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Video: Gaza family mourns children who burned to death

on 36 Comments

On May 7, 2016, fire broke out in the Abu al-Hindi home in Gaza’s Shati (Beach) refugee camp. Started by a tipped candle, the flames grew quickly grew out of control.

Three children, Yusra, 3, Rahaf, 2, and Nasser, 6 months, perished in the burning house, and Muhannad, 8, was severely burned. Ali, 6, is the only survivor without physical injuries but lives with deep psychological trauma.

Neighbors attempted to rescue the children by breaking a hole through the wall, but by the time they could reach the children, it was too late.

The fire is a direct result of severe electricity shortages due to the ongoing and tightening Israeli/Egyptian since and repeated Israeli military assaults.

In April, Gaza’s sole power plant ran out of fuel. Prior to that, the power plant was working at partial capacity due to repeated Israeli military attacks since 2006.

This has only been exacerbated by political infighting between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

Since the beginning of 2016, the Palestinian Authority, which is dominated by Fatah, has gradually lifted fuel tax exemptions to Gaza’s power plant and imposed a ‘blue tax’, rendering the power plant unable to purchase fuel and further forcing Gaza’s residents to rely on candlelight.

Deadly candle fires have occurred repeatedly since Israel imposed the siege in 2006. Since 2010, 29 Palestinians, mostly children, have died in home fires.

The fire came just hours after Israeli member of Knesset Bezalel Smotrich said that the Israeli government, rather than private citizens, should carry out revenge attacks against Palestinians, specifically referring to the burning of Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir in occupied East Jerusalem in 2014 and the firebombing attack in the West Bank village of Duma in 2015 which killed baby Ali Dawabshe and his parents as they slept.

While Smotrich’s call to burn Palestinian children alive made headlines in Israeli media, actual burning of children did not. The burning of the Abu al-Hindi family, for which Israel is ultimately responsible, went unnoticed in Israel. Such is the normalization and institutionalization of even the most grotesque forms of violence Israel metes out against Palestinians. Rather than a group of settlers carry out vigilante attacks under the cover of night, the deaths of the Abu al-Hindi children were written by some office worker tasked with overseeing the power Israel allows Gaza’s electrical company to purchase, which is just 45% of the required amount.

About Dan Cohen

Dan Cohen is an independent journalist and filmmaker based in Palestine. He tweets at @dancohen3000.

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36 Responses

  1. bintbiba
    May 23, 2016, 12:47 pm

    No words … … …

  2. jon s
    May 23, 2016, 4:02 pm

    A horrible tragedy, but blaming Israel for it?

    From the link in the article:

    “Most Gazans have no option but to rely on candles for light because power cuts currently leave them without electricity for up to 18 hours a day.

    Much of their anger is directed towards the Gaza Electricity Company, which has failed to deliver reliable supplies despite last year banking profits $13.6m.

    Others blame the shortages on the ‘blue tax’ on fuel imposed by the West Bank-based Fatah-run Palestinian Authority on industrial fuel imported into Gaza to power the strip’s only electricity plant.

    Last month, the United Nations reported that Gaza’s power plant had been forced to shut down because of the PA’s gradual reduction in an exemption on the fuel tax which had previously been in place.

    Prior to its closing, Gaza’s plant had provided close to 30 percent of the enclave’s electricity requirements, even operating at only 50 percent capacity.

    The remainder of Gaza’s required electricity is bought mostly from Israel but also from Egypt, according to the UN, although power lines from Egypt into southern Gaza are currently not working.”
    – See more at:

    So the power shortages are caused mainly by a PA-Hamas dispute, and Israel, in fact , PROVIDES some of Gaza’s electricity.

    • talknic
      May 23, 2016, 7:04 pm

      @ jon s May 23, 2016, 4:02 pm

      “… the Gaza Electricity Company … … banking profits $13.6m”

      Your link gives no source for this interesting bit of information

      • jon s
        May 24, 2016, 1:51 pm

        It’s not my link, it’s the link provided by Dan Cohen.

      • jon s
        May 24, 2016, 4:50 pm

        Yeah, I noticed that, too. Making a nice profit while not providing electricity, Makes total sense.

