Israel obstructs the arrival of aid to the residents of northern Gaza and imposes stifling isolation on them (Al Jazeera)


- “By God, I want a loaf of bread and I will be satisfied,” says the boy, Hamza Al-Kahlot, who has been gone for three weeks without tasting the taste of bread made from white flour, which is missing in the northern areas of the Gaza Strip.

Hamza told Al Jazeera Net, "We tried everything, and we ate corn, barley, and animal feed... There is nothing in the market, and people do not have the money to buy what little is available in the market at ridiculous prices."

Hamza (13 years old) lives with his family in his grandfather’s house in the town of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, which was the “food basket” for those areas, and the occupation forces bulldozed its agricultural lands, destroying all means of life there.

Hamza's situation is like the majority of Gazans in the northern Gaza Strip, especially children, to whom the Israeli occupation authorities deny all humanitarian supplies, obstruct the arrival of aid to them, and impose on them stifling isolation, after they refused to comply with military orders to move south in the first week of the outbreak of war on October 7 of the year. last year.

This boy found himself responsible for his family, consisting of his mother and four siblings, after the occupation authorities arrested his father, among hundreds of others, and released him a month later at the Karam Abu Salem commercial crossing, southeast of the city of Rafah. He currently resides in this city crowded with displaced people, where the occupation prevents people from arriving. Palestinians from the south of the Gaza Strip to its north.

Aid trucks line up waiting for permission to enter the Gaza Strip (North Sinai Governorate Office)

Sleep against hunger

Local and international organizations accuse Israel of using hunger as a weapon against hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who are still in Gaza City and towns in the northern Gaza Strip, and leaving them to starve to death in order to force them to move south.

The markets of the northern half of the Gaza Strip no longer have any necessities for life, and Hamza says that the price of a small bag of flour (weighing 25 kilograms) reached 2,600 shekels, while its real price before the outbreak of the war was only 40 shekels (one dollar is equivalent to 3.9 shekels). ).

A few bags of flour leak into the northern Gaza Strip at intervals, and young men seize them from the few aid trucks that the occupation authorities allow to reach the southwestern outskirts of Gaza City, where they are received by crowds of Palestinians, a number of whom were martyred and wounded by occupation tank fire.

Hamza says that his father saved him a sum of money in a complicated way to buy 5 kilograms of rice and less than 3 kilograms of sugar, worth 350 shekels, which is not worth more than 50 shekels in normal times.

“Finally, rice,” was the reaction of Hamza’s sisters when their mother prepared “rice soup” for them. They had gone a long time without tasting it, and this boy says, “There is no one in the north who sleeps full,” and he and the rest of his brothers and sisters are forced to sleep early to escape the feeling. Always hungry.

Dreaming of a loaf

This boy's suffering and his feeling of helplessness and oppression increase when he sees his younger sister, Sham (3 years old), who suffers from emaciation due to the lack of suitable food for her. He gives up part of his share of the food in order to feed her and satisfy her.

Hamza talks about the experiences of those around him with hunger, and says: “My uncle Ahmed weighed 140 kilos before the war, and now he has 80 kilos. He suffers from diabetes, and there is no food or treatment in the entire north.”

“Okay, how long will we be able to be patient and steadfast?” Hamza asks, followed by another question: “Is it possible that a loaf of bread has become a dream for us?”

Hamza is not the only one who dreams of a loaf of white bread.

Abdul Hadi Okal, from the Tal al-Zaatar area of ​​Jabalia camp in the northern Gaza Strip, said this while talking about his youngest son, Amir (5 years old), who never stops talking about the foods he loved before the war.

Yesterday, Amir was talking to his siblings about rice with chicken and Palestinian musakhan, which are among his favorite foods, and he had not tasted them since the first month of the war. His father, Abdul Hadi, told Al Jazeera Net, and continued, “Eating in the north has become the highest aspirations of children and adults.”

The logistical area to line up aid trucks heading to Gaza near the Rafah crossing (Al Jazeera)

Astronomical prices

Chicken has completely disappeared from the markets in the northern Gaza Strip, while very small quantities of red meat are available at prices that Abdul Hadi describes as astronomical. With the exception of hibiscus, a few carrots, and homemade sweets, the markets are completely empty.

According to Abdel Hadi, the prices of what is available in the markets have risen from 200 to 1000%, and are not commensurate with the conditions of the majority of Gazans, who lost their jobs and ran out of money during the war and do not have anything they own to manage their basic life affairs.

This forty-year-old man is very concerned about his children and their peers in the north, who are showing signs of weakness and exhaustion as a result of extreme hunger. Among these children is the son of his friend Ahmed Abdel Hakim (5 years old), who was spoiled by his family and loved eating in restaurants.

Abdul Hadi says that the occupation forces destroyed all the bakeries and restaurants in the northern Gaza Strip, many of them in Gaza City. “They set Gaza back 500 years, not just 50 years,” referring to a statement by the Minister of the Occupation Army, Yoav Galant, at the beginning of the war.

Source: Al Jazeera