For Fares Akram, The Independent's reporter in Gaza, the Israeli invasion became a personal tragedy when he discovered his father was one of the first casualties of the ground war.
Fares Akram in The Independent:
My father, Akrem al-Ghoul, was no militant. Born in Gaza and educated in Egypt, he was a lawyer and a judge who worked for the Palestinian Authority. After Hamas took over, he quit and turned to agriculture. Dad's father, Fares, who had been driven out of his home in what is now Israeli Ashkelon in 1948, had bought the land in the 1960s.
During the second intifada and until the Israelis withdrew from Gaza in 2005, the farm was taken over by Israeli settlers, but after 2005 we went there every holiday. In Gaza, the only escape is the beach or, if you are lucky enough, the farmland. My father hated what Hamas was doing to Gaza's legal system, introducing Islamist justice, and he completely opposed violence. He would have worked hard for a just settlement with Israel and a better future for Palestinians. When the PA gained control over the West Bank, he moved to Ramallah to help establish the courts there.
My grief carries no desire for revenge, which I know to be always in vain. But, in truth, as a grieving son, I am finding it hard to distinguish between what the Israelis call terrorists and the Israeli pilots and tank crews who are invading Gaza. What is the difference between the pilot who blew my father to pieces and the militant who fires a small rocket? I have no answers but, just as I am to become a father, I have lost my father.