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They killed Akram and now they’re destroying the few belongings he left behind
independent minds
The sound of explosions and clashes boomed all night and into the early hours and we guessed that Israeli foot soldiers were trying to press on deeper into the city from the south. Whenever the firing salvoes paused for few seconds, we could hear the tank engines. The Gaza Strip was already pretty small before this conflict began, but it has got even smaller after being divided into three isolated sections by the Israeli army.
In the past 17 days of the onslaught, there hasn’t been a night without heavy strikes on Gaza, but last night, the shelling never stopped for more than a few seconds and aircraft, artillery cannons and gunboats fired their missiles into Gaza all at the same time.
It’s OK, it’s still a long way from us, I said to Alaa, who is 9 months pregnant and due in hospital in the morning (Wednesday) when the doctors are planning to induce the birth of our first baby. We’ve been taking refuge at my in laws’ place in the middle of Gaza City
But to the north, where our evacuated apartment building is located, missiles had also been landing.
Alaa fretted and it was difficult to comfort her since there were reports that the al-Andalous tower, a 14-story residential complex that is only 30 from our home had been struck.
When the darkness lifted, I hurried to check on the family home.
Turning right into our street, I saw scores of people gathering under what remained of the al-Andalous tower. The road was filled with stones, dust and smashed glass . One look at our own building from the outside was enough to let us imagine how things would be on the inside. There were no windows left.
Residents of the tower were bringing down what they could save of their damaged pieces of furniture and belongings. The staircase was gone, so they dropped down everything from mattresses and bedcovers to televisions using a rope.
In our building, the doors of the lift had been blown away due to the strong air concussion, the timber doors of my uncles' apartments were blown open and everything was covered in dust and broken glass.
I found my mother at her apartment which is next door to my own; she was showing the local media the destruction and the window frames  that had crashed down on my father's bed. "They killed Akram and now they’re destroying the few belongings he left behind” she was saying. It’s just 10 days since my Dad, Akram, was killed by an Israeli airstrike on the day the ground offensive began.
Inside, I retrieved all the baby clothes that we’ve bought for my daughter. It seems we’re going to be away from our home for longer than we imagined.
Later Alaa looked sadly through the photos I took of the destruction at the apartment where we’ve lived for less than a year. She never expected, she told me, that our baby would spend the first days of her life outside of our home moving from shelter to a shelter.

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Dear Fares,
please, keep writing whenever you have a moment. We all are in the different parts of the world, but we are your friends!

Please, please, be extra careful! They are coming to the residential areas.


""""Israeli analysts say a ground war fought in the narrow streets and alleys of Gaza City and other urban centres would make the conflict to date seem tame. “The Israel Defence Forces will enter, with great force, with tens of thousands of soldiers, into the heart of the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip,” the respected commentator Alex Fishman wrote in yesterday's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.""""

Very glad to see you and you family are OK ... thanks to others from here for letting me know.

All our best wishes for you and your wife and baby.

We are all praying for you.

it terrifies me that they say its going to get worse! how can it get worse!! its already terrible...the western media doesnt show its pple all the pictures of the children injured...babies for God's sake!! the ppl have no idea how mortifying it is!! Israel is looking for Hamas pple who r hiding among the civilians so now what?! kill everyone?!! why cant anyone talk some sense into Isreal...why arent they listening? a few missiles who hurt no one...no one!! is worth all this?! May God have mercy on u & ur pple...i wish there was something i could offer or help with other than just words!

it thought it was you!

when i saw the header for this entry, i was afraid the 'akram' in the title was you. i am glad you are still surviving. stay strong. i understand it must be difficult to post the pictures you are taking.. but i'm so curious to see the real gaza from a first hand perspective, and if you share your pictures it might give your blog the credibility it deserves.

may Allah be with you.

Dear Fares,

After hearing your experiences and reading and watching the terrible devestation the Israelis are unleashing on Gaza and its people, it makes our Foreign Minister , David Milliband's statment that ' Israel is the beacon of democracy' obscene. We wish all of Palestine and yourself and your lovely wife Alaa all the best in the world, and a healthy and happy baby inshallah.

Please keep us posted with your news and when the baby is born, we would love to see photos of her or him.

