Concerns Mount for Palestinian Mother Over Her Children’s Future After Leaving Gaza City

by Chloe Baker
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Palestinian mother's concerns

Najla Shawa and her family have found temporary refuge after vacating their residence in Gaza City; however, she remains anxious about the possibility of never returning home.

Shawa, a native of Gaza and an employee of the international humanitarian organization Oxfam, has sought sanctuary along with her husband, two daughters, and approximately 50 other individuals. They are currently housed in a facility in Zawaida, situated to the south of the zone from which Israeli authorities directed civilians to evacuate in anticipation of a ground operation.

In the facility, adults are taking turns sleeping, and essential supplies like food and water are being carefully rationed. The ongoing Israeli blockade has impeded the inflow of resources into the Gaza Strip. Nonetheless, the compound is equipped with solar panels, providing limited access to lighting, internet connectivity, and mobile phone charging.

Professional humanitarian efforts have been put on hold as Shawa and her associates shift their attention to the well-being of their families.

“Uncertainty is becoming palpable, compelling us to brace ourselves for every eventuality,” stated Shawa, who serves as Oxfam’s Country Director for Gaza, in a video interview with The Big Big News. “The magnitude of devastation that we have witnessed is beyond comprehension.”

When asked why she chose not to stay in Gaza, she replied, “My presence in Gaza is intentional, particularly with my family. However, the safety of my daughters and myself cannot be compromised. If there is a means to avert any harm, I am bound to take it.”

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, approximately 500,000 individuals, making up nearly one-fourth of Gaza’s populace, have sought shelter in U.N. educational establishments and other locations throughout the region. The Gaza Health Ministry reported that during a week of Israeli aerial bombardments, 2,450 Palestinians have lost their lives while an additional 9,200 sustained injuries. These strikes have resulted in the destruction of residential buildings, office spaces, and places of worship.

As her family enjoys a momentary respite from immediate danger, Shawa contemplates the road ahead.

The incidents of the recent past have evoked memories among Palestinians of the mass exodus and refugee crisis triggered by the establishment of Israel in 1948. Speculation is also arising about the potential relocation of Gaza’s residents to Egypt’s Sinai Desert, Shawa noted.

“We have no desire to become refugees once more,” said Shawa. “But how much suffering can one endure? How can one reconcile with the risk of losing one’s life?”

Above all, as a mother, Shawa’s principal concern lies with the safety of her children.

“The prospect of losing our own lives can be accepted as divine will,” she expressed. “However, the unimaginable anguish of witnessing our children gravely harmed or maimed, coupled with the inability to provide them medical attention, is simply inconceivable.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Palestinian mother’s concerns

Q: Who is Najla Shawa and what is her current situation?

A: Najla Shawa is a Gaza native and an employee of the international aid group Oxfam. She, along with her family, had to leave their home in Gaza City due to Israeli military activities. They are currently sheltering in a facility in Zawaida, south of Gaza City

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