Gaza mourns Vittorio Arrigoni

by: Refaat Alareer

The timing, which comes days before Flotilla II, and the irreparable damage the crime did  the Palestinians tell of the Israeli hand lurking behind the doers. 

I do not know Vittorio Arrigoni in person, but me tears and heart do. Thousands of Gazans cried over his tragic and untimely death. Many, appalled by the crime, are still trying to make sense of what happened. Nothing makes sense. It was a murder that shocked Gaza. One glance at google pictures will show that this courageous man not only was very prof-Palestinian but also was helping Palestinians more than we Palestinians can help ourselves. Who in Gaza would not mourn the man who we saw on every boat and every vessel defying Israeli naval siege? Who did not see Vittorio participating in popular protests against Israeli buffer zones near Gaza borders? How many of us, Palestinians, held Palestinian flag protesting Israeli occupation and inhumane measures against us? Vittorio did. Who did not cross his or her fingers when he was kidnapped by the Israeli navy and injured by the Israeli occupation forces for helping the people of Gaza? One word only was repeated in the previous questions: Israel. Yes, the Israeli occupation is the only party benefiting from the willful murder of this freedom activist.

The timing, which comes days before Flotilla II, and the irreparable damage the crime did to Gaza and the Palestinians tell of the Israeli Mossad hand lurking behind the doers. For Israel, the best way to prevent a second encounter with a freedom fleet is to scare the participants way. Imagine how many people will either in fear or in protest stop joining the flotilla. But that is a secondary issue now, for Vittorio is gone. Also imagine how many articles will be written to prove that the people of Gaza are a bunch of bigots who do not deserve a helping hand let alone sacrificing one’s life for. But does that matter? For Vittorio is no more. Imagine how much damage this act of barbarity does to the image of Gaza. Yet that is not the concern, for Vittorio is dead.

Gaza alone will pay for the premature death of comrade Vittorio. Gaza alone will suffer the dire consequences. Gaza alone will have to bear the responsibility. And Gaza and Gazans are only being used in a dirty game dictated on some bigots from a man sitting behind a laptop somewhere in Tel Aviv or Eretz. The killers must have received their orders and support from websites and forums which, as has been proved in some circumstances, are run or overshadowed by CIA and Mossad agents. They think they are following the orders of a sheikh somewhere in Iraq or Afghanistan, but in fact they are being used as pawns. The question every Gazan is asking now is what have those people done to resist the Israeli occupation? Nil, zilch, nada, nothing. Does not that cast doubts on their agendas and goals; while they caused the death of many Palestinians, the Israeli occupation remains and untouched by this handful of extremists.

But still could the murderers have done it? They did. Did they plan it themselves? I doubt it.  Vittorio’s death means one thing: the death sentence for the killers. The clash between this group and Hamas government in 2008 proves that Hamas will not have mercy upon anyone who tries to disturb the (already shaken) security of Gaza. They have learnt the lesson the hard way. And another stupid mistake like killing an innocent Italian activist who left his home and family behind to help is the final blow for those people. Everyone in Gaza knows that. And the criminals are too. By so doing, they are either too stupid to see their end coming or so blinded that they were tricked into a mistake that will be their last.

The only people smiling now are the Israeli politicians and Mossad agents. But we say to the world that there is a huge difference between Palestinians and Israel. The killings of foreign journalists and activists by Israel were both systematic and premeditated and done by the Israeli army establishment. No one was brought to justice. In Gaza, the doers of this shameful event are very few and do not represent the Palestinian people. And we are sure they will be brought to justice and punish accordingly. Or else we will be like the rogue state of Israel. No one can forget Israeli long history of killing and attacking journalists and peace activists such as Rachel Corrie, James Miller, Raffaele Ciriello, the flotilla activists and others.

Now as Gazans and friends of Vittorio Arrigoni, we demand the government of Gaza to

1-      Bring the doers to justice and punish them. And yes, we use the death penalty in Gaza.

2-      Apologise for his family and the Italian people on behalf of the people of Palestine

3-      Name a street after Vittorio

4-      Name a school after him

5-      Declare a day of mourning

6- Grant Vittorio the Palestinian nationality

While that will show how much we care and how much Vittorio means to Gazans, it will not compensate us or his family or his friends for the loss of a great man, a man who stood bare-chested in front of the Israeli machine guns, a man who was beaten and arrested by Israelis for the sake of Gaza, a man who loved Gaza and whom Gaza will never forget.

