The escalation of violence in Gaza

By CARE Australia July 16, 2014 3 comments

Naimah Abu Halima sits with her daughter Hannah in a UN school after fleeing from the north of Gaza following a warning from the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). Over 600 people have evacuated their homes and taken refuge in the school. Hannah is disabled and cannot feed or wash herself and her mother must continue to care for her in the temporary shelter. With no sign of the crisis ending the school is now concerned that they will run out of water and supplies. “I don’t know how much longer we will be able to go on in this situation.” Commented Abdil Sawan, the UN representative within the school. ©Alison Baskerville/CARE

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Father of five Mostafa Kahlout is a CARE Economic Empowerment Program coordinator in Gaza. His role involves helping more than 8,000 vulnerable households in Gaza to access food and earn an income, mostly through small scale farming. Mostafa and his family live in Gaza, and have barely left the house since the Israeli military operation began last week.

We are surrounded by bombs and explosions. Our nights have become days and our days have become nights, as we can hardly sleep more than an hour or so without the explosions. We just stay in the house and keep watching what is happening outside, watching the black smoke in the sky when the houses nearby are hit.

It is really a sad and terrible situation for all of the people of Gaza, including my own family. My kids are suffering a lot. I have two boys and three girls aged from 7 to 21-years-old.

In front of my kids and family, I act like I am not scared, so they don’t feel so stressed and depressed, but of course I am very worried and afraid. I am scared for the life of my kids and wife, relatives, and our home.

My daughters are already traumatised from the previous military operations on Gaza. Even before the bombs fall they would shiver and come close to their mother or me whenever they hear a plane.

My youngest daughter is nearly eight, she’s only small and she just keeps looking at the ceiling and asking ‘why are they trying to kill us?’

I say to her: ‘No one is going to kill us; it will all be over soon,’  trying to calm her down. But I don’t know when it will be over.

My boys put their hands to their ears to block out the noise and sit close with us. You wouldn’t believe the sound, the noise is very terrible.

I have only left the house a few times to get food from the market. The kids might go to the close neighbours’ houses but they rush back every time they hear the planes.

All the wars have been terrible, but the bombing, the shooting, the missiles, the shelling into houses this time, is just too much. It’s everywhere. Everyone feels targeted.  I am part of a big family in Gaza, and we have heard that a relative has been killed. I have lost friends and my daughter’s friend is in hospital, injured.

My children have lived through three wars in six years. I want them to live and sleep in peace without worry or trauma. They want a childhood. They deserve a childhood.

It feels quite hopeless in Gaza even without war – unemployment is so high, Israeli siege and closures, there is no stability, just violence. It’s a very difficult life indeed.

Following a warning from the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) over 600 people have evacuated their homes from the north of Gaza and taken refuge in a UN School. Many left with limited supplies. With no sign of the crisis ending the school is now concerned that they will run out of water and supplies. "I don't know how much longer we will be able to go on in this situation." Commented Abdil Sawan, the UN representative within the school. Image: Alison Baskerville
Following a warning from the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) over 600 people have evacuated their homes from the north of Gaza and taken refuge in a UN School. Many left with limited supplies. With no sign of the crisis ending the school is now concerned that they will run out of water and supplies. “I don’t know how much longer we will be able to go on in this situation.” Commented Abdil Sawan, the UN representative within the school. Image: Alison Baskerville

This is the worst Holy month (Ramadan) we have ever known. We are fasting, and worried and scared and we don’t know if we will find food to break the fast. And even when we do go to break the fast there might be bombing and shelling so we hide. If there is electricity we watch TV for updates, instead of celebrating the time together as a family like we usually would. When we get up early in the morning to prepare for the fast, again we hear the shelling and it is very hard.

Right now it is difficult for CARE, we cannot reach people to support them because we cannot move. Any moving car in the street could be targeted. My main concern is a shortage of food and medicine. There are so many casualties, injuries, destruction of lands and houses, and even before the war started, supplies were low due to the blockade. Now I worry that they will run out completely.

When this finishes we will have so many people to help. Our priority will be those whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed. Even small funds will help make a difference to them.

The people in Gaza feel isolated, there does not seem to be strong support from other countries to push for a ceasefire but as long as there is war it is civilians who will pay the price.

Right now it feels like our destiny is unknown, particularly with the Israeli closures and movement restriction imposed on Gaza since 2007. We don’t understand what will happen next, it is out of our hands. But hope never dies. We will always have hope. We want to live in peace.

3 Comments Leave new

Linda Jan 04 2018 at 04:01

Thank you CARE for caring for the Palestinian people, and others in need. I have no hesitation to donate money to you because you don't discriminate. Thank you once again for caring for the Palestinians. Palestine is close to my heart. God Bless you in Jesus Name.

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ChrisM (Brisbane) Oct 10 2017 at 02:10

I am saddened by this one-sided account of trauma in Gaza that makes no attribution of blame for the cause of the conflict between the Palestinian territories and Israel. Instead, it does seem to point the finger at Israel rather than at the those in the Palestinian territories who continually make acts of aggression against Israel and do not care about the effects of Israel’s defensive measures on their civilian population! Does not CARE understand that Israel is suffering just as much as the Palestinians but is continually having to react to Palestinian-approved and supported Hamas attacks on its people and territory? One has to ask CARE why there is no CARE-support for the poor of Israel who, according to the 2011 Israel National Insurance Institute Poverty Report, comprised almost 1.8 million Israelis living below the poverty line – a full 24% of the population. 36% of Israeli households reported being unable to meet basic needs for food and electricity. More than a third of all Israelis reported that they are very hungry. Poverty among Israeli families with children has shot up from 25% in the year 2000 to 35% in 2011. One in four Israeli children lives below the poverty line. Among Israeli children, a staggering 7% regularly searched for food left on the street or in trash cans.” However, it is noteworthy that a major Israeli charity, Vision for Israel, supplies essential emergency relief to poor and needy Jewish and Arab people living throughout the nation of Israel, without distinction of ethnicity! No one can point their finger at any one group or body and say there is the cause of this conflict! There is too much engrained history which cannot be easily un-entangled in a tiny space and I do not wish to attempt this here. However, the principle of 'Live and Let Live" should apply to all but it is clearly not upheld by the states and terror groups surrounding Israel who have declared that they wish to annihilate Israel!

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CARE Australia Oct 24 2017 at 11:10

Hi Chris,

Thank you for your feedback on the Blog that was posted in 2014.

As you will know from our website, it is CARE’s vision that we seek a world of hope, tolerance and social justice, where poverty has been overcome and all people live with dignity and security. As such, we do not wish to see people suffer as a result of conflict, whatever the cause.

For almost 40 years until 1986, CARE provided humanitarian and development assistance to Israeli families. Although many countries with high human development (based on the UN Human Development Index) have poor and vulnerable groups such as Australia, CARE focuses its work in countries with lower human development. The HDI rank for Israel was 19 in 2016, comparable to Japan and Luxembourg. With agreement from the government of Israel, CARE has provided its assistance in the Palestinian Territories where there is lower human development, especially amongst women and children. The highest HDI-ranked country in which CARE works is Sri Lanka, with an HDI rank of 73 in 2016.

Regardless of the causes of conflict, CARE will seek to alleviate suffering when requested to do so.

Once again, thank you for your interest.

CARE Australia

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