Netanyahu is contingent on the success of his war by invading Rafah

The Gaza war and economic hardship… Ramadan comes sad this year

Ramadan is “sad (…) but we try to make joy for our children,” says Nevin Al-Siksek, a displaced person from Jabalia to Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, who does not have anything to prepare the first iftar in a month that Muslims usually celebrate with worship, decorations, and tables of delicious food in an atmosphere Of joy.

This year, the war in Gaza is casting a shadow on a large portion of Muslims economically and morally, especially in the countries neighboring Israel, according to Agence France-Presse.

In front of a narrow cloth tent covered with nylon near the fence of a United Nations school to shelter the displaced in the Rafah camp, Nevin caresses her daughter, who is carrying a colorful Ramadan lantern that her husband bought from a nearby stall, and a few buyers are almost approaching her.

Nevin (26 years old), a mother of two girls, one of whom gave birth on November 4, inside a tent in Rafah, said: “We try to make our children happy with lanterns. Because it is not their fault, even though we have no food for breakfast or suhoor, and I do not know if we will find anything.”

The woman, who was displaced with her family to Rafah three months ago after her house was bombed, added: “We cannot rejoice at the arrival of Ramadan. We have martyrs and wounded, our hearts burn for them, and our families are far away.” She expressed her hope that Ramadan will come “and we are well and safe.”

A child carries a Ramadan lantern at a time when the war is raging in Gaza (AFP)

She continued: “We cook food on a wood-burning stove, and there are no cooking utensils. Everything is expensive, and we are not in the mood to welcome Ramadan like before.”

Her husband, Yasser Rayhan (26 years old), agrees with her opinion, saying: “Ramadan will come and we will be in war, oppression and famine, and there will be no food or drink (…) and today we are suffering from everything.”

“the basics of life”

In the face of the catastrophic deterioration of the humanitarian situation, the United Nations warned of an “almost inevitable” famine threatening 2.2 million out of the 2.4 million people in the Gaza Strip, which receives very scarce aid, compared to the enormous needs, which prompted some countries to drop humanitarian aid from the air.

Nothing compares to the devastation and deprivation in Gaza, where neighborhoods are in ruins, children are starving and mass graves are dug in the sand. But the besieged Strip is not the only place in the Islamic world that was affected by the war between Israel and Hamas.

In Jordan, the markets usually witness crowding before Ramadan, but this year they seem generally calm, while no preparations for Ramadan, such as Ramadan tents, house decorations, etc., have yet appeared in the streets of Amman.

Saif Al-Hindawi (44 years old), an employee in an exchange company and a father of five children, while shopping in a store in Amman, told Agence France-Presse: “We usually feel happy about the arrival of the holy month, but now we buy some things and feel sad about what is happening in Gaza.” ».

He added: “There are high prices in Jordan… Everything is available in the markets. In Gaza, there are high prices, and food is not available.”

He pointed out that the residents of the Gaza Strip “grinded animal fodder to eat bread.” He continued: “We think about them. In this holy month… they do not have the minimum necessities of life.”

He stressed that “Ramadan this year will be limited to performing the religious duties and praying for victory for our people in Gaza.”

A Palestinian craftsman makes Ramadan lanterns while Muslim worshipers prepare for the start of the holy month of Ramadan in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip (AFP)

The expansion of the war

The conflict began after an attack launched by the Hamas movement on Israel on October 7. During the attack, Hamas kidnapped about 250 hostages. Israel says that 130 of them are still being held in the Gaza Strip, and 31 of them are believed to have died.

Israel vowed to “eliminate” Hamas. It launches intense bombing operations and a land, sea and air attack on the Gaza Strip, which led to the deaths of 30,878 people, the majority of whom were civilians, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.

Since the outbreak of war, leaders in the region fear that the conflict will spread to other countries in the Middle East.

Almost daily strikes, in which deaths occur, between Israel and Hezbollah fighters have led to the displacement of tens of thousands of citizens in southern Lebanon.

Among them is retired Lebanese teacher Maryam Awada (68 years old), who spoke to Agence France-Presse about “the suffering we are enduring as a result of forced displacement,” because her town was subjected to daily raids and bombing.

She added from a school turned shelter in the city of Tire: “I see that I am unable to fast during Ramadan.” She continued: “My psychological and physical conditions and the difficulties we face in terms of living and material matters… These difficult conditions will not enable me to fast under these circumstances.”

As for Baghdad, where financial conditions are already difficult, Muhammad al-Obaidi (48 years old) on the crowded Karrada Street hoped that the war would stop. He said: “They must come together to stop the war during Ramadan. There must be a truce at least during Ramadan.”

“Tired and exhausted”

Not far from Gaza, Muslims in East Jerusalem are concerned about the violence in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the first of the two qiblahs and the third of the Two Holy Mosques, which during Ramadan in past years has usually witnessed violent confrontations between Palestinians and Israelis.

Last February, the right-wing Israeli Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, said that Palestinians in the occupied West Bank “should not be allowed” to enter Jerusalem during Ramadan. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office confirmed on Tuesday that worshipers will be allowed to enter the mosque in “similar numbers” to previous years.

A picture of Al-Aqsa Mosque with the Ramadan crescent (Reuters)

But that did not help much in allaying the fears of Ahlam Shaheen (32 years old), who works in a community center a few hundred meters from Al-Aqsa Mosque. When Israeli police stormed the mosque in 2021, Shaheen saw women praying next to her being hit by rubber bullets.

She fears the same thing will happen again. She said: “We have been living in war for five months. “We are tired and exhausted.”

In Cairo, the most festive city during Ramadan, a student from Gaza who asked to remain anonymous told Agence France-Presse: “For the first time in my life, I cannot stand the idea of ​​Ramadan, and I feel very hurt whenever I see a lantern or decoration.”

Decorations hanging from a vendor’s stall while people shop for Ramadan lanterns outside the historic Sayyida Zeinab Mosque in downtown Cairo (AFP)

She added: “My brothers cannot find food even once a day, and we are supposed to fast and eat suhoor normally?”

Returning to Rafah, Ahmed Shalabi, a lantern seller, said: “When I first started the project, I was shy and ashamed because of the destruction, displacement, and martyrs that were happening to us. But I will keep working. We try to relieve ourselves of psychological pressure and make ourselves happy with the simplest things.”

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