Hebrew-speaking doctor from Gaza announces deaths of three daughters live on Israeli television
The cries of a Hebrew-speaking doctor from Gaza announcing the deaths of three of his daughters live on Israeli television news brought home the suffering of Palestinian civilians to Israelis in the last hours of the conflict.
By Dina Kraft in Tel Aviv
Published: 5:47PM GMT 18 Jan 2009
"Oh God, my daughters have been killed," wailed Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish as he phoned an Israeli television journalist live on air on Friday night.
The broadcast minutes after his house came under Israeli fire captured a tragedy that unfolded on the national airwaves. Throughout the 22-day conflict the suffering of Gazans had been overshadowed for the Israeli by a wave of support for its troops spearheading the assault on Hamas.
But Dr Abuelaish punctured the insular viewpoint presented to Israeli viewers. Minute by minute coverage of the reporter organising ambulances and liaising with the military to permit an emergency evacuation.
Dr Abuelaish worked in several Israeli hospitals including the Chaim Sheba Medical Centre at Tel Hashomer.
He was a proponent of coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians and a unique figure who was well-known in Israel's medical community but lived in Gaza.
But when he spoke at a news conference at the hospital on Saturday, his reputation and anguish was not enough to deter right wing hecklers from shouting abuse.
A distraught Dr Abuelaish said the events were the antithesis of everything he had brought up his dead daughters to believe. "I raised my children to work and be soldiers of peace," he said. "I believed medicine could be a bridge for peace between Israelis and Palestinians."
An army spokesman said a preliminary investigation into the incident had found that soldiers in the area of the doctor's house in the Jabalia Refugee Camp had been returning fire from the source of shooting towards them. The spokesman also noted the Israeli army did its best to avoid civilian casualties, a task made difficult by what he described as an enemy that took shelter in civilian areas.
But some Israel commentators found the episode a moral rebuke of a war that almost all Israelis believe was a just retaliation by a country suffering hundreds of rocket attacks.
Boaz Gaon in the daily Maariv Sunday said that despite Israel's declaration of victory and a unilateral ceasefire Saturday, it was the image of the doctor that would for him, be the defining one of the war.
"This picture – a bereaved and brokenhearted Palestinian father, three dead girls, a little girl fighting for her eyesight and an entire life dedicated to building a bridge of coexistence that exploded into dust – for me, this was the picture of defeat of this war."
still think those zionist pigs are your friends?