Mohammed, a social worker at Islamic Relief Gaza, shares his experience of the devastating conflict in Palestine.
This conflict began in the blessed month of Ramadan. Muslims wait all year for this holy time, which is usually flavoured by faith and worship. For Palestinians this year, it is stained by violence.
My family and I spent the first 13 days of the conflict at our home in Khan Younis city. Danger and violence accelerated swiftly there – with seemingly ceaseless airstrikes and shelling from the sea.
This conflict is different from the others
This outbreak of conflict is totally different from the others, especially for my children: my six-year-old daughter, Laila, my four-year-old son, Majed, and even little Taleen, who is not even a year old.
My baby daughter is too young to realise what is happening, but Laila and Majed have experienced days and nights that they could never have imagined. When she hears the bombardments, Laila covers her ears and runs to me or her mother. Majed is usually a very active boy, who loved to play all day. Now he ignores his toys and stays close to us.
“Dad, are we going to die?”
The other day, he asked me, “Dad, are we going to die?” It breaks my heart that a small boy would ask such a question. What has he ever done in his life to even know about death? Around the world, children know nothing but playing and having fun. But not Palestinians in Gaza. I wish with all my heart that the children did not have to go through this.
Still at home, we witnessed dangerous, horrifying moments. We had no electricity, no water, and – most importantly – no safety. After the bombardment in Al Sheja’eya, everyone in the eastern parts of the Gaza Strip was terrified. We decided to flee our beautiful house, not knowing if we would ever come back, or even if we would still be alive at the end of this ordeal.
There is no safe place left in Gaza
We packed what we could, and hurried to our uncle’s home in a densely populated area, right in the middle of Khan Younis city. They say it is safer here, but I no longer believe that there is any safe place in the whole of Gaza
Here, I found another kind of conflict: a fight against the basic needs of human beings. People here have no access to electricity and water. Imagine seeing more than a hundred people living in a building with no water to drink or use. People here put their lives at risk to get water – especially since the airstrikes are happening here too. You never feel safe. Danger is around you at all times and wherever you go.
It has been 28 days of fighting now, and the humanitarian situation is deteriorating fast. People cannot protect their families or themselves. People cannot meet their basic needs. This is Gaza. This is the situation.
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