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Israel Killed My 13-Year-Old Son. There Is No Father’s Day in Gaza.

When Israeli war planes dropped a bomb on our house, Abdullah ran toward me and said “Dad.” It was his last word.

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Today is Father’s Day in the United States. Here in Gaza, I am one of about 15,000 fathers who have lost their children to this Zionist genocidal war. In the early morning of October 24, I was sitting with my children in my father’s house. My oldest child, Abdullah, who was 13, was hungry, as there was no bread.

The night before I got a small piece of bread. I split it into two parts to give to Abdullah and my daughter Batool. Abdullah was still hungry, so he went to the supermarket in the morning and bought a piece of biscuit. We were all sitting and talking, eating biscuits and drinking tea.

Suddenly, the Israeli war planes dropped a bomb on our house. I was knocked unconscious. My other two children, Batool and Hammoud later told me that Abdullah ran toward me and said “Dad” before he then fell to the ground. This was the last word he said in his life.

Abdullah — I called him Abboud — was a very kind human. He loved me. He loved his family. He loved life. His mind was full of great dreams. One of these dreams was to become a filmmaker and journalist. He would often take my cellphone from me to take photos and film and edit videos. He liked adventures. When I looked at him, his face was shining and I felt peace.

But Israel decided that we, the Palestinians and our children, don’t deserve peace, don’t deserve life, and that only the colonizers deserve to live in this land. Israel decided to murder Abboud and to murder about 15,000 children. Thousands of fathers lost their children and other thousands of children lost their fathers and mothers in this genocidal war.

When I compare Israel to Palestine, this is the comparison. You have Abboud, who carried love in his heart, who was very innocent. While Israeli settler colonialism on the other hand, is vicious and hates life.

When I left the hospital after healing from my injuries, I decided to go to my apartment in the north of Khan Yunis where I lived with Abboud, and where all of Abboud’s friends are.

When I arrived there, one of his friends came to me, shook my hand and said, “Hi, uncle, we miss you.” I didn’t even have the courage to look at them, Abboud’s friends. I turned my face away to hide my tears from them.

I put all Abboud’s games, his drawings and his clothes in a special room. I said, this is the only memory of Abboud here in this apartment. After the war, I said, we will make this a room for the memories of Abboud.

Later, Israel bombarded the apartment again and destroyed it. Now, everything is ended. Abboud ended and his memories ended. Everything is ended.

The question is, why has Israel killed children? Why does Israel kill our children? Israel’s leaders and the masses of Israelis who support them look at children as if they are enemies. They see that our children are the future of the Palestinians — and since Israel is founded on the narrative that there is no Palestinian people, its leaders act to end our future, end our children.

So, it’s no accident. Israel doesn’t kill our children by accident or lack of discretion. This is the Israeli strategy. The Israeli strategy is to kill our children, to end their lives, to end their dreams, then destroy the memories of them. Yes, I’m very, very, very, very sad. But this sorrow makes me more insistent. It keeps my faith that our people deserve life, deserve freedom, and my belief that this horrible, vicious apartheid state must fall.

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