Gaza: 'Israel' butchers childhood, bereaved parents mourn in solitude
With the world's eyes focused elsewhere, parents in Gaza mourn their children killed in cold blood by the Israeli war machine.
Rasha Qadoom, a Palestinian mother, clutches her five-year-old daughter Alaa's tiny pink backpack, which she will never again carry on her little back.
Alaa was the first of 16 children killed in three days of Israeli brutal aggression in the besieged Gaza Strip.
"It was a Friday like any other," said Qadoom, 27, remembering how Alaa had been dressed in a pink T-shirt to match her pink bag with a pink ribbon tied in her hair.
"She was happy, she wanted to go to the park with her aunt."
But as she went to her aunt on Friday afternoon, “Israel” launched missiles on a civilian area.
When Alaa was knocking on her aunt's door, a missile smashed down from an Israeli warplane.
With her shaky hands, Qadoom holds the blood-stained rags of Alaa's T-shirt, unable to comprehend why her five-year-old daughter was killed.
"Israel" butchers childhood in cold blood.— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) August 7, 2022
Alaa, the five-year-old #Palestinian child, had her dreams crushed, her childhood memories squashed, and her life snatched away by none other than the brutal, blood-thirsty, child-killing Israeli occupation.#GazaUnderAttack#Gaza https://t.co/MLiebvYI9s
"Nobody was armed in the neighborhood. Instead of going to play in the park, she came back to me with clothes full of blood," she tearfully said.
'Israel"; the dream killer
"We lost children... all her dreams were in a school bag and a notebook," Alaa's mother said with a shivering voice.
The Health Ministry in Gaza reported that 46 people were killed in the Israeli aggression, including 16 children.
The Shamalagh family's home was also blown up. What remains is only a gaping hole.
The remains of people's lives can be seen poking out of the smashed concrete slabs: a new fridge, a sofa crushed by tons of concrete, and a stuffed toy animal.
Dozens of paper scraps from an English textbook were found in the dirt.
One page, a lesson on the British seaside town of St. Ives, assigns a task to schoolchildren in the blockaded enclave: "Think of your ideal holiday location."
The shattered building was once home to 17 people, including children, before the savage Israeli airstrikes hit.
Nadia Shamalagh, 70, sat beside the ruins of her home, saying she struggled to sleep even after the Egypt-brokered ceasefire went into effect late Sunday.
"I couldn't sleep, I was staring at the ceiling and thinking 'they (Israel) are going to strike'," she said.
"Everyone was scared, the children couldn't stop crying."
If not killed by “Israel”, children in Gaza left traumatized
In Gaza, the cost of war on children affects everyone, not just those who are killed or injured.
In the Israeli aggression in May 2021, the 11-day war resulted in the martyrdom of 66 children, and those who stayed alive were marred by deep emotional traumas.
A mostly silent consequence of the heinous war is its impact on the mental and psychosocial well-being of people who are already living under the brutal Israeli occupation. This is particularly true for children.
91% of Gazan children suffered from some form of trauma to say the least, according to a report from the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, a Geneva-based independent, nonprofit organization that the Israeli occupation government outlawed in 2016.
What is a “normal” situation to many Palestinian children is an incredibly stressful life event: the loss of a parent or a loved one. Such a taxing life event is a severe emotional blow to the future of the child’s well-being.
Despite all the pain, sadness, fear, and loss, those children still like to read, draw, play sports, and have fun with their friends. They still have hopes and dreams for a better future where Palestine is free.