Since the Israeli ground invasion began weeks ago, the situation for the citizens that live in Gaza has become increasingly difficult. The battle tactics of both sides have put scores of civilians at risk. The death toll in Palestine has increased to nearly 1,220, with an estimated quarter of those killed being children. Artillery shells have destroyed numerous homes near the Israeli border. A blast at Gaza’s main power plant cut off the electricity needed to operate the water and sewage systems in the city.
Many Gazans have left their homes to seek shelter elsewhere. Some have fled to the homes of relatives that live further from the fighting. Others have elected to shelter in schools, which are quickly becoming packed with refugees displaced by the fighting. Food and water are scarce in the city and it is difficult to get humanitarian aid to those who need it the most through the fighting. It is estimated that around 215,000 people have been displaced thus far.
Due to the Israeli airstrikes, large parts of Gaza City have been damaged. The area behind the city’s central hospital is full of scores of families seeking shelter from the destruction. Ambulances bearing the victims of new attacks are continuously arriving at the hospital. Around two dozen medical facilities have been damaged or destroyed.
The United Nations and the United States government consider Gaza occupied by Israel. Israel insists that the territory is not occupied, but the country controls nearly everything that happens in Gaza, including sea access, airspace, cellphone frequencies and birth registries. Now, Israel is refusing to let food and electricity into Gaza, further complicating the situation for ordinary citizens. There have been several efforts internationally to secure short-term cease-fires to evacuate civilians and truck in humanitarian aid, but successes have been limited.
Gaza was weakened before the latest conflict by an Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has been in effect for years. The blockage was originally intended to decrease the power of Hamas, considered by Israel to be a terrorist organization, but ended up nearly destroying the economy of Palestine.