In Gaza, little solace in truce as people endure grief and deprivation

In Gaza, little solace in truce as people endure grief and deprivation
1 / 3
Palestinian children sit by the fire next to the rubble of a house hit in an Israeli strike during the conflict, amid a temporary truce between Hamas and Israel, in the southern Gaza on Nov. 27, 2023. (Reuters)
In Gaza, little solace in truce as people endure grief and deprivation
2 / 3
Palestinian children sit inside a damaged car, next to the rubble of a house destroyed in Israeli strikes during the conflict, amid the temporary truce between Hamas and Israel, at Khan Younis refugee camp in Gaza on Nov. 27, 2023. (Reuters)
In Gaza, little solace in truce as people endure grief and deprivation
3 / 3
A Palestinian child holds a cat, while standing on the rubble of houses destroyed in Israeli strikes during the conflict, amid the temporary truce between Hamas and Israel, at Khan Younis refugee camp on Nov. 27, 2023. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 28 November 2023
Follow

In Gaza, little solace in truce as people endure grief and deprivation

In Gaza, little solace in truce as people endure grief and deprivation
  • “The struggle for water happens daily, since we were first displaced until now,” said Rami Al-Rizek
  • Now in its fifth day, the pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas has allowed an increased number of aid trucks to enter Gaza from Egypt

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip: Carting heavy cans of water through muddy streets, searching mounds of rubble for clothes, mourning lost relatives and homes — Gazans reprieved from Israeli bombardment during the truce with Hamas were still facing the daily hardships of war.
At a water station in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, people filled plastic containers and lugged them to homes or shelters using carts pulled by donkeys or by hand, bicycles, a shopping trolley, a wheelbarrow, even a wheelchair.
“The struggle for water happens daily, since we were first displaced until now. Even during the cease-fire, they didn’t find a solution to the water problem,” said Rami Al-Rizek, displaced with his family from their home in Gaza City.
Now in its fifth day, the pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas has allowed an increased number of aid trucks to enter Gaza from Egypt, but the humanitarian needs are so immense that many Gazans have felt little or no impact.
“Whether there is a truce or not, we still have no electricity, no water, and none of life’s basic necessities,” said Muath Hamdan, another man waiting at the water station.
It had rained, and a steady stream of children and adults trudged through mud and puddles in sandals and flip flops on their way to the water station. The quest for water was the main activity that could be seen on the streets.
In a different area of Khan Younis, Maryam Abu Rjaileh had returned to her home, reduced to rubble by an Israeli air strike, to search for clothes for her children. The family are now sheltering at a school, in a classroom shared with many others.
“We see our homes getting destroyed, our dreams getting destroyed, we see the efforts we put into our homes all destroyed,” said Abu Rjaileh.
“How can I describe our situation? They gave us a four-day truce, what are these four days? We come here, feel sorry for ourselves and turn back.”

PAINFUL MEMORIES
In another part of town, Yasser Abu Shamaleh paced over the pile of debris that used to be a block where many of his relatives lived. He said more than 30 of them had been killed — his parents, sisters and brothers, nieces, nephews and cousins.
“Two things made me come to this area. First, my cousin is still under the rubble and no-one has been able to get him out. Second, my painful memories,” he said.
Abu Shamaleh, who said he survived because he, his wife and their five children live in a different building, picked up chunks of concrete and tossed them aside. A rag doll could be seen in the rubble.
“As much as you try to retrieve things, it’s useless. We need machinery and tools to get things out,” he said.
“The truce is the time to lift the rubble and search for all the missing people and bury them. We honor the dead by burying them. What use is the truce if the bodies remain under the rubble?” he said.
The war began when militants from Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, rampaged through southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people, including babies and children, and seizing about 240 hostages, according to Israeli figures.
Israel responded with aerial bombardment and a ground assault on Gaza, killing more than 15,000 people, around 40 percent of them children, according to Gazan health officials.
Another Khan Younis resident, Ahmed Al-Najjar, said of the truce: “Four days are not enough, and forty days are not enough, and four years will not be enough to get over the pain.”


