Photo from Fr. Musallum --
Israeli bombs destroying part of Gaza City during recent seige
Fr. Musallum, himself a Palestinian, is a Catholic priest in Gaza City, Pastor of Holy Family Church. He has been serving the people of Gaza continuously for over 15 years. He is eyewitness to the occupation of Palestine and to the most recent bombing and invasion of Gaza December 27-January 18, 2009.
Here is Part One of Fr. Musullam's penetrating analysis given to MPT Special Peace Team to Gaza 2009.
Penetrating Analysis by a Palestinian in Gaza
Gaza City, Gaza Strip
Father Manuel Mussalum, Latin Catholic Church, Gaza
Israel, our neighbor in Gaza, has failed to manage its affairs with its neighbors. It corrects the Palestinian people especially because it claims Palestinians resist its return to the "Promising Land." It is correcting us Palestinians with war, massacres, war crimes, and displacement. It has destroyed our homes, our farms, our villages and established settlements on them. It has uprooted hundreds of thousands of productive olive and orange trees, and has forbidden us from reaping the yields of our fields. It has opened bypass roads and eroded our lands. It has destroyed, fragmented, and isolated our cities, villages, and fields. It has built and set up hundreds of checkpoints to disrupt our lives. It has prevented us from reaching our holy places of worship in Aqsa, the Nativity, and the Holy Sepulchre. It has built the apartheid wall around the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza. It has broken our bones and forbidden treatment and medication. It has assassinated our leaders. It has thrown us in a "ghetto" with no water, no electricity, no medicine, or food or work. We are dying a slow death.
Sedrot, close [Israeli] settlement to Gaza, became a Wailing Wall that all world leaders and tourists come to in order to see the relics left by Qassam rockets which have killed 12 Israelis since 2002. Whereas, we do not dare build a monument that perpetuates the memory of thousands of innocent Palestinians killed during war crimes in Gaza, because Israel will not fail to destroy it during its construction.
In the recent barbaric war on Gaza hundreds of innocent children, men and women, and the elderly, were burned in the furnaces of sophisticated bombs and missiles. And what difference is there between the furnaces in which the Jews died in Germany and Poland and the furnaces in which we died in Gaza?
The world saw them through journalists and satellite channels. People of good will like Archbishop Tutu, human rights organizations, lawyers, and specialists in crimes against humanity, started to come to visit us. Israel hindered the delegations from reaching us humiliating them as they were holding them at the borders of Rafah [Rafah Crossing] and Beit Hanoun [Erez Crossing].
Our people fell victim to robbers. "They stripped him and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead." Mr. Bush saw us, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise European leaders, both Islamic and Christianity worlds, came to the place, and when they saw us, they passed by on the opposite side. When will the merciful Samaritan come upon us moved with compassion at this sight?
The United States with its right to veto defeated any solution or commitment to international law, so Israel behaved as above the law. Now America wants to change international law so that the leaders of Israel will not be put on trial as war criminals. Israel roams over our land, it has no borders. Every day, it engulfs a plot of land, but thousands of square meters. Is it possible that the world recognizes a state with no borders after 60 years of its establishment? The state of Israel is the unique model of this in the world.
-- Posted by Liz and Peter