Israel began its intensified offensive against Gaza on the 11th July. The stated aim of the onslaught, which includes airstrikes by US made F16 fighter jets, was to destroy Hamas tunnels and ‘protect’ Israeli civilians from rocket fire. Since then, more than 710 Palestinians and 30 Israelis have been killed, about a third of the Palestinians killed are children. The UN human rights commissioner, Navi Pillay, has said there is a “strong possibility” that Israel is in violation of international law. She has also condemned “indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas” by Hamas. The charity, Oxfam, has said that food and water supplies in Gaza are dangerously low at this time.
From Gaza: Alive Again…Lucky again
by Akram Ijla
At 4:00 am on July 14th I wrote on my Facebook: 10 minutes ago, three F16 airstrikes hit a government building in front of our apartments. For the last days and nights since then, both my wife and I have been supporting our children to cope by whatever means we can. We want to protect them physically but also psychologically. Unfortunately, tonight my youngest daughter, who is 9 years old, has fallen. She is crying and will not stop. Any advice to help alleviate her body fears would be appreciated.
15th July: Last night, I was at the Red Crescent with my sister and her son whose apartment had been hit by a missile during their Ramadan Iftar (breakfast). The doctors of Gaza who are working in the Emergency Rooms are traumatized. They are working continuously without stop. They do not have food or water to drink. I am not able to stay as strong as I used to, dozens of children and women are being killed in inhuman scenes. I was crying like a child. I cannot begin to describe what I saw.
American Friend: “So awful. Palestinian doctors, and especially the ambulance crews, are so brave and selfless! You are living in hell, but the main thing is to keep living, and to get to the other side. I’m hoping that no one else in your family suffers any injury, and that this terrible bombardment ends soon. Stay strong, and stay safe!”
Another friend: “I know you have the inner strength to lead everyone through this crisis. Let us hope you can be focused on rebuilding very soon. Everyone you touched in your years in the US is hoping you remain resolute in your beliefs, philosophy, and love for people. Your leadership and the way you live your life has never been needed by so many as it is these days.”
The day after, at 6 am there was a warning missile fired at the building adjacent to our home. When the warning comes, families must evacuate their apartments as soon as they can. All of those in the building where we live have been evacuated onto the streets. Children, women, older people and young people have to get out in hurry, often in their house clothes (unacceptable, especially for women). They destroyed two levels of the building. At 9am, I asked my family to go back inside our home. Within ten minutes of being in our apartment two F16 missiles shelled us. The airstrikes were aimed at destroying the rest of the building. My son, Karmel (5 years old) and my daughter, Misk (8 years old) were shaken and traumatized. As clouds of dust covered us, I felt dizzy and wanted to vomit.
Alive again…lucky again…but my oldest daughter is now asking me if we can leave this country. “Where?” I asked her. “Even to China.”
A friend of mine who is living in the USA: “If you decide you want to leave Gaza — which you might not because your extended family is there in Gaza– I will do my best to help you with visa paperwork, should you decide you want to bring your wife and children to the US. I have a friend who works in an immigration law office, and he might be able to provide advice. Of course there are many other places you might prefer to go. Nonetheless, I can only offer my assistance regarding my own country.
Of course I am sure you will want to stay because you love your home and friends and family. Also, Palestine loses so many good people who leave because they can’t stand the torture any longer. But you and your family also deserve a life of happiness and freedom from military occupation.”
She added and asked: “And the F-16’s I wonder where those came from . . . Are we not complicit?”
Another strike and I wrote: See you tomorrow if there is another day of life… Alive again…. Lucky again
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