Gaza Residents Describe Israeli Airstrikes: ‘You Think of Dying at Any Time’


“Those who were killed and had someone to bury them are the lucky ones. Who knows if anyone will bury us,” he said. “These feelings reflect the state of fear and defeat and despair caused by Israel’s barbaric airstrikes.”

On Oct. 13, Israel warned more than a million Palestinians to evacuate their homes in northern Gaza and move south. But those who fled found that the south, too, was perilous as Israel kept up airstrikes on the area.

On the first day of the war, Ms. Kurd said, she fled her home in the northern section of Gaza City and went to stay with family in another part of the city for four days. But the airstrikes hit around them.

They went to Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City where for three days, she stayed with her husband and four children in the hallway. From a window, she said, she watched a constant stream of dead and wounded being rushed into the hospital.

A week ago, the family went to Khan Younis, where Israeli airstrikes continued to rain down.

“They say: ‘Go to a safe place.’ But then they strike the place they told us to flee to,” Ms. Kurd said. “This is intentional. There’s no mercy and it’s massacre after massacre and the world is just watching it happen.”

When they hear Israeli fighter jets overhead, some utter the Muslim proclamation of faith and give their loved ones around them what could be a farewell kiss. Children have taken to writing their names on their hands or arms, so if they are killed, their bodies will be identified and not buried in the mass graves for unidentified bodies.

Other people have posted last testaments on social media, seeking to settle any debts or unresolved disputes and asking people for forgiveness to clean the slate in case they die.

This week the U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, said the “appalling attacks by Hamas” on Israel could not justify “collective punishment of the Palestinian people,” adding that he was concerned about clear violations of international humanitarian law.


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