“I
wish that if our fate is to die, that we die together, I wouldn’t want anybody
left to have to bear this sort of pain”

 Jihad, Mu’tassam, and
Zeid Nasla with a picture of M’uz Nasla, killed during the attack.


 

On 1
January 2009 at around 15:00, Israeli military planes targeted a water tower
across from the home of the Nasla family in North Beit Lahiya. The family were
making lunch when the first bomb hit. As the family were trying to escape the
smoke filled house, a second and third bomb struck the area, killing Ayoun
Nasla, 6, and M’uz Nasla, 2.


For
Ayoun and M’uz’s father, Jihad Nasla, the memory of what happened that day is
especially distressing. “I found M’uz with his heart outside his chest and my
daughter Ayoun with part of her skull missing and her brains spilt out,"
says Jihad. “It is the night time, when I used to tell M’uz the stories of
Abraham to get him to sleep, and when I go to visit their graves, when I most
vividly recall the incident”. “I can no longer go into clothes shops to buy
clothes for my children, I used to buy for three boys and two girl’s; I can’t
bear to buy only for three”, added Fatima, 42.  


The
children’s mother, Fatima, has also given a lot of thought and attention to
that fateful day. It is clear that she ruminates on the moments, days and years
before the attack took place. “M’uz used to go to the balcony of the house
every morning and say “good morning” to Majdal and Herbia, where our family is
originally from, and every night he would say “good night.” The day he was
killed he had said good morning but he never got to say good night,” says
Fatima. “M’uz used to have a favourite resistance song he sang all the time, it
reminds me so much of him anytime it is played, especially because it is played
a lot on the anniversary of his death, which also happens to be the anniversary
of one of the resistance groups.  The
title of the song is now written on his grave.”


The
family dynamic has been dramatically changed since the attack, a result of the
stress they all share; the stress of one family member increases the anxiety of
the others.  “My wife now cries every
day, I have to try and calm her down every time and this has become a source of
conflict between us,” says Jihad, to which Fatima adds: “I cry so often I feel
my vision is now starting to be affected.” The children’s anxiety also feeds
into the parent’s anxiety. “If Zeid wakes up in the middle of the night, when
it’s dark, he starts to scream. I then wake up terrified something is happening”
says Jihad.

The
anxiety of the children is plain both from their parents discussion of the
changes they have gone through since the death of their siblings, and their
reaction to the unhappy topic of the discussion. “Mu’tassam was very calm until
the incident. But he has started to become violent. His grades have also been
lightly affected” says Jihad.


Talk
of the future for the couple is largely filled with fear and doubt. “In the
future I hope to live in peace with the Israelis, but I doubt this will happen
given what the Israelis do to us” says Fatima. “I wish that if our fate is to
die that we die together, I wouldn’t want anybody left to have to bear this
sort of pain”. Jihad expresses similar feelings, “I am terrified that another
attack will take more of us, when planes are flying overhead I tell my children
to play so that we are distracted," he says. “My hope is that the pain we
carry will one day come to an end, but I don’t know how this is going to
happen.”


PCHR
submitted a criminal complaint to the Israeli authorities on 9 September 2009.
To date, no response has been received.

 

 

 

The series of narratives:

– 30 December 2008: The Hamdan Family

29 December 2008: Balousha Family

 28 December 2008: The Abu Taima family

– 27 December 2008: The Al
Ashi Family.