Gaza, Asharq Al-Awsat, – As the clock strikes five and a shadow casts across the Gaza Strip, where Israeli military operations are entering a third week, people feel as if they are living in a desert. Gaza has come to resemble a ghost town owing to power cuts.
In addition to the empty streets, explosions can be heard from time to time as a result of Israeli shelling, or missiles launched from F16 fighter jets, or apache helicopters, or even unmanned drones that target the homes of security figures and members of the resistance and anything that moves in the hours of the night.
It would normally take 15 to 20 minutes to travel from northern Gaza Strip to Gaza City but this is no longer the case. Due to Israeli aggression, the targeting of civilians, their homes and their vehicles, the journey now takes two hours or more.
Journalist Rami Abdul Qader who works for a local radio station in Gaza City told Asharq Al-Awsat, “Miraculously, I managed to leave my house in northern Gaza, and I had trouble finding transportation so I waited for around two hours in Jabaliya in the hope of finding a car to take me to work…There were five people in the taxi that I was forced to ride in due to the lack of transportation. The evening was setting in and it would be impossible to go anywhere.”
Rami continued, “I have been forced to spend the night at work due to the difficulty of [finding] transport and owing to the danger that the area is subjected to because of air strikes by Israeli fighter jets.”
Iyad Abdul Hadi, a Palestinian citizen, waited for almost three hours to find a car to take him and his family of five from Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza to the Nasr district to stay with a relative after an Israeli incursion occurred close to the Civil Administration building, east of Jabaliya, which was located close to the family home.
“I have been forced to leave my house, even though I don’t like sleeping anywhere else under any circumstances. But my children’s cries, when missiles are launched by Israeli tanks or aircrafts, have forced me to leave the house and everything in it to the fate of the Israeli war machine.”
A taxi driver known as Abu Ahmed told Asharq Al-Awsat, “The level of transport has decreased significantly due to the actions of the occupation forces on the ground. They [Israelis] target everything and the artillery shells and deadly rockets have been landing on people especially the [members of the] resistance who were travelling around in taxis.”
He added, “Personally, during the day time, I will not pick up anybody wearing military attire or anyone carrying a weapon, regardless of the circumstances. As the evening sets in, I go home to be near my children who are frightened of the sounds of explosions.”
Abu Ahmed added, “If I didn’t have to earn to feed my children, I would not work under such dangerous circumstances.”