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bless his soul


ghazi zaneen

*Ghazi Zaneen, 14, shot in the head by Israeli soldiers. Killed 4 September.

Before Ramadan began, I had thought of writing something on family’s with martyrs, as any special time (holiday or other) is difficult in the absence of recently lost loved ones. In Gaza, following Israel’s latest massacre which left 1500 martyred, I knew there would be many families with one or more martyrs this Ramadan.

I hadn’t considered new martyrs though.

Since Ramadan began 16 days, ago on 22 August, at least 7 Palestinians have been directly martyred by Israeli soldiers in Gaza alone, with another youth (15 years old) shot dead by an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank. Another 3 Palestinians were indirectly killed by Israel, dying in a tunnel collapse, with another man injured. The tunnel workers would be unemployed (and alive) if Israel’s siege on Gaza were ended and a normal functioning economy and border crossings resumed, allowing people here a human quality of life. At present, animals are given more rights than the Palestinians of Gaza.

[The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory Maxwell Gaylard, calling for an end to the siege on Gaza, said:

“The deterioration and breakdown of water and sanitation facilities in Gaza is compounding an already severe and protracted denial of human dignity in the Gaza Strip…At the heart of this crisis is a steep decline in standards of living for the people of Gaza, characterized by erosion of livelihoods, destruction and degradation of basic infrastructure, and a marked downturn in the delivery and quality of vital services in health, water and sanitation.”]

These martyred include:

-Sa’id ‘Ata al-Hussumi, 16, working on a farm in Beit Lahia, 350m from the northern Green Line border, instantly killed by two bullets to the chest on 24 August.

-Three brothers, Mansour ‘Ali al-Batniji, 30, Na’el ‘Ali al-Batniji , 20, and Ibrahim ‘Ali al-Batniji, 25, all reportedly killed when an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a tunnel on the Palestinian-Egyptian border on 25 August.

-Mohammed Nadi al-’Attar, 25, from Beit Lahia, killed when an IOF navy gunboat fired at shell at him as he swam some metres away from the beach on 27 August. He was a fisherman, entering the waters to net fish to bring food to his family’s table.

-3 brothers from the Al-Lahhams family of Khan Younis, reportedly killed in a tunnel collapse on 28 August.

-’Esmat As’ad Sahra, 25, and Faraj Isma’il al-Najjar, 29, both members of resistance from Jabalya, northern Gaza, whom Hamas said were killed by Israeli artillery shelling in the east of Jabalya, as they monitored the movement of the Israeli military on 1 September.

-Ghazi Zaneen, 14, from Beit Hanoun, on family land reportedly 500m from Green Line border when shot in the head by an IOF soldier; he died the following day, on 5 September.

Some of the wounded are:

-Murad Salman al-Wazir, 17, from Sheikh Zayed, reportedly 900m from the Green Line when IOF soldiers shot him in the leg on 22 August.

-Fawzi ‘Ali Qassem, 63, reportedly on his land east of Beit Hanoun and at least 1,800 meters away from, the border when IOF soldiers opened fire on farmers, shooting him in his left thigh on 23 August.

-Mas’oud Mohammed Tanboura, 19, working on a farm in Beit Lahia, 350m from the northern Green Line border,seriously wounded by one bullet to his chest on 24 August.

-6 Palestinians were reportedly wounded in the Israeli airstrike on a tunnel, which killed the 3 al-Batniji brothers on 25 August.

-17-year-old ‘Abdul ‘Aziz al-Masri from Beit Hanoun region, shot by invading IOF soldiers who shot at Palestinian resistance on 2 September.

Today I met the family of one of the latest murdered. Ghazi Zaneen, 14 years old, was shot in the head 2 days ago by Israeli soldiers at the northeastern Green Line border fence, east of Beit Hanoun. He had been with his family on land reportedly 500 m from the border fence to collect figs. His mother said Ghazi had stood on some rubble to see further. A curiosity to see, from his own land, warranted a bullet to the head?

The mourning tent was erected outside of his Beit Hanoun home, men sitting outside consoling the father and male relatives. Inside, Ghazi’s mother, sisters, female relatives and friends sat mourning the youth.

His mother, 33, is just one year older than me, yet has lived the life of decades of Palestinian women with sons and loved ones martyred. The inevitability of Israeli soldiers killing or wounding a loved one doesn’t ease the pain. She must have done her most intense mourning immediately with the news of her boy’s slaughter. In her home, she sat, drained, and asked the simple, poignant questions on many mothers’ minds:

“How would mothers in your country feel if their sons were killed like this? Don’t your politicians care that Israel is killing our children?”

There is no satisfactory answer, because obviously most of us don’t begin to know the pain of a child murdered, shot in the head, robbed of his/her future. Most of us can’t imagine living with the daily fear that one of these days our child will be killed or abducted and imprisoned.

As for the question about the politicians, no, they don’t care. A noble minority do care, do speak out, do stand up to Zionist lobby pressures, do use their elected power. But the rest are sheep, Zionists, or somehow ignorantly indifferent.

To them, I say, mothers in Palestine [Iraq, Afghanistan, …] say, come, meet the families of loved ones shot in the head, shelled in the sea, bombed in their homes,smothered in the tunnels. Listen, see, feel…

For if you have your senses, you can’t deny these injustices, can’t rationalize them away with Zionist rhetoric. You can only, with deep sadness, say ‘alayerhamo’, God bless his soul.

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