Gaza, (Pal Telegraph) - Israeli punishment continues. It is, ultimately, a never-ending policy. The punishment referred to is not the siege that has been imposed for more than 5 years. It is not the War of 2008-2009, which Israel killed more than 1400 civilians. Not even the humiliation measured at the Iritz crossing between Gaza and Israel, where Israeli intelligence attempted to recruit Palestinian patients to work as spies, nor the constant attacks that punishment hereto refers. Rather, it is the hidden psychological war that Israel has been waging since 2000.
Upon the breakout of the Intifada in 2000, Israel started to use its heavy warfare machines. The people of Gaza, including those in the West Bank too, were exposed to these tough military tools. Exposure, sadly, resulted in the people becoming accustomed to the loud bombings, invasions and constant attacks. Even the children adapted. No one, however, has become used to the drones. The drones are unmanned aerial planes controlled by central computers in Israel. Israelis use them to monitor the Gaza Strip for “security reasons.”
One of the problem with drones lies in their loud buzzing sound. For almost 10 years, the buzzing sound became a constant part of Gaza life. They operate in the skies almost 24 hours a day. Many people find it hard to sleep quietly. The sound reaches every where, even should you close the window to sleep. As the streets quiet and night befalls, the sounds become even louder. Some readers could argue this is normal, but it is not. It is not humane for a population to live with a such a constant terror that could drive a person mad. Granted there are so many other ills plaguing Gaza that the noise of the drone may seem “normal.” Nothing is normal in reality. Drones are just another flavor for the great many ills and trauma affecting Gaza's children that add to their suffering.
Jamila Zaqoot, 21, is an university student in Gaza. Like so many other university students, it is quite difficult for her to find quiet time to study. After returing from university, Jamila helps her mum with the household duties. It is afterward that she prepares herself for studying. It is usually after 8pm in the evening.
“I really find it hard to study and focus. The sounds of drones accompany me while studying. It is really annoying and buzzing. I read aloud to cover its sound. Imagine how upsetting it is, it keeps buzzing like 'zzzzzz zzzzzzzz zzzzz.' We even called it Zananana,” said Jamila.
The drone is an effective Israeli weapon. Besides monitoring the skies of Gaza 24/7, it is used militarily to carry out light missile strikes for “special” missions. It was used many times by Israel to carry out assassinations. Many leaders from the Palestinian freedom fighting factions were killed by drone attacks. Civilians were also killed. Two months ago, a doctor and his 4-year old son were killed by a drone. They were driving on his motorbike when the assassination machine struck, killing them both instantaneously. Of course, this incident was defined by Israel as a security measure and ignored by the international community.
In addition to noise irritation, the drones are a hindrance when families are attmepting to spend time together. They cannot watch family movies or even listen to the news. Drones hover overhead in the skies and digital satellite TV is jammed. Consequently, 90 percent of the TV channels are not clearly watched. Granted there are a few that are not affected.
Ahmad al-Safedi, 45, runs a shop for satellites in Gaza. I spoke with him regarding the effect of the drones. He doesn’t have a scientific interpretation for the jamming. According to him, the problem appeared almost 10 years ago. It coincides with the time when the Israeli army started to monitor the Gaza air space with these drones. Many people, he says, complain about this problem and its affect on the leisurely time with family.
Al Safedi added, “It is really awkward and upsetting that you are distracted while watching a film, a news or series on the TV. The drone keeps cutting the signal of the Satellites, especially the Nile Sat (an Egyptian Sat that has more than 500 channels). While watching something you like, the image will disappear. The broadcasting will return 2 minutes later and then disappear again. Many European T.V channels are not affected by drones. Yet they are not watched by many.”
The drones were originally American made, but over the years Israel developed their own models. They are now sold all over the world. Drones violate International law, which of course Israel constantly violated. The drones violate Palestinian sovereignty. While Israel pulled out from Gaza after removing over 8000 thousand settlers who were occupying over 50% of Gaza, it still maintains control over Gaza through the drones. They, therefore, maintain Israeli occupation over Gaza.
Motasim Dallol, 32, a recent Palestinian student who arrived to London lately feels the difference. He is enjoying the quite neighborhoods of London, where the drones are absent. He says that the drone-free sky of London is heaven-like. Will it take native westerners to be terrorized by the buzzing of drones before they wake up to the impact these inhumane weapons have on humanity?