Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Hope Turns to Horror

Umm-Mohammed, mother of 21-year-old Mohammed Hamdan Qeshta, is overcome by grief. Her son, due to be married today, was killed yesterday afternoon by Israeli gunfire. He was walking down the street near his home in Rafah.

Doctors at Abu Yousuf Al Najjar Hospital in Rafah try in vain to save Qeshta.

Mohammed just emailed this report:

Mrs. Qeshta and her whole large family were busy preparing for the wedding of her 21-year-old son to take place today. Instead, the unarmed young man was shot in the head and shoulder by Israeli bullets Tuesday afternoon as he walked down the street near his home. The head injury was fatal, and according to Dr. Musa, director of Rafah's Al Najjar Hospital, Qeshta was dead on arrival.

Normally, Palestinian weddings are wonderfully festive events, but for the Qeshta family, joy was turned to grief by Israeli gunfire. Instead of a wedding celebration, the family had a funeral and are receiving those who would have been their wedding guests as mourners instead.

Over the weekend, Nidal al Qadi, 25, was standing near his home in another Rafah neighborhood when he was injured by gunfire from the Israeli Army. In both cases, witnesses could cite no reason for the shooting.

Even though the Israeli "disengagement" from Gaza is only days away, Rafah's civilian neighborhoods have been targeted for seemingly random shooting and shelling from the Army watchtowers near the border and around the settlements, as well as from circling Apaches and from some of the more militant settlers. On Monday, the Israeli government sent letters to all the residents of the Gaza settlements saying their presence would become illegal as of 15 August and the Army would evacuate them, by force if need be, starting on the 17th. Some of the extremist settlers have insisted it is their religious duty to resist evacuation at all costs. Many Palestinian civilians fear being caught in the crossfire as some settlers and soldiers both seemed determined to inflict maximum damage during these final pre-disengagement days. While many—possibly most—of the Israeli soldiers and settlers want a smooth, non-violent removal, as the Qeshtas learned yesterday, it takes only one bullet fired by one individual to destroy the hope and joy of two families.

The Rafah Crossing to Egypt has been open but Palestinians between the ages of 16 to 35 are not allowed to cross. This will create special problems for many university students slated to study outside Palestine, not to mention business people, and medical patients. Normal activities for all Palestinians in Gaza have become unusually difficult as all the internal military checkpoints have been limiting their opening hours to very brief periods every day. No one knows exactly what problems the actual disengagement will bring, but everyone in Gaza fears things may soon get worse.


At 7:02 PM, Anonymous Msgaladriel1. Linda from Rafah reports group said...

I am so ashamed of our people in all of this world we live in. Words are so very hard for me to put to you to express the heart ack that i feel each day, actually every moment of every hour.What has happened to people? Why can we not all love each other and give a helping hand to someone without wanting some THING back? I wounder how God is looking at us right now? I think his heart must be full of sorrow, this I am sure of. Thank you for sending me this report.

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Erika said...


thank you for visiting, reading, and leaving a comment. I know sometimes things must seem so dark, but surely God also sees the many, many good people who DO help.

Please visit again and tell your friends about this blog.

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At 10:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember teh day Mohammad was killed. I am an American who lived in Rafah the four worst years of the Intifada. So many pictures of death make it almost "normal". Unfortunately the death in Rafah was. It's important to know the peson behind the blood. Mohammad was young, so friendly, and on the eve of his wedding. His death-like so many others-just pointless.


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