Photo of the Day: When surviving feels so unlikely, sleep becomes the priority in Gaza

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: Marco Longari
Date taken: July 21, 2014
Location: Gaza City, Gaza Strip, Palestine

Palestinians who had fled their homes from Gaza City’s Shuja’iyya neighborhood attempt to sleep on makeshift beds at a United Nations shelter with other families that have been displaced.

Eight days after this photograph was taken, a United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) school was hit by at least three shells. At least fifteen were killed at least, including many children. UNRWA revealed that it had provided Israel with the coordinates for the school seventeen times to ensure the protection of those who turned to it for protection. The attack made it the sixth time a UNRWA school was hit in Gaza since the invasion began on July 8.

With 44% of the Gaza Strip best defined as ‘no man’s land’ due to Israel’s buffer zone, hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza have fled toward the Strip’s center, seeking UN schools, hospitals, and NGO sites for shelter. Many believe that these institutions are the last places Israel would direct a missile, but regrettably enough, this is discovered to be untrue. So far, twenty-two medical facilities have been damaged or destroyed by Israeli air strikes or tank shelling.

Meanwhile, Palestinians are struggling to find sleep. The humming sound of drones, which was a constant irritation for Gaza’s population well before the invasion began, has taken a back seat to the constant explosions of shells and missiles. Twitter is flooded with images of Palestinians in Gaza sharing photographs of air strikes just outside of their windows, keeping them and their families awake all through the night.

Anhar Aburamadan, who lives in Gaza City and who has struggled to calm her young children through three major Israeli offensives over the years, wrote on Facebook that she wishes the night will never come. There is no place — for sleep or otherwise — when the night sees some of the most intense bombing campaigns yet.

As Israel’s invasion rages on, and as it becomes even more clear how little Israel regards civilian life in the besieged and blockaded territory, people are facing extreme physical exhaustion. For the time being, surviving is not the priority anymore, it seems. Sleep is.


There is one comment

  1. Dee

    Evo Morales was right calling Israel a terrorist state. Only unconscionable evil would bomb playgrounds with little children. Yet the Israeli govt claims Hamas is using the civilian population in Gaza to hide their weapons? NO Israel, you are working for SATAN killing all these innocent men, women and children with impunity and then trying to point the finger at others. Israel is sowing the seeds of its own destruction.

    “The Israelis are using a wide variety of sophisticated modern weapons against a basically naked civilian population. They have no shelters, which is largely uncommunicative I think in the picture of Gaza. Whereas we see all these reports about individual shelters and home shelters and big cover shelters in Israel, and that’s fine. But Israel has never allowed Palestinians to build shelters and they don’t have early warning systems like sirens and they don’t have a civil defense that is really capable of defending the civilians.”
    – Dr. Mads Gilbert, al-Shifa hospital

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