Gaza’s Children in the Line of Fire
The Children of Gaza are Again “Collateral Damage”
The report below comes from the Ma’an News Service, based in the West Bank and Gaza, and is passed on by the Middle East Children’s Alliance, a U.S. group that works with and supports humanitarian aid to children in Palestine and other areas in the Middle East.
GAZA CITY – Hamid Younis Abu Daqqa, 13, always wore his Real Madrid shirt when he played soccer with his friends. He died wearing the same shirt, killed by Israeli forces before the second half of a game with friends could be finished. His father said Hamid would imitate Real Madrid star Ronaldo while playing in front of his Gaza home.
“My house is located in an area away from clashes, nearly one and a half kilometers away from the nearest point of the borders with Israel, therefore I didn’t have a problem with my son playing in front of the house,” Hamid’s father told Ma’an. “I received a phone call. His friend was on the phone telling me that my son was shot in the chest. I rushed to the hospital and found him dying.”
Hamid would never miss a Real Madrid game. “Despite me pushing him to focus on his schoolwork, he would be mesmerized in front of the TV screen watching games,” his father said. Hamid used to play soccer every day for 30 minutes before sundown, his attention focused on the ball, blocking out the sound of Israeli helicopters.
It was during a game he loved that Hamid was killed, his white Real Madrid shirt stained red as the bullets hit him. Medics said Hamid was hit by machine gun fire, either from Israeli helicopters or tanks, during an incursion into the Gaza Strip on Thursday. An Israeli army spokeswoman said at the time that reports of injuries were being checked.
Hamid’s funeral took place on Friday, a Palestinian flag draped over his body.
I will also pass on, without comment, some of what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had to say regarding today’s Israeli air strike which killed a top Hamas commander, among others: “Today we sent a clear message to Hamas and other terrorist organizations and, if it becomes necessary, we are prepared to expand the operation…” And Defense Minister Ehud Barak was quoted as saying, “We are at the beginning, not the end of this action…It won’t be a quick fix, but we’ll reach the goals we set for this operation.”
A piece on the Common Ground website reports that the Israel Defense Forces tweeted “All options are on the table. If necessary, the IDF is ready to initiate a ground operation in Gaza,” and Haaretz reports that the IDF has issued draft orders for Israeli Homefront Command reserve soldiers.
Suggesting that Israel is planning for a sustained assault — and perhaps believes it has divine support — the campaign now has a name, Operation Pillar of Cloud, as in Exodus 13:21-22: “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way…”
For a visceral and incredibly persuasive understanding of what life in Gaza may again be under Israeli bombardment, try to find a way to see the film The War Around Us, by the only two Western journalists in Gaza during the war of 2008-9 (the one Israel calls “Operation Cast Lead.”) It’s only getting limited showings to date — mostly in festivals — but maybe will be in (some) theaters before long. There is a poor quality trailer that can be viewed on YouTube. You could also contact the producers via their Facebook page to ask what’s up and encourage them to release the film more widely.
…………Salvadoran War Criminal Sentenced