In Gaza and Israel, chairs are empty where children should sit

One month after Hamas unleashed terrorist attacks on Israel, death and destruction looms over the Gaza Strip.

In Gaza and Israel, chairs are empty where children should sit
KHAN YUNIS, GAZA - OCTOBER 10: (EDITORS NOTE: Image depicts death) A Palestinian man cries as people attend the funeral ceremony of Palestinian journalists Saeed Al-Taweel, Mohammad Sobh and other people including children who were killed in Israeli airstrikes, in Khan Yunis, Gaza on October 10, 2023 (Photo by Abed Zagout/Anadolu via Getty Images)
A man in Khan Younis, Gaza, cries as he holds the body of a child killed in an airstrike (Picture: Getty)

More than 10,000 men, women and children lie dead – some under rubble, some burned to death and others with bullet-riddled bodies.

135 medics, 40 journalists and 88 UN workers have been killed.

214 schools, where pupils should be sitting, eagerly bidding to answer questions, have been reduced to dust – more than 4,000 young lives taken. Those still alive have missed 22 days of school, somewhere they should have been safe and learning inside classrooms.

In Israel, over 1,400 people have been killed while more than 240 soldiers and civilians – including an estimated 37 children – are still being held hostage in the besieged Strip.

Thousands of tonnes of bombs – double the force of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima – have devastated Gaza since Hamas launched terrorist attacks against Israel on October 7.

A dozen hospitals have been shut down due to lack of fuel and damage, leaving nearly 9,000 cancer patients in Gaza without access to treatment.

Follow our live blog for latest updates on the Israel-Hamas war

A Palestinian girl who was displaced from her home due to Israeli attacks takes shelter at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, Gaza (Picture: Getty)
A Palestinian girl who was displaced from her home due to Israeli attacks takes shelter at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, Gaza (Picture: Getty)
METRO GRAPHICS Gaza map destruction 2 06.11 credit metro.co.uk
Scores of buildings – many with people sheltering inside – have been reduced to rubble (Picture: Metro)

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This picture taken from a position near Sderot along the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip on November 5, 2023, shows flares dropped by Israeli forces above the Palestinian enclave amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. (Photo by Aris MESSINIS / AFP) (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Rockets have rained down on Gaza, seen here from the Israeli city of Sderot, since October 7 (Picture: AFP)

The opening salvo of Hamas’ atrocities was the Supernova music festival in the southern Israeli desert, a site which would become synonymous with tragedy and heroism.

British man Jake Marlowe, 26, was working as a security guard at the festival when gunmen attacked. His friends say he died helping others to safety

German tattoo artist Shani Louk, who was kidnapped and murdered after the festival, was an ardent pacifist who campaigned against mandatory military service for Israelis.

One month since this bloody conflict erupted, bodies continue to pile up with no end in sight.

The families of those missing and unaccounted for have been left with nothing but silence. There is no word from their loved ones, and many assume the worst.

Posters plastered across cities show the faces of the youngest victims, taken hostage into Gaza by armed militants.

Families and supporters of hostages that are being held in Gaza after they were kidnapped from Israel by Hamas gunmen on October 7, hold a demonstration to demand their immediate release, outside of the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, November 5, 2023. REUTERS/Toby Melville
More than 200 Israelis are being held hostage by Hamas across the Gaza border (Picture: Reuters)
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - OCTOBER 18: Yoni Asher, the father and husband to three of the hostages kidnapped by Hamas during the attack on October 7th, holds one of his daughter's dolls during a press conference following a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on October 17, 2023 in Tel Aviv, Israel. As Israel prepares to invade the Gaza Strip in its campaign to vanquish Hamas, the Palestinian militant group Hamas who launched a deadly attack in southern Israel on October 7th, worries are growing of a wider war with multiple fronts, including at the country's northern border with Lebanon. Countries have scrambled to evacuate their citizens from Israel, and Israel has begun relocating some communities on its northern border. (Photo by Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
Yoni Asher’s two daughters and wife were kidnapped by Hamas (Picture: Getty)
Palestinians check the rubble of a building in Khan Yunis on November 6, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. Thousands of civilians, both Palestinians and Israelis, have died since October 7, 2023, after Palestinian Hamas militants based in the Gaza Strip entered southern Israel in an unprecedented attack triggering a war declared by Israel on Hamas with retaliatory bombings on Gaza. (Photo by Mahmud HAMS / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)
Settlements near Khan Younis have been razed to the ground (Picture: AFP)

Among them are Aviv and Raz Asher, two and four years old, kidnapped and taken into the enclave alongside their mother Doron Katz Asher, 34, and grandmother Efrat Katz, 68.

