Skip to content

Final report

  • by

A heartbreaking extract from the:

Final Report

Independent fact-finding mission into violations of human

rights in the

Gaza Strip during the period 27.12.2008 – 18.01.2009

 For full report,click ‘links’ tab on mainmenu

"In the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate

Friday, as we all know, is God’s day for the Moslems. We began, my sons and I, Qassab, graduate of the faculty of engineering, department of construction engineering, at the Islamic university, and Ibrahim, first year at the faculty of accountancy, at “AlAzhar” university. It was a beautiful warm day. I awoke in the morning as usual, did the things that I needed to do, and then the boys awoke, and I asked them to do some chores for me. I decided that, with the help of allah, we would set out for the city together, before the end of the humanitarian ceasefire/truce that the Israeli army declared while it was entering the AlFukhary neighborhood, which is on the border of my private farming land. And so it was, after the Friday noon prayers, we took the things we needed for home and set out in the car, and after 200 meters, we passed a route that was blocked because of tanks and heavy mechanical equipment which had been used to surround the area the night before, and we managed despite the digging works to pass another 700 meters, and then we found a route that was being used by heavy mechanical equipment, it was a harder way than the one before, but because our car was a land rover jeep I managed to go through it, and I said to my children, “I am going to cross this road-hump, which looks like a sand roadblock” and I continued and said “I am not driving a Subaru” and I called for the help of allah.

All the way I took care to go according to the instructions, as they were written for me. From the AlUmur Mosque “AlReda” route we passed through the “Electricity” square [‘Muhawal alQahraba’]. I proceeded straight on, intending to pass through a side alley that I know well. I was surprised to discover an empty area, and when I looked to my left, I was surprised to see two soil roadblocks, with a tank in one of them. This was an unexpected surprise. I raised my hand as in greeting, no one stopped me. I continued driving for another 50 meters and then bursts of gunfire were shot at me.

I immediately told my sons “bend down”. The shooting continued in our direction. I thought it was warning shots, until I was amazed to hear the voice of someone, shouting “get down, son of a bitch”, I said to my sons, get down, bend down, get out of the car, and lie down on the ground. I bent down, and I could not see my son Qassab who had been sitting next to me and I did not know how he got down or how he behaved, but Ibrahim who was sitting behind, and was unhurt, opened the door of the car and got out, and then suddenly he started shouting “I’m hit”. I looked at him and saw that he had been injured in the leg, below the knee. I said to him, “never mind, it is a light injury, not lethal”. The soldiers shouted at me “get out of the car” and shot at the car where it was standing, so that I could not get out of the car because of all the bullets that were being fired at me. Then I started to feel hot blood dripping from my left arm. I looked in my clothes to see where I had been hit and I saw that my left arm was injured, above the elbow, and then I leaped over the passenger seat and out of the car and lay down flat on the ground, all while the shooting was continuing.

At the same time, Ibrahim was screaming, “I’m hit, ambulance, I’m hit”, and then I heard the soldier say to him “shut up or I will shoot you”. I asked Ibrahim to be quiet and to crawl toward the fence/wall, and then he answered me, “father, call an ambulance”. I answered that I did not know the number, and he said it was 101. I said, can you call them, I’m hit in the arm. While he was trying to call, the soldier shouted at him, “don’t talk, I’ll shoot you, throw away the phone.” Ibrahim threw away the phone and sat there bleeding. I shouted, I called the soldiers, “I have an injured person here, I am also hurt, get us a paramedic, wound dressings, an ambulance”.

They answered, “shut up or call an ambulance”. I called an ambulance and they answered me that they could not come, and that only the Red Cross could do it, by coordinating with the [Israeli] army commanders, who had refused to authorize their passage. Time passes and my son is bleeding. Qassab lies on his stomach, I don’t know if he is alive or dead. I tried to crawl toward him and then one of the soldiers told me not to move and fired a warning shot.

Ibrahim bled, and no ambulance or medic could be seen. The soldiers took over a house just 40 meters away from us, no more. I see them and they see me. I hear them and they hear me, and so I called to them, “the boy is bleeding, send a paramedic to do something,” and at the same time I was phoning for an ambulance more than 20 times, until they told me there is not much they can do, and that they would pass on my issue to the media. Time passes, and sunset is near, and I and my two sons, bleeding, started to feel the cold of January. I felt that I was in a race against time. And my younger son is calling to me every 5 minutes, begging “father call 101”, and I would call, because of his shouting and begging, to no avail, the evacuation authorities told me they were aware of the situation I was in, and asked me to keep my phone available, so that local press and radio could contact me, so I could explain the situation to them, and call for our rescue, so that perhaps everyone would hear and help.

It was already dark, and there was no one to help, only the sounds of the cellphone ringing all the time, whether from a local radio station, or a satellite station, or a human rights organization, and other organizations.

I gathered courage and crawled toward my eldest son, when I saw some cats wandering around him. One of the soldiers shouted at me, and said in Arabic “go back to your place or I shoot you”. So I answered him, “you can shoot me if you want”. I reached Qassab, who lay on his stomach, I looked for the place where he was injured, and then I discovered with certainty that he was dead. His body had become hard. I turned him on his back and covered his face with his coat. He was lying one meter away from the jeep, and I thought “Qassab is dead, Ibrahim remains” – or Abbas as we used to call him. I went back to Ibrahim, and then he asked me, “how is my brother Qassab, is he still alive?” I answered, “Qassab is dead [martyred], and we are next”.

