Messages from Gaza Now – November/December 2023 – There are hundreds of beggars

There are hundreds of beggars

There are hundreds of beggars, of all ages, boys and girls, women and men. They cling to those they think may be able to spare a bit of money. They ask for money insistently. Hunger drives them. Hunger is humiliating. People are hungry. Before the war 48% of the population was unemployed. Now life has stopped completely, and no-one is working. The businesses, factories, shops, cafés, restaurants are all closed. Even the 40,000 employees who receive their wages from the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah have not been paid.  Israel cut the budget of the Palestinian Authority by the amount used to pay civilian employees in Gaza.

Israel is strangling us by any means.  They turned off our water, electricity, communications, stopped the cash and the money from the Palestinian Authority which is meant to be sent by Israel through their crossings and not kept by them.

Survival is what drives the people of Gaza – like animals in the jungle, and as in the jungle, there are the weak and there are the strong, the one who lives with the tribe and the one who lives alone.

With hunger and pride and need, terrifying things start to appear: robberies, shops robbed night and day. A gang appears in a shop shouting and screaming in a savage way and start taking whatever comes into their hands, ransacking as they flee. 

When a house comes under bombardment, people are terrified, hoping they don’t die under the rubble. Someone will sneak in between and steal whatever he can.