“By destroying houses and killing children, Israel aims at erasing memories”

Salem Intez, 29 years old, is seen through a hole in the wall made by an Israeli shell in the home of his extended family in Shujaiya, east of Gaza City, on 18 July. The attack, which took place the day before, killed his two-year-old son, Muhammed Salem Intez, his 23-year-old brother-in-law, Abd al-Ali Intez, and his twelve-year-old brother, Muhammed Ibrahim Intez. Salem Intez explained that his family had fled their home in the neighborhood of Jabal al-Sourani along the boundary with Israel the night before because they were worried that their tin roof would not protect them from the Israeli shelling and thought they would be safer in the concrete house of their uncle in Shujaiya. (Anne Paq / ActiveStills)

I asked a friend of mine in Gaza to write an article about targeting Palestinian houses in Gaza. The next day he wrote to me: “The Israelis targeted my brother’s house. It is located next to us. The whole neighborhood was turned into a mess.”

By targeting Palestinians’ houses, Israel aims at erasing memories and disconnecting Palestinians from their past so that they live in a lost present that starts at no point. A house means many things to Palestinians. It gives the sense of home and family. It is the place where Palestinians share their tiny daily life details. It is where they laugh and cry. It is where they exist to resist Israel’s never-ending oppression.

Building a house takes a long time in Palestine. Targeting a house means targeting decades of hard work. The possibility of being able to restart all over again is largely less likely. It all starts there and ends there too. By destroying houses, Israel practices collective punishment against Palestinians in an attempt to make them surrender. Knocking Palestinians’ roofs aims, too, at spreading fear amongst Palestinians that they are not secure in their own home, that Israel is there, making them displaced and homeless again and again.

Israel uses different techniques to push Palestinians out of their homes, including calling families and asking them to leave when there is a massive attack like Protective Edge offensive, which claimed the lives of 230 Palestinians, including four children who were shelled by the seaport trying to make their living. By killing children and destroying houses, Israel wants to create a gap between generations that cannot be bridged. But this never proved successful. Gaza kids and houses will always serve as a reminder to all of us, not to forget, not to forgive.

Israel must be brought to be accountable for its crimes in Palestine. Supporting justice in Palestine nerve lacked evidence. The acts of destroying houses and killing the Baker family four boys on the beach were recorded on cameras, but mainstream media is still ignoring Palestinians’ loss of lives. This has to stop so that when I ask my youngest brother Omar about the situation he does not tell me “I am still alive, it is a war like the other two wars.”

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