Wednesday marked four months since a Hamas offensive started the ongoing bloody Gaza war. This story tells the story of two children in the middle of war.
A 15-year-old lives near the Egyptian border in Rafah Hussam Al-Attar.
The teenager ended up in Rafah with his family from the northern part of Gaza under Israeli bombardment, first to Al-Nasr, then to Khan Yunis and finally to Rafah.
In Rafah, Hussam has been nicknamed the Newton of Gaza when he built a windmill as his own source of electricity for his family’s tent.
– Newton was sitting under an apple tree when an apple fell on his head and he discovered gravity. We live here in the dark in the middle of a tragedy with rockets falling on us. I thought of inventing a source of light and I did it, Hussam explains in an interview with the news agency Reuters.
The apple story has made an English scientist of Isaac Newton to the popular science history of a memorable figure.
The Al-Attar family’s tent is next to the house, which helps Hussam to climb the small metal wings on the roof. They act as small turbines to generate electricity to charge the batteries and further to the lamps.
– I was really happy when I managed to do this to make life easier for my mother, my sick father and my cousins in the conditions we suffer from here, Hussam says.
Hussam and his family are among the more than a million people who have crammed into the southern part of Gaza under Israeli military action.
According to the health authorities working under Hamas, more than 27,000 people have died in Gaza during the war that lasted exactly four months.
The decades-long crisis in the Middle East was triggered into the ongoing bloody war by the terrorist organization Hamas’s attack on southern Israel on October 7, which Israel says resulted in the deaths of around 1,200 people and the kidnapping of 253 people.
“Kidnapped is cheese, killed is cottage cheese”
One of the Hamas abductees was an Irish Irishman Emily Hand.
Emily was kidnapped from Beer’s kibbutz, where she was staying with a friend. He completed nine years as a hostage of Hamas.
In November, Emily was released by Hamas.
Emily now lives with her father in a temporary apartment, her mother died years ago. Tom Hand says that Emily no longer speaks in fearful whispers as she did after her release.
However, he uses code words as his defense mechanism when talking about things related to the abduction.
– What are olives? Tom Hand asks his daughter when Israeli broadcaster Kan visits them.
– Terrorists, Emily answers.
Tom says that in Emily’s code language, Gaza is “box”, kidnapped is “cheese”, killed person is “cottage cheese” and blood is “watermelon”.
Although Emily is receiving help to recover, there is still a long road ahead.
– He always wants the door closed and the blinds closed. He needs to know all the time that he is safe in this house, says Tom Hand.
According to Israel, 132 people are still kidnapped in Gaza. 35 children died in the attack by Hamas in Israel.
An estimated 11,500 children and young people under the age of 18 have died in Gaza during the war.
Hussam has no intention of joining them.
– I hope that I will become a scientist like Newton was and invent something that benefits not only the people of Gaza, but also the whole world, Hussam reflects.