A snapshot of the tragedy and utter senselessness of Israel’s attack on Gaza:
A dentist stood at the bed of a doctor, his good friend Ehab Madhoun, 32, who had just died, his shrapnel-pitted body wrapped in a white shroud.
The day before, Dr. Madhoun, a general practitioner, was in an ambulance responding to an Israeli strike at the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza. Another missile hit the ambulance. The driver, Muhammad Abu Hasira, died instantly. Dr. Madhoun lingered for a day, dying of his wounds on Wednesday in the intensive care unit of Shifa Hospital, where hundreds of people have been brought since Israel began its heaviest assault on Gaza in three decades.
The dentist cried.
“He was just doing his work,” said the dentist, who would not give his name. “He’s a doctor, and I can’t understand why Israel would hit an ambulance.
…Several children [were] in another intensive care unit on Tuesday. Among them was Ismael Hamdan, 8, who had severe brain damage as well as two broken legs, according to a doctor there. Earlier that day, two of his sisters, Lama, 5, and Hayya, 12, were killed.
“I prepared them breakfast that day in the garden,” said their mother, Ayda, 36. “They had the tea, bread and thyme. Lama wanted a second pita, but we all teased her saying, ‘Keep it for lunch.’ She told us, ‘Don’t worry, God will provide us with bread.’
“She made all of us laugh,” the mother said. “I cleaned after them and collected the garbage. Ismael volunteered to dump the garbage, but Hayya and Lama joined him. The garbage can is in front of the house, a five-minute walk away. All of a sudden I heard the news from a neighbor, and I ran barefoot to the hospital. A relative collected the bodies of Lama and Hayya on a donkey cart.
“The neighbors ran trying to save Ismael, who was the only one breathing,” she said. “They say my kids flew 40 meters before hitting the ground.”
Ismael died Wednesday night.
In a twisted way, it’s a good thing Ismael died. Who would have cared for him? What kind of life would he have led? But then again, I am not his father and how can I put myself in his place?
Can anyone reading this not feel like raging against the sheer injustice of it all? President-elect Obama, are you listening? It’s time to take a stand. Support the people of Israel of course and their right not to be bombarded by missiles. But tell Israel it must end the carnage and it must end the strangling siege against Gaza. The solution is simple. It is the will to do it that is missing. Mr. Obama, you can help provide that will with a simple, straightforward statement. You’re missing in action. Missing when we need you most.