I will never forget the day that we were forced to leave our small, warm home.I will never forget those feelings of tension and terror.Where will we go?What will happen next?

The night before had been bloody. We heard many noises: warplanes being used for bombing, shelling all around us, gunfire.

News came that morning. We learned from a neighbor that we had been ordered to leave our home in northern Gaza.

I froze. My thoughts became scattered.

I have three children, including a baby daughter.

How could I deal with their fear?

I placed as many necessary things as possible for my children in two backpacks.

Then I looked at every corner of our home, wondering if I would see it again. When I closed the front door behind me, I wept bitterly.

We got in our car.

The Israelis had told us that the road would be safe. No one would be shot.

That was a lie.

There were martyrs lying on the ground everywhere. There were wounded people bleeding and begging for help…[more]

Waking Up to News of Death

by Ahmad Sbaih

Life feels like a never-ending nightmare in the north of Gaza.

Every day we wake up and face the same hardship.

Every house bears witness to the scars of conflict.

Within its walls – or what remains of its walls – the silent echoes of lost loved ones mingle with the relentless struggle for survival.

Even the simplest things – food and water – are hard to come by.

We are all exhausted. For months, we have been waiting for this war to end.

Yet the war rages on, still claiming lives, still tearing families apart.

There is no sense of safety in Gaza. Israeli soldiers roam freely.

They come and go as they please, leaving destruction in their wake.

Homes are reduced to rubble, dreams are shattered like glass.

The siege on and massacre in al-Shifa hospital saw Israel turning a sanctuary of healing into a battleground.

Al-Zaytoun, a neighborhood of Gaza City, has witnessed repeated Israeli assaults.

Gaza has been attacked repeatedly by Israel before the current war.

Every time we have been attacked, we have tried to rebuild, to cope, to bring back a sense of normality. Israel has returned and destroyed everything all over again…[more]

A Scene of Pure Horror

by Abubaker Abed

Abdel-Nasr Mahmoud was trying to settle down for the night.

“At around 10 pm, we heard massive explosions,” he said. The noise “rattled” the warehouse in which his family were taking shelter.

“Suddenly, the sky turned a deep orange,” he added.

Although he immediately knew something bad had happened, Abdel-Naser was not expecting it would be so terrible. Israel was committing a massacre against people in tents.

At least 45 Palestinians were killed in the attack on the Tel al-Sultan area of Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city. More than half of them were women and children.

Israel sought to present what was clearly an attack on displaced civilians as an operation against “legitimate targets.” The Israeli military claimed it had struck a “Hamas compound.”

According to Abdel-Nasr, civil defense workers had difficulty reaching the victims and tackling the fire which Israel’s attack caused.

“The sand turned red from the number of people wounded,” he said. “It was a scene of pure horror.”

Abdel-Nasr predicts it will take many years before he can put the scene out of his mind. He and his family are searching for alternative accommodation in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza.

“We were only a few steps from death,” he said. “We simply have to find a safe place, even though we know there’s no safe area in Gaza”…[more]

Abed was killed while checking on his dad

by Asil Almanssi

We have known Akram since we were young. He is a friend of my father.

Akram has lived next to his two sisters for many years. He is younger than them.

They doted on him as if they were his mother. And, in a sense, they had assumed that role as their own mother had died.

Akram had four sons and one daughter.

Majduleen, his daughter, was especially close to him. A student of English, she was very bright.

Tragically, she died because of a health issue during her final year at college. Her loss affected Akram deeply.

After Israel declared its current war, it ordered a mass evacuation from the northern part of Gaza.

But Akram and his family remained in the north – more specifically in Jabaliya refugee camp. They did not even leave when Israeli troops carried out their first ground invasion of the camp during this war.

For more than a month, their house was effectively under siege.

They lived in a state of true terror.

They could hear the screams of injured people and the wailing of mothers whose children had been killed.

They could hear the sound of buildings collapsing. And the shells and missiles being fired toward them.

Most of the walls in their home were damaged.

Food was scarce. It was too dangerous to venture outside and search for anything that might keep hunger at bay.

At one point, Israeli soldiers knocked on the door of their house. The family thought that they would all be killed…[more]