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Young survivors of Gaza beach slaughter three years ago ‘lost their minds’

on 23 Comments

Tomorrow marks three years since the most publicized atrocity of the 2014 Gaza assault: an Israeli missile strike that killed four boys while they were playing soccer on the beach in view of the hotel frequented by international media. The boys were from the same extended family, the Bakr family, and their deaths were even reported with horror by liberal Zionist outlets.

Of course no one in the Israeli military was ever charged with a crime or even violation of orders following the rubber-stamp investigation; the killings were deemed a mistake due to alleged use of a “compound” near the beach by Hamas militants. A United Nations commission characterized the action as a likely war crime, but the U.N. was prevented by Israel from conducting an investigation in Gaza.

The case is addressed in this documentary about the conflict, posted last month by the Irish Catholic NGO Trocaire. The documentary is narrated by John McColgan, Riverdance founder, and he spends a lot of time in Gaza discussing childhood trauma.

Sister Bridget Tighe has been in Gaza for two years. (Transcript here).

As I get to know the people, that’s when I hear the other things, the hopelessness, the fear for the future, their children, six years old, have lived through three wars so they’re traumatised, they’re clinging, they’re crying, they’re bedwetting. There’s a lot of violence, domestic violence, because the people are traumatised. So the longer I stay, the more I see, and I actually feel it in myself, the hopelessness that is pervasive in Gaza.

We then meet a child psychologist who works with Tighe: Ola Dweek. Her comments are even more harrowing. She says young survivors of the beach attack “lost their minds in a way” and she was not able to help them. Listen to her:

This Is Palestine from Trocaire on Vimeo.

During the war I would go to Shifa hospital and deal with cases there. I also worked with the Bakr children. These are the children who were playing on the beach when gunboats opened fire. Three of them were killed and three survived. The surviving children became very aggressive. They changed completely, lost their minds in a way. I worked with them for a period but then I could not continue. I began to feel the war through the people I worked with.

During the war I did not suffer the way others suffered. One girl comes from southern Gaza from an area where everyone was displaced. The girl lost her brother. He had been her best friend. She witnessed his death up close. He was riding a bicycle when he was killed. She has been hugely impacted by this loss. She writes letters to her brother and brings the letters for me to read. She has nightmares about him every night. It is heartwrenching for me because I have been working with her for a year and she still talks about him.

Let us remember that more than 500 children were killed in that massacre of three years ago, and for nearly two months of hostilities American Jewish organizations supported the onslaught and worked to stifle criticism in our country. At that time I was on NPR’s “On the Media” as a guest of Brooke Gladstone, but that was a one-off; the Anti-Defamation League condemned my appearance; anti-Zionists are simply not welcome in American media. (Yesterday I was quoted in David Brooks’s column in the Times about a Donald Trump interview I once did, as a New York Times Magazine staffer; the article referred to me as a Times representative, but of course did not mention what I’ve done for the last 11 years, covered U.S. foreign policy at this website.)

The trauma of the children of Gaza should not be a question of Zionism or anti-Zionism, in the eyes of journalists. It is a simple matter of human rights, of nearly 2 million people in an open-air prison that when I visited reminded me of pictures of the Warsaw Ghetto. Were this happening to Jews, we can just imagine the outrage. But again: The United States has signed off on this nightmare, with the insistence of the American Jewish establishment. I can only pray that young Americans are absent the bigotry that enables these heartbreaking cases to pile up.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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23 Responses

  1. Blownaway on July 15, 2017, 12:20 pm

    Maybe this can be featured at the Obama presidential library. After all he was so supportive

  2. Tom Suarez on July 15, 2017, 12:35 pm

    This film includes some important interviews, but the narration itself is conspicuously naive, essentially framing what it calls the “conflict” (the descriptor repeatedly used) in a framework beneficial to Israel: a complex quagmire that will take “both sides” to solve. Even Donald Trump is seen as sincere in his intentions.

  3. a blah chick on July 15, 2017, 3:47 pm

    The problem as I see it is that Israel’s daily crimes are forgotten because there is no echo chamber in the media to highlight them. There are plenty of pro Israel types to sound off on fake news like terror tunnels or human shields but no one who will keep dead Palestinians or Yemenis in the public eye.

    Did anyone see that smack down Tucker Carlson gave Max Boot? It was so good to see someone who has been so wrong about Iraq get a comeuppance. Now if we could only see one of these people get grilled about their positions on Palestine and Yemen.

    • Citizen on July 17, 2017, 8:44 am

      Yes, I saw Tucker call out Boot–It was like watching someone spray RAID on a cockroach caught in the light

  4. wfleitz on July 15, 2017, 3:58 pm

    JD Meatyard wrote a song in tribute of the murders of the Bakr boys. See it here…

  5. Kay24 on July 15, 2017, 6:10 pm

    This was one of the most vicious crimes witnessed by the world, AND journalists, who were at that site. If these were Israeli kids, the Israeli propaganda machine would have used this picture to promote the notion that they are attacked by terrorists, this would have been the poster they would be using to raise more funds, and get more sympathy. It is shame that the Palestinians do not have the help they need to highlight their plight in pictures.

  6. Tom Suarez on July 15, 2017, 8:20 pm

    There was also the Israeli shelling of the Gaza beach during Cast Lead that exterminated a girl’s family, as she was left in shock wandering amidst the rubble and corpses. The aftermath was captured on video; and so Israel fabricated the story (which the US media dutifully swallowed) that it was a Hamas shell, and began character assassination of the girl.

