Dozens of displaced women and children gathered in front of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in central Gaza’s Deir al-Balah on Wednesday, raising their hands and chanting for a ceasefire.
Draped in scarves and winter coats, demonstrators carried posters aimed at both Israel and Hamas, with messages that read, “Stop the war” and “Release prisoners now,” referring to the Israeli hostages taken during Hamas’ murderous rampage in Israel on October 7.
Israel has fiercely responded to that attack by besieging and bombing Gaza, devastating large parts of the enclave and displacing at least 1.93 million people, according to the United Nation’s agency for Palestine refugees.
“We were forced to leave our homes. The airstrikes were on our heads, our relatives are under the rubble, they were killed in front of our eyes, so we fled,” one woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told CNN. “I am dying. I don’t want flour, I don’t want coupons, I want to go back home.”
Huge displacement camps have mushroomed across Gaza, where illnesses such as diarrhea, jaundice and Hepatitis A, are spreading due to overcrowded conditions and limited access to drinkable water or sanitation.
“We cannot feed our children or buy wood. We demand a ceasefire and to go back to our homes, even if they are struck. We will rebuild them,” said Ismail Hassouna, another civilian.
“We are against transferring and killing policies, killing children and starving people, stealing aid, keeping people inside tents without the minimum essentials for living,” Hassouna added. “We have the right to live, our children have the right to live.”
With winter winds and torrential rains lashing Gaza, Nuha Shaheen told CNN that children “are dying of cold.”
“What’s left? Enough, we want to go back home.”