Name: Mona Krees (29)
Location: Middle Area, Gaza Strip
Profession: Organizational capacity building trainer
Languages: Arabic, English
Mona Krees (29) is an organizational capacity building trainer who lives with her family in the Middle Area of the Gaza Strip. On 11 July, in the middle of the night, she received a distressed phone call from her sister, Daleen, in Khan Younis. In the targetting of the Al-Hajj family home, which resulted in the deaths of seven people, the house of Mona and Daleen’s relatives had also been destroyed. The al-Athamna family arrived on Daleen’s doorstep in the middle night, barefoot, homeless, and utterly distraught. Mona describes receiving the upsetting call.
A normal night in Gaza
“After three wars in less than seven years, you cannot still be as you once were. Since the current offensive on Gaza started, we wake up every morning asking ourselves, “Are we still alive?” If the answer is yes, we wonder who must be the new victims who have had their houses destroyed over their heads. This is how we pass our days in Gaza.
We are all at risk of death at any moment. What could justify the bombing of a house over the heads of its residents during the holy month of Ramadan? Where are the international conventions, charters and law? Are they all a lie? Just ink on paper?
Two days ago, I received a phone call in the middle of the night from my sister, Daleen, who lives in Khan Younis. Crying and shouting, she told me that a whole family of our relatives, the al-Athamna family, had suddenly arrived at her door, barefoot. They knocked on their door shouting, “Help, help!” When my sister opened the door, they fell to the ground on the threshold of the house. “Our home was destroyed over our heads,” they wept.
It happened during the massacre of the al-Hajj family, whose house Israeli warplanes bombed as they were sleeping. Seven people were killed in this attack. The al-Athamna family home was also destroyed due to the force of the explosion, and body parts of the victims of the blast, their neighbours from the al-Hajj family, were scattered all around.
The al-Athamna house had been home to four families of my relatives: Mohammed (50) is a father of 6 sons and daughters; Ashraf (47) is a father of 5; Mahmoud (36) is a father of 4; and Akram (33), who was recently married. Now, they have no home for their wives and children. Mahmoud’s wife, who recently had a baby, had a heart attack due to the shock of the explosion, and she is in a critical condition in hospital. Doctors cannot say if she will recover.
As I listened to my sister cry, I thought to myself, “How would I feel if I saw the body parts of my neighbours falling onto my home while, at the same time, my home was destroyed and my family displaced, and my neighbours were asking me for help! Was this a drama or an action movie?! No, this was just another night in Gaza.”