x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Fear and frustration

Palestinians living in Dubai find ways to help their compatriots in Gaza and fear consequences these attacks will have on young Arabs.

DUBAI // For Palestinians living in Dubai, finding out how to help their compatriots in Gaza was almost as frustrating as watching the images of carnage on their TV screens. Ali Abdul Hamid, a Palestinian doctor working at Rashid Hospital in Dubai, has been trying to find a way to get to Gaza to help. "I've been calling the Red Crescent constantly to find out if I can go over," he said. "But all the borders are closed ... The really frustrating thing is that no doctors and no humanitarian aid is going through Rafah [the border crossing with Egypt] and I'm calling everywhere, even people in Jordan, to find out if there is any way I can get across."

Sally Zourob, who was born in Gaza but grew up in Dubai, said her relatives were in Rafah and her father was stuck in Gaza after he went for a visit two months ago. "I feel so sad and tired and desperate because I am here and I can't do anything," she said. "All we can do is pray for them. They don't have anything; no power, no electricity. They have to cook on wood fires and [the temperatures are] so cold and they are afraid to move."

Her family say they feel Israel has yet to use its full force on Gaza and these attacks are merely a warning. "The borders will be closed for a long time and the attacks will get much worse," she predicted. Samar Ammar, who works with the estate agents Colliers International, wants all those killed in the attacks to be named publicly. "Every time an Israeli or foreign national is killed over there, their names are splashed all over the media, but Palestinian names are never mentioned," she said. "We should try and get the names and ages of those who have been assaulted by this aggression because their blood should not be cheap enough to be just a number."

She also suggested a database be established with the names and details of all affected, whether it be through injuries or loss of home or family members. "There are many Arabs, Muslims and Christians who want to help and want to donate and a database like that would enable them to send direct support and aid to the families and also make them aware of who is being affected." Ms Ammar is worried about the consequences these attacks will have on young Arabs.

"What Israel is doing is introducing a new era of western-hating Arabs. This is a Palestinian holocaust and Israel will not be forgiven for this by many Arabs," she said. "This will induce a new era of terrorism." Despite overwhelming support from the Arab expatriate community around the world, Palestinians have said they have felt let down by Arab leaders and that Egypt in particular has shown a lack of support.

"There is no solidarity amongst the Arabs leaders," Dr Abdul Hamid said. "There has not been a single decision made and they've been bombing for three days." The UAE Red Crescent Authority yesterday announced Dh8 million worth of humanitarian aid to Gaza. About Dh4m will go towards medical aid and the remainder will on food and shelter for families whose houses have been destroyed. nsamaha@thenational.ae

With additional reporting by Zahraa al Khalisi