A three-week-old Gaza twin baby boy was killed and his brother critically injured when an Israeli missile struck a home, killing nine other family members, Ma’an News Agency reported.
The identical twins — whose births were hailed as a ‘door of light and happiness’ — were both members of the extended al-Ghoul family, which was decimated in the Israeli attack on Sunday.
Journalist Asmaa al-Ghoul, a relative who is stationed in Gaza, confirmed in a Facebook post that her uncle Ismail, 60, and his sons Muhammad, 32, and Wael, 35, along with Wael’s three children Malak, 5, Ismail, 11, and baby Mustafa had been killed in the strike. His twin brother Ibrahim, also 24-days-old, survived.
In an essay written for Al-Monitor, Asmaa al Ghoul denounced the killing of innocent civilians:
“If it is Hamas that you hate, let me tell you that the people you are killing have nothing to do with Hamas,” she wrote. “They are women, children, men and senior citizens whose only concern was for the war to end, so they can return to their lives and daily routines. But let me assure you that you have now created thousands — no, millions — of Hamas loyalists, for we all become Hamas if Hamas, to you, is women, children and innocent families. If Hamas, in your eyes, is ordinary civilians and families, then I am Hamas, they are Hamas and we are all Hamas.”
The two boys were born at the beginning of the Israeli military operation in Gaza. In a post to Facebook, Asmaa al-Ghoul had celebrated the birth as a miracle, writing: “In Gaza, there is always hope and new life. A door of light and happiness in the middle of this war.”
She last saw the boys five days after the start of the Israeli military offensive. In the post mourning their death, she wrote: “I was destined to bid them farewell on the fifth day of the war. They were preparing Ramadan Iftar and they invited me to join them but I was in a hurry. I wish I accepted the invitation, but I didn’t know then that you were in a hurry to leave this world!”
In her Al-Monitor essay, al-Ghoul mused about the picture she snapped that day (above):
“Endings are so strange, as are living moments that suddenly become relegated to the past. We will never see them again, and the pictures that I took of the twins are now so precious, as one of them, Mustafa, was killed, while the other, Ibrahim, remained alive.I wonder how they could differentiate between them, for they looked so much alike. Who identified them when their father died and their mother lay wounded in intensive care? Who was Mustafa, and who was Ibrahim? It was as if they had merged upon one twin’s death.”
The al-Ghouls are not the only family defying death with new life. Last Wednesday, ABC news reported that a woman in Rafah had given birth to quadruplets. Dr. Bassel Abuwarda posted a photo on Twitter showing the healthy babies and another doctor giving thumbs up. The tweet reads: “Dr. Qadoura: Despite the pain, Palestinian mother gave birth to quadruplets last night in #Gaza.”
Dr. Qadoura: Despite the pain, Palestinian mother gave birth to quadruplets last night in #Gaza. pic.twitter.com/QVfDRWOCG2— Dr.Bassel Abuwarda (@DrBasselAbuward) July 31, 2014
The Israeli side has its own tales of fraternal woe. Hadar Goldin, the IDF soldier killed in action last Friday in Rafah, is survived by his twin brother, Tzur. The two served combat soldiers at the same time and trained as officers together. Tzur Goldin said a final goodbye to his twin on Sunday, during a funeral attended by thousands of Israelis. “We were two that lived together and will never be divided,” he said. “Your life is mine and mine is yours.”
Anne Cohen is the Forward’s deputy digital media editor. When she’s not looking for the secret Jewish history of Voodoo in New Orleans, or making lists about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she writes for The Assimilator. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism with an M.S. magazine concentration in 2012.