  7. JosephA on July 15, 2017, 9:22 pm

    One day, the lens of history will look back upon the modern Israeli regime and wonder, how did we let them murder innocent Palestinians for so many years, and why?

    • CigarGod on July 16, 2017, 8:39 am

      Palestine is occupied militarily.
      Much of the world is occupied by a similarly designed media.

      • m1945 on July 16, 2017, 1:22 pm

        Gaza is not occupied militarily.

      • Talkback on July 16, 2017, 7:39 pm

        m1945: “Gaza is not occupied militarily.”

        It is according to the UN and it would be a complete waste of time to explain to you why. I can only hope that you won’t bring up the usual Zionist silly arguments.

      • Citizen on July 17, 2017, 8:48 am

        Yes WB & Golan are; Gaza portion is under constant siege

  8. joec on July 16, 2017, 7:38 am

    To be a bit pedantic, it was in view of a whole row of hotels, all frequented by international media. Al-Mina is very much the foreigners’ neighborhood in Gaza.

    • CigarGod on July 16, 2017, 8:44 am

      A row of hotels filled with reporters still have to get their stuff approved by editors, etc.

  9. Ossinev on July 16, 2017, 1:22 pm

    The (now sadly) overwhelming majority of Israelis do not give a flying F… about individual or mass slaughter of Palestinian civilians be they the elderly,women,children,ill,infirm. They are inured to it all through decades of the US and Europe turning a blind eye and because of the obscene control of the US MSM by the Zionist Lobby. If anything it is arguable that they actually relish it as a form of post Holocaust psychotic release viz we were the ones who were slaughtered then well look at us now we are the ones who are doing the slaughtering na na na na na. Of course they can`t very well do it to their slaughterers the Germans because they would God forbid suffer huge Chosen casualties and what with losing the reparations and the submarines etc etc But hey those evil Palestinians who stole “our ancient historic homeland ” will do for now and they don`t have the remote capability of fighting back. Typical bullying psychotics.

    The only thing which is holding them in check as has been pointed out by NF and tacitly acknowledged by the non lunatic Baraks and Yaalons is the threat of charges of international war crimes. Yet even despite all that the super crazy Rabbhid zealots on the extreme right are about to swamp Zioland politics in the near future given the obscene appeasement from the Yahoo , desperate to hold on to power and the right to swagger around the world as the leader of the Chosen.

    • Jon66 on July 16, 2017, 10:38 pm


      Do the overwhelming majority of Palestinians care about the individual or mass slaughter of Israeli civilians …? Do they relish bus and restauarant bombings?

      • echinococcus on July 16, 2017, 11:17 pm


        Not a very smart question.
        The overwhelming majority of Palestinians still have to be consulted about authorizing any Zionist outlaws, starting 1897, to squat anywhere in Palestine, as per the procedure required by their right to self-determination and the UN constitutive documents.

        The Zionist bandits have invaded Palestine and unleashed a war of aggression against its owner population, and they continue it with full force: this means that the Zionist leadership relishes and actively seeks “individual or mass slaughter of Israeli civilians… bus and restauarant[sic] bombings” and anything that may or may not happen to their illegally imported cannon fodder population. Enjoy. Or go join the cannon fodder.

      • jsinton on July 17, 2017, 5:53 am

        Your point is valid. However under the Geneva convention, it is the occupier who is responsible, and not the occupied. Gazans have an internationally recongnized “right to resist” which can take many forms. So your point is a moral one, but without basis in international law. Gazans can claim both a moral and legal justification.

      • Tom Suarez on July 17, 2017, 6:08 am

        Hello Jon 66,
        Let’s first of all agree that all violence against civilians (“civilians” a word applied with gross inequity in Is-Pal) should be condemned, yes?
        Now let’s look at your logic.
        For ANY civilization subjected to what the Palestinians have been subjected to, there will be people who will be driven to respond in wrongheaded /immoral ways, especially when that group has been denied any conventional means of self-defence. To use this as an argument in the “conflict” [sic] is grotesque logic: you can then do to any people whatever you wish, secure in the knowledge that some blow-back will be terrorism, which you can then point at as proof of what “they” are like, and that therefore your ongoing expropriation, ethnic cleansing, and dehumanization of “them” is justified.

      • Talkback on July 17, 2017, 10:10 am

        Jon66: “Do they relish bus and restauarant bombings?”

        Maybe as much as Jews did in the late 30s and 40s. And that kind of Jewish terrorism is just the tip of the iceberg in its almost 80 years of terrorist campagne against Nonjews in Palestine.

  10. Ossinev on July 17, 2017, 7:33 am

    “Do the overwhelming majority of Palestinians care about the individual or mass slaughter of Israeli civilians …? Do they relish bus and restauarant bombings?”

    You will have to do some research on that one yourself sunshine. Why don`t you ask some of them next time their high tech qualitively edged fighter bombers artillery pieces and tanks drop 100 tons of explosives on one of the most densely populated urban areas on the planet at school shift change time – you know when all those little snakes are skipping along happily hand in hand clutching books on their way back and to school. And if you are really on the ball you might get to speak to some of them out picnicking at comfortable vantage points in order to catch (relish) the live action.

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