Motasem A. Dalloul
Middle East Monitor / April 8, 2023
Like all people around the globe, Gaza residents wish to live safely and securely within their homes. However, from time to time, they come under heavy Israeli bombardment, killing and wounding thousands, demolishing their homes, playgrounds, schools, mosques, and even water pipes and electricity grids.
On Thursday evening, the Israeli security cabinet launched a meeting to discuss what to do in response to a barrage of rockets launched towards Israel from south Lebanon. During the meeting, Hebrew mass media leaked information stating that the cabinet had decided to attack the besieged Gaza Strip in response to rockets launched from Lebanon.
Before the end of the cabinet’s meeting, the Israeli occupation army started a round of heavy bombardment across the coastal enclave, targeting “Hamas arms factories” and “military bases”. This is the pretext that the Israeli occupation has always used to justify its attacks on Gaza.
The most complicated problem is that after carrying out many airstrikes in every corner of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli occupation cabinet said it would not stop its offensive. Until then, no human casualties had been reported, but this news turned the situation from bad to worse.
Gaza residents, who had already been traumatised by the heavy Israeli bombardment, started to pack their bags, ready to move from their homes. To where? They do not know! At this moment, scared Gaza residents live in a state of fear on account of their previous traumatic experiences of Israeli offensives causing the killing and wounding of thousands and turning hundreds of thousands homeless.
As the ongoing bombardment continues – renewed every 20 to 30 minutes – at the same time, the Israeli occupation army has started to reinforce its military preparations near Gaza. Gaza residents became certain they were heading towards dark days in which every family must be ready to offer a martyr or a wounded.
Out of their worries and fears, the elderly in Gaza cannot sleep, nor can children, because of the trauma caused by the continuous Israeli bombardment.
Before the Fajr prayer, children are woken to have their Sohour. You will not find them now on their beds, but instead, surrounding their mothers, scared and crying. They refuse to even eat a small crumb of food or drink a sip of water. However, they need to be persuaded to have something to eat as they will be fasting for around 14 hours.
You can try to push them to have three dates each, but when they want to mark their fast with Fajr prayer, they hear the sound of a huge explosion. They find that this was an Israeli airstrike that damaged all the windows and doors of their house as the Israeli airstrike hit an empty area adjacent to it.
Then, as they had spent the night awake, you expect they might go to bed as early as possible following the performance of the Fajr prayer. However, they find it impossible due to the Israeli bombardment that started in the middle of the night and would continue.
For me, the most problematic of all, is that I do not know when or how this will end. Like my wife and children, I am afraid, but I must pretend I am strong to keep life going on, wishing that the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip stops.
Military Israeli Spokesperson Daniel Hagari confirmed that the Israeli Air Force struck over ten targets in Gaza, using around 50 tonnes of munitions. This came in response to renewed rocket attacks on the south.
At the same time, the Israel Defence Forces are bolstering the Southern and Northern Command with additional infantry and artillery forces, Hagari wrote on Twitter. He said the decision to bolster forces was made following a recent assessment: “To strengthen defences for possible scenarios.”
My children do not know this. I did my best to persuade them to go to bed as the offensive ended, and I am sure they will blame me when they wake up after having enough sleep or after hearing the sounds of explosions. However, I am unable to go to bed because I know that bolstering ground forces means a real preparation for a major offensive on the strip.
Motasem A. Dalloul is MEMO’s correspondent in the Gaza Strip