During its war on the Gaza Strip, the Israeli occupation has worsened the plight of those whom life has already wronged. Its random and intentional targeting of civilians did not spare the mentally handicapped.
© Robert Tait
Mubaret Phiilistine care home for Orphans and Handicapped in Gaza's Beit Lahiya district. A damaged wheelchair next to the crater caused by the missile that crashed through the building.
Mohammed Matar, 38, was one such person. He used to make daily visits to the cemetery where his brother had been laid to rest, until he finally joined him in the afterlife after being hit by an Israeli drone missile. It was the 16th day of the war when Mohammed washed his brother's grave with his own blood instead of water.
Mohammed frequently washed and laid flowers on the grave of his older brother Majed, who was shot and killed in the summer of 2007 by occupation forces in the east of Gaza. Majed's martyrdom had struck Mohammed hard, because he was the one who paid him the most attention and care.
A few weeks have already passed since Mohammed, nicknamed "the wild one" was martyred, yet his older brother, Abu Awad, still cannot grasp the idea of losing him.
"He was peaceful and everyone loved him...he went as usual to visit his brother but they killed him," Abu Awad, 45, sighed.
He said that he tried to stop his brother from going to the graveyard in Beit Lahiya, in the north of Gaza, because he was worried about him. But Mohammed kept repeating, "Majed is waiting, he wants water, I must go, I do not want him to be upset with me." He then snuck out of the house without anyone noticing.
A few minutes later, an explosion was heard at a place close by and the media declared that a man was targeted at Beit Lahiya's graveyard. Abu Awad felt at once that his brother was the target; he cried "Mohammed is there.... they killed him."