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Three Days in One Room: The Experience of the Attar Family

by Mona El-Farra

Thursday, July 13, 2006 2am

Two successive big explosions wakened me up, Sondos jumped quickly to my bed , frightened, shivering and covered her head, with the blanket. It was two big explosions ,but not sonic booming, I am an expert now. The power has been off, it was a great blessing last night we had it for 5 hours. I switched on the local radio, the Islamic university building was hit, as well as the Foreign Ministry building, 200 meters from my place. I decided to write in the morning, my daughter was too frightened, and I felt strong enough to stay by her side.

Yesterday the Palestinian Ministry of health officially declared that 82 people had been martyred and 271 injured from 30 – 6 – 2006 to 12 – 7 – 2006. Among the martyrs are 22 children. The number is expected to increase because there are still casualties in the intensive care units

My visit to Attar Family 11.7.2006

I feel emotionally strained after visiting the Attar family, in Beit Lahia village North of Gaza. It was my second visit, I went there with 2 of my colleagues with some little presents for the kids. 50 kids received little parcels donated from MECA for peace (USA people).
The Israeli army reoccupied the village for continuous 3 days as part of its military operation in Gaza, and during these three days the army made great damage into this family 3 storey building, before occupying it, to use the roof as a base for snipers. 40 members of this extended family were kept in one room, unable to go out for 3 continuous days, with no water and no electricity. I was told that the whole family were forced to get out of their house, and made to stay in the very hot afternoon sun for 4 hours at least, standing in front of their house, Then they were put into the one room for three days. I met 40 children, 5 at least are infants, and feeding those babies was a big problem.

I met seven members of this family, who had visual impairment disability. It broke my heart, when I asked the grandfather of this extended family, why do you think they have chosen your home? He answered me simply, I only have children and people with special needs, I am a soft target. He did not know that his house position is a strategic location for snipers, it lies on a hill that overlooks the whole village, it is just right place for snipers.

One of the small girls hold my hand, and said: look there, we were in the sun for long period, next to the donkey place, it was hot, I was thirsty, my baby brother was crying, and I was terrified, I wet my pants.
What happened with this family is happening every day in Gaza, with different shapes. Those children will suffer from PTSS, and waiting for years ahead to be healed, as an outcome the hatred will grow, inside themselves, with painful memories.

I handed the gifts to the kids, telling them it is from American people who care, and thinking of you, they are not the American government that helps this army to have free hand in our country.

I always think of the safety of the Israeli kids and civilians, and I am totally against hurting civilians, but I do believe that the comparison of suffering is unfair, and not objective. I have an offer for Israel to send 1.5 million Israelis to live in Gaza, under those circumstances! Any way both of us suffer, it is an outcome of injustice and the occupation.

In love and solidarity