After Hamas attacked Israel, Israel’s action against militants in the Gaza Strip has been uncompromising, but civilians say they are living in hell. Trying to save their lives, they fled from the fighting 3-4 times. Almost everyone had to move at least once.
Thousands of desperate civilians surrounded a humanitarian aid convoy in the northern Gaza Strip. Many Palestinians gathered at the site claimed that the last time they saw flour was a month ago. The UN admits that virtually all of Gaza’s more than two million people are struggling with hunger. – About 577,000, or over half a million people, have reached catastrophic levels of hunger. Every fourth person there goes hungry, points out Arif Husain from the World Food Program.
About one hundred thousand displaced Palestinians have arrived in Rafah in recent days, and the city has become the most densely populated area in Gaza, yet Israeli forces do not stop their offensive there. They also maintain that their target is the infrastructure used by Hamas. Palestinians say otherwise. – We were covered with rubble, we have no idea what happened, we are still looking for five people. As you can see, there are children here, these are the real targets of the Israelis, says Mohammad Adwan, a resident of the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli military is now concentrating its operations in central Gaza and is once again calling on Palestinians to evacuate the areas to which it had previously ordered them to move. This time, up to 150,000 civilians are expected to leave their homes and refugee camps. Israeli forces want them to evacuate to the southern city of Deir al-Balah. – We were resettled from Gaza City to Khan Yunus, and later to Deir al-Balah and Rafah – notes one of the residents of the Gaza Strip.
The UN emphasizes that Deir al-Balah is already overpopulated, as several hundred thousand displaced people have taken refuge there. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society has started working with the organization’s Egyptian branch to establish a refugee camp in Khan Yunus in the south of the enclave. But neither there nor anywhere else in Gaza is safe.
– We were eating when something started falling on our heads. There were no Hamas members here. I regret that we came to Khan Yunus, I regret that we did not stay in Gaza City. There were many injured there, it’s the same here, reports Yara Shanan, displaced from Gaza City.
The international community is intensifying efforts to bring about a renewed ceasefire in Gaza. Egypt presented a three-stage ceasefire proposal, and – according to foreign media reports – a Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo to discuss the plan. Israeli public opinion and the families of the kidnapped civilians are still pushing for a truce that will lead to the release of approximately one hundred Israeli hostages still in the hands of Hamas. And those who returned to their families under the first ceasefire are speaking out once again, describing the conditions in which they were held captive by terrorists.
– Entire families are under the control of Hamas. Suddenly I started asking myself: “why are they keeping me in someone else’s house? Why are there children here? Why is there a woman here?” – says Mia, the freed hostage. – Some hostages were beaten and handcuffed for several hours, including women. We heard about sexual abuse, some first-hand stories and some from witnesses. These harms were inflicted on people at gunpoint, says Chen Almog-Goldstein, the freed hostage.
The Israeli military also published the results of an investigation into the accidental shooting of three Israeli hostages in Gaza who were trying to approach their soldiers while waving a white flag. The report concluded that the Israeli military “failed in its mission and the entire situation was preventable.” However, it was also added that the soldiers had no bad intentions and did the best they could in this particular situation.
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Main photo source: CNN