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FreeGaza Movement

Human rights group that sailed 5 times into port of Gaza.

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The cruel war on the Gaza Strip has stopped and the journalists and camera crews are searching for new hot locations to cover. After massive destruction and hundreds casualties, hundreds of thousands of Gazans are now homeless after this war.

Husam Darweesh Al Louh is a 10-year-old dynamic boy who lives with his family in Al-Moghraq village south of Gaza City. Husam and his family found themselves forced to evacuate their house as it was just 300 meters away from the tanks and missiles. "After the war had started, we decided not to leave our home and we thought that the Israelis wouldn't reach us" said Husam. But on 4th of January, the Israeli tanks started to get closer into what used to be called Netzareem settlement at the time the Israelis had settled there. From that position, the Israeli soldiers started to shoot and launch shells against civilians like in the rest of the Gaza Strip.

"We were fleeing from death to death" are the words Husam's mother spoke to me. She was confused at that time as her family took shelter in two different places - or what was a so-called "safe place", although there was no real safe place anywhere in the Gaza Strip. "We spent days and nights full of terror and fear" the mother said in a very grave voice. When the danger got closer and closer and the situation was getting worse and worse, the family finally had no other choice than to leave their home, fleeing from the dreadful Israeli shelling and bombing. "We were forced to leave our home because the shelling was coming too close and was too heavy" said the mother. It has to be said that the house of the family is made of tin sheets which for sure cannot provide safety against bombs and shells falling from the sky.

I could not help myself but to ask Husam's father about his thoughts and his feelings at this time, but his answers were hesitant as if he had forgotten what happened to his sons Husam and Rami. At first, Mr. Darweesh took a deep breath and then spoke hesitantly: "I called one of my friends who lived not far from my home to ask him to spend the nights in his home in order to get away from the most dangerous area at least a little bit". Mr. and Mrs. Darweesh have 4 young boys and 3 lovely girls. The father decided to divide his family in 2 groups so as not to be all in one place, even in his friend house.

For two days the family got out of their home and one group took a little shelter in the friend's house and the other group went to one of the UNRWA schools.

On January 6, at noon, a terrible thing happened to the family as two of the boys, Husam and Rami, and 13 of their neighbors were directly targeted by three Israeli tank shells fired from near their house. "My brother and I and 13 of my neighbors were walking in Salah El Dear street (the main street of the village) when the shells began to fall". The people of this little group were walking close to each other. "I don't know why they targeted us as it was known for the Israelis that we were all civilians", Omer one of the injured people said, and "I was on my way to get some food from the market for my family when the soldiers started firing the shells over our heads and everywhere around us."

The shells, which in fact are illegal, were full of shrapnel's inside and fell into the little group of people, lifting them up from the ground and projecting them into the middle of the street.

Husam received one of the shrapnels into his leg and is now suffering from severe pain because of that. The shrapnel damaged very sensitive tissues in Husam's leg and he would need physiotherapy treatment now. "My life has changed entirely and I started to see the whole world from a darker side. I will never forget that day" Husam says.

There are no words that would be adequate to describe the situation in the Gaza Strip. The Israelis continue to call what happened in Gaza an "Operation to fight terrorism". An "operation" where tens of thousands of Gazans were either killed or physically and psychologically wounded, an "operation" where half of casualties were children and women, an "operation" where schools, universities and mosques were targeted. In reality, it was a war against humanity, justice and freedom.