Surviving Gaza: A Personal Account of Life Amid Israel-Hamas War

In the heart of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Gaza’s residents find themselves living through unimaginable challenges, where every decision becomes a matter of life and death. We present a harrowing account of the daily struggles faced by those trapped in the midst of the ongoing war.

A Numbers Game

Gaza diary: Life under bombardment as Israel-Hamas war rages - Los Angeles Times

Gaza is a place where life has become a numbers game, as civilians attempt to calculate the odds of survival in even the most mundane tasks. The choice to seek drinkable water, brave long bakery queues, or find a shelter untouched by relentless bombings is a life-or-death calculation.

Since the initiation of the bombardment by Israel, following Hamas’ attack in early October, these calculations have become a grim reality for the people of Gaza.

The Unseen Correspondent

Through voice recordings, messaging apps, and phone calls, our correspondent has been working alongside Times staff writer

Understanding the Ongoing Israel-Hamas Conflict

Why is there so much conflict in Gaza?

The ongoing conflict in Gaza is multi-faceted and has deep historical roots. One of the key factors contributing to this strife is the ascendancy of Hamas, a Palestinian militant organization. Israel’s closure of its border with the Gaza Strip, restricting the free flow of people, imports, and exports, has exacerbated tensions. In response to this blockade, Palestinians have launched Qassam rockets at Israeli settlements near the Gaza borders and carried out cross-border raids, often aimed at Israeli soldiers. This cycle of violence and retaliation has fueled the enduring conflict in the region.

  • Hamas Ascendancy: Hamas’s rise to power in Gaza has led to ideological and political differences with Israel and other Palestinian factions.
  • Israeli Blockade: The Israeli blockade has limited access to essential goods and freedom of movement, intensifying the humanitarian crisis.
  • Rocket Attacks: Palestinian rocket attacks have targeted Israeli settlements, prompting military responses.
  • Cross-Border Raids: Incursions into Israeli territory have resulted in confrontations and further tensions.

The situation in Gaza remains highly complex and sensitive, with historical, political, and humanitarian aspects all contributing to the ongoing conflict.

Why is Israel at war with Hamas?

The conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated in response to the October 7 attack by Hamas, a Palestinian militant organization that is designated as a terrorist group by the U.S. and EU. This attack targeted southern Israel, resulting in a significant loss of life, with more than 1,300 people killed and over 240 individuals taken hostage. The Israeli airstrikes were launched as a direct response to this act of violence, further intensifying the long-standing hostilities between the two parties.

  • Hamas Attack: The conflict’s catalyst was Hamas’s attack on southern Israel.
  • Designation as Terrorist Group: Hamas is recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and EU.
  • Significant Casualties: The attack resulted in a high number of casualties and hostages.
  • Escalating Hostilities: Israeli airstrikes were a retaliatory response to this act, contributing to the ongoing conflict.

Which tactic did Palestinians use against Israel in 1987?

In 1987, a significant turning point in the Israel/Palestine conflict unfolded with the emergence of the Intifada, meaning "popular struggle" in Arabic. This local uprising marked the first major initiative by Palestinian residents within the occupied territories to resist Israeli occupation since the events of 1967. The Intifada quickly gained momentum, spreading across the region and becoming a pivotal tactic in the Palestinians’ ongoing struggle against Israeli control.

  • Intifada’s Emergence: The Intifada was a local uprising initiated by Palestinian residents.
  • Popular Struggle: It signified a "popular struggle" against Israeli occupation.
  • First Major Act: This was the first significant collective action by local Palestinians since the 1967 occupation.
  • Spread Across Territories: The uprising quickly extended its influence throughout the occupied territories, becoming a central tactic in the ongoing resistance.

How long has Israel been at war with Hamas?

As of early October 2023, Israel and Hamas, the militant Islamist group in control of Gaza since 2006, have been engaged in conflict for approximately 17 years. This ongoing conflict has been marked by periods of tension, violence, and ceasefires, with both sides experiencing intermittent hostilities over the years.

Why did Israel strike Gaza?

Israel launched its strikes in Gaza with the stated goal of targeting Hamas, a Palestinian militant group. Israel has accused Hamas of using civilians as human shields, which it believes justifies its military action. However, critics argue that Israel’s strikes have often been viewed as disproportionate, given the significant number of civilian casualties resulting from these actions.

Why did Israel abandon Gaza?

Israel’s decision to withdraw from Gaza was driven by a strategic plan aimed at enhancing its security and international standing amid a lack of progress in peace negotiations with the Palestinians. As part of this plan, Israel undertook the removal of IDF installations and forces from the Gaza Strip and the eviction of over 9,000 Israeli citizens residing in 25 settlements within the region.

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