Palestinians in Gaza hold on to Eid al-Adha rituals amid Israeli destruction

Palestinians in Gaza hold on to Eid al-Adha rituals amid Israeli destruction


18 June, 2024

In tents in the stifling heat and in bombed-out mosques, Palestinians in Gaza marked the start of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, devoid of the usual cheer as Israel's relentless and brutal military aggression raged on. Hundreds gathered in areas that have been targeted by Israeli forces for more than eight months for sombre prayers and bittersweet celebrations.

This is Gaza's second Eid under Israeli bombs, after Palestinians there likewise spent Eid al-Fitr - the end of Ramadan - without appeasement in April. Palestinians, like Muslims the world over, would usually slaughter sheep for Eid al-Adha -- 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 military campaign that has flattened much of Gaza, killed over 37,300 Palestinians, displaced most of the besieged territory's 2.4 million people, and sparked repeated accusations of famine and genocide, the Eid is a day of misery for many.

The Israeli military on Sunday morning announced a "tactical pause of military activity" around a Rafah-area route to facilitate the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid to Gazans. This short moment of peace quickly ended after Israel resumed its bombing across the coastal enclave overnight and early this morning, killing around 71 Palestinians in the process.