• Rafah

  • Tuesday, December 19, 2023 at 7:04 AM
    Last Update : Tuesday, January 2, 2024 at 6:05 AM

Elderly Displaced Palestinians Say the Ferocity of Gaza War is Unprecedented

(AWP) - An elderly Palestinian man shed tears as he described his wife’s condition, who he says was like a “flower” before the outbreak of the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip more than two months ago, forcing him and his family to leave their home and head for a crammed sheltering center in central Rafah.

Standing with sorrow-filled eyes by a window of a school belonging to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Hadib Salameh, 75, was watching children in the schoolyard who have become homeless due to the war which he described as the “fiercest” throughout the decades of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

He said, “I have seen all the wars in the region and outside it, whether in Palestine or Arab countries as well as the world. I have never seen worse or fiercer wars than this. This is genocide, not a retaliatory war. It is one of extermination of anything that is Palestinian.”

Salameh added, “Netanyahu said this war is because of the October 7 operation. I am telling him no, because you also sought revenge with our people in the West Bank; in Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarm and all over the West Bank. This only means that you were intending to eliminate the Palestinian people.”

He noted that the most depressing thing for him is seeing the effect the war is having on children, women and elderly people.
He said, “A five-year-old child has become like 20 or 30-year-old. The same thing can be said about the elderly. My wife was like a flower. When I look at her today, I feel so sorry for her.”

Salameh says that despite Israel’s actions against them, the Palestinian people will “remain forever.”

Amna, an elderly woman who lives with her grandchildren inside an UNRWA school, could not suppress her tears as she asked, “What has the war brought upon us?”

She continued, “The Jews and all countries are against us. This is the darkest and most violent war ever. They have not left a single house intact. Where should the people live in the winter and cold? Here in this shelter school, we are shivering from the cold. What will life be like if we go back and live among the ruins?”

She added, “They killed our young people and destroyed everything we have. How long should we remain silent over those Jews? How long should we continue suffering from them? Throughout our lives, they have been attacking us and killing our young people and children.”

Youssef Saada, who is in his seventies, also complained about the unprecedented conditions as he held on to his wooden cane in a room crammed with displaced members of his family.

He said, “I have never experienced a war like this. I have seen the wars of 1956 and 1967. I have witnessed five wars, but never like this one. This is a war of vendetta, one of extermination. They want to eliminate the Palestinian people.”

A report by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor stated on Friday that 1.85 million Palestinians have been displaced from their homes and residences in the Gaza Strip without any safe havens for them.

Israeli raids have completely destroyed 62,990 housing units and partially destroyed 172,055 others.