By Sameh A. Habeeb
30 January, 2009
Israel's devastating war on Gaza claimed the lives of more than 1,335 persons and left at least 5,500 other wounded. In addition tens of thousands of utilities, houses, businesses, and factories were partially or totally destroyed.
The war caused psychological damage for thousands of people especially children. I reported on the war daily and my focus was on the human toll. However, I recently came across a story that changed my focus completely a revealed to me the true nature of Israel's soldiers and their intent in invading Gaza.
Since the ceasefire was enacted, I have toured throughout Gaza to document some stories and accounts. Although I wrote many articles, I decided to focus on the untold stories of the war: the brutal massacre of thousands of chickens.
American made armored Caterpillar bulldozers epitomize the Zionist
military and ethnic cleansing tactic of chaos and destruction.
"Kill it all , leave them nothing, and they will leave."
On 5 January, many Israeli tanks, troops and bulldozers advanced into the al-Zeitoun neighborhood south east of Gaza City. In this area, called al-Samouni, Israel killed 49 members of the Samouni family, after soldiers ordered them to gather into a single home, which was shelled several hours later.
A number of chicken farms are located only a few meters away from the Samouni house. These farms came under fire by Israeli forces and were totally bulldozed. Thousands of chickens were caught in their sheds, as the bulldozing destroyed their cages. Some died immediately, others slowly without food or water for four days.
A confused survivor. Depending on what was used for this destruction,
most likely this bird is by most standards, completely toxic,
unsuitable for consumption, but with famine facing the Palestinians,
such technicalities will not be much of a consideration.
Abu Ahmed al-Sawafari, an owner of a chicken farm , was sitting amidst the rubble of his destroyed farm. He explained that "I have been working on that profession for long years. I have been growing my business by all efforts. Israelis came then left causing an earthquake in the area. They have killed these chickens, they are equal to human souls. They were suffocated and died due to hunger. I wonder why the Israelis killed these chickens? Were they firing rockets into Israel?"
A solitary dead Hamas chicken.
This bird was shot in the act of firing a Hamas rocket.
I continued touring farms in the area where the smell of death filled the air. Surviving chickens roamed around surrounded by thousands of their dead kin. It was an overwhelming scene leaving one to ask only: why?
The author asks "Why?" To which I respond "Because they can."
If this question was directed to the Israeli army their response would be swift and predictable. They would likely contend that "rockets" were being fired from the farms, or that there were Palestinian resistance fighters in the area.
However, unless the Israeli army is prepared to claim that these chickens were resistance fighters or were firing rockets nothing can explain why the self-proclaimed "world's most moral army" would engage in the wholesale slaughter of civilians and chickens alike.
To the Israeli military, a chicken is of more value than a Palestinian.
So they killed as many of each as they could.
Sameh A. Habeeb is a photojournalist, humanitarian and peace activist based in Gaza, Palestine. He writes for several news websites on a freelance basis.
Sameh A. Habeeb, B.A.
Photojournalist & Peace Activist
Humanitarian, Child Relief Worker
Gaza Strip, Palestine
Skype: Gazatoday, Facebook: Sameh A. habeeb
Families trickle back to what remains of their once prosperous farms.
Please Note: Sameh A. Habeeb is responsible for the text and the photographs. However, I found both in different locations and put them together. My only contributions were the placement of his photos with my captions and the comments below.
When I saw these photos a few days ago, I was shocked and puzzled by the unnecessary carnage until I realized the most likely reason behind the shelling of such rocket-launching chickens.
Of course this excess of murder would be explained away by Mz Livni as, "These chickens were feeding and nourishing members of Hamas so had to be punished for their participation in the Freedom Fighters nourishment! They represented a danger to the Palestinian people. Vote for me!"
This excuse/explanation is about as sensible as any of her other denials or reasons for why such horrors were perpetrated by the Israeli military on civilians, including hapless farmers.
In most cases, the families and workers were herded into one home and then the building would be bombed or shelled and finally bulldozed with the remaining inhabitants left inside. Entire families were wiped out this way. This was a war of genocide. Yet another vicious crime perpetrated on GENTLE people by the overly-zealous and malicious rogue state known as Israel.
However, black humor (!) aside, it is my personal feeling that this atrocity was but part of the overall plan to weaken Palestinian ability to be nutritionally self ~ sustaining.
Remove all manners of survival which meant eradicating the Samouni family as they did, and (BONUS points!) wipe out a food source not dependent on Israeli control! The compassionate Israeli military perpetrated similar useless carnage on the green houses spread about the country.
If Livni could pull it off , I am sure that she would blame the eradication of tomato and pepper greenhouse due to the fact they were feeding Hamas, and, therefore, terrorists that had to be removed from the field of combat. Do you think Obama would buy that?
We know Bush would have! They had already long killed the flourishing flower businesses through their illegal siege, now they moved on to sources of food.
This same crippling strategy has been aimed at the Palestinian police force, their educational facilities (including the university of agriculure), their hospitals and healing operations, their government, much livestock and certainly the poisoning of soils. They already had the fishing industry almost dead from similar tactics.
Two farmers, surveying the carmage, shell-shocked once more,
wondering where to begin.
***Now starvation of the Palestinian people, which was a problem before, will flourish unless the international community gets off its collective ass and does something beyond blaming the Palestinians for their own problems!!!!!!***