The Book of Destruction

Gaza one year after the 2009 war

  • 001Destroyed_house_blue_tiles
    Destroyed house in Abu Drabu Neighbourhood in the East of Gaza City after the Israeli invasion into the Gazastrip during the turn of the year 2008/09. January 2009.
    The remains of a house in the Shejaia neighborhood in the East of Gaza City. The neighborhood is close to the Israeli border. The blue figures are a registration number of the UNDP which did a survey on the war damage in the whole Gaza Strip. December 2009
  • 004Anjud_al-Askar
    Anjud al-Ashkar, 30, from Beit Lahia. She was hit while in the UNWRA school in Beit Lahia on 17, January at about 6am. Two of her children, Bilal al-Ashkar, 5, and Mohammed al-Askar, 4, died and her brother’s two daughters were injured. She has two remaining children. Her husband is deaf and mute. February 2010
  • 005Mumin_Saad
    Mumin Sa´ad, 10, a 5th grade schoolboy from Jabaliya (Siqa) Refugee Camp in Gaza City next to Salah ed-Din Road. On 7, January about 7am their house was destroyed by 155mm artillery shells. Five people including his mother were injured by shrapnel. For almost a year, Mumin had an artificial stomach exit prosthesis. Today he can only eat soft things, mostly soup because there is still shrapnel in his stomach. He was operated on in Kamal Odwan Hospital and stayed there for 25 days. He was operated on again in Beit Hanoun Hospital where he spent 30 days. He has two brothers and two sisters. His condition is not stable so he can only occasionally go to school. February 2010
  • 014Achmed_al-Attar
    Ahmed Attar, 38, with his daughter Ansam, 3, from the Atatra area in Beit Lahia. Ahmed sold vegetables from his donkey cart. On 5th January at around 4.30 am, he left his house and helped a young girl from a destroyed neighbor’s house find safety at an uncle’s house on the same street. On his return to his house, he found two injured fighters whom he began aiding. Only 70m from his house he was hit by a missile from a drone. The ambulance which tried to rescue him came under Israeli soldiers. A neighbor pulled him into his house and tried to stop the bleeding. At 8 am, Ahmed’s mother used a donkey cart to transport him to the hospital. Israeli soldiers fired in front of her feet though she had placed a white flag on the donkey cart. Nonetheless she drove on. He spent nine days in Shifa Hospital before being transferred to Turkey, where he spent 6 months. Ahmed has four sons. February 2010.
  • 015MachmoudZorba
    Machmoud Zorba, 18, student from Tel al-Hawa neighborhood in Gaza City. On 5, January at 9pm he and a group of friends were on his neighbor’s balcony when they were hit by a missile. Three people were killed and three injured. Zorba lost his lower leg, a finger and his eyesight. Here is seen with his mother Amal, 44. She has another eight sons. January 2010
  • 016Red_cloth
    Markings of a waterwell in the Izbet Abed Rabbou quater in the East of Gaza City which was buried by Israeli army D9 Caterpillars during the attack on the Gaza Strip at the turn of 2008/09. The background shows foundations of buildings that were destroyed in the assault. They will be used for building a mole in the port of Gaza. November 2009
  • 1467_Small_tower_destr.Building
    The remains of the EU funded Gaza International Airport in Rafah. The airport is near the Israeli/Egypt border, an area frequently shelled by the Israeli army. December 2009
  • 018Jamila_al-Habash
    Jamila al-Habash, 16, a student in the 10th grade from Tufah neighborhood in Gaza City. Jamila was hit by a missile while playing on the roof of her house on 4, January at 3pm. In the same attack, one of her sisters was killed, her cousin Mohammed, 16, lost a leg, another cousin was killed and another was lightly injured. She was operated on and received a prosthesis in Saudi Arabia. Because she had problems with the prosthesis she received she was taken to Slovenia where she was given another one, which unfortunately also isn’t right for her. Jamila was a thin girl before the injury but because she is unable to move freely she has gained a lot of weight. The 155mm shell in the photo was found in their garden outside of Gaza City. Her father took it home. January 2010
  • 032Hassan_Sakoud
    Hassan Sakoud, 19, a secondary school student from Jabaliya Refugee Camp. Blinded by shrapnel from a missile while standing on a street next to his house on 27, December around 3pm. One piece of shrapnel is still lodged in his head. After being injured during the war in Haifa he was taken to Israel as well as Egypt for surgery. Three other people were also injured in the same incident. The picture on the wall is of his father Machmoud, 60, when he was 25. January 2010
  • 037Kholod_al-Sesi
    Kholod al-Sesi; 17; secondary school student from al-Faluja in Jabaliya Refugee Camp in Gaza City. Al-Sesi lost her leg when a 155mm shell was shot into the room where she was sitting with seven family members. All were injured but as the shell didn’t explode they are very lucky to be alive. She has a prosthesis which allows her to walk short distances. February 2010
  • 039Watertank_hole
    A water reservoir in the Tel al-Hauwa area in the South of Gaza City destroyed by the Israeli army during the attack on the Gaza Strip at the turn of year 2008/09. It was also used as a shelter for Israeli troops during the war. December 2009.
