Mamoun Ahmad Dalloul in front of his destroyed factory in Tel-el-hawa.
Mamoun Ahmad Dalloul (36) lives in Tel-el-hawa with his wife and 9
children. Until recently, he owned a
dairy-products factory that produced milk, cheese and yoghurt. Since December 2008, Mamoun has re-built his
factory 4 times after it was repeatedly targeted and destroyed by Israel’s
forces. On 04 June 2012, at around 1:00,
his factory was targeted and destroyed by Israel’s forces for the 5th
On the evening of the most recent attack, Mamoun received a call from
his brother, who lives adjacent to the factory, informing him that the factory
had been destroyed by a missile from an F16: “I rushed to my factory and, when
I arrived, there were firefighters and police.
The neighbors were panicking and standing in the streets. I was told that a missile had hit the factory
and then penetrated 6 or 7 meters into the ground. There was something like an earthquake for 5
minutes, and then the missile exploded and pulled everything into the crater. I do not know what kind of missile it was.”
After 5 attacks on his factory, Mamoun is devastated: “The first time my
factory was destroyed was in December 2008 during Operation Cast Lead. The factory was very big and on the ground
floor of our residential apartment. I
received a call from Israel’s forces, who told me that the building would be
targeted in the next 15 minutes. My family and I fled immediately. 3 missiles were fired from an F16 and the
building was completely destroyed. In
just a few minutes, we lost everything.
We were suddenly homeless and I had lost my only source of a
Mamoun and his family were forced to shuffle from one household to another,
looking for a place to stay: “We would stay at my parents’ house for a few days
then move to my brother-in-law’s house and spend a few more at my brother’s
house. My son kept asking why we had no
home. Finally, as my wife is a refugee,
UNRWA built us a single residential unit.
I then rebuilt my factory in Sabra, which is in central Gaza City. It was very small and modest because there
was barely any construction material in Gaza, as well as money
constraints. 6 months later, it was
destroyed by Israel’s forces. I then partnered
with someone else and tried to rebuild in a different location, but it was
destroyed while we were still constructing.”
A crater made by the missile fired from an
F16 on 04 June 2012.
At this point, Mamoun had given up and decided to not rebuild his
factory: “The first 2 times, I rebuilt because this is my only source of a livelihood. There are hardly any employment opportunities
in Gaza. My factory provided work for
120 individuals, including my 3 brothers and my son. I saw how they were all suffering without
work and thought that the factory would at least provide them with the income
to support themselves and their families.
I had enough after the 3rd attack, but a representative of
the European Commission came to visit from Jerusalem and said they would
mediate on my behalf. They promised that
the factory would not be targeted again.
Each time I bought new machines, they came and took pictures and
reassured me all was well. I was
encouraged by this and started to develop the factory slowly. Then, just like that, it was targeted and
destroyed again. They did not keep their
Each attack has resulted in severe economic hardship for Mamoun and his
family: “I have had to borrow money and my savings are almost depleted. I sold 2 pieces of my land to rebuild my
factory. I even sold the house that
UNRWA gave us to set up the factory and have a source of income. I can no longer sustain the expenses for my family. For a while, people would not even let me
rent an apartment in their buildings, because they thought it would be
Mamoun feels that his story is one of many that illustrate the suffering
of Gaza: “There are people who are displaced and dying. I know what it feels like to be
homeless. My children have had to grow up
seeing dead people, war and destruction.
They no longer even react to airstrikes, because this is what they are
used to. My factory was a civilian
establishment and I did not plan any resistance activities there. Why would I want to put my family in such
danger? I am tired of this
destruction. I have no future now. Why can’t we be left to live in peace and
stability like other people in the world?”
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 the
Fourth Geneva Convention Article 53, the destruction of private property is
prohibited unless rendered absolutely necessary by military operations. The destruction of such factories infringes
upon human rights principles, including the right to work and right to attain
an adequate standard of living contained in Article 11 of the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Mamoun Ahmad Dalloul