Aviv and Raz had been visiting their grandmother in kibbutz Nir Oz on the Gaza border, one of the first areas to be attacked on October 7.

Communities across southern Israel have been left deserted after residents fled, leaving behind empty streets and bullet riddled buildings.

But for the estimated two million Palestinians trapped in Gaza since Israel closed all land crossings, there is no choice but to remain. There is nowhere to go.

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A man holds one of the injured children of Palestinian cameraman Mohammed Alaloul following an Israeli strike on the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in Deir Balah in the central Gaza Strip, at the al-Quds hospital in the same city on November 5, 2023. Alaloul, working for the Turkish Anadolu Agency, told AFP his 13-year-old son, Ahmed, and his four-year-old son, Qais, were killed in the bombing, along with his brother. The Hamas-run health ministry said, Israeli bombing of Al-Maghazi refugee camp killed 45 people, with an eyewitness reporting children dead and homes smashed. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)
Thousands of children in Gaza have been killed (Picture: AFP)
METRO GRAPHICS Gaza map death toll 06.11 credit metro.co.uk
Gaza’s death toll is rising by the day (Picture: Metro)
DEIR AL BALAH, GAZA - NOVEMBER 03: (EDITORS NOTE: Image depicts graphic content) An injured child is brought to the Al Aqsa Hospital after the Israeli attack on Maghazi Refugee Camp in Deir al Balah, Gaza on November 03, 2023. (Photo by Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images)
An injured child at Al Aqsa Hospital after an Israeli attack on Maghazi Refugee Camp in Deir al Balah, Gaza on November 3 (Picture: Getty)

Foreign passport holders and a handful of critically injured were given refuge through the Rafah border with Egypt, but just 1,100 refugees have been allowed to leave the besieged Strip so far.

British doctor Abdel Hammad, who works at Royal Liverpool University Hospital, finally left Gaza earlier this month after being stuck there since violence erupted on October 7.

His son Salim told Metro: ‘‘My heart goes out to all the people who cannot leave.

‘As a British national, my father is one of the lucky few who can leave, but there are two million people who can’t.’

One month on, what is next for Gaza and Israel?

‘We are in a phase that is uncivilised,’ Professor Yossi Mekelberg, Associate Fellow at the Middle East and North Africa Programme in Chatham House, told Metro.co.uk.

‘Killing civilians, destroying their houses, all of this, what happened in the last four weeks is exactly what society should not have allowed to happen.’

He continued: ‘I think right now Israel is treating [Gaza’s] civilian population as collateral damage. This is not acceptable. People say to me, you make equivalencies. I don’t make equivalencies.

‘I’m just saying this is wrong. You can be wrong in different ways. What Hamas did is barbaric – it’s horrible. But it doesn’t make killing innocents by air bombardments any better.’

A man walks by Stars of David tagged on a wall Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023 in Paris. Paris police chief Laurent Nunez described the graffiti as anti-Semitic and said police are investigating. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, Pool)
Jewish homes in Paris have been marked with the Star of David as anti-Semitic attacks are on the rise (Picture: AP)
METRO GRAPHICS Gaza map destruction 1 06.11 credit metro.co.uk
Since October 7, most 18,000 tons of bombs have been dropped onto the Gaza strip (Picture: Metro)
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Vuk Valcic/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock (14160377bh) A protester climbs on a traffic light and sets off fireworks near The Cenotaph in Whitehall. Tens of thousands of people marched in central London in solidarity with Palestine as the Israel-Hamas war intensifies. Palestine Solidarity March in Central London, England, UK - 21 Oct 2023
Millions have already taken to the streets in protest (Picture: Shutterstock)

The Hamas terrorist attack has sparked outrage and criticism around the world, with millions taking to the streets in support of both Israel and Palestine.

Both anti-Semitic and Islamophobic attacks have risen exponentially since October 7. In France, Jewish homes have been daubed with the Star of David, a chilling reminder of the Holocaust.

Passengers on a Paris metro were heard chanting: ‘’F*** the Jews and f*** your mother. Long live Palestine… We are Nazis and proud.’

In Chicago, six-year-old Palestinian-American Wadea Al-Fayoume was stabbed and killed by his parent’s landlord.

Wadea was stabbed more than 26 times. As he lay dying, he told his mother: ‘Mom, I’m fine.’

For the past 31 days, Gaza’s civilian population has faced a mounting humanitarian catastrophe.

