Dr. Abdus Sattar Abbasi
I received an invitation to participate in a briefing on the current situation in Palestine, focusing on Gaza. The session was led by Dr. Hafeez ur Rehman, the president of Alkhidmat Foundation. Despite the skewed policies of certain social media platforms, we are well-informed about the hardships Gazans face through alternative channels.
Initially skeptical about the event’s value, I found myself compelled by the pressing plight of Gaza’s residents, prompting me to make my way to the Alkidmat Foundation’s headquarters to lend an ear to Dr. Hafeez ur Rehman’s insights.
The gallantry of the people of Gaza is exceptional, from children to the elderly. In the early days of the conflict, we all witnessed a video of a lady in her eighties refusing to leave her home while the majority of her neighborhood left following the ultimatum of the Israeli defense forces. Hours later, there was nothing left but rubble, including her house, while reporters were certain that the lady had embraced martyrdom.
Throughout the conflict, we did not witness even a single clip of misconduct by any Hamas fighters with Israeli prisoners of war, while there is an abundance of videos on social media platforms depicting the indiscriminate manhandling by Israeli troops of men, women, and children.
Israeli spokespersons quote and refer to the data and trends of wars during the last hundred years. A few cold-hearted representatives even shrewdly mentioned Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Attacking Jabaliya refugee camp with 2000-pound bombs twice in a few days speaks volumes about the savagery and madness of the Israeli military.
The brutality of Israel is unprecedented in known human history. If we compare the death toll of children during the 48 days of the conflict with the entire six years of World War Two (WWII), it is 80% more than the per-day death toll of children in WWII. According to estimates, around 69 children were killed per day during WWII, while in Gaza, the count stands at 125 children per day. Save the Children reported on November 28, 2023, that at least 6,000 children have been killed in Gaza since the start of the escalation.
According to reports, over 1.8 million people in Gaza, nearly 80 percent of the population, are estimated to be internally displaced. Among them, nearly 1.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) are seeking refuge in 156 UNRWA facilities across Gaza.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported, “About 15,100 housing units were destroyed, and 10,656 housing units were rendered uninhabitable. Additionally, 139,000 housing units suffered minor to moderate damage, indicating the destruction of entire neighborhoods, especially in Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahia, Shujaiya, the area between Gaza and the Beach refugee camp, and Abasan Kabira in Khan Yunis.”
On November 21, Vanessa Romo from NPR’s news desk reported, “Israeli attacks have killed more than 200 healthcare workers in Gaza since the start of the war, and another 215 health workers have been wounded. And those left behind say there is little time to mourn the dead.”
Previously, Lauren Leatherby from the New York Times also reported, “More than twice as many women and children have already been reported killed in Gaza than in Ukraine after almost two years of Russian attacks, according to United Nations estimates. And the number of women and children reported killed in Gaza since the Israeli campaign began last month has already started to approach the civilians documented to have been killed by the United States and its allies in Afghanistan during nearly 20 years of war. More than 60,000 buildings have been damaged or destroyed in the Gaza Strip, satellite analysis indicates, including about half of the buildings in northern Gaza.”
Alkhidmat is actively engaged on multiple fronts. Initially, Alkhidmat provided ready-made food in collaboration with Turkish NGOs. The speaker at the session explained how relief goods are transported through Egypt’s El Arish airport and highlighted the challenges posed by the complex mechanism at Rafah Crossing, which hampers relief activities.
The audience was astonished to learn about the discrimination and denial of the right to free movement, effectively confining Gazans in a real-life cage. Alkhidmat’s plans include establishing a field hospital with technical assistance from a Turkish institution, requiring approximately 2.5 billion rupees. The speaker emphasized that Alkhidmat has an abundance of relief goods but faces a real challenge in transportation.
They are working closely with the government to provide every possible relief to civilians in Gaza, aiming to alleviate their suffering. However, they require facilitation for exclusive cargo planes to transport winter packages for the people of Gaza, costing around six thousand rupees per person. I take this opportunity to urge every Pakistani to contribute to this noble cause to the best of their capacity in any manner possible.
Alkhidmat has also launched an app to register volunteer doctors willing to travel to Gaza and provide medical support to the wounded and sick civilians of the Strip. The speaker expressed gratitude, mentioning that around three thousand doctors and more than fifteen hundred female doctors have already volunteered—a testament to a deep concern and commitment to humanity.
We all need to contribute what we can to support the orphans, widows, elderly, and sick and wounded individuals in Gaza, offering them hope that morality has not yet vanished.
*The author is an Associate Professor in Management Sciences and Head Center of Islamic Finance at COMSATS University (CUI) Lahore Campus, Pakistan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
**The opinions in this article are the author’s own and may not represent the views of The Diplomatic Insight. The organization does not endorse or assume responsibility for the content.