Jerusalem24 – Within the 365 square kilometers where over 2 million people have been suffocating in the Strip for 15 years, nearly every aspect of life is out of the hands of the people living it.
Gazan journalist and activist Issam Adwan tells Jerusalem24 that for Gazans the last aggression on Gaza actually started four days ahead of Israel’s first airstrike on Friday. On Tuesday, the Israeli occupation imposed a near-total closure on Gaza’s two border crossings, not allowing fuel and medical equipment to enter Gaza, or people to commute to their jobs in Israel.
The closure was an Israeli response to the Israeli detention of Bassam Al-Saadi, one of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) senior members in the West Bank, in anticipation of a response by the PIJ. By Friday when Israel launched its first airstrike, which killed among others 5-year-old Alaa Qaddoom, the PIJ still hadn’t fired a single rocket.
“This action didn’t get a response from the political parties in Gaza, particularly the Islamic Jihad,” explains Adwan. “So, the Israeli government decided to add more violence to the situation.”
“People are barely breathing.”
Adwan says the latest aggression on Gaza “sits in the context of an Israeli administration that bargains Palestinian blood with the tension happening within Israeli society and the Israeli administration.”
The current situation in Gaza is very tense, says Adwan. “People are barely breathing. We’re talking about two wars launched on Gaza within 14 months. People have barely recovered.”
“The infrastructure is hugely damaged, the economic situation has been deteriorating for the past 16 years – particularly within these wars: we’re talking about 2008, 2012, 2014, 2021, 2022… These wars deprived Gazans of a normal human life.”
Adwan is both a seasoned journalist and a new father. Working as a journalist in Gaza has exposed Adwan to many stories of the loss of innocent lives of children and women. “Looking at how the international community reacts to these killings… it is absolutely nothing on a tangible level. It drives me, as a father to a 2-month-old girl, to think that I’ve made a mistake bringing this child in a situation that never has never known peace.”
“They’re always bargaining Palestinian blood.”
Adwan, who was born in 1993, has lived his entire life under occupation and witnessed all five wars on Gaza. “This leads me to think that my daughter will live in the same circumstances, or even worse.”
“International humanitarian law prohibits the targeting of people, as well as “valuable targets” – as Israel says – in densely populated areas. [But] this is what we have been witnessing. It is a shame on the international community.”
“I don’t think it is a matter of debate if the Israeli authorities desire a state of peace or a state of calmness, because they’re always bargaining Palestinian blood with whatever is happening within Israeli society and Israeli administration.”
Adwan has no doubt about the intention behind Israel’s latest aggression. “There’s a huge dispute that’s creating trouble in constructing the next government. That’s why they started four days before the bombing happened on Friday: they decided a total closure, they detained Bassam Al-Saadi in the West Bank, as a prefigured action when there [was] no response from the Islamic Jihad from Gaza.”
Adwan points out that both Tayseer Al-Jabari, a PIJ leader who was assassinated in the first strike on Gaza on Friday, and Bassam Al-Sa’adi are political rather than military figures. “In consideration of the “valuable targets”… they were not actually valuable targets to the Israeli government.”
Listen to the full interview for more insight into the current situation in Gaza.