Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1123, 22-28 November 2012-
Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Issue 1123, 22-28 November 2012-

Ahram Weekly

Awaiting a ground attack

Children and families appear at the centre of the crosshairs in Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza, writes Saleh Al-Naami from the Strip

Al-Ahram Weekly

Five-year-old Youssef Al-Dalu was playing in his parents’ bedroom Sunday on the third floor in a building where his extended family lived in Al-Nasr district in northern Gaza City. His parents and six siblings were watching the news about Israeli air strikes when two Israeli F-15 jetfighters dropped three bombs each weighing one tonne on the building housing five Al-Dalu families. The building was reduced to rubble, killing 14 members of the Al-Dalu family and wounding 31 others with mostly critical injuries.
But this was not the end of the tragedy. The strength of the explosion rocked and collapsed the home of Al-Mozner family next door, killing Amna Al-Mozner, 85. It took several hours to remove all the dead and injured from underneath the rubble by hand, since there are no heavy tools to quickly find survivors. While the wounded from Al-Dalu family lay in Al-Shifa Hospital, some of them waiting to travel abroad because of their critical condition, so far 90 Palestinians have been killed and thousands injured in Israel’s latest onslaught. If civilians continue to be targeted at this rate, the number of dead and wounded is certain to multiply.
During its assault on the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupation forces have focussed on demolishing homes with residents still inside and the majority of the dead are children. So far, 25 children have been killed. One-year-old Iyad Abu Khusa was killed and his brother was injured when occupation warplanes bombed their home in the east of Al-Breij Refugee Camp in the centre of the Gaza Strip. Their parents miraculously survived because they were in the next-door olive grove during the bombing. In Jabaliya Refugee Camp, seven-month-old Jumana and her brother Tamer, 5, were killed when their home was levelled.
According to preliminary reports, the occupation army has so far destroyed or bombed 40 homes with residents inside them across the Gaza Strip. Israeli military commanders insist that some of these homes belong to Al-Qassam Brigades — the military wing of Hamas — leaders, but Israeli intelligence knows well that these figures were not at home during the attacks. The Israeli army is justifying targeting the homes of field commanders ostensibly to put as much pressure as possible on Al-Qassam leaders to force them to accept a ceasefire and stop launching rockets.
By the third day of the war, it was apparent that Israel wants to kill as many Palestinians as possible and anything that moves in agricultural areas or near the frontline by the border between Gaza and Israel is targeted. Brothers Tamer, Amin and Salah Abu Bashir were in their car at dawn on Monday heading from their home in Deir Al-Balah in the centre of the Gaza Strip to work in Khan Younis in the south. As they drove down Salaheddin Street connecting north and south Gaza, an unmanned drone shot two missiles at the car and killed its occupants.
Israel is even targeting passers-by and children. Ahmed Al-Nahhal, 29, was walking home on Saturday night in the town of Beit Lahya in northwest the Gaza Strip with his nine-year-old daughter Tasneem. Israeli navy commandos shot a missile at them from a distance of 200 metres decimating their bodies. Targeting “symbols of government” in Gaza, occupation warplanes have also levelled government and security buildings across the Gaza Strip.
At dawn on Saturday, occupation warplanes bombed the government’s headquarters in Al-Nasr district in northern Gaza, reducing the building to rubble. The Ministry of Interior headquarters at Tal Al-Hawa and other security and government targets everywhere in Gaza were also bombed. The occupation army also bombed the main Palestine Stadium in the centre of the city, leaving several large deep craters in its grounds.
These attacks have seriously harmed surrounding homes. Many residents uploaded pictures of their homes on social network websites to document the damage done. Israel is targeting several senior Al-Qassam Brigades leaders. In Jabaliya Refugee Camp the occupation destroyed one house, injuring 30 with critical wounds, using the pretext that the army had intelligence that Ahmed Al-Ghandour, the commander of the northern unit of Al-Qassam Brigades, was inside. The occupation army also bombed a house in Al-Breij Refugee Camp, claiming that Marwan Eissa — whom Israeli intelligence believes took over command of Al-Qassam Brigades after Ahmed Al-Jabari — was there.
In Rafah, the occupation levelled a home they claim belonged to the man responsible for smuggling weapons for Hamas. On the fourth day of the assault, occupation warplanes began bombarding the tunnels region. Jetfighters dropped large concussion bombs to destroy the tunnels, which caused serious damage to homes on both the Egyptian and Palestinian sides of Rafah.
Strikes also targeted training camps for the armed wings of resistance groups located on the ruins of settlements that Israel evacuated in 2005. In an attempt to block the media from covering the truth about the atrocities being committed by the army, Israel is also targeting media outlets operating in the Gaza Strip.
Humanitarian conditions have deteriorated as military operations continue. There are food shortages because of restricted movements caused by Israeli strikes; most wholesale suppliers who sell to shops around the Gaza Strip have stopped operations. Movement on the main street, Salaheddin, is very hazardous, especially since occupation warplanes target cars and motorcycles under the pretext that they are being used by resistance fighters. Shop owners are also scared, and keep their shops closed out of fear of attack. Most of these shops are located on main streets that have become primary attack zones.
There are also serious shortages in fresh produce. Although the Gaza Strip is self-sufficient in producing its own fresh vegetables, since the start of the military assault most farmers have been unable to harvest their crops of tomato, potato, cucumber, zucchini and other vegetables since most agricultural land is on the frontlines by the border with Israel. Even those whose land is located far away from the frontlines are unable to move their crops to sell them in cities and refugee camps because of the bombings.
Al-Qassam Brigades, meanwhile, have continued responding with rocket attacks on cities and settlement compounds deep inside Israel. They claim to have launched 900 rockets, their most successful hit being last Sunday in the city of Herzliya north of Tel Aviv. The Brigades also said they fired at an Israeli warship off the central zone of the Gaza Strip, and have hit targets in Tel Aviv and occupied Jerusalem.
“Rocket attacks by Brigades fighters since the start of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip are part of a long list of targets,” declared Abu Obeida, spokesman for Al-Qassam Brigades. “Al-Qassam Brigades have many more surprises.”
In an address broadcast on Al-Aqsa satellite channel at daybreak on Sunday, Abu Obeida said that the rockets launched by his troops “exceeded all limits and tore down all the flimsy fortifications” of the Zionist entity.
As Israeli attacks continue and the resistance responds to them, it is apparent that if mediators cannot reach a truce acceptable to both sides soon, Israel will launch a ferocious ground attack that could have very serious ramifications for the region.

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