So many people are being killed by Israel in Gaza that bodies are beginning to pile up.
A reporter for the Financial Times interviewed a Gazan who said 17 members of his family have died in Israeli attacks since the 7 October attack by Hamas. Ibrahim al-Lahham told the paper that the pain was only compounded when he realized that the bodies could not be properly buried and had to be stacked “on top of each other.”
The brutal attacks have resulted in parents writing the names of their children on their bodies so they could be identified if they were mortally wounded in a bombing campaign.
Al Jazeera noted on Sunday that Palestine said more than 7,300 have been killed in these attacks since the start of the war, including about 3,000 children. About 1,650 Palestinians remain trapped under the rubble, half of them children.
Besides the bombings, the living conditions on the ground are deplorable, as Israel continues its full blockade of food, medicines, water, and fuel.
Al-Lahham told the FT that Palestinians are also not afforded the right to pray for the dead inside a mosque and have been forced to pray inside hallways inside hospitals. The city has been placing bodies in mass graves because of the high number of deaths and relatively few options for burials.
“We’re still in shock,” he said. “We were deprived of the chance to give them a proper farewell.”
The paper noted that Gaza is one of the most densely populated cities on Earth, and it is not uncommon that residents there have lost multiple family members. Al-Lahham told the paper that he is alive because he left his home after a neighbor’s house was bombed. He said some of his relatives did not leave thinking that the Israelis would not target them.
“An hour after we left, all the houses were leveled and everyone was killed except for three people,” he told the paper. “There’s still one boy, 11 years old, missing under the rubble.”
The paper said families have been forced to part with loved ones inside hospitals. One mother whispered into her dead son’s ear: “Darling Hisham….Do you hear me? Come back to me in my dreams, because I will miss you.”
Mohammed Abu Odeh, a resident in Gaza, told Al Jazeera that he believes Israel targets children intentionally. He said families will send some of their children to other homes so if there is a bombing, the entire family is not incinerated. Gazans once felt safer inside UN schools in the city, but they say Israeli forces are targeting them, too.
“We do not feel safe or assured here. Look what Israel did to the school in the al-Maghazi refugee camp… they bombed and killed a number of displaced people,” Salwa Khattab, a Gazan who is seeking refuge in one of these schools, said.
Save the Children said more children have been killed in Gaza in the last three weeks than the total killed in conflicts around the world since 2019, Al Jazeera reported.
About 80 percent of the 2.1 million Gazans are considered refugees by international standards—forced out of present-day Israel in 1948, Azmi Keshawi, a Gaza researcher with Crisis Group, told the FT.
“If you ask a 10-year-old boy where he is from, he will tell you the name of their village, its history, their land. This is the education that passes from the grandfather to father to son. The majority of refugees in Gaza still have the keys, and the papers to their old homes. And there is an expectation that one day we will go back.”
The paper noted that as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be preparing for a massive ground invasion, more Palestinians believe that they will be pushed out of the coastal city and into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula for good, which they said would be akin to another Nakba, or “catastrophe,” and refers to the “mass displacement and dispossession of Palestinians during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Before the Nakba, Palestine was a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society,” the UN said.
“The Nakba had a profound impact on the Palestinian people, who lost their homes, their land, and their way of life. It remains a deeply traumatic event in their collective memory and continues to shape their struggle for justice and for their right to return to their homes,” the UN said.
The Times noted that Gaza was not always at war with Israel, but in 1987, there was the first Palestinian uprising after an Israeli military truck smashed into a vehicle with Palestinian day laborers. Clashes occurred and a fence was erected.
Israel continued its crackdown and Hamas was elected in 2006. It was shortly thereafter that Israeli restrictions “morphed into a suffocating blockade.” Even the fence grew larger and the city began to look like it was an outdoor prison.
TRENDPOST: In 2010, David Cameron, the former conservative British prime minister, called the territory a “prison camp.”
“People in Gaza are living under constant attacks and pressure in an open-air prison,” he said.
Chris Patten, the former chairman of the Conservative Party who was at the time the president of Medical Aid for Palestinians, told Cameron that Gaza was “an open-air prison encircled by an apartheid wall.”
There was a time when Cameron looked like he was going to become the first major Western voice to speak up for the Palestinians, but he did not, and was pro-Israel like each one of his predecessors. But in 2016, even he had to call out Israel’s expansion in the West Bank.
“I am well-known as being a strong friend of Israel but I have to say the first time I visited Jerusalem and had a proper tour around that wonderful city and saw what has happened with the effective encirclement of East Jerusalem—occupied East Jerusalem—it is genuinely shocking,” he told MPs in the House of Commons, according to The Independent.
Nathan Thrall, the author of “A Day in the Life of Abed Salama,” told The Times that the 7 October attack by Hamas that killed 1,400 Israelis and resulted in over 200 being kidnapped, “played to the deepest Israeli fears—that all these Palestinians, who live on the other side of the wall, are going to come back and try to retake their villages and homes.”