Schools opened in Gaza as war memories unforgotten

"Good morning! Still alive?" excited Gazan teenage girls asked each other in the first day of school after Israeli war.

Schools opened in Gaza as war memories unforgotten


Schools reopened in Gaza on Saturday after Israel's devastating three-week war, and peaceful coexistence seemed further than ever from the traumatised minds of young Palestinians.

"Good morning! Still alive?" excited teenage girls asked each other as their class, all in white headscarves, lined up in the yard shortly after dawn at Beach Preparatory School.



School starts early in the Gaza Strip because there is not enough classroom space for all the children, so there must be two shifts a day.

The pupils were seeing their teachers for the first time since Israel bombs began falling on Gaza on Dec. 27.

Israeli massive offencive killed more than 1,300 Palestinians, a thied of them children, and wounded at least 5300.



Israel hit and destroyed schools, hospitals, mosques and infrastructure system during 22-day assault. It bombed the U.N. school, ingoring U.N. resolution over ceasefire call.

Israel has received high critics on the violence of its offensive, which followed the collapse of a six-month truce.

"Israel hates Palestinians, hates Arabs, hates Muslims, hates Islam," said one girl in Nuha Abdulati's English class, as her schoolmates nodded in agreement.

Israel violated six-month ceasefire, bombing Gaza on November 4 and killing six Palestinians. Israel killed on November 17 four more Gazans before Hamas declared the ending the ceasefire.



The teenager girls who the reporters asked if the current ceasefire would endure, don't trust and believe ceasefire between Israel and Hams after 22-day massive assault. Asked if there could be peace with Israel one day, most said there could not. None said it was possible.

Youth under fire

The girls seemed little delighted to be back in class together, although the stories they had to swap were grim tales of dead cousins, wounded neighbours, close escapes, days without power or water, camping in the homes of relatives.

"In my dreams I saw blood," said one. "Our house was demolished," said another. "I saved my clothes and schoolbag."

The girls said they were happy to be alive and safe, because during the bombing they had gone to sleep each night afraid they would never wake up again.



They could get their information about the war from several Arabic language TV channels if the bombed did not hit their home or cut the electricity totally in Gaza.

In the broadcasters there are Al Jazeera and al-Arabiya television from the Gulf, al Quds, al-Aqsa and Shehab, of Hamas, here in Gaza.

The Palestinians say the West was callous and uncaring against Gazan people.

"They cry for Israelis because they lose a fingernail. They don't care if Palestinians get their heads blown off," said teacher Susan Mosleh.



Israil hit Gazan "education"

"Israel attacked at the time of our exams because it wants to destroy our education," said a 15-year-old in her class. "It is not Hamas they want to kill. It is all Palestinians and their resistance."

"Israel had its own reasons," said another pupil. "They are to have an election. Our blood is the ink on the voting papers."

Some wanted freedom to travel instead of the tight Israeli blockade that suffocates the meagre economy and bars access to the outside world.



Desperate future

"The chances of peace are zero. No peace is possible," said one girl categorically.

Hamas is prepared to make a long-term truce, of up to 15 years, and to accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, if Israel ends its occupation.

"Remember these are young people, they have been shocked," Abdulati cautioned. "They are still afraid. They are sometimes just repeating what they hear."

Israel lost 10 soldiers in the fighting and three civilians killed by rockets or mortars fired from Gaza by the Islamist Hamas militants who control the enclave.

Reuters

Last Mod: 24 Ocak 2009, 17:42
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