‘Stop Using Hunger as a Weapon’ – Three Elderly Men from Gaza

Israeli forces continue to carry out massacres in Gaza. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Abdallah Aljamal – Gaza

Hisham, Mohammed and Ahmed are three elderly Palestinians from different parts of the Gaza Strip. They have a message to the world.

In addition to the intense bombardment, relentless strikes and artillery shelling, Israel has used the starvation of civilians as a method of warfare in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli officials have repeatedly made public statements about their policy of depriving civilians in Gaza of food, water, and fuel.

On May 6, Israeli ground forces advanced into east of Rafah supported by artillery shelling and airstrikes and took control of the Rafah Crossing between Gaza from Rafah. 

This worsened an already inadequate flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza, deepening the crisis. 

The Palestine Chronicle spoke to three elderly residents of the Strip, who described the horrific condition of those who suffer from severe hunger in Gaza.

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“Since the beginning of the Israeli war on the Strip about eight months ago, we have been relying on the food aid we receive from UNRWA (UN refugees agency – PC) and some other organizations,” Hisham Abu Ghazi, an 88-year-old elderly man, told The Palestine Chronicle.

Abu Ghazi told us that the aid is very limited and insufficient but “we have adapted by eating very little.” 

Since the Israeli army closed both the Rafah and Karm Abu Salem however, the suffering has increased significantly.

“We go out very early in the morning to look for food. We stand in long lines at charity kitchens, but most days we can’t find anything to eat,” Abu Ghazi said. 

Abu Ghazi fled from Gaza City seven months ago and now he lives with his children and grandchildren in an UNRWA school hosting displaced Palestinians in Rafah city 

“We feel that if we don’t die from the Israeli rockets, we will die from severe hunger,” he told us.

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Mohammed Qarmout is 90 years old. He also lives with his children and grandchildren in an UNRWA school in Gaza.

“We suffered greatly during the displacement. We moved to the Nuseirat camp in central Gaza, then to Khan Yunis city, and then to Rafah city,” he told us. 

“Today, we are threatened with eviction from Rafah city after the beginning of the Israeli military operation. We don’t know where we will go.”

Qarmout said that they used to receive a small food basket every week or ten days from UNRWA, but now that the occupation has completely closed the crossings, no aid has entered the Strip for a whole week.

“Food is running out. We don’t know what we will eat or how we will feed our children,” he said.

“Since the beginning of the war, we have become accustomed to eating only one meal a day. Our children cannot get used to this harsh life and the danger of famine is following us wherever we go.”

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Hunger as Weapon 

Ahmed Abu al-Khair is 87 He fled with his family from the Shati camp, west of Gaza City, at the beginning of the war.

“We moved to camps in the central Gaza Strip, then to Khan Yunis city, and now we are living in displacement tents,” he told The Palestine Chronicle.

“We have been targeted by airstrikes everywhere we go, and hunger has followed us wherever we have fled”, Abu al-Khair continued.

“Humanitarian aid must enter the Gaza Strip immediately, and the occupation must immediately stop using hunger as a weapon in its ongoing war on Gaza. We are facing extermination by the Israeli rockets, and we are facing extermination by hunger due to the occupation’s deliberate policy against all Gaza residents.”

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Abu al-Khair told us that “all countries and the United Nations must pressure the occupation to immediately open the Rafah crossing.”

“We need food to survive. We have lost a lot of weight, and the war has caused many diseases.”

The 87-year-old man said that his dream is to return to his home and have three meals a day. He also expressed his hope that Israel will not invade the city of Rafah.

“We have endured living in displacement tents to protect the lives of our children, and now we are threatened again. The occupation must be prevented from entering residential areas in Rafah city,” he said.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Abdallah Aljamal is a Gaza-based journalist. He is a correspondent for The Palestine Chronicle in the Gaza Strip. His email is abdallahaljamal1987@gmail.com

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
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