Montag, 26.02.2024 / 20:39 Uhr

Lagebeschreibung aus Rafah und Gaza

Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Palestinians inspect the damage following an Israeli airstrike on the El-Remal aera in Gaza City, Bildquelle: Wikimedia Commons, Wafa

Der aus dem Gaza Streifen stammende und in den USA lebende Aktivist Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib hat Stimmen aus Gaza gesammelt, die die hoffnungslose Situation dort beschreiben.


Dies ist einer seiner Berichte über die Lage vor Ort:

1. Hamas is reportedly digging several contingency tunnels into Egypt to prepare for the escape of a large number of its upper-level commanders, members, leaders, and administrators in the event of a full Israeli ground invasion in Rafah. These contingency plans entail mass surrender to Egyptian authorities who are more likely to spare their lives and, through a political process, facilitate their release or transfer to other countries. Some of these tunnels go as deep as 15-20 meters (49-65 feet) and are prepped to have their “eyes,” a local term for the tunnel’s opening, to be quickly opened up on the Egyptian side when needed.

2. Yesterday, there was an explosion in Rafah near the “Salah al-Din Gate” that has been attributed to two possibilities: an unexploded Israeli bomb that somehow went off, or a failed rocket launch. 

3. Private business operators, sometimes in direct cooperation with Hamas members and administrators/affiliates, hoard all sorts of supplies and food that are then sold on the market when stocks are low for high prices. This is a risky strategy because such supplies can be stolen, looted, bombed, or destroyed. We saw an example of that a few days ago in Gaza City, where an Israeli airstrike revealed the presence of food supplies that were hidden/hoarded, with starving civilians subsequently taking the supplies to feed their hungry selves and families.

4. When some private merchants sell items for inflated/exorbitant prices (due to lack of availability or greed), Hamas’s police gangs pretend to want to do something good on civilians’ behalf; they approach these merchants and demand that prices be lowered; they either ask nicely, beat up the merchants, or confiscate their products. Seized items are then placed in warehouses that often end up going to Hamas members and their affiliates/patrons.

5. Fuel from Egyptian aid trucks gets siphoned off and bought from drivers for huge sums, then resold on the black market. A liter of diesel in Rafah goes for roughly 34 shekels, while a liter of benzene (gasoline/remnants from pre-war stockpiles) goes for 60.

6. Hamas is imposing customs and taxes/fees on stolen aid being resold and on items coming into Gaza through individuals passing through the Rafah crossing. They inspect what [few Gaza-bound] people carry in, especially going after cigarettes and tobacco products. This was done to medical delegates who entered Gaza to assist hospitals with caring for patients.

7. Mid and upper-level Hamas government administrators, political members, and families of senior Qassam Brigade fighters & commanders are super set with access to all the tents, aid, food, supplies, medicine, and resources needed to sit the rest of the war out.

8. Due to escalated Israeli airstrikes against central Gaza, mainly in Deir al-Balah, most civilians are no longer planning to leave Rafah, especially after dozens who evacuated the southern city were killed after they fled to central Gaza. Most NGOs have updated their security bulletins to instruct their staff to stay put for now.

9. Theft and chaos are widespread; trash is everywhere, and sanitation is non-existent; lice is a super serious problem among children; physical violence among the population is rampant; children are experiencing awful abuse; most people have lost half of their weight, even those with access to some food; and the dominant sentiment among civilians is that of fury and rage against Hamas for bringing so much misery and suffering upon their people – Gazans are “making dua’a” against them, hoping that they are never put in charge of Gaza ever again.

10. The situation in Northern Gaza is heartbreakingly and awfully atrocious, and widespread hunger and starvation are now the norm for the estimated 300,000 civilians still trapped there. Hamas members and administrators are still attempting to exert some influence and control in a decentralized fashion, even though the locals are furious at the group for its continued hoarding of supplies and food that are stocked to ensure Hamas’s continued survival for many months. It’s not just hunger that’s slowly killing Gazans up north; infections, lack of clean water, weak immune systems from malnutrition, and an almost non-existent supply of essential medications for simple illnesses or chronic diseases.