Gaza has become a moonscape in war. When the battles stop, many fear it will remain uninhabitable

by Ethan Kim
Gaza Conflict

Israel’s military operation has rendered much of northern Gaza, including its metropolitan heart, Gaza City, nearly uninhabitable, resembling a moonscape. The region, battered by airstrikes and tank fire, has seen entire neighborhoods wiped out and critical infrastructure like homes, schools, and hospitals severely damaged or destroyed. The intensity of ground combat has forced approximately one million Palestinians to flee northward.

This displacement raises pressing concerns about their future and the rebuilding of Gaza. Questions linger about who will govern Gaza and oversee its reconstruction. Yousef Hammash, a Norwegian Refugee Council aid worker, expressed a desperate desire to return home despite the destruction.

The Israeli military’s actions, which they justify as a response to Hamas using civilian areas for operations, have resulted in over 13,000 Palestinian casualties and extensive devastation. Hamas refutes these claims, accusing Israel of indiscriminate bombing. The extent of the destruction is such that Mahmoud Jamal, a local taxi driver, found his surroundings unrecognizable.

According to Emily Tripp, director of Airwars, the Israeli bombardment is one of the most severe air campaigns since WWII. In seven weeks, Israel has used more munitions than the U.S. in any year of its campaign against ISIS, as per U.N. reports.

The conflict has left northern Gaza a ghost town, with about half of the buildings damaged or destroyed. The U.N. estimates that 1.7 million people are newly homeless, raising doubts about Gaza’s recovery prospects.

The war’s impact extends to healthcare, with 27 of 35 hospitals in Gaza now non-functional. The destruction of other vital infrastructure like bakeries, grain mills, and water facilities adds to the long-term challenges. Over 41,000 homes, representing 45% of Gaza’s housing, are currently uninhabitable.

The southern region of Gaza, although initially less affected, is now also experiencing increased military activity. A proposed four-day truce aims to facilitate humanitarian aid and prisoner exchanges, but displaced Palestinians doubt its adequacy.

This crisis is likened to the 1948 “nakba” by journalist Tareq Hajjaj, reflecting the profound sense of loss and displacement. The 2014 war’s impact on areas like Shijaiyah is still evident, and the current destruction is even more extensive. The responsibility for rebuilding remains uncertain. While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu focuses on security restoration, American officials suggest an unlikely takeover by the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.

Despite the devastation, some, like Professor Yasser Elsheshtawy, see potential for positive change in the reconstruction process. However, the broader challenge lies in healing a deeply traumatized society, forever marked by the scars of war and loss.

For full coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict, visit AP’s dedicated page.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Gaza Conflict

What has been the impact of Israel’s military operation in northern Gaza?

Israel’s military operation has turned much of northern Gaza, including Gaza City, into a landscape resembling a moonscape. The operation has led to the destruction of homes, schools, and hospitals, and forced nearly 1 million Palestinians to flee. The region now faces severe challenges in terms of rebuilding and providing habitable living conditions.

How many Palestinian casualties have been reported due to the Israeli military’s actions?

The Israeli military’s actions in Gaza have resulted in over 13,000 Palestinian casualties. These actions have been justified by Israel as a necessary response to Hamas using civilian areas for operations, a claim that Hamas disputes.

What are the long-term effects of the war on Gaza’s infrastructure?

The war has caused significant damage to Gaza’s infrastructure, including the destruction or severe damage to over 41,000 homes, which is about 45% of Gaza’s total housing stock. Additionally, 27 of 35 hospitals in Gaza are out of operation, and there’s extensive damage to critical facilities like bakeries, grain mills, and water and sanitation systems.

How has the southern region of Gaza been affected by the conflict?

Initially, the southern region of Gaza was less affected by the conflict. However, recent military activities have increased, with reports of spikes in damage in areas like Khan Younis. The region is now also facing a humanitarian crisis due to the scarcity of food, water, and fuel.

What are the challenges in rebuilding Gaza after the conflict?

Rebuilding Gaza faces numerous challenges, including determining who will oversee the reconstruction and how to address the massive displacement of people. The current destruction is more extensive than that caused by the 2014 war, and there is uncertainty about who will take responsibility for the rebuilding efforts. Additionally, there’s a need to address the trauma experienced by the society, which goes beyond physical reconstruction.

More about Gaza Conflict

  • Gaza Conflict Overview
  • Humanitarian Impact in Gaza
  • Infrastructure Damage in Gaza War
  • Palestinian Casualties Report
  • Gaza’s Post-War Reconstruction Challenges
  • Southern Gaza Humanitarian Crisis
  • Israeli Military Strategy in Gaza
  • Hamas’ Role in Gaza Conflict
  • Gaza’s Healthcare System After the Conflict
  • Historical Context of Gaza Conflict

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Alice K November 23, 2023 - 6:37 pm

I read about the casualties but seeing the numbers like this? its heartbreaking. Over 13,000 people, just gone.

Mark J November 23, 2023 - 8:18 pm

its crazy to think that so much damage can happen so fast, and rebuilding… that’s gonna take years, maybe decades.

Sandra M November 24, 2023 - 3:25 am

Wow, this article really hits hard, the scale of destruction in Gaza is just unbelievable, Can’t even imagine what those people are going through…

Emily T November 24, 2023 - 4:29 am

Reading about the hospitals and schools destroyed, it’s just too much. Where do people even begin to rebuild their lives from this?

Rajesh P November 24, 2023 - 11:35 am

The political complexity here is something else, Who’s gonna take charge for rebuilding, and how will they manage it with all that trauma the people have faced?


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