As Israel targets journalists, other Palestinians take up mission to cover Gaza war
For Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, mobile phone devices have become a crucial weapon to document crimes committed by Israel in its latest war, with the hope that sharing the evidence with the world would help survive what is exceedingly become certain death in the besieged coastal enclave.
As Israel intentionally attacked Palestinian journalists and has killed over 90 so far in the past two months, other Palestinians have decided to take matters into their own hands and continue the journalists' missions to expose "Israeli crimes."
Kinan Hajaj, a Palestinian man who decided not to evacuate his house in northern Gaza City, told The New Arab that he was forced to invest in his mobile to document Israel's attacks on Palestinian residents and share them on his Facebook, X and Instagram accounts.
"When the Israeli army ordered the people and journalists to evacuate Gaza and the northern parts of the strip, I realized that they (the Israelis) will commit more and more massacres against us," the 25-year-old young man said.
"We are left alone without having anyone who can cover Israel's crimes," he added, "so it was very important for us to share everything we have."
Kinan's mission is not easy. There is no electricity, sporadic communication and internet since the Israeli army has cut off all of these services. "I've resorted to keeping my charger with me to document everything around me and wait for the internet to return to share what I have in Arabic-written posts on my social media platforms," he said.
"Without documenting the Israeli crimes, the world would not be aware of most of them," he added.
Two days ago, on 8 December, Mohammed, a Jabalia-based man, documented how Israeli forces executed several displaced Palestinians sheltering at the Khalifa school and sent his short video to local journalists to publish for the world.
"The Israeli army has its own decision to kill all Palestinians and cover its crimes. For this, the army deliberately cut off the communication and evacuated our areas from the journalists," Mohammed, who preferred not to mention his name for his own security, told TNA. "Even though we do not have the weapons to defend ourselves, our mobiles can at least expose the army war criminals to hold them accountable after the war."
Since 7 October, the Israeli army launched a large-scale war on the Gaza Strip under the pretext of fighting Hamas, the Islamist group ruling Gaza, which carried out an unprecedented attack on the Israeli settlements adjacent to the besieged territory and captured over 200 Israelis and killed around 1,150, civilians and military personnel, according to official Israeli figures.
Subequently after that surprise attack led by Hamas's Al-Qassem Brigades, the Israeli army killed more than 17,700 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and wounded over 42,000 others, according to the health ministry in Gaza.
Israeli war jets also destroyed about 50 per cent of the Gaza residential buildings and have displaced over 80 per cent of the population, mainly towards the south.
The Israeli army claimed that it established a safe road for the locals to pass without being attacked by the airstrikes. However, Palestinians have also documented how this is not true.
"The mass displacement journies were not easy for Gazans. So we decided to bear our responsibilities and expose the Israeli acts against us, mainly on the so-called safe road," Sameh al-Ashi, a Gaza-based resident, remarked to TNA.
Al-Ashi, who was also displaced from his house and went through the Israeli-designated "safe routes", noted how he and his brothers decided to turn on their phone cameras to document what would happen with them in case they were killed.
"We saw many bodies thrown on the road. We could not even look at them. The army shot anyone trying to help the wounded, while arresting others. I really was afraid if they discover that my camera was on," the young man recalled.
Even when al-Ashi reached, with his nine-member family, to Rafah and sheltered in an over-crowded school, their suffering did not end since now there is the issue of finding basic needs like food, water and electricity.
This unprecedented horrific situation brewing in various shelters throughout Gaza's south encouraged Mariam Hassan, a young woman, to document her daily displacement and share it on her Facebook account.
"We were left alone in this war, so we were forced to document our suffering and let the people around the world see what is happening with us," the 38-year-old young woman asserted to TNA.