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Gaza Diaries: Cry Freedom

By Mona El-Farra

16th of July, 1.30 am

A loud explosion woke me up. My daughter was frightened and covered her head with the blankets as I switched on my little transistor radio. The F16 hit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building with one rocket, it is the second time in less than one week. Straight away I thought of Fawaz and Nawaf, my childhood friends, and their families. I did not dare to contact them! The sound of the explosion was too strong, it shook my flat (500 meters away).

16th of July, 7.30 am
After a struggle to sleep, I decided to get up and hurried to my friends’ house. They were not injured but, the scene was shocking: Fawaz was startled and unable to focus, causing his brother and the children to be traumatized. He showed me the garden: tall, old trees completely destroyed, so were the windows of their building, and the garden was covered with the rubble of the destroyed Ministry of Foreign Affairs building.

Why to hit the same building twice in one week? They did the same with the Ministry of Interior building, which my friend Hoda lives close to. It is a massive systematic terrifying collective punishment.

No electricity, no water, no milk for babies, no safety, closed borders. 1.5 million captured in their own country. 4 weeks of continuous shelling from sea, land, and air against civilian targets causing 145 deaths (45 were children) and hundreds of injuries in three weeks.

The captured soldier was a pretense for a well-planned systematic assault and collective punishment against a whole population. It is a desperate trial by the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) to destroy our will and our determination to achieve our just national goals. But they will not succeed and they should learn from our people’s history: we get tired sometimes, we complain other times, but fortunately Palestinian people do not have the psychology of victims. We have the psychology of freedom fighters, and with the support and solidarity of other people who are fighting daily against injustice: we shall overcome.
With every pain and suffering we cry: Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!

19th 0f July, 4pm
Al-Magazi Refugee Camp, East Gaza

Today is the second day of IOF incursion into the Al-Magazi camp in the middle of the Gaza Strip. Shelling continues from the sea, land, and air. So far 9 people are killed, at least 45 (mainly civilians) are injured in the first hours of the incursion. Still no water and no electricity. Hospitals are struggling with increasing causalities. They are working through the emergency off the alternative power source and medical supplies are exhausted.

Beit Hanoun village North Gaza
Today the IOF withdrew from the village, leaving 40 houses demolished, 12 people killed, tens injured, large areas of fruitful agricultural land were destroyed, 2 journalists and 2 health emergency workers were injured. Our surgical team at Al-Awda Hospital was overwhelmed with the large number of the casualities. The army stayed for 3 days in the village, and left it destroyed.The UN OSO team reported some very poor families are in great need of baby formula but the UN does not supply this sort of milk. I shall make sure to distribute this milk via Middle East Children Alliance (MECA) tomorrow.

While I write, continuous explosions can be heared from the gunboats, Apache helicopters fill the sky with a drone sound. Still no electricity. I do not find it easy to write with the candle light and the old fashioned kerosine lamp.

In Solidarity,

Mona El-Farra