The mothers gave birth in October


NUSEIRAT, Gaza Strip (AP) — Rockets streaked through the morning sky in Gaza on Oct. 7 as Amal Al-Taweel hurried to the hospital in the nearby Nuseirat refugee camp, already in labor.
“I was preparing him for another life, a beautiful one, but war changed all of these features,” Amal Al-Taweel told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
I couldn’t take anything; no IDs, no university certificates, no clothes for my child — nothing,” Amal Al-Taweel said.
“It was the worst experience of my life; the worst conditions I have ever lived in,” Amal Al-Taweel said.
“I can’t even feed myself to properly feed my child,” said Amal Al-Taweel.
There’s nothing we can afford to provide him.” Needing help, the Al-Taweels decided to return to Amal’s parents’ home in central Gaza in February.
Not far from where the Al-Taweels lived in Rafah, Masa and her parents found a spot in the Shaboura refugee camp.
BACK TO CENTRAL GAZA Both mothers tried their luck at the Al-Aqsa hospital once they arrived in central Gaza.


NUSEIRAT, Gaza Strip (AP) — On October 10, rockets shot across the early morning sky in Gaza. 7 when Amal Al-Taweel, who was in labor, rushed to the hospital in the neighboring Nuseirat refugee camp. She and her husband, Mustafa, waited three years to hold Ali, the child they had been trying to conceive, after a challenging delivery.

That day, Rola Saqer’s water broke as she sought cover from Israeli airstrikes in Beit Lahia, a Gaza town close to the border where, hours earlier, Hamas militants had poured across in the attack that started the war. Not even the terrifying explosions all around would stop her and her husband, Mohammed Zaqout, from going to the hospital that night to give birth to their baby—they had been trying to conceive for five years. Masa, whose Arabic name means “diamond,” is Saqer’s offspring.

A different world greeted the families when they left the hospitals. Israel declared war on Hamas on the babies’ second day of life, and its fighter jets flew over the neighborhoods where Ali and Masa were meant to grow up. The couples have faced the hardships of early parenthood against the backdrop of a violent dispute in the six months since the children were born.

Airstrikes destroyed the families’ homes, leaving them without a safe place to live, little access to healthcare, and little baby supplies. The couples fear their children’s lives are lost, despite all of the preparations they made prior to the war, and the infants are hungry.

“War changed all of these features, but I was preparing him for another life, a beautiful one,” Amal Al-Taweel said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday. “We hardly survive each day, and we have no idea what the future holds. No planning has been done. “.

Saqer thought back to her pre-war hopes.

As she gently rocked Masa in a cradle, she said, “This is my only daughter.”. “I got her lots of clothes and stuff. A week prior to the war, I bought her a closet. In addition, I was organizing all of her birthday celebrations. All was destroyed when the war broke out. “.

From Nuseirat to Rafah.

In an effort to find safety, the Al-Taweel family moved between their home and the homes of relatives during Ali’s early days. Buildings nearby continued to be struck: first, the house next to Amal’s sister, and then, the house next to her parents.

On October 20, the family sought refuge at home. 20, Israeli officials gave residents ten minutes to leave after issuing an evacuation order alerting them to an impending strike.

“I had to get away.”. Amal Al-Taweel stated, “I was unable to take anything, including identification cards, diplomas from universities, clothing for my child, etc. “Including milk, toys, and diapers that I purchased for my kid. “.

Amal’s parents’ home in central Gaza provided a temporary haven for the family, housing fifteen members.

Over eighty members of Saqer’s extended family were lodging in a two-bedroom house belonging to a relative, which she shared with her husband and daughter. She claimed that the crowding got so bad that her male relatives set up a tent outside so the women and kids could sleep better inside.

Both young families traveled to Rafah, the southernmost city of Gaza where hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians now reside, as Israeli ground forces advanced on central Gaza in December.


The Al-Taweel family spent more than a month living in a tent, as have many others who have taken sanctuary in crowded Rafah.

Amal Al-Taweel said, “It was the worst experience of my life; the worst conditions I have ever lived in.”.

Since Hamas’ Oct. 31 declaration of war, Israel has severely limited aid deliveries of food, water, medicine, and other supplies into Gaza. In a 7 attack on southern Israel, militants are estimated to have killed 1,200 people and kidnapped 250 more.

Israel has exacted a terrible price: over 33,000 Palestinians have died, with women and children making up roughly two-thirds of the dead, according to Palestinian health officials whose death toll does not differentiate between combatants and civilians. With over 80% of the population now displaced and over a million people on the verge of starvation, Israel’s offensive has thrust Gaza into a humanitarian crisis.

Prior to the family’s escape to Rafah, Ali was diagnosed with gastroenteritis; however, his persistent vomiting and diarrhea were indicators of malnutrition, which the U. N. According to the primary health organization, one out of every six young Gazan children currently has them. With only 5 kg (11 pounds), he is underweight.

“I am unable to adequately feed my child because I am also a food addict,” stated Amal Al-Taweel. “The boy is not gaining weight, he is losing it. “.

His parents were worried about the rashes on his face and were attempting to protect him from the tent’s almost constant sun exposure.

To save money for baby clothes, toys, and food, Mustafa Al-Taweel worked as a waiter for months at a cafe in Gaza City. Even the most basic foods are now out of his reach in Rafah. The most basic necessities have become scarce due to the war; formula and diapers are either difficult to find or prohibitively expensive. They have been forced to depend on food in cans supplied by the U.S. N.

“His father worked daily to give him milk, diapers, and many other necessities,” Amal Al-Taweel said. “The toys have also vanished. We are unable to provide him anything at all. “.

In February, the Al-Taweels made the decision to go back to Amal’s parents’ house in central Gaza because they needed assistance.

Masa and her parents were able to find accommodation in the Shaboura refugee camp, which was not far from the Al-Taweels’ Rafah residence. Saqer claimed that the couple sewed together flour bags to create a tiny tent that they called home.

Raindrops collected muddy water around the tent, and the whole place had an odor of sewage. Anything that required waiting in line included going to the bathroom, which could take hours.

Masa became ill. Her complexion turned yellow, and beads of sweat formed on her tiny forehead as if she had a constant fever. Saqer attempted to nurse, but her own malnourishment prevented her from producing milk. Her breasts started to get sore.

“My daughter drinks blood, not milk, even though I try to breastfeed her and endure the pain,” the mother remarked.

Saqer sold the family’s aid packets that they had received from the U.S. out of desperation. N. purchasing Masa’s formula. In the end, she made the decision to return to central Gaza in order to get her daughter medical attention. She left her husband in charge of watching their tent and set out in a donkey-drawn cart.

Re-enter central Gaza.

Once in central Gaza, both mothers tried their luck at the Al-Aqsa hospital. Lucky for Saqer, the medical staff there diagnosed Masa’s illness as a virus and administered medication to the infant.

However, they informed Amal that they were unable to operate on Ali and that he needed surgery for a hernia. Al-Aqsa is limited to doing life-saving procedures, just like the majority of other Gaza hospitals. Gaza’s health system has been completely destroyed after the conflict lasted for almost six months. Of the 36 hospitals in Gaza, only ten are still only partially operational. The others, having run out of fuel and medicine, been raided by Israeli troops, or sustained damage from fighting, have either closed down completely or are only partially operational.

The families find it impossible to think that their children’s lives will resemble their own as they consider the future. Even if her family were able to return to their home in northern Gaza, according to Saqer, all they would find is debris where their home formerly stood.

She uttered, “I will suffer in the north, just as I suffered in Rafah.”. “We’re going to live in a tent our entire lives. Undoubtedly, this life will be difficult. “.

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