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PCHR: Occupied Lives -She might never walk again

PCHR: Occupied Lives -She might never walk again

On 17 June 2012, at around 11:30 pm, Israel’s forces launched 2 missiles from helicopters, targeting a civilian owned private metal workshop in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. As a result, Rami Shawqi Mansour (25), his wife Amani Ismail (25) and their 5 month old daughter Layan, civilians that were walking in the area, sustained serious injuries: “We had just come from visiting my brother-in-law in Kherbat al-Adas village. We were looking for a taxi along the street when we suddenly heard the bombing behind us.”

This attack occurred amidst a series of increased airstrikes launched by Israeli forces in June. Some of these attacks targeted civilian objects in violation of international law, including houses, cars, farms, factories and a school. A number of civilians were injured during these attacks, including the young Mansour family: “I was carrying my daughter in my arms when the workshop was hit by the missiles. I pulled her closer to my chest and looked behind to ask my wife to hurry up, but I saw her bleeding on the ground. I tried to help her stand up, but I could not. That is when I noticed that I was also wounded and bleeding from my left leg.”

A few minutes after the missile struck the metal workshop, help arrived at the scene: “I could not even help my wife. I was just shouting for people to come and help us. People came and carried her into the taxi, but an ambulance arrived as we were leaving and we were all moved into the ambulance.”

The family received first aid from the paramedics as they were rushed to Abu Youssef al Najjar Hospital: “My wife was bleeding heavily from her left side and they were trying to stop the bleeding. I also noticed that my daughter had an injury on her arm.”

At the hospital, Rami found out that shrapnel from the missile had penetrated his left leg from one side and exited on the other side. His wife, however, was in critical condition: “They provided first aid in al Najjar Hospital and then transferred her to Gaza European Hospital in Khan Yunis. Shrapnel had penetrated her back and damaged her lungs. They even had to remove her spleen, because it was seriously damaged in the attack.”

Rami’s wife was subsequently transferred to Mar Yousef Hospital in East Jerusalem, where she is currently stabilizing: “Doctors say that she might never walk again. We got married only one and a half years ago. Our lives were just beginning and now she is paralyzed. She is only 25. They have destroyed her life.”

The psychological effects and trauma have not been easy for Rami to bear. He is in pain, and he struggles to stand or move, even with a walking stick: “I feel completely destroyed. I cannot even sleep anymore. I no longer eat or drink normally. I feel unsafe, but I have to protect my family. I am really trying my best to support my wife and help her accept her new situation.”

This attack will also have a huge financial impact for the Mansour family in the coming months: “I am a civil servant and I do not earn very much. I am still paying debts ensuing from the dowry I paid for my marriage. I pay the rent and I also provide for my father who is currently not working. My financial situation was already bad and now it is even worse, because I will have to start paying hospital bills.” There is no support available for this young family in Gaza.

In spite of all these challenges, Rami is hopeful that his family will have a better future: “They have left me with nothing. Why would anyone want to destroy an innocent person’s life? I am not in the military. I was just a man walking down the street with my family and we were hit by shrapnel. We did nothing to deserve this. My wife did not deserve it. All they want to do is destroy our lives and take control of everything. But I have strong will and patience. What else can I hope for? I believe my wife will get well. Someday, we will be free and our lives will be better.”

The direct targeting of a civilian object constitutes a war crime, as codified in Article 8(2) (b) (ii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Similarly, under Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the destruction of private property is prohibited unless rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.



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