hand in hand, Gaza stands
3 hours. And each person, family, group, had to decide how to allocate that time. Some divided the labor: bread, blankets, food. Others rushed to visit loved ones-or simply to get some fresh air.
My parents decided to visit some of the 'UN schools-cum-shelters', and described the scene to me:
"Every family consisted of at least 10 members; and there was one blanket for the whole lot. We took some donated blankets and clothes with us. Many of these people told me they are well-to-do, but now find themselves with little more than the clothes on their backs."
"But despite it all-remarkably- everybody is standing hand in hand, supporting one another. Their spirits are remarkably high" he said over the phone, his voice sounded more rested than it had in days.
Further south, in Rafah, the news was much more grim. Just as a "pause" was in effect, hundreds of residents there received calls and leaflets from the Israeli army demanding they leave their homes ahead of an imminent bombardment.
I called my my friend Fida Qishta for an update-in the background, a commotion of voices.
"The announcement was for everyone to leave- the border area people; half the city left, but many are refusing to go. We are hosting many families-that is all the noise you hear. We have about 30 people here with us," said Fida.
"You have to understand something: Its not about bulldozers anymore…they are bombing with F-16s..destroying entire families Laila...entire families" she
repeated, driving the point home.
Fida refers to the period during the second Intifada, when Rafah bore the brunt of Israel's military aggression in the Strip-demolishing homes there en-masse with armored Israeli bulldozers under the guise of destroying tunnels. A report by Human Rights Watch at the time found the true intention to be the desire to create a a buffer zone. It seems they now want to "finish the job".
"The first few days of the conflict, they bombed a pharmacy about 60 metres from the house. Nowhere is safe."