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Bereaved Gaza Strip families demand answers

Oct. 3, 2009 3:55 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 5, 2009 10:23 A.M.)
Gaza – Ma’an – Families of Gaza war victims voiced their disappointment with the Palestinian request to postpone discussion of the Goldstone report at the UN Human Rights Council.

“This is not a political issue,” they said, countering US demands leading to the quashing of the resolution that the report “be discussed in a constructive and non-divisive manner.”

In Jabaliya, the Samounis, Baloushas, Subbehs, As-Silawis, Rayyans and Abed Rabbos demanded respect for the Goldstone report, and that Israel be taken to the International Criminal Court for its actions.

“This is a purely humanitarian issue,” they insisted at a news conference in the Al-Salam neighborhood, “If Israeli leaders are not held accountable this could happen again.”

“No one has the right to give up on our rights,” one member of the Samouni family said. He had been with the over 50 Samouni men, women and children trapped in one home, who lost 26 members including 10 children and seven women over the course of just over a day on 3 January.

A member of the Rayyan family, whose patriarch Nizar Rayyan was a Hamas leader, lost Nizar’s four wives and ten children, Hayam Timraz, Nawal Kahlout, Eyman Kassab, Sherin Udwan, and ten of his children, Ghassan, Abdul-Qadir, Ayah, Maryam, Zaynab, Abdul-Rahman, Aysha, Halima, Osama and Reem who were between four and 17 years old. All 14 were killed, along with Nizar in the first days of January.

One of Nizar’s surviving children said she had been looking forward to seeing the Israeli leaders who ordered the strike on her family home put on trial for their crime.

Mr Balousha, father of the five Balousha sisters killed in the Imad Aqil Mosque where they were taking shelter on 29 December 2008, called the decision by the Palestine Liberation Organization’s delegate to the UN one that was “not in the interest of the Palestinian people.”

The Abed Rabbo family, who lost two daughters when Israeli soldiers opened fire at close range while Khalid Abed Rabbo, his wife, mother and three children left their home holding white flags. They had run out of food. A third daughter and his mother were injured in the attack. Khalid spoke at the demonstration and denounced the role of the Palestinian Authority in postponing discussion of the Goldstone report.

The family of journalist Omar As-Silawi, who was killed when his home was targeted by Israeli airstrikes, now live in a tent because there are no reconstruction supplies allowed into Gaza. A relative of Omar said "the crime committed in Gaza is the largest and the ugliest and cannot be ignored."

The Subehs, whose home was also destroyed in the war, joined the demonstration and the bereaved families stood together and demanded rights organizations intervene to “put a stop to the Palestinian leadership’s decision” and demand Israeli leaders be put on trial.
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