Palestinians in Gaza try to find joy in Eid amid Israeli bombardment

Palestinians in Gaza try to find joy in Eid amid Israeli bombardment
A Palestinian says he spent Eid visiting the graves of his family members killed in Israeli airstrikes, while others pray in the rubble of destroyed mosques.
4 min read
10 April, 2024
Palestinians in Gaza perform Eid Al-Fitr prayers amid heavy destruction caused by Israeli airstrikes [Getty]

Palestinians in Gaza are trying to find joy in the Eid Al-Fitr holiday which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, as Israeli forces continued to carry out airstrikes on the besieged enclave.

Many gathered in the rubble of destroyed mosques across Gaza, to perform special Eid prayers in congregation.

Local Palestinian media reported that volunteers and activists also launched a campaign to distribute toys to wounded children at the European Hospital in Khan Younis in an effort to bring happiness to young patients.

In one video, an activist carries a trolley of toys into the hospital, handing them out to children who have been wounded in Israeli air strikes.

Areej Abdul Qasir, a Palestinian woman who was displaced to Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip, is marking Eid in a temporary tent.

She told The New Arab that she spent the morning crying as she was unable to buy new clothes for her children.

"Usually on Eid, I would be busy receiving my family and relatives who would visit my house, and we'd exchange gifts," she said. 

"Now I spend all of my time trying to find food for my kids...I did not get the chance to properly celebrate Eid," she added.

Abdul Qasir said that this year, there was no feeling of celebration in Gaza, and that Palestinians in the Strip would not be able to mark the occasion for years to come due to the scale of destruction. 

Mohammed Al-Araby spent the morning visiting graves of eight members of his family who were killed by the Israeli army following an attack on their home in the Deir al-Balah refugee camp.

"In one moment, my entire life was turned upside down. On Eid, I used to go to visit our relatives, but now I am here alone with my sad memories," he told The New Arab. 

Al-Araby is the sole survivor of the air strike on his family home.

Israeli forces on Tuesday said they struck dozens of targets across Gaza, including in the Shujaiya neighbourhood.

An overnight Israeli air strike also targeted the Nuseirat camp, killing 14 Palestinians, including four children, Gaza’s government media office announced.

The air strike destroyed the home of the Abu Youssef family, leaving civil defence crews trying to retrieve bodies until early hours of the morning.

Local sources reported that the bombing caused widespread destruction in the area.­

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society also shared a video of their paramedics team in Deir Al-Balah performing Eid takbeerat, a tradition where Muslims praise God prior to performing prayers for the occasion.

In Rafah, forcibly displaced Palestinians carried out Eid prayers in a school-turned-shelter.

Gaza’s government media office condemned Israel’s attacks on the religious holiday, adding that the US administration and President Joe Biden personally have given the green light for deadly strikes.

“The [Israeli] occupation continues to carry out its criminal and military acts since the morning of Eid, with its warplanes flying over the airspace of the Gaza Strip and its tanks continuously shelling in clear disregard for the feelings of Muslims and the feelings of our Palestinian people,” the statement read.

Since the start of the war on 7 October, Israel has killed more than 33,482 Palestinians in Gaza alone, according to Palestinian Ministry of Health figures.

An additional 76,049 have been wounded in the same time frame, while much of the besieged enclave has been ravaged by intense bombardment.

In occupied east Jerusalem, over 60,000 Palestinians gathered for Eid prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, despite Israeli restrictions.

Palestinian media and the Islamic Waqf, who is responsible for the affairs at the holy site, said a number of worshippers were forcibly removed from Al-Aqsa by Israeli authorities, forcing them to pray in streets in the surrounding area.