Gaza: Day Two of the Ceasefire

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The following is a firsthand account by Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Adviser, reporting from Gaza. The ceasefire came into effect at 9pm on November 21 November.

The children are playing outside again, despite the torrential rain. They were stuck indoors during eight days of relentless Israeli bombardments.

By the time that ended in excess of 160 people were dead – including more than 30 children and scores of other unarmed civilians.

For the duration of the onslaught they were stuck indoors – at home, seeking refuge with relatives or in schools which the UN refugee agency turned into temporary shelters for thousands of families forced from their houses by the bombings.

Not that staying indoors was necessarily safe either. Many died or were injured in their homes or those of their neighbours when the bombs fell.

In Gaza City I found grieving members of the al-Dalu family digging through rubble looking for the bodies of relatives killed four days earlier when an Israeli fighter jet bombed their home.

No-one in their house survived the attack which claimed a total of 12 lives including all the 10 members of the al-Dalu family present at the time. Five children, four women and the father of four of the children.

The grief-stricken owner of the house, a soft-spoken man in his mid-50s, told me of his loss, listing the names of those he’d lost.

“My wife, Tahani, 52, my two daughters, Ranin, 25 and Yara, 16, my son Mohamed, 29 and his 25-year-old wife Samah and their four children – a seven-year-old girl called Sara and three boys, Jamal, Yousef, and Ibrahim, aged five and four years and nine months; and my 75-year-old sister Suhaila who was in a wheelchair,” he said.

“I left the house in the morning with my son, Abdallah and went to my supermarket, as we had run out of food. My wife later called me and told me also to bring some toys for the children to take their minds off the bombing.

“In the early afternoon I was praying before heading back home and when I finished praying I found my son in tears; he said neighbours had called saying our home had been bombed. We rushed back and found a pile of rubble where our house had been.

“There were no survivors. I lost everything that was dearest to me. Why? Were my wife, my children and my grandchildren and my paralyzed sister terrorists? Did they harm Israel in any way? I want to see justice done; I don’t want anything else; only justice. The International Criminal Court should do its duty so that those responsible for these crimes are brought to justice.”

Next door, two neighbours – a 79-year-old woman and her grandson – were crushed to death by the collapsing walls of the al-Dalu family house. Others in their family were injured.

In another neighbourhood, five year-old Mohammed Abu Zur and two of his aunts were killed and 25 other relatives, 15 of them children, injured when their neighbours’ house was bombed. They are the victims of so-called “collateral damage” caused by reckless bombardments which the Israeli army launched against densely populated residential areas.

They knew that they were almost certain to kill and injure unarmed civilians not involved in the conflict and to cause destruction and damage far beyond their actual targets.

And these cases are not exceptional. In the few days I’ve been here in Gaza I’ve investigated many more cases of children and other unarmed civilians killed and injured in Israeli bombardment between 14 and 21 November.

Once again civilians bore the brunt. The impunity afforded to those responsible for similar attacks in the past has no doubt contributed to their recurrence during this latest escalation of the conflict. What is needed now is an independent investigation to ensure that victims are not once again denied justice and reparation.

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One thought on “Gaza: Day Two of the Ceasefire

  1. This report is intentional bias against Israel and is not impartial simple by the way the facts are presented. In many ways, it reflects an anti-Israeli mentality and from an organisation like Amnesty should be ashamed to be clearly seen to be supporting terror groups such as Hamas and Fatah.
    You failed to reflect the 1000 or more missiles aimed at Israeli civilian populations in Serot and the escalation to over a hundred in one week some of which hit Tel Aviv, again deliberate targeting civilian areas with the intent to kill Jews. Failing to reflect this intern failed to reflect that the Israeli operation was to destroy the launch site of these missiles to protect Israeli civilians and the IDF only targets these sights and known arm stores.
    You failed to reflect life in Israel from these missile's attacks and in Serot the bomb shelters' Israelis are forced to use once a day and often more from Hamas missiles coming from Gaza. You also failed to give some analysis that this escalation of missiles has most likely come from Iran to Hamas to deflect from the nuclear issue and the people in Gaza are really just pawns or willing participants as 70% of then are in support of the destruction of Israel and only around 30% and less want to live in peace with its neighbour.
    You failed to reflect that of the 177 killed 120 were engaged in terrorist act against Israel. Furthermore, failing to reflect of the civilians who were killed, were being used as human shields by Hamas, some may be forced and some willing from a Jihad mentality and killing Jews gets then to heaven. Human shielding translates into an act of genocide against its own people, particularly when Hamas places it launch sites in homes and public areas, parents are guilty of an act of genocide against their own children by co-opting them in as human shields.
    You failed to mention that the IDF dropped leaflets and made phone calls to those launch sites situated in homes and public places that they were about to be attacked and vacate the area. Furthermore, you failed to relay that Hamas encouraged its people to ignore those warnings as just propaganda and stay in their homes putting lives of adults and children at risk. During the Cast Lead operation the IDF cancelled thousands of operation because of the use of human shielding after the IDF phoned occupants of homes used as arms stores and fired a dud missiles that hit the roof to warn to vacate their premises, residents who then proceeded to the roof with families and children to use themselves willingly as human shields. This, in effect turns them into combatants regardless of the clothes they are and have chosen to surrender their lives of themselves and innocent children for their own ideological cause.
    You failed to reflect that the overwhelming majority of Israelis supported the actions of its Government to protect them from an aggressor who was targeting and murdering innocent civilians. You failed to reflect that Hamas and Fatah frequently publicly call for the destruction of Israel and another holocaust of another 6 million Jews a display which can only be described as an evil level of anti-Semitic mentality equal to the level as the Nazis and Hitler.
    I could go on but just recently I have become aware that Amnesty is fostering anti-Semitic attitudes in people who have relied on your reports, which are not truthful and slant the facts or omit them to produce and anti-Israel mentality.
    I have not had chance to go through your site yet but I would like you to surrender here anything that you have produced condemning the use of human shielding, the positive things Israel has done to create peace, the condemning of Hamas and Fatah calling for the destruction of Israel and anything condemning the murder of Jewish civilians through suicide bombers.