Israel Mondoweiss Palestine

They Let Humanitarian Aid In. Then They Bombed It So That Gaza Would Starve.

One of the bakeries that Israel bombed in Nuseirat refugee camp had just received a shipment of flour from UNRWA meant to cover the food needs of the entire camp. Israel waited to bomb it once all the flour was unloaded.

By Tareq S. Hajjaj / Mondoweiss

The following report is a consolidation of voice recordings sent by Mondoweiss Gaza Correspondent Tareq Hajjaj on October 25.

The situation is more terrifying than any previous day. People have been standing in long lines outside bakeries to get a small bag of bread for hours — six hours, seven hours, every day. But in the last few days, over ten bakeries have been targeted in the south, the so-called “safe zone” where the Israeli army told us to go. But it was a trap. They wanted to cram us into one place and start bombing us again. They’re targeting bakeries, and we don’t even hear reports of Hamas members among the dead.

One of the bakeries targeted in Nuseirat refugee camp had just received a huge shipment of flour from UNRWA, which had agreed with the bakery to sell the bread from the flour at half-price for the camp residents. UNRWA had just finished unloading the shipment, which was meant to cover the needs of the entire Nuseirat area, when the bakery was bombed and completely destroyed. They aren’t only targeting people and homes. They’re letting in aid, and then they destroy it before it reaches the people who need it. It’s calculated and deliberate. It’s meant to exterminate the civilian population.

By now, we know what kinds of missiles are being used to target us. There are kinds whose sole purpose is destruction, and there are other kinds that are designed to kill and are launched at crowds — people are calling them “killing missiles” because they’re designed to kill every living thing within a wide radius. People have started congregating at barber shops and hair salons to charge their cell phones because most of those salons use solar energy to charge the batteries that provide those shops with electricity, so now those shops are also being targeted by these kinds of “killing” missiles. The Israeli army bombed two of the salons, one in Khan Younis and one in Nuseirat refugee camp. They hit the salons only, not the areas near them. It wasn’t collateral damage; it was a deliberate strike on civilians.

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These missiles explode inside the salon and killed everyone inside, but the building is left standing. Those who don’t die are ripped into pieces, their wounds critical in almost every case. A person can lose half their body. The sounds of these missiles are the scariest because the missile relies on the force of the explosion itself to kill its target. The other day, I started hearing other bombs being dropped that I’ve never heard before in Gaza. The bomb would be preceded by a long pronounced whistle, but when it explodes, its sound is lower than the other bombs. Artillery strikes have also become routine in the south, coming from the eastern side of the Gaza Strip. But the most prevalent missiles are the ones that are designed to destroy wide areas and level buildings. It depends on where the targeted areas are, but you can see the evidence of their use by looking at the scale of the destruction in Gaza.

All of this means that people are afraid to leave their homes even for basic necessities. When people stand in line for bread, they’re terrified. When they move in the streets, they’re terrified. The missiles target the markets, places where there are a lot of people, and they are all killed. We never hear that a Hamas operative was killed in these strikes. It’s always women, children, random people walking through the market. People aren’t leaving their homes anymore for any reason. In the house where I’m staying, not one of us is prepared to go stand in line at a bakery because we know that, at any moment, the bakery might be targeted. It doesn’t matter if you’re a civilian or not. But I have to venture out on many days, whether it’s to get baby formula for my son, diapers, or medicine. And every moment, I keep thinking that this is the day I’m going to die.

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Tareq S. Hajjaj

Tareq S. Hajjaj is the Mondoweiss Gaza Correspondent, and a member of the Palestinian Writers Union. He studied English Literature at Al-Azhar University in Gaza. He started his career in journalism in 2015 working as a news writer and translator for the local newspaper, Donia al-Watan. He has reported for ElbadiMiddle East Eye, and Al Monitor. Follow him on Twitter at @Tareqshajjaj.

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