New Year in Gaza: ‘Too young to die…’

The following is an account of a personal situation in Gaza. While Blair, Sarkozy et al are now belatedly running round in ever decreasing circles and pontificating the Israeli army continue to blow Gaza apart. Homes, schools, places of refuge – nowhere is safe. Blair says stop the tunnels then Hamas can’t be armed. Does he say to Bush “stop supplying arms to Israel?”

New Year in Gaza: ‘Too young to die…’

“Despite living in one of the most heavily bombarded areas of Gaza City, Rana and her husband had been determined not to leave their house. Rana, in common with most Palestinians, is a refugee whose grandparents were forced from their land in 1948 during the first years of Al Nakba. On January 3rd 2009, three days into the New Year and over 60 years since her grandparents originally became refugees, Rana was forced from her house as Al Nakba continues:
“Our neighbours got a phone call from the Israeli Army last night. They were told: ‘Evacuate your house immediately – we are about to Shell it!’ ”
The Red Crescent immediately came to Rana’s house and neighbouring houses as they attempted to evacuate all residents. Rana was taken to a friends’ house a little outside the immediate area as she is still unable to reach her sister Amahl and their parents in Deir Alballah. She had just a matter of minutes to get out of her house:
‘Really it’s a tragedy, I was crying so much. They shelled our neighbours’ house, a Sports Club, and a Community Association building. The buildings are not totally demolished but have been very heavily shelled, maybe they will return to re-bomb them…’
Today (Jan 4th) Rana returned to her house to collect whatever belongings she could salvage and carry to her friends’ house. There is no electricity at all now in Rana’s neighbourhood and in most of the Gaza Strip. Whilst she gathered up possessions from her house we talked together with the help of a small generator – her only remaining form of power.
“There is no electricity at all now; they bombed the power transformer before the ground attacks began yesterday. I’m collecting whatever I really need – clothes for us, my documents, whatever I can. I can hear them now; they are shelling all around us…”
There is no way for Rana to know when, or even if, she will be able to return to her house again. She had refused to leave for over a week after the massacres began until the Red Crescent came for her, she knew then that the time had simply come when she no longer had the option.
‘People here have nothing to lose anymore. They believe they must protect their land, there is nothing else. They don’t fear death, but I do… ha ha ha…’
A nervous laughs escapes as she considers her own mortality.
Rana has many hopes just like people everywhere, but currently she is surviving minute by minute. She hopes to learn lots of new languages (although already speaking Arabic, English, and French) so she can talk to people all around the world, she hopes to listen to music again, and she hopes to give birth to the child she is carrying and have future children. Rana should have a long life ahead of her, but like all Palestinians she has no idea what the future holds:
‘I have many hopes; I feel it’s too early to die… I am 25 years old. I am too young to die…’ ”

Article in the Independent 7/1/2009
The Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border.BBC News.
Demonstrations against violence in Gaza within Israel are not getting reported generally. Those reports that are available indicate they are taking place in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and elsewhere.

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