Cut off from the world

After receiving an Israeli evacuation order, Palestinians leave al-Bureij refugee camp for Deir al-Balah, Gaza, 22 December 2023. (Omar Ashtawy / APA Images) 

For three days in a row we haven’t had water, electricity, internet or cellphone service.

We knew that the communications blackout could only mean one thing: more Israeli attacks were imminent, more Palestinians would be massacred.

We gathered around the radio, waiting for any updates. I can’t imagine how we would get any news without the radio.

My father was most concerned about my sister in Gaza’s southernmost city Rafah. My mother, meanwhile, was worried about her siblings in al-Zaytoun neighborhood in northern Gaza.

We pay attention to the radio broadcasts and to the names of those whom Israel has killed. We wait to hear if we know someone who has been killed.

A report from a journalist based at al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital said that he receives many queries each day from concerned families about their relatives’ well-being.

Heavy rains have made living hard. Tents are flooded and people shiver in the cold.

My sister-in-law was crying because her family’s tent, made of plywood and plastic, collapsed due to the rain.

That tent was sheltering 60 people in the al-Mawasi area of Gaza.

Israel is trying to eliminate us

I’ve heard a lot of news on the radio this past week, and all of it is dire.

Al Jazeera cameraman Samer Abu Daqqa was killed by an Israeli drone strike in Khan Younis on 15 December.

He had been at the Farhana school, where civilians were taking shelter, when Israel fired missiles at the school. Rescue teams couldn’t reach him at first but managed to retrieve his body.

The scope of Israel’s violations of international law are multifold: targeting a school, journalists, civilians, all in one.

Israel continues to target hospitals, like the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza.

After an Israeli raid on 17 December, the hospital was rendered non-operational.

Meanwhile, a fourth massacre unfolded in Jabaliya refugee camp on 19 December, with Israel bombing a charity building. It’s estimated that at least 90 people died in Israeli airstrikes on Jabaliya, and so many more Palestinians are likely buried under the rubble, dead or dying.

Firefighters faced insurmountable difficulties due to the lack of team members, vehicles and adequate equipment.

One man on the radio mentioned that he had seen Israel forcing people to hold weapons in front of cameras, to create the “false perception” that they were fighters.

I also heard that three Israeli hostages died, and that Israelis were upset.

Israeli bombardments targeted houses in Deir al-Balah, in Rafah.

Humanitarian aid is lacking.

Israeli snipers are stationed in various buildings throughout al-Wihda street in Gaza City, and they are targeting water tanks on roofs.

From all the news that I hear, I understand that Israel is trying to eliminate all of us in Gaza.

When I get access to the internet, I’ll read more about what I’ve only heard on the radio. Until then, we are disconnected from the world, and Israeli forces are killing journalists, the ones who keep us connected.

Ghada Abed is a journalist based in Gaza.