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Exclusive: A family of 150 members in Gaza without water, staring at death

By Hiba Morad

More than 150 members of the al-Saleha family in northern Gaza are putting up in an overcrowded building with no access to drinking water, while five members of the family who were forced to leave for southern Gaza after Israeli orders were killed on the way.

Speaking to the Press TV website on Saturday, Sara al-Saleha said the situation is alarmingly deteriorating in the besieged coastal strip amid unrelenting Israeli aerial blitz and the crippling blockade.

Electricity supply is cut and people are running out of water and gasoline as the Israeli military continues to bombard buildings in densely-populated civilian areas, killing mostly women and children.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right cabinet on Friday ordered 1.1 million people in northern Gaza to leave for the south, a move which the United Nations warned is “impossible to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences.”

A large number of families tucked in cars, trucks and donkey carts with blankets and luggage streamed down a main road that leads out of Gaza City on Friday as the regime pledged they won’t be harmed.

However, Israeli warplanes soon struck vehicles moving toward the south, killing more than 100.

Saleha and her husband, who own a small three-floor building in north Gaza said they are hosting almost 150 people from close and extended family, who fled their homes seeking a “safer” place.

“Practically speaking, there is nothing such as a safe place in the Gaza Strip right now, but some people run from one place to another seeking shelter. Wherever you go, you are exposed to random Israeli strikes that have been hammering the besieged enclave,” she told the Press TV website.

“My husband refused to leave the house, he said if he is to be killed he would rather be killed at home so we did not go anywhere,” she hastened to add, as her voice choked with tears.

Two liters of water left!

Israeli regime’s energy minister Israel Katz said on Thursday they will not allow essential resources — including electricity, water and fuel — or even humanitarian aid inside the Gaza Strip, as the regime in Tel Aviv intensifies the years of blockade of the coastal strip.

“Humanitarian aid to Gaza? No electrical switch will be turned on, no water hydrant will be opened and no fuel truck will enter until the Israeli abductees are returned home. Humanitarian for humanitarian. And no one will preach us morals,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Gaza-based Hamas resistance movement took hundreds of Israeli soldiers and settlers as war prisoners following the Al-Aqsa Storm operation in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

The operation was launched as a response to atrocities unleashed against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank as well as the repeated desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The resistance movement said the prisoners would be released when the Israeli regime freed thousands of Palestinian prisoners languishing in Israeli jails without charges or trial.

“Unfortunately, the water we have in the building is not fit for use or drinking, the only water we are left with is two liters of water for more than 150 people,” Saleha told the Press TV website.

She hastened to add that most Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have already run out of electricity and water in recent days. The only thing that is helping them is solar power systems in their buildings.

Also, the majority of Gazans are presently consuming water that is not fit for use at all.

The internet connection in the north of Gaza remains extremely weak and takes sometimes hours to send or receive a message, Saleha pointed out.

“I had to go a few times to al-Shifaa Hospital to be able to get some internet connection and communicate with my family members who are stuck at the borders in south Gaza,” she remarked.

“It is hard to live and not know whether your siblings, parents and other loved ones are still alive or under piles of rubble or lying in one of the hospitals in the city with injuries and pain.”

She and her husband keep looking for water that people living in the building can use but to no avail.

Stay or leave, you die anyways

The Israeli regime’s order to evacuate the northern Gaza Strip has triggered “mass displacement” towards the south of the besieged strip, the United Nations said on Sunday.

“Mass displacement from the north to the south of the Gaza Strip has been ongoing since... Friday morning, after Israel ordered residents to evacuate the areas ahead of military operations,” the UN’s humanitarian agency OCHA said in a statement.

Many of those who took the perilous journey were killed or injured grievously on the way.

“This is how we feel in the Gaza Strip, so the Israelis are giving us two options,” Saleha told the Press TV website, narrating the scenes of unutterable horror.

“Either evacuate, flee to where we tell you so that we can bombard you and instantly kill you, or choose to experience slow death in your own homes.”

Five of her family members who decided to move following the order were targeted by an Israeli air raid and were instantly killed; she hastened to add, referring to high risks.

“Death is not a choice here in the Gaza Strip, you will ultimately die if you are living here but you have no idea where because there are no shelters in the city,” she noted, appearing distraught.

Like other Gazans that the Press TV website spoke to since Friday, Saleha said she believes the evacuation orders by the Israeli army were meant as a trick to kill more Palestinians and start another 1948 “manufactured” Nakba in order to kick out the Palestinians, displace and kill them.

Ghadeer al-Ramahi, who currently lives in London, told the Press TV website that she wakes up every single day to check if her two sisters and brother currently in the Gaza Strip are still alive or dead.

Ghadeer, who experienced the 2008 and 2012 Israeli wars imposed on Gaza, said the two wars were longer, but not as intense and violent as the current war, according to what she sees from footage and what her family members tell her.

“This is literally genocide. Some families no longer exist; the Kurd and al-Aaraj families who are very close family friends of ours are all dead, including infants. I have never seen such barbarism and I literally cannot sleep for one hour without checking my phone,” she remarked.

Ghadeer, who appeared inconsolable while speaking to the Press TV website over the phone, said she lost her cousin and his entire family in a single Israeli strike, including a two-year-old twin, whose bodies are still under the rubble after two days.

“What is the crime of my cousin and his children and wife? What did these people do? And ironically, here in the West, we see the photos of Palestinian massacres with comments saying that these are Israelis being killed by Hamas,” she stated.

Other members of her family, including her two aunts fled to the south but did not find shelter.

“They have been stranded in the middle of nowhere since they arrived to the south yesterday night and said they wish they had not listened to the Israeli orders and threats,” Ghadeer explained.

“The situation is very complicated, please pray for the people of Gaza.”

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