14 mins only: 1 hospital, 12 hrs, 2 evacuations

Rocket retrieved from Pharmacy

Rocket retrieved from Pharmacy

Note posted February: I now understand that phosphorous bombs were used on the hospital as well as the UNWRA building. I think this explains some of the things which puzzled me: why putting the fire out was so difficult (they kept trying the whole night to put out the main fire, which kept expanding again every time they thought they’d done it – phosphorous fire responds to sand not water), why what I thought was rocket pieces were themselves burning even when they were on bare ground without anything to feed on, and why bits of debris kept regniting in the following days.

Friday Jan 16: Hello, I have 14 minutes of power on my laptop as have been separated from the charger…

thanks to my Manchester colleague for attempting to turn incoherent phone calls into notes for the blog – all the info is a bit confused and I hope I have a chance to write it all down for you properly soon (when?!)

anyway briefly:

Wed night: increasingly several attacks in Tel Hower area where hospital is. Knew it was our night for something to happen. Evacuated half the ambulances and crew out to Al Shifa, kept two but became impossible to leave building so did something amazing – went to sleep

Thurs morning: woke to confirm had several hits on building during night but no major damange. (To explain: Al Quds hospital is a complex really: the hospital warns/admin building, joined to the social centre which also has obstetrics and emergency underneath it at basement level, joined to the Red Crescent cultural centre building. All but the main hospital building and basement have been disfunctional since initial December 27 attacks.) Shortly after I woke, I was standing at window when a shell fell beside me outside and started fire. We began to put out fire, another strike in same place. A third strike started the fire really near the pediatric ward outside another window. Put out with pots and pans from sink.

Roof destroyed by strike, fire continues in Red Crescent Operations next door

Roof destroyed by strike, fire continues in Red Crescent Operations next door

Thursday middayish: two major strikes – rocket came in through hospital wall into pharmacy. Then one came through the roof of the social centre and caused major damage and fire. Medics managed to put it out. But the time I came on the scene (having been filling water buckets) they were clearing debris, and one medic was sitting on the floor crying.

While there, heard shouting, went up stairs to see medic S covered in blood, he had just carried a little girl in from the street who snipers had shot in face and abdomen. We saw her father fall on the hospital stairs, having been shot in the leg. Mother was panicking, shouting there was another girl left behind. S, I and other medics went out to get her, found her not far away, S took her on his shoulders into the hospital. The other medics and I realised they were just the beginning of a stream of desperate people fleeing their buildings, many of which were on fire. Later I also round out that the army had gone into lots of buildings and taken all the men, I still have no news of what happened to them. People were coming to the hospital because they thought it might be safer so for fear of sniper fire we went out to escort them in our RC vests – I contacted West Bank ISM and they press released the situation and called for people to contact Israel and demand attacks on cviciliants and hospitals stop –

5 mins left –

anyway about 600 people into hospital, tanks visible during collecting them, some hours later did “walking evacuation” out of hospital as no facilities for so many, we and other staff headed back to hospital as patients still there and more families arrived to shelter, but then another missile hit the middle building and caught on fire badly, spread really quickly, medics fighting fire till ambulances came, evacauted everyone, even in beds, into street in the dark with further shooting and explosions occuring…

back today, lots of damange, fire still not out – can we continue to use as RC base or will Isreal now bomb it to dust? Medical supplies still in there –

RC having meeting now in Shifa carpark to make plans –

thanks for listening, we need you

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17 Responses to 14 mins only: 1 hospital, 12 hrs, 2 evacuations

  1. pamela says:

    I,m sure you saved lives by just being there , the Israelis realised there was an “international” in Al quds and perhaps stopped the snipers from firing at the evacuation ..The world is with you , singers are singing for Gaza ..Arabic and American..people are just amazed at how strong the Gazans are and what bullies the Israelis are , keep strong Gaza it will be over soon , this is what the Israelis did in Lebanon before they accepted the cease fire , hitting with one last blow , hopefully the last, take care ..regards to all the brave medics and ambulancemen , they all deserve medals ..God Bless you..Pamela

  2. hani says:

    thanx for sharing the report. keep up the spirit. civilians of the world are doing what they can within their power to express their disagreement to israel’s cruelty and heartlessness. we also pray that we have good governance real soon that can stop all this mess.

    my salutations to you and your comrades. u guys and the palestinians are always in our prayers.

  3. Mireille says:

    We are all with you and the Palestinians, be sure. Demonstrating and informing and lobbying as much as we can. And we will never give up. We are proud about what you are doing in Ghaza, you are so strong and brave. Take care.

  4. Mark says:

    I was at the vigil where your friend told us about your blog. I am forwarding it to friends, keep up the good work and god bless you.

  5. Rob R says:

    Hi, my name is Rob Ray, I write for Freedom anarchist newspaper in London. I’ve been following the blog – which has been some of the best writing coming out of the area and I think you’ve been utterly amazing – and was hoping I could get a few questions to you to get your thoughts on some of the wider themes of the conflict.

