An elderly Palestinian woman escaped northern Gaza. She now fights for her grandchildren

In the past, citrus trees covered the courtyard of Um Ihab’s family home in Jabalya, which is located in the northern part of Gaza. During the majority of the weekends, dozens of relatives would get together for a birthday party or a graduation ceremony at the university. The Palestinian grandma would decorate the house with gold streamers and balloons of a variety of colors, while white confetti would fall down from the roof.

However, when the house was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike during the winter of 2017, at least thirty members of the Ihab family were compelled to leave the neighborhood where they had lived for three generations. According to Um Ihab, they are currently residing in a crowded tent that is located in the yard of a shelter for displaced people in Deir al-Balah, which is located in the central region of Gaza. In February, Um Ihab stated to CNN that the land had been completely wiped away. “Not even a single tree is still standing.”

As a result of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, which has lasted for six months, communities have been completely destroyed, basic supplies have been depleted, and acute hunger and thirst have been inflicted. A significant number of Palestinians have been compelled to seek sanctuary in outdoor tent camps, where they have a difficult time locating sufficient supplies of food and water.

The most recent conflict has compounded years of misery as a result of a partial embargo for Gazans who are older and whose lives have been punctuated by war. In today’s world, many people believe that they should be commemorating death rather than celebrating life. There are certain people, like Um Ihab, who are doing everything they can to keep their families together. But their advanced age and poor health make it even more difficult for them to survive on a daily basis.

After the terrorist organization Hamas, which governs Gaza, was responsible for the deaths of at least 1,200 people and the kidnapping of more than 250 more, Israel began its military offensive in Gaza on October 7. According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Israeli strikes on Gaza have resulted in the deaths of at least 33,091 Palestinians and injuries to another 75,750 civilians since the beginning of the conflict. Because of the limited access that CNN has to international media, the data cannot be independently confirmed by CNN.

As Israel’s offensive in Gaza reaches the six-month mark, international organizations and campaigners for human rights have urged for a quick and urgent ceasefire in the humanitarian sector. In a statement released one month ago, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam accused Israel of carrying out “indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks in violation of international law” and of imposing collective punishments on the civilian population.

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