You are on our minds and in our hearts

Hello Fares,
My heart and support goes out to every member of your family.
I am very sorry all the tradegy that has stricken you in the last 20 days. Above all, I am extremely saddened to know that you have lost your father. My sincerest condolences go out to you and your family.
I cannot imagine what you must be going through.
But you will make it through, I promise you.
My family and I are extremely saddened by the atrocities that have been committed and are doing our very best here to raise awareness and pressure our government.
I get the feeling that this war will end very soon. We will keep praying.
I want you all to know just how amazing you guys are. Your strength is unequivalent to anything I will encounter in this lifetime. They will not break you. I only hope to have a tenth of the strength you have.
Lastly, I don't want you to forget all the people who are rooting for you. You are on our minds and in our hearts.
warmest regards,

Dear family
You must know that from Paris, so many people are praying for you. Our whole family's life has stopped from the beginning of the massacres in Gaza. From more that 25 years, from here, we are acting for the liberation of this beloved Palestine and we are deeply sure that one day, this land will be free. I'm deeply convinced that after Gaza world will be different. Something has happened, consciences are changing, here in France words to qualify the massacres are becoming free; it's a great change!
I'm thinking every minute to Alaa; Allah is with you and with the whole Palestinians.
I'm a French woman but I love your country like if was my native country. I hope so much, the day will come I will kiss the soil of your country. It's my deeper dream.
All our best wishes for you and your wife and baby.I'm thinking so much to your mother.
Please don't stop to write us, your words are a very precious link between you and us.
With love, Nelly

My deepest condolences for the death of your father and for all the civilians, killed in Gaza as the result of this war, which was launched by criminals from Hamas and other terrorist organizations. Gaza is one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world with majority of population bellow 17 y.o. War in Gaza is hell. There is no way to fight in such areas without civilian casualties - and these casualties are all human beings, with their own lives, their own feelings and thoughts, with the people they love...

Hamas knew all this, but chose to bring the Israeli army into Gaza by shelling Israeli civilians. Hamas are obvious war criminals, terrorists and worst enemies of peaceful Palestinians, whom they use as human shields.

People in Gaza should know, that Israel doesn't want to occupy Gaza and doesn't want wars. And the evidences are clear and obvious: Israel withdrew from Gaza, Israel exercised tremendous restraint at the face of the terrorist aggression against its civilians for eight years. Israel was compelled to enter Gaza when it had absolutely no alternative. You in Gaza should know: your worst and most cruel enemy is fanatical criminal terrorist organization Hamas and the likes of Hamas. They brought upon you destruction, death, misery and despair.

I hope, that soon this criminal regime of Hamas will collapse, for the best of the Palestinians, Israelis, all people of good will in the Middle East and world and for the best of peace between Israel and Palestinians.

r u kidding me? u have to be? its not that i am with Hamas, no not at all, i knew that the Plestenians made the mistake of their lives by electing them, but its easy to fool pple in the name of religion..look all over the world including Israel!!! what is Israel? i wont even go there, because its a fact of life now , just pls. dont say Israel was compelled? just dont...Israel had a choice..what about before the attack? terrible conditions unhuman?!! was it compelled then too?? oh this is way too much. Hamas dont care & Israel is happily getting rid of everyone & the civilians r paying the price! how unfair & sad is that?

Israel is the place worths visiting. Of course, religion is the fact of life here, but Israel is a secular state.

Now, what do you mean "before the attack". These attacks go on for eight years, meanwhile Israel pulled out of Gaza, removed all its soldiers and all its civilians from there. There is no justification whatsoever for the Hamas terrorist and indiscriminate aggression against Israeli civilians, there is absolutely no justification for kiddnapping of our soldier from Israel's territory and keeping him in captivity somewhere in Gaza without even letting the Red Cross visiting.

The conditions in Gaza are indeed hard: the place is overcrowded and impoverished. I think, many people in Gaza think with nostalgia today about the years of the Israeli occupation, when Gazans worked in Israel and in the Israeli settlements and when the life standards in Gaza where much higher, than today.

But the occupation is not normal situation. The future of Gaza, of course, is in the framework of the future Palestinian state. The Hamas regime in Gaza is a huge obstacle for the Palestinian state. Not only it's the second government, so that Israel cannot make deal with the PA government in regard of Gaza (and Gaza is inseparable part of the Palestinian Authority), but also what message does it send to Israel?

It sends very wrong message. It says: "every territory, which you vacate, will become a base of terrorism against your citizens. You left Gaza - and received rockets in your face."

Of course, Israel had no choice other than to defend its people. The security of Israelis is the primary and most importaint commitment of the Israeli government. Israel did all it could to avoid this war, it erupted when it became absolutely unavoidable.

My heart is with the people of Gaza and with the Israeli soldiers. I hope, that the horror and hell in Gaza will not last long. It is now obvious, that Israel delivered very hard blow to the terrorists and the end of the operation is nearing. It's now time for the Gazans to say their word and to topple the criminal regime. I hope, that my son and Fares' children and my children will live in peace, friendship, cooperation, prosperity. I hope, that the Palestinians will have a leadership, which leads the people to decent life rather than to martyr death. I hope, that this war will ultimately make peace closer.


You say:
'there is absolutely no justification for kiddnapping of our soldier from Israel's territory and keeping him in captivity somewhere in Gaza without even letting the Red Cross visiting.'

You don't see any irony in that statement whatsoever?

One Israeli soldier, in captivity in Gaza, without access to the Red Cross.

