People in the city of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip dig through the rubble left by this week’s shelling. They are not only looking for the bodies of their loved ones, but also for food supplies and other basic needs that they are deprived of due to the war.
“Look at the people around, this will make you hungry,” one of the city’s residents commented on the desperate hunt for food for the American station CNN.
Locals attribute the attack to Israeli troops. The Jewish state began shelling the Gaza Strip and subsequently an invasion in an attempt to eliminate terrorists from the Palestinian organization Hamas, who attacked Israel on October 7.
In addition to residential buildings, the attack also hit a bakery, one of the few still operating in the besieged enclave. “Honestly, it should be considered terrorism,” said one resident of the Palestinian city, highlighting the bakery’s importance to the locals.
Bread, which pays for one of the staple foods in the Gaza Strip, is becoming an almost unobtainable commodity. About 130 bakeries had to close due to dwindling flour supplies, warns the French-based non-profit organization Action Against Hunger.
Pictures from the Gaza Strip:
According to the UN, another 600,000 people in the Gaza Strip are to be evacuated due to the spread of fighting to the south of the area. Many of them had already fled the north. Humanitarian organizations warn that Palestinians simply have nowhere else to go.
“Our colleagues see it and experience it firsthand: There is practically no food left in Gaza,” warned Chiara Saccardi, a regional worker of the mentioned organization, according to The New Arab server.
Israel advises to flee, but there is nowhere to go
Deir al-Balah faces increasingly intense shelling. People who want to leave it, but, like Gazans from other areas, encounter a fundamental problem – they have nowhere to run. The threat of death, caused by shelling or starvation, is said to accompany them everywhere.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before the temporary ceasefire expired that Israel “will fight until the end”.
During Friday, the Israeli army launched a series of airstrikes targeting the southern part of the Gaza Strip, where a significant number of civilians were to be evacuated from the north, where the first phase of the war was fought. This earned her criticism from Palestinians and human rights organizations and came under pressure from the United States.
In an effort to prevent further civilian casualties, Israel came up with a new strategy. He prepared leaflets calling for evacuation for Palestinians living in the south of Gaza. They include a map of Gaza divided into hundreds of small numbered zones to help them find a safe way out of the area of active fighting.
However, this did not prevent criticism. “The evacuation order forces the population to concentrate on less than a third of the territory of the Gaza Strip,” said Philippe Lazzarini, head of the United Nations Office for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East (UNRWA), against Israel’s efforts.
He stressed that “no place in Gaza is safe, whether in the south or the southwest, whether in Rafah, or in any unilaterally called ‘safe zone.’
Israeli officials reiterate that the army takes utmost care of civilians during the operation in Gaza. Part of the problem stems from the fact that Hamas also places its facilities near key infrastructure and in residential areas. The ratio of civilian casualties to killed militants and terrorists is considered acceptable by Israel.
News from the battlefield: Gaza
A few days after the end of the cease-fire, it seems in the Gaza Strip that Israel has really focused on the southern part with full force.
The residents of Gaza, who were spoken to by the journalists of the Qatari Al-Jazeera television, agree with his words. “There are no safe areas in Gaza. Am I supposed to sleep with my children in the rain in a designated safe place?” states Rafik al-Rekeb, for example, who has moved to “safety” several times since the beginning of the war.
According to him, even basic necessities such as tents are missing in areas that Israel has designated as safe.
Palestinians also complain that maps released by Israel are inaccurate and confusing. They point out that only part of the information is on the flyers, the other is on a link that can be clicked after scanning the QR code.
However, many people do not have smartphones that would allow them to do this, and therefore cannot access complete information. In addition, a large part of the population of the Gaza Strip does not have access to electricity and the Internet due to the blockade.
According to the BBC, a serious shortcoming of Israel’s plans is also the fact that the residents of Gaza have no guarantee that they will be safe during the evacuation.
On Monday, Israel ordered people from the north and center of Khan Yunis to evacuate immediately. He posted a map on social media that led them to three already overpopulated areas in the south and west.
On Tuesday, the Israeli army announced that its troops had already entered the city and it was not safe to leave. “Don’t leave. Going out is dangerous. We warned you,” Chán Júnis told residents in another leaflet.
Fleeing the Gaza Strip remains impossible. Border crossings with Israel and Egypt are closed.