Tears, bitterness, despair as Gaza “bleeds rivers”

GAZA (Reuters) – The three little children lying on the floor of the overcrowded morgue looked like sleeping dolls.

“Get up, boy, get up” cried the weeping father, who lost a total of 13 close relatives when an Israeli shell hit his house east of Gaza City.

“Please get up. I am your dad and I need you,” he implored helplessly.

The oldest was 4 years old. Their mother was killed too.

Mourning is also dangerous in Gaza.

Jaber Abdel-Dayem was watching over the body of a nephew, a paramedic killed in an Israeli airstrike in northern Gaza Strip.

“We were sitting in the mourning tent when suddenly they bombed us, we ran to rush the casualties to hospital but they bombed again,” he said.

He did not really know if it was bombing or tank fire.

Medics said three people were killed and 17 wounded.

Abdel-Dayem stood beside their bodies.

“Those include my son, my nephew, my cousin. Oh God,” he cried as tears started from his eyes.

His wife was there, either defiant or in shock.

“We are steadfast, we are steadfast,” she kept saying.

Abdel-Dayem said all the Palestinian rockets fired by its Islamist Hamas rulers into neighboring Israel were as nothing compared to one Israeli bomb.

“They (Israel’s leaders) must be brought before international courts,” he said. “May God punish the Arab rulers who are silently watching us bleed like rivers.”


Umm Ala Mrad, mother of 9, sat in her worn out clothes on an old mattress with one of her little ones in her arms.

“Maybe we’re still alive death does not like us,” she says.

She lives in Beach refugee camp, home to about 90,000 people in Gaza City. Her house is not far from Gaza Sea Port.

An Israeli warship lies offshore, firing shells and shots every now and then. Yesterday a missile from the ship killed a Palestinian militant riding a motorbike on the coast road.

Hundreds of Palestinians queued from early morning outside bakeries in Gaza City, their patience running out.

“I’ve been here for three hours and I will have to wait longer. Maybe a missile will bomb us so we can be rid of such a miserable life,” said Abu Othman, a father of seven.

He said his sympathy was growing for the Hamas Islamists whose rocket fire into Israel triggered the offensive.

“I used to criticize the rockets. Maybe I still do but not like before. Now I want to see buses blown up in Israel,” said Othman.

Gaza is without electricity much of the day and many people are without water because the wells need electric pumps.

Supermarkets said they have run out of basic stuff like rice and sugar because people are hoarding it.

The streets are almost deserted, strewn with blast debris.

About 80 truckloads of humanitarian aid got into Gaza on Monday via the Kerem Shalom-Rafah crossing in the extreme south.

Palestinian drivers clamored at a little Israeli army office tucked in the shelter of the high concrete border wall, hurrying to clear their paperwork.

The truckloads of flour and oil rolled by in clouds of dust.

At Erez crossing in the north, 35 foreign passport-holders from Austria, Germany, Canada, Romania and the Philippines tried to get out of Gaza on Monday with Red Cross and Israeli help.

They got to within 500 meters of no-man’s land and the shelter of Israel’s reinforced concrete terminal, but a roadblock and a big crater barred the way.

The International Committee of the Red Cross decided it was too dangerous to proceed and took them back into Gaza.

A little while later, heavy tank and machinegun fire erupted just behind the fortified border post at Erez. An Israeli captain advised reporters to leave.

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