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Terrorism and Collective Punishment

And we sleep.

Laila El-Haddad is a Palestinian journalist who divides her time between Gaza and the United States, where Yousuf's father, a Palestinian refugee denied his right of return to Palestine, and thus their right as a family to live together, resides.

Laila El-Haddad
Raising Yousuf, Unplugged:
diary of a Palestinian mother

May 24, 2007

We go to sleep now waiting for the next round of Israeli attacks against "Hamas targets". That is what they are calling them now. Last night, I couldn't sleep again. The drones were waxing and waning in intensity overhead. And then of course the Apaches. And the explosions.

But this time, the "target" wasn't some distant building or family gathering hall in Shija’iya or Jabaliya, it was a money changer on my very street, Omar al-Mukhtar, in Gaza's Remal neighbourhood. And the supermarket next door.

After things calmed down, I dozed off, only to be shocked out of bed at around 3am by a thunderous explosion, another attack. It shook us from our insides. My mother became hysterical, flailing her arms and screaming uncontrablly. We hugged each other, I tried to calm her down. "Its ok, its nothing, maybe an F-16..its ok".

But it was not ok. This explosion was closer than ever before. At first we thought maybe the "target" was a store in our building. It turned out to be another money changer only a few shops down from our house, no more than 50 metres. The store was leveled.

And then there was nothign left to do but sleep. But there was a horrible, sinking feeling in my stomach, the result of panic and fear and ugly certainty of it all. It took a few hours for the knots in my stomach to slowly unwind and settle. I felt nauseous.

What exactly the Israeli army is "targeting" is a mystery. But of course the media machine spins it as "Hamas targets". This is how it read the next morning in Haaretz-including a note on how the attacks resulted in "no damage or casualities". I thought, maybe the author shoudl come to Gaza.

The popular thinking seems to hold that they have simply run out of "legitimate" targets-whatever the hell that is anyway (MPS? Homes?)-and so have now resorted to bombing things like moneychangers and supermarkets. This is according to an Israeli army general himself in the radio, who said his army really did not know what else to strike.

And there is nothing left to do but sleep.

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The History of Terrorism
Videos & Multimedia

British TV Documentary – Dispatches: The Killing Zone

VIDEO: Palestinians Document Settler Violence

VIDEO: West Bank attack filmed

Video – Gaza: A humanitarian implosion

Video: Old Palestinian Man Describes Being Shot

Video – The Easiest Targets: The Israeli Policy of Strip Searching Women and Children

Audio Interview – Psychology of Suicide Bombings

Video – Soldiers Explode a Portion of a Palestinian Home, Killing the Mother

Video – Soldiers Force a Palestinian to Play Violin at Roadblock

Related Articles

Israel 'using food and medicines as weapons'

Nobel Peace Laureate: Hope as Palestinians Use Nonviolence in their Struggle for Human Rights and Freedom

Israeli Strip Searches: A Partial List

68 women gave birth on checkpoints, 34 infants and 4 women died

Americans Tortured in Israeli Jails

More on Collective Punishment/Terrorism

Additional Resources

The Gaza Strip: A humanitarian implosion

Back to a Routine of Torture – Torture and Ill-treatment of Palestinian Detainees during Arrest, Detention and Interrogation – September 2001 - April 2003

Amnesty International – Israeli Settlers Wage Campaign of Intimidation

Booklet – ‘No Exit’

Amnesty International – Under the Rubble

Organizations

Public Committee Against Torture in Israel


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