- Over 1000 people have lost their lives in the recent attacks
- The Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalates with no immediate resolution in sight
The recent upheavals, triggered by Israel’s declaration of war and subsequent bombings, have left the Gaza strip residents displaced and distraught. The situation is particularly dire for innocent civilians who have lost their homes and livelihoods, with no place to seek refuge.
The Sudden Onslaught
Amer Ashour, a resident of Gaza City, found his world turned upside down when Israel began its bombardment. What was supposed to be a joyous occasion, the birth of his second child, was marred by the devastation that awaited him at home. Their 11-story residential building in Al-Nasr neighborhood was reduced to rubble following the Israeli forces’ retaliation to an unexpected attack by the Palestinian group Hamas.
Israel’s declaration of a “state of war” and subsequent “significant military steps” have led to fierce battles, resulting in the loss of over 1000 lives. This includes at least 400 Palestinian lives in Gaza, with thousands more wounded on both sides. The residential building Ashour lived in was home to approximately 80 families who now find themselves homeless. Ashour, amidst the rubble and ruin of his former home, wondered, “Where will we go in these difficult times?”
The story of displacement repeats itself across the region. Shadi Al-Hassi and his elder brother found themselves seeking refuge at their parents’ apartment in Al-Watan Tower in downtown Gaza City, after their own home was damaged in an airstrike. Their brief respite was cut short when they were forced to evacuate their temporary shelter due to impending Israeli bombing.
Civilian Buildings Under Attack
The targeting of civilian buildings has sparked outrage and disbelief. Al-Watan Tower was a residential hub, housing clinics, companies, and a beauty centre – a far cry from the military activity Israel claimed it housed. Yet, it didn’t escape the onslaught. Al-Hassi, now twice displaced, expressed his shock and disbelief at the attack. “Now all of us, my brother and my family, were rendered homeless within hours and we don’t know what’s coming next.”
The Ground Reality
Youssef Al-Bawab, a resident of a building opposite Al-Watan Tower, shares Al-Hassi’s sentiments. His building, home to 150 people, was badly damaged and rendered uninhabitable. According to Al-Bawab, Israel’s claim of targeting resistance fighters and military sites is far from the truth. “I believe Israel is deliberately targeting civilians and displacing them to put more pressure on Hamas,” said Al-Bawab.
The Struggle for Survival
Mohammed Salah, a resident of Beit Lahia neighborhood in the north of Gaza, sought shelter in a United Nations-run school along with other families from the area. He described the bombing as indiscriminate, not differentiating between civilians and resistance fighters. Salah’s sentiment rings true for many Palestinians who have been living under these conditions for years, with no one to defend their rights or stand for them.