What’s next?

Palestinians bury the bodies of 110 victims of Israeli attacks in a mass grave in the Khan Younis cemetery, 22 November 2023.

Mohammed Talatene DPA via ZUMA Press

The question that 2.3 million captives in Gaza are now asking is: What’s next?

What is to come after all this cold-blooded killing and genocide?

What is to come after the widespread destruction?

All beauty has been robbed from us. Gaza has been reduced to heaps.

What comes after the Israeli planes and tanks obliterate Old Gaza and New Gaza? It is as if they want to erase and wipe the memories of the people of Gaza, the landmarks of the cities and towns we have loved and lived in for years.

What follows the neglect displayed by the “international community”?

What follows its tacit approval of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Gaza with no regard for the principles of humanity and international law?

What happens after the displacement of more than a million Palestinians from northern Gaza to its south?

What of those sheltering in schools, in hospitals and on the streets without the barest supplies for survival?

What is next? All the media outlets that just watched and witnessed the killings, destruction, displacement and extrajudicial executions – what of them? They have watched on as the population endures immense suffering and pleads with the world for help.

The whole world did not even succeed in saving a single child from bombing, a single infant from facing death in a hospital for lack of electricity and medical supplies.

What’s next, when the remains of Palestinians of all ages are turned into a series shown on screens every hour?

What next?

When will the war end?

And when it does, how will it end?

How will more than a million Palestinians who have lost their homes and businesses behave?

What of the hundreds of thousands of students whose schools and universities have been destroyed?

Everyone who has lost jobs?

What next, when the war has destroyed the lives of the people of Gaza? The planes bombed our hearts before our homes, streets, markets, hospitals and hotels. All of our interests and livelihoods.

How will we rebuild our lives?

What’s next, when the world has left the Palestinians to face their fates alone, at a time when even the Palestinian Authority leadership abandoned them?

What’s next is a question that leads to many more questions, but unfortunately nobody has the answers.

History will be written for years about this war and what happened, because those who were killed are not just numbers. Each one of them constitutes a story of ambition, pain and hope.

Can anyone provide the Palestinians in Gaza with any answers?

Khalil Abu Shammala is a human rights activist in Gaza.