T., a medical doctor, is a Palestinian living in Gaza City. He is
still reeling from days of aerial bombardment. When I asked about the children
in his community he told me his church would soon be making Christmas
preparations to lift the children's spirits. Looking at his kindly
smile and ruddy cheeks, I couldn't help wondering if he'd be asked to dress up
as "Baba Noel" -- as Santa Claus. I didn't dare ask this question
"The most recent war was more severe and vigorous than the Operation Cast Lead," he said slowly, leaning back in his chair and looking into the distance. "I was more affected this time. The weapons were very strong, destroying everything. One rocket could completely destroy a building."
The eight-day Israeli offensive in November lasted for fewer days and brought fewer casualties, but it was nonstop, relentless -- and everywhere.
Dr. T. continued, sadly...
"At 1 a.m., the bank was bombed, and everyone in the area was awakened from sleep. Doors were broken and windows were shattered. There was an agonizing sound, as if we were in a battlefield.
"The bombing went on every day. F16 U.S. jets were hitting hard.
"This is more than anyone can tolerate. We were unsafe at any place at any time."
U.S. media and government statements are full of accounts about the scattershot Hamas rocket fire that had taken one Israeli life in the months before the Israeli bombing campaign. The U.S. government demands that the Gazans disarm completely. Due to simple racism and a jingoistic eagerness to get in line with U.S. military policy, Western commentators ignore the bombardment of Gazan neighborhoods which has caused thousands of casualties over just the past few years. They automatically frame Israel's actions as self-defense and the only conceivable response to Palestinians who, under whatever provocations, dare to make themselves a threat.
"Any house can be destroyed. The airplanes filled the skies," Dr. T. continued. "They were hitting civilians, like the ones who were distributing water." The Palestine Centre for Human Rights report confirms that Dr. T. is discussing Suhail Hamada Mohman and his 10-year-old son, who were both killed instantly at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 18, 2012 in Beit Lahiya while distributing water to their neighbors.
Dr. T. then mentioned the English teacher and his student killed nearby while walking in the street. The PCHR report notes that on November 16, at approximately 1:20 p.m., Marwan Abu al-Qumsan, 42, a teacher at an UNRWA school, was killed when Israeli Occupation Forces bombarded an open space area in the southeast section of Beit Lahia town. He had been visiting the house of his brother, Radwan, 76, who was also seriously wounded.
And Dr. T. mentioned the Dalu family. "They were destroyed for no reason. You can go visit there."
The next day, I went to the building north of Gaza City where the Dalu family had lived.
In the afternoon on Sunday, November 18, an Israeli F-16 fighter jet fired a missile at the four-story house belonging to 52-year-old Jamal Mahmoud Yassin al-Dalu. The house was completely destroyed as were all inside. Civil Defense crews removed from the debris the bodies of eight members of the family -- four women and four children aged one to seven. They were:
Samah Abdul Hamid al-Dalu, 27
Tahani Hassan al-Dalu, 52
Suhaila Mahmoud al-Dalu, 73