Israel has for decades been carrying out a media war with the Palestinians, in the recent Gaza assault they did this by expelling independent foreign journalists from Gaza, bombing the press offices of those still there, and imprisoning media correspondents. Its aim has always been to distract public opinion from the atrocities which the Occupied Territories have suffered.
In the aftermath of the war, the only sources of undistorted and impartial news about the aftershocks of Israeli offensive in Gaza are the independent Palestinian journalists who report from the inside of their homeland for the mainstream media. 22 days of catastrophic carnage have now passed and the public is now eager to be given the unbiased investigative reports and accurate information about what is being called in the mainstream, "Israeli war crimes".
Sameh Habeeb, the 23-year old Palestinian journalist who regularly contributes to the Rammatan News Agency, is one of those uncensored voices who provide the world newspapers, news agencies and radio channels with the latest, breaking reports and photos of the situation in Gaza.
He is available 24-hours a day for interviews, audio dispatches, and emergency reports, and his photos and journalism on the Gaza conflict have been featured in reports by Reuters, Sky News, France 24, Real News Network, Democracy Now and the Washington Independent so far.
Given the destruction of infrastructure in Gaza due to the incursion of Israeli army, it was almost impossible to talk with Sameh Habeeb either by phone or internet; however, after trying many times, we finally got in touch with him and held the interview.
"On the 23rd day of the conflict and in spite of the unilateral ceasefire, an Israeli phosphorous bomb hit the eastern part of Gaza City and Israeli F16s broke into the Gaza Strip airspace causing a case of fear and panic for civilians," Habeeb, told us live from the beleaguered strip. "17 other members of Samouni family found dead under the rubbles of their house in Zeitoun, Some of them were killed by shells and some others executed by live bullets." Habeeb's own house had been attacked by Israeli artillery on the 18th day of conflict.
He pointed to an imminent civil catastrophe in the Gaza strip: "Hospitals, water pipes, telephone lines, electricity posts and even universities, schools, mosques and public places are thoroughly devastated and Israel only allows 15 trucks of humanitarian aid into the strip while we need at least 300 trucks every day."
Meanwhile, he highlighted the sense of satisfaction demoralized Palestinians felt when they saw the international support in the form of demonstrations and world leaders speaking out: "Specifically, we are very happy about the help of the Iranian nation alongside the Iranian president and very thankful to them, though we request them to do more for helping the reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, which would inarguably result in the stabilization of the internal situation in Palestine."
On the aftermath of the assault, he said: "Thousands of people appeared on the Gaza streets, everybody is trying to explore what has happened to his relatives, the houses, the whole area. I have documented the massive devastation throughout the east, north and west of the Gaza Strip. The assault destroyed everything needed for normal life: houses, schools, hospitals, clinics, police stations, charities, universities and streets, totally and partially destroyed."
Complaining about the global medias one-sided coverage of the carnage in Gaza, he said, "Most of the world media are controlled by the Israeli lobby and they don't allow the reality to be publicized. They chase the independent journalists and correspondents away from the Gaza Strip and won't allow the mass media to broadcast the tragedy of Gaza straightforwardly."
Nevertheless, Sameh and all the determined, indomitable Palestinians are hopeful that one day there will be a bright future, with the involvement of independent global forces that will bring construction to the ruins of Gaza and justice to the criminals who have killed 1,300 civilians in less than one month.