Gaza: Whole Villages Have Been Wiped Off the Map

by

I’m writing now from my home, but I still feel dizzy from shock and nauseated by the sights and smells on my visit to Khan Younis and Khuza’a.

Yesterday I decided to use the opportunity of the ceasefire to visit my family in Khan Younis. I especially wanted to see my sister who had open heart surgery before Israel’s assault. I hadn’t seen her for 36 days. I’m lucky that I have enough fuel in my car to drive 24 kilometers (15 miles) so I struck out towards the south.

I drove down Salaheddin Road and passed rubble from mosques, houses, and factories. Some buildings were destroyed completely and some partially. Later on in my drive, I saw dozens of big trees uprooted and smashed, fruit trees destroyed and farms and gardens decimated and ruined. The Israeli bombs were aimed to destroy the infrastructure, to destroy Gaza’s economy. Even the main cookie factory was targeted and destroyed.

I passed UN trucks distributing food to people in long lines. This siege and assault by the Israelis has made everyone in the Gaza Strip live as a refugee, missing basic needs and struggling to survive.

When I drove up to my family’s place in Khan Younis, it was a very emotional moment. We’ve lost many family members and, excuse me, my friends, I’m not going to talk about this meeting because every family in Gaza is going through the same thing.

My sister and relatives decided they wanted to go to see Khuza’a, a village located east of Khan Younis. At first I didn’t want to go to Khuza’a. I didn’t want to be reminded of the massacre, to witness more horrors. But I decided to go so I could give you, my friends from the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), and others living outside of Gaza my first-hand account. I know you are following the news closely but I also know the news might not tell you what has gone on and is going on in Gaza.

As we set out to the east, my niece pointed out the devastation, “You can see where the Israeli tanks were—here and here.” When we came to the village Abbasan, there was an Israeli military vehicle destroyed. Palestinian flags were flying from it and Palestinian children were playing on it while their families stood watching them.

We continued toward Khuza’a. It was a model Palestinian agricultural village with open fields and green everywhere. They had fruit trees and vegetable fields. But there was nothing left of the village I remembered.

The smell and the sights we saw were shocking. The moment we parked and I got out, a very strange smell hit us—the smell of dead bodies. That smell will never leave me; it is still stuck in my nose. We saw totally flattened houses and other houses partially destroyed.  It reminded me of pictures from war-torn areas where years of fighting erased a village. I could tell that something huge and terrible had happened here, the rubble and the destruction were extreme. Some villagers told us they had found two bodies in the rubble a couple of hours before we arrived. Still people were searching the ruins for their relative’s remains. Many times I had to stop myself from vomiting because the smell was so strong.

This Israeli assault has hit the Palestinian people more deeply than the last two military attacks. This one is even more deadly and destructive. Whole neighborhoods and villages have been wiped off the map.

I ask myself now how can we start again?

Dr. Mona El-Farra, Director of Gaza Projects, is a physician by training and a human rights and women’s rights activist by practice in the occupied Gaza Strip.

 

Dr. Mona El-Farra, Director of Gaza Projects, is a physician by training and a human rights and women’s rights activist by practice in the occupied Gaza Strip.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington
Geoffrey McDonald
Obama’s Overtime Tweak: What is the Fair Price of a Missed Life?
Brian Cloughley
Hypocrisy, Obama-Style
Robert Fantina
Israeli Missteps Take a Toll
Pete Dolack
Speculators Circling Puerto Rico Latest Mode of Colonialism
Ron Jacobs
Spying on Black Writers: the FB Eye Blues
Paul Buhle
The Leftwing Seventies?
Binoy Kampmark
The TPP Trade Deal: of Sovereignty and Secrecy
David Swanson
Vietnam, Fifty Years After Defeating the US
Robert Hunziker
Human-Made Evolution
Shamus Cooke
Why Obama’s “Safe Zone” in Syria Will Inflame the War Zone
David Rosen
Hillary Clinton: Learn From Your Sisters
Sam Husseini
How #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter Can Devalue Life
Shepherd Bliss
Why I Support Bernie Sanders for President
Louis Proyect
Manufacturing Denial
Howard Lisnoff
The Wrong Argument
Tracey Harris
Living Tiny: a Richer and More Sustainable Future
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
A Day of Tears: Report from the “sHell No!” Action in Portland
Tom Clifford
Guns of August: the Gulf War Revisited
Renee Lovelace
I Dream of Ghana
Colin Todhunter
GMOs: Where Does Science Begin and Lobbying End?
Ben Debney
Modern Newspeak Dictionary, pt. II
Christopher Brauchli
Guns Don’t Kill People, Immigrants Do and Other Congressional Words of Wisdom
S. Mubashir Noor
India’s UNSC Endgame
Ellen Taylor
The Voyage of the Golden Rule
Norman Ball
Ten Questions for Lee Drutman: Author of “The Business of America is Lobbying”
Franklin Lamb
Return to Ma’loula, Syria
Masturah Alatas
Six Critics in Search of an Author
Mark Hand
Cinéma Engagé: Filmmaker Chronicles Texas Fracking Wars
Mary Lou Singleton
Gender, Patriarchy, and All That Jazz
Patrick Hiller
The Icebreaker and #ShellNo: How Activists Determine the Course
Charles Larson
Tango Bends Its Gender: Carolina De Robertis’s “The Gods of Tango”