Sleeping in Gaza under roaring Israeli jets

An Israeli F-16 fighter jet, often seen in Gaza’s skies. (Photo: IAF)

Israeli jetfighters, mainly F-16s, continue to air-strike many areas in the ‘recently-evacuated’ Gaza Strip, in which several Palestinians have been killed, dozens others wounded, severe damages inflicted to buildings and a great deal of panic caused to men, women and children.

“Suddenly, at 2:30am, in the early hours of Saturday 24, 2005, I woke up suddenly from my sleep, finding my three little kids, Ghadir (9), Rewan (6) and Fadi (4) , crying fearfully in my room, calling “Dad, Dad”.

Israeli jetfighters were making a sonic booms in the Gazan skies, terrifying tens of thousands of Palestinians living in the area. Abu Ghadir 30, from Maghazi refugee camp, talked about his ‘new-old’ experience with the Israeli raids.

Ghadir, his eldest daughter, spoke in a hushed voice about her shock at that night. “I was sleeping in my room along with my sister and brother when I heard a very terrifying sound. I thought it was a bomb. Myself, Rewan and Fadi got up together and rushed fearfully to our parents’ bedroom.”

“I wonder why the Israeli planes do this to us! Haven’t they gone? My teacher in school told us that the Israelis have gone from our lands, so we were very happy. Haven’t they gone from our land?”, Ghadir asked.

“I was very frightened when the bomb sound roared,” Rewan added, “so I stuck to my mother and father.”

“The planes, the planes,” Fadi whispered, “I was frightened”.

“Let me ask a question,” their father Abu Ghadir asked. “Suppose the Israeli settlers were not evacuated. Would Israeli warplanes rip through the Gazan airspace so repeatedly and at the most sensitive times, when every man, women and child happens to be sleeping deeply?”

“When Israeli settlers surrounded Palestinian areas in Gaza,” he explained, “such heavy Israeli raids were much fewer than today because Gaza is free of settlers now.”

“It is racism that Israel is practicing against us. I wonder as to the way Israel is punishing the Palestinian people’s children, women, and men. What have children got to do with such bombs? Are they terrorists that need to be terrified?”

“For how long our children will remain obsessed by the roaring of Israeli fighters which continue to fly in the Palestinian sky?” Abu Ghadir asked after the latest Israeli raids died down.

Related links:
BY TOPIC: Post-‘disengagement’ sonic booms over Gaza

Rami Almeghari, a 31-year-old Palestinian, lives in Maghazi Refugee Camp, central Gaza, and works as deputy director of the Translation Department of the Gaza-based State Information Service (SIS) and is former editor-in-chief of the SIS-linked International Press Center English website.