  • 040Boy+destroyed_house
    A boy looking at his former home in the al-Salam quater in Gaza City which was destroyed by the Israeli army during the attack on the Gaza Strip at the turn of 2008/09. The remains of the house are now about to be removed by construction workers for recycling the materials. Due to the siege by Israel there are almost no constructions materials in the strip. December 2009
  • 041Samia_al-Manaiya
    Nasra al-Manaiya, 47, with her daughter Samia, 16, a secondary school student from al-Fakhoura/Jabaliya Refugee Camp. On the night of 10, January their home was hit by a phosphorus shell which went through the roof and straight into the room where they slept. It completely burned everything. Samia was transfered to Shifa Hospital where her wounds were cleaned. She was moved around in a wheelbarrow because she couldn’t walk. A week later she was brought back to hospital and operated on again because there were problems with the wounds. She had another two operations but can’t remember when exactly. She stayed in hospital for more than a month. She wants to study but it depends on her father and the financial situation of the family. Her father has six children and is unemployed. February 2010
  • 045Zohair_Zimmo
    Zohair Zimmo, 49 from Rimal Neighbourhood in Gaza City. She was injured on 15, january 2009 at 9am. The area was shot at with phosphor and mostly in smoke. A 155mm shell hit through the roof into her childrens room. Her leg vanished in the explosion. Her husband Abdel Nasr, 52 gave her first aid pulled her down the staircased and drove her to Shifa Hospital in his car. He had to remove pieces of burning phosphor from the driveway of his garage before leaving. There were also still traces of phosphor on the roof in May 2010. Ambulances were not permitted in the area at that time. Afterwards he drove back and evacuated his children as the area was under random Israeli artillery fire though there was no fighting. He also saw no Palestinian fighters. On 12, February Sohair returned to her home and received physiotherapy. The stump got infected and took three months to heal. In February 2010 she received a prothesis in Bethlehem but it is not sufficient (unstabel & heavy). She was to go abroad to get a new one. Her husband is an electrical ingeeneer but unemployed. May 2010.
  • 053Deeb_Taqfa
    Deeb Takfa, 23, farmer from al-Haraba area east of Khan Yunis (close to the former Morag settlement). Stepped on a mine laid by Israeli soldiers in 2005. A cousin was injured in a similar incident. Takfa recently got married and can walk pretty well with the assistance of his prosthesis. January 2010
  • 055Heba_Rajab
    Heba Rajab, 24 from Beit Lahia was injured on 3, November 2006. She was taking part in a women demonstration in Beit Lahia. The demonstartion aimed at freeing about 70 Palestinain fighters who were surrounded in the Um al-Nasr Mosque by the Israeli army. When the demonstration reached the mosque a tank fired at the demonstartors. Heba received four bullets in hip, one in leg and one in the hand. Two women were killed. She was transported to Shifa Hospital and after four days she was transfered to Egypt. There she stayed 40days with her mother Najah in a hospital. She had more than 20 operations due to the fractures that resulted from the bullets. After being back in Gaza she received a metall cast which got infected and was treated by Doctors Without Borders. After she went to again to Egypt to get the nerves of her hand operated which worked out. She stayed for two months and had a plastic surgery in Palestine Hospital which got infected as well. Than she was transfered to Istambul were she received a plastical surgery for her hip which failed. She is in urgent need for another mayor operation but can´t pay for it. She studies civil engeenering has four sister and five brothers. She was married but her husband abandoned her after she was injured. May 2010.
