Note: Due to the sheer amount of evocative and telling photography coming out of Palestine, we have transitioned our weekly photograph features into daily photograph features and will continue uploading images on a daily basis until further notice.
Photo credit: Mahmud Hams
Date taken: July 21, 2014
Location: Gaza City, Gaza Strip, Palestine
Palestinians watch from a hole in a wall as medics and Civil Defense workers sift through the rubble of a nearby building destroyed in an Israeli air strike on Gaza City.
When this photograph was captured, the death toll had peaked at just over 500 with the United Nations desperately calling for a ceasefire. When a 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire went underway on July 26, Palestinians recovered 147 bodies from the rubble, mainly in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shuja’iyya. The death toll now stands at 1,023 and is expected to rise.
The image above is telling of the kind of brutality Palestinians in Gaza have had to endure for the last three weeks. With Israeli air strikes and mortars indiscriminately hitting all kinds of civilian areas — schools, mosques, residential buildings — Palestinians took advantage of the temporary ceasefire to assess the damage done. Many returned to their homes to collect their belongings. Others visited whichever banks were still operating to withdraw money for food and water.
One man reportedly returned to his home in Shuja’iyya where he had lived for the last forty years of his life.
“I know Shuja’iyya like the back of my hand, but today and for the first time I got lost,” he said.