Mohammad in Gaza

eileen fleming

Mohammad Omer, international independent reporter and correspondent for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, spoke from Gaza with Arab Talk Radio in San Francisco as events unfolded in the Gaza Strip on May 25, 2007:

“I don’t know who are these militants. I’m not sure if they are Hamas. I’m not sure if they are Fatah. Because who would shoot Palestinians?…I think that those people are not Hamas and they are not Fatah then they are working for whom? The question remains, for who are those people working and whose benefit from killing Palestinians and targeting civilians in the Gaza Strip?”

“At this moment, right now, the Israeli helicopters, F16s helicopters, hovering over the …different offices of government ministry…a number of missiles from the Israeli war planes hit one of the places at the “X” settlement in the Gaza Strip. One in the north of Gaza Strip and one in the south…ambulances are moving to the hospitals at the moment and they are carrying some of the people who were injured. The attack has been going on in very difficult circumstances where the Israeli helicopters hovering from one time to another and launching rockets. This is for the second time today…the Ministry of the Interior was attacked ten minutes before 4 o’clock and again ten minutes ago it was also attacked once more by the Israeli helicopters leaving from the people injured. The first attack six people were injured, some of them in critical situations. The helicopters are hovering at the moment while I’m speaking to you on the phone and it is getting even worse and it makes people worry… house of parliament member-few days ago was bombed by the Israeli helicopters leaving seven family members of his injured. The situations are very difficult and there is obvious escalation from the Israeli side and if this continues then the situation are getting to be even worse with the fact that the Gaza Strip is totally closed at the moment and it’s not possible for anyone to get in or out of the Gaza Strip.

“…The conditions are very dire situations here…factional fighting between Hamas and Fatah …the question remains is Israel going to continue its attacks targeting militants and targeting civilians even in their houses and different places. In the northern part of Gaza Strip numbers of tanks are patrolling all over the borderline. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that the situations are going to be easy in the coming days because the numbers of the attacks and bulldozers patrolling on the edge of Gaza Strip are quite a lot. The Israeli helicopters keep hovering from time to time up to the moment as I speak. The situations are not really good here and it’s even getting worse by the fact that people have not received this salary for many months now and they are in a very edge of poverty. That’s why most of the people are suffering and they can not find their food. This is not the part of a humanitarian crisis, but this poverty that targets all Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

“…the intent to send International Forces should have done it from the back, but I’m not sure if this is a very serious issue and I’m not sure if they mean to protect the Palestinians. If they mean to protect the Palestinians, then the easiest way is to tell the Israelis to crack down on Israel and to stop attacking civilians. This is the easiest way to do it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that they are really interested making the situation calm…they are interested in making the situation worse and worse in the Gaza Strip. Unfortunately, this is just getting to be old rumors that there might be some international forces coming or these keepers coming to the area. I doubt this is going to happen and lots of people doubt if it’s going to happen because what is the trouble of these keepers? Is it going to be as observers of the European Union, just patrolling and doing what they have been told to do by Israel? Then I think there is no point of sending them to Gaza…one of the things that the one who’s behind all this fighting has some hidden agendas. No doubt they should say that. It should be clear that having Palestinian factions being engaged in a civil war or civil fighting [relives] Israel from any pressure to reduce its checkpoints and its responsibility negotiating for even a Palestinian State under the Arab League. I hear this plan which increases the number of settlements and the settlers in East Jerusalem. Land confiscation and targeting civilians and…in addition to that, to make the Palestinians, people of one skin, fight each other and kill each other in the Gaza Strip.

“… who started it in the first place? Of course, some people are employed to do this job and they are just shooting at Hamas and shooting at Fatah and everyone will think that the one who is shooting is the other party and then they will start fighting and fighting and it will continue on and on by targeting more and more civilians and by killing more and more. I have been in very difficult situations and I came from a very horrible experience myself by militants who tried to shoot me while I was working in the streets of Gaza Strip. It was one of the most tragic experiences I have ever had in my life and I was almost killed by militants. I don’t know what the identity of those militants is. All I know is that they are young people who stopped me in the streets and then they ask me, “Stop here.” Then I stop. And then they say, “Raise your hands. Come closer.” Then I raised my hands. “Come closer. Turn your back.” I turned then they started to shout at me, “Come closer, slowly.” And then, suddenly I found two bullets hitting under my feet. One of the militants shot two bullets under my feet who was a marksman. I came up to his face, but I could see he’s not older than me. I would say he’s in the early 20’s…from his voice and his body builds. I should say that when I asked him why should they stop me and then they were asking themselves, “Let’s shoot him in the head.” And then the other one says, “No, no, no. Let’s shoot him in his legs.” And then the other guy said, “Well, let’s shoot him in the head,” again. The three of them said that we want to shoot them in the head and the other one said we want to shoot him in the leg. Then I said, “Do you know who I am? Why do you intend to shoot me? Do you know who I am? I have done nothing to you so you can’t decide on that.”

“I had just gone to Gaza City and couldn’t find any taxi in the street because it was very difficult to move in and out. Then when I asked them why you want to shoot me and then they just say, “Shut up!” Then I said, “Okay.” Then I said, “Do you know who I am, so you can decide?” They said, “Even if you are the son of God we will shoot you!”

“Then he said bring me your ID. I give him my ID. I give him my press card and then he understands that I’m a journalist. He said, “You are a journalist?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Okay, I don’t want to see your face here again. Go away from here.”

“…I’m under the impression that most of the time they will target people in their back. So they tell you go and then they shoot you in the back. That’s why I didn’t show them my back. I was working the way around to keep eye contact with them and to make sure that they won’t shoot me all the way. I was walking all the way to find a taxi to Rafah camp where I live…I don’t know who are these militants. I’m not sure if they are Hamas. I’m not sure if they are Fatah. Because who would shoot Palestinians? Because they find other young man walking by and shot him in the leg and they target other Palestinians also in different places…I talked to the head of operations and he said that the same group at the same junction tried to shoot at him while he was going to his car.

“…So, I think that those people are not Hamas and they are not Fatah then they are working for whom? The question remains, for who are those people working and whose benefit from killing Palestinians and targeting civilians in the Gaza Strip?”
Mohammad’s site:
Updated Reports:
The thirty minute radio broadcast can be downloaded @ Thank you for making a donation at the same time to make it possible to continue.
This article made possible by the collaborative efforts of Tinore and Tlcandie @
May 27, 2007 © Copyright Eileen Fleming, Reporter and Editor Author Keep Hope Alive and Memoirs of a Nice Irish American Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory Permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media if this credit is attached and the title remains unchanged.

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