By Tareq S. Hajjaj / Mondoweiss
The WHO put out a statement yesterday saying that medical supplies in all of Gaza’s hospitals have started to run out. At the same time, Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, put out a press release saying that health services have entered a “critical phase,” and that medical supplies, tools, and fuel are about to run out. He added that the hospitals are at full capacity, and the injured are now forced to lie on the floor.
The scene at al-Shifa’ Hospital, Gaza’s central hospital, is bloody. Women, children, and the elderly, and even young people, are forced to lie down on the floor.
Yesterday, Gaza’s sole power plant said that within the next few hours, the plant would shut down completely due to the lack of fuel. Today, electricity has almost been completely shut off everywhere in Gaza; the only exceptions are places with commercial generators, which are also running out of fuel.
The Israeli army sent threatening messages to residential tower inhabitants instructing them to evacuate their homes in the al-Nada and al-Awda complexes in northern Gaza, which include approximately fifty residential towers, and are home to thousands of people.
The humanitarian situation in homes and at UNRWA schools, where many have taken refuge to escape the bombardment, is catastrophic. Homes are overcrowded due to the internal displacement of families to their relatives’ homes in areas they believe to be farther from the line of fire. But no place in Gaza is outside the line of fire. The crowding in homes and schools has led to inhumane conditions, including hour-long lines to use bathrooms.
Last night was bloody. The missiles used by the occupation seem to be new, and haven’t been used in Gaza before. We’ve noticed that there are missiles that explode without making a large sound, but that make the ground shake under people’s feet.
Fears of ethnic cleansing and second Nakba
People are now fearing the mass ethnic cleansing of the Gaza Strip to Egypt after an Israeli military spokesperson said that the Palestinians affected by the airstrikes can make their way to Egypt. Since the U.S. and Egypt are now working to open a “humanitarian corridor” for aid to enter Gaza, another Israeli military spokesperson said that civilians may all pass through that corridor to Egypt.
These statements have led Gaza residents to fear an impending second Nakba and mass ethnic cleansing. At the same time, rumors are spreading among people in Gaza that the Egyptian city of Sheikh Zweid and other areas in the Sinai have been prepared ahead of time to receive refugees, which many say is an old plan whose time has now come. Talk has also been spreading of how the eventuality of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians to areas of the Sinai would be followed by the establishment of a Palestinian state on what remains of the Gaza Strip, in which Egypt would supposedly swap land with Israel. Yet these rumors remain unsubstantiated.
What is certain, however, is that U.S. officials have started to discuss the possibility of the flight of thousands of families and civilians to Egypt through the Rafah crossing.
The Rafah crossing was targeted yesterday by Israeli airstrikes from the Palestinian side, but firefighters and civil defense teams have since cleared the rubble from the area and reopened the crossing.
During the very brief hours of the day when I manage to gain internet access, scrolling through social media feels like scrolling through a graveyard.Tareq Hajjaj
There are still tens, and perhaps hundreds, of civilians who are still stuck under the rubble from the Israeli airstrikes. Hours ago, an entire family was pulled out from under the rubble, and other reports have surfaced that an entire family was buried and died in this manner in northern Gaza. The Health Ministry has announced that at least ten medical personnel have been killed, in addition to dozens of journalists, who were intentionally targeted.
During the very brief hours of the day when I manage to gain internet access, scrolling through social media feels like scrolling through a graveyard. Everyone is writing obituaries, everyone has a loved one who has been martyred. I saw a young man write that his mother, his wife, his four children, and his sister and her own children, were all killed in an airstrike that he alone survived. I see pictures of children with severed body parts in hospitals.
The UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs has stated that 338,000 people have been internally displaced within the Gaza Strip. Over 22,850 housing units have been leveled.
In another statement, the Health Ministry reported that bed units in ICUs at al-Shifa’ and other hospitals are at capacity, and there are no more beds for any of the other countless new injuries that continue to stream into the hospitals. The Ministry stated that the number of injured has far surpassed the hospital’s capacity to treat them.
The Hamas movement has now started to address fellow Palestinians in the West Bank, calling upon them to take action in support of Gaza. Husam Badran, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, said in a statement that the West Bank is the arena that is most capable in coming to Gaza’s defense, more important than assistance from the outside.
“I call upon our people in the West Bank to take action, because every day delayed is a day we give to the occupation to kill more of our people,” he said. He also called on all those who have weapons, whether they occupy official positions, or are part of resistance cells, to take action in the West Bank immediately.
We aren’t hearing of the death of one person in a family. We only hear about the death of entire families. Entire families, all of them, killed by the airstrikes.Tareq Hajjaj
People are in a state of shock and are gripped by terror in their homes. Many on social media are saying that there is nothing harder than having to read the name of your brother on a breaking news headline on TV or to hear it over the radio — because families have been split apart, and every person has gone to a different place.
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Airstrikes in Gaza have hit universities, schools, mosques, hospitals, civil institutions, human rights organizations, news organizations.
Inside al-Shifa’, corpses are being laid next to one another naked due to the shortage of body bags and the lack of space in the morgue refrigerators.
This time, the airstrikes aren’t just targeting houses or people. They are targeting entire neighborhoods and residential areas. In this war, we aren’t hearing of the death of one person in a family. We only hear about the death of entire families. Entire families, all of them, killed by the airstrikes.
Now breaking news is coming in that news organizations in the Gaza Strip are shutting down operations completely due to the shortage of fuel, which is used to power electricity and internet access.
It is important to note that people in Gaza don’t think that Israel is carrying out this war on its own. They are certain that this war is being waged by a number of powerful countries such as Britain, the U.S., Italy, and many other European countries that support Israel clearly and provide it with weapons to fight Gaza.
The last casulaty report I have seen is of 1,354 martyrs and 6,049 injuries.