Dawn's Metro Article - How a 7-year-old’s death shows the inhumanity of Israel’s bombing

What would you do if, one by one, most members of your family had been killed and within months you had lost a majority of your relatives in a single conflict?

If I was in this situation, I’d move heaven and earth to get what remained of my family back to me, so that I knew they were safe.   

That is the situation that has faced the Ambassador for the State of Palestine to the UK, Husam Zomlot, whose family members were killed by a recent IDF bombing.

Husam said that eight relatives on his wife’s side, who were sheltering in Rafah, were killed in an Israeli strike. I feel so sorry for him and others like him who are suffering unimaginable grief.

This most recent tragedy was so strong that it threw the body of his wife’s cousin, 7 year old Sidra, out of the building.

Sidra was just a young innocent girl full of life, a life now taken away along with several other members of her family. This is sadly what is happening to so many families in Gaza, as a result of the horrific Israeli bombing campaign.

Families are currently stuck in the heart of Rafah in southern Gaza, 
which is currently being bombed by Israeli forces in preparation for a major ground offensive. This was where Gazans were told to flee away to safety from the conflict - but now are told that if hostages aren’t released by the start of Ramadan on March 10, troops will enter the city. 

Access to clean water or food to feed is very difficult to source now. If they do not die from IDF bombs, they could starve to death. The situation is inhumane. 

Husam’s family’s story is just one of many across the region, and with 1.3million people, including over 600,000 children, believed to be sheltering in Rafah, the need for peace has never been more pressing to save lives. 

Previously, I put pressure on them to take action to save Ada Sagi, the mother of my constituent, who had been kidnapped by Hamas during the October 7 attacks. 

Now I want to do the same for all those families seeking shelter from IDF bombs.

This grief and worry is being played out over and over for the millions of civilians still stuck in the midst of this deadly conflict.  

It goes without saying that Hamas are terrorists and what happened on October 7 was an appalling terrorist act. The subsequent actions of Israel in Gaza have been inhumane.

We are all praying for the safe return of all the hostages. However, that is not a reason to kill so many innocent people in Gaza - almost 30,000 people are believed to have lost their lives there since October. 

It poses the real question in all of this - have we, as a global community, lost our humanity? 

Where is the compassion for innocent people, like Husam’s family? I am campaigning tirelessly, so no more civilians end up another statistic, another life lost so needlessly. 

But it seems like nobody in power is listening.

I couldn’t sleep knowing how the situation is now so dire that the very place civilians were told by Israel to seek shelter for safety is now being attacked. It is clear to anyone watching that Rafah is being bombed without care for innocent civilians.  

Many have nowhere to hide from shelling now, with over half of all buildings in Gaza now damaged or destroyed, including the home of my constituent. This is systematic and cruel. 

There is no justification for this. 

If the solution is peaceful coexistence, there will be an immense amount of work needed for the people of Gaza to rebuild their lives – that’s if they are even allowed to. The humanitarian impact on the people of Gaza will be felt for decades to come.

As a large power on the international stage, Britain’s complicity in not calling for an immediate ceasefire is growing. Where is our humanity?

US President Joe Biden, and our own Foreign Secretary David Cameron, have both expressed concern about an Israeli ground operation in Rafah. But it’s time to back up those words with strong action.

It is time to take a stand and say no to any further escalations. We must immediately pause the sale of weapons to Israel. When we look back in history it will make grim reading as to the lack of action taken by those in charge.   

We must call for an immediate negotiated ceasefire on both sides, along with the release of all hostages. 

That is the only way to protect civilians and put the region on a path towards peace.