Reportage. Israel killed hundreds more Palestinians including civilians this weekend, with images showing children escaping residential structures covered in blood and concrete dust. ‘My family has been displaced to the south, and Israel is now carpet bombing there as well. I don't know what to do. The worry is eating me up inside.’

There’s nowhere left in Gaza to escape the massacre

Said Majdalawi likes to describe himself as a “comrade.”

“I am a leftist, my whole family is leftist, we have always been leftists,” he was fond of saying back when we met him, adding that in Italy he always read il manifesto. Originally from Jabaliya, in northern Gaza, Said has been an Italian resident for a few years. He was in Europe when October 7 happened. He immediately went to Cairo in hopes of reaching the Rafah crossing before it closed. He couldn’t make it, and he’s been trying unsuccessfully to enter Gaza ever since.

“I want to get my wife and children out of Gaza, but Italy is only helping those with Italian citizenship, not those with Italian residency,” he explained to us on Saturday, over the phone from Egypt. “I’m scared,” he added in a hushed voice. “My family has been displaced to the south, and Israel is now carpet bombing there as well. I don’t know what to do. The worry is eating me up inside.”

Said Majdalawi is right to fear for his loved ones. Israel’s air offensive, which has reduced large portions of the northern part of the Strip and the capital, Gaza City, to rubble, has been focusing on the south since the truce with Hamas broke down on Friday. That was supposed to be the safe area for displaced people. “No place is safe, they’re striking everywhere,” Palestinian civilians were saying on Saturday, in cell phone videos and in reports carried by Al Jazeera and other media.

A hail of bombs hit Khan Yunis the worst, but didn’t spare northern population centers such as Jabaliya, Beit Lahiya and Shujayeh, an eastern suburb of Gaza City that had been razed to the ground once before, during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge. Israeli aircraft and artillery have struck private homes, mosques, public buildings. According to the Israeli authorities, these were all Hamas targets. However, images coming in from Gaza on Saturday showed residential areas being hit repeatedly and civilians screaming in panic or rushing to the aid of the wounded. In the footage, children being taken to the hospital are covered in blood and concrete dust, with concrete reduced to a fine powder by the destructive power of the bombs.

The scenes shot at the Hamad residential center are particularly striking: a neighborhood of recently built buildings in a clean, open area with beautiful streets where hundreds of families live. The terrifying explosions took place one after another, affecting the most exposed buildings. In one video, a woman lies on the ground in a pool of blood, probably hit by shrapnel. Columns of smoke and dust are rising from three mosques that were hit hard. Six airstrikes focused on areas near Nasser Hospital, filled with thousands of displaced and hundreds of wounded, many of whom had been evacuated from hospitals in the north. Rafah was also hit hard. Gaza’s Health Ministry reported in the early afternoon that at least 200 Palestinians had died since Friday morning, mostly women and children.

A few hours later, reports came of a “massacre” in Shujaiyeh, where 50 buildings were hit. This left 300 dead, according to Gaza government sources. Saturday’s dead included Islamic University President Sufian Tayeh, who was killed by shelling in the Jabaliya refugee camp along with his family. Tayeh, who headed Gaza’s largest university, had been appointed UNESCO chairman for physical and astrophysical sciences in Palestine.

Deir al Balah, on the sea, was targeted by the Israeli Navy, leaving nine dead. According to Israel, this was also infrastructure and bases of Hamas being destroyed; however, after 57 days of a destructive war, Hamas continues to fight, seemingly unweakened by Israel’s attacks, and keeps firing rockets, as it did on Saturday. Its military wing, the Ezzedin al Qassam Brigades, released new footage on Saturday featuring raids by its men against Israeli soldiers and vehicles. It is not known when and where those images were taken, but one can see Israeli soldiers, an army bulldozer and armored vehicles hit hard by anti-tank rockets.

Displaced Gaza residents have taken refuge in Khan Younis and Rafah because of the fighting in the north. Now, together with the local residents, they fear they will have to flee again. “It was one of the worst nights we’ve had since we got here. We’re afraid they will enter Khan Younis as well. This is the same tactic that (the Israelis) used before entering Gaza and the north,” Yamen, a young man, told a news agency. “Where am I going to go after Khan Younis? I don’t know where I could take my wife and six children.”

In leaflets dropped in eastern areas of Gaza and directed at the residents of four towns, the Israeli army ordered people to evacuate, no longer to the western neighborhoods of Khan Younis, as in the past, but farther south to Rafah. Thousands took to the streets with their belongings piled on carts, seeking shelter further west. Then they realized that at this point there was no escape, every place was dangerous except the Mawasi area, a rectangle of agricultural land near the coast to which Israel has been trying to push Gaza’s civilians since October. But it’s so small that it could never hold two million Palestinians.

On Saturday, the Israeli command introduced for the first time a map in which Gaza is divided into hundreds of numbered patches. The intention is to instruct Gaza civilians where to move during military operations. But for Palestinians, in the current conditions of the territory, this is impractical. Amjad Abu Taha, a teacher in Gaza City, says Israel is trying to deceive the world by suggesting to Gaza residents that they should move to find safety; however, he adds, “everyone knows that nowhere in Gaza is safe.”

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch reported that airstrikes had hit the Al-Nasr medical center in Gaza City on November 9, disrupting the supply of oxygen to the neonatal intensive care unit. Medical personnel were forced to evacuate, leaving the babies who could not be moved from the ICU on their own. On November 28, during the ceasefire, doctors were able to return and found five dead babies.

On Saturday evening, in Tel Aviv, thousands of people went into the street for the so-called “hostage protest.” However, the exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners that continued for a week is now over.

There is war once again – brutal, and even worse than before. Reacting to the full-scale resumption of the offensive against Gaza, Saleh Aruri, one of Hamas’s leaders, told Al Jazeera on Saturday that his organization will not agree to release any more Israelis without a definitive ceasefire and the release of all Palestinian political prisoners (7,700).

Israel is accusing Hamas of breaking the agreement and no longer wanting to release the 15 women and two children it still holds in Gaza, and decided to withdraw the Mossad delegation that was in Qatar for the negotiations. Hamas claims that in most cases these hostages are military personnel or former military, whom they will only release on the basis of new conditions.

In a press conference on Saturday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated that the war would continue, including a ground offensive, until “we achieve all its aims,” and also that everything possible will be done to free the hostages. He did not explain the reasons behind Defense Minister Gallant’s refusal to hold a joint press conference with him.

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