After Israeli forces targeted and killed a top Islamic Jihad commander in an air raid on his home in Gaza City, the Palestinian group announced the death of Bahaa Abu al-Ata on Tuesday. The killing of Abu al-Ata has since led to a significant escalation of military and sociopolitical tensions in the region, with Israel launching repeated attacks against Palestinians as resistance fighters from Palestine continue their armed struggle and retaliate.
Farah Baker, a Palestinian social media activist and influencer living in the Gaza Strip, has said that since the killing of Abu al-Ata, “the Islamic jihad here in Gaza started shooting back at the Zionist occupation for what they did.”
Baker explained that since the current escalation, Israeli occupation forces have once again begun targeting innocents and using the situation as an excuse to do so.
“I keep hearing bombs, every second and moment. They [the Israeli occupation forces] target civilians, homes, towers…nobody’s safe. You can’t expect where the next bomb will be – everybody is in danger,” she said.
“Streets are empty, schools are closed and everybody is staying at home and following news.”
Baker added that the targeting of civilians and innocent bystanders by Israel is nothing new and pointed out a pattern in the actions of the IDF (Israeli Defence Force).
“Israeli drones targeted a group of civilians walking in the street… They keep claiming that they shoot against politicians or people of the resistance but if we go into history, if you look at the numbers, you’ll find most casualties are civilians,” said Baker.
“Israelis just started this escalation by killing the Islamic Jihad commander, so I don’t know what will happen or if the escalation is going to lead to a ceasefire.”
Medical teams in Palestine responding to the escalation feel unsafe, as ambulances and healthcare workers are often targeted by Israeli occupation forces during these times, says Baker.
While many South Africans complain of load shedding, Baker indicated that for over ten years Palestinians have had to live under strict energy schedules. According to Baker, Palestinians only have electricity supply for eight hours at a time, after which it is cut for another eight – on a good day. When electricity supplies are strained, however, this supply is cut to four hours.
When asked how Palestinians are able to cope with the constant bombardment by the occupation forces, Baker said for the most part locals try not to think about it too much.
“If we want to think [too much] about what’s happening, many people will think of suicide or just leaving…”
“We’re tired of the situation and living under the occupation. I hope it will end and we will live peacefully like all the people in the world.”