by Julie Webb-Pullman
Three families who had their lives turned upside down by Israeli missiles strikes on their homes and bodies are adamant they will not give up now – they have lost too much.
Far from frightening the Gazan people into submission, the cruel carnage unleashed on the civilian population by the Israeli military machine has only served to strengthen their resolve to resist, at whatever cost. When you hear their stories you may understand why.
After iftar last night, Hounoud Abu Jarad showered her three children, two boys aged two and four, and her daughter Noor, aged six, then put them to bed.
There had been no military activity in the area, no resistance rockets, and no militants.
Before they had even closed their eyes missiles starting hitting the house. The first missile killed her brother-in-law, two sisters-in-law, Hounoud’s cousin and her two children aged 7½ months and 2½, her cousin’s 22 year old brother-in-law and his two year old son.
Hounoud ran to see whether her children were alright, and found they had been blasted into the garden. Her two sons were rescued from under the rubble and were relatively unijured, but Noor has shrapnel in her back, legs, face and head, and burns on her right foot.
Noor writhes in pain and cries out several times during the interview.
“The international community needs to feel her suffering,” said her mother. “What did she do to deserve this?”
Houmoud said that every home in her neighbourhood is suffering.
“They are killing all the women and children,” she said. “Abbas is not doing enough to make a Palestinian state. Either we live in dignity or we all die. People are all so tired, but we are praying for the resistance to be victorious.”
Hounoud said that because of what has happened to her children she does not want the resistance to accept the ceasefire being offered by Egypt.
“I totally support the resistance. They are our only chance to live in dignity. If this generation of the resistance is not victorious, the new generation will continue the fight. We will never give up after what has happened to us.”
The Saad family were all asleep when a missile slammed into their house at around 4am. Their next door neighbours were also hit.
There had been no militants, resistance or military activity in the area, and they did not receive any warning.
Several members of the family were seriously wounded.
Abeer Rafiq Saad, the mother, was severely injured on the right side of her body.
Mahmoud Mohammed Saad, nine years received abdominal, neck, facial injuries.
Anwaar Mohammed Saad, one year has shrapnel injuries peppering her face and leg.
Ahmed Mohammed Saad, 17 years, was in an upstairs ward with even more serious injuries.
Abeer is so weak she cannot even talk, but her daughter was only too keen to let the world know what this family thinks of the attack on them.
“I ask the international community to look after us, we are just women and children, if the international community won’t intervene, then who will?” she asked.
“The ceasefire conditions offered by Egypt are basically quiet for quiet. This is not fair. We have suffered; we have paid a heavy price. It just does not make sense that we quit for nothing.”
She emphasised that liberty and freedom of movement are the bottom line, as without them they cannot live in dignity.
“We support the resistance – whatever was taken by force must be returned by force, so we support the resistance and we want them to continue,” she said.
Hussein Al Ramlawi and his family were at home yesterday in Shajai’a, next to Al Wafa hospital.
At sunset missiles came in without warning. Two year old Hussein and his mother Amany were both injured. Hussein received shrapnel injuries all over his body.
His mother Amany sustained severe burns over most of her body.
Again there had been no Palestinian military activity prior to the missile, no rockets and no Palestinian resistance in the area when this happened.
“The Israeli tanks were just shooting randomly, that’s what happened,” her mother-in-law said. “What sin did they commit to deserve something like this, a woman and her child suffering in this way?”
There are now big holes in their ceiling, and the kitchen and the living areas are completely destroyed.
“I support the resistance and I don’t agree with the ceasefire agreement because it doesn’t address the basic needs of the Palestinian people,” she continued. “[Palestinian President] Abu Mazen should stay out of it, and mind his own business.”
It seems that far from destroying Hamas, Israel has attracted new supporters for them – and hardened the peoples’ determination to get the crippling siege lifted once and for all.
“They are killing us all anyway – either a slow death by the siege, or a fast one by military attacks. We have nothing left to lose – we must fight for our rights, or die trying.”