      • talknic
        May 24, 2016, 9:52 pm

        @ jon s May 24, 2016, 4:50 pm

        “Making a nice profit while not providing electricity…”

        There’s no verification for that assertion

        “Makes total sense”

        Unproven allegations always do to Zionist propaganda mongers

    • Mooser
      May 23, 2016, 8:10 pm

      “…but blaming Israel for it?”

      That “Jon s” is such a sports fan. He’s always keeping score.

    • oldgeezer
      May 24, 2016, 7:35 pm

      “Making a nice profit while not providing electricity, – See more at:

      Apparently you know as little about accounting and how profits are made as you do about history.

  3. xanadou
    May 23, 2016, 6:01 pm

    Yes, Israel is responsible in a number of ways for the ongoing Catastrophe. Israel’s policies were, and continue to be designed to make life intolerable for the tenacious Palestinians, from the acute water and electricity shortages, the crumbling infrastructure, the recurring horrendous bombings that further exacerbate the horror of daily life in Gaza, to the de facto theft of Palestinians’ taxes.

    The squabblings between the PLO and Hamas is hardly a surprise. Two organisations with no historic precedent of living in an independent state with self-rule, on top of the horror of the present magnitude, i.e., nothing that could have provided some idea how to handle life in a fragmented state, whose native population has to deal with the many ongoing nightmares with no hope in sight – all have been, and continue to be caused by Israel and its genocidal racists.

  4. wfleitz
    May 23, 2016, 9:27 pm

    Thank you thank you xanadou. Jon S’s comment was so pathological I really was too angry to respond. You said it better than I ever could. I’m sick and tired of the apologists for the genocidal sadistic Israelite government.

    • Mooser
      May 24, 2016, 12:11 am

      “Jon S’s comment was so pathological I really was too angry to respond.”

      Yes. Can he possibly be unaware of the effect he produces?

    • jon s
      May 24, 2016, 5:01 pm

      I’m not an apologist for the Israeli government, I totally oppose it.
      In this case we have 3 chidren who died in a horrific, tragic, accidental fire.
      The link provided by the writer explains that the power shortages are caused by a PA-Hamas dispute and that Israel provides Gaza with a significant part of its electricity. Egypt used to provide Gaza with some electricity, (around 10%, I think), but not at present.
      And yet: let’s blame Israel anyway. Talk about pathological.

      • xanadou
        May 24, 2016, 6:20 pm

        Jon s —
        Which part of your elegant English does not understand that Israel had created the underlying basis for the innumerable disasters, including the burning of the wee ones whether at the hands of the replicant settlers or a tipped over candle in a house wired for electricity?

      • Mooser
        May 24, 2016, 7:15 pm

        “I’m not an apologist for the Israeli government, I totally oppose it. I am a nice person, a regular guy, and everybody should like me” “Jon s”

        Okay, let’s see how “Jon s” feels about making apologies for the GOI:

        “The aggression is from Hamas and the blood is on Hamas’ hands.” – See more at:

        “Despite the temptation, and the obvious similarities of the Hamas and the Nazis, we should leave that analogy alone.” – See more at:

        “The Hamas terrorists are trying to get their own people, Palestinian civilians, killed. Get it?” – See more at:

        “The Hamas terrorists use those civilian facilities as launching sites, arms depots, etc., thus endangering their own people.” – See more at:

        Word search “Hamas”. Sort of makes it easy to see where “Jon s” squats in terms of apologizing for the GOI. About 200 times.

        “Jon s” I get it, I get it, you really think we are stupid. But you have a long archive by now, all accessible and word-searchable.

      • oldgeezer
        May 24, 2016, 7:16 pm


        They look around at the situation in Gaza in wonderment. Despite strangling their economy (preventing trade even with the west bank until recently), bombing them back to the stonage, putting basic materials under embargo (including crayons for kids), and mowing the lawn every few years slaughtering women, children and wntire families and can’t understand why they don’t have all mod cons.

        It must be the Palestinians fault they think. Look at all we manage to obtain and enjoy.

        They are either incredibly stupid or lacking in humanity.

        Oh amd don’t forget they have blocked the fire department from responding before assuming there was any water to have fought the fire.

      • Mooser
        May 25, 2016, 3:53 pm

        “I’m not an apologist for the Israeli government, I totally oppose it.”

        Hey, “Jon s” have you ever heard the words “historic homeland?”

