For Palestinian Refaat Alareer, a university professor in Gaza, the 11 consecutive days of Israeli bombing have been the worst of his life. “When we are under the bombs, we feel that it is the worst day of our life, but the next day comes and it is even worse,” he told Folha.
The missile exchange between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic group that rules Gaza, was halted in the early hours of Friday (21), after a ceasefire. At least 243 people have died in the Palestinian enclave and tens of thousands have sought refuge in schools run by the UN.
During the bombings Alareer, 42, stayed at home with his wife and daughters aged 6 and 8. He says the children woke up at night “screaming and shaking with fear”.
I live in Gaza City, the capital of the Gaza Strip and the main target of Israeli bombing in recent weeks. The situation here is utter devastation, you see the pictures and it looks like we have been hit by an earthquake. Our schools, streets, police stations and clinics have been destroyed.
We have never seen such attacks. The noise is much louder than any storm you have ever heard. It’s deafening, scary, terrifying. If a missile lands on a house, it damages all the houses around it and causes everything to shake for miles.
You cannot feel safe anywhere in Gaza. We can’t even sleep because the bombing never stops, and at night it’s absolutely crazy. My daughters wake up screaming and shaking with fear. When we are under the bombs, we feel that it is the worst day of our life, but the next day arrives and it is even worse.
When they destroyed the building that housed the newsrooms, people were warned and had 10, 15 minutes to get out of there. The Israeli government tries to show mercy, kindness, but what kind of civility destroys our lives, our memories, our livelihoods?
On the night of the same day, Israel destroyed an entire block with a single bombardment, without notifying anyone first. The ambulances took a long time to arrive because the streets leading to the hospital had been destroyed.
In this horrific massacre, 42 people died, including 17 from the same family, the Al-Kulak family. One of the survivors is my English university student, she is in critical condition in hospital and has not yet been informed that her two brothers, two sisters and mother have died. It is heartbreaking.
Two doctors who worked in Gaza’s largest hospital also died in the attack, one of whom coordinated the response to the pandemic. Like Brazil, Gaza is infested with Covid, but our testing and vaccination clinics have been bombed.
The other day Israel destroyed a building where Gaza’s largest bookstore was located, the only one that imported books in English. Israel wants to destroy our education, our arts, our culture.
No country should use missiles against civilians. We know Israel has the technology, but it deliberately attacks civilians and chooses to maximize destruction.
Israeli policy has always been quite extreme, but now it goes a lot to the right. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is a war criminal who uses Palestinians as bargaining chips to gain more votes.
Now, if you start to tell our story through the bombing, you ignore the rest of what is happening in Gaza. Three in four Gazans are from refugee families evicted from their homes in 1948. We have been under Israeli occupation since 1967 and have been stranded since 2007. Israel controls everything that enters the Gaza Strip, and it has devastating effects on our lives. lives.
Israel is a colonial project in a state of constant aggression against indigenous Palestinians, whether we are armed or not.
Racism has intensified against Palestinian citizens of Israel, the West Bank is taken over by settlers and there are no weapons or rockets there. The most extreme form of this violence is in Gaza because we refuse to surrender. We have no choice but to defend ourselves.
We do not want to take up arms, we want this occupation to end peacefully. I want to be able to buy things and travel easily, I don’t want to have to worry about my daughters who are at risk of being killed by Israeli missiles.
Now that the world has finally started to see Israel’s crimes, several leaders have come to say that the situation is complicated. There is no moral equivalence between a regime which receives the support of the USA, Germany and France and, on the other hand, a besieged, brutalized and oppressed people.
We don’t trust the mainstream media because so much of what we say ends up being edited or censored. So I ask people to search for Palestinians on social media and listen to our stories.
We see that there is incredible solidarity in the world. Even in Brazil we know there is a lot of support even if you have a crazy leader like Donald Trump.
What we are asking is for people to boycott Israel and put pressure on its politicians. After a lot of pressure and sanctions, we hope this will end, as happened with apartheid in South Africa.
As Palestinians, we believe that our cause is part of a global struggle against racism. Today we are organizing against the Israeli occupation, tomorrow against racism and then against anti-indigenous policies. It is the beauty of fighting together against oppression.