A young, political and military analyst – Messages from Gaza Now – December 2023

A young, political and military analyst

My wife, Abeer, is doing great work, managing, facilitating and supporting a big team of counsellors, social workers, nurses, physiotherapists, animators, occupational therapists and rehabilitation workers in the shelters of the middle area, through her work with Humanity and Inclusion. I also follow up and support a team of counsellors and social workers in the middle area and the south through my work at MAAN Development Centre.

Dr Raafat Alyadi, the director of Al Wafa Hospital in Nuseirat Camp is our host. He is a great man. You feel that he never sleeps, he’s moving all the time, managing a huge crew of doctors, nurses employees, securing everything the hospital needs as much as he can, contacting all the NGOs and donors every day, making sure to secure food and basic needs for all of his staff.

As there were no branches of our organisations in Nuseirat, he did not hesitate to offer us a place with power and internet to facilitate our work.

After a long day at Al Wafa Hospital, we walked to the market to buy whatever we could find for tomorrow’s lunch. As there is no electricity, no fridge, we can’t store any fresh vegetables, we have to buy what we need day by day. After a long day, it’s a 2.5km walk home. Sometimes we find a donkey pulling a wooden cart so we take a ride. Sometimes we don’t and we walk, carrying our bags with the laptops and whatever we have bought for the next day.

Lucky us, after 20 minutes walking we found a donkey going to the Sawarha Area where we live. The donkey pulling the cart was driven by 2 children. One around 13 years old and the other around 9 years old.

They said the fees were 3 shekels each. We agreed. After a few minutes we heard a huge explosion. It shook us. Abeer said : ‘It’s very nearby’

The young donkey rider who was very relaxed said: ‘No, it’s a least 1km to the South. It is far.’

Abeer said:   ‘How do you know?’

The boy:   ‘I know. You should know.’

Abeer:   ‘Why should we?’

The boy:   ‘Is this the first time you witness a war in Gaza? Are you not from here?’

Abeer:   ‘Yes, we are from here.’

The boy:  ‘Strange. You should be able to identify the sound of explosions and calculate where they could be. You should also be able to differentiate between rocket and shelling sounds.’

Abeer:   ‘What’s your name?’

The boy:   ‘Ahmad.’

Abeer:   ‘How old are you?’

Ahmad:   ‘9 years old.’ 

Abeer:    ‘Do you go to school?’

Ahmad:   ‘Not now, as they all became shelters, but sure, I am in 4th Primary Grade at school.’

Abeer:    ‘And now? What do you do?’

Ahmad:   ‘As you can see, helping my family to get an income after the death of my father.’

Abeer:    ‘When did he die?’

Ahmad:   ‘Two weeks ago, when they struck the supermarket at Nuseirat Market. He was passing by when it happened.’

Abeer:   ‘Do you have brothers?’

Ahmad:   ‘Yes, (pointing at the other boy). This is Hasan, my older brother, and two younger sisters at home and my mother.’

Abeer:   ‘What do you think will happen Ahmad?’

Ahmad:   ‘Well, the Israelis dream is to see Gaza empty by any means. They will keep striking, bombing, destroying, killing until they push us out or kill us all.’

Abeer:    ‘And what do you think we should do?’

Ahmad:   ‘Do what we do now. Stay and live.’