  • 059Telephoneno._destroyed_houseroof
    The remains of a house in the ´Abasan al-Saghir (al-Jadida) which was destroyed by the Israeli army during the attack on the Gaza Strip at the turn of 2008/09. The blue number on the ceiling is number of the owner of the house. December 2009
  • 080ConcreteFactory
    A concrete factory in the quater Izzbet Abed Rabbou in the East of Gaza after the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip at the turn of year 2008/09. During the assault a lot of the civilian infrastructure was hit like schools, waterwells, hospitals, factories. December 2009.
  • 081taircasecolumn_destroyed_house
    Destroyed house in Abu Drabu Neighbourhood in the East of Gaza City after the Israeli invasion into the Gazastrip during the turn of the year 2008/09. January 2009.
  • 082Mohammed_al-Haddad
    Mohammed al-Haddad; 25 is a student in accounting at the Jerusalem Open University from Tel al-Hauwa / Gaza City. On 15; January about 11.30am the Volkswagen Golf he was sitting in with his family was shot with two rockets. One of it contained phosphor. His father a bankdirector Adi al-Haddad; 55; his mother Ichsan; 45; his brother Hatim; 24 and his sister; 14 were incinerated. The explosion blow him out off the car and left him with heavy burns on legs; hands; chest and head. He also lost an eye; broke his jaw and his spleen had to be extradited. Since yet he had seven operations some were executed by Doktors Without Borders. The last was a transplant of skin from the leg to the skull. Than a little ballon with a special liquid was implantated under his skull. Every Monday and Thursday more liquid is press into the ballon and the skin with the air grows once it is big enough the transplanted skin will be removed and the ballon as well. The newly grown skin with the hair will be put in its place. So the burns on his head will have vanished. The procedure doesn´t cause him any pain. He still needs a lot of plastical surgery on the legs and hands. Three fingers of his hand grow to gether because of the burns and were separated again. The tensions on the skin cause him pain. February 2010.
  • 082Youssef&Ali
    Youssef Abu al-Leil, 18, and his friend Ali, 20, from Schati Refugee Camp in Gaza City. On 4, February Youssef picked up an explosive that Israeli soldiers used to blow open doors and took it home. While playing around with it it exploded and destroyed his arm. He is unemployed and quit school and needs $2000 for a working prosthesis. Ali was injured when an unexploded device which he was trying to open in order to retrieve the explosives went off. They became friends during physical therapy. February 2010
  • 083Haula_Jaber3800
    Haula Fati Jabr, 21, a student of civil services in the Collective College in Tal al-Hauwa, 8th Street in Gaza City. She had to take a six-month break from her studies. On 9, January at about 9am the family fled their house in Jabaliya village after the area was shelled. Her brother’s daughter, Ala´a Jabr, was killed and six members of her family (mother, two brothers and sister-in-law) were injured when a shell exploded next to them. She had sharpnel in her head, left breast, right hand and foot. She was unconscious for a week and was operated on in Kamal Odwan Hospital in Beit Lahia and stayed there for 10 days. She still has a metal plate in her leg and needs further surgery for the nerves in her legs to regain full movement. Her father is unemployed and has four sons and five daughters. February 2010
  • 092Yachia al-Adham
    Yachia al-Adham, 23, mathematics student at al-Azhar University in Beit Lahia. He ran away from his house in northern Beit Lahia where Israeli tanks attacked the area and destroyed many houses. He was hit by a mortar shell on 6, January at about 4pm while next to the UNWRA school in Fakhoura in Jabaliya Refugee Camp. The school sheltered 1368 people during the war. 36 people were killed and 40 injured by at least four 120mm mortar shells, one hit a family killing 11 family members (UN ReportGold stone p.185). Al-Adham lost both eyes, his nose was severely disfigured and he can no longer use his left hand due to shrapnel wounds. January 2010
  • 1462_Archbuilding_seaside
    The remains of a hotel and restaurant North of Gaza City. The hotel was damaged by the Israeli army already at the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifada. During the Gaza War, it was completely destroyed by the Israeli Army. December 2009
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For more than 20 years Kai Wiedenhöfer has been taking photographs in the Middle East, a place where many journalists and photographers have covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet Wiedenhöfer is unique in that he concentrates exclusively on Gaza, and often remains there for extended time to take photos long after the media has moved onto more ‘pressing’ news stories. Even in 2009 after the offensive of the Israeli army, Wiedenhöfer was in Gaza. During this time he took disturbingly quiet, almost repetitive pictures of the bleak aftermath of the war that form The Book of Destruction. Wiedenhöfer´s images of crumbling ruins and maimed civilians are a powerful landscape of disquiet and destruction.