Rami Shawqi
Mansour in his house in Rafah.


On 17 June 2012, at around 11:30 pm, Israel’s
forces launched 2 missiles  from
helicopters, targeting a civilian owned private metal workshop in Rafah, in the
southern Gaza Strip.  As a result, Rami
Shawqi Mansour (25), his wife Amani Ismail (25) and their 5 month old daughter
Layan, civilians that were walking in the area, sustained serious injuries: “We
had just come from visiting my brother-in-law in Kherbat al-Adas village.  We were looking for a taxi along the street
when we suddenly heard the bombing behind us.”


 

This attack occurred amidst a series of
increased airstrikes launched by Israeli forces in June.  Some of these attacks targeted civilian objects
in violation of international law, including houses, cars, farms, factories and
a school.  A number of civilians were
injured during these attacks, including the young Mansour family: “I was
carrying my daughter in my arms when the workshop was hit by the missiles.  I pulled her closer to my chest and looked
behind to ask my wife to hurry up, but I saw her bleeding on the ground.  I tried to help her stand up, but I could
not.  That is when I noticed that I was
also wounded and bleeding from my left leg.”


A few minutes after the missile struck the
metal workshop, help arrived at the scene: “I could not even help my wife.  I was just shouting for people to come and
help us.  People came and carried her
into the taxi, but an ambulance arrived as we were leaving and we were all
moved into the ambulance.”


The family received first aid from the
paramedics as they were rushed to Abu Youssef al Najjar Hospital: “My wife was
bleeding heavily from her left side and they were trying to stop the
bleeding.  I also noticed that my
daughter had an injury on her arm.”


At the hospital, Rami found out that shrapnel
from the missile had penetrated his left leg from one side and exited on the
other side.  His wife, however, was in
critical condition: “They provided first aid in al Najjar Hospital and then
transferred her to Gaza European Hospital in Khan Yunis.  Shrapnel had penetrated her back and damaged
her lungs.  They even had to remove her
spleen, because it was seriously damaged in the attack.”


Rami’s wife was subsequently transferred to Mar
Yousef Hospital in East Jerusalem, where she is currently stabilizing: “Doctors
say that she might never walk again.  We
got married only one and a half years ago. 
Our lives were just beginning and now she is paralyzed.  She is only 25.  They have destroyed her life.”


The psychological effects and trauma have not
been easy for Rami to bear.  He is in
pain, and he struggles to stand or move, even with a walking stick: “I feel
completely destroyed.  I cannot even
sleep anymore.  I no longer eat or drink
normally.  I feel unsafe, but I have to
protect my family.  I am really trying my
best to support my wife and help her accept her new situation.”


This attack will also have a huge financial
impact for the Mansour family in the coming months: “I am a civil servant and I
do not earn very much.  I am still paying
debts ensuing from the dowry I paid for my marriage.  I pay the rent and I also provide for my
father who is currently not working.  My
financial situation was already bad and now it is even worse, because I will
have to start paying hospital bills.” 
There is no support available for this young family in Gaza.


In spite of all these challenges, Rami is
hopeful that his family will have a better future: “They have left me with
nothing.  Why would anyone want to
destroy an innocent person’s life?  I am
not in the military.  I was just a man
walking down the street with my family and we were hit by shrapnel.  We did nothing to deserve this.  My wife did not deserve it.  All they want to do is destroy our lives and
take control of everything.  But I have
strong will and patience.  What else can
I hope for?  I believe my wife will get
well.  Someday, we will be free and our
lives will be better.”


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 Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the destruction of private
property is prohibited unless rendered absolutely necessary by military
operations.  


To see a video narrative given by by Rami Shawqi Mansour please  click here