How many more children like Hind Rajab must die by Israel’s hand?

Posted on : 2024-05-10 10:19 KST Modified on : 2024-05-10 10:19 KST
Over a million Palestinians have taken refuge in Rafah, but Israel has still warned of plans to invade
After occupying Hamilton Hall on April 30, 2024, students at Columbia University in New York, US, unfurl a banner reading “Hind’s Hall,” a tribute to a 6-year-old Palestinian girl killed by Israel in Gaza. (AP/Yonhap)
After occupying Hamilton Hall on April 30, 2024, students at Columbia University in New York, US, unfurl a banner reading “Hind’s Hall,” a tribute to a 6-year-old Palestinian girl killed by Israel in Gaza. (AP/Yonhap)

Hind Rajab. Remember her name. If we cannot remember all 34,535 dead in Gaza, we must at least remember her. 

She spent only six years on this planet. Six years in Gaza, every day a struggle. Still, she had the love of her parents and relatives. Cousins she played with. On that fateful day, she got into a car with her cousin and uncle. 

Israel’s genocide of Palestinians is a distant conflict in a faraway land. Sure, you could tell yourself, “This has nothing to do with me.” But even if you do, you should find the time to think of Hind Rajab. And not because she took her last breath in a Kia. 

It’s been more than three months, but you still shouldn’t forget. On Jan. 29, Hind got into a car with her cousin and uncle in an attempt to get out of Gaza City. They tried. However, they never got out of Gaza. They tried to avoid Israeli fire, but in the end, they succumbed to those bullets.

Uncle, aunt, cousins — all dead

It wasn’t only Hind that didn’t get away. The modest apartment where she lived collapsed. The school she attended was destroyed. The neighborhood hospital too. Although she remains buried under 37 million tons of rubble, you shouldn’t forget Hind. With no tools or equipment at their disposal, the survivors are desperately clearing away some of the rubble with their bare hands, but mountains of wreckage remain. Underneath the shards of concrete are over 10,000 people.

Hind was one of the last survivors. Her aunt and uncle died before her. Her older cousin did, too. She was stuck in a car filled with corpses. Her 15-year-old cousin Layan, who was still alive, called their relatives abroad.  

“My mom and dad are already dead. My older sister is dead, too. Only Hind and I are left.” 

“Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. We’ll call an ambulance. Just stay where you are.”  

Hind’s relatives called the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and asked for a rescue operation. They gave them Layan’s phone number. Yet the car did not survive the Israeli tank attack that came next. When Layan answered the phone, her voice was quaking with terror. The dull thuds of gunfire and Layan’s screams echoed across the line. The call then went dead. 

South Africa has accused Israel of genocide in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The South Africa claims that Israel is waging a campaign of genocide with the intention of exterminating the Palestinian people. South Africa cited the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, an ICJ agreement formed to prevent crimes similar to those that occurred under Nazi Germany. The governments of Colombia, Nicaragua and Türkiye joined South Africa in condemning Israel. The ICJ had already issued an order on Jan. 26 that commanded Israel to improve its measures for addressing civilian casualties and suffering in Gaza. Hind was still alive at that time. 

Three months later, her aunt and uncle and cousins were all killed. Hind was the last survivor. The PRCS called again. That’s when Hind answered. Tanks were coming, she said, begging for someone to save her. The line went dead. But someone called again. Hind was still alive. The call was sketchy, Hind’s voice slipping in and out. “It’s getting dark,” she said. “I’m scared of the dark.”  

In the wake of an Israeli offensive, all that remains is a mass grave site

During the three hours of their conversation with Hind, the PRCS staffer on the other end of the line did everything possible to save her. Yet the Israeli offensive had already started, and they couldn’t send an ambulance to the site of a military operation. Through some miracle, however, they managed to get approval to send an ambulance. Two rescue workers were dispatched to the gas station next to Hind. Yet when the two workers, Ahmad Al-Madhoun and Yousef Zeino, approached Hind, they reported that something was off. Lasers from Israeli weapons were targeting them. Then a gun blast, explosion. The line went dead. Hind’s voice was no longer heard. 

It’s been around 200 days since Israel began its offensive on Gaza. In that time, 137 journalists, 356 medical workers, and 178 UN aid workers have been killed. As of the end of April, 77,704 Palestinians had been injured and 34,535 had been killed. Around 70% of them were women and children. If these numbers mean nothing to you, just remember the name Hind. 

It wasn’t until Israeli troops pulled out that Hind’s relatives were able to return to the area. It was 12 days after her call. That’s how long they had to wait to retrieve her body. The Kia she’d been in was riddled with bullet holes. The ambulance was next to it. The bodies of the two rescue workers were also there. Missile fragments and shrapnel were littered around the ambulance. The missiles were from American-made M830A1 tank cartridges. Shortly after this incident, the US approved US$26 billion in aid to Israel. Washington also approved US$1 billion in humanitarian aid to Palestine. 

Similar sites of mass casualties are being found in other areas where Israeli troops have operated. Over 400 corpses were found at a mass burial site near Nasser Hospital. The area around Al-Shifa Hospital contained another mass grave. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for an international investigation into these mass grave sites. Some of the bodies had their hands tied. Others were stripped naked — others still wearing their hospital gowns. Some still had medical tubes stuffed into their mouths. Although you don’t know their names, you do know Hind’s.  

There are around 1.4 million refugees in Rafah right now. In the face of the destructive force of the Israeli forces’ slaughter, these people have had to flee their homes. Rafah is their last refuge. Many of them end up starving to death or dying of sickness. Israel has announced its intentions to march into Rafah. Hind struggled until her last breath to get out of Gaza City, but it was of no use. Is there no safe haven for these refugees?

Hamas killed around 1,200 Israeli civilians when it crossed over and committed its attacks on Oct. 7 of last year. The group also still has around 136 Israeli hostages. It’s impossible to verify which of them are still alive. You should remember Hind Rajab in the name of these people as well. The students of Columbia University occupying Hamilton Hall have honored the name of Hind by renaming it “Hind Hall.”   

By Suh Jae-jung, professor of political science and international relations at the International Christian University in Tokyo

Please direct questions or comments to []

button that move to original korean article (클릭시 원문으로 이동하는 버튼)

Related stories

Most viewed articles