By: Hedaya Shamun

The two-year baby, Ne’ma, waits for her mother’s awakening in the in the resuscitation room.

"Sedqi!! Sedqi died… Ahmed died… Mohamed died…" this is what little two-year Ne’ma keeps saying when hearing her brothers’ names. She calls her mother, too, who is receiving the medical treatment in the Egyptian hospital. "Mom died" she added.

Despite being a baby, Ne’ma was not safe from the Israeli shelling. They shelled her house and her parents’ bedroom where she, her brothers, and parents used to hide together away from the Israeli bombs and explosions. She miraculously stayed alive. Having seen her front burnt and little body covered with blood, no one was able to believe that she was destined to live.

Zeyad Mahmoud Yousuf Al Abssy is Ne’ma’s father. He resides in Yebna refugee camp in Rafa to the south of the Gaza strip. He remembered what happened saying "in the night of the 28th of Dec. 2008, I went back to home at 10:00 pm. I found my ten-member family prepared for having dinner and I shared them. We moved after to sleep all in the same room. It was midnight when we slept. Suddenly, feeling nothing, I opened my eyes to find myself flying towards the asbestos ceiling of my bedroom… My wife was enfolding our little daughter Ni’mah and suckling her… then, we all fall down and the ground was shaking beneath our feet…we heard nothing… losing our gravity, we felt as if something pushing us over the top. We were falling under the rubble, covered with blood. That scene, I will never forget".     

"I thought it is a dream, I saw the people pushed towards us… I was not really realizing things… people were all around, screaming and trying to help us out from under the rubble… then, I fainted. I woke up in the hospital; I had blood flow in my arms. I stayed in Al-Najar hospital… I asked about my sons, daughters, they told me that they are in the same hospital getting medical treatment. People visited us and they were crying; but I actually understood nothing. I did not realize what happened. I was hit in my head and got 10 stitches in my head, 7 in my back and my left arm was broken". He added.

Go my dears, only God can give you back your rights

"In the next day, my brother came to visit me. Nobody dared to tell me what has happened. Then, they told me they will bury my children bodies (Mohamed 12 years old, Sedqi 4 years old, and Ahmed 11 years old). I was able to do nothing but thank Allah-Praise to be God. I wanted to farewell them before being buried. They carried me on a wheelchair. When I saw them in the morgue, their innocent faces, I cried and told them before everybody "Dear sons, only God can give you back your rights from this inequitable tyrannous world. I am no longer able do anything for you". 

The bereaved father kept silent. His heart was tore up for the loss of his sons. And despite having wounds have not healed yet, he found himself searching for the rest of his family. He managed to leave the hospital in the third day so as to accept the condolences over his three martyr sons. 

His daughter Zakeia- 15-years old- got her arm broken. She said"  I was sleeping, when suddenly I found myself inside the ambulance. I did not realize what happened. Medics were taking us to the hospital. My hands were opened and blood was flowed covering my clothes. I stayed there for 25 days."

With a pale face, and dominant silence, Zakeia remembered her dead brothers saying" I knew nothing. I thought they were all injured, just like me, as my relatives told me. By chance, a doctor came to check out, and thinking I am sleeping, he said she is the girl who was survived while three of her brothers were martyred. I was shocked, I didn’t believe at first, then my aunt told me that they are birds in Paradise by now. That was what she said and I cried a lot. I can’t believe they died. I just keep remembering them with my brothers and cry a lot."

Zakeia fell silent and her eyes were overflowed with tears, she added "I pray to God every moment to have my mother back, we need her so much, we are just children and we are no more able to endure this".

About the wife situation, Abssi said" little Ne’ma was survived as her mother was holding her. When the missile exploded, the wall and ceilings were blown around us, and my wife seemed to embrace little Ni’ma as the medics said. They took them together to the ambulance after. When I visited her in Nasser Hospital in Khanyouniss, she was in critical situation but struggling for her life. I cried when I saw her. I did not know her. She was intubated and her body was swollen. She was in coma as she suffered fractures in her back and chest. She got 20 stitches in her head. When the medics brought her out the rubble they thought she was lifeless. Now she is in Egypt receiving the medical treatment for we can’t manage her wounds in Gaza."

Looking at the sky, Al-Abssi prayed to god saying" Oh, my Lord, bring my wife back to me and my children. Bring her back to her Ne’ma. I won’t cross my arms. I will sue the killers. We are civilians we form no danger for anybody. We were safe in our house… why we would be targeted by the Israeli warplanes while sleeping in the night??"

Zakeia said" all the family members got his share of injuries. My sister Nida’ -19 years old- was hit in the head. Feda’ as well was hit in the head. My father and mother were injured, too. Our house was totally demolished and we have nothing now. we live now at my Uncle’s house with my grandmother. We have no house now. We are no more a family. Until now, I went through two surgeries. They put platinum in my arm. I went through a skin transplantation as well. And will have a third surgery within a month".

Concerning Ne’ma she was hit in the forefront, neck feet, and part of her tongue was cut. Little Ne’ma was hospitalized for a week. When her brothers went to see her, she was not able to know them. Whenever they mention the names of her martyred brother she replies" Died…Died!!"  This baby was finally joined to her sister and brothers. They took care of her. They all wait for the return of their mother to support them in this plight. 

The father brought up the memories "after my departure from the hospital, my neighbors told me that they found my children’s’ bodies about 35 meters away from the house after the explosion". He added "I used to carry Sedqi on my shoulders while Ahmed and Mohamed used to walk beside me. I don’t know how to handle their absence. I think this might be a nightmare, one day my family would come back to me and live together once again"  

He retrieved his son sobhi 4 years old who was hit as the rest of his brothers" Sobhi was so frightened. When he see the bodies of Palestinian children on TV he closed his eyes and hid them with both hands. I was not able to make my children feel safe anymore especially after the death of 3 of them".

The Al-Abssi family is just one Palestinian family who have faced death and lost many of its members. This family is suffering from displacement and trauma. Now, There are hundreds of Palestinian families who have lived the horrors of war and days still reveal the massacres committed by Israeli occupation forces against civilians and children.

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