    • xanadou
      May 24, 2016, 6:54 pm

      Thanks, wfleitz.
      But to be fair, and on the assumption that jon s is an Israeli citizen, and lives in the land proud of its heritage of cafes, nür für Jude roads and genocidal army – I am guessing that he may be a student or in a badly paid job, in need of funds to pay rent and buy food, and may have to perpetuate hasbara’s drivel to be able to have a hopeful future (unlike his Palestinian neighbours), while the Israeli First Musical Chairs Society elects to turn a perfectly nice land into a walled-in ghetto, build homes for incoming social rejects, buy corrupt pols in way too many countries and pay for the First Nutjob’s trips to indoctrinate ultra hypocritical american legislators joined at their collective posteriors by an invisible massive spring when exposed to the former’s presence in their hallowed edifice(s).

      • Mooser
        May 24, 2016, 10:45 pm

        “But to be fair, and on the assumption that jon s is an Israeli citizen,”

        Nope, check his archive. He’s all-American.

      • jon s
        May 25, 2016, 4:13 pm

        1.All you have to do is click on my profile . I am indeed an Israeli citizen (also a US citizen).
        2.Do you really think that I’m being paid to comment here? I wish.
        3.What do you mean by “incoming social rejects”? Please explain.

      • Mooser
        May 25, 2016, 5:46 pm

        ” I am indeed an Israeli citizen…”

        There’s no such thing, is there?
        I believe the Government of Israel knows you as a “Jew”.
        And you don’t reside in Israel. You reside “in territories outside the State of Israel” .

        So you reside in Israel, with an easy out to the US, if Israel doesn’t meet your expectations for loot. Such persecutions you endure. Not many people survive such hellish conditions as trying to decide between the Godenah Medina and the Jewish Disneyland.

      • jon s
        May 29, 2016, 3:16 pm

        Still waiting for your explanation , as to the “social rejects”.

      • Mooser
        May 29, 2016, 3:25 pm

        “Still waiting for your explanation , as to the “social rejects”.”

        Oh, that’s easy! Here’s an example: Picture a guy who is so odious, so phony, that not even the other Squatters and freebooters in Beersheva will have much to do with him, so he spends all his time on Mondoweiss, telling us he is so much better than other “Israelis”. There’s a “social reject” for you.

      • Mooser
        May 29, 2016, 5:11 pm

        “3.What do you mean by “incoming social rejects”? Please explain.”

        What would you call them “Jon s”? ‘Political refugees?’ ‘Exiles’? ‘Asylum-seekers’?

      • jon s
        May 30, 2016, 3:25 pm

        Still waiting…

      • Annie Robbins
        May 30, 2016, 3:54 pm

        i’ll take a stab at the social rejects comment jon. i think of a person like michael oren who, according to his autobiography, had a sort of contempt for other american jews (they were weak). maybe it’s the natural assumption that people who are well rounded and happy in their social environment don’t up and emigrate. and leaving aside those who immigrated to israel early on, people going there now must have some idea of what’s going on. personally, i think one would have to be mentally or emotionally deranged to move there now. volunteering to be an oppressor. weird. i’m not speaking about everyone whose ever moved there in the past —

        but considering american jews are one of the most targeted subgrouping in the US for brainwashing propaganda (everyone wants to kill us, etc etc) — i mean really, doesn’t that feed into a mindframe of social rejection? and how many children grow up with this common reframe — very common in israel anyway.

      • Mooser
        May 30, 2016, 7:36 pm

        “xanadou, Still waiting…”

        “Jon s” will you explain what it is about the term “social reject” which bothers you so much? Or are you a big fan of complete social Jewish assimilation?

        But as I said, a guy who lives in Beersheva, and then gets all het up about whether the people at Mondoweiss like him? And insists he’s better than all those other Israelis? (You know, “Jon s” the ones who risk their necks to keep you safe in your illegal squat.)

        Yuppers, “Jon s” you’ve got a social disease.

