This TikTok video offers a heartbreaking glimpse at the Gaza crisis through the eyes of Palestinians

Harriet Brewis
Thursday 13 May 2021 06:58
news

Gaza is being reduced to rubble as the latest confrontations between Israelis and Palestinians threaten to escalate into a full-scale war.

Israel bombarded the territory with dozens of airstrikes on Wednesday morning while Hamas continued to fire rockets at Tel Aviv in the most serious outbreak of violence since the 2014 Gaza War.

Boris Johnson is among the world leaders calling for an “urgent de-escalation of tensions” as he urged leaders in the region to “step back from the brink.”

But as politicians and international bodies issue statements condemning the latest eruption in tensions, civilians have shared more poignant messages.

They have used social media to offer a shocking glimpse at the chaos and terror that consumes their daily lives.

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TikTok user Sabrina Abukhdeir shared a video reel showing people living through the crisis, both young and old.

The poignant footage features women screaming with terror as they flee explosions, victims being carried away on stretchers, and even a little boy weeping as blood trickles down his arm.

Posting the clip, Abukhdeir wrote: “You guys know what to do: share; like; comment; raise awareness; free Palestine.”

The montage then appeared on Twitter, with one user writing: “This is so powerful to me, it shows exactly the heartbreak that’s going on.”

Others retweeted it, saying that they “couldn’t stop crying” and that the images were “not easy to process”.

The latest death toll in Gaza stands at 48 Palestinians, including 14 children, according to the territory’s health ministry.

More than 300 people have been wounded, including 86 children and 39 women.

Six Israelis, including three women and a child, were killed by rocket fire on Wednesday, with dozens more injured.

Mourners weep during the funeral of an Israeli Arab man and his teenage daughter who were killed by rocket fire

(AP)

The latest eruption of violence began a month ago in Jerusalem, where heavy-handed police tactics during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers ignited protests and clashes with police.

Late on Monday, Hamas, claiming to be "defending Jerusalem," launched a barrage of rockets at the city in a major escalation.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military said militants have fired more 1,050 rockets since the conflict began, with 200 of them falling short and landing inside Gaza.

Israel has struck hundreds of targets in the Gaza Strip, where two million Palestinians have lived under a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas took power in 2007.

The fiercest attack was a set of airstrikes that brought down an entire 12-story building. The building housed important Hamas offices, as well as some businesses.

The only comfort is that Israel fired a series of warning shots before demolishing the building, allowing people to flee. There were no reported casualties.

At one point on Wednesday, Hamas fired 100 rockets at the Israeli desert town of Beersheba in what it said was retaliation for some of the strikes.

Samah Haboub, a mother of four in Gaza, said she was thrown across her bedroom in a "moment of horror" by an airstrike on an apartment tower next door.

She and her children, aged three  to 14, ran down the stairway of their apartment block along with other residents, many of them screaming and crying.

"There is almost no safe place in Gaza," she said.

The Jerusalem turmoil and the ensuing battle come at a time when the long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process is virtually non-existent – it has been seven years since the two sides last held formal negotiations.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Islamic militant group seized power in Gaza from rival Palestinian forces. The conflicts ended after regional and international powers convinced both sides to accept an informal truce.

Once again, diplomats are seeking to intervene, with Qatar, Egypt and the United Nations working to deliver a cease-fire.

People walk amid the rubble of a destroyed residential building which was hit by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City

(AP)

Meanwhile, the UK Prime Minister has called for restraint, expressing alarm at the mounting toll of civilian casualties.

“I am urging Israel and the Palestinians to step back from the brink and for both sides to show restraint,” Johnson said.

“The UK is deeply concerned by the growing violence and civilian casualties and we want to see an urgent de-escalation of tensions.”

But currently there is no end in sight.

And innocent civilians are continuing to see their worlds turned upside down.

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