Civilians Waiting ‘For The Slaughterhouse’
By Amira Hass
July 13, 2014 "ICH"
- - “On Thursday afternoon a building in the
neighborhood was bombed. With a missile. All the air
filled up with light, a sort of big ball of fire we
only started seeing during this attack,” a woman I
will call T. related at noon on Friday. Like all
Gazans, they didn’t sleep at night and fell asleep
only at around 8 A.M. Later on, A. said the target
was presumably a Hamas institution located in the
building, in Gaza City’s Tel al-Hawa neighborhood,
but the missile missed and killed Dr. Anas Rizaq Abu
al-Kas, 33, in his clinic. He was one of 114
Palestinians killed by the Israel Defense Forces, as
of Saturday morning, including 26 children and 18
women. (By Saturday night the death toll had already
reached at least 151).
physician’s “father and mother were also killed,
also in error, during Operation Pillar of Defense,
in 2012,” A. added.
T., in an
uncharacteristically weak voice, continued. “At
night we wait for day. In the day we wait for night.
Waiting for our turn in the slaughterhouse. We heard
just this morning how the entire Ghanam family, from
Rafah, died. Another family that was killed,” T.
A. tells me
that one member of the Ghanam family was an Islamic
Jihad member. In its daily report issued
late Friday, the Palestinian Center for Human
early Friday morning: “Israeli warplanes launched 3
missiles without a prior warning at a house
belonging to ‘Abdul Raziq Hassan al-Ghannam, 58. As
a result, he, his wife, his son, his daughter and
his relative were killed: 1) ‘Abdul Raziq Hassan al-Ghannam,
58; 2) Ghalia Deeb al-Ghannam, 57; 3) Mahmoud ‘Abdul
Raziq al-Ghannam, 28; 4) Wissam ‘Abdul Raziq al-Ghannam,
31; and 5) Kifah Shaker al-Ghannam, 33, who is deaf.
The owner’s son, Hussam, 20, survived the attack
although he was wounded. Seven neighbors were also
an hour earlier, at approximately 4:35 A.M. Friday,
an Israeli warplane fired a missile at tunnels in
the Sha’ath neighborhood of Rafah. Nour Marwan al-Nijdi,
10, was killed by shrapnel; her brother Abdul Rahman,
15, and her mother, Salwa Ahmed al-Nijdi, 49, were
wounded. They were in their home at the time.
never know which window the missile will come
through. I told the children and S. [her husband]:
‘We should always remain together, in one room. If a
missile comes, we’ll all be killed, so none of us is
left alive, alone,’” related T. “Our youngest
daughters are afraid to shower, fearing that a
missile will come and kill everyone else just then.
I told them: ‘We shower so as to be clean when we
die.’ The children are stronger than I. They tell
me, stop being afraid. Either we’ll die or we’ll
“Where are the Arabs, where are the Europeans, where
is the West Bank? The intellectuals write poetry.
They’re afraid of Mahmoud Abbas, not of the Jews,
only of Abbas. It’s our fate, operated by a remote
control of the Israeli army.”
F., a woman
from Rafah, also sees the ball of fire after every
air strike. “The whole house shakes,” even when the
explosion is far away, she says. Everyone
experiences it: An explosion in Beit Hanun, in the
northern Gaza Strip, that cannot even be heard in
Gaza City, rocks homes in the Shabura refugee camp.
Everyone relates that there are bombers whose
approach cannot be heard. Only the explosion itself
can be heard, and then the plane as it returns to
Israel. In previous rounds, they say, the planes
were audible in both directions. The pilotless
drones, meanwhile, never stop buzzing.
yesterday we haven’t slept, 24 hours have gone by
and we don’t sleep,” F. says. “We don’t see our
daughters and our siblings who live in other parts
of the city. No one leaves their home. And now
there’s no electricity, either (because Rafah is
dependent on Egypt for its power), and the house is
so hot,” F. says.
from Rafah, discusses a family on her street that
was informed by phone that its home was about to be
destroyed. “The neighbors immediately told everyone
to leave, because when they bomb one house the
houses nearby are damaged, too, and you can be
killed by shrapnel or injured by flying glass,” says
L. “We woke my father-in-law, who is 88. He was so
scared he was shaking. The poor guy was afraid he
wouldn’t be able to cross the street. After about an
hour the explosion came. We opened the windows ahead
of time, and they didn’t shatter. But at my
brother’s place, in the Tel al-Sultan refugee camp,
all the windows shattered from an explosion that was
nearby, and he came with his family to live with us.
My 8-year-old daughter asked, ‘Why are they bombing