    – In the UK, condemnation of Israel has frequently been linked to tacit support of Hamas as the only vehicle of resistance, suggesting that the group shouldn’t be criticised while this remains the case. What do you think of that view and what has been your experience of Hamas while you have been in the area?
    – What do you think the best way forward for the people of Gaza would be, particularly once this stage in the conflict ends?
    – There have been several reports on the beginning of the fighting which suggest that the cease-fire was actually broken by Israel first, as it gunned down six Hamas members in the course of shutting down a tunnel being dug into Israel. Was the tunnel-digging an isolated event? Is it realistic to suggest, as was the case to western reporters, that it was being dug to allow for the kidnap of an Israeli soldier?
    – What access to wider forms of media and information have there been in Gaza, does news of the worldwide protests and international politicking that has been going on reach the population? What effect does it have?
    – Once the war has ended, what do you think the outcome will be, for Gazans and the border towns of Israel?
    – Is there anything else you think should be brought to the attention of UK residents, and is there a good way in which help can be given?

  6. Louise says:

    Following on from yesterday’s and overnight events, an Al Jazeera English crew managed to reach the area today and were reporting live from there earlier. Sherine Tadros filed this report from the Tar El Hawa district:

  7. Louise says:

    Hello Rob,

    For some more information relating to one of your questions, do a search for ‘Gaza tunnels’ in the videos section at the following website, where there are some recent-ish short reports and an older programme:


    It’s my understanding that the tunnels are often used to ‘beat the blockade’ and import food and medical supplies and fuel.

    Best regards


  8. A says:

    we love you – sleep if you can – keep strong

  9. Jason says:

    From Hebden Bridge.

    Just back from a demo for Gaza this afternoon in Halifax, together with a number of Hebden Bridgers, much of the HX Asian community,and even Chris McCafferty, our MP.

    You are a true hero for the people of Hebden Bridge and, as I have been publicising your blog and what you’re doing through my HB email list, I am constantly being sent messages of support for you from people in and around the Calder Valley. It’s quite incredible how deep people feel about the barbarism that is going on and the huge respect that they have for you.

    The next Free Radicals meetings at the Trades Club next Sunday is about Gaza, the suffering of the people there, and the work you are doing and how we can support you further.

    Every Friday for the last three weeks, there has also been a vigil for Gaza at the crossroads by Ladbrokes and the numbers have been going up every week. I know it’s not much but its something…

    Many people are praying in their own way to keep you safe, as your safety seems to be helping to keep so many more safe, although we are all frightened for you too.

    Please take care, and know that your town is behind you.


  10. You say thanks for listening!!!
    Thank you for so much.
    You (and your colleagues) are in our hearts and have our deepest respect and admiration. You gave a talk in my house two years back and I had no idea what you were in for! You have saved so many lives directly and indirecty and helped Gazan’s feel that they are not alone and that their suffering is shared. My dear we are living in Lebanon at the moment and if you want to come here for a rest later on you are our guest.
    Susan and Iman

  11. David S. says:

    constantly watching Al Jazeera, the only news channel to show the true picture of the suffering in Gaza.I’m ashamed to be British and watch helplessly as western nations do nothing to stop this carnage.May the suffering stop soon,and may the palastinian people achieve justice and a free homeland one day. Our thoughts are with you all in Gaza. Stay safe,god bless.

  12. kim says:

    there is talk of a ceasefire within a day… don’t know how realistic that is as it follows a “pact” between livni and rice to stop arms smuggling from into rafah – nobody seems to be discussing the irony of leaving the palestinians completely unable to defend themselves against the 4th largest military in the world… but bolivia has called for israel to be tried in the hague, turkey is demanding israel be kicked out of the UN until they comply with security council resolutions, and worldwide rage is reaching a new level – in the US jews have begun demonstrating outside of israeli consulates demanding that israel be charged with war crimes. apparently, idf soldiers were met with such resistance in gaza city that they are pulling out to the outskirts. i really hope that this will all add up to an end to the attacks – at least for now. (obviously, i hope that a long-term plan for sovereignty and statehood for the palestinians can be achieved and the fighting can end for good…) the compassion, bravery, and humanity shown by you, your colleagues, and all palestinians has not gone unnoticed by those of us who wish for peace. you are all in my thoughts… be well.

  13. lily says:

    I can barely read your daily reports as my eyes just well with tears. but thank you. thanks so much for taking the time and energy to do this., you are amazing xx keep strong

  14. Eve says:

    I met you in Susan’s home two years ago. Thank you for all you are doing for the Palestinian people and for keeping us so well-informed. The western media is failing to report the full horror, but your stories and those of your colleagues allow us to continually challenge them to present the full picture. Your courage, strength and stamina are inspiring. Take care.

  15. LFB says:

    like the others, I am sending your reports to all the people I can, including our MPs, MEPs, and now writing to the Israeli Ambassafor in London, and also to Lloyds TSB [who have threatened to block the IBM bank’s transfers of money to the charity interpal in Gaza]. We pray for you, and for all those with whom, and among whom you are working. The bravery and the terror are terrible to read, and we can only imagine how exhausted you must be. there are no words to offer to the suffering: and the future does not look good.

  16. Pingback: EDO Decommissioners Victorious « Corporate Watch – Tracking Corporate Complicity in the Occupation of Palestine

  17. Pingback: Decommissioners Victorious – Corperate Watch « Support The EDO Decommissioners

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