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Air strikes on Gazan cheese factory is a reprise of ‘Cast Lead’

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Rami Almeghari, writing from the Gaza Strip for the Electronic Intifada, has an important report about the Israeli air strike that destroyed the Dalloul cheese and dairy factory in Gaza City last Friday during a series of Israeli strikes inside Gaza that injured 3 children.

Almeghari, a journalist and university lecturer in Gaza, brings out the voices of the Palestinians affected by the air strike: the owners, the workers and local residents.

If you thought that bombing to shreds a factory that provides much needed local produce for the besieged population of Gaza was bad (the point I made yesterday in echoing the Goldstone report’s documentation that Israel targeted the means of sustenance for the civilian population), wait until you hear this: this was the second time the factory was struck by the Israeli Air Force. The first time was during the Israeli assault on Gaza in 2008-2009. That important fact was something none of the news reports I initially read on the attack mentioned.

Here’s an excerpt from Almeghari’s article:

It was not a chemical plant, nor a nuclear facility, nor a manufacturer of weapons of mass destruction. But almost all the rubble of the entirely destroyed factory was covered in white, with white chunks everywhere. These were pieces of cheese, butter and yoghurt — some of the products made by the Dalloul dairy factory in southern Gaza City.

Israeli warplanes bombed the factory shortly after midnight last Thursday through Friday night, 1-2 April, leaving the building, all its equipment and the distribution van completely destroyed.

"At 12:30am we heard a very loud explosion nearby," said owner Mutassim Dalloul as he inspected the wreckage on Friday morning. "I got downstairs to find my factory completely destroyed. Everything inside, including the machines, the power generator and all our products, [was destroyed]."

This was not the first Israeli attack on the factory.

"During the January 2009 war on Gaza, Israeli warplanes hit my factory, inflicting an estimated loss of half a million dollars. However, my brothers and I decided to rebuild it, so we now have a newly-destroyed dairy," Dalloul said. He estimated the losses from the latest attack to be at least $100,000.

The Dalloul dairy is located in southern Gaza City, far away from the Gaza-Israel boundary. The factory distributed its products all over the city.

"At least 60 family members used to be supported from the work at this diary. I myself have a family of nine, including myself and my wife. My two brothers along with a number of other workers used to work at this factory, trying to get by under these harsh circumstances," Dalloul patiently explained, despite his loss.

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