The phone call came at around 4.20pm on Saturday. A bomb had been dropped on the house at our small farm in northern Gaza. My father was walking from the gate to the farmhouse at the time. It was our beloved place, that farm and its two-storey white house with a red roof. Nestled in a flat fertile agricultural plain north-west of Beit Lahiya, it had lemon groves, orange and apricot trees and we had recently acquired 60 dairy cows.
It was the closest farm to the northern border with Israel. Ironically, we always thought the biggest danger there was not from Israeli troops, who usually went straight past if they were mounting an incursion, but from stray Hamas rockets aimed at the Israeli towns north of us.
But shortly before sunset on Saturday, as Israeli ground troops and tanks invaded Gaza in the name of shutting down Hamas rocket sites, the peace of that place was shattered and my father's life extinguished at the age of 48. Warplanes and helicopters had swept in, bombing and firing to open up the space for the tanks and ground forces that would follow in the darkness. It was one of those F16 airstrikes that killed my father.
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