Smoke and fire. These are a permanent presence around the Gaza Strip after a week of Israeli attacks, attacks that have taken a heavy toll not just on the militants Israel is trying to target with pinpoint precision, but also innocent bystanders.
"The Jews say they are fighting Hamas and fighting militants, but at all the bodies we have seen on TV are women and children," says Khalid Ali, a 45-year-old taxi driver from Gaza City, told Reuters.
A Gaza mother comforts her son (Photo: EPA)
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri is undeterred by the IDF's Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.
"Our backs are against the wall, and we have nothing to lose. We are ready to fight to the end," he says. The question is, are Gazans also willing to fight to the end? Palestinian officials now say the death toll stands at around 100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, with more than 600 people wounded."
Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that eight members of one family, including six children, were killed in an air strike that destroyed at least two houses in Khan Younis, the second largest city in the Gaza Strip. Palestinians claim that at least 120 homes in the Gaza Strip have been damaged or destroyed. According to local residents, not one of the houses targeted by the IDF belongs to Hamas people.
A Gaza family flees their home (Photo: EPA)
"…(i)n order to destroy a house which is not a military target, six children died," Eyad Abu Eqtaish, the head of Defence for Children International (DCI) in Palestine, told Al-Jazeera in Qatar.
"It’s the role of the international community to apply pressure on Israel to meet its obligations under the Geneva Conventions," he said. "It’s clear that Israel is indiscriminately targeting the Gaza Strip and this is clear by the big numbers of Palestinian civilians, among them children, who were affected."
The IDF disputes these claims, saying that their targets in Gaza are directly connected to Hamas members and terrorist activists.
Dr. Ahmad Abu Tawhina of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program told Al-Jazeera that children in Gaza are enduring unimaginable suffering due to the fighting.
"Trauma is a term used in the West when talking about normal situations and there is a breakdown. This breakdown is the trauma, but for us Palestinians, trauma is the daily life," he said. "The term trauma itself is not enough to describe what is going on in Gaza. I am not convinced we can express the horror."
Um-Fadi, a resident of the Palestinian side of Rafah, told the Qatari news network that her daughters have started wetting their beds, something that happened during Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012.
"Trauma is back among us. Even closing the refrigerator door can scare our children," she said.