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‘What's in a name?’ A lot, say children in Gaza who mark body parts for identification

October 23, 2023 at 3:33 pm

An injured child is brought to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital as the Israeli attacks continue on the 15th day in Deir al Balah, Gaza on October 21, 2023 [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency]

If Shakespeare were alive today, he might rethink his famous line “What’s in a name?” after witnessing Israeli bombing in the besieged Palestinian enclave of Gaza, Anadolu Agency reports.

Sitting inside Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, amid wails and mourning, Ahmed Abu Al-Saba, 35, is inscribing his name on his arm.

We write our names on our hands and the names of our children on their hands to enable our bodies to be identified if the (Israeli) occupation planes bomb us

Al-Saba told Anadolu.

In the famous tragedy, Juliet asks Romeo “What’s in a name?” to convey the idea that the naming of things is irrelevant: “A rose is a rose by any other name.”

But, in Gaza today, hundreds of children are lining up in hospitals to register their names on their hands.

Al-Saba is one among hundreds of Palestinians, especially children, who are marking their body parts with names, so they can be identified in case they lose their life in the ongoing conflict, which began on 7 October.

At least 2,055 children have been killed by Israeli attacks since Tel Aviv began its bombardment of the besieged Palestinian enclave two weeks ago.

Running for their lives amid the ruins of their houses and properties, suffering Palestinians have been making sure they are identified in case they are next in the targeted attacks by Israeli forces.

Al-Saba said: “There are many martyrs, especially children, whose families are difficult to reach.”

‘Occupation does not discriminate, and bombs everywhere’

The scenes of bombarded neighbourhoods in Gaza reveal a story of catastrophe and devastation. Over a million people have been forcibly displaced, and hundreds are taking refuge in hospitals and UN-run schools.

“The occupation does not discriminate between anyone and bombs everywhere,” Al-Saba said.

At least 5,087 Palestinians, including 1,023 women and 2,055 children, have been killed by Israeli attacks on Gaza, while 15,273 others have been injured.

“The families wrote their names on their hands and legs so they could be identified after being bombed by Israel, using American-made and American-supplied death bombs,” Palestinian academic Sami Al-Arian wrote on X.​​​​​​​

Their innocent blood is on the hands of (US President Joe) Biden and his bloodthirsty friends. In their world, Palestinian children don’t deserve to live, while Israeli criminals are protected and praised,” Al-Arian said, adding: Damn your racism and hypocrisy

The conflict in Gaza, which has been under Israeli bombardment and a blockade since 7 October,  began when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, a multi-pronged surprise attack that included a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel by land, sea and air.

It said the incursion was in retaliation for the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque and growing violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians.

The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

Around 1,400 Israelis have been killed since 7 October.

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