This is for the child that is searching for an answer,
I wish I could take your tears and replace them with laughter,
Long live Palestine, Long live Gaza!
Meet little Hamza Mus’ab Almadani of Khan Younis, Gaza.
Look carefully, look tenderly, don’t turn away. Please don’t turn away as all the nations of the world have, for decades, turned away from Palestine.
Hamza is Palestine.
Look carefully at Israel’s savage violation to his once perfect little body when on the 25th July 2014, Israel’s soldiers loaded and fired pale blue artillery shells that discharged white incendiary rain on Gaza in hundreds of phosphorous-impregnated felt wedges as Hamza and his family slept.
Imagine the agony Hamza suffered from the moment the white phosphorous struck and burrowed through his soft three year old skin. Phosphorous burns are only contained by blocking off oxygen but the extreme pain and, as you can see, the horrific tissue damage endures.
Hamza’s father and two siblings were also burnt but luckily their injuries were less severe. Imagine the wounded family’s terrifying walk through the night to the nearest hospital.
It is heartbreaking to imagine Hamza’s parents, Mus’ab and Kifah distress watching their little boy trapped in pain; his mind and hospital bed shaking with the relentless hammering over yet another 32 days of Israeli bombs with their thunderous soundtrack of war striking trauma into every cell of the child and all the terrified, war-weary Gazan families.
The trauma has made a once happy and boisterous child, mute. His inability to speak depresses his parents who try to make life as normal as possible for Hamza.
The photographer, Hassan Rabie, has sensitively shared with us Hamza’s innocence in his acquiescent pose with his little hand gently protecting the heinous painful and itchy scar on his arm, in the flawless skin on his face, in the little frown and the eye-lashes that you know have been burdened with tears of unbearable pain, day and night.
Rabie has caught a moment in present time but what about Hamza’s future? As his little body grows the Israeli mark of Cain and cruelty will be indelible with painful complications for the rest of his life. It is possible to get treatment in Italy, but the Palestinian Authority denied Hamza assistance because of the multitude of serious cases.
Of course, this article presents Hamza to the world for the first time. No mainstream media reported his wounding because little Hamza is an ‘unworthy victim’ in the manufacturing of consent to Israeli war crimes.
Hamza’s scars are indisputable evidence of Israel’s deliberate war crimes. Hamza’s suffering was deliberately inflicted in 2014 in spite of the 2009 UN Goldstone Report on Israel’s war crimes that condemned its illegal use. Israel is also well aware of “Protocol III of the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons, which prohibits use of the substance as an incendiary weapon against civilian populations and in air attacks against military forces in civilian areas.” Furthermore, Israel’s blockade on Gaza prevents escape by land, sea and air.
Gaza is the most densely populated urban area in the world with over half its 1.6 million population – children. Terrified, traumatised children.
The alarming Israeli documentary, The Lab, by Yotam Feldman exposes the 1.6 million ‘unworthy victims’ are locked in an Israeli military laboratory cage that battle-tests weaponry on Gaza. Billions of international dollars from western defense departments fuel the demand and sanction Israeli atrocities.
A key player in the military industries told me that the operational testing in Gaza of Elbit’s BMS (Battle Management System – a special internet-like system for ground forces), a huge project worth $1 billion, has allowed Elbit to raise its price in a deal signed a year later with Australia. The same goes for Rafael. The company stated openly that it would capitalize on the escalation that preceded operation Pillar of Defense..A salesman for the IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries) told me that assassinations and operations in Gaza bring about an increase of tens of percentage points in company sales. Yotam Feldman
To boost Israeli arms sales, Palestinian families have suffered three onslaughts of ‘systematic genocide’ wars in 6 years and are condemned to a life that is unnatural, stressful, traumatic waiting for the next Israeli weapons testing that will again turn Gaza into ground zero*……
There are still hundreds of thousands of displaced homeless families struggling to survive in schools, crowded in with relative or in makeshift shanties seeped with the winter cold ,no electricity and 95% of Gaza’s water supply is contaminated with high levels of nitrate or chloride.
Gaza is a cemetery for over a thousand war-slaughtered children, a death camp for 800,000 maimed and traumatised surviving children waiting, waiting, waiting for the next inevitable Israeli pestilence of bombs and sheer terror.
We rightly condemn Germans who silently looked away from the Nazi death camps; silence on Palestine over 67 years is more culpable and unconscionable than that of the German citizens of the Third Reich.
We have a choice between love and silent complicity; between parallel worlds gruesomely connected: the world of the wounded child, the parents, the doctors and nurses, the Red Crescent paramedics fighting to save lives, and- the other world of the Israeli child killers and maimers backed by world governments and their armament industries.
To choose love demands action. We must maintain sustained pressure our governments to impose arms sanctions on Israel. In 2014, over 130 governments have signed and 60 have ratified the Arms Trade Treaty:
Article 6: 3. A State Party shall not authorize any transfer of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) or of items covered under Article 3 or Article 4, if it has knowledge at the time of authorization that the arms or items would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, attacks directed against civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or other war crimes as defined by international agreements to which it is a Party.
For little Hamza, we, who are privileged and safe, must demand that our governments immediately honour their legal obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty and end their arms trade with Israel which everyday commits crimes against humanity and war crimes against the people of Palestine under Israel’s illegal military occupation and colonisation in breach of international law.
The adage ‘to live is to resist’ applies to little Hamza.The scars are the stigmata of his heroic sumoud (steadfast resistance) to Israeli violence. Every cry of pain was a cry of resistance. Like sumoud, ‘Hamza’ in Arabic means ‘strong, steadfast’. Palestine is Hamza.
*Photo Mohammed Abed