eyes reflect the suffering of a father, who despite his pain and the brutal
reality, which surrounds him, is doing his best to remain strong and support
Sharif Sulayman Abu Daqqa (56) is a Palestinian refugee from Yaffa who
currently lives in Khan Yunis. He is married and has 6 daughters and one son.
was severely wounded during the last week of Offensive Cast Lead, executed by
the Israeli military forces between December 27, 2008 and January 18, 2009 in
the Gaza Strip.
owns a poultry shop. He says that he does not belong to any of the
organizations which are part of the Palestinian resistance and was just an
ordinary civilian, visiting the place of his family’s income.
attack happened in the 16th day of the offensive; a few hours after
the Israeli jet fighters had dropped a number of bombs on the buildings of the
al-Fadila Orphanage in Rafah and had destroyed the private elementary school
completely. On January 11, 2009, at 08:00 a.m., Muhammad recalls that he had
just gone out of the shop and was heading to the market. He had just mounted
his motorcycle when he was hit by a drone missile, which fell near him. Momentarily,
his body was ablaze with flames. Neighbours ran toward him and started spreading
water all over his body and covering it with blankets in an attempt to
extinguish the fire. Soon, he was rushed to the Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis with
an ordinary car. He remembers he almost lost consciousness on the way to the hospital.
Muhammad underwent complicated and prolonged surgery. Due to the severe wounds
from the metal fragments, dispersed by the missile, his right leg was
amputated. Parts from his intestines and liver were also removed and he
suffered severe skin burns as a result of the exposure to the excessive heat
after the explosion. Muhammad spent three days in Nasser Hospital and after
that was transferred to another hospital in Egypt, where he stayed 15 days.
more than 5 years after the attack, Muhammad is convinced that he has
completely adapted to the new circumstances after the injury and has overcome
the difficulty in moving. He refuses to wear prosthesis for his amputated leg
because it damages his skin and he uses crutches, instead. He says that he is moving
all the time and works every day in his land and goes to the mosque. He never
goes to his poultry shop, though. Now, there is an employee who takes care of
the day-to-day business. He has visited the place where the attack took place
only once, shortly after he returned from the treatment in Egypt. He felt
nothing, while being there.
has not tried to file an official complaint against the Israeli military forces
or seek compensation because his experience has proven to him that all these
efforts are in vain and he does not believe that justice will be achieved for
him or anybody else.
determination to continue living a dignified life, despite his physical and
psychological trauma makes him believe that the loss of his leg and the
injuries of his body have not changed anything in his life. He does not want to
focus on the difficulties he was facing shortly after the surgery. And he says
he finds the strength to move on in his faith in God.
Offensive Cast Lead was the most brutal and violent offensive in the history of
both the occupation, and the Gaza Strip itself. It
marked the culmination of a series of penal measures directed against
Palestinian civilians, including the illegal siege of the Gaza Strip, which was
imposed by Israel in 2007. During the operation 1,167 Palestinian
non-combatants (civilians and civil police officers who were not involved in
hostilities, the ‘protected persons’ of IHL) were killed, including 318
children and 111 women. According to sources of the Ministry of Health in Gaza,
at least 5,300 Palestinians were wounded.
Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip is classified as an international
armed conflict. Consequently, IOF operations in Gaza are regulated by, inter
alia, the Geneva Conventions of 1949, the Hague Regulations of 1907, and
customary IHL. Israel has not ratified the Additional Protocols to the Geneva
Conventions, however, it remains bound by those provisions which form part of
sets outs specific regulations governing, the principle of distinction (between
civilians and civilian objects and combatants and military objectives), the
required precautions in attack, and legitimate methods and means of warfare.
conducting indiscriminate attacks against civilians who are not a specific
military objective, Israel has continuously violated the principle of
distinction. These attacks constitute ‘willful killing’, and, being a grave
breach of the Geneva Conventions, are also war crimes.