Gaza Towers… When memories shatter

12 Palestinian families were removed from the civil registry, in other words they are all dead!

Jerusalem24 – Hala Al-Zuhairy– The aggression on the Gaza Strip entered its eighth day today, Monday, 17th of May 2021. As of writing this report, 200 people have been killed, including 58 children, 35 women and more than 1300 wounded.

12 Palestinian families were removed from the civil registry, in other words they are all dead!

Since the beginning of the aggression, the Israeli occupation forces have deliberately targeted the towers, whether they are residential or include institutions and commercial stores. The scene of the destruction of the Al-Jalaa Tower in front of cameras has echoed widely around the world and especially as it used to house the local headquarters of the Associated Press, Al-Jazeera and other media outlets.

 

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“Gaza paves our way to Jerusalem.”

In this context, the academic and poet Dr. Ihab Bseiso said to Jerusalem24the policy of targeting the towers is part of the psychological warfare. To add more intimidation and panic among the citizens.

Bseiso also added that the towers contained institutions, offices, cafes, and the headquarters of media outlets in addition to residential apartments with stunning views. For example, Hanadi tower, which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, while the Al-Shorouk is a tower that pulsed with life and work, as he described it.

According to Bseiso, by targeting these towers, the occupation is trying to “delete our memories” and reach the deepest details. Bseiso’s family lives near these towers whose windows collapsed due to the bombing. “The presence of my mother, who is over eighty in our house in Gaza, while I am in Ramallah, unable to extend a helping hand, leaves me with a mixture of feelings that I can only express it with the word [anger].”

Bseiso says, “in spite of all this, the spirits that we hear and see from our families strengthen us; Gaza is a miracle. It is the phoenix of Palestine emerging from its own ashes and paving our way towards Jerusalem”.

 “My memories as a child, adolescence, and mother … went with Al-Shorouk tower”

Ola Salamah told Jerusalem24, “It’s not a place anymore, nothing feels like it.” In an attempt to bring the image closer, Salamah says, “Al-Shorouk Street in Gaza is a street similar to Rukab street in Ramallah in terms of vitality. She cannot describe her feeling about what has happened and what is still happening in Gaza. She considers that the bombing of the building targeted her memory as a child, teenager and mother. The Market Street, cassette stands, her school road and “Roxy” for toys from which she bought toys as a child and others for her children when she became a mother.

The attached video shows how the street in which Ola lived all her memories looks like now.

‘solitude with the mobile’

Salama lives in a state of isolation with her phone and says that her life now consists of “conversation groups” divided as follows: the group of her family, the group of her friends from elementary school, the group of her friends from Gaza who live in Ramallah.

“My heart aches for my family,” she says. She was stressing that her eighty-year-old mother, who still lives in Gaza, is the one who strengthens and reassures her and not the other way around.

“When you arrive in Al-Shorouk, it is as if you have arrived in your own home”

Writer Khaled Jumah told Jerusalem24 that the towers in Gaza were established after the creation of the Palestinian National Authority, due to the limited space in the Strip; which limits the possibility of horizontal expansion. Jumah adds that most of the old towers are “institutional”, the most important of which is the “Al-Shorouk” tower, present in the memories of most Gazans.

Everything is available in this tower, says Jumah: Institutions, clinics, cafes, and “Al-Sousi”, one of the most famous falafel shops in Gaza, recalling eating falafel sandwiches on the stairs of the tower with his friend before heading to the studio on the upper floors to record something.

He said that, “Al-Shorouk is located on one of the most important streets of the Strip, which makes it a vital and vibrant center that we must need at some point in our day.”

Most of Jumah’s friends have offices in Al -Shorouk, “as if I am passing by something intimate,” he says. “He adds “I can’t believe that all of this no longer exists, taking with it an archive of media institutions that documented the previous wars experienced in Gaza.”

“My heart ripped off”

Many memories have been erased by the occupation when it bombed the Al-Jalaa Tower, including 5 years that Lama Hourani lived in this tower, during which she experienced the most beautiful feelings that anyone could ever live in his or her life, such as becoming a mother after many attempts of trying to conceive a child.

She still remembers all her details with her only son. Pictures printed only in her memory of the first word he said, the first time he walked, and many more.

With 4 missiles the occupation forces leveled the “Jalaa tower”, which consists of 13 floors, to the ground after giving those in it, including the media offices, institutions and apartments 10 minutes to evacuate.

Hourani did not believe the calls of her friends who told her that the tower will be targeted within minutes. When the first two missiles hit, “I calmed and said the tower is still standing.” When the tower collapsed in front of the camera lenses live on TV Hourani said, “my heart was ripped out of my chest”.

The Israeli occupation air forces targeted the towers in the Gaza Strip and destroyed 5 of them so far. Some of them comprising 14 floors, “Hanadi”, “Al Jawhara”, “Al Shorouk”, “Al Jalaa”, “Al Andalus” and Al Mushtaha Tower.

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