Israel Bombs UN School, Three Killed; Death Toll 100 on Monday Alone
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We tried to go there, but, of course, the road was cut. But my brother and my uncle took the risk, and they drove there, drove a jeep, sped by a jeep there. And they said the Israeli gunboats were firing at the jeep all of the way, but because the jeep was driving very speedy on a dodgy road, the missiles did not hit the jeep.
When they arrived there, they found the dead body of my father as a pile of flesh, in addition to another teenager from our extended family. Though he was walking with my father into the villa, we found the second teenager thrown 300 meters away from my father's body. At that time, when some other people from my family arrived to help evacuate the facility, another Israeli air strike took place, but this time by Apache helicopters targeting one of our cottages there, and a cousin of me was seriously injured when they were there. And the Israeli gunboats also kept firing on them on their way back to Gaza.
AG: When did you hold the funeral?
FA: We held a very quick funeral next day, on Sunday morning. The convoys of the cars in the funeral were very small and short, because the shelling was ongoing and the Israeli airplanes were flying overhead and were striking everywhere.
I would like to mention that thousands of air strikes have took place in Gaza, and they are still ongoing. But here, we have to mention that Gaza is only 360 square kilometers. When you drop this amount of bombs into this small area, it means there is no safe place in Gaza at all, and it means everything is targeted, as you may be hearing that families there were killed. Complete families made up of the parents and their kids were completely eliminated.
AG: I thought it was very interesting in reading your piece about your dad, reporter's father first casualty of Israel's ground offensive, that you said he was born in Gaza, educated in Egypt, a lawyer and judge who worked for the Palestinian Authority. "After Hamas took over, he quit and turned to agriculture. Dad's father, Fares" -- who you're named for, I suppose -- "who had been driven out of his home in what is now Israeli Ashkelon in 1948, had bought the land in the 1960s"?
FA: Yeah, that's right.
AG: And Jewish settlers had taken it over during the Second Intifada?
FA: Yeah, during the Second Intifada, which started in 2000, until the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, the Israeli army had sealed off all the roads leading to our farm, because at that time it was located among three Israeli settlements. But they allowed us to go to our farm only two times a week, and we have had to pass through Israeli checkpoints. And the Israeli army had given us special ID cards and permissions to enter the area. The ID cards were written in Hebrew, and they bore our photos. It means that the Israelis know all of us and know who are the people who live there. During the eight years of violence, the area in which our farm is located has been the most quiet in all over Gaza Strip.
AG: You write, Fares, that your father "hated what Hamas was doing to Gaza's legal system, introducing Islamist justice." He completely opposed violence, would have worked "for a just settlement with Israel and a better future for Palestinians. When the PA gained control over the West Bank, he moved to Ramallah to help establish the courts there." Your feelings, as we wrap up right now? You write, "My grief carries no desire for revenge, which I know to be always in vain. But, in truth, as a grieving son, I am finding it hard to distinguish between what the Israelis call terrorists and the Israeli pilots and tank crews who are invading Gaza." You ask a question about the difference between the pilot who blew your father to pieces and the militant who fires a small rocket.