by Caritas Jerusalem Communication Department
“I was already missing you and now I will die missing you all,” said Jameel Megmas to his wife, son, and daughter Aya.
Jameel had just returned to his family in Gaza from the West Bank after a two year absence. He’d left them because as a Palestinian government civil servant he was relocated to the West Bank when Hamas seized power in Gaza.
One day his daughter Aya called him and told him that she was very scared because of the war. Israeli warplanes and tanks had begun shelled the Gaza Strip in December 2008 in a 22 day military bombardment.
“We were eating, drinking, and sleeping in the kitchen because it was the safest place,” said Aya.
Being a loving father, Jameel left Ramallah and returned to be with his family. With a smile Aya talks about her experience seeing her father, “I felt so relieved to see my father return and I kept hugging him and kissing him.”
One night during a typically heavy bombardment, they were hiding in the kitchen. The noise of the tanks were getting nearer.
“When suddenly I heard a strong explosion in the house. Then I saw the smoke and dust rising throughout the house,” she said.
Jameel curious to see what has happened walked to the living room and on his way back to the kitchen another missile hit the house.
Aya and her mother started screaming his name but he did not answer. They ran to see what has happened, they found him bleeding heavily and his body filled with shrapnel.
With tears coming down her eyes Aya started screaming, “Please dad don’t die, for Gods’ sake, I miss you. You have left us for a long time. Don’t die please.”
His wife called an ambulance. While, waiting for the ambulance to arrive, Aya and her mother pulled Jameel to the kitchen and they tried to stop the bleeding.
“But we could not save him, he died in my mothers’ lap,” said Aya. That day 8 missiles hit their home leaving them fatherless, homeless, and devastated.
The Palestinian Bureau of Statistics estimated that more than 22,000 buildings have been damaged or destroyed and tens of thousands have been left homeless.
Al-Megmas family has received financial support from Caritas, food packages and two blankets. She is hopefull for the future.
Sitting in her computer class at The Holy Family School in Gaza City, Aya smiles as she remembers the last words of her father as he lay dying in his wife’s arms.
“I am proud to die in the arms of my sweetheart Alia. My son you are now the man of the house and Aya take care of your mom. I love you.”