Prosthetic limbs center opens at UAE-funded field hospital in Gaza

Prosthetic limbs center opens at UAE-funded field hospital in Gaza
Updated 22 February 2024
Follow

Prosthetic limbs center opens at UAE-funded field hospital in Gaza

Prosthetic limbs center opens at UAE-funded field hospital in Gaza
  • Staff at the center, which will make and fit high-grade, made-to-measure prosthetics, provide rehab services
  • Convoy of 11 trucks carrying 240 tonnes of aid from UAE enters Gaza

DUBAI: A center for prosthetic limbs opened on Wednesday at a UAE-funded field hospital in Gaza. It aims to make and fit high-grade, made-to-measure prosthetics, and offer rehabilitation services to patients.

It is part of the UAE’s Operation Gallant Knight 3 which was launched based on directives from President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan to provide help and support for the Palestinian people.

On its opening day, measurements were taken from 36 patients who require a prosthetic, the Emirates News Agency reported. It is expected that the total number of people helped by the center will exceed 100 in the next few days. Other departments in the field hospital have treated 5,423 other patients so far.

Meanwhile, a humanitarian convoy from the UAE entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt, also as part of Operation Gallant Knight 3. It consisted of 11 trucks delivering more than 240 tonnes of aid supplies, including winter clothing, tents, household necessities, food and medical supplies.

As of Tuesday, Emirati officials said more than 15,809 tonnes of humanitarian aid have been delivered to Palestinians as part of Gallant Knight 3 using two cargo ships, 165 flights and 476 trucks.

The UAE has also set up six desalination plants, with a daily production capacity of 1.2 million gallons of water, to aid the people of Gaza. In addition, five automatic bakery machines will be delivered to Gaza from the Egyptian city of Arish.


US senators say it is ‘urgent’ for Hezbollah-Israel war to de-escalate soon

US senators say it is ‘urgent’ for Hezbollah-Israel war to de-escalate soon
Updated 22 February 2024
Follow

US senators say it is ‘urgent’ for Hezbollah-Israel war to de-escalate soon

US senators say it is ‘urgent’ for Hezbollah-Israel war to de-escalate soon
  • Senators Chris Coons and Richard Blumenthal met Lebanese officials on a tour of the region
  • “The next few weeks are a real hinge point — for Gaza, for Israel, for Lebanon, for the Red Sea, for Iraq,” said Coons

BEIRUT: The Israeli military and Hezbollah have a window to de-escalate tensions along Lebanon’s southern border before a possible Israeli military offensive against the Lebanese armed group, two Democratic US senators told Reuters on Wednesday.
Senators Chris Coons and Richard Blumenthal met Lebanese officials on a tour of the region, which has been gripped by conflict following Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which responded with a heavy air, land, and sea assault on Gaza.
In Lebanon, Israeli shelling has killed nearly 190 Hezbollah fighters and 50 civilians. A dozen Israeli troops and five Israeli civilians have been killed in northern Israel, and tens of thousands have been displaced on each side.
“The next few weeks are a real hinge point — for Gaza, for Israel, for Lebanon, for the Red Sea, for Iraq,” said Coons, adding that a ceasefire for Gaza could have “positive consequences” for Lebanon.
“It could create that window of 45 days, quite likely during Ramadan as well, when the next steps can be taken to begin to build the confidence that could lead to a full implementation of (United Nations Security Council resolution) 1701,” he said.
That 2006 resolution ended the last major conflict between Hezbollah and Israel and says no armed factions should be present in a swathe of south Lebanon except the Lebanese army.
France submitted a written proposal to Lebanon earlier this month on a possible diplomatic resolution. US envoy Amos Hochstein has also been working on a plan, which Coons said he hoped was “making steady progress” without sharing further details. He said there was an “urgency” for both sides to de-escalate.
The senators said they told Lebanese Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, who heads the Hezbollah-allied Amal Movement, that Israel “is not bluffing” about an offensive.
“It’s not just rhetoric. It will act. And we hope that that message was conveyed to Hezbollah,” Blumenthal said.


