Israel, Palestinian aid worker in Gaza: “It is not Hamas, but civilians who pay the cost of the war”

Tomorrow UNRWA will stop distributing aid due to a lack of fuel and according to Abu Omar ”it will be even worse. My 12 year old son wants to tear up school books that talk about rights because he says they don’t exist in Gaza”

”It is the civilian population of Gaza and not Hamas that is paying the cost of the war”. Sami Abu Omar, Palestinian aid worker and coordinator of the Italian cultural exchange center ‘Vik’, who from Khan Younis, in the south of the Gaza Strip, speaks to Adnkronos about ”life under the bombs that we have been living for 38 days” is convinced of this. ‘. Because ”no place is safe in the Gaza Strip, not even the south”, he says, speaking of ”a hundred deaths due to Israeli raids here” and the ”displaced people who have arrived from the north to whom the aid goes, while they don’t go to those who have a house to live in. But we too, like others, have to deal with the lack of food and water. There is no electricity, there is no gas, there is no light”.

To recharge the mobile phone he uses to talk to us, he explains, ”I went to someone who has a solar panel. And I paid a shekel to top it up. We need more to load more”. Because with the siege imposed by Israel after the attack suffered by Hamas on October 7, the black market has grown in the Gaza Strip. ”The flour cannot be found, the women queue for eight hours to get it from the UNRWA distribution centres,” he says. And you can’t find salt unless you pay five times more for it than it cost before the war. The shops are empty, only seed oil and tomato paste remain on the shelves. But it’s only a matter of time. From tomorrow there won’t even be that anymore”.

Because ”tomorrow will be worse”, continues the aid worker, they remind us that UNRWA, the United Nations agency that deals with Palestinian refugees, will run out of fuel reserves in a few hours and will no longer be able to deliver aid. Those arriving from the Rafah crossing ”from Egypt are very few, a drop compared to the needs of the population”.

‘my son wants to tear up books that talk about rights, they don’t exist in Gaza’

Abu Omar stays at home with his family and tries to go out as little as possible to limit the risks. ”Here it is a little safer than in the north because there are no tanks, but there are air raids,” he explains. His 12-year-old son, who is in sixth grade, doesn’t even think about going out. ”The children are traumatised. My son told me that when he goes back to school he wants to tear up all the books that talk about human rights. I explained to him that these are fundamental rights, recognized by the UN, but he replied that they are just lies because in Gaza, he told me, we have no rights. No right to go out, travel, play”.

Explaining that ”something like this has never been seen”, the activist states that ”today there is death for everyone. A family I know, she was a nurse and he had a shop, they died at home with their triplets. Hit by a bomb on the head. What did they have to do with Hamas? With the fighters? Yet they died”. But in the southern Gaza Strip, ”the majority of victims are displaced. Here there are no bunkers to protect themselves from, they seek refuge from relatives and friends, but the houses are not safe”. Today, added the aid worker, ”it went better, there were fewer bombings. Why? Because it rained”.

But it is only a pause, Abu Omar believes, because ”Israel is doing everything to make us Palestinians hate Hamas. They say that Hamas has brought us to destruction. But it is Israel that is killing our children, not Hamas. And Hamas did not bomb Israel”. The massacre carried out by Hamas militiamen on 7 October can only be condemned. ”Israel should conduct a targeted operation to eliminate Hamas and not target women and children, not carry out a massacre of civilians,” he continues. ”October 7 was terrible, but Israel has been destroying the Palestinians for 75 years and no one says anything”.