Feature: A year after Israeli-Palestinian conflict, pain lingers for Palestinian victims' families-Xinhua

Feature: A year after Israeli-Palestinian conflict, pain lingers for Palestinian victims' families

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2022-05-11 03:53:45

Palestinian firefighter Hassan al-Attar, whose elder daughter and her children were killed during an Israeli bombing, shows a picture of his grandchild at his house in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, on May 10, 2022. During the May 10-21 conflict last year, the Israeli bombings killed more than 260 Palestinians, including women and children. Meanwhile, about 14 Israelis were killed as a result of the Hamas attacks on Israeli cities. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)

by Sanaa Kamal

GAZA, May 10 (Xinhua) -- For Rami al-Afranji, a 40-year-old Palestinian man in the Gaza Strip, a full year is far from enough to relieve the psychological pain that he has been suffering from the sudden loss of his loved ones during the bloody Israeli-Palestinian conflict in May 2021.

"I have never expected to lose my entire family so easily and to be without anything," Al-Afranji told Xinhua in an interview, recalling how his wife and four children were killed on May 16, 2021 in the intensified Israeli airstrikes on the Palestinian coastal enclave.

"Israel killed my children and my wife without any guilt, they died just because they lived in Gaza," said al-Afranji, whose home in the Al-Wihda Street in the center of the Gaza city was destroyed by Israeli bombings.

On May 10, 2021, Israel launched a large-scale military campaign against the Gaza Strip in retaliation for the firing of rockets into Israel by the armed factions led by the Hamas in response to Israeli provocations at the sacred Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem.

Israeli warplanes targeted the Gaza infrastructure under the pretext of destroying underground tunnels used by the Hamas militants, causing the collapse of a number of residential buildings and killing many residents living inside.

During the May 10-21 conflict last year, the Israeli bombings killed more than 260 Palestinians, including women and children. Meanwhile, about 14 Israelis were killed as a result of the Hamas attacks on Israeli cities.

With a breaking voice, al-Afranji said that "those American-made warplanes destroyed the dreams of my four children. They dreamed of a promising future, especially since they excelled in schools."

After the tragedy, the grieving father said he has "lost the taste of life." Nothing can compensate him for his children who fell victim to the political conflicts between Israel and the armed Palestinian factions, he said.

"My daughter Dima, 14, had the talent of drawing and dreamed of becoming a famous painter one day, while my son Yazan, 16, dreamed of becoming an engineer..." he recalled.

He held the Israeli army fully responsible for the killing of his family, adding that he had filed war crimes cases against Israel in international courts.

The situation is not much different for Hassan al-Attar, a 51-year-old firefighter from the northern Gaza Strip, whose elder daughter and three children were killed in Israel's bombing of her home on the second day of Eid al-Fitr last year.

"That morning, I visited my daughter and her children and had a good time with her. I didn't know that this would be our last meeting and that I would never see them again," al-Attar told Xinhua in an interview.

"In the evening hours, I received a call from my daughter's husband telling me that the Israeli army had bombed their house and that they were under the rubble," al-Attar recalled.

The man rushed to his daughter's house in a desperate effort to rescue her and her children. "It was dark and I did not have any search tools, so I relied on the light of the mobile phone to try to find something from my daughter," he said.

After an hour of failed attempts, al-Attar got a phone call to inform him that the bodies of his daughter and her children were in a hospital. "I was so shocked that she died so easily," he said.

"No one can imagine the psychological pain we are going through," al-Attar added.

Despite a year of painful life plagued by the loss of their loved ones, many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip expressed the wish that such tragedies would not be repeated to other families and both the Israelis and Palestinians should work together to make peace.

Al-Afranji called on the Israeli people to "force their military and political rulers to spare the Israeli and Palestinian peoples the scourge of war."

"We do not wish for war in any way," he said. "Therefore, we hope to reach a comprehensive and just peace for the Palestinian people so that two neighboring peoples can live in peace."

Al-Attar also expressed his hope that "the civilians will be spared from any possible military targets in the future."

Palestinian Rami al-Afranji, whose wife and four children were killed during an Israeli bombing, shows a picture of his child at his house in Gaza City, on May 10, 2022. During the May 10-21 conflict last year, the Israeli bombings killed more than 260 Palestinians, including women and children. Meanwhile, about 14 Israelis were killed as a result of the Hamas attacks on Israeli cities. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)

Palestinian Rami al-Afranji, whose wife and four children were killed during an Israeli bombing, holds pictures of his children at his house in Gaza City, on May 10, 2022. During the May 10-21 conflict last year, the Israeli bombings killed more than 260 Palestinians, including women and children. Meanwhile, about 14 Israelis were killed as a result of the Hamas attacks on Israeli cities. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)

Palestinian Rami al-Afranji, whose wife and four children were killed during an Israeli bombing, holds pictures of his children at his house in Gaza City, on May 10, 2022. During the May 10-21 conflict last year, the Israeli bombings killed more than 260 Palestinians, including women and children. Meanwhile, about 14 Israelis were killed as a result of the Hamas attacks on Israeli cities. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)

Palestinian firefighter Hassan al-Attar, whose elder daughter and her children were killed during an Israeli bombing, sits by his children's graves in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, on May 10, 2022. During the May 10-21 conflict last year, the Israeli bombings killed more than 260 Palestinians, including women and children. Meanwhile, about 14 Israelis were killed as a result of the Hamas attacks on Israeli cities. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)

Palestinian firefighter Hassan al-Attar, whose elder daughter and her children were killed during an Israeli bombing, sheds tears while recalling them at his house in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, on May 10, 2022. During the May 10-21 conflict last year, the Israeli bombings killed more than 260 Palestinians, including women and children. Meanwhile, about 14 Israelis were killed as a result of the Hamas attacks on Israeli cities. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)