Tuesday, January 20, 2009
The IDF is proud of it, it wants everyone to know what it has done in Gaza. Through such gangsterism, reminiscent of the LAPD during the days of Darrell Gates, it believes that it can intimidate the Palestinians into submission.
For Mousa Samouni, 19, reticent and with every indication of still being in deep shock, the return was the culmination of a horrific experience that began at 7.30am on 4 January, when Israeli troops arrived at his home in the Zeitoun district of southern Gaza City under the cover of heavy fire as the offensive pushed west from the border towards the coast.
The accountancy student, in his first year at Al-Azhar University, said the troops had moved his family next door and then told both groups to join other members of the clan in a warehouse across the road, owned by the vegetable seller Wael Samouni. The troops then occupied the two houses.
He returned yesterday to find the houses ransacked and scarcely habitable, with furnishing and electrical appliances tossed out of the window, gaping holes in the wall made for firing positions, furniture smashed, clothes piled on the floor, pages of family Korans torn out and remains of soldiers' rations littered in many rooms.
Stars of David and graffiti in Hebrew and English proclaiming Arabs need 2 die, no Arabs in the State of Israel and One down and 999,999 to go had been scrawled on walls. A drawing of a gravestone bore the inscription Arabs 1948 to 2009.
But the two houses were at least still standing. Many smaller homes to the east had been flattened by bulldozers after being cleared of their occupants, apparently to establish a clear field of fire from which troops could target any militants to the east. One family member, Hesham Samouni, 35, said 14 of these homes had been destroyed.
As had Wael Samouni's warehouse. It had first been hit by Israeli missiles in an attack on 5 January – reported in detail in The Independent – which was launched as a few family members began taking other relatives to the building, which they thought was safe. Mousa said he fainted in the attack. By the time he came round, his mother, Rebab, 36, his father, Rashed, 42, and his two brothers, Mohammed and Walid, were dead, along with at least 21 others, including several children, among them a five-month-old baby.
Hat tip to lenin over at Lenin's Tomb.