FaithWorld

Gaza residents see no joy in Muslim Eid holiday at end of Ramadan

July 28, 2014
(Palestinians perform the Eid al-Fitr prayer at al-Farouk mosque, which witnesses said was hit by an Israeli air strike, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip July 28, 2014. The U.N. Security Council agreed on a statement on Sunday urging Israel, Palestinians and Islamist Hamas militants to implement a humanitarian truce beyond the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr and engage in efforts to achieve a durable ceasefire. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

(Palestinians perform the Eid al-Fitr prayer at al-Farouk mosque, which witnesses said was hit by an Israeli air strike, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip July 28, 2014. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

One of the most joyous days in the Muslim calendar, the holiday of Eid al-Fitr was marked on Monday by tears and sorrow in the Gaza Strip, left battered by three weeks of merciless fighting between Israel and Hamas Islamists.

Marking the end of the holy Ramadan month of fasting, Eid is normally a time of feasts and fun, presents and parties, even in this impoverished and isolated Palestinian coastal enclave.

But these are not normal times in Gaza.

“How should a mother feel when she opens her eyes on the day of Eid and does not see her son next to her?” said Abir Shammaly, whose son was killed during heavy Israeli shelling of the Shejaia district in east Gaza last week.

Instead of celebrating with the living, Shammaly sat next to her son’s freshly dug grave, joining many other Gazans who were paying their respects to more than 1,000 people, many of them civilians, who have died so far in the fighting.

Her young daughter silently pushed pink and white flowers into the mound of freshly dug earth.

“The world is watching us, but they do not feel for us. Why did they waste the lives of the Palestinian people? Why did they do this to us?” said Shammaly, who also lost her house in the bombardment of Shejaia that Israel says was a Hamas stronghold.

After three weeks of the fighting, the guns fell largely silent on Monday, with Hamas announcing a 24-hour truce to coincide with Eid. Israel said it would only shoot if fired upon and just the occasional thud and blast broke the calm.

Israel launched its offensive against Gaza on July 8 with the stated aim of halting militant rocket fire out of the enclave and destroying a network of secret tunnels built by Hamas that criss-cross the border area. Some 43 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the fighting and three Israeli civilians have died from Palestinian shelling.

Hamas in turn is demanding an end to the long-running Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza, which has put an economic stranglehold on the territory’s 1.8 million people.

via Gaza residents see no joy in Muslim Eid holiday | Reuters.

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/