Gaza priest describes horror of bombing, blasts Israel
December 15, 2010
Speaking recently to the joint committee on foreign affairs of the Oireachtas-- Ireland’s parliament-- Msgr. Manuel Musallam, who recently retired from his ministry as parish priest in Gaza, described the horrors of the Israeli bombing of Gaza during the winter of 2008-9.
Msgr. Musallam said:
I am a Palestinian priest and I have suffered all that has happened to my people from my childhood until now. We have spoken too much about the crimes of war and crimes against humanity. I was in Gaza during the war and suffered with my people for 22 days. I saw with my own eyes a phosphoric bomb in the school yard. I saw people injured by these phosphoric bombs, although these bombs are forbidden. These crimes against us were ignored by all the people of the world. No-one was courageous enough until now to say “No” to Israel or “No” to America or to say “Stop killing” and “Stop making war”. What happened in Gaza was not a war. A war is a clash between soldiers, aircraft and weapons. We were victims, just victims. They destroyed Gaza. I was there and saw with my own eyes what happened. We in Gaza were treated like animals. We tried to speak out about these crimes, but until now nobody gave us the opportunity to speak out or took the time to listen to us …
We are not terrorists. We have not occupied Israel. Despite all they have suffered, Palestinians, do not want to co-exist with Israel. We want to exist with Israel and to live with Israel. We do not want to die to liberate Palestine. We want to live to build Palestine. We spoke about our sufferings, the killing and death and the suffering of widows and schoolchildren. I saw the children weeping because they trampled the blood of their fathers and mothers. I saw these children. They were in my school …
We are asking the world to give the Palestinian people their rights. The question is whether peace is possible. Despite all the difficulties, the crimes and the war, we as Palestinians say peace is possible if justice is possible. Who can provide justice for Palestine? If Israel is given justice, Palestine will be given justice at the same time. Peace is possible if truth is possible. Who can say what truth is when Israel lies all the time? Israel does not tell its people the truth. The world is not listening to what we are saying. People come to Palestine and see and discover what is happening, but once they return to their own countries, they forget. Peace is possible if development is possible. In Gaza more than 2 million fruitful trees have been uprooted and there is not a single man working in any part of Gaza. Nothing is working in Gaza. Industry has stopped. There is no cement to be found, building is impossible and all industry has stopped. We have been turned into beggars. We are humiliated and we are smashed into the ground. We want peace. Peace is possible if pardon and forgiveness is possible but in the meantime and in this situation, Israel is feeding hate and violence in the hearts of our children. When we say no to Israel, we say no to death and we ask Israel to stop feeding our hearts with violence, with hatred of Israel.
To protect Israel is to give Israel the force to accept peace. We are facing a religious war in the Middle East. They are preparing a religious war and such a war is very destructive. This war will not stop in the Middle East; it will also happen here. Israel now should use its force to achieve peace, otherwise, the weapons of Israel will cause her own destruction. Force must lead Israel to peace, not to more wars. War will not achieve peace. The way to peace is peace.
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