Palestinian youth write the names of children killed during last summer's war in the Gaza Strip. (AFP/ Musa Al Shaer, File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Um Bilal al-Ghoul found it difficult to celebrate the Eid holiday this year, after she lost most of her family to Israeli air strikes a year ago during last summer's devastating Gaza war.
A single attack
on her home in Rafah's densely populated Yibna refugee camp on Aug. 3, 2014 left 10 of her family members dead and 20 more injured.
Um Bilal lost her husband Wael and three of their children.
Wael's mother, father, brother, and two sisters were also killed in the attack.
Um Bilal's youngest child, Ibrahim, lost his twin brother, Mustafa, just days after the two were born toward the beginning of the Israeli offensive.
Asmaa al-Ghoul, a journalist based in Gaza City and a relative of Um Bilal, wrote in a post on Facebook after their birth: "In Gaza, there is always hope and new life. A door of light and happiness in the middle of this war."
This year, however, the grieving mother refused to celebrate Ibrahim’s first birthday without his twin.
Her older son Bilal attempted to persuade her otherwise, telling her that "her wound would still be bleeding even if the children’s wounds had healed."
Um Bilal told Ma'an: "Ibrahim does not feel the suffering we feel, but Eid this year has still come heavy and difficult, as his twin Mustafa, his father, his brother Ismail, and his sister Malak are gone."
Um Bilal'd last memory of her husband was him coming home with "Ringa" fish, upon their children's request.
She said the children had stood waiting anxiously for him at the front door.
"They won’t be with us this year," she said.
Um Bilal told Ma'an that she knows she will spend much of her future time introducing one-year-old Ibrahim to his father and siblings through photographs.
Following the attack last year, Asmaa wrote an article
for Al-Monitor lamenting the death of her relatives, none of whom had anything "to do with Hamas," she wrote.
She said that the house "was one story with a roof made of thin asbestos that did not require two F-16 missiles to destroy."
"Would someone please inform Israel that refugee camp houses can be destroyed, and their occupants killed, with only a small bomb, and that it needn’t spend billions to blow them into oblivion?"
Asmaa wrote that throughout the war bodies lay everywhere, with the appearance of having left their personal lives behind.
"Most importantly, they left the fear of war behind."
Last summer's war was the third in Gaza in six years, and by far the deadliest and most destructive of the three.
The commissioner general of UN relief agency UNRWA, Pierre Krahenbuhl, warned earlier this month that the root causes of the conflict remain unaddressed.
"The despair, destitution and denial of dignity resulting from last year’s war and from the blockade are a fact of life for ordinary people in Gaza," he said.
Large swathes of Gaza remain in ruin and work has not yet begun on the reconstruction of some 18,000 homes that were totally destroyed during the war.