Solidarity and other things – Messages form Gaza Now – October 2023-January 2024

Solidarity and other things

Since I arrived in Rafah, I’ve witnessed all types of solidarity; welcoming support. Hundreds of families opened their homes for displaced people from Gaza and the North, for free, sharing all that they have with them. Abu Khaled Abdelal, the man who received me with my mother, was no exception, hundreds like him. Hundreds of landowners gave their land for displaced people to build their tents. Hearing such stories makes you feel good, relieved; you believe that humanity is still there despite the war, despite the fact that these homeowners are also suffering the war, the famine, the agony and the daily search for food and basic needs.

I said hundreds. In Rafah, there are thousands of homes that are not the same. Again like in every crisis, in every war, there are always the ‘war advantage takers’. Many homes are provided for free, many other homes are rented for huge amounts of money and those who have the ability to pay are very limited. Normal rental price in Rafah is $100 – $150. Some ask for $1000, like the homeowner who rented me this flat. Some even ask for much more.

This is only one image of ‘war advantage takers’. Since mid-November, some local businesses were allowed by the Israelis to import food items and all that they brought was sold at 10 times the original price. Moreover, they did not think about what people need, they thought about what is more profitable for them. While there is bread flour scarcity, they import biscuits, selling a $0.5 biscuit bar for $2. Instead of importing cooking oil, they import the cheapest cans of juice, selling them for 5 or 6 times the original price. Those businesses are an extra burden on the starving people. And while the authorities have collapsed – no monitoring, no accountability – they do what they want.