Day 45 roundtable: Gaza fights for life

“My immediate concern is the safety of my family, my siblings, all of them, but eight of them in the Jabaliya camp,” award-winning Palestinian novelist Ahmed Masoud told us on Monday’s livestream.

Ahmed, who lives in the UK, explained that he spent all day messaging with his family members, trying to help them decide whether or not to leave the northern Gaza Strip.

“Neither option is any good at all: Leaving is not an option, staying is not an option,” he said.

His elderly mother is not in good health, and his sister is heavily pregnant, meaning neither of them are able to walk long distances.

“What we know from people who have left and have fled to the south is that you have to walk for at least 10 [kilometers] in order to find a donkey cart to transport you up to the point where the Israelis have installed checkpoints” on the main north-south avenue through Gaza, he said.

“This is not possible for my mom – it’s practically impossible, she will die walking. And as we know, and the reports have come that there are many, many incidents where they’ve been shooting at people who are fleeing to the south, not just shooting, but also bombing. If that happens, my mom will die. So all options are incredibly, incredibly tough.”

We also hear from Yousef M. Aljamal, who spoke to us from Turkey.

Yousef is a writer, translator and scholar who is a regular contributor to The Electronic Intifada. HIs family is in Nuseirat refugee camp, in the middle of the Gaza Strip.

“My family is lucky enough because they did not have to move south,” Yousef told us.

“But at the same time, they have multiple people from the south itself who had to evacuate their houses and leave either because of very close bombardment or because their own houses were bombed – such as the house of my father’s cousins, where nine people were killed. My family is lucky because they have flour. They got a sack of flour today. They were very happy that they finally got it,” he said.

Yousef talks about his friend, Raed Qaddoura, who was a promising young academic and a contributor to The Electronic Intifada. Qaddoura was killed on Sunday along with nearly 30 members of his family including his two newborn twins.

“His wife just gave birth two weeks ago. She had to [have] a cesarean surgery without anesthesia because of the lack of anesthesia at Gaza’s hospitals,” he explained.

“And she survived that – she gave birth to beautiful twins, two daughters, and Israel bombed their house. Almost everyone in the house was killed. Twenty-nine people were killed, including Raed, his newborn daughters, his son and his other daughter – a total of four children.”

His wife survived, but is in critical condition, Yousef said.

“He was a person with a sense of humor. He was very kind, he would help young people, students especially, [who] moved to Malaysia from Gaza – he would take them around and register for them, trying to help them to start their lives.”

Raed translated a book on Palestinian political prisoners, Yousef said. “But unfortunately, his life was cut short.”

“Israel’s war on Palestinian academics and young intellectuals is part and parcel of this genocide, because a lot of these young academics and researchers and young people on social media [are] telling their story to the outside world, and Israel is trying to silence them,” Yousef remarked.

In his opening remarks, executive director Ali Abunimah discussed US President Joe Biden’s record of support for Israel’s violent colonial policies and practices over the last five decades, and explained how Biden could end Israel’s genocidal attacks with one phone call.

“The point is that one man does have the power today to pick up the phone and order Benjamin Netanyahu to stop the bombing, to stop the genocide. That man is, of course, Joe Biden,” Ali said.

“Everyone knows that without the round the clock airlifts from the United States, Israel would run out of bombs to drop on Palestinian children in days or weeks. But that’s not who Joe Biden is. And it’s not who Joe Biden has ever been.”

And our contributing editor Jon Elmer analyzed the gains made by Palestinian – and Lebanese and Yemeni – resistance groups to Israel’s attacks.

“There’s still a long way to go in this war for Israel to make any kind of claims of military success. There haven’t been any – we’ve just seen concerted attacks on hospitals,” Jon told us.

“[Qassam Brigades spokesman] Abu Obeida said that while we’re fighting your tanks and causing losses, you’re preoccupied attacking civilian infrastructure.”

Jon and Ali also analyze, in detail, a video promoted by the Israeli military that supposedly shows a robot drone inside a tunnel used by the Palestinian resistance.

“The thing that I noticed is that that’s not underneath al-Shifa [hospital]. So they made it sound like there was a command center, as if people were all going into Shifa, down into this lair, and then all of a sudden, they cut out on the far corner of the campus,” Jon said.

“The Israelis say that there’s 1,300 tunnels – if you dig down in various spots in downtown Gaza City, you’re presumably going to find a tunnel. I think the thing that’s interesting to me, whether that video is fake or not … [is] that that’s only 10 meters down. And they lost control of whatever that was.”

Watch the entire broadcast above or listen via Soundcloud below.


Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).