      • yonah fredman
        May 30, 2016, 7:48 pm

        Annie robbins- your eager participation in this ‘social rejects’ discussion, essentially name calling for the sake of name calling, is one more indication of your anti dialog bias and the propaganda tilt of your rhetoric.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 30, 2016, 10:24 pm

        your eager participation

        what eager[ness]? it took me 6 days to respond:

        xanadou makes original statement — may 24

        jon s queries original statement — may 25

        jon s again queries original statement — may 29

        jon s expresses “still waiting” — may 30

        after days of no response to jon s from xanadou i volunteer to “take a stab at it” – mean provide possible “explanation” for “incoming social rejects” comment– may 30

        chomp chomp chomp

      • eljay
        May 31, 2016, 7:40 am

        || yonah fredman: Annie robbins- your eager participation in this ‘social rejects’ discussion, essentially name calling for the sake of name calling, is one more indication of your anti dialog bias and the propaganda tilt of your rhetoric. ||

        yonah fredman- your reluctant participation in this ‘social rejects’ discussion, essentially tacit acceptance of xanadou’s comments, is one more indication of your anti-Semitic bias and the self-loathing tilt of your conscience.

        Hey, this is fun! :-)

      • Mooser
        May 31, 2016, 10:58 am

        “Hey, this is fun! :-)”

        Maybe for you, but not for me. Before I got to know “Yonah” and “Jon s” if anybody had mentioned “self-hating Jews” or “internalized antisemitism” I would have laughed hysterically, or offered to punch them.
        I was completely convinced the entire subject was nonsense. Then I met “Jon s” and “Yonah”.
        Oh well, another pleasant illusion about Jewishness shattered.

      • eljay
        May 31, 2016, 11:51 am

        || Mooser: … Before I got to know “Yonah” and “Jon s” if anybody had mentioned “self-hating Jews” or “internalized antisemitism” I would have laughed hysterically, or offered to punch them. I was completely convinced the entire subject was nonsense. Then I met “Jon s” and “Yonah”. Oh well, another pleasant illusion about Jewishness shattered. ||

        I know there must be some way to relate this to dessert toppings and floor wax…but I don’t know what it is. :-\

  5. Curatica
    May 24, 2016, 2:34 pm

    In the horrible open air prison which is Gaza, unspeakable dramas unavoidably happen everyday. But only the people who suffer may know about them.

  6. mcohen.
    May 26, 2016, 4:03 am

    curatica says …..(open air prison)

    gaza is no matter where your sympathies lie it is advisable to stick to the facts.

    • Shmuel
      May 26, 2016, 5:21 am

      gaza is no matter where your sympathies lie it is advisable to stick to the facts

      Fact (one of so many): A Gazan academic I know has received a scholarship to participate in a programme at a European university. She has credentials, a passport, a visa, the means to travel, no particular reason why she should be detained, yet she cannot get out of Gaza. Her request has not even been denied; it has simply been ignored, and she is likely to miss the cutoff date. Why? Because she is not free, because she is being held prisoner. She does not live in a cell, and does not get her meals shoved through bars on a metal tray, but she is in prison—possibly for life, with no “time off for good behaviour”, because her own actions have nothing to do with her incarceration. They did not get her thrown in, and they will not get her out.

    • Kay24
      May 26, 2016, 6:46 am

      It IS advisable to stick to the facts:

      Human Rights Watch:

      “(Jerusalem) – Israeli policies on Palestinian residency have arbitrarily denied thousands of Palestinians the ability to live in, and travel to and from, the West Bank and Gaza, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Israel should immediately stop denying or cancelling the residency of Palestinians and close family members with deep ties to the West Bank and Gaza, and end blanket bans on processing their applications for residency.

      The 90-page report, “Forget about Him, He’s Not Here,” describes the arbitrary exclusion by the Israeli military of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians since 1967 and documents the impact that exclusion continues to have on individuals and families. The way Israel’s military has exercised its control over the Palestinian population registry – the list of Palestinians whom it considers to be lawful residents of the West Bank and Gaza territories – has separated families, caused people to lose jobs and educational opportunities, barred people from entering the Palestinian territories, and trapped others inside them, Human Rights Watch said. Egypt also has problematic policies on Palestinians trying to enter Gaza that are based on the Israeli-controlled population registry.

      Israeli supporters must stop being in denial and trying to change history.

    • eljay
      May 26, 2016, 7:29 am

      || mcohen.: … no matter where your sympathies lie it is advisable to stick to the facts. ||

      It’s very Zio-supremacist of you to preach what you don’t practise.

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