My husband, Usama Badawi, and I have four children: Diaa, 16, Hanaa, 15, Muhammad, 12, and Ibrahim, 9. We live in a three-room apartment in the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City.
Since the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip began three days ago, we’ve stayed at home. My husband works at UNRWA and the management gave him orders to stay at home because of the war. I thank God that school is out and the children are at home.
There’s hardly any movement anywhere. In our neighborhood, there are no cars or pedestrians out in the street at all. Everyone is indoors, following the news on TV and social media or on the radio when there’s no power. Every 24 hours, the power goes off for eight hours.
Last night I couldn’t sleep a wink because of what’s happening and the awful things I saw on TV, like the al-Haj family whose house was bombed yesterday and most of them were killed. They showed an elderly woman killed with a spoon in her hand, while she was eating her Ramadan morning meal. She died sitting at the table.
I keep thinking about my children and what might happen to them. I keep checking the different spaces around the house, looking for a safe room, but there isn’t one. All the rooms have large windows that look out over the street except the kitchen, which is in the center of the apartment. So we decided to sleep in the kitchen. My son Diaa insisted on sleeping in his bed, but when he heard the bombings he came running into the kitchen with his mattress and blanket to sleep with us. There was no room in the kitchen for another mattress so he slept between the other two kids. They slept right up against each other – that is, when we finally managed to sleep, because the bombings just don’t stop, day and night.
My kids are very upset and keep asking me when the war will end and how long we’ll live like this. I don’t know what to say, but I try to reassure them. I can’t take it anymore, either. This war is worse than the previous ones. The Israelis are targeting homes and destroying them with people inside.
In the last war, I took my family to stay with relatives in Rafah. It’s safer there than here, plus it’s comforting to be together with our extended family. This time, we couldn’t make it there because the bombings from the air and the sea were so massive. We’re afraid to drive anywhere. We’re even scared to go to the market, which is a 15-minute drive from our house. There’s no public transport at all. Yesterday, my 12-year-old son, Muhammad, insisted on coming with me to a grocery shop about 20 meters from our house. We stayed close to the buildings along the way and tried to walk under trees so we wouldn’t be exposed to airplanes. We bought some groceries for the evening meal that breaks Ramadan fasting, and some cans of tuna for the early morning Ramadan breakfast.
We’ve got used to living without things. There’s not enough of anything: fuel, electricity, food, you name it. We’ve been under siege since the second Intifada. The checkpoints are closed and we can’t move freely. We’re afraid the military operation will continue. I heard on the news that they might send in ground troops. I’m very worried about my family and just want them all to be safe. That’s all I wish for.
Amani ‘Adel Mahmoud Badawi, 38, is a married mother of four and homemaker who lives in Gaza City. She gave her testimony by phone to Salma a-Deb’i, B’Tselem’s field in researcher in Nablus, on 10 July 2014.
Concerning testimonies about the "Protective Edge" campaign:
With the current military campaign ongoing, B’Tselem is taking testimony from Gaza residents, mainly by telephone. B’Tselem verifies, to the best of its ability, the reliability and precision of the information reported; nevertheless, in these circumstances, reports may be incomplete or contain errors. Given the urgency of informing the public about events in Gaza, B’Tselem has decided to publish the information now available. When the military campaign ends, B’Tselem will supplement these reports as needed.