x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Amid the tragedy in Gaza, we must offer a helping hand

Innocent people are the ones who suffer the most from the recent episode of the Israeli deadly assaults on Gaza, write Ayesha Almazroui

Palestinians inspect the rubble of their building that was partially destroyed following an Israeli airstrike. AFP / Mohammed Abed
Palestinians inspect the rubble of their building that was partially destroyed following an Israeli airstrike. AFP / Mohammed Abed

Politicians declare war, but it’s innocent men, women and children who suffer most from their actions.

In northern Gaza on Saturday, two elderly women were killed during an Israeli air strike on a charitable association housing facility for the disabled in Beit Lahiya. The attacks did not respect either their age or their impairments.

In a separate incident, eight young men were also killed inside the Fun Time Beach café on Gaza’s coastline while preparing to watch a World Cup match on TV. They never lived to know the final score.

Not so far away, a woman called Aisha was killed by another missile. She was four-months pregnant. Her unborn baby did not get to witness the injustice the Palestinian people face every day at the hands of the Israelis.

Saleh, 23, Aisha’s husband, was also killed in the same strike, inside the same destroyed house. At the time of his death, he was reportedly playing with two of his nephews – four-year-old Nidal and Mohammed, 2. The children would have had no idea that they were playing for the last time.

A family of eight was killed when two Israeli missiles struck their house in Khan Younis. The same strike destroyed three neighbouring residences. One of them was home to a family of six who, luckily, managed to escape even as their house was destroyed.

Another Israeli missile killed another family of eight in the same area on Tuesday. The house was home to several generations of the same family.

These are only a few stories about the victims of the ongoing Israeli strikes on Gaza. The stories of deaths, injuries and suffering have been circulated on social media, leading many to question the Israeli authority’s ceaselessly inhumane actions.

Their excuse? These houses were allegedly being used for “military purposes”, such as “weapons storage, command and control centres, or communications”, according to an official Israeli statement.

As the Israeli military targets civilian houses, cafes, mosques, disabled centres and basic infrastructure, the death toll has risen to more than 160.

In addition, hundreds of people have been injured. Palestinian medical authorities say women and children account for not less than 70 per cent of the 700 injured – that figure is only likely to rise.

Many of them are in a critical condition and in desperate need of specialist medical assistance.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, said last week that he would not stop a military offensive on Gaza until rockets stop being fired at Israel.

Witnesses on the ground say that the human impact of Operation Protective Edge has been further expanded over the past 24 hours and public services were hit very hard, cutting off electricity. The coming days are expected to be even harder on Gazans.

But what can we do to help them? Donating to Palestine Children’s Relief Fund is one way to help injured children by donating money to provide them with the critical medical care they need to survive. The group has launched a donation page in response to the recent strikes.

If you’re in the UAE, the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) will be distributing urgent humanitarian and medical aid in Gaza in the coming days. For any donation, they can be contacted via their free phone number (800733). Let’s do what we can to help.

aalmazrouei@thenational.ae

On Twitter: @AyeshaAlmazroui