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(DV) Nettnin: Sonic Boom Damages Deaf Children Society's Facility







Sonic Boom Damages Deaf Children Society's Facilities
by Sonia Nettnin
July 4, 2006

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Israeli Occupation Forces damaged the Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children's facilities in Gaza City during IOF's implementation of "Operation Summer Rain."

When Israeli warplanes caused massive sonic booms and nearby explosions in air strikes, the Palestinian NGO's building windows shattered. As a result, several deaf vocational trainees were injured from the shattered glass.

The Palestinian NGO, which provides deaf education, deaf vocational training and income-generating programs for hundreds of families living far below the poverty line suffered damage in the vocational training section of their building.

Last week Palestinians in Gaza suffered massive civilian infrastructure destruction, including Gaza's sole domestic power supply plant, located in Nusairat Refugee Camp. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights six transformers were destroyed, which provide an estimated 45 per cent of the electricity in Gaza for approximately half the population. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Gaza Electrical Distribution Company estimates it will take nine months to procure replacement transformers. The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility manages the 132 water wells in Gaza, which is powered by GEDCO. Since back-up generators are needed to keep water flowing, there is concern about the financial and physical stability of using back-up generators because the IOF closed off the energy pipeline into Gaza.

In daily life the effects of not having electricity include: no drinking water (pumped by electricity); no water (pumped by electricity); no sewage (pumped by electricity); no lights; no refrigeration; no food; no cooking; no cooling fans; no communication in or out; no radio; no internet; no email; no gasoline; no cooking oil; no work.

IOF air strikes destroyed two bridges that connect the north, central and southern sections of the Strip; and the IOF closure of Gaza's border crossings determines whether humanitarian relief will reach the Palestinians.

Sonic booms are caused by aircraft when the fly beyond the sound barrier. When a warplane flies at low altitudes above civilian populations, the terrorizing sound as the aircraft "wakes" traumatizes children (Donald Macintyre, November 2005) and causes infrastructure damage. Last November the petition filed by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme reported an increase in miscarriages from sonic booms as well.

How Palestinian NGOs, such as the Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children can function without the basic necessities of life is unknown without the support of the international community, its humanitarian organizations and the active role of international political leadership to protect the rights of civilians (Article 33 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Times of War.)

Atfaluna is an Arabic word that means "our children."

Sonia Nettnin writes about social, political, economic, and cultural issues. Her focus is the Middle East.