sense of togetherness. Yet how do people respond to the death of a mother and her five children, as happened one night in Gaza? Supposedly we are an enlightened army seeking only peace, doing what we do because we have no other option, whereas the killing that the other side perpetrates is intentional and evil. These are superficial statements that help people to deal with the intolerable situation and not to face the fact that they are committing atrocities against people under their control. That is the only way they can commit evil acts and still feel moral."

And Dr. Ahmad Abu-Tuahina, director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Center, speaking by phone to this gathering had this to say about the children:

"The children of the Intifadas have undergone dreadful traumas. In the first Intifada, soldiers broke into homes and abused parents in front of their children. These children were traumatized: they discovered that those who are supposed to defend them have no defense, hence they were obliged to take the initiative to defend themselves. Children who felt lost and abandoned sought some figure to identify with, and they identified with the powerful – with members of Hamas who were fighting for their honor. This situation created a wave of extremism among the children and adults of both peoples. The same situation obtains today. In Gaza today there is no safe place – no safety at home nor on the street nor even in UN buildings, and the fact that UN buildings are no longer safe is heavily symbolic. The two children who were trapped for several days under a building with their mother who had been killed – imagine what kind of adults these children will grow up to be, after such an insane experience. With this war, Israel has nurtured its own enemies and obliterated the prospects for coexistence and peace."

Information about the above gathering to mourn and protest was sent to me by Jewish Peace News.

You can make a difference, per Gush Shalom.  This is a link to newspapers inside Israel and around the world, where you can send your letters to the editor.  

And you can make a difference with Doctors without Borders by making a donation to them.

And AntiWar.com has provided this list of agencies that are working to help Gazans.

And another diary on Daily Kos lists ways to help.

Originally posted to dancewater on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 08:34 AM PST.

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