Sat 22-June-2024

The scorching summer heat and the mad war cannot defeat the people of Gaza

Saturday 8-June-2024


As the official start of summer approaches in Gaza, crises intensify and suffering becomes more apparent. People are living in tents, in the open air, and wherever they can find shelter, deprived of all their rights. Moreover, they are being killed in front of the world, morning and evening, in a genocide witnessed by all.

The suffering began with displacement and homelessness, away from their homes, neighborhoods, and villages. However, this suffering has become even harsher with the onset of scorching heat waves. Tent dwellers describe their shelters as ovens, if not worse.

When Israel launched its aggressive war, its war minister announced the cutoff of fuel, electricity, and water to the Gaza Strip, describing its residents as “human animals”.

Terrifying conditions and multiple dangers

Displaced people sleep on uneven, sandy ground, in total darkness, and in a state of fear due to relentless bombing. Insects add to their misery, disrupting their already harsh living conditions. Snakes have been spotted in some areas, posing additional dangers to the displaced, who already face threats beyond just the bombings.

Words may fail to capture the extent of the pain, the scope of the suffering, and the misery of the situation. Yet, the people’s resilience is unwavering, and their faith in their resistance remains strong.

Upon waking, if they manage to sleep at all, the displaced face a harsh and painful day.

Long queues for water

Mahmoud Al-Haddad, a displaced person living in a tent opposite Al-Aqsa University in Khan Yunis, tells a reporter from the Palestinian Information Center that he begins his day by queuing for water for personal use. He describes the scene as harsh: hundreds of people, including women and children, stand in line to fill one or two gallons.

“If you are lucky enough to fill that in an hour or two, it is considered a luxury,” he says with sorrow and pain. Clean drinking water has become a dream; ten liters of drinkable water cost about 3 shekels, or roughly one dollar. Al-Haddad notes that some people cannot afford this, forcing them to drink salty water.

A United Nations report confirmed that the fuel shortage has led to the shutdown of desalination plants in the area, leaving people to drink untreated wastewater. Al-Haddad explains that once he finishes filling water, he starts a fire to prepare breakfast with his wife, as cooking gas is unavailable throughout the Gaza Strip.

Israel has been blocking the entry of gas and fuel into Gaza for weeks and tightened this blockade after occupying Gaza’s crossings about a month ago.

Al-Haddad’s struggles do not end with lighting a fire to prepare breakfast. There are also lunch and dinner to consider. “Firewood is scarce and, if found, it is at prices we cannot afford,” he says.

“My words can’t describe even a part of the calamities of displacement; every minute feels like dying a thousand times,” he says.

Continuous daily suffering

Deprived of peaceful sleep, good food, and clean water, their tent is a literal oven. “We cannot rest our bodies, let alone the sick, pregnant women, and the elderly,” says Al-Haddad.

Preparing bread is another chapter of suffering; there is no place to bake it properly, and there is no fuel or gas. All residents of Gaza are forced to use firewood in primitive clay ovens.

In an interview with the Palestinian Information Center, Rasha Musleh pleads for gas to be allowed in and for bakeries to operate. “There is no more firewood to burn,” she says.

The suffering intensifies as the displacement continues, with thousands more joining the cycle of fire as ground attacks persist in Rafah and new ground operations begin east of the central province.

The world powers pay little attention to this suffering, except for timid statements here and there, alongside Israel’s disregard for the International Court of Justice’s rulings and Washington’s blind support, where the White House occupant continues to deny Israel’s genocide.

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