The crisis in the Middle East begins with hunger and fear

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Typically, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is spent in family get-togethers, religious observance, charity, dawn-to-dusk fasting, and nightly feasts.

With six months remaining in the Israeli military offensive and nearly complete blockade of Gaza, all of that seems distant this year. Israel’s ground invasion and bombardment have claimed the lives of over 31,000 people, the coastal strip has been completely destroyed, and extreme hunger is becoming more widespread. Ramadan and Palestinian life here have been completely destroyed by the war.

Families would be buying food, sweets, and colorful lamps for Ramadan, as well as preparing for days of fasting, evening meals with family, and nights of prayer at mosques, on the streets of Gaza’s cities during peaceful times.

Ahmad Shbat, a 24-year-old street vendor, recalled the month’s celebrations as he strolled through the market streets and heard cheers all around him. The mosques were essential, and everything was at hand. “.

Video This year’s holy month has been gloomy due to the war and hunger, as people are finding it difficult to afford the necessities for celebration. Credit, Credit… Mohammed Abed/Getty Images via Agence France-Presse.

The majority of Gaza’s 2 million inhabitants have been forced to evacuate their homes, resulting in the separation and dispersion of families. Congested tent encampments are home to many. Reportedly utilized by Hamas fighters, these mosques were destroyed by bombs. In the run-up to Ramadan, Gazans had hoped that a cease-fire agreement would be reached, but that never materialized.

Muslims may be excused from fasting for a variety of reasons, and some in Gaza have stated that it will be challenging to keep daylong fasts due to the hardships of the conflict. Others claim that since most people in Gaza are only eating one meal a day anyway due to the impending starvation, fasting will not be any different from the hunger they have been forced to endure for months.

According to UN officials, a famine is about to strike the enclave. For weeks, very little relief has made it to northern Gaza. According to Gaza’s health officials, starvation and dehydration have claimed the lives of at least 20 Palestinian children.

Some people have resorted to eating animal feed and leaves because they are so hungry. A native wild plant called Egyptian mallow, which is frequently consumed by Palestinians, has been the primary source of food for many.

Hey, Mr. After losing his house, Shbat is currently seeking refuge in a school classroom in Jabaliya, northern Gaza, along with four other family members. This year’s Ramadan “won’t be pleasant, especially since we will be away from our houses and loved ones,” he declared. “.

“In a phone interview, he stated that the month is meaningless if family is not gathered around the table.”. Additionally, he said, it seems as though “we lost the joy of Ramadan” as a result of the mosques’ destruction. “.

Still, a lot of people are making an effort to celebrate. Mr. Shbat stated that the courtyard of the school where he resides has been ready for the taraweeh, or nightly Ramadan prayers.

In a phone interview from Jabaliya, 42-year-old mother of four Iman Ali revealed that she would spend her days seeking food for her two injured children. Her husband was killed in the war. But she claimed that there is nothing to buy in the markets. She and her kids haven’t eaten much for over a month.

She said, “We are fasting even in the absence of Ramadan.”.

Prior to Ramadan, Ms. Ali would typically be at her northern Gaza home getting ready for a month of celebrations and prayer. Rather, her days are spent searching for food on the streets and hoping that help will arrive by air.

They don’t waver in their religious beliefs or practices in spite of the difficulties and uncertainty they face every day.

As Ms. Dot Ali put it, “We can’t not fast.”. “Ramadan is in progress. “.

Reporting was contributed by Ameera Harouda.

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