One and a half million people in captivity in Gaza, under attack, unable to escape; many dying and dead without access to the Red Cross.

Or can you somehow justify the fact that the Red Cross has accused Israel of 'shocking' (their word not mine) war crimes in preventing aid workers get access to the injured and dying?

Don't bother answering.

Just want you to know that there are many, many people praying for you and your people. I will pray for you and your family, for you wife's safe delivery, and for the cessation of the violence every day.

Dear fares,
I cant imagine what you and the other Palestinians are going through.I wish I had something to offer you to alleviate the pain and the suffering and I offer you my deepest condolences to you and your family. We all watch helplessly the genocide that is happening inside Gaza and there is little we could do to stop it. I belive that everything happens for a reason and Insha Allah you and your family will get through these difficult and hard times. The only thing that I can offer you as a fellow Muslim is to pray for you, your family and every other Palestinian. I also recommend you to pray a lot because it is one of the times that most prayers are accepted and read a lot of Qur’an. I wish you the best and your wife Alaa and hope she gives birth to a healthy baby.

I pray with all of my heart for you, your family and all in Gaza.

Salaam alaykum,

Ann Marie, Dublin

they hit a UN school where pple r hiding & a hospital...ya Rab Ostor..hope u r ok..

I just cannot understand how Israel can murder so many innocent men, women and children and then drag out the holocaust, anti-semetism and self-defense as justification.

There has to be another reason, it just doesn't make sense.

I hate to say this, I really do but I am waiting for Iran to finish that bomb and use it, then, and only then it seems there may be peace in that part of the world.

Hoping All is Well Fares.

we haven't heard from you today.

I am very worried by this.

I find what is happening in Gaza / Palestine inexcusable and cannot understand it at all.

I hope & wish you, Alaa and your baby are all healthy and safe.

I hope your gods are looking down on you with favour.

Being an atheist, I do not understand religion being used as an excuse for hatred. My family are Irish Catholics and witnessed and suffered too much injustice. My wife is Polish, & Catholic, she too has witnessed too much suffering and injustice.

I don't understand how the Israelis can do this, they are doing exactly what was done to them in the second war.

They will reap what they sew, it is inevitable.

Fares, Peace be with you and your family.

Please give us a sign soon that all is OK.


Congratulations on the birth of your daughter!

I just want to send you and your wife and the rest of your family every good wish and hope for health and long life for all of you, and for your new baby daughter. May peace be with all of you, and may your daughter grow up in a free and prosperous Palestine.

I have been so anxious for your safety, I have been checking the independent website constantly for news of you all. I thank God that your daughter has been delivered safely, and I hope your wife is doing well, too. As a grandmother, too, I send greetings and warm good wishes also to your mother, and I wish so much that your father had not been killed. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

As a U.S. citizen, I just want you to know how VERY, VERY sorry I am for the U.S.-enabled and sponsored holocaust that Israel is carrying out against Gaza. "Sorry" does not begin to express my grief and rage as the killing goes on and on and on. Like all of you, I cry out to God. May God have mercy on us all.

Dear Fare,
Since Wednesday we feel alone without news about you and your family. Are Alaa and the baby all right?
Yesterday was a very sad day for whole the people in Gaza; we have cried so much when we have seen Israeli shells to the UN headquarters, the hospital, the school and the building used by the media. What a shame! Dear Fare, I've said yesterday we are praying so much for you and for all the Gazaouis since the beginning of the massacres but today it was worst; I was so terrified for everybody in Gaza. You are in our hearts all day long; I can say our life has stopped to be normal since the 27 th of December? Please, keep writing whenever you have a moment, without news from you we feel alone with our pain.
With love from Paris,

Dear Fare,
I was so anxious for you and your whole family!
As soon as I got up, I started looking for new s about you in The Independent. When I saw the photo of you and your daughter in your arms, I’ve started to cry. What a joy the birth of this child! you're right, she is a light at night in Gaza. I want to send you and Alaa all my best congratulations on the birth of Somaya. I hope so much peace will be with all of you, and may your daughter grow up in a free and Palestine; it’s my only and deep wish. I can’t realize yet what has happened in Gaza from the end of December. It’s a terrible nightmare.
Dear Fare, we are every day in the streets of Paris to denounce the horror of this holocaust. We are located in a place called the Fountain of Innocents ; for us this is a symbol of our resistance against the Israeli barbarity. Since years, always at the same place, one Saturday a month, we denounce Palestine’s occupation. From the beginning of the blockade of Gaza, we’ve tried to explain to Parisians what is the life in Gaza. It’s a very difficult work because ignorance and bias of the people are very high.
As French people, we feel very much responsible for the disaster but for days now we can only all watch helplessly the genocide that is happening inside Gaza.
Dear Fare, you are all in our thoughts and prayers. Please keep writing; it’s really important for us!
With love

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