The drones are at it, that grating sound of multiple UAVs (“drones”) circling in the sky, the disharmony of their buzzes clashing into one’s psyche, ramping up levels of frustration and terror. And since the 2008-2009 Israeli massacre of the Gaza Strip (killing over 1500 when all had succumbed to their Israeli army-inflicted wounds) I had still heard the zananas‘ whine, but it had been a while since their presence was so continuous, abrasive and terrifying.
When on Nov 14 the Zionist army assassinated Hamas’ Ahmad al-Jabari and body guard, I wasn’t in Gaza, nor earlier on Nov 5th when an Israeli soldier shot and killed a mentally disabled man in his early twenties on land near the border, nor the days in between when Israeli soldiers killed 13 year old soccer-playing Ahmed Abu Daqqa, then days later shelled a mourning tent killing 4 and injuring at least 26 more.
Unbearably, I also was away from loved ones, friends, and the people of Gaza when after the Israeli assassination of Jabari, all hell was again unleashed on the encaged 1.7 million Palestinians of Gaza, who for the following 4 days under continuous bombings, drone strikes, and shelling from the sea. (But thanks to the excellent reporting, photography, blogging and tweeting of Palestinians and internationals in Gaza, I learned of these sordid events, largely unspoken of in most corporate media save Jabari’s assassination).
“The Dalou family is but one of the countless atrocities that have already occurred at the barrels and bombings of the Zionist army in the past 6 days.On Sunday, Israeli F-16 bombings on the Dalou family home in Sheik Radwan, Gaza, killed “ten members of the al-Dalou family died when an Israeli missile flattened the family home, and rescue crews spent hours pulling their bodies from the rubble. The bodies of Yara al-Dalou, 17, and Mohammed al-Dalou, 29, have not been found yet. Two neighbors – an 83-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man — were killed in the same strike. The funeral of four women and four children from the al-Dalou family was held in Gaza City today. PCHR has identified the children as 1-year-old Ibrahim, Jamal, 6, Yousef, 4, and Sarah, 7.” [source]
Al Jazeera reports on the Dalou bombing that it was “reported by Israeli media as “mistaken” strike. The Isreali army has since responded that the attack was intended and the it was aimed at the senior Hamas leader living in the same building as the Dallo family.” [source]
More convoys, she told me, are on the way, including more Egyptian solidarity activists and political figures from various Arab and African nations.
*photo: Emad Badwan
While waiting to enter, another very loud explosion rings out, smoke billowing up almost directly behind the Palestinian side of the Egyptian crossing, it seems. Emad, on the other side waiting for me tells me it was very close to the Palestinian crossing, on open land nearby.
Most of the Palestinians get in long before I do, back to their families, now sharing the hell of Zionist terror together.
As we drive north from Rafah, Emad points out a police station just off the main north-south street, Salah el Din, hit multiple times by Israeli F-16 bombings yesterday.
Our taxi driver goes faster than a normal Gazaowi, whipping down the highway. Everyone gets a little nervous when a motorcycle appears beside the taxi: we read of and see so many Palestinians driving motorcycles killed by Israeli drone bomb targeted assassinations.
Some shops are closed on the main street in Deir, but many are still open. “They close before dark though,” Emad says. Apparently, though I’ve not yet been back to Gaza City, the main city is more of a ghost town, shops closed, fewer cars on the roads. From all I’ve been in touch with in Gaza, I’m told that Gaza City has taken some of the worst of the bombings over the last week.
Emad’s young nephew, a normally very out-going 6 year old, runs up to shake my hand, solemnly for him, barely smiling. I suppose he’s maybe gone shy in my month and a half absence…
Later, visiting his parents, Fatema tells me, “Oday isn’t himself these days, he doesn’t play like normal, he can’t concentrate…” The kid is quick and intelligent, but he’s relapsing into his terror of four years ago, during the 23 days of attacks and the land invasion which, while it didn’t near his home, was close enough—combined with the incessant bombing—to scare anyone anywhere in Gaza with its ferocity, brutality. According to Dr. Iyad Serraj’s stats post 2008/2009 Israeli massacre of Gaza, Oday won’t be alone in his lapsing into trauma: 91.4% of children in Gaza suffer forms of PTSD (minus the “post”), from mild to severe.
We work upstairs on the top floor of Emad’s family home. Charging my cell phone for critical, powerless times, Emad tunes it in to a local radio station and plugs in a mic. The broadcaster reports:
“Three hours earlier, two rubble collectors from central Gaza were killed by an Israeli drone strike: Ayed Radi and Amir al-Malah, from Nusseirat camp. A third youth, Mohammed Zidan Sbehl, disabled, was killed by an Israeli drone strike on farmland in Nusseirat, the reporter says.
Emad tells me of this morning, how three farm workers were killed from the Bashir family when driving from their home in central Deir al Balah. He later went to Aqsa hospital to visit a sick uncle and also saw the three dead workers’ bodies in cold storage.
“Drone bombs are different now,” he says. “Before they used to just tear off an arm or both arms or the legs. Now they tear the bodies into numerous pieces.”
Later, as I read updates on Al Jazeera, twitter, Ma’aan news, other sources I see that whereas the number killed by Israeli attacks since Wednesday was 81 at 4:38 am Gaza Time, by late evening it is now at least 106 Palestinians, with over 750 injured, according to Al Jazeera.
At 11:56 am, Maan reports that an elderly woman was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Beit Hanoun, north Gaza.
Media offices were hit later this afternoon, Maan and Al Jazeera report. As of 4:03 pm, Maan had the number at one killed, three injured in the Sharooq building bombing. An hour and a half later, another man is known to have been killed in the bombing. [video ]
By 6:08 pm today, civil defense forces were still scouring for the bodies of two people killed in the Dalou home bombing yesterday, Maan reports.
A physically disabled man is killed in another bombing near 7 pm, Maan reads.
I check news updates and intermittently film the drone sounds, to give those outside Gaza a little taste of terror (just turn up the volume and imagine yourself, as many aptly put it, “a fish in a barrel” with these drones hovering overhead, ready to strike.
By the time I check the news after midnight Gaza time, Al Jazeera is reporting on Netanyahu’s preferences of peace, obviously:
Israel is ready for a ground invasion in the Gaza Strip but prefers a diplomatic solution, a senior official close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said
We would prefer to see a diplomatic solution that would
guarantee the peace for Israel’s population in the south. If
that is possible, then a ground operation would no longer be
required,” the official told Reuters news agency. “But if diplomacy fails,
we may well have no alternative but to send in ground forces.”
At last check, this peace-monger is the cause of at least 108 Israeli killings of Palestinians since Wednesday, including that of two boys and their father in an Israeli-bombed area of the super-condensed Jabaliya camp.