“Bless him father”, that’s what my younger son said to me. I answered “how can I not bless my martyred son, who was murdered by the enemies of God with no justification?” And then again he asked me to call 101, I said “I will call, and you talk to them, maybe they will take more account then”. But he answered me that he could not talk. I phoned and phoned countless times, and each time they told me this was the last time, and I said to them “I beg for your help, you respect neither Man nor humanity”. And they answered me weakly and helplessly, and swore… Believing or not believing, it was all the same to me. And here was my younger son, asking me “are you satisfied with me father,” and again “are you satisfied with me father”, and I repeated my answer over and over. “I’m cold, you and I are wounded, we are close to our end”, he said to me, and I answered “no, you were injured in the leg, below the knee, this is an injury that does not cause death”, and then he asked me about my injury, and I answered that I was fine, See, I’m with you now. I asked him often if he was cold, and he answered that he was, so I put my bloodstained jacket on him, I leaned against the wall, stretched my legs forward, and placed his head on my lap, so he would be close to me, and feel some warmth. But, while shivering, he said “father, you are more sensitive to cold than I, take me to the jeep, maybe I will feel warmer there. We sat in front of the car that had crashed into the concrete fence/wall, I said to him “stand on your good leg, and I will help you”. The moment we moved from our place, one of the soldiers shouted “get away, I’ll shoot you”. I took no notice of him, and I shouted “Bring me a paramedic, a blanket, something to tie the place of the wound with, bring me some kind of help, you who call yourselves modern people.” One answer was all I got: “call an ambulance”. I felt that this answer could be considered permission to use my mobile phone, it was already dark, and colder, I suffered terribly from the cold, and the whole body of my son was shivering from the cold and the bleeding. I listened to sounds, hoping to hear a car, but there were only the sounds of tanks or bulldozers destroying people’s homes and trees. I threw the bag of dirty washing to my son and told him to use it as a pillow, and I took out some of the clothes to cover his body and his leg. We were in the car. I sat in the back seat and he sat in front. I put his head on the headrest of the seat, and started to rub his back and his trembling body with my fingers. I asked him every five minutes “are you cold? Does it hurt?” and he would answer with only one sentence: “call the rescue teams or 101”. I was in a bad condition, and despite my own injury I did not worry about myself for a moment, although I could feel that I was bleeding, and that the blood had wet all my clothes, until it was dripping from the palm of my hand. Through all this, whether the blood was flowing or drying up, I was not afraid for myself. I was afraid only for my son. I kept stroking him and talking to him, and I didn’t know the seriousness of his condition, all I knew was that an injury to the leg could not cause death.

Around 20:00, I received calls from local radio stations and from bodies claiming to be human rights organizations, and I asked them all “save us, we are behind a base of tanks, before a group of snipers, who are able to help us, but they have not given us anything but killing and fear.” I asked everyone I talked to on the phone, “help transfer the bleeding wounded person, because perhaps in an hour or less you will not be able to talk to me because I will not be alive.”

My left arm began to tremble. I felt a numbness in my arm, in my hand and in my fingertips. I kept receiving calls, “I’m from the radio… I’m from a foundation… we can talk live now, you can call for help directly…” I was tired, I wanted, before our time was out, paramedics, nothing more. It was already ten o’clock. Night and cold. The dead one was lying in the street, and the wounded and the bleeding one, and me and the persecuting Jew, who was ready with his weapon to finish living people at any moment, so if he wants to reach satisfaction through killing, I know it, and I shouted at them, “death at this moment is a great peace/rest”. I called in a clear, sad and trembling voice, “IDF, if you were modern, or human, or grandchildren of Abraham, my son Ibrahim is dying, you murdered my son Qassab, and my life is in your hands. Either you do something, or you let me rest/die.” I heard only one answer: “let the ambulance come and take you.” I was certain the end had come, my mobile phone with which I received or made calls, its battery was finished, and I had no way of calling others. Before this I had told the human rights organizations that were dealing with the issue after being told about it by the rescue teams, that between me and the biggest hospital in the Gaza Strip there were less than 1,000 meters, that is one kilometer, but the power of the soldiers and the power of Israel persisted in their intention of deliberate murder. At midnight, AlJazeera called me, and asked me to talk. At that moment Ibrahim was breathing. When I finished the interview, I could not feel his breath. I thought he had fallen asleep. I called him and I asked him the same question, if he was cold, but he didn’t answer. I put my hand on his forehead, it was warm. Then I moved my hand to his mouth, but I could not feel his breath. So I knew he was dead. Ibrahim was dead. Abbas was dead. My son. Both were gone. The first was lying in the street, the second was lying in the front seat of the car. Many people called, radio stations, bodies, organizations, I said to them all: “I am not OK, both my sons were martyred. Our rights as human beings do not exist here. I am going to die of the cold, and I don’t care if I die, because I am no better than my sons, who died in front of me. My pain is harder than death, I wish for a speedy death, so I can have some rest.”

I shouted at the soldiers, who were coming out of the house they had taken over. There were about 30 soldiers, with full kits. They went away for about an hour and came back. Then I shouted, “why are you leaving me behind? Finish me off, let me rest, just one bullet, it will cost you no more than pressing the trigger. Do it, cowards”. None of them paid attention to my words. They don’t care what I say.

They did what they did, the bodies of my two sons are in front of them, they understood they had fulfilled their aim, murdered my sons,the young ones, the homeland…[translation by PHR-Israel]"