Navigating despair in Gaza’s constricted reality

After enduring over a month of relentless war, the days have become mere numbers, much like the departed souls in this challenging world. Death looms everywhere, and the scent of blood pierces through the screen, stiffening our veins. Shock persists in the face of all-encompassing destruction and loss — killing, devastation, and bloodshed from every direction.

Questions persist: When will Israel be content? The initial horror felt upon hearing Israeli statements about erasing Gaza from the map has subsided after weeks. This horrifying reality has persisted since the ominous seventh of October. If it were an earthquake, it would have calmed. If it were a storm, it should have ceased.

Israel shows no sign of ceasing; its sole mission seems to be to destroy and eliminate everything possible. Just weeks ago, we delved into the issue of prisoners, hoping it might serve as a negotiating point, reminding all parties of basic humanity. We thought Israel cared for its citizens. We were wrong. The significance of prisoners means nothing to them. They fight until the last prisoner, and in Gaza, the conflict continues until the last Gazan. It’s as if the competition is about who values humanity less.

From Gaza to Jenin and throughout this bleeding land, there is nothing but more destruction and loss. Anger, fueled by blood, violence, and destruction, grows, leaving no life untouched except for those in power everywhere.

Attempts to understand what’s happening by looking through the eyes of the other have often been made. However, this time, comprehension and seeing through the eyes of that other seem impossible. Our perspectives appear fundamentally different, as if our eyes and theirs don’t see things from the same viewpoint. Palestinian blood, for them, is disregarded, and this dehumanizing perspective increases their appetite more than food.

What can we do when solutions are absent, and there is no horizon, neither on earth nor in the sky? Only the eradication of humans and stones from the earth and the bombing of what remains of humans and stones from the sky.

The race of numbers is no longer effective. How can we settle the matter with a possible or probable victory when more than ten thousand souls have tired? What victory are we waiting for? Should we settle the victory with tens of thousands of deaths and the destruction of what remains of shelter for those who still have a roof to hide under?

Is it time to admit that this conflict has been militarily resolved? I recognize this as the language of the defeated. I admit defeat since becoming aware of this life. Victories are not achieved through divine miracles or power imbalances. Battles are not decided between an army with global weapons and interventions against armed militias, except in the interest of the powerful.

Weeks ago, there was a wish to think about the day after this challenging period and be closer to unity and cohesion. Today, thoughts are consumed by the next day with the eyes of the people of Gaza who survived this destruction. Thoughts are with a woman searching for her child amid the debris, children who no longer have a hug or a home to shelter them, and families looking for homes that were there before this destruction. Thoughts are with this destruction that has obliterated all the meanings of life that were barely possible in Gaza a month ago, making every passing day more challenging.

Why is the world blind to the fact that these people have nowhere to escape, nowhere to find shelter, and nowhere to exist? 2.3 million souls confined to 365 km of earth, pressed into cramped quarters without refuge. Their only source of water is the sea, tainted not just by its saltiness but also contaminated and grievously polluted. 

What does Israel seek, and what does the civilized world desire? A nuclear bomb, as their heritage minister said, or even the last ‘one of them,’ as an American congresswoman said? The matter has been discussed since we were labeled as ‘human monsters,’ and the world remained silent. The matter has been discussed since the hospital was bombed, and the issue shifted from bombing the hospital to those who bombed the hospital. The matter has been discussed since the blood of children, their bodies, their severed limbs, and the tears of those who survived them were reduced to discussions of dubious numbers. Are we facing the loss of four or five thousand children, a little more or less?

The world’s stance shifted when it deemed this population to be human shields, leading to a decision to punish rather than extend assistance. Yet, why does the global perspective neglect the stark truth that these people are left with nowhere to flee, no refuge, and no space to merely exist? With the north destroyed and the south under constant bombardment, hospitals, and schools directly targeted, where can they escape to? 2.3 million souls confined to 365 km of earth, pressed into cramped quarters without sanctuary. Their only water source is the sea, tainted not just by its saltiness but also contaminated and grievously polluted.

I have always tried to find that middle ground between us and this world. I have always tried to explain, speak, and clarify that humanity has no east or west.

Today, I know that humanity is not only divided between east and west, but it is divided into what is humane and what is less humane according to the overpowering standards of the messianic biblical ideology.

Today, I know that I do not want to belong to this humanity.

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