From blockade to bombs: ‘death is what we are tweeting’
Israel began its military offensive in Gaza on 8 July, five weeks ago today. A ceasefire has been in place since 10 August. Throughout the chaos, when able to access electricity, 22-year-old Mohammed Suliman has been writing 140-character updates.
One may ask: Are Palestinian and Israeli violence one and the same? Is violence of the oppressor/occupier similar to that of the oppressed?— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) July 8, 2014
I scroll down my timeline. I laugh. An old school friend tweets his mom fell off her bed when she heard a bomb explode nearby. I feel evil.— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) July 10, 2014
Will I live enough to watch the World Cup final? Hope so. I actually never though soccer fans ever needed to worry about their death.— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) July 10, 2014
Not sure which is harder to endure, a blast hitting nearby, or a phrase that reads 'violence on two sides of the conflict'.— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) July 10, 2014
I read that Israel 'urges' north Gaza residents to leave their homes. Curiously I Google how many live in northern Gaza. Over 200,000.— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) July 12, 2014
I've lost my words. Bombs rein down on my area. Behind the dining table, Leila and I sit close to each other. Death is what we are tweeting.— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) July 13, 2014
Some Israelis wish me death. I might die. But I wish no death unto you. I want us both to live. Live together as equals in this country.— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) July 13, 2014
Amir, 12, and Mohammed. 10, want to buy yogurt. Things are calm, they tell their mom. They leave the house. A blast is heard. They're dead.— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) July 14, 2014
We decide to escape the harrowing reality we're entrapped in by sleeping. Sleeping however has become an absurd wish. Death is easier.— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) July 20, 2014
People get massacred in Shijaiyya, I hear knocking on my door. It was survivor of the massacre looking for a shelter to spend the night.— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) July 20, 2014
I look forward to surviving. If I don't, remember that I wasn't Hamas or a militant, nor was I used as a human shield. I was at home.— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) July 20, 2014
I'd rather be a terrorist who kills invading soldiers on battlefield than a president of a "civilized nation" who kills women and children.— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) July 22, 2014
Israel offers students tuition fees for tweeting pro-Israel propaganda. We tweet our lives though. Our death, our fear, our hope, our rights— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) July 25, 2014
Leila disappears. I look for her. She sits in a corner, weeping in silence. "I can't take this anymore," she says. "They've killed too many"— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) July 26, 2014
We're trapped in Gaza between two deaths. The world asks us to choose between death by Israel's bombs and missiles and death by its blockade— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) July 25, 2014
An airstrike. A very powerful one just hit so close to us. It shook us. I'm trying to make my mind whether this is terror or self-defense.— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) July 28, 2014
If Hamas is responsible for the death of civilians in Gaza, who is responsible for the death of civilians in the West Bank? Mahmoud Abbass?— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) August 1, 2014
Bashir Al Hajjar has three PhDs, the most recent he completed at Manchester University. An Israeli shell killed him while riding his UN car.— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) August 2, 2014
A ceasefire is announced. Israel instantly steps up attacks on Gaza hitting residential houses. If the ceasefire collapses, you now know why— Mohammed Suliman (@imPalestine) August 10, 2014
In 34 days, almost 2,000 Gazans and 20 Palestinians living in the West Bank have been killed. The death toll is still rising, as the ceasefire has made it possible to search for bodies under the rubble of the Strip. Tensions are high in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Over recent weeks, there have been numerous attempts at a truce; none of them have held. For many Gazans, going back to how life was before Israel’s latest offensive – to an existence under siege – is not an option. ‘Israel is bent on obliterating Gaza. Gaza is bent on lifting the siege,’ tweets Mohammed Suliman.
On 11 August, the Palestinian delegation told Egyptian mediators that the three-day ceasefire will be the last chance for reaching a comprehensive truce with Israel.
Mohammed Suliman is a human rights worker from Gaza, Palestine. He attended the London School of Economics, where he obtained a graduate degree in Human Rights. He currently works for Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza. Read all of Mohammed’s tweets.
Additional text and image by Ella David.
This article is part of our mini-series on Palestine.