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From the field

Words Fail Us.

Israeli forces killed 232 Palestinians during the May hostilities in the Gaza Strip.

Nearly 25% were minors, and more than 50% did not partake in the hostilities.


Today, B’Tselem published testimonies of the victims’ relatives:

Words Fail Us

In the fighting in the Gaza Strip last May, Israeli forces killed 232 Palestinians, including 54 minors and 38 women. Of the casualties, 137 (59%) did not take part in the hostilities, 90 (including one minor) participated in the hostilities, and regarding another five, B’Tselem was unable to ascertain whether or not they had taken part in the hostilities. Another 20 Palestinians, including seven minors, were killed by Palestinian rocket fire. B’Tselem was unable to ascertain who killed eight other Palestinians, six of them minors. Six Israeli civilians and three foreign nationals were killed within Israel by rockets fired by Palestinian organizations. A member of the Israeli security forces was killed by an anti-tank missile fired by a Palestinian organization.

When the fighting was over, B’Tselem’s field researchers in the Gaza Strip investigated the background of the victims, including collecting testimonies from friends and relatives. These gruesome personal accounts offer a glimpse into the sheer scale of the horror, giving voice to a reality in which Gazans had no way to defend themselves or escape the airstrikes.

B’Tselem field researcher Olfat al-Kurd recounted the ordeal of traversing Gaza to collect the testimonies: “It was almost too much to bear. Mourners’ tents in every house and square. Demolished roads, collapsed infrastructure, towers and buildings wiped off the face of the earth, bits of furniture and clothes scattered everywhere. All that’s left is the sadness and depression enveloping everyone, and countless broken dreams.

אל-עטאר“They simply erased my family from the population registry. There is no one left to comfort me. There’s no one from my family by my side, the family I dreamt of for so long. I pictured my children’s futures. I hoped to give them everything they needed and provide them with a good education. I dreamed of playing with them, having fun with them, traveling with them, always being by their side and living with them and for them.”

From the testimony of Muhammad al-‘Attar, 37, whose wife, 26, and three children (8, 6, and nine months old) were killed in an airstrike on 14 May 2021

דינא עסלייה“I keep thinking, how did she stand the pain? What exactly happened to her when the missile hit her? Did it hurt? Did she call for her father or for me? What was she doing at that moment? I can’t get those questions out of my head. It’s a nightmare I can’t shake.”

From the testimony of Dina ‘Asaliyah, 43, whose 10-year-old daughter Dima was killed in an airstrike on 19 May 2021

מוחמד אבו דאייר“I looked for my father and found him on the sofa, wounded in the head. Part of his head had fallen to the floor. When I saw that, I screamed in horror. I was in shock.”

From the testimony of Muhammad Abu Dayer, 16, whose father Ziad, 54, was killed in an airstrike on 17 May 2021

Eleven days of missiles raining down on civilian homes or nearby. With nowhere to run and no safe haven. Dozens killed, thousands injured, thousands more left without their homes and their entire earthly possessions. This is no mistake; these are no aberrations. It is a policy.