Israel’s bloodthirst looks insatiable

Israel has attacked the Adwan family’s home in Rafah, southern Gaza.

Abed Rahim Khatib DPA via ZUMA Press

I woke up to the news that the truce period has come to an end and the fighting has resumed.

In the past few days, we had enjoyed the lull but with caution and skepticism. We never planned for any activity that would take more than one day.

Even when we had time to go out, it did not last for more than an hour. Many families went to the beach to dip their feet in the seawater.

The truce had allowed families to reunite and to search for the bodies of their deceased relatives.

Shortly before the truce took hold, Israel killed one of my cousins.

We did not know how to inform my mother of this dreadful news. So we waited until the morning.

My mother wept and prayed for my cousin. But even our grief was rushed.

My cousin’s parents are staying at a shelter. They have a makeshift tent given to them by another family, who had used the tent before them.

I went to visit them and I wish that I had not.

It is too sad to think about.

My cousin was a smart telecommunications engineer and she had a child. What kind of future will her child have?

“Worse than climate change”

My father managed to pick the olives from the trees we have in the courtyard of our house. He was assisted by my nephews and two brothers.

My dad hired a worker who agreed to take half of the olives as payment. I also helped him.

My brother complained, “There are four of us and only one of him.”

My dad said, “Fine. We were going to lose the entire harvest anyway. We’ll settle for half.”

The olive harvest was expected to be low this year due to climate change.

My 74-year-old father doesn’t fully grasp the concept of climate change but he always says, “We’ve experienced thousands of seasons in just one season.” That’s how he perceives climate change.

“And now the war,” he said recently. “It’s worse than climate change. They’ve devastated our lands.”

I remember that we started gathering some of the olives when our house was bombed. We had to salvage what we could.

Whenever we heard the sound of warplanes and drones getting louder, we would stop and then resume picking once things calmed down. Then our house was attacked.

Deep down, my father still wanted to continue picking but he decided to abandon the idea.

When we started picking the olives during that fragile ceasefire, we noticed that many of them had fallen to the ground. We tried to collect as many as we could.

Usually, we take great care during the harvest season, using specific tools like ladders, rakes and nets. We shake the olives from the tree branches.

This year, we found all the olives on the ground. We started picking as fast as possible.

In the past, we used to pick each olive one by one.

Fires of war

My father once bought some land – slightly over an acre in size – east of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza. It is close to the boundary fence with Israel.

He used all the money he and my mother saved while working in Libya for 23 years to buy this land.

He put a huge amount of effort into maintaining this farmland, planting more than 100 olive trees. I remember how we once filled a room in our home with crops from the harvest.

In 2005, the land was taken away. Israel removed the trees, with the help of bulldozers.

I remember seeing my father crying. Since then, we have never been able to access our land.

Every year, during the olive harvest, we tell my nephews and nieces about this land. My father tells us about our family’s original home village Beit Daras, which was attacked by Zionist forces in 1948.

The fires of war have been lit again in Gaza.

I had a glimmer of hope that the truce would be extended – even for a short period – day by day. But that wasn’t the case.

Even within the first few hours after Israel resumed bombing Gaza, it was already committing massacres.

“It’s as if they want to make up for the days of the truce with more killings,” my sister remarked.

It seems like Israel’s bloodthirst is insatiable.

More people are being uprooted. This is distressing.

We had a Nakba – Arabic for catastrophe – in 1948. Now we are having a Nakba every day.

The Israeli military is ordering people in areas around Khan Younis, southern Gaza, to leave their homes.

Just the thought of Israel’s message is frightening.

Is the Israeli military planning to repeat what it has done in the northern part of Gaza? Is it about to devastate large parts of southern Gaza?

Many areas in southern Gaza hold a special place in my heart. They are home to some of the most beautiful farmland and the people there are incredibly generous.

More people are being pushed toward Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city. I can’t help but wonder what kind of shelters Israel expects people to find there.

Ghada Abed is a journalist based in Gaza.