My elegant friend, killed by Israel

Portrait of a young dentist

Marwa was killed in an attack on Jabaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza.

Photo courtesy of Tasneem Elholy

Marwa was my close friend.

We first met in 2018 as dental students during our first year at university.

I was very shy. Marwa helped me to come out of my shell.

She lifted my spirits. I particularly remember one occasion when she organized a birthday party for me.

At that time, I was feeling low as Israel had killed some of my relatives during an attack on Gaza. The party which Marwa threw cheered me up.

More recently, we worked together in a clinic. She would arrive early in the morning and get everything prepared before the first patient would arrive.

Marwa always took the initiative in arranging activities during Ramadan.

Whenever I asked Marwa for help, she would leave her own work aside so that she could be there for me.

She was elegant and chose carefully what to wear.

The last time I saw Marwa was on 29 September – just over one week before Israel declared its genocidal war against Gaza. We both attended a scientific meeting.

Marwa was passionate about documenting her experiences. She used social media to record both joyful and difficult moments.

I am now following her example by documenting the terrible thing that happened to her.

Marwa had a twin brother Muhannad. As well as being born on the same day, they were both killed together at the age of 23.

Their family had a beautiful home in al-Fallujah, an area within Jabaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza.

Without any warning, Israel bombed their home in October.

Along with Marwa and Muhannad, their mother and several other members of their extended family were massacred.

Marwa’s body was under the rubble for almost 24 hours before it was dug out by civil defense workers.

Her elder brother Moaz is now Marwa’s only surviving sibling. He is studying in Britain.

“Marwa was the only girl among us,” he said. “She was the bright flower in our house.”


My favorite classes at university were taught by Dr. Amin al-Bahtiti. He was always helpful to me.

Dr. Amin lived in the Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza City.

He was forced to leave the area after Israel bombed his home during this horrible war. He went to stay with relatives in southern Gaza, only to have the house where he took refuge bombarded again.

Dr. Amin was killed in that bombardment.

I am very worried about my friend Sabreen. We met in high school and have been buddies for eight years now.

Sabreen comforted me at difficult moments.

She was especially kind to me when my grandmother died.

After I contracted COVID and waited for two weeks to be clear of the virus, she helped me catch up with my studies.

In the early days of this war, Israel bombed the street where Sabreen lived. Her family’s home was damaged.

They then moved to a relative’s home.

Sabreen has been cut off from the internet for most of this war.

The last text message I received from her was on 1 December. In it, she said that her family are not fine but they are still alive.

Tasneem Elholy is a dentistry graduate based in Gaza.