Say Their Names…Tell Their Stories

“’I hope that we’ll stay alive, not because I want life, but because I want to tell our stories, the stories of our people,’ says 21-year-old Tala Herzallah, a student in Gaza.” From the Time magazine article listed below.

The death toll in Gaza is now over 22,000. One in every 100 residents has been killed. In November the United Nations said two thirds of the dead were women and children. Other sources say about 9000 of the deaths have been children.

Who are the dead in Gaza? Were they terrorists? Did they hate Jews or want to destroy Israel? Or are they just people – people like us – “hoping to stay alive…”

To answer these questions, I searched the Internet for reputable sources with stories of individuals killed in Gaza (especially children). I summarize some below. Because of copyright restrictions, I can not show you pictures but I can direct you to the original resources for pictures, video and more details. Israel killing Palestinians children is nothing new so these include deaths prior to Oct 7th.

I challenge you to read these stories, say the names, look into their faces and ask yourself, “How am I, or my family, any different? Did these people deserve to die?”

Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) is a non-profit advocacy organization. Their website documents the deaths, injuries, detentions and torture of many Palestinian children. In “Year-in-review: A deadly year for Palestinian children,” (December 23, 2022) they say, “…In addition to killing Palestinian children with impunity, Israeli forces systematically detained and ill-treated hundreds of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system…” This article documents some of the deaths of children in Gaza and the West Bank as a result of Israeli military actions against civilians, Hamas fighters and Palestinians engaged in protests of the Israeli occupation.

According to this DCIP article, between August 5 and 7, 2022, the Israeli military launched airstrikes across the Gaza Strip killing 44 people and injuring 350.

On August 5th, Layan Mosleh Hamdi Al-Shaer (10) suffered a head wound from Israeli shelling in southern Gaza. She was treated in two hospitals in Gaza and transferred to a hospital in Jerusalem. No one from her family was permitted to accompany her to Jerusalem where she died on August 11.

On August 6th, six missiles landed on and around the home of Mohammed Hassouna (13) . Seven people were killed including Mohammed. His siblings and father were injured along with 35 other people including 18 children.

Thaer Khalil Mohammad Maslat (16) was shot in the chest by Israeli forces on May 11 in the occupied West Bank. An Israeli soldier killed Thaer as he watched a confrontation between Israeli forces and nearby Palestinian youth.

Another report by DCIP, “Year-in-review: Israeli forces carry out genocide against Palestinian children” (December 14, 2023), says, “This year has no comparison in the history of Israeli forces’ efforts to exert total control over the Palestinian people..Israeli forces killed Palestinian children at an unfathomable, unprecedented rate.“

Sarah M. (13) survived a bombing that killed everyone in her immediate family. She describes what she went through in a video. The video was done before Sarah knew her mother had also been killed. It is available at DCIP’s “Year-in-review” for 2023.

Dunia Abu Mohsen (12) lost her leg in an Israeli airstrike that killed her parents and siblings. She was recovering in Naser Hospital in southern Gaza when an Israeli tank-fired shell hit the hospital and struck her in the head. The shell, which did not explode, injured several other Palestinians. DCIP recorded a video of her in the hospital prior to her death. It is on their home page ( All DCIP videos can be shared.

A BBC article, “A doctor, tailor, and bride-to-be: Stories of those killed in Gaza” (November 2, 2023) eulogizes eight individuals of different ages.

Yusof Abu Mousa (7) was watching television with his older brother (9) and sister (13) when their home was hit by an Israeli air strike. Yusof was killed but his siblings miraculously survived.

Dr. Midhat Saidam (47) was a surgeon. He had not left the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza for a week. Exhausted he went home to rest. He was killed in a air strike on his home.

Nour Yousef al-Kharma (17) was a student killed on 11 October when her family home, 8 1/2 miles south of Gaza City, was bombed.

Lurin Azzam Abuhalima (30) was engaged to be married. She had survived two prior residential bombings and had fled to her aunt’s home in a refugee camp in central Gaza. She was killed when her aunt’s house was hit by an air strike.

Fekriya Hassan Abdul A’al (65) was a grandmother and the neighborhood seamstress. She was killed along with two of her siblings, two of her children and two of her grandchildren, after an air strike destroyed the house where they were sheltering.

Mazen (17) and Ahmed (13) Abu Assi were brothers. They were among the dead after the explosion at the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City. The cause of this explosion still being disputed in the press.

Salam Mema (32), a Palestinian journalist. was killed when her house in northern Gaza was hit by an Israeli air strike. Also killed were her husband, daughter (2) and son (7). Their five-year-old son was the sole survivor.

There is much more on the suffering in Gaza and the West Bank at the following websites and articles.

I hope all of this will motivate you to demand President Biden and Congress support an immediate ceasefire.

“50 Stories of Palestinian Life Under Occupation.” A project by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 50 Years of Occupation 1967- 2017

“West Bank: Spike in Israeli Killings of Palestinian Children,” Human Rights Watch,

August 28, 2023. This report discusses Israeli use of excessive force when dealing with Palestinian youth who throw rocks, Molotov cocktails or firecrackers at security forces.

“Know their names: The thousands of Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza,“ Al Jazeera, November 1, 2023. A comprehensive report with unique statistics, individual stories, and a searchable database with the names many of the dead since October 7, 2023.

“Palestine Through its People: Portraits of Palestinians,“ A United Nations website featuring . eleven short videos of life in occupied Palestine.

“Our Death Is Pending. Stories of Loss and Grief From Gaza,” Time magazine, October 20, 2023. Eight stories of people living through the current war in Gaza.