TOPSHOT - A Palestinian man reacts as others check the rubble of a building in Khan Yunis on November 6, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. Thousands of civilians, both Palestinians and Israelis, have died since October 7, 2023, after Palestinian Hamas militants based in the Gaza Strip entered southern Israel in an unprecedented attack triggering a war declared by Israel on Hamas with retaliatory bombings on Gaza. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)
A Palestinian man in Khan Younis cries over the rubble after a strike (Picture: AFP)
PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT
Those remaining in Gaza are rationing water supplies (Picture: AFP)
KHAN YUNIS, GAZA - OCTOBER 24: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Image depicts graphic content/injury detail) Palestinians injured in Israeli air raids arrive at Nasser Medical Hospital on October 24, 2023 in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, Gaza. Two weeks after a deadly Hamas attack in southern Israel that sparked a retaliatory siege of Gaza, in which thousands have died and hundreds of thousands have been displaced, aid trucks have started entering the Palestinian territory via Egypt carrying food, water and medicines. The UN agency UNRWA, or the Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, says the initial aid is a
Hundreds are carried into hospitals each day – who have no way to help many of the victims (Picture: Getty)

Families have been forced to forgo water, food and medical services after Israel cut off water and electricity to the Strip.

Doctors in the 25-mile enclave, surrounded by Israel on three sides and facing the Mediterranean Sea on the other, have resorted to medieval treatments to keep up with the constant flow of dead and injured.

‘We choose who gets ventilation by deciding who has the best chance of survival,’ one triage doctor told the New York Times. 

‘Some doctors remain a whole week in the hospital. Some of their families are brought to the hospital killed or injured. And some doctors go home and are killed there.’

Dr Atef Alshaer, an expert in Arabic Studies at the University of Westminster, says innocent people have been caught up in something they are not responsible for.

‘Children and women, killed in their thousands, have nothing to do with October 7,’ he told Metro.co.uk.

Dr Alshaer has family in Gaza and said watching the situation unfold has been incredibly stressful.

He added: ‘I am Palestinian. I’m really worried. I’m worried about the terror. Silence on this is complicity.’

Gaza is likely to be split in two in the coming days, as IDF troops encircle Gaza City, the most densely-populated part of the enclave.

Analysts expect the death toll to rise rapidly as Israeli ground forces advance into tightly-packed urban neighbourhoods.

METRO GRAPHICS Gaza israeli groud offensive 06.11 credit metro.co.uk
The Israeli ground offensive has been making steady headway into central Gaza (Picture: Metro)
A satellite image shows northern Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, October 28, 2023. Planet Labs PBC/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT. MUST NOT OBSCURE LOGO.
The northern region of the enclave has been essentially destroyed (Picture: Reuters)

But despite Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s aggressive campaign, Professor Mekelberg believes Israel lacks clear military objectives.

‘The scale of the response from Israel suggests this is not about avenging and preventing further war – but about having some political aims and political objectives,’ he said.

‘‘Destroying Hamas’ is not a clear military objective. Hamas is a military organization – most importantly, it’s an idea. So I really wonder whether Israel is setting objectives as it goes along.’

Leila Farsakh, Palestinian political scientist at the University of Massachusetts, says nothing can be achieved through hate.

‘Palestinians want to live in peace with Israelis, not be dominated, exterminated or expelled by them,’ she told Metro.co.uk.

‘This can be solved, but it cannot be solved by dehumanising the other on either side, and not by prioritising the security or death of one over the other.

‘Death is horrible for everyone. Loss is loss. It is not measured in kilos.’

Friends and family mourn British-Israelis Lianne Sharabi and her daughters Noiya Sharabi, 16, and Yahel Sharabi, 13, who were killed following the deadly infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip, while her husband Eli is missing, at their funeral in Kfar Harif, Israel, October 25, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein
Family mourn British-Israelis Lianne Sharabi and her daughters Noiya Sharabi and Yahel Sharabi who were killed by Hamas (Picture: Reuters)
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / TOPSHOT - Palestinians recover the body of a child from the rubble of a building, in Khan Yunis on November 6, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. Thousands of civilians, both Palestinians and Israelis, have died since October 7, 2023, after Palestinian Hamas militants based in the Gaza Strip entered southern Israel in an unprecedented attack triggering a war declared by Israel on Hamas with retaliatory bombings on Gaza. (Photo by Mahmud HAMS / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)
More than 25,000 in Gaza have been injured since Israel’s retaliation began (Picture: AFP)

Professor Mekelberg added: ‘We really need to look for a way now, after four weeks of this, in which more humanitarian aid comes to Gaza and there is a humanitarian ceasefire.

‘The war with Hamas will probably continue, but it should not at the expense of more thousands of civilians. The international community should now put every effort to come up with a peace plan.

‘I know it sounds unlikely, but the shock of what happened in the last four weeks should clarify to everyone that we must consult internationally, regionally, and beyond.’

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