Gaza City – This morning, when I look out the window, the Israeli army tanks are only a few hundred meters away. They apparently penetrated deep into the center of Gaza City overnight.
My two year old son just fell asleep under the window. Stayed up all night and terrified by the sound of gunshots, he has been living on powdered milk and cereals for four days – his lips are dry.
In recent days, we have increasingly felt the feeling that we will not be able to survive the Israeli bombings for long.
Fear and deprivation have been our constant companions – we struggle 24 hours a day.
My parents, in their sixties, have not taken their daily medication for over a month. They defy both horror and disease.
My attempts to collect their medication were all unsuccessful. It is no longer possible to get to the pharmacy on foot: the pharmacy and the streets have been destroyed.
The explosions are getting closer by the minute
Like hundreds of other families, we cannot leave Gaza City and go south – it is too dangerous. We are forced to stay because of the incessant bombardment of all the main roads leading to the south of the Gaza Strip.
At night, we men wear a mask of fragile strength so that women and children can have some hope of feeling relatively safe. In reality, we are all anxious and terrified.
As warplanes fly overhead all night, the sound of land-based missiles fired by military tanks is even more terrifying: what if we are hit by one of them?
The explosions are getting closer by the minute, shaking the building. Surely it’s only a matter of time before the artillery hits our walls. If we are hit, it is very likely that all of us, 30 people huddled in a two-bedroom apartment – including children, elderly people and fleeing neighbors – will be killed.
As the day goes by, another form of torture emerges, adding to the psychological warfare we endure. Thirst and hunger.
We went out to find whatever we could: clean water or canned food. But in recent days, our movements in the neighborhood have become completely impossible. We have a stark choice: stay inside and go hungry or risk being shot if we go out.
If you can make it safely to an hours-long queue for drinking water outside a humanitarian shelter, you’re lucky.
“Lucky” if you die without suffering
Anyone who is lucky enough to say goodbye to their loved ones is even luckier.
And if you die without any suffering, you are the luckiest of all.
Entire families died during the land invasion and were left behind to die with their own blood. There is no security anywhere – not in hospitals, churches, mosques or schools.
What were once the most beautiful places in Gaza are now the scene of a horror film. Most of them were reduced to black debris.
Israeli ground incursions into the city center have erased every facet of our lives. Not only does the fighting put our lives in danger, but it also forces us to struggle with lack of food and water.
Death is everywhere
Death is everywhere, destruction too. In the streets, corpses lie in the rubble of destroyed buildings.
The injuries received no medical attention. All health facilities and ambulance services are out of service.
Hospitals have become a battleground as Israeli troops storm them, depriving thousands of civilians of their right to seek treatment.
Military tanks deployed on the ground, as well as snipers on skyscrapers, spread fear and death in the city. We are waiting for an imminent telecommunications and Internet outage, which will soon leave us in the dark.
While waiting to be cut off, emergency services and civil protection teams, as well as ordinary citizens, are desperately trying to communicate with the outside world. The news hints at a possible temporary truce, but we need a total ceasefire.
For more than 40 days, life has become more and more dangerous and unbearable.
Survival is our daily routine and we lose hope of being able to continue even for a few more days.
My family and I now hope that if we have to die, we will die in peace. If we want to live, we also want to live in peace. Neither option seems likely at this time.