Cheers in Gaza as bus is bombed in Tel Aviv
It’s an odd mix outside the front door of Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital. The local and international media mingle for interviews with doctors and surgeons at the main entrance – a few yards away cars and ambulances screech to a halt, doors already open, to have the latest bomb victims hauled out and rushed to A&E.
There, at this door where the cries of pain and grief suddenly pierce from inside, stand another set of waiting cameras whose sole job is to record these harrowing arrivals.
On various roofs around the city cameras are locked off, framed wide, recording 24 hours a day for incoming explosions. A kind of news version of CCTV.
At the hospital, when news comes of the bomb in Tel Aviv there’s an immediate outburst of cheering.
“Allahu akhbar,” the security guards shout - “God is great.” Doctors cheer here too in a sudden telling image of what it is to live in Gaza.
Moments later from the minarets of mosques across the city megaphones praise God as news of the bomb spreads.
In the hospital forecourt still the cameras swarm on the new arrivals even as another three airstrikes slam into the city perhaps half a mile away.
Orthopaedic surgeon Ahmad Isaac has seen it all before and far worse during the Israeli land invasion of 2008/9:
“It comes in pulses. There’ll be a bomb and then a surge of activity. Then we get a lull. But if there’s an invasion – there no lull and we have bullet wounds as well as blast injuries to handle. There’s just no let-up.”
The little boys still peddle coffee and tea from a thermos at a shekel a go, as we speak.
The mentally-disabled hospital porter, with his cheery lop-sided grin, is as pleased to see us as ever.
Lines of men consider the news, sitting in rows by the hospital garden.
They are pleased about the bomb yet keen to say they respect Judaism:
“They are under their God as we are under our God. I have no problem with them. But after all they do here, I feel joy when I hear this news.”
A wild paradox almost anywhere on earth, but in Gaza it is not a paradox at all, it is just normal.
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