WAR IN GAZA - So many memories return. Israel has declared War on the Gaza Strip for the first time since 1973, this piece of land that has been under siege for more than 16 years. The scene here today could’ve been from 75 years ago—houses bombed, children killed, paramedics targeted, and there is no safety against Gaza’s aggressor. Yet the scale of violence today does not compare to what we have seen before. Whole neighborhoods are being erased and are no longer recognizable; we face collective punishment without the supply of water, fuel, and electricity, and a loud clear statement by Israeli officials and soldiers to wipe Gaza out.
In the blink of an eye, hundreds of Palestinian civilians can lose their lives in a random airstrike, battleships, or artillery bombs. Why do we have to live with this pain again?
As I write this, it’s the 9th day of this brutal genocide. The humanitarian situation is getting worse each hour. Israel wants all of us dead. There are no innocent civilians. “All of the people who reside in Gaza are collectively responsible for what is happening,” the Israeli president says.
Being Palestinian is enough justification for Israel to commit genocide, erasing whole families.
This is why we are being deprived of water, electricity, and internet since day one of this war—isn’t the collective punishment of the entire population of 2.3 million people a war crime?
Only in death do Palestinians have the equality and justice they never saw in life. Israel is taking our souls, muting our laughs, and assassinating our dreams without even knowing who we are. Being Palestinian is enough justification for Israel to commit genocide, erasing whole families.
If you survive an airstrike, the news of your house being bombed, your friend being killed, your neighbors being stuck under the rubble, can still crush you.
My heart is so saddened by the daily loss of friends, by the news of families that have been totally wiped off the civil registry. I don’t know who to console. But in the midst of sorrow, I must straighten up. In these times, we don’t have the luxury to collapse or mourn; it’s all about how to keep us alive, how to survive.
Not Even a Drop of Water Will Enter Gaza
As Israel continues to cut off water supplies, the situation starts to deteriorate rapidly. I woke up and went to the kitchen to prepare some morning coffee. Oops, there is no fresh water. I went outside to ask my neighbors if they had water or knew where I could get it. They directed me towards a water station two kilometers away that works on solar panels.
It was such a relief, actually, because other water stations needed electricity. In other words, no electricity means no water. With two 20-liter water jars, I headed to the water station along with many people from my neighborhood. When I reached my destination, I found dozens of people, just like me, waiting their turn. Some came by foot, while others used animal carts. If we don’t manage to fill our jars before the water station batteries die, we will not have water to drink for today.
Finally, after some waiting, it’s my turn now. I managed to fill mine, and now I have to walk all my way back home carrying these jars. With sweat all over my face, collapsed muscles, and an exhausted body, I’m finally home.
I have never imagined myself having to walk two kilometers to get water; I never imagined that I would have to wait in a long line of people when all they wanted was water to drink.
While I can’t complain, since hundreds of thousands of people are now camped out in UNRWA schools and other areas in Gaza have to drink and use polluted water, I wonder to myself: Why do we have to go through this?
No to a Second Nakba
As more than 1.1 million Palestinian people from northern Gaza were ordered to leave their homes and head to the southern area, the images from the Nakba (great catastrophe) in 1948 are present in our minds, when our grandparents had to leave their homes and villages because of the atrocities and massacres committed by Zionist armed militias.
It was such a nightmare. Where should these people go? How can they go? And most importantly, why are they even being ordered to leave with no guarantee of safe passage or return?
What We Fear Has Happened
The atmosphere is thick with panic and fear as people are rushing to leave their homes. The roads are crowded with overloaded cars, trucks, animal carts, and people walking on foot carrying their babies and some of their belongings. Clinging to the hope that the south is safer for them.
BREAKING NEWS: 70 killed and 200 injured after convoys of evacuees in Gaza are hit by Israeli strikes.
Seeking safety, civilians were killed. What should we do to survive?
It’s the 11th day. I am really devastated and so tired of all that is going on. There is no hope at this moment. We are expecting our death every day. It has become a matter of discussion between my cousins and me, who have fled to our home—how would we die?—as if it’s a matter of fact.
“Listen, if we are bombed, I want to die immediately. I don’t want to be stuck under the rubble for so long.”
I am thinking, “What is better? If I sleep on the ground floor, the three-story building will fall over me, but if I sleep on the third floor, only the roof will fall over me. It’s easier for the firefighters and civil rescue team to get to me, right?”
“Are we going to die starving?”
“If they want all of us dead, why don’t they throw a nuclear bomb and kill us all at once so it ends with less pain, so we don’t have to say goodbye to anyone, or mourn anyone?”
As dark as my words are, the reality is far darker. With a question we deem to know the answer to: What’s next?
(Abdallah Hasaneen was born in Rafah, in the southern Gaza strip. He is a student of law at Al Azhar University, a civic education trainer at Pal Think, and a writer with We Are Not Numbers. This article was featured in CommonDreams.org.)