Sunday, October 18, 2009

Family who lost 29 members in Gaza war: We envy the dead

By Amira Hass

"Richard Goldstone visited the Gaza City neighborhood of Zaytoun in late June to tour the compound of the extended Samouni family, the subject of coverage here in recent weeks ("'I fed him like a baby bird,'" September 17; "Death in the Samouni compound," September 25). Twenty-nine members of the family, all of them civilians, were killed in the Israel Defense Force's winter assault - 21 during the shelling of a house where IDF soldiers had gathered some 100 members of the family a day earlier......

Salah Samouni, during the telephone conversation, said: "I asked [Richard] Goldstone to find out just one thing: Why did the army do this to us? Why did they take us out of the house one at a time, and the officer who spoke Hebrew with my father verified that we were all civilians - [so] why did they then shell us, kill us? This is what we want to know."

He feels that Goldstone, in his report, lent the victims a voice. He did not expound on his frustration upon learning that the debate on the report had been postponed, but sought a way to describe how he feels nine months after the fact. "We feel [we are] in an exile, even though we are in our homeland, on our land. We sit and envy the dead. They are the ones who are at rest." "

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