Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif carried their small lunch bags with a few bread loaves, a tomato and a sardine can, and said goodbye to their families in the early hours of Sunday 20.05.1990. It was very early in the morning, the sun hadn’t risen yet, and the refugee camps were engulfed in total darkness. The usually busy and noisy narrow roads and alleys were empty and quiet. The children were still asleep and dreaming of the toy and the colouring book their fathers will bring them back from work. The young women were still asleep and dreaming of the ring and the necklace their fiancés would buy so they could finally marry. The wives sat near their sleeping children and dreamt of the meat their husbands might bring back from work so they could cook a decent meal for the family. The mothers sat in the darkness, watching their children leave to work, and prayed that they reach their working place safe, find a job for the day and get paid so they can repair the leaking roof before the next winter. As they watched them disappear in the darkness, they prayed that their children come back safe to their homes and to their families. The roads and alleys of the refugee camps were quiet and empty, except for the sounds of the marching Israeli occupation soldiers, patrolling the open-air prisons, and holding the entire Palestinian population hostage to occupation and oppression. The roads and alleys of the refugee camps were quiet and empty except for the footsteps of the workers, heading to work in the early hours of the morning, hoping to find work that day, and thinking of their children, their mothers, their wives, their fiancés and hoping to be able to bring back toys, colouring books, food, a necklace and ring and enough money to fix the roof before the next winter.
Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif were refugees, their families expelled from their original homes and villages by Zionist terror gangs during the Nakba. Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif were made refugees by the Zionists colonists who ethnically cleansed entire Palestinian villages, demolished them and erased them off their invented Zionist map. Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif came originally from villages that once prospered and thrived. They had beautiful homes with flowers on the window sills, and had fertile lands which were green all year around. They once tended vast olive and apple fields, orange groves and vineyards. The indigenous people of Palestine, the owners of the land, were forced to live exiled in their own country, were forced to live in over-crowded rooms while Zionist colonizers thrive and live in stolen Palestinian homes, on stolen Palestinian land. And as the Nakba continues, as the catastrophe of the Palestinian people continues, the suffering of the Palestinians knows no end and the injustice done to them and their families is limitless. To feed their families, and like thousands of fellow Palestinians, Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif were forced to work like slaves for the thieves who stole their lands and homes, were forced to work for the killers who forced their families out of their homes, were forced to work for the Zionists who had made refugees out of them.
Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif were among a group of over 100 Palestinian labourers from the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip who were waiting at the Oyoun Qarra bus stop to be transported to their working place. An Israeli occupation soldier, Ami Popper, from nearby Rishon Lezion Zionist colony approached the workers and asked them for their IDs. After making sure all the workers were Palestinians, Popper lined them up, asked them to kneel down in 3 lines, and using his M16 sub-machine gun, he opened fire, killing 7 of them and injuring others. Zionists passed by the scene of the crime in their cars, saw the Palestinian labourers, young and old, lying on the ground, drowning in pools of blood, their lunch bags scattered around them, and drove on. Zionists passed by the scene of the crime in their cars, heard the Palestinian labourers moan in pain, heard them cry out for help, and drove on. When the Israeli ambulances and occupation police finally arrived to the scene of the massacre, 7 Palestinians were already dead, and instead of providing help to the severely injured, the Israeli police started beating the Palestinians workers who had survived the death machine. And as with all massacres committed by Zionists, the Israeli government rushed to declare Popper deranged. But when it was proven that he wasn’t, he was theatrically ‘tried’ and ‘charged’ with murder in 7 cases. However, while in detention, the terrorist Popper receives “special treatment”; he was allowed to get married, had 3 children with his wife and is allowed 48-hour furloughs. In 1997, the Israeli government reduced the prison sentences of 4 Zionist terrorists convicted of murdering Palestinians and ordered the release of a fifth Zionist terrorist. Popper’s sentence of 7 life terms was reduced to 40 years.
Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif were Palestinian labourers from the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip. Like every Palestinian labourer, they woke up every morning to a new day, full of new hopes and new strength to face and defy the occupation, the oppression, the siege, the closure and the Zionist terror. Like every Palestinian labourer, they woke up every morning, went to work because they wanted their children to have food on the table, a roof over their heads, an education and a future that is free of occupation and oppression, a future free of Zionism. And on the morning of 20.05.1990, they woke up early to go to work and buy toys, colouring books and food for their families. But on that day, on ‘Back Sunday’, Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif did not reach work. They were massacred by a Zionist terrorist, killed in cold blood by an Israeli occupation soldier, a member of ‘the most moral army in the world’. They were massacred, they blood spilt, their dreams killed, their lives brutally cut short by a terrorist entity that supports and encourages and is built on terror. On “Black Sunday”, Abdil Rahim, Ziyad, Zayid, Sleiman, Omar, Zaky and Yousif did not return to their homes with toys, colouring books, meat, rings, necklaces and a promise to repair the leaking roof. They returned to their waiting mothers, wives, children and fiancés carried on the shoulders of their fathers, sons, brothers and comrades. They returned to their waiting mothers, wives, children and fiancés soaking in their blood. They returned to their waiting mothers, wives, children and fiancés as bridegrooms of Palestine,
The martyrs of Oyoun Qarra massacre are:
Abdil Rahim Mohammad Salim Baraka, 43 yrs, from Khan Younis
Ziyad Mousa Mohammad Swe’id, 22 yrs, from Rafah
Zayid Zeidan Abdel Hamid Al-’Mour, 33 yrs, from Khan Younis
Sleiman Abdel Raziq Mohammad Abu ‘Anza, 22 yrs, from Khan Younis
Omar Hamad Ahmad Dahlees, 27 yrs, from Rafah
Zaky Mohammad Hamdan Qdeh, 35 yrs, from Khan Younis
Yousif Ibrahim Mansour Abu Daqqa, 36 yrs, from Khan Younis
On “Black Sunday”, after news of the massacre spread, protests and confrontations erupted all over occupied Palestine. At least another 6 Palestinians were killed by Israeli occupation forces:
Iyad Ismail Abdallah Saqir, 17 yrs from Rafah
Shifa’ Naim Ali Al-Hummus, 23 yrs, from Rafah
Mousa Ibrahim Abdel-Halim Hassounah, 27 yrs, from Ash-Shati’
Ali Mahmoud Mohammad Az-Za’amrah, 21 yrs, from Halhoul
Husam Abdel Rahman Abdallah Nazzal, 14 yrs, from Qabatia
Wail Mohammad Ibrahim Al-Badrasawi, 22 yrs, from Ash-Shati’
PS: The photos are from newspapers clippings on the massacre which I collected and kept at the time.