How many thousands of shells have been fired by the Israeli army? The rocket fire has left no trace of the refugee camp in the Gaza Strip of the Palestinian Authority, leaving nothing but rubble, ruins, and bodies in its wake.
Since the start of the fighting on October 7, there has been no end to the retaliatory attacks by Israeli forces on Gaza. Palestinian journalist Sameh Ahmed, who has been reporting and photographing in the area, reveals the current situation in Gaza.
Since the beginning of the fighting, residential areas seem to have been consistently targeted,” said Sameh Ahmed, a Palestinian journalist who has been reporting and photographing in Gaza. According to the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Watch, an average of 100 children have died every day since the beginning of the Israeli military’s massive assault on Gaza; as of October 16, a total of 1,046 Palestinian children have lost their lives. Even those children who have survived have endured serious injury, loss, and trauma.”
The border between Israel and Gaza remains sealed, and for the third consecutive day since October 21, trucks carrying humanitarian aid have passed through the Rafah checkpoint on the border with Egypt, bringing water, food, and medicine, but the plight of the residents remains the same. Aiko Nishikida, a professor at Keio University’s Faculty of Law and an expert on contemporary Middle Eastern politics, said, “In Gaza, there is now no electricity.
Electricity is now out in Gaza, but fuel for power generation was not sent for fear that it would be used militarily by Hamas. The first batch of relief supplies was only enough to last 500 people for four days, and in Gaza, where 2.2 million people live, that’s a drop in the bucket. NGOs providing aid have pointed out the importance of opening the Karni checkpoint on the Israeli side, but this will be difficult under the current circumstances.
In fact, the minimal medical supplies needed to sustain life are beginning to run out. As Ahmed mentioned above, “The stock of medicines and medical supplies at Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Hospital in central Gaza ran out on October 19.
The stock of medicines and medical supplies at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in central Gaza ran out on October 19. The director of a hospital in the south also revealed, ‘We have run out of medical supplies and we are short of personnel. One hundred and thirty children in the pediatric ICU will die sooner or later.
According to Ahmed, Gaza hospitals have even run out of stock of bags to hold the bodies. The bodies are piled up in the hospital’s courtyard, where bereaved families gather around them and simply shed tears, a sad scene.
Amidst the growing anxiety of the residents, Israel once again warned that a ground invasion was imminent. For the third time, Israel has advised the people of Gaza to evacuate.
However, the evacuation of the residents is not progressing at all. In contrast to Israel’s evacuation advisory, Hamas, the group that actually controls Gaza, has ordered residents to stay in their homes. Professor Nishikida explains that this is part of the protest against the attacks.
In Arabic, it is called “smud,” a movement to resist by staying where you are. This was not started by Hamas, but it is a concept that has existed since around the 1960s. It is a unique idea for Palestinians who have a history of being separated from the land they lived on, which is now Israel, and not being able to return to it.
Turning a blind eye to the sacrifices
Egypt, which borders Gaza, is being discussed as the largest recipient of evacuees from Gaza. At this point, however, Egypt is not willing to accept the evacuees.
We can see their intention of not wanting to hold a political firestorm,” he said. With demonstrations showing solidarity with Palestine already taking place in various countries, accepting Palestinians could destabilize the political situation. Besides, if the Israeli ground invasion really starts, there is a fear that Gaza will be thoroughly destroyed until there is no place to return to. It will take time to recover, so we fear that if they are allowed to enter now, they may remain in Egypt for decades to come,” said Professor Nishikida.
The reason for the persistent attacks on Gaza is that Israeli public opinion is leaning toward the “war on terror. This is also the intention of the Netanyahu administration, which is trying to make up for the blunder of allowing Hamas to invade and raid the country on October 7.
To use an analogy, I feel the same “atmosphere” as in the U.S. after the 9/11 attacks. It reminds me of the U.S. attack on Afghanistan in retaliation immediately after the terrorist attacks. From the Hamas side, they may want to use the hostages as material for making various deals, but the Israeli side does not have the luxury of responding to them. Rather, they would like to convince the public by showing a posture of thoroughly beating the other side. The rescue of the 220 hostages captured by Hamas is important, but on the other hand, it is thought that the Israelis are wavering between the idea that they have no choice but to turn a blind eye to some casualties.
Hamas released hostages on the 23rd and 24th in succession. However, there is no sign that fuel, their biggest demand, is being brought in. Even while these negotiations are ongoing, the lives of critically ill patients requiring ventilators and newborns in incubators are at risk.
There are no schools, housing complexes, or mosques left in Gaza. There is no safe place for them.
Those who have no choice but to remain in Gaza, with nowhere to run, live in constant fear of death in the face of airstrikes that could begin at any moment. When will peace return to these children?
From the November 10 and 17, 2023 issues of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Unifoto Press, Sameh Ahmed/West East Productions