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The horror in Gaza is driving people crazy

REPORTING / MODERN TIMES reports from inside Gaza. And what does Hamas think about what has happened?


At the Al-Najjar hospital in Rafah, which is a small town in the south of the Gaza Strip, mothers can be heard around the clock crying over their dead sons as a result of Israeli attacks. This is even though Rafah is the city that has the least share in the scale of attacks and the number of dead since the start of the aggression against Gaza, which has been going on for 30 weeks.

Since 7 October 2023 has Rafah been home to around 1,4 million people fleeing from other cities along the Egyptian border. Grieving families from Gaza have crowded the hospitals and ambulances to see their loved ones.

In the hospital corridor

Maysoon Abu Jazar (62) shouts: "Goodbye, my son, see you in heaven, dear" as she walks past in the hospital corridor. She mourns her 23-year-old son Mustafa, who was killed in an Israeli F-16 attack on a two-story house sheltering displaced civilians from the devastated city Khan Yunis. The same attack resulted in four more deaths and seven injuries in early May.

You can smell death as soon as you get to Khan Yunis in the south Gaza, now referred to by many as a 'ghost town'.

"I don't think I can continue the day as normal," says the grieving mother. She has learned through her family that Mustafa was killed in the attack. “And now I'm going to lose my mind. Mustafa sold juice. It was his fault that he found himself in a house full of thirsty children.”

Fortunately, none of these children died. "Our days are spent in funerals for the dead," he continues Maysoon revealing half of her face under a traditional black scarf worn by Bedouin women in the southern Gaza Strip: "To avoid understanding what the loss means, I hope I go insane."

Khan Younis

People in Khan Younis, a city that before the conflict was home to around 400 people, claim that the city has become a "collection of scattered dominoes". To find out what people were talking about, I had to go to the city from Rafah:

Here you can imagine that a strong earthquake that could measure 10 on the Richter scale has hit the area. The residents of the neighborhood are not exaggerating when they say that they do not know where their homes are, after the bombardment of streets and blocks. This could be a description of what happened to the big city, as the blocks of houses were subjected to a huge disintegration.

I arrived in the Al-Zanna area, which is east of Khan Yunis. It is an agricultural area where people usually live in three-story houses and grow vegetables, olives and barley:

You can smell death as soon as you leave the nearby town of Rafah and reach Khan Yunis – which has become a 'ghost town'. Any neutral person who favors neither Israelers or the Palestinians in this conflict, can speculate what an Israeli soldier behind the anti-tank gun thinks when they attack in Gaza. Does he make a bet with another soldier that he can destroy an entire neighborhood in an hour? Like someone who plays video games with a huge set of grenades that he wants to shoot off before heading back to the barracks?

"The artillerymen even fired grenades at rats and cats."

I Tusk-region, I meet 50-year-old Rami Al-Satri: "What happened here is retaliation against everything, including the trees and the pavement," he says. “The artillerymen even fired grenades at rats and cats. Possibly they bet on what they hit. Even I can no longer recognize where my house was, as they razed the surrounding streets."

With mattresses on the head

People began flocking to the devastated neighborhoods as soon as the Israeli army declared that its forces would withdraw. The residents of Khan Yunis returned to discover what was left of their homes, along with the bodies of their relatives.

As a barley farmer I meet says: "Most of my house is destroyed. But I'm going back even if it's unsuitable as a home, without walls, windows or doors. It is better than living there than in a tin shed which is like an oven in the heat.”

This farmer feels quite lucky, as his neighbors have had their homes completely destroyed and neither know "where to go, nor where to live". Some even came with their mattresses balanced on their heads – hoping to get to their house upright. They only managed to stutter out something about what they had experienced.


What do the Palestinians say?

RAFAH: MODERN TIMES, via our freelancer Ahmad Kabariti in Rafah, spoke to several women and men about what happened on Saturday 7 October 2023, and the consequences.

Armed Hamas-men, in paragliders costing no more than a few hundred pounds each, crossed the border wall with the Gaza Strip a few months after the Israeli army had boasted that the concrete used to build the border wall with the Gaza Strip would last to build a road from Israel to Bulgaria.

With the firing of thousands of rockets on October 7, 2023 at the cities bordering Gaza, all the way to Tel Aviv, with the sound of sirens breaking the silence of Jerusalem, this sudden military action led by Hamas marked the beginning of a unique chapter in Israel's 75- years of history:
During the months that hostilities have been going on, there has been constant discussion of what should have happened and what should not have happened. The attack that came so suddenly on this historic Saturday.

Ibrahim A joke, /strong> however said that Israel, which is well established and supported by allies in the US, Germany, UK and France, is too strong to be overthrown by thousands of resistance fighters:
"What's the point of all this now, and who's going to rebuild it?" She gestures towards the ruins of her home. Hend Qeshta, who is a seamstress, believes that despite the fact that reconstruction was not even mentioned during the ongoing rounds of negotiations in Cairo, Hamas' attacks have left us with destruction that will take a century to repair. Should Gaza be crushed like an insect is crushed under a shoe for a deal where we release 50 or 100 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons?

57 years old Manal Abu Palestine was robbed of its people in 1948, and our mothers and fathers were displaced all over the world for Israel to be established illegally, – this despite the blessing of the countries of the world and the UN."

"Since Hamas is in power and is constantly considering starting conflicts against Israel, the youth no longer have any future to exist in. The movement is not concerned with the internal conditions […] it thinks exclusively of war and nothing else."

On the other hand, according to 66 years old Moataz Eyad Al-Qarra. He has been constantly appearing on Al Jazeera for the past six months. It is extremely difficult to get in touch with a Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip under the current security conditions.

What prompted Hamas to carry out the attack on 7 October last year, we ask Al-Qarra:

"Hamas thought with this attack to pressure Tel Aviv towards a prisoner exchange and would retaliate for the ongoing attack on the Mosque of the Rock as well as the arrests of thousands of Palestinian prisoners, the daily invasions of the West Bank – and also to end the curfew on Gaza »

Hamas was shocked by the absence of Israeli security forces in the villages near Gaza.

Did they foresee the reaction that would come? "Hamas had not thought that the result would be more than two weeks of military escalation, which would then end with a ceasefire brokered by Egypt or Qatar."

According to Al-Qarra, Hamas was also shocked by the absence of Israeli security forces in the villages near Gaza. Nor had they invited the other resistance groups to participate in the attack, as Islamic Jihad did. They were also surprised that Palestinian civilians crossed the border from Gaza.

And what about the media, we ask: "The whole Arab world and the rest of the world were shocked by the attack on 7 October because Israel spread propaganda that our fighters rape women and roast children in ovens. Unfortunately, some states believed these lies."

Al-Qarra also emphasizes: "Hamas is not like IS in any way – because IS are false Muslims and do not follow the true Islam." He adds: “Now hospitals have been destroyed, children have been killed by rockets and civilians have been crushed under armored personnel carriers. These are truly demonic acts committed by the morally dubious Israeli army.”

MODERN TIMES then asks what they see going forward, whether they can see any solution to the conflict: "Hamas believes that a ceasefire as well as reconstruction projects and international support is the only way to end the aggression."

At the same time, he adds: "This war has revealed the masks certain political parties and states have hidden behind. The future should be decided by the Palestinian people themselves, without interference from the outside world."

He refers to the independent elections in 2006: "Only elections are truly democratic, which entails self-determination. And not in Fatah's [Party in the West Bank, editor's note] way, as President Abbas represents the real corrupt authority."

He concludes: "The future will get worse and worse as long as the United States and some Arab states try to put obstacles in the way of Palestinian independence."

The entire text has been translated from English by the editor.

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