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Occupied Lives
“My faith sees me through!” PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 July 2014 00:00

Muhammad’s 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 his family.

Muhammad 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.

Muhammad 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.

Muhammad 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.

The 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.

There, 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.

Today, 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.

Muhammad 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.

Muhammad’s 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.

The 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.

The 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 customary IHL.

IHL 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.

By 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.


 
"They confiscated my only source of livelihood" PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 26 August 2013 00:00


Khader Merwan Al Seidi |(26)

 

Khader Merwan Al Seidi (26) is one of Gaza's fishermen and a victim of the repeated military attacks carried out by Israeli forces against fishermen in the Gaza Sea. Khader is the breadwinner for a family of 14 members. He is married with a one-year-old child, and resides with his extended family in a house in Shati refugee camp. The camp, located along the Gaza shore, is home to most of Gaza’s fishermen, for whom the sea is their main source of livelihood. On 13 August 2013, Khader left his home early in the morning, and made his way to Gaza seaport. From there, he sailed west, remaining within the Israeli-imposed limit of 6 nautical miles offshore, to fish for the day. However, Khader was attacked by Israeli naval forces, arrested, and interrogated, and his boat and fishing tools were confiscated. Khader was released 15 hours later.

 

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"What is a new home without the sight of my children?" PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 00:00

 

 

Amna Hijazi (46), mother of Mohammed and Suhaib Hijazi and wife of Fouad Hijazi, who were killed in the Israeli offensive in November 2012

 

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