Times of Oman
Nov 27, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 11:55 PM GMT
Untold suffering in Gaza City
July 21, 2014 | 12:00 AM
A Palestinian inspects a damaged house which police said was hit by an Israeli shelling that killed eight members from Al Qassas family, among them four children, in Gaza City, on Sunday. Photo: Reuters

Muscat: Dawoud is a husband and father of four in his mid-30s who lives in Gaza City. He has Palestinian friends in Oman who are afraid for his safety and that of the other people who call Gaza home.

This is natural since by now, more than 500 have been killed in the two weeks of Israeli attacks. The Times of Oman spoke to Dawoud to fully understand what life under siege and constant attacks are like. For his safety, his full name and workplace has been withheld.

"We are accustomed to war, but with this intensity, I am more worried than I used to be. It is the most difficult war I have ever experienced. Everyone, even those much older than me, is saying this. "Over the last 12 days, life has changed 180°. First of all, everyone is now staying home in Gaza. No one goes to work, so banks are closed, institutions are closed, government agencies are closed. Everyone is advised to stay home. This is difficult because I'm not a person who is accustomed to staying at home for several days at a stretch.

"We do not sleep at night at home because the intensity of the shelling and shooting is more at night. This really weakens the body, because you are going against the nature of your body. We stay awake all night, watching the news whenever we have internet available. Now we have another problem, shortages of gas and electricity every day. Today I purchased a small battery-operated satellite radio to get the information.

"Usually we get some sleep from 6am to 11am. I sleep with the kids in the corridor of my apartment. I try to be far away from the windows. I like to have walls on all sides, because many children got severely injured from the shrapnel from the glass windows falling on them. I have four children, and my sister-in-law and her family joined us two days ago, so we have seven children now actually in the apartment.

"A big challenge for me and my wife is to distract the children. They keep asking what the noise is. Sometimes the house shakes. We try to tell them it is only training and it is rockets but it is far away from our house. I try to go to the shop to get candies to distract them sometimes. There are lots of things we do to try keep the kids calm and live a normal life.

"You also have to keep up with the basic needs of the children. Every day I endanger myself. I don't use my car. I just walk across the street to go and buy some bread, some vegetables and other things. You have to keep the children alive at the end of the day.

"For many people, it's not easy, but my salary is a bit better so I have some extra things. I have a spare gas cylinder in my house, so I manage to cook without problems. I store food for a few days which not everyone is able to do," he added.

In Gaza life is a nightmare, living in peace a dream
"In the last two days, we have had severe electricity problems, so we paid extra money at the building where I live to have the generator turned on for two and half hours every day. This is a replacement for the electricity line that comes from the city. We use it to heat the water, or to get the refrigerator to work a bit.

"Usually in the afternoon, I don't go outside the house. I stay home. We read the Holy Quran. We sit together until the time we have iftar, the one meal we have in the day. We try to share food with the neighbours' children and talk to them. Sometimes the bombings escalate during this time, but luckily we have electricity at this time because of the generator, so I switch the TV on and raise the volume to distract the children from the bombing.

Very sad
"At the taraweeh prayer time, I look out of the window of my house and try to judge the situation myself. If I can hear people moving in the street, I go to the mosque to catch the evening prayer and also to meet people and hear the news. The evening prayer passes off very quickly. It's very sad. In the city you don't see anybody walking after 10pm. For the past 12 days, I never dared to walk outside afte

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