Woman gives birth in difficult conditions in Gaza

“The help they give us is nothing! » In Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, Isra Mcdad has still not been able to wash four days after giving birth to her second child. Despite the harsh conditions in which the inhabitants of Gaza live who cannot be evacuated, Israel prefers to stay, to resist the “occupation”.

“I don’t expect anything. I don’t know if I’ll still be alive tomorrow,” he confides duty. The 33-year-old Palestinian is staying with her grandparents in Rafah. About sixty people, mostly women and children, who can be heard loudly on the other end of the line, live under the same roof and share what little water and food they have.

On October 18, Israel allowed the entry of humanitarian aid from Egypt. But “the help they give us is nothing”, regrets Mme Mcdad, saying he received a few cans of food, bags half full of bread and a single bottle of water for everyone in the house.

“(Israel) is destroying our lives. They stole our land, settled on it, and now they want to drive us out, kill us and eliminate us. (…) They were unethical, not in peace or in war.”

Isra says she received no help for the birth of her son. “It was not a good experience. Not at all”, she confides, interrupted every two minutes by a cut in the telephone line.

She, who was afraid of not having access to a hospital, was finally able to go there on Monday, in Rafah. But “there were no towels, some (medical) material was missing”, and above all, there was a “water cut”. Long story short, “I went, I gave birth, I waited four hours to be checked, and then I went home,” she says.

I went there (to the hospital), gave birth, waited four hours to be checked and then went home

Four days later, Maria’s birth has still not been registered. “Everyone told us we had to wait until the attack was over,” says Isra, who worries she won’t be able to vaccinate her young daughter in time.

Today, everything she had “built” with her husband for her children is destroyed. “After each attack, if we are lucky enough to survive, we start again. »

There is no question of leaving

Since Wednesday, Israel has authorized the evacuation of certain wounded and foreigners from Gaza to Egypt via Rafah. On the first day, 76 wounded Palestinians and 361 foreigners and dual nationals were allowed to leave the territory. An evacuation that Palestinians who do not have foreign passports, like Israel, are deprived of.

For her, leaving “is not an option”. Even if he had the chance, he says he would prefer to stay with his family. “It wouldn’t be fair to leave while my family members are here suffering. I would consider that a betrayal.”

It must be said that Isra could not have found herself in this situation. The young woman has only been back to her native region for 10 months, after studying for a master’s degree in Scotland and two years spent in Turkey. A decision he does not “regret”.

After following the crisis of 2021 from a distance, he refuses to be away from his loved ones again. “This is our land and we want to be together. (…) If you are at home and someone comes to attack you, you don’t leave, you defend yourself. »

Multiple evacuations

Although she has no plans to leave, Isra has already had to change accommodation five times since October 7. She was in the northern part of the Strip, in Gaza, when the conflict began. “I was cooking with my daughter” Sofia, who is three years old. A call from a neighbor who said a building was targeted “knocked it all out.” We turned off the oven (…), took the things I had prepared in case something happened and left.”

The same threat will again push her, with her husband and daughter, to leave her parents’ house where they had taken refuge, hers again, then her brother’s. And the group grows with each trip.

“We are lucky to have several houses. » These multiple trips were not without risk, he acknowledges, arguing that several Palestinians died in their car while trying to take refuge in the south.

This report is supported by the Local Journalism Initiative, funded by the Government of Canada.

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