I should preface this report by letting you know that as I write it, silent tears are streaming down my face.
They have been, on and off, for much of today.
Last night, Israel intensified its attacks on Gaza. What that looks and sounds like is an F-16 airstrike every 10 minutes, all across the Strip. Shells dropping with thunderous force every 3 or 5 minutes. I fell asleep, to wake at 3am as Israeli gunboats fired upon the houses and hotels on the coastline – ka-ka-ka-boom-boom-boom. The smell of cordite filled the air. The sky became a cacophony of F-16s, drones and the screams, car alarms, and animal calls responding to the attacks. Israel unleashed horror here last night.
Today, we drove out across Gaza City to survey the damage. A mosque had been bombed. Its turret had collapsed into an apartment block opposite, tearing it open to the world. Four people died. This morning, the prayers ring out from the shattered mosque regardless.
We head to Al Shifa hospital, and to intensive care. We see a man in bed, what is left of him. A missile strike blew his legs off, both, completely. His arms and hands are heavily bandaged, but it’s clear he’s missing bits of both.
We see a four year old girl, unconscious, with serious head injuries. Staples are holding her face together.
Another boy, eyes closed, face swollen. Fighting for his life after being caught by a missile that destroyed his home.
Another boy, no older than seven, semi-conscious. His head rolls listlessly from side to side, a muffled groan escapes his mouth now and then. His entire torso, from clavicle to groin, had been ripped open by shrapnel.
Nothing good can come of this. No justification or pretext can validate the unabashed barbarity meted out to Gaza’s children last night, and for the last six weeks, and the last eight years. This is not the outcome of an inevitable natural disaster. This is a choice. Israel is choosing to continue this massacre every minute of the day and night. Men and women are pushing buttons, pulling triggers, and this is the result. Mass death and destruction on a frankly genocidal scale.
Gaza, 24th August 2014