The last time I saw Ahdaf Soueif, the Egyptian writer, she was thrusting a bundle of Euro notes into my hand and pleading that I find a man named Hashim El Qudrah in the Jabaliya refugee camp and give him the money. "He needs it." she said to me, "His family is desperate- please get it to him."
He greeted me with caution. Crippled by age and unable to leave his home, he and his two wives had lived through 22 days of hell as Israeli jets, helicopters, tanks and soldiers rained havoc around their small home.
"Trapped like animals, and living like animals." he explained. "I have nothing in the house - I cannot serve you anything."
I had added to his humiliations; after a month of many deaths, now the inability to offer hospitality to a guest.