By: George Kurzom
Israeli vacuum bombs have transformed many residential towers in Gaza into rubble of stones
Exclusive to Environment and Development Horizons (Afaq magazine):
The aggression Israel launched last May against our people in Gaza Strip was a mass human massacre that systematically wiped-out entire families. The number of Palestinian martyrs reached more than 250, most of them were children, women and elderly, while the number of injured reached more than two thousand.
During those human massacres, mass killings were committed; not to mention the residential towers and many houses that were flattened, and the massive destruction of infrastructure, agricultural lands, schools, institutions as well as mosques and worship places.
Dozens of homes were completely destroyed on the heads of their residents. The war made tens of thousands homeless. Overnight, they became displaced and homeless, a lot of them were displaced to UNRWA schools.
The majority of the martyrs were civilians, non-combatants, and most of them were children, women and elderly. The bloody scenes were countless, the most notable scenes were the eight children and their mothers (the Abu Hatab and Al Hadidi families) who were directly and intentionally hit by the occupation’s shells in the Shati refugee camp; in addition to the “Al Wahda” street massacre.
The bodies of dozens of children were burned before the eyes of the civilized world. This is the aggressive killing machine that failed to achieve any of its major military goals, This is the aggressive killing machine that failed to achieve any of its major military goals such as eliminating the missiles or assassinating leading figures of Palestinian factions or destroying its infrastructure, including the tunnels.
The Israeli bombing targeted hospitals, health centers, ambulances, homes, schools, mosques, institutions, agricultural lands, and agricultural, commercial and industrial facilities that were completely or partially destroyed. In addition to all of that, sewage stations that serve hundreds of thousands of citizens were also destroyed. The destruction in Gaza is enormous, and the process of rebuilding what was destroyed will take many years.
Internationally prohibited lethal weapons
Israel’s use of the internationally prohibited lethal weapons, such as chemical weapons and incendiary shells, explains the large number of martyrs who arrived at the hospitals of the Gaza Strip with charred bodies, or torn limbs, in addition to disfigurement, amputated upper and lower limbs, and deep burns that reached bones. Israel also used poisonous gases that targeted Gazans, as it appeared in many cases of martyrs that reached Al-Shifa Hospital.
As in the previous aggressions of 2008-2009, 2012 and 2014, the evidence indicates that in this last war some targets in Gaza Strip were subjected to air and ground bombardment during the last barbaric war with cluster bombs, which are classified globally as weapons of mass destruction.
In this aggression, Israel used with greater intensity, the specifically developed version of these American-made bombs, known as DIME for short (Dense Inert Metal Explosive). This is evident by the large number of injuries with amputations of the lower and/or upper limbs.
Many victims who have had their limbs amputated are still in hospitals. The loss of limbs is one of the most known result of the use of cluster bombs, and most of the injuries caused by "Dime" bombs are the loss of arms and legs.
Military specialists and some medical sources in Gaza confirm that the occupation dropped DIME bombs on Palestinian villages, cities, camps and fields in Gaza Strip. It is known that the United States is Israel's main supplier of internationally banned weapons.
Gazans fear that some of the DIME cluster bombs did not explode when hitting the ground. These war remnants may lead to the continued suffering of citizens in Gaza Strip. It is also feared that the remnants of DIME bombs will explode in the vicinity of the rubbles of Gazans' homes, agricultural fields and orchards.
Vacuum and concussion bombs
In addition to the use of cluster and DIME bombs, Israel used vacuum and concussion bombs in bombing buildings in the last aggression on Gaza. Vacuum bombs cause the internal air to be discharged (suctioned) out of a targeted building, so the large difference between the very low internal pressure of the building and the high external pressure causes the building to explode and collapse inward.
The injuries of this type of bomb are characterized by significant damage to the internal organs of the human body, while the external effects and wounds on the body appear to be minor. It is worth noting that Israel used this type of bombs during its invasion of Lebanon and the siege of Beirut in 1982, as well as during the wars of July 2006 (against Lebanon) and December- January (2008-2009) and 2014 on Gaza.
Catastrophic health and environmental consequences
Many experts have warned of the catastrophic health and environmental consequences of the brutal Israeli bombing of water, electrical and health infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, which led to massive destruction. This is especially true for Gaza’s sole power plant, electric lines, water resources and wells.
The human catastrophe caused by the aggression in unimaginable, whether be it the lack of electricity and water and the spread of sewage causing pollution, lack of public hygiene and skin diseases, especially scabies, itching and rashes, in addition to diarrheal diseases and meningitis among children in particular. The severity of the catastrophe is much greater than the capabilities of the people to confront it on their own.
Several power lines in Gaza Strip were destroyed by aerial bombardment or ground artillery. As a result, the people suffer from daily blackouts for long periods of time. The fortunate homes are those that have three to four hours of electricity a day, but those are in very limited areas as most people have been denied electricity for long days. Refrigerators in many homes do not work and many have simply turned them into cupboards.
Gazans’ living conditions were already miserable before the last aggression. Since 2006, the people have been living under siege and starvation, not only from the Israeli occupation, but since 2013 the Egyptian side has also contributed to tightening the siege. This war came to destroy what was left of the basic necessities of life in the Gaza Strip.
Thousands of Gazan residents are still displaced, not to mention the thousands others who have already been displaced since the 2014 aggression. Additionally, there are neighborhoods that were completely destroyed and homes flattened to the ground. Not to mention the dozens of homes that were destroyed on the heads of their residents, thus annihilating entire families.
After seeing all these bloody scenes created by the occupation, some people are still surprised by Gazans’ persistence to resist and remain steadfastness as well as their preference to die with dignity than to accept injustice.
Translated by: Rasha Abu Dayyeh