CUSP would like to thank Nazmi Al Masri, our Co-Investigator, who worked tirelessly throughout the conflict to capture Palestinian stories and document what was taking place in the Gaza Strip from 14th May 2021 – 21st May 2021. These blog posts were written during the conflict.

Palestinian Babies


Angered and saddened by the continuing brutal killing of its children and their mothers, the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) gravely and grimly call upon all humans, all peace and justice loving humans and peoples:  

Please listen to me and to my soft gentle voice,  

Please listen to my truthful pen and fact-based writing,

Please listen to my broken and tearful heart but brave and peace-longing, 

Thank you for listening to a sample of my One Thousand and One[1] real stories, 

Kindly lend me your ears and open your heart and mind,

Kindly read these recent and current fact-based stories happening in Gaza in May 2021, 

They are very similar to thousands of real stories that happened before, during and after Nakba[2] (catastrophe) of 1947-49).  

In the war of words which accompanies the bombs falling terrible things are said, over decades.  

“Palestinian babies and children are born evil and deserve to be killed even if they are in their bedroom or in their mother’s womb! It is lawful to kill as many of them and their mothers by using American-made SMART Weapons that drop bombs (rockets) on houses wiping out whole families”,  

Not only are there no consequences for these acts, but there is the insinuation that this is just about Palestinian propaganda. 

“No, no, not true at all, it is just Palestinian propaganda!” seem to claim the occupation forces. 

In fact, for the Israeli propaganda, Palestinians do not exist. We all remember Golda Meir, Israel’s Prime Minister between 1969-1974, who during an interview with the Sunday Times said: “It is not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them, they did not exist.” (Shlaim, 2001, p.311)[3]

But we do exist. During the Nakba, commemorated annually on the 15th May since 1948, we remember the thousands of Palestinian families who were forced to leave their land and live until now as refugees in neighboring countries, and also within Palestine in several areas including the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip[4].

Photo Credit: Alison Phipps

Oppressed, isolated and besieged for more than seven decades, Occupied Palestine tells this most recent Nakba related story: “No sleep, no sleep, no sleep”

Scared, young Palestinian children rightly resist: “No I do not want to go to bed”. 

Their inner feelings say: “going to bed means loneliness, darkness, killing (death), injured and disabled, fear and worries and many other negative feelings and hidden thoughts fly in our mind.”  

Through continuing soliloquy, they know for sure that the threatening and deafening roaring of Israeli warplanes[5] do bomb residential towers and houses on the heads of families and children as happened to some of their classmates, neighbours and relatives. 

Sometimes, they speak out: “No place safe mum, no place safe mum, no place safe mum” 

These feelings and soliloquies of self-conflict continue day and night causing short and long-term impacts on children’s and parents’ mental health alike. It must be taken into account that almost 50% of Palestinians living in Gaza are under 18 years old. 

Similarly mums have their own self-conflict soliloquy, if not more worried than their children, for their children’s safety, for their own safety, for their husband’s safety and for their parents (grandparents’) safety as my youngest son, Kareem 15, said:

Children are pure in heart, they express their ideas innocently and truthfully:    

“Our mums hide their feelings, they feel sleepless, anxious, tense and apprehensive and concerned about their very young children’s mental and physical safety.”  

It is the end of Ramadan and second day of Eid, Friday 14 May 2021, when one mum, Yasmin (31) decided to take her children to visit her sister Maha (36) who also has children. So, the 2 sisters and their young children can socialise, have fun and temporarily forget about the war and bombardment.

All 11 met in Yasmin’s house in the Beach (Shateh) Refugee Camp in the north west of Gaza city. Both families (Abu Hatab) were enjoying their Friday evening and celebrating Ramadan Eid at a low profile due to the ongoing Israeli aggression on Gaza. All their children were very young, the youngest was a 2-month old baby and the eldest 14 years old.

About midnight, suddenly, brutally, and I’d say without humanity, Israeli warplanes dropped at least three large bombs on these 2 mums and all 9 children entertaining Eid (Feast).

The bombs completely levelled the house to the ground, flattening it on the heads of these children and their mums.

