Palestinians in Gaza mark a more hopeful Eid al-Fitr this year
Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip marked on Monday the first day of Eid al-Fitr after the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with many hoping for a year of peace.
During the early morning hours, thousands of Palestinians in Gaza performed Eid al-Fitr prayers in mosques and public squares. Meanwhile, the children went to play on the swings and other playsets that were placed on the public streets, while the relatives visited each other.
Several preachers leading the Eid prayer emphasised the importance of visiting and supporting families of Palestinians who were wounded or imprisoned by Israel. Many also called for Palestinian unity, especially in light of the ongoing Israeli aggression on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the city of Jerusalem.
Muslims worldwide on Monday are celebrating #EidAlFitr with communal prayers, celebratory gatherings around festive meals and new clothes, amid economic and security concerns #EidMubarak https://t.co/xmnyNHEfQD— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) May 2, 2022
For her part, Mariam Ibrahim, a young woman based in Gaza, expressed her joy to be able to see her brothers and relatives for long hours during the feasts.
"I am very happy that we have restored the atmosphere of the feast, especially since we were deprived of it last year because of the Israeli war against us," the 35-year-old mother of two told The New Arab.
"We hope to live all the time in safety without being afraid of wars, killings, and displacement," she said, noting that "Palestinians in Gaza are no longer able to face even more difficult circumstances."
Sumaia al-Ajrami, another woman in Gaza, expressed grief over the absence of her mother for the festival, who was killed during an Israeli raid last year.
"Israel prevented us from spending the feast with our mother, even though she loved its atmosphere and spent long days preparing for it," the 20-year-old lady said to The New Arab.
"We want to live in peace and security, and for Israel to stop waging wars against us in the Gaza Strip," she added, stressing that "Palestinians in Gaza have paid dearly because of the deteriorating political situation between Israel and the armed Palestinian factions."
In-depth: Gaza marks a sombre Eid in the shadow of Israel's war - Khuloud Rabah Sulaiman writes https://t.co/ZwFTbuMhiY— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) July 22, 2021
Last year, the joys often associated with Eid al-Fitr transformed into misery and tragedy in Gaza as Israel launched a large-scale 11-day military operation against the besieged coastal enclave that killed more than 255 Palestinians.
On the first day of Eid last year, Raafat al-Rifi, a man from Gaza, lost his granddaughter "Hala", just as she had finished preparing to celebrate the feast.
"My granddaughter was preparing to celebrate the days of Eid with her family and friends, and to go to many entertainment places and restaurants, as were the rest of the children who were her age," the 62-year-old told The New Arab.
But unfortunately, the elderly man said, she was killed after Israeli warplanes attacked a residential house near her bedroom, an attack that also claimed the lives of five other Palestinians, including a woman and her two children.
"We were preparing to celebrate the feast. I bought salted fish, sweets, and nuts, but unfortunately, all of that was in vain because of the Israeli crime," he said.
The state of joy that pervaded the house turned into tears and pain over the killing of his granddaughter, the man explained, noting that he is still in a state of shock at what happened and he did not know how the Israeli army was able to deprive his family of the most basic rights, which is to celebrate their feast like any other community.
"We insisted on celebrating this year's feast to prove to Israel and the world that we love life and hope to live in peace and security," he said.