A Palestinian boy looks up from inside a damaged house after an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, December 30, 2008. (Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)
Khulood Ghanem, 27, kept a Gaza diary a year ago. Its full text (as adapted by Edward Mast in the U.S.) is here. What follows is Ghanem’s entry from the the fourth day of the onslaught, Dec. 30, 2008. (Thanks to Linda Frank.)
A new day has come, the 30th of December. Two days before the beginning of the new year, all the world was preparing to celebrate 2009 but we were distinguished, we have a different celebration. In the early morning I opened my eyes and stared for a long time at the ceiling. I drew a picture in my mind, a bad picture. The situation was so calm, I had many doubts and asked myself, have they finished or not yet? Why didn’t I hear the F-16 and the apaches? And where is the zanana? I left my bed and covered my head by a scarf. I opened the door and climbed the stairs to the roof. It was the first time in four days to see the light directly. I could hardly open my eyes. I felt that I spent one year in my room.
I looked to the sky and started to search for the army planes but there were no planes. I walked for a while and stayed for half hour on the roof. Suddenly I heard the voice of my father, he was shouting "leave the roof and come quickly." I answered him and ran toward him asking him about his anger and shouting. He blamed me for being on the roof and told me that yesterday they targeted a family that was sitting on their roof. The rocket fell in the middle of them, killed the father, the mother, two girls and a little kid.
I thought for a while, is it revenge?? Really is it a revenge? But revenge for what? What did they want to achieve? More killing, more destruction, or more what? My father replied me that they are passing through a critical period "the elections" and they should achieve the victory to gain and win more numbers in their elections. I told him that this means that they will continue till they reach the required number, he said "who knows? God only can know, so take care and don’t go to outside, stay in the home."
…I spent three hours washing the clothes. When I began to finish, my sister came telling me that she saw her friend in the news. She was dead, her sisters and her mom also. All have been killed by a rocket. She started to wail and cry. I asked her Are you sure that this girl is your friend? She said yes of course I’m sure, her face was so clear on the TV screen.
I asked her to make sure from her death, so we phoned one of the families that live beside them. They told us the whole story of their death. They told us that the father received a call from the Israeli army ordering him to leave the house within five minutes because they will attack the house. He insisted to stay himself and pushed his wife and his daughters to leave the house, they wore heavy clothes, took some money and ran away from the house. The Apache was waiting for this moment as they changed their mind and targeted the mother and her daughters leaving the house, they fired a rocket, exploded their bodies and made them parts, each part in a place.
I waited for the afternoon news to see them. I insisted to see them. I wanted to fill my memory with their bodies, I wanted to live their death moment and to share them, I wanted to tell them that you will stay here, in memories, in minds, and in souls, all of you are alive, we will miss all of you, but you can sleep safely now, you are the strongest. I was so proud of my self that I had the courage to see these people in their ugly death. I was tough, shocked.
I was thinking of the mentality of their soldiers. I thought a lot but didn’t reach a conclusion. I talked a lot to myself, wondering about the aim of ordering people to leave their houses and instead of targeting the house, they targeted the people. And at the same time, they announced that they didn’t target civilians. So what is this kind of strategy? Are they making fun of us, are we that cheap?