After Israel's Invasion: An Eyewitness Account from Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel

by Marie Kennedy
  1. I wish to thank Code Pink and the United Nations Refugee and Works Agency in Gaza for arranging our delegation into Gaza. I would also like to thank delegation members Hanna Hadikin and Amal Sedky Winter for contributing stories as told to them to this article.
  2. I traveled as a representative of Grassroots International (GRI), a human rights and development aid organization on whose board I serve. Salena Tramel, the GRI Middle East coordinator, and I joined the delegation to Gaza organized by the women-led peace group Code Pink at the invitation of the United Nations Refugee and Works Agency. Salena and I visited GRI partners in the West Bank, Israel, and Gaza and much of the information in this essay came from these partners. For more about GRI Middle East partners, visit
  3. See “Cut to pieces: the Palestinian family drinking tea in their courtyard,” 2009/mar/23/gaza-war-crimes-drones
  4. According to the careful records of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, 1,417 Palestinians were killed. Of these, 236 were combatants and 926 civilians, including 313 children and 116 women.
  5. According to the Ministry of Health, 5,303 Palestinians were injured in the assault, including 1,606 children and 828 women.
  6. See khozaa-anatomy-of-massacre.html.
  7. See Uri Blau. “Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques-IDF fashion 2009.” 3/20/2009; Amos Harel. “Shooting and crying.” 3/ 20/2009 and “Testimonies on IDF misconduct in Gaza keep rolling in,” 3/22/2009; Ethan Bronner. “A Religious War in Israel’s Army,” The New York Times. 3/22/2009; Richard Boudreaux, “Rabbis criticized for Gaza stance.” LA Times, 3/25/2009.
  8. Marie Kennedy, Lisa Bevilacqua, and Nuhad Jamal, “Between Occupation and Autonomy,” CrossRoads. March 1996.
  9. Marie Kennedy, “Israel’s War for Water,” Progressive Planning, fall 2006.
  10. According to the Palestine Monitor 2009 Factbook (available from at the end of 2008, the International Committee of the Red Cross was following up on roughly 10,500 Palestinian prisoners, while the Israeli Prison Service estimates that there are “only” 9,493 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. In addition to “regular” arrests, the Israeli military can put anyone into “administrative detention” and detain them for 6 months without charge or a trial, which can be (and often is) renewed for many years, 6 months at a time.
  11. For the Via Campesina: Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to define their own food and agriculture; to protect and regulate domestic agricultural production and trade in order to achieve sustainable development objectives; to determine the extent to which they want to be self-reliant; to restrict the dumping of products in their markets; and to provide local fisher-ies-based communities the priority in managing the use of and the rights to aquatic resources. Food sovereignty does not negate trade, but rather, it promotes the formulation of trade policies and practices that serve the rights of peoples to safe, healthy, and ecologically sustainable production. See Nikhil Aziz, “Resource Rights and Wrongs,” Progressive Planning, fall 2006.
  12. While it’s true that the percentage of the overall Israeli population working in agriculture has reduced, the Jewish population was never as concentrated in agriculture as were the Palestinians. Overall, the percentage of the population of Israel working in agriculture has decreased from 18 percent in 1960 to 2 percent in 2002.