UN says Israeli-Hamas war: Humanitarian crisis worsens in Gaza as incursions escalate

UN says Israeli-Hamas war: Humanitarian crisis worsens in Gaza as incursions escalate

Fida Shehada is a member of the Lod City Council, a city of about 84,000 people, about 30 percent of them Arab Arabs of Israel.

And Shehada, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, is afraid to put it mildly about what might happen now after the massacre of Israeli civilians by Hamas. “Everyone is suffering,” she said. There was a great fear that there would be a mighty vengeance.

In Lod, south of Tel Aviv, Jews and Arabs used to live in the same building, but now Arabs are reluctant to enter air shelters, she said. Shehada said they said they saw hatred in the eyes of the Jews. They say they see hatred, but I think what they really see is sadness and fear.

The Arab population of Israel, most of whom wants to be identified as Palestine, makes up about 18 percent of the population. They have been caught for years between their allegiance to the state and their desire for an end to Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and a better life for them.

Now, after the unprecedented massacre of Israelis in Israel, when angry Israeli Jews are calling for revenge, normal tensions are rising to almost unbearable levels.

Leading Arab politicians in Israel, such as Mansour Abbas and Ayman Odeh, both members of the Knesset, have strongly condemned the actions of Hamas, a Palestinian faction that has attacked Israel and called for calm.

But people are torn in their emotions, so they always hide them, ”Shehada said. She said the young Arabs were initially proud of the Hamas struggle for control of the Gaza Strip. In the early days when Gaza invaded Israel, people were happy, they felt like someone was doing something about the situation.

But that pride quickly faded. “This is before we saw all the pictures of killings, kidnappings and rapes,” Shehada said. This is not a form of legal struggle.

In May 2021, during another Israeli-Palestinian crisis, Lot was destroyed by riots and mutual hatred between the Jewish and Muslim communities. Shehada, 40, says she was attacked in her home by Jews throwing stones.

Israeli police detain an Israeli Arab man during riots and community violence in Lod in 2021.Credit …Dan Balilty for the New York Times

People here say that even in normal times, Lod has a deep problem of poverty and crime with Arab criminal organizations operating with little interference from the Israeli police. Even local governments are divided, with separate Arab and Jewish divisions within the department.

Police are the responsibility of National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and leader of the far-right Jewish ruling party, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus’ right-wing coalition government. Ben-Gvir, who has backed violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, is also escalating tensions with Israel’s Arab population.

He spoke of the raid on the Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest sites in the Muslim world, and in late July he led more than 1,000 extremist settlers to the area, inflicting Muslims. Angered and urging Hamas to say it is fighting to protect Al Aqsa.

Ben-Gvir spoke this week about renewed Arab-Israeli violence in cities such as Lod and ordered police to prepare for riots that Shehada and others considered dangerous.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, the Minister of National Security and leader of the extremist Jewish ruling party last year, was in Jerusalem.Credit …Avishag Shaar-Yashuv for the New York Times

Mohammad Magadli, one of Israel’s most prominent Arab journalists, is more optimistic. He saw the shock last week bring a surprising calm. “Unlike in 2021, in mixed cities, Arab and Jewish societies are more aware of each other’s pain and can understand the consequences if they do not consider each other’s feelings,” he said.

Magadli said there was greater responsibility between the two societies, Magadli said, even among leaders who had from the beginning called for calm.

Shehada said her aunt was visiting Gaza now and could not leave. Shehada said the buildings on both sides of her residence had already been bombed and that she had stopped breathing and said she did not think they would survive the war.

Mousa Mousa, a 23-year-old Israeli-Israeli in a T-shirt advertised in Hebrew, said that in Ramla, a similar mixed city nearby, a large market, usually full of local vegetables and fruits, Almost empty with unusual caution in the air. Juice stall. “I do not sleep,” he said. I fear the reaction of the villagers on the street to what Hamas has done.

He said the market was a mix of Arabs and Jews, but the mood was different now.

“I hate the people here for not smiling as much as they used to,” Mousa said. I try to keep my head high.

He said he despised the politicians who caused hatred in each community. Mousa said bitterly. That’s what politics is based on.

“What Hamas has done has changed lives here profoundly,” he said. “I do not think there is a way back,” he added. People will not be like them.

Ramla market last year.Credit …Amit Elkayam for The New York Times

Also in East Jerusalem, near the old city, there was a remarkable tension and the presence of Israeli police. Strong tea.

In normal times, they often stopped checking on Arab men. But 19-year-old Adham says he is now stopped three times as he walks a short distance from his father’s shop near the Damascus Gate to their home in Old City. Each time he had to ask for his ID card, he took off his shirt and dropped his pants. His father asked to keep their last name for fear of their safety in the current environment.

Adham said he admired Hamass’ courage. “Yes, they represent Palestine,” he said. They are the only ones defending Palestine.

Like many young people here, he has little respect for Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority. “In our eyes, he is a traitor for cooperation with Israel, especially on security in the occupied West Bank,” Adham said.

Unlike the Arabs in Ramla or Lod, who were part of Israeli society, most Palestinians in East Jerusalem were not Israeli citizens and felt less torn between loyalty. In 1967, when Israel annexed East Jerusalem, it made Palestinians there legally but not citizens.

Shops closed in a commercial street on Wednesday in Old Jerusalem.Credit …Ahmad Gharabli / Agence France-Presse Getty Images

Mahmoud Muna runs one of the best bookstores in Jerusalem that feeds everyone. He identified himself as a Palestinian from Jerusalem and favored an independent state based on democracy and equal rights. He sees people like himself as potential role models for different types of integrated states.

But now he says there is an unusually high level of stress, anxiety, anger, confusion and fear among the Palestinians, and I feel good about myself.

Police presence is on the rise in and around East Jerusalem, and Muna himself has been stopped twice for patrols over the past five days, which is always a time of potential conflict. Being over 40 helps keep you cool, he said.

Is Palestine in Israel bound? He stopped, then said: We are always in space.

A friend who went to work in West Jerusalem told him that everyone was stressed and angry, but everyone was pretending. Mr. Hun Mana added that the ban is crazy or is it difficult or I can not understand, Mr. Mona added that this is your statement, but any statement is not acceptable.

Such times are also illuminating, he said: “It’s a good time to see things we can not see, such as the absence of acquaintances called to be reservists.

He said the Palestinian people were reminded of the extent to which Israeli society has a military. The ones you ate yesterday are now ahead and what are they doing now?

Mona said this week covered up the entire conflict. “The high level of our nationalism and they can not be higher than now,” he said. The struggle turns to terrorism and vice versa, and we and they and the civilians and the army, these words are immediately opposite. . One side talks about a new massacre and another of the New Nakba, or the catastrophe, what Palestinians call displacement and displacement during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

“That’s the grave of the moment, like shrinking the last 100 years to a week,” Mona said.

Natan Odenheimer The report contributed.

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