Tuesday: I woke today to the sound of shelling from Israeli ships at sea. I’m not sure they really get this ceasefire concept totally, though of course it is nothing like what it was. In the port area on Saturday night, we had fliers dropped saying something like:
Israel will unilaterally stop attacks at 2am Sunday Jan 18. We won’t retreat from our Gaza positions, and we will respond to any Hamas attacks. Don’t come near us. Don’t go near Hamas positions. We don’t attack civilians, only Hamas….you have to know quiet will bring quiet. You have the choice.
I found a particularly comedy bunch of fliers in my friend’s garden from about a week ago. I double checked one with Dr Halid. It was mostly about how Israel was gonna get Hamas and get them good, and it finished with: We will get them anywhere they are and in every way possible. For your safety, please evacuate your homes and go to the city centre.
“Where is your friend’s house?” Dr H asked me.
“In the city centre.” I said. “Just up the road from one of those city centre safe havens, an UNWRA school.”
But anyway, nothing is falling on us from the sky currently. Today, finally, our Rafah comrades made it out and we met up to be sure we were all in one piece, which seemed pretty unlikely for a while there. We met also with Dr Assad, Dr Haider, Kamal Abu Nader, and Dr Emad Khalil Abou El Khair, who are all part of the University Teachers Association and the One Democratic State Group. They have been at the forefront of the BDS Campaign (for boycott, sanctions and divestment) to create economic pressure on Israel to end occupation. They made a press statement about this the other day, and that night Israel hit their offices with 2 missiles; a 3rd hit the neighbours. That’ll teach ’em.We went with Dr Ehad, who is Professor of Microbiology at Al Azar University, to his family home in Jabalia. The Red Cross evacuated them during the attacks, and it’s just as well. His house has more holes in than a sieve. He then took us for a walk to his olive and citrus orchards, which are now bulldozed into dust. They were planted by his grandfather, who was one of the first in the area to diversify from vegetables into citrus fruit, in 1924. Dr Ehad explains that he thinks the neighbouring fields were left, and his destroyed, because although he remains politically independent from Fatah or Hamas, he is upfront about supporting the resistance fighters. Under international law it is permitted to use force to resist an occupying army.