Saturday, 4 April 2009

Ideal Israeli Soldiers; Not Only Killers But Thieves

Ideal Israeli Soldiers; Not Only Killers But Thieves

Ayman T. Quader
April 2009

The old man sat in the light of a kerosene lamp and looked bleakly ahead. His wife sat in the opposite corner, crying loudly "They soiled our sheets, haram, haram, they broke our bed, fired guns in our bed' 'and', the old man said 'they took all our money. The day after we left we found a 100shekel note in the garden, that's all'

He was talking about the Israeli occupation of his house to a foreign photographer who had come to film the destruction in North of the Gaza Strip. Sa'ad Al Atar lived in a line of houses along a high ridge overlooking Gaza city in Atatra district. It was the part of Gaza nearest the Israeli border, and it also commanded long views of Gaza city, so it was bombed repeatedly in the first few days, and most of the houses were destroyed. Then the Apaches fired rockets at what was left and machine gunned anything that moved. Mr Al Atar stayed home with his family, even when machine gun fire came through the window and sprayed the wall behind them. The foreign Journalist put his fingers in the big holes in the plaster, but to him they were just dents in the wall; to Mr Al Atar they represented fear and salvation at the same time. But there was an even closer miss in the next dark room, where there were no lights. A row of smaller bullet holes at a lower level.

"We were eating our meal on the floor when these came. If we were sitting on a chair they would have gone through our heads. I am lucky that I cannot afford to put chairs in both my rooms" said Mr Al Atar.

What happened next? "The Israelis came and pointed their guns at us. they told us to get into the back room, where the shots had been fired, and to stay there, and they went on to the roof. They told us that if we moved, they would shoot us. They went upstairs, they stole my money, soiled the beds, left condoms everywhere. They fired holes in the bed - for what?' While people were dying they were making love with each other in our bed, and then they destroyed it. All our money was in the mattress, everything for the whole family, and they took it all. then after 3 days, they left. Just left"

His family of seven children and his wife listened in the gloomy light. "There is no glass in the windows, and we cannot afford even to buy plastic sheets' said Mrs Al Atar. "The UN gave us some blankets, but we have no money to repair anything and no one helps us. No one. And it is cold, even our clothes they cut up and soiled - look, look at these cuts, why, why they do this, why?"

They drank their tea in silence, the foreign photographer left, and the light went out.

Mrs. Al Atar

The Israelis have left us nothing, destroying our housed, stole our money and killed our young kids

We were all in one room when the bullets stated targeted us randomly

In an innocent softly voice, They have stolen my dreams and flee

pictures taken: Rod Cox