'No joy': Palestinians in Gaza mark somber Eid in shadow of Israel's war

Many gathered for the Eid al-Adha morning prayer in the courtyard of Gaza City's historic Omari Mosque, which was heavily damaged in Israeli bombardment. (Photo/AA)

Stifling heat, bombed-out mosques and tent cities, Palestinians in Gaza mark the start of the Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha, devoid of the usual cheer as Israel’s war on the enclave rages on

"There is no joy. We have been robbed of it," said Malakiya Salman, a 57-year-old displaced woman, now living in a tent in Khan Younis City in southern Gaza.

People of Gaza, like Muslims the world over, would usually slaughter sheep for the holiday - whose Arabic name means "feast of the sacrifice" - and share the meat with the needy.

Parents would also gift children new clothes and money in celebration.

But this year, after more than eight months of a devastating Israeli campaign that has flattened much of Gaza, displaced most of the besieged territory's 2.4 million people and sparked repeated warnings of famine, the Eid is a day of misery for many.

"I hope the world will put pressure to end the war on us, because we are truly dying, and our children are broken," said Salman.

Her family was displaced from the far-southern city of Rafah, a recent focus of the fighting which began after Hamas's October 7 operation on southern Israel.

Many gathered for the Eid al-Adha morning prayer in the courtyard of Gaza City's historic Omari Mosque, which was heavily damaged in Israeli bombardment, placing down their frayed prayer mats next to mounds of rubble.

The sound of prayers travelled down some of the city's destroyed and abandoned streets.

In several areas of the war-battered territory, especially in Gaza City, young boys were seen manning roadside shops selling perfumes, lotions and other items against the backdrop of piles of rubble from destroyed buildings and homes.

Many vendors used umbrellas to protect themselves from the scorching sun as they sold household items on Gaza City's main market street. But there were few buyers.

Prices of food and other goods can reach four or five times their usual price.

'A lot of destruction'

Israel's brutal on the besieged territory has killed at least 37,296 Palestinians, also mostly civilians, according to the health ministry.

For many, a halt in fighting can never bring back what has been lost.

"We've lost many people, there's a lot of destruction," said Umm Muhammad al-Katri from Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza.

"This Eid is completely different," she said, with many people forced to spend the holiday without their loved ones killed or displaced during the war.

Grieving families on Sunday flocked to cemeteries and other makeshift burial sites, where wooden planks marked the graves.

"I feel comfort here," said Khalil Diab Essbiah at the cemetary where his two children are buried

Even with the constant buzzing of Israeli drones overhead, visitors at the cemetery "can feel relieved of the genocide we are in and the death and destruction," he said.

Hanaa Abu Jazar, 11, also displaced from Rafah to the tent city in Khan Younis, said: "We see the (Israeli) occupation killing children, women and the elderly."


Source: TRT