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Why Did Israel Kill My Son? Palestinian Poet Speaks from Hospital Bed After Airstrike Destroys Home

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Gazan poet, journalist and peace activist Ahmed Abu Artema describes how he lost five members of his family, including his 12-year-old son, in an Israeli airstrike on his house on October 24. Abu Artema was seriously injured and sent Democracy Now! an audio message from his hospital bed. “Israel didn’t bombard my house, didn’t kill my child by mistake. It’s the Israeli strategy,” he says. “The Israeli problem is the Palestinian existence itself.”

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman.

Shortly before today’s show, Democracy Now! reached the Palestinian poet, journalist and peace activist Ahmed Abu Artema, who lost five members of his family last month when they were killed by an Israeli airstrike. He survived the blast but was seriously injured. The dead include his 12-year-old son. Artema helped inspire the Great March of Return, a series of weekly nonviolent protests in Gaza that began in 2018. Israel responded to the protests by killing over 200 protesters, including 46 children. Artema recently wrote an article for The Electronic Intifada headlined “Why did Israel kill my son?” He sent us this audio message from his hospital bed.

AHMED ABU ARTEMA: In the morning of October 24th, I was sitting with my children in the living room of the house of my family. It’s a house of three floors. There were about 40 members in the house at that moment. Suddenly I became unconscious. Maybe after a few minutes, I wake up again. I saw dust and rubble surrounding me everywhere. I knew at that moment that the house where I was with my children was bombing. My hearing at that time was gone. I didn’t hear anything, but I looked around me. I looked around me. I saw my two children, Hammoud and Batool, screaming and sticking to me and pointing to my other child, my oldest child, Abboud, their brother. And they are shouting. Abboud was lying on the floor. The people came and took us from the rubble, and we went to the hospital by ambulance.

I knew that my four — four ladies at that place, my two aunts and my father’s wife and my cousin, were killed at the same time, at the first time of the bombing. My child Abboud and my niece — she’s about 10 years old also — they were in critical condition. A day after, they were killed. The majority of the family, most of them were injured.

This is what happened with me, and this is an example of the daily Israeli bombing against Gaza. Israelis are claiming and saying that it’s a war against Hamas. But where is Hamas? Take my house as example. Four women and two children were killed in this Israeli strike. And this is what’s happening every day. Thousands, the vast majority, of the victims of this Israeli war until now are innocent women and men and children, complete families. Israel is targeting the families.

Israel declared it clearly that its problem is with the Palestinians themselves, not with a faction or with a group. The Israeli problem is the Palestinian existence itself. So it’s not by mistake. Israel didn’t bombard my house, didn’t kill my child by mistake. It’s the Israeli strategy. It’s the Israeli mindset of genocide against the Palestinians. Israel look at us as nothing. We are nothing, we are human animals, in their perspective. So they don’t care to remove all the Palestinian cities, to kill all the Palestinians.

The most horrible, that the world is still allowing for this Israeli genocide to happen. This is the horrible thing. Israel is supported completely by the United States administration. The missile that killed my son Abboud, and the missiles that killed thousands of the Palestinians are U.S.-made. So, we are subjected to genocide. This is the most important message.

AMY GOODMAN: Palestinian poet Ahmed Abu Artema, who inspired the Great March of Return protest years ago. Last month he lost five members of his family, just a week or two ago, including his son, in an Israeli airstrike. He was injured in the strike, recorded this message from his hospital bed.

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