On May 12, Israel destroyed the Al-Jawarha tower in Gaza City, a large building of many stories and numerous flats. It was not the only tower that Israel destroyed in its latest war on Gaza. A few others too were leveled to the ground, as if they were legitimate military targets.
Palestine Chronicle correspondent in the Gaza Strip, Mahmoud Ajjour, met with one of the main owners of the tower, Mr. Ahmad Moustafa al-Za’im. A successful businessman, al-Za’im is also a loving father of two boys and two girls.
The Chronicle also interviewed Al-Za’im’s young daughter, Malak. Like her father, her testimony was that of pride and defiance. This is what they have to say:
Ahmad Moustafa al-Za’im:
“I have invested my whole life, everything I owned and worked hard for, in this building. Israel bombed it for no reason at all, aside from scoring a point that it simply can. It is a residential tower, which also hosted law offices, media companies, and the like. Lots of accountants and engineers were based here as well. Also, it had advertisement companies and a few clinics. We had an office that facilitates pilgrimage to Mecca. Also, an optical clinic and an office for marriage services.
“It was a thriving place of families and businesses and nothing else that could be understood, even from Israel’s point of view, as a ‘security threat’.
“But thank God for everything in this life, good or bad. Israel has destroyed it completely. But I say it proudly, I am Ahmad al-Za’im, everything I own, my very life, in fact, my whole family, is a small price to pay for the freedom of Al-Quds, Jerusalem, for Al-Aqsa Mosque and for our people in Sheikh Jarrah. In fact, for Al-Khalil (Hebron), Jenin, Palestine ‘48 and the whole of Palestine. Thank Allah for everything.
“My message to the Resistance: We will continue to be steadfast, you lead the way and we will march behind you. Israel will never break our will or weaken our steadfastness. We know that Israel has destroyed the tower, and all other towers to put pressure on the Resistance to relent and accept an end to the war with no achievements. But that will never happen. We will never compromise on our rights and our freedom, no matter the cost.”
Malak Ahmad al-Za’im:
“I am Malak Ahmad al-Za’im. We were living in this tower. When the Israelis decided to bomb it, they called the neighbors, then the neighbors called my dad and we hurried very, very fast. But there was no time to gather any of our belongings. I had so many toys in my house, but also so many memories as my brothers and I were always playing on the stairs. There was a very nice restaurant here that we often ate. Also, many lawyers worked here and there was a place where you can get your eyes fixed. Many many things and many people. But more importantly, all of our dreams, hopes and memories were in this tower.
“When the tower was destroyed, I cried a lot. I don’t know what else to say aside from that, that I cried all the time.”
(All Photos: Mahmoud Ajjour)
(The Palestine Chronicle)