22 Jul 2014

‘Last night was hellish’ – trapped in Gaza’s fire zone

“Good morning my dear,” Adeem’s first message read. “Last night was hellish.”

My friend is trapped in the middle of the fire zone. For four days and four nights now she’s been under non-stop bombardment.


Adeem Middain is in her parent’s farm house, half a mile from the Israeli border with them, her uncle and brother and two tiny children.

They are running out of food and water. They have no power. They can hear Israeli tanks around them, but dare not even look out the window.

I was relieved to hear from her. I hadn’t been able to reach her by phone last night. I couldn’t stop thinking about them cowering in the darkness all night.

It was now 7am and there had just been three F16 strikes around our hotel, the last one of which had shaken our building like an earthquake.

Live updates from Gaza: read Jonathan Miller’s blog

But there were already rumours that a ceasefire was due to come into effect at 10. I messaged Adeem to say that if this happened we’d try to reach her.

“Do u know your way to here?” she asked. “My dad is still refusing to leave but my mum gets panic attacks and high blood pressure.”

10am came and went and all we could hear was more airstrikes. Then word came through that the Israelis had rejected the five-hour ceasefire.

“Yes, I noticed that there is no ceasefire since the shelling here intensified,” Adeem replied, when I told her.

I said that there had been an astonishing response to my story of her plight. That it had been shared around widely on Twitter.

Then she wrote: “Thank everyone one on my behalf. “Tell them their support and prayers make us much stronger.”

That’s you, by the way. You, who are reading this.

A couple of hours went by. Then this: “I am so sick and disgusted by the silence of the so-called international community. They react to what’s happening here as though Gaza not part of this planet.”

It’s a sentiment shared by many here.

When we filmed people flooding out of Shajaiyah the other day – the eastern suburb of Gaza city that has been bombarded in recent days – one man said to me: “Those who are doing this are not human. It is as if they come from some other planet.”

The comment prompted me to wonder what Martians would make of all this, were they to suddenly drop in.

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