Israeli mother of Hamas attack victim says UN worker took son’s body

Israeli mother of Hamas attack victim says UN worker took son’s body
Updated 21 February 2024
Follow

Israeli mother of Hamas attack victim says UN worker took son’s body

Israeli mother of Hamas attack victim says UN worker took son’s body
  • Yonatan Samerano escaped the militants’ bloody attack on the Nova music festival in the Negev desert, but was killed at nearby kibbutz Beeri
  • The Israeli government has said a man seen on a video dragging Samerano’s body into a white jeep was a social worker for the UNRWA

TEL AVIV: The mother of a 21-year-old man killed in Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel on Wednesday accused a United Nations worker of taking his body to Gaza.
Yonatan Samerano escaped the militants’ bloody attack on the Nova music festival in the Negev desert, but was killed at nearby kibbutz Beeri.
The Israeli government has said a man seen on a video dragging Samerano’s body into a white jeep was a social worker for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).
Israel last month accused a number of UNRWA workers of taking part in the Hamas attack, prompting several countries to suspend funding to the agency and triggering two separate investigations.
At a news conference in Tel Aviv, Samerano’s mother Ayelet called for the return of her son’s body.
“How can social workers for an organization that claims to promote good in this world do something so cruel and inhuman?” she asked.
“How can the UN pay this man who dragged my son’s slim body on the ground and then picked him as if he was a prize to Gaza?“
Israel last week gave more details about the UNRWA staff members that it alleges were involved in the Hamas attack.
The man said to be in the video — identified as 45-year-old Faisal Ali Mussalem Al-Naami — was described as a social worker for UNRWA but was allegedly also a Hamas commando.
He “was involved in kidnapping a soldier from Beeri (and) coordinated the transfer of weapons and trucks,” the government said.
Others accused of involvement were said to be teachers or other staff members in UNRWA-run schools and health clinics.
Shelly Aviv Yeini, head of the legal team at the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, said the campaign group wanted “a comprehensive and transparent” probe into the claims.
“We seek assurances that the principle of neutrality, so vital to the UN’s mission, is not just upheld, but is actively protected,” she added.
UNRWA provides education and primary health care to Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, employing some 30,000 people.
Israel’s initial allegations against UNRWA saw the agency sack all those accused of involvement in the attack, in a bid to protect its wider reputation.
Two separate investigations — one into the collaboration claims, the second about UNRWA’s wider political neutrality — are underway and due to report within weeks.
But since then, Israel has claimed Hamas tunnels were found directly under UNRWA’s Gaza City headquarters, which it was forced to abandon as bombardments intensified in the Palestinian territory.


Hunger grips Gaza as talks resume in Cairo

Hunger grips Gaza as talks resume in Cairo
Updated 21 February 2024
Follow

Hunger grips Gaza as talks resume in Cairo

Hunger grips Gaza as talks resume in Cairo

GAZA STRIP: Heavy fighting rocked besieged Gaza on Wednesday as aid agencies warned of looming famine and new talks were held in Cairo toward an Israel-Hamas ceasefire and hostage release deal.

The White House sent Middle East envoy Brett McGurk for renewed talks involving mediators and Hamas, a day after a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire was blocked by the US.

The UN World Food Programme said it was forced to halt aid deliveries in north Gaza because of “complete chaos and violence” after a truck convoy encountered gunfire and was ransacked by looters. Hamas called the move a “death sentence.”

Colombian President Gustavo Petro accused Israel of “genocide” after Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had compared the Gaza campaign to the Holocaust.

In Syria, state television said an Israeli missile strike killed at least two people in Damascus, a claim Israel refused to comment on.

Violence has also flared in the occupied West Bank where the Israeli army said its troops killed three Palestinian militants during an overnight raid in the northern city of Jenin.


UK and Jordan air drop aid to hospital in northern Gaza

UK and Jordan air drop aid to hospital in northern Gaza
Updated 21 February 2024
Follow

UK and Jordan air drop aid to hospital in northern Gaza

UK and Jordan air drop aid to hospital in northern Gaza
  • The UK-funded aid was delivered by the Jordanian Air Force

LONDON: Britain and Jordan have air-dropped four tons of aid including medicines, fuel and food to Tal Al-Hawa Hospital in northern Gaza, Britain’s Foreign Office said on Wednesday.
The UK-funded aid was delivered by the Jordanian Air Force.
“Thousands of patients will benefit and the fuel will enable this vital hospital to continue its life-saving work,” British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said in a statement.
“However, the situation in Gaza is desperate and significantly more aid is needed, and fast. We are calling for an immediate humanitarian pause to allow additional aid into Gaza as quickly as possible and bring hostages home.”