The most terrifying days of my life

Maghazi refugee camp has been bombed repeatedly during Israel’s current war on Gaza. 

Naaman Omar APA images

For the past month, Israel has been bombarding Gaza.

For most of that time – 25 days or so – my family has been displaced.

We had to leave our warm home in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City and move to Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza.

Until recently Maghazi had a population of approximately 33,000. It now accommodates 100,000 people because of mass displacement.

According to claims by the Israeli military occupation, Maghazi is a “safe” area. Yet I am experiencing the most terrifying days of my life.

For most of the past month, Israel has cut off electricity, fuel and water from Palestinians in Gaza. Israel has also targeted telecommunications companies and internet providers, making communication extremely difficult.

In addition to enduring Israeli air, land, and sea bombardments, complete darkness, a shortage of drinking water, the killing of entire families, and the destruction of entire neighborhoods, the Israeli occupation has isolated the Gaza Strip from the entire world a number of times by completely cutting off the internet and all means of communication.

That has meant we no longer have access to news about what is happening outside the confines of our homes or the places where we are taking shelter.

Profound suffering

Can you imagine that your relatives and friends are under bombardment, and you cannot even send them a short text message to check on them? Do you know what it means to every Palestinian from Gaza living abroad, who cannot receive any news about their family and loved ones?

It is profound suffering.

As a journalist, I find isolation from the world to be even more distressing. Being prevented from sharing news of our suffering in Gaza is akin to hell.

It is a violation of international law. And, to be honest, I have recently begun to lose faith in international law.

On 25 October, Israeli aircraft bombed my granduncle’s home, killing nine people. They included seven children, who had dreamt only of a quiet life, enjoying the embrace of their parents and having fun.

My granduncle’s home was located in a supposedly safe area. One of the areas to where Israel had ordered that we move.

On that day, I rushed out to document the Israeli bombing. I believed it was necessary to give voice to those who have none.

The horrific scenes I witnessed will haunt me for the rest of my life.The dead and the wounded were members of my family.

My brother took care of transporting the wounded in our car as ambulances were hindered from reaching the camp. He remained silent all day after witnessing such horror.

I have another brother Hamoud, who is only 13. He was terrified by the sound of the missiles fired by Israel.

I will never forget the look on my father’s face as he tried to comfort Hamoud. His little child.


Maghazi is one of the smaller refugee camps in Gaza.

On the evening of 24 October, Israel bombed the only bakery in this area, killing 10 people.

It was the 10th or 11th bakery that Israel had bombed during its current war on Gaza. The bombing made it clear that Israel is imposing starvation on Gaza as part of a genocidal policy.

The bombing of the bakery plunged us back to the stone age. Israel’s ban on fuel entering the Gaza Strip and the electricity cutoff have forced women to use firewood to make bread with the very limited flour they had.

In the “safe” home where we have taken refuge, about 50 of us are cramped in a two-story building. We barely get a few hours of sleep at night.

Nights are more ferocious during Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

Israel often commits massacres under cover of darkness. Women and children are among the victims.

We make great efforts to conserve water throughout the day. We stand in long lines, waiting for water.

It feels like a miracle has happened when we can charge our mobile phones. We use batteries that we charge with a generator that runs for only an hour every two days.

The possibility of being killed in a brutal manner is a constant threat. So many people who have been killed had to be buried in pieces.

More than 10,000 people have been killed, according to the official death toll. Thousands more are buried beneath the rubble.

No hour passes without the sounds of bombing. Without terror.

What Israel is committing in Gaza is nothing short of genocide. It is a genocide favored by the West.

Aseel Mousa is a journalist based in Gaza.