The bombs killed the 2 mums and all 9 children except the youngest, baby Omar, whose was found under the rubble of the destroyed 4-story building. Almost all night, the rescue workers worked hard, carefully and slowly until the very early hours of Saturday 15 May 2021, when they miraculously found and rescued this baby alive and screaming under the rubble.

Omar was taken to Shifa Hospital in Gaza city after surviving this air strike:

“Maybe, this baby, Omar, stayed alive to be a witness to what happened to the rest of his family”Aljazeera reported[6]

The baby’s photos and story, which have been published on several websites, show how the baby is extremely shocked and devastated. His cries shout loudly:

“I need my mum, I need her love and I want her to warmly hug me. I need her to affectionately take care of me. None is like mum, I cannot live without her”[7].

Baby Omar’s face kept telling me innocently and angrily:

‘My family was killed without humanity. They killed my mum, and all my brothers and sisters, knowing this house was full.’

Baby Omar’s screams on his face refute the Israeli propaganda that these attacks do not target civilians, children and women, as senior Israeli advisors reported.

Omar’s cries give 2 facts:

  • Last night (14th May 2021), an air strike on Beach [Shateh] refugee camp in Gaza left scores of people dead. One family, the Abu Hatabs, lost 10 members, eight of them children. Five of the children attended United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) schools, bringing the total number of UNRWA school children confirmed to have been killed since the escalation in hostilities began in Gaza to thirteen. [so far and in 6 days of aggression] (UNRWA)[8]
  • Among the 145 Palestinians killed over the 6-day aggression so far are 41 children and 23 women (totalling 64 – 44%) and at least 1100 injured: 313 children and 206 women, (totalling 519 – 47%)[9].

The baby Omar’s screams in the face of the silence of international community and governments say:

shame, shame, shame

on all violations of basic human rights

on all forms of double standards,

on all hypocrite politicians and foreign policy makers

on all dishonouring of the 45 Articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), especially:

  • Article 6 (life, survival and development) Every child has the right to life [including Palestinian children]
  • Article 19 (protection from violence, abuse and neglect)
  • Article 22 (refugee children) . . . governments must provide them with appropriate protection and assistance
  • Article 23 (children with a disability) . . . Governments must do all they can to support disabled children and their families [not to kill them].

Omar will remain a truthful witness to violations and a dishonouring of human rights and protection of children acts. We hope to see his smiles in a few years when justice and peace are a practice in Palestine where no more mothers and children are killed for any reason.

Omar says: I became well known on all local and international media and in all languages. I do hope that no child passes through my experience and I do hope every human can do something to end occupation and all violations of human and children rights.


[1] In line with One Thousand and One Nights (Arabic: أَلْفُ لَيْلَةٍ وَلَيْلَةٌ‎, ʾAlf Laylah wa-Laylah) – often known in English as the Arabian Nights.

[2] The ‘Nakba’ – Arabic for ‘catastrophe’ – refers to the displacement of an estimated 700,000 Palestinians who lived in the area that became the State of Israel in 1948. Several historians, both Israeli and Palestinians, have extensively investigated the archive documents and oral sources in relation to the 1948 war and the displacement of Palestinians.

[3] Shlaim A., 2001. The iron wall. Penguin Books.

[4]The forced evictions of Palestinians across East Jerusalem and in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, as the UN Relief and Work Agency for Palestinian refugees write, ‘is occurring within the context of Israeli settlement construction and expansion, illegal under international humanitarian law.’ In Gaza, 70% of the 2million population, is made of refugees.
You can read more in the following report by UN, accessible here

[5] Please consult the work of Primo Levi ‘If this is a man’, and of Hannah Arendt ‘The Banality of Evil’ for a deep discussion around ethics and responsibility. Primo Levi, for instance, who was a Holocaust survivor, wrote about the responsibility of the soldiers who were just following orders from above and they killed thousands of people as a result. I similarly invite reflections on pilots’ and soldiers’ responsibility in killing and bombing civilians.

[6]Aljazeera English:

[7]‘To read more about Omar’s family and the story, please consult

[8]UNRWA Decries deaths in Beach refugee camp Gaza, 15 May 2021:

[9] Ministry of Health, Palestine.

The Culture for Sustainable and Inclusive Peace (CUSP) is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) via the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of the UK Governments Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).