The Dalu home is obliterated and neighbor buildings are uninhabitable, December 3, 2012.
(Photo: Tiffany Ornelas de Tool)
On November 18, 2012, the Dalu family, huddled at home, waited for the war that surrounded them to end. Like everyone else in Gaza, they had nowhere to run. At 2:30PM, without warning, an Israeli missile flattened the entire building, killing all ten occupants and two from the building adjacent. Not only was the building destroyed, but the bomb carved out a deep crater where the home had been. It took four days of searching through the rubble for rescuers to find the bodies of the ten family members and two neighbors.
Palestinian citizens are all theoretically eligible for a Palestinian passport. However, Israel determines whether the applicant will receive the passport. Because of this, thousands of civilians have been denied the right to exit the prison most of them were born into and will likely die in, the prison of Gaza. The Dalu family did not have the option to flee to Israel or Egypt for safety as the borders were only open intermittently during this most recent conflict, and passage was restricted to medical emergencies and humanitarian supplies.
Following the deadly strike on the Dalu family home, the Israel military at first issued an ‘oops!’ statement, admitting they had made a mistake. Then Israel changed their story and labeled the man of the house, 29-year-old Mohamed Jamal Dalu, a leader of Hamas. Because they had now decided Mohamed was a terrorist, it was apparently justified to kill Sara- age 7, Jamal –age 5, Yusif – age 4 and Abraham – 9 months old. During the eight days of airstrikes on Gaza, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights documented 103 civilian deaths and 971 civilians wounded.
Abdulla Jamal Dalu is the 20-year-old uncle of the children and he also lived in the home. “I was out with my father buying items for the family when one of my friends called and asked if I was okay. I was told my house was bombed. My father was asking me what was wrong but I couldn’t speak. We went to the house and when I saw it, I collapsed. I couldn’t walk anymore. They took me to see the bodies of my family when they removed them from the rubble but I couldn’t stay there.”
Abdulla is severely traumatized. He has been left with nothing. The oldest brother, Ahmed, is one of the few Palestinians who has been able to leave Gaza. He has spent the past several years living in Turkey. When Ahmed received the news of the murder of his family, he got on the first flight he could back to Gaza. Ahmed has a found a rented apartment for Abdulla and himself, and is working around the clock to find truth and justice for his family. The brothers echo each other, with the same message to the world. When asked what they need, Abdulla said, “We want the International Court to investigate what happened here for my family who was killed in this massacre.”
Ahmed states strongly; “Money comes and goes, we don’t need it. What we want is justice.”
The Jews are not to be blamed, said Ahmed; it’s the Israeli government, which is at fault. “This is not human. I have so many Jewish friends who support us”. Now that Palestine is recognized as a non-member observer state in the United Nations, the world must watch closely to see if the International Criminal Court will investigate cases such as that of the Dalu family.
From the people of the Gaza Strip, including Abdulla and Ahmed, the call for investigations is loud and clear, as they seek justice for the civilian wounded and deaths during ‘Operation Pillar of Defense’. Let us hope the world listens.