A Ramadan of ‘sadness’ as war-weary Palestinians go hungry in north Gaza | EUROtoday

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JERUSALEM — For Mahasen Khateeb, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan was once a time of lavish dinners, household gatherings, communal prayers and present giving.

“All of that is gone,” the 31-year-old graphic designer stated by cellphone from Jabalya, in northern Gaza, which humanitarian teams warn is on the point of famine after months of Israeli siege and bombardment.

Khateeb doesn’t have sufficient meals for suhoor, the standard meal eaten earlier than daybreak, when the day-long Ramadan quick begins. On Tuesday for iftar, the post-sunset meal when individuals break their quick, she deliberate to make rounds of bread topped with canned tomato sauce. Her brother risked his life, she stated, to get a bag of flour throughout a uncommon and chaotic help supply final week.

“This situation isn’t new with Ramadan,” she stated. “We’ve already been fasting for more than a month. … There are no food products to buy and eat.”

The Washington Post spoke to 5 Gazans within the north Tuesday about how they’re marking Ramadan — and making an attempt to outlive — amid the chaos of warfare. Khateeb, just like the others interviewed for this story, stated she has primarily been subsisting on leafy inexperienced vegetation that develop with the winter rains and die out as spring approaches.

“We never ever, ever expected that the war would continue until today,” Khateeb stated. “God willing, the war will end before Ramadan does.”

16 youngsters have died of malnutrition in aid-starved Gaza, well being officers say

In the weeks main as much as Ramadan, which started Monday in Gaza, hopes had been excessive that Israel and Hamas would comply with a U.S.-backed, Qatari-mediated cease-fire — permitting for hostages captured on Oct. 7 to be exchanged for Palestinian prisoners and for extra help to enter the Strip. But talks stalled because the warfare entered its sixth month.

The two sides are “not near a deal,” Majed Al Ansari, a spokesman for the Qatari Foreign Ministry, stated Tuesday.

The central excellent difficulty, in line with U.S. and Arab officers, is Hamas’s insistence that Israel decide to a everlasting cease-fire. Israel has vowed to maintain preventing till the militant group is destroyed.

The warfare started Oct. 7 after Hamas-led fighters poured into southern Israel, killing about 1,200 individuals and taking greater than 250 hostages, in line with Israeli authorities. More than 31,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s air and floor warfare, in line with the Gaza Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between fighters and civilians however says the vast majority of the useless are girls and youngsters.

The World Health Organization has warned that many extra Palestinians might die of hunger and illness within the coming months.

How Israel’s restrictions on help put Gaza on the point of famine

The well being and starvation disaster is particularly dire within the north, nonetheless house to some 300,000 individuals, the place help deliveries have successfully collapsed this yr. The World Food Program was capable of ship meals for 25,000 individuals to Gaza City on Tuesday, the group stated, its first profitable convoy to the north since Feb. 20.

The Health Ministry says greater than 20 Gazans, most of them youngsters, have died of starvation and thirst in latest weeks.

“We need deliveries every day + we need entry points directly into the north,” WFP stated on X.

Amid mounting worldwide alarm, the U.S. Air Force started each day help flights over Gaza earlier this month — about 330 kilos of rice, flour, pasta, child formulation and canned items had been dropped over a seashore in northern Gaza on Tuesday — and President Biden has urged Israel to “facilitate more trucks and more routes” for help.

Humanitarian teams say Israeli restrictions have severely restricted the quantity of help getting into Gaza. And Israeli assaults on help convoys and the police who as soon as guarded them have left help deliveries weak to assault by determined civilians and prison teams. As order breaks down throughout the enclave, reduction journeys to the north have turn out to be more and more uncommon.

Israel denies limiting the move of help into Gaza. It has accused Hamas of diverting humanitarian provides and blamed the United Nations for supply issues. As the necessity grows, the Israeli army has additionally begun to rearrange personal business convoys to the north.

Desperation and dying encompass an help supply in northern Gaza

A supply on Feb. 29, close to a roundabout in Gaza City, devolved into what a bunch of U.N. specialists described as a “massacre.” More than 100 Palestinians had been killed and tons of extra wounded as they waited for flour, in line with Palestinian officers, who stated Israeli forces opened hearth on the gang. The Israeli army stated troopers fired at “suspects” deemed threatening however blamed a stampede for a lot of the casualties.

Ramadan is often a time when family and friends collect late into the night time. But most residents of the north have been displaced to the south; “now, after sunset no one goes out, as they are afraid of strikes or of anything else that can happen,” Khateeb stated. Much of her household has already fled to Rafah, alongside the Egyptian border.

Elsewhere in Jabalya, Mohammed Jawad, 33, spent hours Monday ready by the seashore for a rumored airdrop that by no means occurred, he informed The Post. Ramadan or not, he stated, he solely eats one meal a day. For iftar on Tuesday, he made what’s turn out to be a typical wartime dish: a skinny soup constituted of khoubiza, a leafy mallow inexperienced.

Without flour, he stated, “just leafy greens are available. We cook it with water.”

Soon, even the khoubiza will disappear, he stated. He estimated he has misplaced about 25 kilos.

“Everything that comes in is stolen,” he stated, after which generally resold in outlets at exorbitant costs. “What comes from the sky is very limited.”

Elsewhere within the north, in Beit Lahia, Yahiya Almadhoun, 45, stated he’s spending the vacation aside from his spouse and youngsters, who fled to central Gaza earlier within the warfare. The regular sounds of Ramadan in his neighborhood — the decision to prayer from native mosques, festivities for kids within the streets, joyous public meals — are gone, he stated.

“Ramadan is supposed to be a month of goodness and blessings. It has turned into a month of sadness.”

Almadhoun stated he has shed about 20 kilos because the warfare started. Cans of tuna have gone from half a greenback to $10, he stated. He couldn’t bear in mind the final time he had eaten meat.

“People are reliant on the weeds that are usually food for animals,” he stated. “Those who have money and don’t have money are the same, as there is nothing in the market to buy.”

He broke his quick on Tuesday with some bread constituted of rabbit feed and some drops of date syrup.

Steve Hendrix in Amman, Jordan, Hajar Harb in London and Karen DeYoung in Washington contributed to this report.