Gaza Vigil

A vigil was held this evening at the Museum of the Palestinian People to honor the 16 children killed in the Israeli military attack on the Gaza Strip. The attack on 140 sites in the crowded strip killed 44 people and wounded hundreds of others including children ranging in age from four to sixteen.

Museum Curator and Direct Ahmed Mansour stated that for his family who live in central Gaza, “,these attacks are truly a nightmare. It feels like the May 2021 attacks were just yesterday, and everyone I know is living in fear and anxiety. In times like these, it is crucial that we spend time together and make sure that Palestinian families in Gaza, like mine, know that they are not alone.”

As people gathered at the museum, many of whom brought flowers, candles and other tributes to honor the memory of all those killed, a moment of silence has held in their memory before a short, impassioned statement was made regarding the resolve of the Palestinian people to continue in their 74-year struggle against the occupation. The name of each child killed was read aloud along with their age while nearby on the iron stair railing was a display showing a photo of each of the children adding a personal touch to the horrific tragedy.

Among Israel’s stated objectives for the preemptive operation “Breaking Dawn” that was planned to last a week, was the assassination of key leaders of the Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine. To that end, the bombing and missile strikes did kill both Tayseer Jabari, the chief of operations in the northern Gaza Strip, and Khaled Mansour, a commander. Unfortunately, as usual, many innocent lives were lost as well.

Israel now claims that the loss of lives can be attributed to errant missiles launched by terrorists in Gaza against targets in Israel. As in every Israeli  military operation in Gaza, the blame of loss for innocent lives is always placed beyond their responsibility. The pro forma response has become meaningless as it follows the same script of asymmetrical warfare against a captive population. Unfortunately, the wars in Gaza continue to exact a heavy toll in loss of innocent civilian lives while not changing the dynamics on the ground other than to reinforce Palestinians’ resolve to continue their struggle against their occupier.

In the aftermath of the attack, the already fragile hospital infrastructure in the Gaza Strip is increasingly unable to continue operating due to insufficient electrical power along with insufficient medical supplies. Under even more intense pressure due to the large number of injuries, the hospitals will soon be forced to close. Making matters worse, the backup electrical generators for emergency use are said not to be operable due to lack of critical fuel supplies.

Just prior to a cease-fire being announced, the Israeli military claimed that “508 rockets” had been fired on Sunday towards Israel in response to Israel’s provocation of having the military accompany 2,000 Jews onto the Haram al Sharif, a Muslim Holy site, to pray during the Jewish holiday Tisha B’Av. The holiday acknowledges August 7 as the date of destruction for both Solomons Temple (423 BCE) and the Second Temple (70 CE).

While an important Jewish holiday, praying on the mount by Jews is the stuff of intense reaction by Muslims for the incursion. In turn,  Muslims are not allowed anywhere near the Western Wall that is most holy to Jews.

(This article has previously appeared in Nuzeink.

Phil Pasquini is a freelance journalist and photographer. His reports and photographs appear in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Pakistan Link and Nuze.ink. He is the author of Domes, Arches and Minarets: A History of Islamic-Inspired Buildings in America.


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