July 25, 2014

I've been following this since the first Twitter reports of a massacre came out of Khuza'a -- but suddenly, the tweets stopped coming. Now we're piecing together what happened with the help of scattered reports, because Western journalists weren't in the town. (And of course, if they don't see it, it didn't really happen.)

Horrific as the details are, this isn't new. Shooting people in the feet to keep them from leaving, firing on ambulances trying to evacuate the wounded? The Israelis did this during Operation Cast Lead -- they even did it to the same village. The difference now, as I wrote yesterday, is that Israel no longer controls the narrative. Self-defense, or ethnic cleansing?

Okay, what are you going to do about it? I see a lot of anger in the comments but no mention of action. Have you called or written your congress person? Do that today. Because if Americans don't turn up the pressure, nothing changes:

Reports of an apparent massacre and massive destruction in the cut-off Palestinian town Khuza’a, 500 metres from to the Gaza-Israel border, have been coming in since Tuesday, July 22.

Most reporters covering the Israeli operation in Gaza have not made it to Khuza'a, a town of 9,700 people. This area in the south is cut-off from the eyes and ears of the world, but one young resident – Mahmoud Ismail, has been tweeting horror stories in Arabic from the village.

One tweet said “snipers are centered on top of buildings in Khuza'a, targeting anyone trying to leave his home.” Another said, “Khuza'a is gone, there are hundreds injured and bodies all over the streets and under ruins. No one knows numbers.” Later he tweeted, “Red cross ambulances standing two kilometres away from Khuza'a. Injured are running two kilometres to get treatment.”

Many people have retweeted his words hundreds of times, while translations of his tweets have also been retweeted dozens of times.

A total of 800 Palestinians have been killed and more than 5,200 injured since Israel launched an operation in Gaza 18 days ago. As civilian death tolls mount, Israel’s military says it is warning Gazans living in targeted areas to leave, but Palestinians have no where to go. The narrow 40-kilometer-long coastal strip is surrounded by fences and concrete walls along its north and east with Israel and on its south border with Egypt.Khuza'a has no water, food and safe shelters, according to a first-hand account published on the progressive Jewish news site Mondoweiss.

The Palestinian Center of Human Rights which has been publishing daily reports of the Israel offensive said in their July 23 report:

Israeli forces maintained their incursion into Khuza’a village, east of Khan Yunis, and there are reports that there are dozens of Palestinian casualties in the village, and medical crews were denied access to them. When many civilians attempted to leave the village, Israeli forces fired at them, killing 4.

On July 24, Red Cross ambulances were finally allowed to enter the village and an Al Jazeera crew accompanied them; this Al Jazeera video shows bodies lying on the street and rescue teams searching through rubble.

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