GOTG member loses almost entire family in Gaza

Cape Town. 041223. Palestinian national Ayia Jaber who lost over 50 relatives in the war in Gasa speaking to journalists at a social event hosted for the media by Gift of the Givers at the Capetonian hotel on Monday night. Picture : Ian Landsberg

Cape Town. 041223. Palestinian national Ayia Jaber who lost over 50 relatives in the war in Gasa speaking to journalists at a social event hosted for the media by Gift of the Givers at the Capetonian hotel on Monday night. Picture : Ian Landsberg

Published Dec 10, 2023


Almost all of Ayah Jaber’s close family members have been wiped out by Israeli attacks on Palestine.

The Gift of the Givers (GOTG) member lost her step-father, mother, aunts, uncles and other relatives in two separate attacks – within hours of each other – by the Israeli Defence Force.

In total, GOGT members have lost about 100 relatives in the war which began on October 7 when Hamas launched an attack on Israel, sparking deadly retaliation from Israeli forces on the people of Palestine.

This came amid a GOTG announcement to charges of crimes against humanity against the Israeli government.

Jaber of Gaza, has been living in South Africa for the past 10 years but often visits her family in Palestine.

Earlier this week, she had engaged with journalists in Cape Town about her loss of 50 family members.

In an interview with the Weekend Argus, Jaber spoke of the loss of her colleague Ahmed Abbasi, the head of GOGT in Gaza and his brother, Dr Mustafa Abbasi, in an Israeli attack after morning prayer at a mosque in the Palestinian territory.

Head of Gift of the Givers in Gaza, Ahmed Abbasi has been killed. Photo: Gift of the Givers

Despite her distress, she is passionate about continuing to help the people of Gaza, and shared how GOGT was helping her family and many others, who were left with just the clothes on their backs, and struggling with water and food shortages.

Jaber, whose personal documents had been destroyed in the attacks, shared how she felt guilty because she could not bring her family safely to South Africa.

“By helping with Gift of the Givers, I feel like I am doing something,” she said.

On Friday, attempts to reach Jaber, whose worst fears – of losing her parents in Gaza had materialised – were unsuccessful.

Gift of the Givers’ Ali Sablay was horrified at the deaths of Jaber’s family members. GOTF founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman dubbed the attacks on civilians in Gaza as “ethnic cleansing”.

Ayah’s stepfather, Omar al Mamlook, fondly known as Abdul Abid was deemed a martyr after being shot and killed by an IDF sniper as he stepped out of his home.

“(Wednesday) morning the cowards struck again, an Israeli sniper shot Ayah’s stepfather as he walked out of his building, killing him instantly,” said Sooliman.

“Ayah was distraught, deeply concerned about her mother and the rest of the family.”

Jaber’s mother had to bury him using her own hands, on the grounds of a clinic nearby as the situation became volatile.

Little did she know that she would soon lose her mother too.

“Today, the baby killers, women beaters, children torturers, supreme cowards struck yet again with an air strike flattening the residential building killing Ayah’s mother, the mother’s sisters, brothers and others,” said Sooliman.

“The entire family of another 50 including all the children have now been wiped out.”

Earlier this week, Sooliman said they were engaging with lawyers to charge the Israeli government with crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman. Picture: Supplied/GOTG

“Gift of the Givers has engaged a legal team that is in communication with French senior counsel, Gilles Devers, who with a team of 300 (and growing) legal experts worldwide are petitioning the ICC to charge Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, with war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and ethnic cleansing.

“Gift of the Givers is added to that charge sheet through the legal team.

“Our team members are already providing evidence, preparing affidavits and all relevant information requested to present to The Hague.”

Sooliman added: “Collectively, 100 family members of the Gift of the Givers team have been murdered by the cowardly Israeli Occupation Forces in their process of ethnic cleansing.

“Having failed hopelessly to make any progress on the battlefield in 62 days in spite of being the fourth largest army in the world, with all their planes, tanks, heavy artillery, missiles, drones, white phosphorous, and support from the USA, the supreme terrorist from Tel Aviv, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his Defence Minister, Yoav Gallant, have run out of ideas.

“Truth always conquers falsehood, that is the spiritual law of life.”

According to Al Jazeera, following a recent temporary truce and ceasefire, 105 hostages out of the 240 people who were taken during the October 7, Hamas attack, have been reunited with their families.

Euronews reported that Gaza fatalities surpassed 15 200 with 70% of those killed being women and children.

Sooliman was voted as 2023 Daily Trust African of the Year this week.

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Weekend Argus