Vittorio Arrigoni , We are sorry. Italy, we are sorry. Italians, we are sorry. Free people of the world, Gaza is sorry. Everyone will make sure this thing does not happen again. We won’t rest until those criminals are brought to justice. And we promise not to let a handful of misguided fanatics determine the future and destiny of Gaza until Gaza is free.


Gaza “terrorist” cocktail recipe

By: Refaat Alareer

Gazans become fighters in a battle imposed upon them. They are soldiers who do not want to be soldiers.



Mohammed was probably 2 when he had a high fever and an acute ear infection. He had already started to articulate his first sentences. His bright green eyes, despite his illness, told of a bright kid. Mohammed could have been taken to the nearest clinic had it not been for the Israeli curfew forcibly imposed on recently occupied Gaza some forty years ago. How could they venture to get out when they heard so many stories about people shot in the head for defying the curfew? They were told the Israeli heavily armed soldiers did not check or did not want to check whether their neighbor, Abu Salma, was taking his little teething baby to his grandmother’s for some herbal medicine she prepared. He did not have a watch to check the time. The Israeli soldiers did. It was five minutes past seven. Or so they claimed. They just shot at him— or rather shot him. His little daughter, Salma, cried herself to sleep in a narrow alley trodden by nothing save rodents and stray animals, and Israeli patrol jeeps. Abu Salma bled. And bled. Even the shrieking voice of his daughter could not move his lifeless body.

Mohammed went deaf.

Forty something years later, Mohammed’s youngest son, Bilal, fell headless in a narrow alley by a stray(?) Israeli missile. It was only recently when Bilal knew how his dad became deaf. He never asked. He took it for granted that his father was born thus. It was when Bilal told his mother why he was hesitant about the idea of getting married. He feared deafness might be in the genes. However, his mother, Salma, confronted him with the truth. “Does my father know?” asked Bilal after a while. “No!” Bilal, who saw how much his dad suffered because of his deafness, swore to take revenge: to make those heartless killers pay.

Bilal’s dad is now too weak to be told he lost his dearest son. But at least 20 of Bilal’s relatives and friends swore to make those heartless murderers pay.

Palestinians do not need to be taught incitement hatred. The occupation is their teacher. They know no matter how long you plan your future, or how much you save, or how hard you work to stay safe, death will eventually get at you. They have seen tens of times how very old, very young, and very promising talents lose their lives at the Israeli alter of macho.

Only Gazans know how peace is truly made. It is never luxury rooms and five stars brainstorming sessions and talks that lead to peace. Peace can be made by eliminating the causes and the injuries and the scars wars cause. Israeli leadership knows that. Yet, Israel has managed to cause injury, pain, and suffering to every heart of every Palestinian. Some hearts are stricken by layers of sufferings, pains, and injuries.

Israel, apparently attempting to both test and market their Iron Dome system, managed to provoke Palestinians and kill 20, half of whom unarmed children, women, or elderly. What is strikingly new in this Israeli insane policy is that the lab rats this time were not the Palestinians of Gaza alone, but also the Israeli residents of the towns neighboring the Gaza Strip whose lives were also used by their government to test, and promote, their new Dome system.  Do not they have to hide and be subjected to manmade Gaza rockets?

Gazans know very well that will bring a lot of money to Israel, but it won’t at least on the long run bring them peace and quiet, for more hearts have been broken, more vows have been made, and more young promising guys must have decided to join the Palestinian resistance seeing their relatives, friends, and neighbors being slain in front of their eyes. They become fighters in a battle imposed upon them and become soldiers who do not want to be soldiers.

What has Nedal, 22, who was busy planning her wedding party, done? She was not in the street, she was not being used as a shield, and she was not shooting at the Israeli tanks. What about her quadragenarian mother? Why was she killed?  They both were safe and sound, or so they thought, in their house till the Israeli missiles chased them and hunted them down. If the world can’t see this, Gazans can. And they will not forget.

That is why Gazans know peace goes farther than finding the “suitable” peace partner. Peace requires a whole new generation that has not been subjected to the systematic terror of consecutive Israeli governments. Occupying Palestinian lands, Israel has dug itself a hole. They know it. And they are not even attempting to stop digging.