“Am I Going to Die, Daddy?” The Child in Gaza Asked

by Jon Snow

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — It is the saltwater coming out of the hotel tap that reminds you where you are, as you wake up in Gaza. And then you imagine your room besieged by honeybees. It is the constant whine of the drones that parade up and down Gaza, selecting targets.

On the street, wearing your compulsory and heavy body armor, only children play in small bunches. There seem to be no adults about. No fishermen in the sea. No one on the beach.

If the Israelis have proved anything, it is that there is no such thing as a forensic strike.

In this besieged strip of land, close to 2 million people live so densely packed that any strike — be it from the air, from the sea or on land — will kill someone more than the intended target. And that someone too often is a child.

As of now, 166 children have been killed and 1,310 have been injured, some of them severely.

I was in the Shifa hospital on the two floors packed with child casualties. Nema, 2½ years old, was hit by an F-16 missile and terribly injured. Her eyes were closed by the enormity of the damage to her skull and her nose. Two round red-black saturating bruises hid her eyes.


A child injured in an Israeli assault was taken to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Wednesday.

Image: Mohammad Asad/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images


Two-year-old Palestinian girl Naama Abu al-Foul sleeps after undergoing treatment at Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital following an Israeli bombing next to her family’s home on Wednesday.

Image: MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images

Seven died in that attack, eight others were injured. I don’t know how many of them were children. Seven-year-old Maha was hit by artillery fire and severely injured. In that assault, her mother told me, 45 people were injured, many of them children, and two were killed. And then there was 7-year-old Noradin, also badly injured.

Dr. Mads Gilbert from Norway, a professor of emergency medicine, says the Shiva hospital, the last one working properly in Gaza City, is suffering a chronic shortage of pain relievers. He told me the outlook for some of these children is very bleak indeed.



A Palestinian child at Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital.

Image: MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images

Can they really be the acceptable collateral of targeting militants?

Channel 4 http://bcove.me/hy0x03nm

Can they really be the acceptable collateral of targeting militants?

Even our own translator, cut off from his family, in the south of Gaza, has to listen on the phone as his children weep and his 6-year-old asks: “Am I going to die, daddy?”

He can hear the explosions in the background. There have been two assaults on his wife’s town in the last 24 hours. Some 40 Palestinians appear to have been killed — six of them children.

But you know, despite the bangs, the booms, the screeching jets and the humming drones, you can never lose sight of the consequences of the siege that has been set against this Palestinian entity for the last seven years or more.

Electricity is intermittent, water is compromised, gas, diesel and so much is else is in constant short supply.

I was amazed to find a small sachet of shampoo as I went to a cold shower tonight — salty again. Obviously, you cannot make bombs out of shampoo and so there is no embargo on it. But clearly you can make bombs from paint because there isn’t any. This is the most wretchedly unpainted urban place I have ever been.

And beyond it all, why won’t they talk? This cannot go on. It is the children, tomorrow’s Palestinians, who are paying the price.

Editors’ Note: Getty Images and the Anadolu Agency have verified that the photograph at the top of this article was taken at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Wednesday. We had temporarily removed the photograph while we investigated complaints about its authenticity that were sent to the author of this article.

Jon Snow has been the face of Channel 4 News since 1989. He joined ITN in 1976 and became Washington Correspondent in 1984. Since then, he has travelled the world to cover the news


Copyright Channel 4, UK, 2014


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