Neighbourhoods destroyed by Israeli bombing in the south of the Gaza Strip, 23 October 2023. Neighbourhoods destroyed by Israeli bombing in the south of the Gaza Strip, 23 October 2023. Photo: Counterfire

As Israel’s military prepares to raid the Gaza strip on foot, Palestinian junior doctor Bilal talks with Thomas Gibbs about the everyday reality on the ground

Can you give us an idea of what life is like in Gaza right now – are you OK?

I’m alive, but I’m not OK – no-one in Gaza is. It’s hell in here. What’s happening is crazy. I haven’t slept at all for 2 nights – I feel like we have minor earthquakes every 5 minutes… literally the buildings shake. A lot of people we know have lost loved ones. Some have lost their houses. I stand in line for bread, but there’s no drinking water and I don’t have electricity at all (we try to charge from neighbours’ solar panels).

And like the majority of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, you’re already a refugee; where are your family from?

We’re from Biʾr as-Sabʿ [Beersheva], in the desert. The Zionists moved us to Gaza during the Nakba. But really the Nakba is still happening, and now the occupation has moved us from our houses again. Gaza is where I grew up, went to school and made friends, where my grandparents were buried. We don’t know if we still have a house to go back to when all of this ends.

What do you want from the future?

We all want freedom. We want a Palestine where we are real people. We don’t want an occupation to pluck the fruits of our land and throw the leftovers for us. We want an air and a sea for us. That’s the way forward and nothing else. Either a life of freedom and dignity or a death that exposes the enemy.

What can those of us outside of Palestine do to help you? We’ve just seen London mobilising in one of the largest demonstrations in British history (our biggest ever protest for Palestine) – does this make a difference?

It really does, but I hope you continue until something is changed. Keep telling people about what’s happening here.

Join the National March for Palestine on Saturday 28th October

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