'Even if the Israelis confess, I don't expect any justice from them'

Survivor of the air strike has little faith in outcome of the inquiry
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The Independent Online

Maysa Samouni, whose husband Tawfiq, 21, was killed and baby daughter Jumana, now two, was injured in the building struck by missiles on 5 January, 2009, was unmoved yesterday by the progress of the investigation into the attack.

"The court wouldn't bring back my husband," she said. "Even if they [the Israelis] confessed that they shot at the warehouse crowded with the civilians, I didn't expect any justice from them."

Nor did Mrs Samouni, now 22, seem much impressed by the prospect of compensation, claims for which could be aided by any prosecutions flowing from the military police investigation. "The world stands on [Israel's] side. Money can't compensate what I had lost."

Mrs Samouni, who lives with her parents, was one of the first and most lucid witnesses to the attack. She gave the Israeli human rights agency B'Tselem by telephone two days after the attack a detailed – and since corroborated – account of the events both before and after it took place. She told the agency she was in a group of about 35 family members led by troops with blackened faces to the house of Talal Samouni, the previous day and then later ordered to go to the house of Wael Samouni.

After the missile strike on the men who had gone outside the building, she said: "Everything filled up with smoke and dust, and I heard screams and crying. After the smoke and dust cleared a bit, I looked around and saw 20-30 people who were dead, and about 20 who were wounded. Some were severely wounded and some lightly."

When the smoke cleared she saw that both her husband and her father in law "whose brain was on the floor" were among the dead.

Mrs Samouni, a second-year IT student, remains as resilient today as when she was interviewed by The Independent six months after the war ended. "I'm strong and patient," she said yesterday. "Even, if the war would start tomorrow, nothing much worse would happen to me than what happened during the war."

But she says she still carries the sadness of that day. "I remember what had happened as if it happened yesterday. It lives with me, at home, on my way to college and at the classroom and when I walk with my friends. I've no problem about keeping talking about it.

"My wound is profound, it won't be healed, but the blow which didn't kill me, it makes me stronger. I'm strong, I don't fear the Israelis."

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